Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meme by Email...

My college buddy, Vyarl, sent me this and since I see them occasionally as tags on blogs I decided to put it here. Feel free to steal it for your own blog, I don't typically tag. I also linked several of my answers to more information.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. babysitter(as a preteen and teen)
2. horseback riding instructor/camp counselor
3. "security" person at rock concerts(college)
4. mom

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. Raising Arizona
2. All Star Wars movies
3. Finding Nemo
4. Princess Bride tied with The Secret of Roan Inish(I LOVE this story)

Four places I have lived:
1. China Lake(Ridgecrest), California
2. Austin, Texas
3. Houston(Spring), Texas
4. Nacogdoches, Texas

Four T.V. Shows that I watch:
1. Dirty Jobs(for( Mike Rowe)
2. Survivor Man(for Les Stroud)
3. The Naked Archaeologist(for Simcha Jacobovici, adorable cute and with BRAINS!)
4. What Not to Wear(for the fun of it)

Four places I have been:
1. Washington, DC
2. Jamestown, Va(an ancestor was a doctor with the Virginia Company, last name of Gholson)
3. Hovenweep, Utah
4. Chaco Canyon, NM

People who e-mail me (regularly):
1. people from my homeschool groups
2. blog friends
3. quilt friends
4. local friends

Four of my favorite foods
1. Italian foods
2. Mexican foods
3. grilled foods(including bbq)
4. Healthy foods

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. in BED, I stayed up LATE!!
2. somewhere warmer than here but not hot
3. a nice ski cabin somewhere with a fire going
4. on safari

Things I am looking forward to this year
1. losing more weight!
2. Christmas
3. turning 40(actually early next year)
4. vacation to see my parents(also sometime next year but I'm counting a year from this Dec to next Dec-how's them apples?!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Under the weather...

Thankfully not this kind of weather.

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Not sure what is going on, feverish, run-down, with an aching right ear. No drainage, no congestion, no cold or flu symptoms. Possibly an ear infection then? Whatever it is, hope it goes away soon. Puppy-Girl has been keeping me company on the couch today.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007


We are going to make Christmas ornaments out of felt today!!! Since most of my old ornaments were broken or worn out, I tossed about two thirds of them in the trash last week. Trust me, they had no sentimental value at all. I'm pretty much disgusted with the billions of "made in china" ornaments out there. Of course they are breathtakingly beautiful, charmingly cute, made from blown glass or decked out in feathers, beads and other fancy outfitting but in the end, they are just ornamentation with no meaning to me at all.

Enter felt, sequins and seed beads! When I was a child we had many handmade and homemade ornaments made from felt, clothespins, wood, and cloth, mom still has many of the ones she cut out with her scroll saw and painted herself. There are mice holding gifts, stockings, Winnie the Pooh characters, Mickey Mouse, the three bears, little red riding hood, a gingerbread house, and -my favorites- characters from Joan Walsh Anglund(aren't they adorable?).
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Since I don't have a scroll saw or the patience and talent to paint anything, we're going to work with fabrics. I have in my possession a few vintage Christmas craft magazines(from the early 1970s) and have been duly inspired! My plan is to make at least 20 new ornaments today with the help of Amy and Sarah, wish us luck! If I had some Chex party mix and a working camera my day would be 150% perfect, since I don't, I'll have to settle for 99% perfect.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Some Recipes!

Oh boy, we ate and ate, and ate some more yesterday! It was quite a feast. I made our family favorite, broccoli rice casserole, a potato casserole, and a wonderful pumpkin cake. Mark's parents did turkey and dressing, a ham, mashed potatoes, corn, beans, rolls(alas, not the homemade kind), and pies. Here are my recipes, just in time to plan for Christmas or just a nice family dinner if you'd like. All of these make fantastic breakfast items eaten cold from the pan, trust me!

Broccoli Rice Casserole(modified this year to include spinach)...

***amounts are approximate, use your eyeballs for this***
2-3 cups cooked brown rice
2.5 cups frozen chopped or cut broccoli(from a bag)
1 cup frozen chopped spinach(from a bag, not the boxed kind)
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 can each 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup
1 cup cheese whiz(I used walmart's Cheese Sensations, cheddar flavor, and liked it much better)*
garlic powder and black pepper to taste

Start cooking rice. Saute onion and celery, add broccoli and spinach, cook til heated through. Combine soups spices and cheese whiz, mix well and add to veggie mixture. Stir in rice and mix well. Pour into two buttered 8x8 pans or 9x13(will possibly be too much for this). Bake, covered at 350 degrees for about an hour. Check after 45 minutes. Remove cover to brown the top. Yum.

Special Dilled Potatoes(or Quick, let me throw something potatoe-y together!)

7 medium potatoes
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 cup cheese whiz(walmart brand)*
1 cup sour cream(I use fat free)
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Wash potatoes and put in pot with water to cover. Boil them, in jackets, about 20 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool. Combine soup, cheese whiz, sour cream, and spices. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel skins off and dice into 1/2 inch cubes(bigger won't be as tasty). Combine with sauce mixture in buttered baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 along side broccoli rice casserole, for about an hour, browning the top during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. These are even better cold!
*the reason I call for 1 cup in each of these recipes is because the jar is 16 ounces and I just scooped out a bunch for each recipe with about 1/4 of the total jar left over. Next time I will use it all. Velveeta would probably work as well but a bit of liquid might need to be added. The GV brand was thinner.

Pumkin Cake(adapted from a recipe out of Big Backyard magazine)

2 cups flour
1.5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves(I used more)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon alspice and/or nutmeg
1 teaspooon coriander
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts(optional)

Combine dry ingredients, combine wet ingredients and nuts. Bake at 350 in buttered 9x13 pan for 35 minutes. Test with cake tester! Remove from oven and let cool completely. Frost with butter cream cheese frosting.

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine well and try not to consume too much before the cake is cooled. Frost and enjoy.

Just found out I am a

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods....

To Granny's House We GO!! Granny and Papaw are Mark's parents. He is Cajun, from southern Louisiana, hence our last name of Sonier(pronounced sawn-yer or sawn-yay or even swan-yay sometimes). She is from a small community near Henderson, Texas. They are both 80, we think. Granny didn't get a birth certificate when she was born so she is either 80 or 81 or maybe 79, nobody in her family can remember. Mark's sister was adopted in 1958, Mark in 1966. There is a saying that blood is thicker than water, meaning that biological familial ties are stronger than others. I believe in some cases this is true and in some cases it is not. In Mark's family there is no likeness of personalities, nobody "takes after" Granny or Papaw or Aunt Rhonda. He is so different from his parents and sister that it is as if they are strangers to each other, even if he has fishing and football in common with his dad. But there is the love and that can't be discounted. Granny loves us all even though she has weird ways of showing it. I am thankful they raised their son with good morals and values. I'm also thankful he is different from them.

Anyway, we are going there for Thanksgiving dinner! One of Granny's "things" is to do holiday meals. And boy does she do them up!! She decorates the whole house, bedrooms and bathrooms, hallways and game rooms included.
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She cooks huge meals fit for an army! Usually she has turkey and dressing, delicious homemade yeast rolls(these are to die for), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cream style corn, regular corn, green beans, pintos or red beans, smothered steak, ham, gravy, pies, cakes, cookies, and an assortment of congealed salads of the 1950s variety(nobody actually eats them though), it is an amazing sight. Not only does she do this for Thanksgiving but she turns around a month later and does it again for Christmas!! Over the past few years, as she has gotten a bit more frail, the dinners aren't as elaborate, she buys more pies and cakes than she makes and doesn't have as many veggies or salads as before. We don't expect her to cook a feast, in fact we've often wished that she wouldn't go to such effort. But, she is Granny and that is what she does to show her love. She would feel pretty useless and unwanted if she couldn't cook for us. Papaw even does the dishes after we eat, they don't have a dishwasher, he does them by hand. No, he won't accept offers of help.
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(Granny running it, Papaw washing and Mark getting in the way, Thanksgiving 2006)

This year, as in the recent past, we are bringing some side dishes. I'll be making a broccoli-rice casserole, scalloped potatoes, and a pumpkin cake, and maybe stewed cabbage. We'll eat, take a walk in the woods, and come home to watch the Cowboys play football. Sometimes we watch the whole game there, sometimes just until halftime. Tomorrow will be cooler so our walk might be shorter than usual, or it may be just the thing after being in the hot kitchen.
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I mentioned Granny's frailty. She has some health problems including dementia and a possible return of cancer(she had cervical cancer 12 years ago). Being stubborn, and scared, she is refusing to go to a doctor. Papaw isn't much better off. He is blind in one eye(from an optic stroke), has hypertension and high cholersterol, clogged arteries and is mostly deaf. His hands are full just trying to corral Granny. We know our Thanksgivings with them are coming to an end. Maybe this will be our last one. I hope not but it is not ours to know or say. Out of the past seventeen thanksgivings, I think we've only missed being there once or twice. I am thankful that we've been able to share in their blessing so often.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Book...

My buddy Susan over at Blackberry Creek turned me onto this fun game! You go to, choose Books, and then Advanced Search. Put your name in the first box and choose the title with your name in it that suits you best. These descriptions do seem to fit me. I think I've hit the motherlode here with my name and I'll definitely have to read these books, they sound like a hoot!!

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Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
ample funny descriptions (as when Molly finds herself in the Royal Suite at the Waldorf: "She wasn't sure about the Jacuzzi. It was like ten monsters farting in her bath all at once."). But as all wish-fulfillment adventures must go, Molly's life is changed one fateful day, as an arcane book draws out her special talent--she can hypnotize anybody to do anything she wants.

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Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure
If reading a Molly Moon title means navigating a variety of twists, turns, and sudden surprising revelations, then this addition to the series is no exception.

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Molly Moon Stops the World
Readers are likely to enjoy this fun fantasy; as long as they don't delve too deeply, they won't notice the contrivances and the many holes in the story.Many elaborate setups and silly reversals of fortune ensue, as Molly and Rocky hunt the villainous Cell. The duo discovers that things are even more dire than expected (could this evil genius really be running for President?), and Molly soon stumbles onto her even-more amazing ability: She can stop time.

This day I'm thankful for rain showers(such as it is). I love to listen to rain falling down but it is a rare thing these days. I'm also thankful that we didn't have Soshie put down. She is not all the way over her injury but she's doing much better than I ever expected!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Isn't she lovely?

Today is my oldest daughter's 12th birthday. She is such a sweet girl, smart, level-headed, thoughtful and mindful of others. Just a gem. Isn't she lovely?
Amy, about three months old, February 96.
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Mark with Ryan, his sister Rhonda holding Amy at five months, April 96.
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About two years old, summer 97 at the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival, Rush Springs Oklahoma.
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Five Years, Christmas 01 in front of grandparents tree.
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About six years, summer 02 in our pool.
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Almost ten years old, September 05 on the bank of the Toe River, Carolina Hemlocks National Forest.
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A month before turning twelve, October 07, our trampoline in the backyard.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Ok, here is the biggest Thanks I've come across yet!!! Thank GOD our house did not burn down today when our YARD caught fire from a tossed cigarette(we think). The wind was gusting about 30mph so you can imagine how quickly a bunch of dead and dying juniper, holly, and weeds went up. The neighbor who alerted us to this fire was working with Ryan to get our garden hose out to the flames but it was wrapped around a post and some flower pots and a rock or two. The fire was too big by then for the hose to have done any good, plus not knowing if a broken electrical line had caused it, I really didn't want Ryan over there near it. My second call to 911 "yall don't understand, the flames are spreading FAST and there is a freaking GAS LINE right under the fire!!!", we retreated a few houses down to a neighbor's driveway to watch the fiasco. These poor neighbors were doing a walk-through for the closing of their newly purchased home, wonder if they are thinking they should have kept looking?

FINALLY the firetruck showed up and proceeded to spray(from the top of the truck) the middle of the road. Granted there was so much smoke they couldn't see the fire(you couldn't see the whole intersection), but they overshot the flames by about 10 feet for 3 or 4 minutes!!! The neighbors were incredulous! Just when we thought things were about to get way worse, they got off the truck and got closer to the fire. It only took about 10 minutes for them to get it out(most everything had burned to a crisp by this point) but I still had to go out with a hose and shoot down some hot spots after they left. Thank God we took the pine tree out this summer, it was *right* there within 7-8 feet of this with branches that would have been over the fire.

The next phase involved the whole freaking neighborhood! Our corner "garden" contains the box of wires for phone service! Mark was trying to get me since I left him with a panicked "the yard is on fire, I called 911, we are fleeing to the neighbors, I hope they get here soon, the trees are about to be next!!!!". He was out of town, 3 hours away, and terrified the house was burning! So, he called his office and had "the girls" come check on us. One of them loaned me her cell phone to get in touch with him(thanks SO MUCH K) when we figured out our phone was dead. Mark reported the phone outage and they arrived sometime after we left to get groceries. When we returned they were waiting to dig out the old lines. There is a natural gas pipe under the corner of our lot so the gas company was supposed to come out and mark it for them to prevent that sort of tragedy, they never showed. So, the men with the digger started in, and I came out to investigate. Their hole was about 10 feet wide, 4 feet across and maybe 5 feet deep. I asked how many were affected by this since the hunks of melted wires indicated it wasn't just our phone. TWOOOOHUNDRED people were without phone service from 10am til 6pm today!! I felt so bad! Anyway, they still have to come fill the hole in around the new wires but I am able to call my parents and let them know we are safe and I can get online to post about it. Thank God it wasn't our house!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Well Dadgummit Now!!!

I can post but I can't upload pictures. Actually that isn't true. If they are already on my computer I can put them here but I can't get new pics from my camera to my computer. It is about frustrating as all get-out! To top it off, I can't find the program cd to reinstall my photo thingie and the other one I have has some sort of problem every time I try to aquire the pics. GRRRRRRRR. This is NOT good timing because this weekend we're taking Amy to Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge to celebrate her 12th birthday! Tiger Creek is home to around 40 big cats that have been rescued from various zoos, circuses, private homes and so forth. Two of their tigers, Sarge and Lily, were featured on Animal Planet's Growing Up... series(which will rerun on Nov. 28th at 7 and 11pm, not sure if that is EST or CST though). We are SO looking forward to this trip but I am super bummed that I won't be able to show pictures of it! I'm hoping that someone comes up with the cd soon. And Santa, if you read blogs, I would LOVE a new digital camera for Christmas!! Just something simple, not too many bells and whistles, so I can take pictures like this!
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Now for my Thankfulness post:
***edited to include a Soshie update*** She is still hanging in there. Yesterday she ate a whole lot of dry cat food so we're waiting for that to "process". I'm hopeful that she's going to pull through this. If her bowels regain their muscle tone and she's able to poo then I think she'll recover completely.
***re-edited late Tuesday night*** She pooped!!! Wooohooo! A normal poop. I am so excited! I'm so very hopeful now.

I am thankful for healthy kids and family. Considering myself blessed with "only" having high blood pressure and a few uncomfortable but non life-threatening issues(plantar fascitis and bursitis of the hip), there are millions of people out there with horrible, horrible diseases and injuries. I thank God every day that my kids, husband, parents, and myself don't have to deal with that.

I am thankful that I am able to experience life on this planet. There is an amazing world out there people! Yesterday when Sarah and I went to check the mail she heard a woodpecker in one of our pine trees. We searched and searched til we spotted him, a Downy Woodpecker, very small, very beautiful. I find wonder in such things and I am thankful for that because so many folks don't even pay attention. I wish they would, they miss out on a lot of great stuff!

And, I am thankful that it is getting close to CHRISTMAS!!! Woooohooo! Of course, that means I have a ton of work to do before we get to decorate but that's ok. So I leave you with visions of Christmases past.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

7 Things...

About myself. Here are *the rules* copied from the Chickenbell who tagged me.

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Alas, I rarely play by *the rules* so I'll let anyone who reads this tag themselves.

Here goes:(and I'll put a w by the weird ones and a r by the random ones, just so you'll be able to tell, muhhhaaaaahaaa)

1.(w) I have an irrational fear of and fascination with coyotes. When I was a very small child we'd go visit my grandparents in Oklahoma. Coyotes would howl, yip and generally sound like evil devil dogs from dusk to dawn. I'd go with my Daddy Mammer(grandpa) to break the ice on the ponds and/or feed the cows in the pasture and we'd see them slinking around here and there. I wouldn't even get out of the truck even though this was one of my all-time favorite things to do in the world. Now we live "in town" and have them living in a wooded area across the street from our driveway. They still scare the beejeesus out of me, at the same time I am drawn to them.

2.(r) I majored in Native American Studies at The University of Oklahoma. I love the subject but hated the classes and did not pass many of them. Studying Native American pre-history was very interesting, but studying their current politics was mega boring for me when I was 20(and still would be). Now I have many other interests but still have a place in my heart for The Ancient Ones.

3.(r) When I was a kid, my favorite animals were horses. I rode as often as I could find someone to let me. My uncle kept horses including a pony he let me think of as mine. After I graduated from high school I taught horseback riding at a Camp Fire camp for the summer. Since then I've probably only ridden 5 times and have very little desire to get on a horse these days. Now, if I had 10 acres and lots of time and money...

4.(w) Very occasionally I have had an ESP or telepathic experience. Now, before you freak out, I don't know what causes them. I don't believe in ghosts but when we lived in Austin I saw the transparent figure of a toddler girl with dark curly hair standing in our hallway on several occasions. She'd vanish if I tried to focus on her. Do I think this was the ghost of someone? No. An imprint? Maybe. Who knows. Anyway, the ESP thing that I remember most is when I was living in Nacogoches, Texas. As I was unloading the dishwasher one day I got a vision of my friend's son(they live in Wichita, Kansas) laying on their couch, on his belly with his legs bent behind him. His skin was orange!! I also had the auditory sensation of ducks quacking. After this went away I called to tell her all about this because it was so weird. She told me her son had roseola and was all red, and they'd been to the doctor that afternoon. And, his coughing sounded like a duck!! She was someone I talked to maybe once every few months, we didn't have a real close friendship. His illness is not something I would have known about. Having a toddler who was rarely sick and no internet access, I had no clue what roseola was in the first place!

My latest one was a few weeks ago. One Sunday morning as I was getting in the bathtub I had an overwhelming urge to call one of my cousins. My mom is the baby of her family and most all of my cousins are older than me by 15 years and more. I think this cousin in particular is about 60 maybe. Anyway, I haven't talked to her on the phone EVER, but my mom does about once a year or so. All day long I was wanting to get her phone # from my mom and call her. Well, on Thursday of that week, my mom and I were talking and she said, "I called Charlotte today". She had been thinking of her all week too! Whatever in the world made us both think of this person the same week when we've barely talked about her in years and years, is beyond me and I mean BEYOND me.

5.(r) I'm extremely introverted. Sometimes I'm afraid that people will get the vibe that I'm rude or uninterested, or closed-minded(heaven forbid!) but it is really me just going off with my thoughts, by myself.

6.(w and r) I eat strange foods for breakfast. No eggs, or cereal, or toast. Ok, maybe a bagel with cream cheese, but that's as normal as it gets for early morning eating. My favorites are pizza, spaghetti, tortillas with refried beans... A sandwich, a salad, even cabbage slaw!

7.(r) I'm easily distracted. Amy just came in and announced she was hungry. This means that I have to remove my butt from this chair and start dinner!

Monday, November 5, 2007


Man, I didn't realize this would be so hard! I can think of tons of things I enjoy, am I thankful for them? I am thankful that I can walk, see and hear, and have a sound mind. I enjoy my hobbies and craft-making but am I thankful for them? Sometimes not. Sometimes I wish I could just give all my yarn and fabric away and start on something else. What, I don't know. I am THANKFUL that I can even think about this sort of thing and start to put those activities into their proper place within my life. I am thankful for fate, which drops things into my lap that make me think, specifically in this case, a book I found at a garage sale or goodwill or someplace called 30 Days to a Simpler Life by Connie Cox and Cris Evatt. It has been a godsend. Just about 2 months ago our living room looked like, THIS. We whipped it into SHAPE and for the most part it has stayed that way, now that is something to be thankful for!

But, the biggie that I'm thankful for today is for people who do favors, who make exceptions, who help others out even when they don't have to.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thankful for my Children...

I'm thankful for the opportunity to stay home with my children. Keeping them out of the rat race and other ills of public school is very important to me. Learning in a safe, forgiving, encouraging, and rich environment is where kids learn best. Living in Texas, we have no controls over what, when, and how we teach our children. This allows for us to follow a much more relaxed form of homeschooling, called Unschooling. That isn't to say that they are not learning or being taught, it is just in a way that most people wouldn't find familiar or associate with "education".

Along the same vein, I'm also thankful for my wonderful kiddos. They are clever, resourceful, kind, and good. Most of the time they are delights to be around and they get along very well together unlike many siblings we observe. My job as a parent is exciting, rewarding, and easy because of their wonderful personalities.

****edited to add a Soshie update****
She peed this morning!!! Yeah! We decided to help her win the battle going on inside of her. There is no way we can afford a vet visit for her, it would probably be hundreds of dollars for testing and xrays and so forth. Mark isn't wanting to give up on her yet so we're doing as best we can to make her comfortable and provide her with easy to digest food and water. I'm giving her both by syringe since she hasn't tried to eat on her own since Monday night. It is making a difference, her hair looks much better and she seems not to be in pain. She is still very weak but the food stuff I'm giving her has vitamins and such to help her regain some energy. I'm hopeful that she'll snap out of this soon and begin eating. Now for the pictures!

Ryan, Amy and Sarah watching tv many years ago, maybe late 2001?
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Kids at the pumpkin patch, October 2004.
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Girls with Buttercup, early summer 2007.
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Ryan, summer 2007.
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Friday, November 2, 2007

Thankful November!

I am SO doing this, 30 Days of Thanks, or gonna give it my best shot anyway! Thanks to Chickenbells for the idea! I'm not the most consistent blogger so I may have more than one thanks on a given day.

Today(which makes up for yesterday being the 1st), and every day, I'm thankful for my hubby. He is smart, healthy, and sane which allows him to be able to handle the tremendous workload he faces each day. He lives for a challenge but this latest stuff at work is like Mt. Everest, not only tough but a LOT of it! He approaches it in a very methodical way and gets the job done. I'm thankful he gives 110% to the things he enjoys in life, including his job. He is no slacker.

And, I'm thankful for our wonderful weather! In east Texas you never know if it will be humid and/or raining(and in the upper 80s) or frosty and cold at this time of year. Usually it alternates between the two up until Christmas. This year we got cool a few weeks ago and it has stayed that way with highs in the lower 70s and lows dipping into the mid-40s. No rain to speak of and beautiful blue skies. Love it!