Tuesday, September 27, 2011

West Texas Fair & Rodeo Parade

My family lives in West Texas. If you have ever met a Texan, you know how prideful they are of their state. In the town we live in, we have a parade in September to celebrate West Texas. This parade signifies the start of the West Texas Fair and Rodeo, in my mind. (I will blog about the fair soon.) But since the parade comes before we go to the fair, this post comes first. 

My kids like going to parades, so I took this opportunity to take them to the parade. Jeremy was out of town, so I am very thankful that my mom could come with me and my four kids to the parade. Rilian, Finn, and Seven chose front row seating (on the street) for the parade.
Piper decided she wanted to sit in the balcony (the bed of a friend's truck) to watch the parade.
What exactly is the West Texas Fair and Rodeo Parade? It consists of more than enough entries. If you ask me, this parade is the longest parade in history. But if you sit there and watch the entire 1 hour and 30 minutes, you will see horses...several times. 
Tractors...several times.
And several different marching bands, from around the area.
After all, what else is there in west Texas besides horses, tractors, and marching bands?

Rilian really liked the marching bands. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

They Are Watching...

I attend MOPS locally. I have attended faithfully for the past three years and have decided to join the steering committee this year, which starts my fourth year of MOPS. My friend, Lauren, and I have the role of hospitality. What does that mean? We are in charge of making sure there is food at every meeting. We welcome new moms, (moms that are attending MOPS for the first time) with a small gift. We also hand out gifts to newly expecting moms. Lauren and I also get to plan an occasional night out for MOPS.

Before our first meeting, Kristi, our MOPS coordinator, asked me if I would give a marriage/love tip occasionally. I am not an expert on this subject, but I have really enjoyed reading Shannon Ethridge's Blog. I have heard her speak a few times and have really enjoyed it. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, TAKE IT! Because I have shared some of Shannon's tips and advice, Kristi thought I might like to give a marriage/love tip to MOPS. I accepted the "challenge" and here is what I told MOPS at the first meeting...

Believe it or not, your kids watch you even when you think they aren't...

One night a couple of years ago, my mother-in-law (Joyce) was watching my kids for me. She told me the following story when I came to pick them up. She said she heard Piper (who was around 5 years old at the time) say to Finn (who was around 4 years old at the time), "No, Finn! The Mom is supposed to be on top!" As my mother-in-law told me this, my mind started racing, thinking, "What in the world? What have my children seen my husband and I doing?" I don't know if I had a shocked expression on my face or not, but I was relieved when Joyce told me what she saw Piper and Finn reenacting. My husband has a bad back and he lays on the floor and has me walk on his back in hopes that I can relieve some of the pain. Hence, the "mommy on top" statement. 

Now my daughter is 7 years old. She is starting to ask questions about all kinds of things in life. She is pretty random about it at times, too. One day, she said to me, "I know that you and Daddy play games in your bed at night. I saw you." I tried to remain calm and not look surprised at her statement. I calmly replied, "What kind of games?" She said, "On your iPhone." I said, "Yep." 

As you can tell, my children are very observant. I had no idea that Piper had seen me playing games on my iPhone at night in my bed. If you have children, I am sure your children are just as observant. My 4 year old son, Seven, is seriously a sponge! And he has a memory like an elephant! They are watching...

As a parent, you should be intentional about what you let your kids see, not what you keep from them, but what you show them. The following story, written by Terrica Smith, is an excellent example: 

          Secrets to a Happy Marriage
             February 23rd, 2010
             by Terrica Smith

             A few years ago Josh and I were strolling thru the mall hand-in-hand when a little elderly man shuffled towards us, cane in hand. I was concerned for a moment that he didn't see us and began to ease out of his way, until he reached out a hand and warm smile to stop us, "Excuse me there, young man!"
           We slowed. "Yes, sir?" my good mannered, southern boy responded.
           "You two married?" The bluntness of his question shocked us both momentarily. I got the distinct impression we had a "talkin' to" coming our way. I glanced around nervously, racking my brain. What in the world did we DO?
           "Um...yes, sir?" Josh offered, more a question than an answer.
           The old man stared silently for a moment at our still intertwined hands, then smiled up at us, eyes twinkling. "My wife, she was my best friend in the whole world. I loved her all my life. Gracious, I still love her." He chuckled quietly to himself.
           He had our attention, but neither of us knew where he was going or whether to respond. 
           "She was beautiful, really, my best friend. I miss her every day." He paused, staring at the floor.
           I resisted reaching for him, this complete stranger, wrapping him in my arms like a beloved grandfather I'd known all my life.
          He looked up suddenly serious, shuffling closer, pointing emphatically as he spoke, "Now you listen to me, you hear. Do you know, I held my wife's hand every day. That's what you do, you hold hands. You have to touch. That's how you love. If you want to be in love all your life, don't ever stop holdin' hands." He slouched back slightly, eyes twinkling, beaming as if he'd just entrusted us with the secret to life.
          I grinned slowly ear to ear. I had just fallen in love with the old man. I was tempted  to drag him to the nearest bench begging to hear his life story.
         "Thank you," I whispered with absolute sincerity, awestruck by his simple, violent wisdom.
         With a knowing smile, he patted Josh firmly on the shoulder and shuffled away.
         We turned to watch him. "Wow," Josh breathed, breaking his silence.
         "Yeah," I responded, shaking my head in disbelief, "what a treasure."
         "What?" he asked. "The old man or what he said?"
          I turned to him, squeezing his hand, "Both. Absolutely both."
         Holding hands may seem an insignificant 'secret', but don't underestimate the power of such a simple, profoundly intimate act. When you take your spouses' hand you're communicating, "I'm with you. We're in this together. I want to be here."
         It's a simple practice in safeguarding your marriage as well, as you're communicating to the rest of the world, "I'm with him." (Don't even try, suckers!)

The above article by Terrica was originally posted at http://www.sexuallyconfidentwife.com/blog/2010/02/secrets-to-a-happy-marriage/. If you would like to read more from Terrica, please visit http://www.terricajoy.com/, where she writes about love, art, travel, and food. 

Sometimes as a parent with young children it is hard to hold your husband's hand because you have to hold your children's hand so they don't run off. I completely understand this! I have FOUR children! Try to make the effort to intentionally hold your husband's hand every chance you get. Perhaps, you get the chance to go out on a date with your husband, hold his hand. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Piper's Giving Heart

Piper wore a pretty dress to school one day. Of course, she had to wear nice dress shoes to go with it. This meant that she had to take tennis shoes to change into for P.E. class. No big deal. When I went to pick Piper up from school she was wearing her pretty dress and her Nike tennis shoes. Perhaps she didn't have enough time after P.E. class to change her shoes. Or maybe she just didn't feel like putting her dress shoes back on. I didn't think too much of it. This is Piper we are talking about and I cannot understand why she chooses to wear what she chooses to wear sometimes. 

When we got home, Piper says, "I gave my shoes to my friend because she was just dying to have them." I was almost in shock. I knew I had to respond, but how? I wasn't quite sure how to respond. 

What would you have done if your daughter gave away these shoes? 
Piper hadn't really done anything bad. Was it wrong for her to give away a pair of shoes? It was just a material item. 

After I got over the initial shock, I told Piper that it was very nice to give away her shoes. But next time, she needs to ask Mommy or Daddy if she can give them away. She can tell her friend that she needs to ask her Mommy or Daddy before she gives whatever away that her friends want. 

Through the years, I have come to realize that Piper's love language is gifts. She was showing her friend how much she likes her by giving her a pair of shoes. 

I told Piper that if her friend gives her shoes back, to bring them home. When Piper got home from school the next day, I asked her if her friend gave her shoes back. She said, "No, she was wearing them at school." I just had to laugh!

What would you have done?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rilian's Furry Friend

One day, this little Chihuahua was found outside our house near the street. It had a two different tags on it, with two different phone numbers. I called the first one and no one answered. So, I called the second one. Here is how the conversation went when the lady answered the phone...

ME: I found your dog.
LADY: No, I'm not missing a dog. 
ME: Well, it has your phone number on its tag.
LADY: I don't know how you could have my dog. We have lots of dogs and they are all here...What does it look like?
ME: It's a Chihuahua.
LADY: What color is it?
ME: Well, what color Chihuahua are you missing? (I did not want to give this lady someone else's dog. We have lost a dog before and know what it is like to never see them again.)
LADY: Is it black? 
Then I hear her talking to another lady in the background. They are talking about not missing a dog and all of them are there at their house. The lady I am talking to is telling another lady in the background that I am saying I have their dog.

By now I am getting a little annoyed with this lady. Seriously? THIS dog that I am holding in my hands, has HER number on it...the number that I just dialed and she just answered.
ME: If this isn't your dog, then why does her tag have your number on it?
LADY: It's not mine. I am not missing any dogs.
Then I hung up the phone.

I was really annoyed now. Seriously?!? Why would the tag have her phone number if the dog isn't hers? How could she not know that she was missing a dog? When we lost one of our Siberian Huskies, we were greatly saddened. It was like losing a child! Maybe she had so many dogs that she couldn't keep up with them and really did not realize that one was missing. 

So, what did I do? I called the pound. I just thought I'd let them sort out the mess. While I was waiting on the pound to come get this Chihuahua, I put it out in the backyard. I didn't know if it was house broken. Plus, I did not know anything about the dog, so I really didn't want it in my house. Our fence has places where a Chihuahua could escape, so I tied it up. Rilian really liked the Chihuahua and wanted to walk it, so I let him. First, he bent down to pet it.
Then she layed down in the cool dirt. 
Here is a video of Rilian walking his furry friend.
Then it was time for Rilian to take a nap. I left a bowl of water outside for the Chihuahua while she waited on the pound to come get her.

When the man arrived from the pound, he told me he thought they had had her before. If that is the case, they would scan her and find out where her microchip says she lives. 

Well, turns out, later on that afternoon, my neighbor across the street came knocking on my door asking if I had seen a little dog earlier that day. I told him I called the phone number on her tag and they said she did not belong to them, so I called the pound. I told him if I see her again, I will know where she belongs. Apparently, the Chihuahua belongs to him and his family and they did not put their phone number her tags. Needless to say, after he walked back across the street to his house, he went to the pound to get his dog.

So, pet owners....PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, put YOUR contact information on your pet's tag! I don't want to have to talk to anymore "dumb" people when I find your pet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: Love You More

Love You More by Jennifer Grant, is a story of a mother of three young children, who feels a call from God to adopt a fourth child. In this story, Jennifer tells about the things she goes through while waiting to bring her baby girl home from Guatemala. She also tells about what trials a family may face when adopting an interracial child. Jennifer not only tells about what trials and judgement she faced when adopting a Guatemalan child, but she also tells about what great joy she had when she was finally able to bring her daughter home. 

I really enjoyed reading this book. If you are planning to adopt a child, I would definitely recommend this book. Jennifer did not gloss over anything. She told it like it was. The positive and the negative. I knew a little about the adoption process before reading this book, but I can say I know alot more about the adoption process and what a family goes through when adopting a child. Even if you aren't considering adoption, I would still recommend this book. It is a good read.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Booksneeze for free to review. I was not required to say anything positive about this book. The above opinion is all my own. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

One More Step Closer to Being All Grown Up

A few weeks ago, we put a twin bed in Rilian's room. He wasn't technically sleeping in a crib anymore. It was still his crib, but we had taken the side off, so it was more like a bed. He was so excited to have a big boy bed. He could hardly sit still. That's why his leg is blurry.
Then we tucked him in for the night.
Rilian has always loved to sleep with tons of things. He has remained faithful to his orange kitty, seen laying on the edge of his new bed. But this night he decided to take binoculars and a little green dragon to bed with him, too.
And now Rilian is one more step closer to being all grown up.