Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve ... Townsend Style

So, it is New Year's Eve ... only 30 more minutes until the ball drops in New York and all is quiet here at the Townsends. We had planned to go to Linda and Paul's, but plans changed and we are going tomorrow instead ... so our New Years this year has been quiet. And, that has been fine with us.

We have done the crazy new years. We welcomed 1993 in New York City. If I were a New York senator or congresswoman I would pass a law that says on New Years eve hotels must tell guests checking in that Times Square is blocked off at 8 pm ... you can't get in or out after that time. We didn't exactly spend New Years in Times Square ... we were with the millions of crazy rejects just beyond the police barricades. And I do mean crazy.

Tonight we have made cupcakes (completely from scratch) and we just watched Wall-E ... about an hour into it we realized there was no talking ... none. It was basically a robot love story ... it was cute.

And, now we are waiting for midnight on the east coast ... because staying up until midnight is so been there done that! That and we are getting old! Have a great New Years!

Happy Birthday Austin!

Sweet boy ... we have loved you since the moment we heard you were going to be a part of our family! You are ... and always have been ... a pumpkin! God has something wonderful planned for you ... we can't wait to watch His plans for you unfold. Enjoy this year. 4 is great! We so loved the year Torrey was 4 ... whisper to Mommy and Daddy it will go fast (boo! hiss!) We love you ... the most!

Love,
Great Uncle Dean, Great Auntie Tracy and Torrey

Guess What Else I Learned Today?

(The time on this post is correct. Zoey slept all evening ... which was great except when we were ready to go to bed guess who wasn't?! She is asleep now, but I got a wild hair to post to the blog ... so, I figure by the time I am finished with this she will be awake again. Grrrr.)

So, when we moved to Texas in 2006, I stopped teaching. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with myself and joked to my friends that I would write a book. Um, didn't happen. I wouldn't even know how to start a book ... good grief, sometimes I struggle to just finish reading a book, nevermind writing one! Anyways, did you know that you can have your blog published into a book? Truth. So, maybe this time next year you will be able to buy my blog in book form ... or, you could just read it here for free. You decide.

And, in the "I have so much free time on my hands" category ... I recently discovered Project 365. Basically you take a picture every day for an entire year ... pictures of your life. Becky Higgins has a kit for scrapbookers where you take the pictures and turn it into an album (FYI ... you can purchase it on January 1st). The thought of another scrapbooking project I will start and not finish does not excite me ... but, Project 365 does intrigue me. So, I am thinking that I will post a picture every day to the blog ... random life pictures. We'll see how long I keep up with the posts ... hopefully I will at least make it to Mikie's birthday!

Betcha want to buy my book now!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Learned Something About Myself Today

Torrey and I went to see this movie today ....


And, I came to the conclusion that perhaps I am a dog person after all ... those of you reading this blog who have read this blog for longer than a month are saying, "Huh?" Maybe you figured out I was a dog person about the time the little dog arrived last month!

Anyways, the movie was adorable ... but, be warned ... you will cry. Really cry. Remember the movie "Beaches"? You will cry like that. I stifled a sob at one point because I was beside Torrey ... for the record, sniffles and sobs could be heard throughout the theater!

And, while our dogs are nowhere near as naughty as Marley, they have their moments. Zoey met Sophie the other night ... against Sophie's will. Zoey was so happy ... until Sophie hissed and slapped Zoey in the face (Sophie is a cat and is declawed ... no puppy was injured ... really) ... you would have thought Zoey had lost a paw! Oh how she cried ... it sort of startled Sophie because Zack always comes back for more! We have come to the conclusion that Zoey is a bit of a drama queen ... she can dish it, but she can't take it! Zackie still loves his girl ... they are becoming the best of friends. He is tolerant of her and she of him.

Our New Year's Eve is going to be a quiet one. It looks like we might watch Wall-E ... perhaps tomorrow I will become a robot person!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Jen!

Jennifer is muffle, muffle, muffle today. Happy Birthday Jen! I would love to say I am good with the sending of Birthday cards, but, this blog is about honesty. I usually start the new year with good intentions to remember everyone's birthdays and then I miss Mike's birthday and all is lost ... for the record, Mikie's birthday is the first one in our family (January 11th) ... good grief! So, this year, each birthday pal gets a blog entry ... or, at least Jen and Mikie do!

So, what to say about Jen ... hmmmm. She is funny, smart, kind, craftsy, talented. She knows what I am thinking and what I find funny she usually does too (one word ... Dwight Shrute) She gave me my best birthday present the year I turned 31 ... a Birthday buddy named Ben! There was the time we went to Israel and everyone kept asking us if we were twins and we got sick of it and started to tell people we were ... she does look remarkably like me. We have had many adventures together ... some planned and some unplanned. She has been my bff for what seems like forever ... my best days and my worst days she was there. I miss terribly living 2 hours from her ... although I guess I still do because it only takes 2 hours to get to her by plane!

And, so Jen, I pray that this year would bring you joy beyond what you hoped for. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another one towards love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:22-24 My prayer is that I would be an encouragement to you the same way you have been an encouragement to me.

Enjoy your day! I really love you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas ... From Our House to Yours!

We had big plans for our family Christmas card this year ... it involved making them by hand, an awesome family picture, maybe even a note about the family ... the whole shebang. And, then our fall hit ... as if the fact that I was teaching Kindergarten again wasn't enough, the flu hit us (ok, me) pretty hard and then we had a hurricane. In my head I knew the amazing Christmas cards were not to be this year ... but, my heart just wouldn't let them go.

And, then we got a Christmas card from the Combs (the day after Thanksgiving ... killing me!) encouraging us to forget the cards and the rest of the trappings that we have come to think of as "Christmas," and to focus on Christmas.

And, then I was reminded (twice!) of the story of Zechariah and how God shut his mouth for not believing that God was going to answer his prayer. For not believing that God could answer his prayer. For nine months Zechariah had to be silent and just focus on the promise of his son. His long awaited son. His son that he had come to believe would only be a wish. His son that would be the forebearer to Christ. His son. His answer to prayer son.

God so wants us to do that this Christmas season ... to not focus on how many lights we can get on our tree, how many cookies we can eat, how many presents we can buy, how many cards we can send, but rather to focus on His Son. To focus on how many people we can turn to Him, how well we can love our families and friends, how we live our lives in front of our children so that one day they will love Him well too. God so wants us to stop and breathe and remember His promises fulfilled. In a baby. An itty bitty baby.

Our family has much to be thankful for this Christmas season. We have much to look forward to. 2009 promises to be a year full of hope and joy, but most of all love ... it is our prayer that it will be a year that finds us seeking to focus on Him more than ever. Seeking to love Him more than ever. Seeking to serve Him more than ever. May 2009 be that for you also!

Merry Christmas!

With Love,

Dean, Tracy & Torrey
(& Zack, Zoey, Nikita, Sophie & Daisy Mae)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Waiting

UPDATE: She is here! She is here! She is here! God's plans are perfect and His ways are best! We so can't wait to meet our newest angel ... and, whisper in her ear that we are the best!

It never is easy to wait ... no matter how old you are. Dean is getting slippers and pajamas for Christmas. He knows. He picked them out. He wants them ... now. I won't give them to him. He has to wait. Only 14 more days. Today we are waiting for something big. We don't know when she will come, we only know she is coming. And, we are excited! Our nephew and his wife are waiting for a sweet little girl to be placed in their arms ... she was due to be born yesterday ... we are still waiting for her arrival. Right now, they won't be able to hold her until just after Christmas ... is it wrong that I so want to trail them in my car so I can hold her next?! Who knew when we were at the beach house this summer we would be looking foward to this little one in DECEMBER?! A gift. A treasure. We can't wait. Today we do the only thing we can do ... we pray. For them ... thousands of miles away ... that God would breathe his peace upon them, that this time of anticipation would be free of stress and worry. For their two sweet kiddos ... what an amazing Christmas they are looking forward to! For Linda and Paul ... especially for Linda because I need her to not be angry with me when I hold that little one first! HA! And, we pray for a birth mother who is giving our family a gift ... how can thank you possibly be enough? The story of the birth of Jesus has special meaning to our family this year. We are grateful.

I Need it Bad!

Tonight, Sweet Beth Moore is hosting "Converge" for her home town girls. Tickets were supposed to go on sale the Monday after Hurricane Ike ... but, do I really need to say more? We were a town without power ... Centerpoint really wasn't so concerned I was supposed to get tickets! I put Dean on the case to get the tickets and he came through with second row seats (do I really need to say he is amazing? He is.) (Um, did I put the period in the wrong spot? I honestly can't remember!) Anyways, it is tonight ... and, I can't even begin to tell you how much I need it. Today has been draining. Today has been exhausting. Today has been demoralizing. Truly it has been bad. But, tonight ... well, tonight will erase it from my memory. Tonight will rejuvenate my soul. Tonight will bring encouragement so badly needed. Tonight. Um, Beth, I will be sitting on the second row ... I will be the one who looks like she has been through the war zone (I teach Kindergarten for crying out loud ... I am probably the only 40 year old who gets a daily announcement 19 times that there are only 14 more days until Christmas!) and who is proud to call herself a "home town girl"! Can't wait!

PS ... I went to my first Beth Moore Tuesday night Bible study the 1st September we had moved to Houston. Pastor David in Orlando used to say there is no where lonelier than a crowded room. Um, wrong. A crowded room of girlfriends is lonelier. Truth. That night she said how we were her hometown girls and I really wanted to raise my hand and say "Um, I'm not a home town girl, I'm from Orlando and I will never be a home town girl, but thanks for letting me come anyway". Time doesn't really heal all wounds, but it sure does soften them. Has it really been just over 2 years ... and, here I am calling myself a 'home town girl". Does anyone have the recipe for Humble Pie?!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Commentary on the Snow

(Disclaimer ... I wanted to put words with the last post, but, for some reason it was underlining everything and it was making me crazy. So, I posted it and here are my thoughts on the day)

It snowed in Houston, TX today. Snow. Actual snow. I grew up in the snow, but, I dare say there hasn't been a snowfall that brought me as much joy as this one. Go figure! It didn't stick. It wasn't enough to make a snow ball. There won't be a snow day tomorrow. There will be no snow angels. But, it brought joy, joy, joy.

Dean called to let us know snow had been spotted at his office. Torrey and I were at school and before you knew it, she was out the door with a gaggle of staff kids. Oh, how they ran. Their laughter still makes me smile. I'm sure you heard them wherever you are! We hurried home to make sure we got pictures ... she and Zack stayed out in it for quite awhile. Running, laughing and just marveling at the wonder of it all.

Yesterday into today have been rough. Yesterday in Houston was muggy and humid ... and a balmy 78 degrees. Last night the front rolled in ... or rather stormed in as it came with fast, fast winds (we just lived through the hurricane ... we don't need reminders!) and suddenly it was cold. No, freezing! This morning, it was rainy and cold ... very, very cold. (I had to stop for gas because I didn't want to stop last night since it was so windy. Who knew?!) It was gray all day, but one friend in my class was convinced it was going to snow, so we were on "snow patrol". Two weeks before Christmas. 19 Kindergartners. Cold weather. Possibility of snow. No playground. No matter how you do the Math, it does not lead to a good outcome! I didn't believe the snow would come. I couldn't believe the snow would come. But, come it did. And, with it ... JOY!

This morning, I woke to news I wasn't expecting. Not anything that affects Dean and I, but someone we love. And, we hurt for him. We terribly hurt. Just like the snow today, we have to hope that "snow" is coming. We have to believe that "snow" is coming. We have to look forward to the "snow" that is coming. And, with that "snow", will come joy ... joy that will make you run around like a fool just so you can fully experience that joy. We pray that it will come quickly for you ... and, until then, we are ready to stand in the gap for you because we truly do love you! And, YOU know who YOU are!

And, so we look forward to tomorrow and what it will bring ... um, Lord, could we please ask for warmer weather in Houston?!

It Snowed! It Snowed! It Snowed!





Friday, December 5, 2008

Should We Be Concerned Our Little Girl is a Bully?

How Townsend Dogs Chase Their Tail

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

Remember Arsenio Hall? If not, my title makes no sense to you ... pretend it does. Lately, there have been some things that have caused me to go "Hmmmm". Many, many things. And, here they are ... in no particular order.

So, it was reported this week that an atheist group wants their own holiday. Dean reminded me that they already do. April Fools Day.

Small dogs poop more than big dogs. A lot more. How is this possible? And the stink ... shudder.

I went to Target and while I was there I went to the Starbucks to get a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate ... I have only heard rave reviews (unlike the disasterous honey latte of the spring). The girl looked at me and said "No you don't" ... why is it you think of the good come back when you are aisles away? I should have said "What? You live in my head?" ... but, I didn't. And then she proceeded to go on and on and at one point she said "I'm not trying to be rude" ... again, aisles away when I thought "Too late!" I made the wise choice to get nothing. Somehow I knew I would be getting a sneezer.

Where do Kindergarteners get all their energy this time of the year? If I only had a quarter of their energy I would be set!

And, why is it I feel so short tempered this time of the year? When did I turn into a Scrooge? Grrrr.

How old do your kids have to be before their hair is no longer your "domain". I mean, how much longer will I be able to tell Torrey how long/short her hair can be? Did you know she goes in for a haircut tomorrow? She wanted to cut 7 inches ... we negotiated to 5. And, for the record, I wasn't the only parent involved.

Charlie Brown Christmas. Best Christmas program ever. Ever. (Don't tell me you have never tried to do the dance ... I am a master at it!)

I have to go to a cookie exchange on Sunday. Would it be wrong to bring Oreos? What if they were dipped in white chocolate?

How late is too late to send out Christmas cards? I am going to make them this year ... and, guess how many I have finished?

And, on that note, guess how many presents I have wrapped? Or, should I say, NOT wrapped. Brother.

Is it wrong of me to have sick children breathe on me so I can have a sick day? To be fair, I only pick the ones who are sick enough to make me "sick" enough to stay home to get some things done. I'm not THAT crazy!

Did you know that the weather in Houston is EXTREMELY hot in the summer (crazy hot ... and, we spent 8 summers in Florida!) and freakishly cold in the winter. Seriously. Today it was in the 40's ALL day. I am still frozen. I came home to Dean wearing 3 layers. In the house. With the heat on. It was that cold.

I guess that is enough "Hmmmmm" things for tonight. I really should have been making a list as I thought of them this week because they just kept coming. I will post this and think of more ... but, that is me. Maybe I am a little bit crazy. I wonder how long until my brother makes a comment. Time starts NOW ...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

And, This Just In From the "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" Department

So, last night we braved the elements to go to our first (and, my last) Monday Night football game. The Texans were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars ... and, we were there. Before I begin the story there are some facts you must know ...

#1 I do not really know so much about football ... will it bring world peace? or a shorter line at Target? I don't think so. I know that when the guy in the striped shirt holds both his arms up in the air, half of the people watching the game will be happy ... the other half, not so much (or, in the case of last night, do naughty things with their fingers).

#2 I do not like cold weather. And, it was really cold last night. The roof of Reliant Stadium was damaged during Hurricane Ike (oh, how we curse you Hurricane Ike!) ... so, there we sat like idiots in the cold. Now, to our favorites reading this from New Hampshire or colder ... we know that temperatures in the 40's are not so cold to you, but, to put it in perspective, temperatures in the summer of 100 are really not so hot to us. Thankfully, Linda had the sense to bring blankets and socks ... otherwise I would not be writing this post because I would have frostbite. I really need to buy a warm coat ... maybe that should be point #3.

#3 We could have put our names in for a chance to win tickets to go watch the Texans play on Lambeau Field next week. We did not even put our names in the hat because we know that Lambeau Field is in Wisconsin ... and, if I was struggling through a game in the cold in Houston, Texas, what would I be like at a game in Wisconsin?!

#4 Parking was a bit of a challenge because of tailgaters. For some reason Dean did not want to park his precious by the open fires. Scaredy Cat!

#5 And, speaking of tailgaters ... what's with that? They were out there for the ENTIRE game. I thought the point of going to the game was to go inside and watch the game. Who knew that some of Houston's happenest night spots were in the parking lot of Reliant Stadium.

#6 Seriously, I was a bit freaked going into the game. There were a lot of people who were trying to get in and the vast majority had just spent hours at Houston's happenest night spot (see above post).

And, so, I decided that while I really had fun at the game last night, I will watch from home. Because we all know I really only watch for the commercials!
Dean told me tonight that this was Houston's first Monday night football game ... ever. So, we were there for the making of History ... and, to make it even better, the Texans won. Didn't see that coming!
Know why Linda is so happy? Long Underwear. Truth. She is extremely smart.
And, we are not so smart ... I don't even own long underwear! But, it was a night to remember. I can now cross that off my list of 100 things I want to do ... wait ... I haven't made that list yet. I guess I can start now ....
1. Make list of 100 things to do
2. Go to Texans game on Monday night in freezing temperatures

Sunday, November 30, 2008

5 am Feeding ... Oh My!

We had a long day yesterday and were all in bed by 10. We put Zoey in her crate and expected her to whine and fuss (she does not love to be in her playpen and once Dean turned to look at her and said "Are you kidding me?!" ... yeah. She was 1/2 way up the side of the playpen. Good grief.) Not so. Little girl got in, snuggled down and we didn't hear a peep. I woke up through the night and wanted to shine the flashlight to make sure she was OK, but, remembered the saying "Let sleeping dogs lie" .... and I did. She got up at 4:30 ... although I think I woke her up. She has eaten, peed and pooped ... good times. Good times. She loves, loves, loves, Zacky ... he likes her, but, she is quick to give him kisses and that makes him a bit nervous. Now he knows what the cats feel like!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

She's HEEEEEERE!

And, here she is ... Zoey Townsend (insert drumroll please!) She has been in the house for about an hour and it has been bliss ... she has a family that adores her and a brother that thinks she is great. She uses her litter box and is eating ... doesn't get any better than that! We were told that she was shy and quiet ... we were quick to snatch her up. Um, don't see it. At all. She spent about 10 minutes running up and down her playpen ... with Zack on the outside doing the same! She may keep him in his place!
She did freak him out a bit after this picture was taken because she reached out and licked his nose!
Let me at her! Let me at her! I wish you could have seen his tail ... it was wagging and wagging and wagging!
A bit out of order, but, this was their first meeting. Dean carried him out from the laundry room ... I had just given him one of his precious bones. He dropped it the minute he spied Zoey. She looked at him like "Hey! How did you get here?!" She has lived with so many big Cavaliers it wasn't any big deal to her to meet him!
Guess who's in love with the little peanut?! Torrey has wanted to be a vet since she was itty bitty ... good thing! The pets now outnumber the people in our house!
Yup ... him too! Little Zoey weighs in at a teensy 2.2 lbs ... to put it in perspective, Zack weighs over 20!

And, my friends are giggling and giggling right now at the thought that I now have 2 dogs ... I keep trying to convince people that I am not a dog person. Guess my secret is out!

New Tradition Starts Right ... NOW!


So, we are starting a new tradition in our family this Christmas ... from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas day we are going to do something Christmas every day. We could have counted putting up the Christmas trees for yesterday ... Dean told me he put up 3 ... huh? Only 2. But, then he reminded me he had to put the big one up twice when he left off the bottom 2 sections ... which explained why it was only 5 1/2 feet tall instead of 9! And, did you know that if you don't have pre-lit trees plugged into the correct plug entire sections will not turn on and cause you to panic? True story. Someday, someone will invent a pre-lit fake tree that is not scratchy. They will make a mint. We will buy the first one.

Anyways, I digress. Last night we started our new tradition with a Christmas concert. We went to see Casting Crowns ... along with Avalon, Michael English (he sang "Mary Did You Know?" and it made me think of Jen's wedding and mom playing that song over and over and over again because she had to learn the words. I whispered to Laurie "Does she have a solo at the wedding?" She did not ... she just had to learn the words. Not sure she did, but by the 25th playing of the song, Laurie and I had and it drove Jen to the circle to walk around and around and around ... but, that is for another blog!), Natalie Grant, Pure NRG and some orchestra. A good time was had by all ... especially after we got the Christmas nachos. And, so began the first night of our new tradition.

And, as I write this, Dean and Torrey are picking up the puppy from the airport ... I will blog again with pictures of the new baby and of todays Christmas fun. Until then ...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Perhaps I Made Too Much Food ...

Yes, I made a list of what we were going to eat for Thanksgiving. I have labored over the list for weeks ... written it and rewritten it until it was perfect. And, for some reason Dean hadn't seen it until the day before Thanksgiving when I went into panic mode that there wouldn't be enough food. And, so I read the list to him to make sure ... and he assured me there would be plenty. And, now here is the list (for your reading pleasure ... and, I'm sure a few laughs!) ...

Round 1
pumpkin bread
orange cranberry bread
banana bread
cheese and cracker trays
veggies and dip

The REAL Meal
turkey
stove top stuffing (for Dean)
real stuffing
green beans
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoe casserole
corn casserole
gravy
rolls
cranberry sauce
green and black olives

Desserts
pumpkin pie
apple pie (made by Dean)
sweet potato pie
no-bake cookies
peanut butter blossoms
peanut butter fudge
sugared pecans
pecan tassies

When Linda and Paul got here, Dean read the list to them (I guess it is pretty funny). And, Linda's question let me know I probably had made too much ... she wanted to know how many other families were coming.

Thanksgiving Re-Cap

The rolls are a VERY important part of our Thanksgiving meal ... I have made them (from scratch) since I was a teenager. I'm not really sure how it started or why ... my family only cares that it did! I wish I could figure out a way to ship them to Florida and New Hampshire overnight ... maybe next year!Torrey got in the act this year. She actually usually helps. Suffice it to say, there is a lot of butter involved. A LOT.
And, at this point in the morning, everything else was finished. We were waiting for Linda and Paul to come so we could start the feast. The Macy's parade was on (and, yes at some point I did remind everyone that Jennifer was once in the parade ... to which Dean mumbled "Again with the story" or something like that. What? Do I tell it every year?!)
And, because I have so much free time and because these were so necessary, I made little turkey nametags. They were actually in a kit from the scrapbook aisle at Target. Which, just goes to show you never know what you'll find at Target. Man! I love that store!
Don't come between a girl and her dog. Zack has turned into a GREAT dog ... so great that we are getting a new one tomorrow. What were we thinking?!
Nothing greater ... family together! We hope your Thanksgiving found you surrounded by family.
Gram came out to watch the parade and Dean was able to snap this family moment. He just asked what I was doing and when I told him I was updating the blog with pictures he wanted to know if he was in any of them. Um, no. You took all of them. Next year.
Getting ready to eat ... this one makes me giggle because Gussi was in the picture too! We had to eat buffet style because there wasn't enough room on the table for all the food!
And, would your Thanksgiving really have been complete without the "we're eating the rolls and you are not" mocking picture?! I think not!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lighting a Candle

Several years ago, the song "Light a Christmas Candle" (by Truth) came into our music library. Basically, it says to light a candle for those you love who aren't with you during the holiday season. This year, our family is spread out across our country (and beyond!) and we will not all be together ... so, today, as we sit down to eat with Linda and Paul, the candles will be lit for our sweet family ...

One for my Mom & Dad ... who are spending Thanksgiving in Israel. We wish they were at least on our same continent, but we know that they are living a dream. For so many years, Thanksgiving meant more than turkey and mashed potatoes (and black olives!) ... it meant eating a huge meal with strangers. Seriously. Perhaps I should say "strangers to us" ... there was the year of the homeless man and the year Jen couldn't remember the people's names and said "Hey you at the end of the table, what are you thankful for?" (Only funnier because it is on video tape!) You have taught us how to love others and how to share what we have. We miss you terribly!

One for Laurie and Tim ... we are thankful for each of you. So proud of who your kiddos are becoming ... and, a bit sad that they are getting so grown up (it means we are getting older!) Laurie, you have always been the "other mother" ... willing to do whatever and at the same time to be the voice of reason. It was also nice to have you growing up because nobody messed with me!

One for Jennifer and Ryan ... and, Ben and Carly. Jen, you are without a doubt one of the most caring people EVER. Because of that you have gotten stuck with some "leachers" in your day ... but, you always made them feel like they were so special to you. If only I could be as compassionate as you!

One for Stephen ... who should have 3 or 4 lit for him for just surviving 3 sisters! We were not kind ... and, since we are adults, I feel you should know it was the other two. I tried to stop them ... really. We will miss you this Thanksgiving ... I thought about not making the rolls because you wouldn't be here, but, Torrey wouldn't have any of it. Blame her.

One for Glenn and Robin ... and the girls and the men in their lives and the children who are scrumptious! You have had a year ... and, made it to the other side. We are so proud of your strength and courage. We see each of your beautiful girls every day when we look at Torrey ... she could be one of them, seriously! She still curses Hurricane Ike for ruining our week with you ... counting down until March!

One for Ronnie and Debby ... and the rest of the gang that are beginning to number the stars! You have much to be thankful for ... especially with the sweet addition of Leah Grace. You have been role models for Dean ... but, he still dreams of the day when he will be able to beat you (or Glenn!) in tennis or basketball. Someday.

One for Mike and Debbie ... thoughtful comes to mind immediately. You are willing to do whatever and we are so thankful for that. We pray that your time with Amy and Eric and the kiddos will be sweet and filled with memories!

And, since Linda and Paul are with us, one for Paul Andrew and one for Mike and Jess ... our hearts (and, conversations!) will be filled with you. Remembering trips to the beach house ... turtles and horse flies .. oh my! Mike and Jess, we are especially excited for what the next few days/weeks are going to bring you ... oh how we are praying ... we can't wait for that sweet girl to be placed in your arms!

As we look around us, there is much to cause concern, but, in spite of it all, there is much to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving, we pray that you would be surrounded by those you love, that your day would be filled with great memories and that above all else, God would hold you in His hands. We love you and so wish we could be together!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Love,
Dean, Tracy and Torrey

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Security Blanket

I am aware that I am 40 and that I just told you I have a security blanket. It isn't a security blanket, but something that makes me fell secure just the same. Ohhhh. You have one too, don't you? For forever, mine has been my bangs. Seriously. I could hide behind them, which is why they became my security blanket. Sometime in the Spring I came up with the brilliant idea to do away with the bangs. And, so began the oddysey of growing them out. I cursed my decision many a day, but I stood behind it. (For the record, when we were still pregnant with Torrey, I told Dean we HAD to decide "bangs" or "no bangs" ... and, yes, it was a decision that had to be made immediately. He looked at little girls in church with and without and said "no bangs" ... which is why Torrey has NEVER had a bang in her hair. Which means she has never had to grow out bangs. Lucky Girl.)

At first, the growing out was easy ... because it was just long bangs. Then, long bangs became annoying bangs that had to have something done to them. So, hello headbands ... or the fashionally chic barrette. And, in an instant I had a new security blanket ... my headband. Once or twice I thought, "Maybe today is the day when I go without" and literally got to the bathroom door and turned around for the headband.

Well, on Friday, the worst thing that could happen did. My headband broke. In the middle of the day. I would love to say I didn't panic, but that would be a lie. It was terrible. Although, my teaching assistant was in the room for my meltdown and she would probably say it was terribly hilarious because she laughed until she cried. In my panic, I knew I had to get my hair up some way. I tried the gorgeous bun on the top of my head. Bella said I looked like a "karate chopper girl". Bun came down. Tried a ponytail. Was told I looked like a 12 year old. Ponytail came down (after I did a 12 year old dance). And, my hair stayed down for the rest of the day. And, guess what happened? I got compliment after compliment after compliment. What?! So, guess what happened today? I wore my hair down. I am now in search of a new security blanket!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This Post Could Make You Cry ... Seriously!

You were warned ... and, still you read on. She looks like a bonafide teenager ... and she's only 12 (can you hear her screaming "AND A HALF!!!"?) This was after I had mastered the makeup and hair (which, had been giving me fits ... they wanted the hair to be in ringlet curls. Fine if your hair is shorter ... hers goes 1/2 way down her back and sincerely has a mind of its own. It so made me appreciate Grammy Stella's hair ability all the more!)
A rare family picture ... one of us is always behind the camera. What can I say. This was right before the play started. She was a bundle of energy ... and nerves!
Gram was able to come too. Dean stood in line to get tickets and was able to get seats on the second row ... for him, Gram, Linda and Paul. We could only get 4 reserved tickets that day ... so, I sat in the back with my teacher friends.
Linda and Paul were able to come too. We are so thankful that they live closer and can share these moments with us. We met them for dinner and then went to the show.
This was at the end of the night. Dean's age is showing on him. Torrey, not so much! I think she could have done another performance and been just fine!

We leave in 2 hours to do it all again ... I'm sure she will be sad, sad, sad come Monday morning that the fun is over! For the record, she was the cutest Birdie Girl ever seen!

We love you Torrey, oh yes we doooooooo. We love you Torrey, it is truuuuuuuuueeeee!

Friday, November 21, 2008

AH-MA-ZING!!!

Opening night was last night. One word. Amazing. We laughed until we cried. We were thunderstruck at what these kids were able to do. They are 12, 13 and 14 for crying out loud! And we clapped and clapped and clapped for 69 amazing kids! She loved, loved, loved every minute of it. I had to put up hair for the first time without Melinda ... criminitly I missed her! I had to do her makeup without the help of Sheri ... missed her too! But, I did it! And, she looked adorable .. and about 30 (boo! hiss!) She goes again tonight and then on Sunday ... I know we have complained and complained and complained about the late hours, but it was worth it. So worth it. (That was written with bleary eyes from lack of sleep!) I will post pictures late tonight when we get home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ironer Needed

This has been a crazy week for us. The play is this weekend and we are in a week of 10pm rehearsals. Um, we live 45 minutes from school ... do we really need to say that we have had late nights?

Dean worked from home today. He kindly asked if there was anything he could do for me ... and I was quick to ask him to iron for me. He came back a bit later with my dress perfectly pressed. He also handed me a wadded up tissue (it was in a little ball) and asked me if I could iron it for him. I guess my dress was a little wrinkled!

Mail Call

For the longest time Ryan has called Torrey "Snorrey". We don't know why . We don't remember when it started. It just has always been. Every now and then she will get a letter or package addressed to "Snorrey Townsend". All was well until the Amazon package was shipped using the "Snorrey Townsend" account. Dean opened the package. His Birthday package. It will still be wrapped and delivered on January 20th! Today I needed Dean to mail a box to Jen and Ryan for Christmas/Birthdays. He got gleefully joyful and was quick to agree. He came out of his office a few minutes later with a revised address label.
That's right ... to SNRYAN and SNJENNIFER McGregor. Oh Brother! Enjoy the package ... it was sent with love!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh What A Saturday!

Saturdays are traditionally my ONE day to sleep in during the school year. And I usually do sleep in. Not today. For some reason I was awake before 6 ... as in AM! Maybe because I am getting a cold and beginning to feel miserable. Maybe because I knew we had a ton to do. Maybe because I have to get invitations done for a cookie exchange. Who knows. Anyways, I was up early and hit the ground running. Highlights of our day were ...

-Going to Target. Got the rest of the things needed for Torrey's "bin" for the play. She puts all of her items in the rubbermaid bin and then it won't get lost. Needless to say her bin is pink. We also found a small Christmas tree to put up on the guest bathroom ... we are so looking forward to having my parents here this year!

-Went to Hobby Lobby and got a pack of paper for 66% off along with a Gooseberry Patch cookbook for 66% off ... SCORE!

-Took Torrey to Ulta to get makeup for the play. Overwhelming for a girl who doesn't really wear makeup. Torrey has been begging for makeup FOREVER. So, when she sat in the girl's chair for a makeover (and a tutorial for me!) she was thrilled. We were supposed to get fake eyelashes, but, little girl has enough eye lashes for the state of NY, so we are going to pretend we have them and not say anything. She did look cute ... here's hoping I can recreate the look for Thursday night!

-Went to the grocery store (with Torrey in full makeup ... she was mortified and asked more than once if I could bring her home!)

Somewhere in the course of all of this, we made the decision to get another puppy. You read that correctly! Little Zoey will be coming home to our crazy zoo on November 30th. She is a black and tan Cavalier that we were offered at half price because of Zack's hip problem. Call us crazy. Or stupid. But, she so cute. And, we are suffering from amnesia because we can't remember what it was like when Zack was an itty bitty puppy. Now ... how to tell the cats.

Tonight Torrey has a pink party and Dean and I are going out to dinner and to work on some Christmas shopping. I am pleased to say that the box to Florida will be leaving on Monday ... I am so proud of myself!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I will try ... I still have to finish up report cards and lesson plans.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not My Choice ... But He's My President

It's been a week since the election and I have meant to post this sooner. I am not ashamed to say I did not vote for President Elect Barack Obama. He was not my choice ... but, on January 20th he will become my president (Happy Birthday Dean! Just what you wished for!) I am thankful for a country that has a peaceful transitioning between presidents. I am thankful for a country that gives me the opportunity to vote for who I want and not tell me who I have to vote for. I am thankful for a country who says anyone can be president regardless of skin color (we should be so proud as a country for this moment in History) I am thankful that as a woman I was allowed to vote ... 100 years ago that was not the case! I am thankful. With the priviledge of voting comes responsibility. Just because "my guy" didn't win doesn't mean I now get to sulk for 4 years ... oh no. My job for the next 4 years is to pray, pray, pray for our president. I am especially praying that he surrounds himself with wise counselors. I am praying that the enormity of who he became on November 4th causes him to seek God with all his heart. I am praying for his safety. Oh how I am praying! If God could take Saul of Tarsus and turn him into Paul ... just think what he could do with our president! All Christians should be praying for our president ... and asking God to send our country another Ronald Reagan for 2012!

Seriously, I Don't Make This Stuff Up!

Torrey has a part in the Middle School play, "Bye Bye Birdie". Yesterday at lunch 4 of the cast members came at the end of lunch to perform "One Boy" for the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Graders. It was so good ... until the kiss. Imagine if you will an innocent kiss on the cheek in front of 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds. I'm sure you heard the gags from where you are. My class was especially grossed out ... Beautiful Bella was seen rubbing her eyes and proclaiming "My eyes! My eyes!" Seriously. Some days are better than any comedy routine. Such is my life!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Um, I Know I am a Day Late!

Not sure what happened yesterday that I didn't get around to posting this past weeks tidbits ... there really aren't too many to post.

-Torrey's days on the swim team were short lived. It really was too much for her/us with the play. And, there are practices every day of Christmas break ... my parents will be here and then Mike and Jess ... we would like to see our family at some point!

-4 nights of play practice this week. Until 6pm. With Houston traffic, that means we don't get home until 7pm. Good grief.

-I am committing myself to walking every night to help relieve some of the stress of a certain friend in my class. Otherwise I will be "committing myself", if you know what I mean.

-I have started gathering recipes for Thanksgiving. Every year at this time I think wouldn't it be smart of me to type out the recipes and keep them in one binder so I am not searching through every cookbook I own for the recipes I need. We will see if it happens this year!

-The check is in the mail ... for the repairs to the house. The roof damage turned out to be non-existent and the rest of it will be a pretty easy fix. Someone is coming out to the house this week. Sorry Kelly, we won!

-Our church is hosting the Texas Southern Baptist convention. On Tuesday night, they will be commissioning their largest group of missionaries ... over 300. I did not realize that if you go out with IMB, you do not have to raise support ... Southern Baptist churches give to take that burden off of those who have been called to go. Dean leaned over to me and whispered "They are babies" when the group of them stood up. Perhaps. Or, maybe we are old. I will go with them being babies!

-And, another neat thing occured at church today. Travis Cottrell was there and he lead worship with our new choir director who is finishing up seminary or college in California ... he doesn't commute every week, but he was there today. The choir and Travis did an amazing special music. Goosebumps. So, today our worship leader was from Tennessee, our choir director from California and the choir from Texas ... how did they do what they did? Only God. Only God. Who, by the way, had to have been worshipping with us today. Seriously ... He was there!

-Dean and I watched "Get Smart" ... thought it would be funnier. Not so. Stick with "The Office" Steve Carrell. Stick with "The Office".

OK, I guess that is it. We did get to talk to my parents on the phone yesterday which was an unexpected surprise. They are loving their time in Israel. We do miss them terribly, however! I need to make a video of Torrey to post on the blog ... I am so stealing the idea from Jen!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Did 'ja Vote?

In most campaigns on election day, Dean is heard to say (often!) ... "If you vote my way, vote early and vote often! If you vote the other way, vote Thursday!" We learned in the 2000 election how important our vote was ... we were the deciding vote after all! (Hey! I waited in line for over an hour, with a 4 year old, at a water reclamation plant that smelled like raw sewage and was attacked by mosquitoes. Don't say it wasn't our vote that won the election!) Tonight we are on the eve of the election ... and I am not nervous of what tomorrow holds. Why? Because God already knows the answer. God already has THE plan figured out. God has chosen the man who will lead our country for the next 4 years ... for better or for worse. Our church published a list of things that WILL happen no matter who is elected President tomorrow ...

10. The Bible will still have all the answers.
9. Prayer will still work.
8. The Holy Spirit will still move.
7. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
6. There will still be God-annointed preaching.
5. There will still be singing of praise to God.
4. God will still pour out His blessing to His people.
3. There will still be room at the cross.
2. Jesus will still love you.
1. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him!

We still pray for God's perfect person for this time in our country. Love or hate George W. Bush, no other man could have stood on September 11th and kept our country from crumbling. No one else could have stood on top of a fire truck or on a baseball mound and brought hope to this country. He was God's man for that time in our country. We pray that no matter who it is, that he would be so humbled that he would seek God's wisdom. We pray that whoever it is will be wise enough to protect our country and wise enough to lead our country ... fairly. We selfishly pray for wisdom in the area of taxes. We pray that whoever would continue to stand behind Israel ... tonight my parents are there and we pray that the world will continue to see the arms of America hugging that patch of land tightly. We pray that this decision will not drag out for months ... but rather that there is a clear winner (tonight it was predicted that it could be a split of the electoral college ... which means that the Senate would decide our president ... a Senate that is divided in half ... which would give the deciding vote to Dick Cheney. Perhaps poetic justice?!) For 2 years we have waited for tomorrow ... I think I am ready for the longest presidential campaign in the history of the world to be over! Until tomorrow!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturdy Tid-Bits #1

This will be a new weekly post ... full of "life" moments from our week designed to keep our parents in the loop of "us". FYI ... my parents leave in the morning to begin a 5 month stint (with a break at Christmas) at The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. As in Israel.

-Gas in our neighborhood was spotted at $2.25 last night ... we have heard reports of it getting as low as $1.99. We hold our breath and wait!

-Both Dean and I early voted this week. People who waited until yesterday to early vote waited in lines for up to 2 hours to cast their ballot. Might sound ridiculous to have to wait so long, but then you remember how many people throughout history have had to die to give us the right to vote and it doesn't seem like such a big inconvenience after all. Now we wait for the results. We hold our breath and wait!

-Linda and Paul are home from a 10 day trip to Germany. We haven't seen or talked to them ... I did call once, but I think they were in bed (jet lag) and they are both sick.

-Torrey was home sick 2 days this week. She bounced back in time to go to the retreat. We are heading into 3 weeks of play rehearsals that just may send me over the edge ... we just got an email saying Thursdays rehearsal will be until 7pm ... which means I have to stay at school until 7pm. I am really missing home these days!

-I am beginning to read cookbooks/magazines looking for good ideas for Thanksgiving/Christmas ... anyone else with me? I am sorry to say I tried a different roll recipe at Easter which was a big mistake. The tried and true recipe will be reappearing at the Thanksgiving table.

-My little friend at school is still a challenge. Precious one minute a stinker the next ... praying Monday will be a smidgen better.

OK ... that's it for this week. I will keep better notes for next week of any hillarity that comes our way!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo!

Happy Halloween from Texas!Our sweet girl transformed into a kitty before our eyes! She was quite pleased with the costume she put together (at almost the last minute!)
We are trick-or-treaters ... I think the first year she went out she wasn't even a year old (yes, we are aware that everyone knew the candy was for us ... peanut butter cups were involved, we didn't care!) Last year was the first time in a long time that we didn't trick-or-treat (we got lost in our own neighborhood the year before ... and there was a snake involved ... kind of scared us off!), we went to our church's Fall Festival instead. While it was fun, it was geared to the little kids ... we all decided we would be home the next year either handing out candy or gathering it. Not to be. Torrey's middle school group has a retreat that leaves from the church at 9pm tonight ... from the Festival ... which means guess where we went tonight? Oh yeah. Fall Festival. Greatest invention ever? Velcro Wall. Maybe not greatest invention ever, but certainly most hillariest (is that a word?!) Best costume we saw ... Michael Phelps. On a 6 (maybe 7) year old ... a-dor-a-ble!

And, so our girl (or cat) boarded a bus ... a yellow school bus ... for a middle school retreat. We decided we wouldn't want to be on a bus full of 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls for all the money in the world. Seriously.

Hope your night was happy ... and full of peanut butter cups!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Game in the 'Hood

I have been playing a game as I enter and leave my neighborhood. We have a gas station in our 'hood and as I enter/leave I check the price. Lately I have been debating stopping to get gas because if I stop to get gas in the morning, invaribly in the afternoon it will be cheaper by 10 cents. And, if I stop in the afternoon ... you guessed it! Cheaper in the morning. I finally had to stop this morning and rejoiced that it was $2.49 a gallon! I actually played the game smartly, because when I returned home hours later it was back to $2.53 ... ahh victory! Funny thing ... about 2 weeks ago I was praising Jesus for gas at $3.83 a gallon and here we are hovering around $2.50. I can't remember the last time it was $2.50.

Our news did report that with the falling gas prices the Houston economy might take a hit. Hmmm ... Houston economy or MY economy? Sorry Houston, you are on your own!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We've Been Dinged!

We are still waiting for word from our insurance company so we can start fixing whatever repairs we have from the hurricane. We did break down yesterday and buy a new freezer ... we finally plugged our old one in this weekend and we can officially say we know what a dead freezer smells like. Disgusting. Think of the worse thing you can think of to smell and think of it ten times worse. And, that stench is in our garage. Oh joy.

Anyways, back to the insurance. I came home tonight to a message from the adjuster who said that the insurance company said the roof damage was from a hailstorm and we would have to file a new claim. Huh? So, I called and filed the new claim for the supposed hail storm that hit Missouri City, Texas May 10-12 (not sure if it was a continuous storm, or if it happened sometime during those days, or, maybe it just "blew" through for a weekend visit ... we don't remember a hail storm. Isn't that something you remember?!) Now we have another deductible. A very high deductible. Perfect. Talk about discouraging. And, then Dean came home.

Let me preface this by saying that Dean could really start his own business as a "Fixer" ... not someone who takes someone else out, but someone who comes along and gets the "person" on the other end of the phone to do what you want them to do. He is good. Really good. We have family members use his services frequently (for free). So, he came home and called the insurance company and SHAZAM! the manager said the pictures don't look like hail to her (and, they see more hail than hurricanes) and she is going to have someone else look at the pictures and if that doesn't work she will have someone else come out to check out our roof. I told you he was good.

And, I'm sure you are wondering how she knew that it wasn't hail damage. No dings on the roof vents. Really. Maybe she could have a second career as a CSI.

So, we still don't have a check. Our roof is damaged, but by what? The ceiling in our family room is looking worse (or, perhaps I am going crazy). And, the interior of the house hasn't been painted Kashmere. But, we are only paying one deductible. And, Dean is available to "fix" your problem ... but, he is no longer free!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I know I NEED to update ...

I know I am due for an update with pictures ... camera is downstairs so you will have to wait for another post. Our weekend was quiet. We were home ALL day yesterday ... it was glorious! We went to church today and then I ran to the grocery store ... actually Super Target. I have a been a bit disappointed with my Target's customer service lately. Anyone else feeling it? It wouldn't bother me so badly if I hadn't picked my house based on its proximity to a Super Target ... sad, but true! We just watched the Amazing Race ... still don't have a fave, but I am so cracking up about the "needy" couple. The guy got mad at his girl because she was talking to others when she should have been "holding him" (insert gag here) and then she got mad last week when someone "didn't even say hi to us" ... um you are in a race around the world for a million dollars. I wouldn't say hi to you either! I really think I could run the thing ... but, with who. Dean is my first pick, but, I don't really think the race is so great for relationships (which is ironic because every race has someone trying to "fix" their relationship and it ends in disaster ... don't they watch the previous seasons and just know?!) Maybe one of my sisters ... I would have to choose the one who would eat the gross things because I don't think I could ... even for a million dollars!

This week will be our first normal week at school. It is the eighth week of school and it is our first normal week ... weird. It has just been one of those years. Torrey has play practice 3 nights this week ... until 6pm (help me Lord!) Getting home at 7 is hard. Dean will be gone to Austin (I think) for 2 nights. We miss him, but, I think Zack misses him most ... he turns into a royal pain! (again, help me Lord!)

And, now I really must go and finish my lesson plans (they really are mostly done!) Until next time!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday ... Friday ... Friday ...

There is just something about Fridays! Oh, how I love them! It was a good day ... my friend who has been to the principal EVERY day this week didn't have to go today (well, he did go to see the principal, but it was to just bring her a card!) Conferences are done. Report cards are done (for the first 6 weeks!). And, we have no big plans for the weekend. YAY! (Dean and I just watched a movie, but it was so terrible, I won't even say its name!) Happy Friday!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Roof Update

Dean got a call from the appraiser today, who apologized for not getting back to us sooner. Having never been through this before we really don't have a frame of reference for how "quick" this should or will be. Anyways, he said that since our roof has so many angles, and because they want to make sure they get it right, they are going to measure our roof using a SATELLITE! Dean said this matter of factly, calmly, and as if he knew this was how our roof should be measured. I, of course, heard the word "satellite" and instantly wondered "Just how bad IS our roof?!" I did wonder aloud if we should be joining the "blue tarp brigade". Sometimes I am such a girl!

I Was Reminded Today

The past few weeks have been hard in our house. Not because of one BIG thing, but lots of little things that have been weighing us down. Today was a crazy day at school ... report cards were due at 1:00, but we couldn't get them to print, I had FIVE conferences today (what was I thinking? it is Monday!), I forgot my lunch (and checkbook ... a coffee was delivered by the most handsome delivery man ... thanks Dean!) and then there was the faculty meeting, which I will admit I only went to because I KNEW I would win one of the prizes because my day was so terrible. When we were dismissed, I almost raised my hand and said "Um, did you forget to give me MY prize?!" ... no prizes today. Rats! But, it was in the faculty meeting that I was reminded there is more to Jeremiah 29 than just verse 11. To give background, the Israelites are going to be in exile for 70 years and God makes this promise (He calls it a GRACIOUS promise) to them. Read on ...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." Jeremiah 29:11-14

We are feeling a bit in exile tonight ... not banished, just in exile from normalcy. We believe and know and hope that soon what was uprooted will be righted soon. We take comfort in the knowing that God has plans for us. Sweet plans for us ... and He is ready to bring them to be. A promise made 2000 years ago that is still true. Only God. Only God.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Hit the Wall Today

Not a real wall, but that "wall" you hit when you have had enough. As if the house damage wasn't enough, Dean and Torrey have both been sick today and Tor really wants to go to school tomorrow because there is a field trip to Austin (what do we do? send her or not?), a co-worker had a biopsy yesterday and was called today and told to come back tomorrow and bring her husband ... we are assuming it is cancer, I have a friend in my class who is having a hard time and I am at my wits end to know how in the world to meet his needs and at the same time get him to obey me, there is a hamster living in my house, conferences are coming up and report cards are due on Monday. I am tired. I know that we have said we are "fine" ... but it doesn't feel like that today.

Why blog this? Because a month from now (or 2 or 6 months or 5 years) we will be on the other side of THIS, and while I don't want to walk this road (or this day) again, I want to remember how God brought us through it. I want to remember that it is OK to cry. That it is OK to be tired. That it is OK to be unsure of how to perform my job to my best ability. That it is OK to not have all the answers. That it is OK to hit the wall every now and then. It is OK.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Appraiser Stopped by for a Visit Today

Our insurance appraiser came today. We have a high "hurricane" deductible, so we really thought our damage was not enough to even meet the deductible ... we were hoping to just get reimbursed for the food we lost. Imagine our surprise (no, shock) when we were told the damage was worse than we thought. Our entire roof has to be replaced. There is water damage in places we never thought ... which means drywall, insulation, texture, and painting has to be done in SEVERAL rooms (praise you Jesus ... I have been begging Dean to let us repaint the house a color I adore since the day we moved in!) Not sure when the repairs will happen, I only know it will be a mess. We are thankful tonight for a reputable insurance company that found damage that we did not know about. One more example of God's hand of protection on our family.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Normalcy

Monday began Houston's return to normalcy ... somewhat. We headed back to school. Our commute has always been gross (Houston has a ton of TRAFFIC!), but it has been beyond ridiculous ... it took us 2 hours to get home last night! This morning the HOV lanes were open and we felt like we were flying ... Townsends are thankful for HOV lanes! Instead of giving "school closings" on the radio, they have resorted to "school openings" because so few schools are actually open and they will be staggering them over the next few days (rather than holding out the entire district until every school in the district is ready). Torrey came home from school tonight and said that 24 kids in her class still don't have power ... there are about 80 kids in her class. I teach Kindergarten, so the math to get to the percentage of kids without power is beyond me ... but, suffice it to say it is high! I have 2 kiddos in my class without power ... one word ... troupers. They have lived this week without complaining. Our streets are lined with trees and branches ... who knows when they will be picked up. We are tired ... no, we are weary. And, yet we hope ... when 2 of the friends in my class got power the entire class did the "power dance" (we made it up right then and there ... oh to be 5 again!), the dome on top of Second Baptist is slowly being repaired, traffic is easing up, residents are being allowed back to Galveston for the first time since Ike hit 12 days ago, and, our local T.V. stations are no longer showing 24 hours of Ike coverage! Our lives are getting back to normal too ... Dean is in Baton Rouge for the next few days, Torrey has a cross country meet on Saturday, the Schwann man arrived to bring frozen food, and we are going to watch the Astros play on Saturday night. Slowly. Slowly. Slowly. We are getting there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Best Hotel in Pinehurst, TX

We thought we were getting our power back on Saturday night ... the lights came on and then immediately turned out (oh how we cheered in the second they were on!) When it became clear that power would not come back anytime soon, we headed to Linda and Paul's ... who had power and were most gracious to share. We are so thankful to them and for the fun times that ensued !Not quite sure who loves the water more ... Torrey or Zack. She was heard to say more than once "I guess I'll go put on my bathing suit since Zack wants to go swimming!"
And, while this was going on in the pool, this was going on down the hill ...
Linda (and Gussi) removed every weed in the lower part of the yard (I did the top part ... it was relaxing!) Gussi is the sweetest dog, but, she does not really care for Zack or his craziness. Everytime Zack would go near her food dish she would growl at him ... I'm thinking the next time we come she may take out a restraining order to protect the dish (We are no longer there, so I can now admit that she growled for good reason ... I saw Zack snitch a piece of her food!)
And Paul cleaned up the branches ... and was on ant patrol. Who knew that after a hurricane fire ants could be so vicious?! I'm sure about now he was wishing he were 12 and could have been in the pool with Torrey and Zack!
Thanks Linda and Paul for letting us stay with you ... for five nights! You went above and beyond the call of duty! Have we said lately that we are so glad you moved to Houston?!

Scenes from the Hood

This is just a little of what was in our neighborhood after Hurricane Ike came for a visit. These pictures were taken on Sunday morning as we left the neighborhood to go to Linda and Paul's (and power!). I took them in the car because it was raining. No descriptions with the pictures because words are not necessary!





Inside the House

And, from inside our house in the morning hours, this is what we saw. No pictures were taken during the height of the storm for two reasons ... first, it was pitch black and you wouldn't have seen anything and secondly, it was the last thing we were thinking of!Looking out the side door towards our neighbors house. We are thankful the whole tree didn't fall because it would have hit their house.
Looking out our front door around 8:00 in the morning. The wind was still going and it was still raining, but it was definitely nearing the end.
The ceiling fan ... which started to drip water on Dean's head at 5:30 in the morning! There is usually a shade on the bottom of it, but that was filled with water. Amazingly enough, the thing still works!
And, the reason for the leak ... this vent cover blew off in the middle of the storm. That something so small could cause so much trouble!