Friday, June 27, 2008

16 Years ... and Counting!

16 years ago today I married my best friend ... given the way marriages come and go today, I consider it a great feat that we are STILL married and STILL friends! No body makes me laugh like Dean. Or protects me like Dean. Or fights for me like Dean. Or encourages me to be all that I am meant to be like Dean. Love is a choice. Marriage is a choice. And, after all these years, I would choose him all over again! Happy Anniversary Honey!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


How old were you when you met your best friend? I mean that true-blue, can't imagine life without them best friend? Torrey met Gretchen when she was 3. If you had told me then that Gretchen was her "it" girl I would have thought how can a 3 year old know? They know. Torrey knew. Gretchen has always been a part of Torrey's life. She didn't mind in the beginning that Tor couldn't say her "g's" and called her "Dretchen". She didn't mind that Torrey was a little bossy. She agreed that Torrey could marry Austin ... at least that was Torrey's joyful story when she came home from pre-school that day. She was quick to encourage Torrey to try something that she was scared to do ... and even quicker to understand when she wouldn't. She always let Torrey go first ... once when she didn't, Torrey bit her finger. True story. We were mortified ... Torrey was 5 for crying out loud! When we were watching Kenneth Michael's hamster and had to clean the cage Gretchen came over to get the thing out of the cage because he hissed at me and Torrey ... not Gretchen. She has a calm way about her. Gretchen always made sure to include Torrey in every good thing she did. Gretchen took Torrey camping because she knew Torrey's mother would NEVER go camping! Everyone should have a "Gretchen" in their lives ... Torrey knew a good thing when she saw it! And now it is the night before we get to spend the week with Gretchen. It has been over a year since the girls have seen each other ... somehow I have a sneaky feeling it will feel just like yesterday!

Brace Yourself!

It was time. Quarter to 4 (because Townsends are always early ... we just roll like that). Time for braces. I won't say she went in kicking and screaming, but it wasn't exactly a day at Disney World either!

One last picture before heading in. Since she blinked on the first one I had to take another one ... I made the executive decision to NOT go into the little room with her and turn it into a full on photo shoot when she muttered under her breath, "EMBARRASSING!" Sometimes I am nice like that!
And, here we are at home with the braces. She has already organized all of her "braces supplies" in a little bag (that she brought with her ... she did it on the way home) ... so not like me!
You can't see it in the picture, but her rubber bands (which I have no idea what they are, but am a little embarrassed to admit to the orthodontist after last week's "spacer" question) are pink. She really wanted the yellow because they were sparkly ... fortunately we had told her a few days ago that yellow is not a good choice for rubber bands. But, they were sparkly!

We head out to Dallas in the morning to meet up with Melinda, Gretchen and Megan for a long girl's weekend ... should be fun!

Um, What Exactly ARE Spacers?

I know, I should have asked the question loooong before sending Torrey off to have the things put in her mouth. Do you think the orthodontist noticed that I was wearing my "Mother of the Year" pin at the time?! Torrey is getting braces (today in fact) and last Wednesday she went in to have spacers put in so that the braces could be put on today. We were all on edge ... sometimes the not knowing will do that to you!

One last picture without spacers/braces ... the smile looks almost real! She had just come out of the dentist after having her teeth cleaned (no cavities ... Uncle Jack would be so proud!) and we were on her way to the orthodontist. (Fact ... Our dentist and orthodontist are married. They do not work in the same office. No explanation needed.)
Dean met us at the orthodontist. So glad he did. We all had to watch a movie about anything and everything that can go wrong with braces. (Fact ... You can not play soccer while wearing head gear. Honestly, I have always thought that kids who have to wear that thing do not want to wear it out in public, never mind at a soccer game. And, if you are wearing head gear at your soccer game, do you really say to yourself, "I think it will be a great idea to hit this hard ball with my head while wearing my head gear!") She was fine up to the point of seeing the head gear. Fortunately head gear is not in her future. Bring on the soccer balls!
She left us and was back in about 2 minutes (really!) with eight expensive rubber bands in her mouth. They are the little blue thingies. We have counted and counted those things all week. We are proud to say we haven't lost one (Torrey is really glad because if one was lost chances are she would have eaten it!) She was in a bit of pain for a few days. Today she told me she didn't even feel them anymore ... just in time for the braces!

And, really, what do you get when you have to get braces? In our house an iPod. And, no, we are not taking applications to adopt any kids who are about to get braces!

Come back later tonight to see pictures of the actual braces!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Goodbye Gum!

Torrey chewed her last piece of gum for 2+ years today ... and forlornly said, "Goodbye gum!" in the middle of chewing! That's right ... tomorrow she gets spacers and the following week she gets her braces. We really have no idea what spacers are, but we are assuming they will not be comfortable ... there will be lots of trips to Starbucks for fraps and Randall's (our grocery store) for soup (can I just say they make the yummiest soup ... ever!)

We did make it home from our trip to NC. As we came down the street Dean commented that he hoped the house would still be standing and that there wouldn't be any water damage ... we were thrilled and offered a prayer of thanks when the house was both still standing and dry! (To explain ... the day after we got home from the family Christmas cruise one of our hot water tanks leaked. Ordinarily this would not be a cause for major concern, but in Texas they put hot water heaters IN THE ATTIC and the leak was discovered on the first floor. Only in TX would hot water heaters be in the attic ... but that is another post!) We hit Monday running and haven't stopped since ... Torrey and I are volunteering at Princess Prep at Second Baptist, there was grocery shopping, picking up pets from being boarded at the vet (boy did they miss us!), Torrey went to her summer rush group (which is her discipleship group at church) ... and it is only Tuesday!

I will post before and after "spacers" pictures tomorrow ... and I will try to finish posting about the rest of the vacation this week. Oh, and watch for Zack pictures soon ... I took his "before" pictures today .. he heads to the "Doggy Spa" tomorrow. Really. That is what it is. Only in Texas!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Year -- New Kite

Before we left Texas, I must have thought 100 times, "Don't forget to bring a kite. Don't forget to bring a kite." Well, guess what I forgot?! Good grief! We must have been in NC about 30 minutes before Dean and Torrey were off to Kitty Hawk Kites to buy a new kite (to go along with the 1/2 dozen we have in the garage from the years I "forgot" to bring them!) We love to go to the beach at dusk to fly kites ... there is something magical about the beach at night. So, on our second night on the Outerbanks, we headed to the beach with Linda and Paul to fly Torrey's kite.
This year's kite is definitely a cutie! Torrey picked this one because it reminded her of our dog, Zack. And, when you have an "accidental" kite collection you really have to begin to get creative (because how many diamond shaped kites do you need?!)
We needed Paul's help to get the kite up in the air. Actually, the weather was perfect for flying kites ... I think Dean could have just put the thing on the beach and gotten it up in the air!
And, here is Dean flying the kite. I didn't get a picture of Torrey flying the kite because, well ...
she didn't! She felt the lure of the ocean instead! Poor Dean! He had to fly the thing all by himself! Oh well ... I am sure we will be back again another night! We were going to go out for ice cream afterwards, but the line had about 30 people in it (Paul thought they were all from one family since they all looked alike ... how he could tell that as we whizzed by at 40 mph I'll never know!) so, we stopped at the store and bought ice cream gallons instead! Who know's what adventures tomorrow will bring!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The First Day of Our North Carolina Fun ...

So, we made it to the Outerbanks ... without one problem. Our flight had a connection in Baltimore and we met Dean there and continued on to Norfolk, VA and then on to Avon, NC which is located smack dab in the middle of the Outerbanks. Oh, we love this place! We have vacationed here 8 times ... beginning when Torrey was 3. We all love it here ... it is a week of doing nothing but enjoying family. This year we are with Dean's sister Linda and her husband Paul, Dean's mom, Paul and Linda's son Mike and his wife Jessica and their two kids, Austin and Ellie and later in the week Paul Andrew (Linda and Paul's other son) comes with his three kids, Lane, Brendan and Andrew. Dean and Torrey have already been in the pool ... and they have gotten a "big spider" out of the pool. I asked them if it was the size of Dean's palm and he said "No ... about 1/2 the size of a tarantula" ... they let it go over the fence of the pool. I expect to see the spider again before the week is out! (Weird fact ... evidently spiders can swim. GROSS!) Torrey has decided this is the year she is going to try seafood ... I will stick with shrimp! AHHH! Vacation!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Real Reason for the Weekend

This is the real reason we all trekked to New Hampshire ... to see our Kristin Joy graduate from high school. Seems like just yesterday she was a little thing hopping in the blow up hamburger at Burger King (you do NOT want to know what happened when the thing deflated with her inside!), or visiting us at Mom and Dad's ... good grief could she get up early! or pushing me out of the way so she could see her new cousin Torrey, or coming to visit (first Florida and then Texas) ... now here she is done with one chapter in her life and starting a new one. College in the fall ... actually a whole new book! Kris, we are so proud of you! Of the amazing woman you are becoming. For the goals you have set and accomplished. For the joy you bring to those who know and love you. For your gentle way with your little cousins who adore you. For the compassion and kindness that you show to Amanda. For the help you are to your parents. For you ability to keep us all in line. Go forward Grasshopper ... you are ready!

PS ... this picture sums it all up. It will make me laugh for a long time!

The End of Our New Hampshire Fun (Boo Hoo!)

A whirlwind. There is no other way to describe the past few days ... other than a whirlwind. A whirlwind of family, laughter, inside jokes, chopping vegetables and fruit, tricking Tracy into making the Mexican dip she said she WOULD NOT make! It has been a weekend that revolved around family ... celebrating graduations and birthdays and anniversarys! The time went fast ... faster than we would have liked and faster than we hoped. Tomorrow morning begins the exodus from New Hampshire ... my parents head out in the morning for Florida (and then Mali) and Torrey and I head out right behind them to meet Dean in North Carolina. Carly has already cried tonight ... and I was right with her. So as to not start again, here are some high lights of our fun in New Hampshire ....

It's official ... the sidewalks are no longer safe ... Kristin got her license! Torrey and I went with her and we waited in line forever ... but, you know what they say ... good things come to those that wait! I was so excited for her ... until Torrey whispered "I'm next!" Good grief!
There was a trip to Pete's Scoop ... we were hot and sweaty and it tasted so good! The kids were in the basement and my Dad called down to see who wanted to go to Pete's and there was a stampede! You don't have to ask these guys twice!
There was "scooting" ... because what do you call riding a scooter? Actually, the kids will say, "Do you want to scoot?" Nathan Lundstrom taught them how to do a jump on the scooter and they were excited to show off their new trick. We learned that Ryan should not do tricks on the scooter ... there was a small wipe out incident!
Uncle Ike impressed us all with his cooking skills ... best cookout ever! He made enough food to feed an army ... and, he did! We forgot to take his picture last year ... we did not make that mistake again!
Sweet cousins ... together for a bit. Happy for Kristin. Happy to be together. Hoping a day will somehow last longer than 24 hours ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

'Smore Fun in New Hampshire

Today was rainy and cold in New Hampshire ... I mean REALLY cold -- parka weather! It was perfect weather to go to Sam's to pick up a "few" party supplies for Kristin's graduation party on Saturday. Obviously Laurie has mad packing skills. Since it was so cold out, we were able to convice Tim that tonight was the perfect night to ....
build a fire! Oh it was fantastic! We did feel guilty about building the fire because Carly wasn't here and she so loves Uncle Tim's fires ... but it was so cold out and we needed it. And, what good is a fire if you can't ....
make 'smores! Torrey loves to make 'smores ... she can usually eat about one, but because she likes to make them she is more than willing to make them for whoever isn't in the mood. Tonight she and Laurie were the 'smore chefs!
Here she is ready to make another one for whoever is willing to eat one! I am sure that we will be doing this again once Ben and Carly arrive ...

Hopefully the weather tomorrow will be better. Torrey and I are taking Kristin to get her driver's license in the morning (wahoo!) ... we may be going to the mall to get our toes done and I am looking for a bathing suit (oh the insanity!) Not sure what else fun tomorrow will bring ... maybe a coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, or a walk on the treadmill (can that really be counted as fun?!) or an episode of Top Chef ... not sure.

On a last quick "cute" note. Last night when the lights were turned out, Torrey was looking out the window by her bed and I asked her what she was looking at she said "Nothing. I am just smelling. It smells so good here." And, you know what? It does. I really hadn't noticed it until she pointed it out, but it really smells good here ... it smells like the color green, and clean, and quiet, and natury. God used Torrey last night to remind me to stop and smell life around me ... not to be in such a hurry or stressed out about whatever to miss life. Good grief did I need to hear that. I tend to get to busy and over-scheduled and unable to say NO that I am missing "life" right in front of me. There is a reason God tells us to be anxious for nothing ... He wants us to enjoy the life He has given us. To live it to the fullest. To be all He has intended us to be. To share Him with others. To be Him to our family, friends and strangers. So, go out and "smell" your life ... ahhhh!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hello Pete's Scoops!

So we made it to NH (without a hitch I might add ... I almost did a dance when they weighed my big suitcase and it was 49.5 pounds ... but then I got a little sad because I could have put something else in!) Anyways, we made it to Laurie's in time to go to Amanda's year end program for her school. And then we all headed to Pete's Scoops ... WAHOO! I told you we were looking forward to that place! Torrey was thrilled to get cotton candy ice cream and I got boring (but happy for me) vanilla soft serve ice cream. My whole family went for the fun ... who knows what tomorrow holds (actually lunch with Colette and beginning to plan for Kristin's party etc...) Keep watching (and reading) to see more of our NH fun!

Updated (6-4-08)
So, I woke up this morning and thought ... oops! My whole family didn't go to Pete's Scoops last night ... Dean wasn't there and neither were Jen and her gang and Steve etc... I thought I'll fix it before anyone notices. I forgot Jen would be up all night "working" and she would check in to see what we did ... sorry Jen! Next time I will not say "my whole family" but rather will name only who is there.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Should Be Packing

I should be packing ... but, I am doing anything but! Torrey and I hop on a plane in the morning to head to NH for Kristin's high school graduation (wahoo!) and I still haven't put a thing in a suitcase (it is a little hard to do since the suitcase is still in the closet). Do I get a pass since I know WHAT I am going to pack? Good grief I am such a procrastinator ... every year I think that will be my New Year's resolution and then I wait too long to make resolutions and suddenly it is Valentine's Day and whoever heard of a Valentine's Day resolution? So, here I sit putting off what I must do. To be fair I am taking a break after spending 7 1/2 hours doing inservice for school ... it was good, but not my favorite way to spend a day! I really should pack ... I really should pack ... I really should pack. We are excited about the trip ... seeing family, the change in weather, Uncle Ike's beans (Torrey has dreamed of those things all year!), Pete's Scoops (and, I have dreamed of that place all year!), scooting on Laurie's driveway etc... We will be there until Sunday morning and then we fly to Norfolk, VA to meet Dean to go to the Outerbanks for a week vacation with family from Dean's side. We also get Dean's mom back ... she has been gone too long. OK, I am now officially rambling and I really must pack ... will post again from NH ... maybe from Pete's Scoops if you are lucky!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Last Comment About the Closet ... I Promise!

Obviously I am a little obsessed with my closet ... I was just in there doing a dance because 8 days later it is still gloriously clean. However, even I know when enough is enough. So this will be the last post of the closet ... unless I decide to start doing tours on the weekend (which could be a possibility!) Anyways, here are some fun things I found while cleaning the closet ... money (not enough to buy a gallon of gas, but still money), some squished pennies from fun places we have visited, Splenda packets, and a Starbucks gift card (I did a dance for that one ... and, I have already spent it ... I was a little afraid I would lose it again). The funniest thing I found was the tag we used to get Torrey out of Sunday School when we were at First Baptist Orlando ... she is 12, we have lived her almost 2 years, and, I don't think we used the thing for about 3 years before we moved. Obviously the closet has been a problem for longer than 3 months!

OK friends ... get out there and clean your closets ... hopefully it won't take 10 hours and hopefully you will find enough money to buy a gallon of gas or two!