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


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
stove top stuffing (for Dean)
real stuffing
green beans
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoe casserole
corn casserole
cranberry sauce
green and black olives

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!
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


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!