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!

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


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