Friday, December 23, 2011

Making Memories and Mustachios

Today is Jen and Ryan's 17th anniversary.  Happy Anniversary!  Ben and Carly came to spend the night at my Mom and Dad's ... because for some reason they wanted to spend their anniversary alone.  Whatever.
 Movies were watched ... mostly be these three.  Or, make that four.  Zoey seems to think she is a person.  A little, furry person with an attitude.  I am not to blame.

But, enough about the dog ... while they were doing, um, nothing, I was making mustachios.  Because no Christmas would be complete without a mustachio or two or seventeen.
 I was going to buy glasses with noses and eyebrows, but at $5 each there was no way I was going to buy 16.  Which meant Plan B.  Homemade mustachios.  Start with black felt. I cut two at a time because I needed wanted them to line up perfectly.  I just traced my mustachio on a piece of wrapping paper ... partly because it was Christmas, but mostly because it was on the table in front of me.
 Cut out your mustachios ... see why using scraps of whatever paper you have is necessary?
 I used Aleenes's original tacky glue and applied liberally ... I figured the more the better.  Be sure to get the edges.
 Stick your dowel in the glue.  Some mustachio wearers said they would have preferred the dowel to be lower.  I liked it higher.  And, since I was the one making them, I won.
 I added some extra glue on top of the dowel.  Not sure if it was absolutely necessary, but I figured better safe than sorry.
 Then top with the other mustachio ... see why I needed wanted it to be perfect?  Now let dry.  I "built" all of the mustachios on wax paper ... this is not an option.  Otherwise your mustachio will stick to whatever it is left to dry on.
 And when you are finished you have a mustachio (on a stick) ... sure to bring fun family memories when worn with a spirit of joy.  
And, just in case you aren't feeling the mustachio, you could always wear it as a uni-brow.  

And, why the mustachios you ask?  Hang in there for a few more days ... it definitely was one fun family adventure!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jumping Back In

And the blogger slacker of the year award goes to ... drumroll please ... ME!  It has been a bit too long since I last posted ... no excuses.  

Anywho ... where were we?  Yes, the blog ... we are spending our Christmas in Florida with my entire family.  It has been 5 years since the last time we were all together for anything ... too long, but that is what happens when you are literally spread out all over the country.  New Hampshire.  Florida.  Texas.  Utah.  Could we get any further apart?

We made it into town first.  We drove all night.  And by we, I mean Dean.  Those kind of driving shananigans were much easier when we were younger.  We may never recover!  Torrey was excited to meet up with her Florida cousins. She had researched and planned a fun outing ... a trip to an indoor trampoline park.
 After signing away our rights (ha!) and donning special gear (helmets and special shoes ... and new socks for Ben) the kids hit the trampolines.  They made it past the "trampoline police" with ease ... Jennifer and I laughed and laughed when he quizzed a group of teenage boys about "his" trampoline rules.  He took his job very seriously.
 Carly demonstrated her mad jumping skills.  There were also flips.  And dance moves.  And just general Carly-silliness.
 Ben enjoyed playing basketball.  Perhaps the NBA should try a season of trampoline basketball ... Ben seemed to be having a blast!
 Actually, all of the kids had a blast.  They jumped.  And jumped.  And jumped.
 And when they tired of jumping they tried out the tornado machine.  And then jumped some more.
 At the end of the hour, they were all jumped out, exhausted and big sweaty messes.
But, I think they would agree that their first cousin adventure was a blast.  I predict a family Christmas that is epic ... more to come!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mary Did You Know?

Jennifer got married two days before Christmas 17 years ago.  It was a crazy time ... and I was an emotional wreck because not only was she getting married, but she was moving to Virginia.  Away from me.  Because evidently Ryan wanted her to live in the same zip code as him ... go figure.

Anyways, the wedding was in the evening.  At some point, my mom had Laurie and I in the kitchen cutting various things ... from olives (I kid you not) to fruit.  My mom had Christmas music playing ... or, rather, A Christmas song playing.  After about the 100th time through of "Mary Did You Know?" I asked her if we could try another song.  ANY other song.  She told me she HAD to learn the song.

Crickets.  Seriously, knives stopped in the air.  I looked at Laurie and whispered, "Is she singing at the wedding?"

Um, no.

We still laugh about that moment today ... and, proudly, I know every line to "Mary Did You Know?"  Please feel free to call if you are looking for a soloist for a Christmas wedding ... it won't be my first time to sing at a wedding.

I write that to remember it ... because let's face it, I'm getting old.  But, today I have been pondering Mary.

My Kinderfriends open one piece of the Nativity each day.  Today it was Mary.  I often wonder how much Mary knew or realized would be asked of that teeny baby she was carrying.  That tiny child she loved before she knew SHE would be THE one.

The girls her age waited and hoped they would be THE one.  Prayed they would be THE one.  And when Mary was chosen she did not refuse to be THE one. 

It was pointed out to me today that Mary would have been about Torrey's age.  15ish. That thought alone has caused me to have remind myself to breathe a few times.  It caused me to wonder about her parents when they heard the news.  We never hear about them.  Did they stand behind Mary and Joseph?  Or did they walk away? What about her friends and and the townspeople?  What exactly was the cost to Mary to be Jesus' mother?  Did she know when she said yes?

I'm sure she would say it was worth it all.

Someday, we will be able to ask, "Mary did you know?"  Until then, we ponder and wait. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Well, Well, Well ...

Please go back and read that title with your hands on your hips ... because criminitly we have been gone for awhile.  (And, the first i in criminitly is long and the other two are short ... that will be my only reading lesson for the night.  I promise!)

And, yet, nothing has changed.  Well, almost.  

Volleyball is over.  We learned a lot this season ... it was a hard season, but it is during the "hard" that we grow the most.  And feel the most pain.

Torrey continues to do well in 10th grade.  It is still hard ... I'm thinking college will be a breeze for her!  Speaking of college, we are beginning to think and plan.  She goes on a Texas college tour in March.  A&M is mine and Dean's top pick ... I work with some sweet Aggies who are working their magic on her.  There is still time to decide ... thankfully!

My parents came for Thanksgiving.  We had a really great visit ... and it is going to be redone in a few weeks when we head to Florida for Christmas (WITH THE DOGS!)  We really have a lot to be thankful for.

We painted and had new carpet put down in the guest room and craft room.  Dean couldn't complain too loudly ... it is because of HIS dog that we had to tear out the carpet in the craft room to begin with.  And that is all I am going to say on the subject.  Dean did a fabulous job painting both rooms and the bathroom ... magnetic paint was even involved!  In the process we decided to get a new bed and are now making a headboard.  Does it ever end?

My class is beyond yummy.  I have some seriously smart kids.  (I am spending part of my weekend pre-reading chapter books to make sure they are appropriate for two of them ... they are in Kindergarten for crying out loud!)  One of my smartest was overheard saying to one of his friends, "You have no idea how smart I am."  Um, none of us do.  Whenever I am asking someone to please stop doing whatever he will invariably say, "I love you, Mrs. Townsend."  And it makes me smile because I know he is telling me that because he thinks I am being not so nice and he wants to get me off the ledge.  However, he did ask me the other day if I ever yelled ... and I thought in my head please don't ask my family, but that also made me smile because EVERYDAY for almost 9 years I have asked God to let my words be gentle and my spirit be sweet.  I cannot take credit for a kindly spoken word ... it is only because of Jesus.

We are mulling over some things right now ... mostly whether or not to put up a Christmas tree.  We are going to be gone.  Do I really want to deal with putting it up to enjoy it for a little bit only to have to come home and take it down while dealing with a mountain of laundry?  Go ahead and leave your vote ... all two of you who read this much neglected blog.

We are also mulling over Spring Break plans.  A certain someone is turning 16 that week and we are thinking about going somewhere fun.  We are also thinking about summer.  Torrey will be going on two mission trips and is anticipating them more than she is anticipating Christmas.  I love so much that she loves Jesus.

I was asked to join a book club today.  This isn't my first book club ... my friend and I made up our own a few summers ago and only let in people with kindles.  We called it The Kindle Book Club ... original, eh?  We mostly did it so we could meet without kids and drink coffee.  I downloaded my book tonight ... The Dovekeepers.  It takes place on Masada.  I'm hooked already. 

I am planning on making Christmas gifts ... probably should have started before now.  Tomorrow will be a marathon day of crafting.  I'm a little excited!

We went to the funeral for our friend, Stacy today.  It was a little surreal to leave Kindergarten, go to a funeral, and then go right back to littles who needed me to not be sad.  Unbeknownst to them they really did help me today.  The service was a lovely tribute to a remarkable man.  Completely God honoring ... but, I didn't expect anything less.

Sorry for the seemingly randomness of this post ... my brain has seriously been all over the place for the last few weeks.  Although, sometimes in the random you can really glimpse a person's heart ... even if it is just for a second.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas This Year

A few days ago a friend posted on Facebook ...

"This year I am pondering what Christmas means to God."

Ya'll, I cannot get it out of my head.  

What did that night in Bethlehem mean to Him?  Was He surprised at the obedience of Mary and Joseph?  Did He sorrow at their long journey into Bethlehem knowing they would find no room?  Did He bless the innkeeper for having compassion in the offering of the stable?  Did He smile and rejoice at the amazement of the shepherds?  Was He pleased with how quickly they made it to the stable?  Did He sigh at the beauty of that night knowing it would lead to the ugly of the cross?

And, how long did He have to wait for us to remember that He had promised this night so long ago?  And that He told us EXACTLY how it would happen?  Do you think that caused Him to shake His head just a bit?

He gave His best willingly.  Because He knew.  He knew there was no other way except through the ugly of the cross.

We lost a friend Sunday night.  Quietly in his sleep, Stacy went Home.  Well, maybe not so quietly ... because I dare say all of Heaven rejoiced at his making it Home.  He bravely battled cancer ... never complaining.  Asking God for healing, but more than that, asking God to be glorified.  And, He was.  He truly was.

Christmas takes on a new meaning this year.  The lights on the tree cannot begin to compare to THE Light of Heaven.  The presence of our family and friends cannot begin to compare to His presence.  The greetings and well wishes we receive from those we love cannot begin to compare to the Good News He gave us so long ago.  The gifts cannot begin to compare to His ultimate gift.  A teeny, tiny baby ... born in a stable, but come to save the world.

God knew the necessity of the cross ... and only He could give it a beginning in a stable.

(This Christmas, as you see the lights on the trees and houses would you pray for Stacy's family?  He leaves behind a sweet wife and three children ... today was his oldest daughter's birthday.  I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Senior Formal

Tonight is Senior Formal at Second Baptist.  Senior Formal is clearly a Texas thing ... or maybe it is a Houston thing ... I have never heard of anything like it anywhere else.  Senior Formal is put on by the Senior parents.  Each Senior is given two tickets to give away to two underclassman couples.  Needless to say, for a few weeks, the Seniors are VERY popular. 

Torrey was asked by a boy in her class.  One day Torrey was in the hall with her friends when the Dean of Students told her he had her tardy slip.  She tried to tell him wasn't tardy, but he was insistent.  When he handed her the tardy slip, it said "Will you go to Senior Formal with me?  Jay"  When she went out in the hall, Jay was standing there waiting for her ... and her answer.

It made me laugh when I heard how she was asked.  Last year she missed too many English classes and during exams she had to sit in the Dean's office to "make up" the class.  She was thoroughly embarrassed ... mostly because she was called out of class and everyone knew she was in trouble.  Almost every day this year I have told her to not get called to the Dean's office again and to stay out of trouble.  HA!  

If you are a Senior girl at Second Baptist, you can wear cocktail length dresses in any color.  All other girls have to wear floor-length black dresses. I guess it is a way to keep the underclassman in their place ... I doubt they thought the girls would look so stunning.
 Torrey and Gram ... once upon a time, Gram was taller than Torrey.  Um, no longer the case!
 Quick pictures before we left to meet her friends ... mostly so I could send them to family.

 Torrey and Jay actually went to the dance with a large group of friends ... they all met at her friend's gorgeous house to take pictures and wait for the party bus.
 Dean posted this picture on Facebook with the caption "I can't feel my legs" which is a line from the movie "New in Town" ... and it really was true.  And, see the necklace Torrey is wearing?  It is the diamond from my original engagement ring.  It really looked perfect when she put it on.
 The girls ... I figure there will be a lot of this going on tonight.  
 How long until the Seniors realize that making the girls wear long black dresses was a mistake?!
 The boys ...
 Dean and Torrey ... Dean held up pretty well.  
 The girls ... they were all gorgeous.
 All of the kids ... and those stairs were pretty amazing.
 Hey ... it's my blog and she's my girl and I will crop out the other kids if I want to!
 We took them outside for pictures ... they lined themselves up like this.  Oh.  My.  Word.  At this point they were ready for us to leave!
 It took a few minutes, but we finally got them all lined up properly.  I would like to add that these are some of the nicest kids you would ever meet.  They are kind and funny and know what is important in life.  They are going to change the world someday.
 Again ... my blog.  Cropping can be a good thing.
 And this look says "Where is that party bus?!"
 And, for real I tried to leave, but then they would get themselves cute again and I had to take just one more picture.  
 I would adopt Dara if I could ... totally love her.  Torrey knows how to pick her friends.
 This was going to be the last picture of the girls ... I was headed for the door after this one ... for real.
 And then they sat on the stairs and looked cute.  While they were here the party bus arrived.  The kids cheered ... I think mostly because they knew the parents were going to leave!
Torrey and Jay on their way to the party bus.  One of the mom's had the great idea to take their pictures as they left the house ... the kids thought it was hokey and the parents thought it was great.  For the record, I did not climb on the party bus to take pictures.  I'm thinking I should get extra credit for that.

Can't wait to hear how her night goes!  On the way to her friend's house I mentioned prom and Dean started to hyperventilate ... hopefully he'll get used to the fact that our girl is growing up before prom gets here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

iPhriday ... the dress edition

Torrey has been invited to the Senior Formal at her school.  Because she is not a Senior, she has to wear a floor-length black dress.  Not only did it mean a new dress, it meant a fun-filled day of shopping.  I took pictures of our choices to send to my sister to get her help.  Fortunately for us she was helping ... we almost made a big mistake. 
 Our first choice.  We liked.  I realized pretty quickly this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought it would be.
 The side view of the dress ... there was beading along the side and I wanted Jen to see the slit.  It went on the maybe pile.
 Torrey really liked this dress.  It was pretty comfortable which is why it moved to the top of the list and stayed there.
 The back of the dress ... 
 Dress #3.  It was my favorite.  She had a hard time with this one because it was a size 6 and she is a 2 (if only this could be my dilemma EVER!)  Fortunately the time I have wasted spent watching "Say Yes to the Dress" paid off ... with a few strategically placed binder clips she was able to get a feel for what the dress would look like on her for real.  Dress #2 is still her favorite ... this one is mine and Jen's.
 Still not loving the dress ... mostly because it was freaking her out how big it was on her.
 And this, kids, is what a $550 dress looks like.  It went on the no pile as soon as we saw the price.  It did look pretty on her though.
 This is the back of the far too expensive dress ... pretty sure that train would have been a total pain.
 Didn't love this dress ... ever.  We sent the picture to Jen for fun.
 Even pulled back it is no good.  She couldn't get it off fast enough.
 Here is where Torrey is trying to convince Jen that this one should be the winner.  We actually bought this dress ... and then got a text from Jen and while we were still at the register switched to dress #3.  Phew ... disaster averted!
 We stopped at the tailor before we went home ... she was able to make the dress fit like a glove.
 It was at this point that Torrey realized Jen was right ... she was super glad she didn't get the second dress.
Since her date is almost her height, Torrey decided she was going to get a flat shoe.  We found these adorable shoes at a fantastic price.  I'm pretty sure she will have the most comfortable feet at the formal!

Come back tomorrow to see our girl before her big night.  Pretty sure Dean will be a wreck!