Birthday Reflections

Last week, since my actual birthday fell on Thanksgiving day, we celebrated Monday evening. After dinner with my dad (y'all know it was Tex-Mex), we came back to our house for cake and ice cream.

Lookie here!

Scott surprised me with this darling cake. There's a flamingo on it!!! If you look a little closer you will see that she(yes, it's a girl) is wearing running shoes! I loved it! It was delicious too. Seriously YUMMY.

A few family pics, of course, to document the evening. This is my dad, Annelise and me.

Same shot, except with Scott. (heehee I can rhyme)

Time for presents! My dad gave me Season 1 of Friday Night Lights on DVD. I missed watching last year and am so glad I can catch up with this. If you've never watched FNL, check it out. Seriously good viewing. I never knew football could make me cry.

My sweet friend Kim gave me a notepad, some tasty treats and a special handmade booklet to write favorite scriptures in. I love it and was so excited. Thank you Kim!

I was delighted to get a good mail package from Jill. Inside was a set of monogrammed note cards, which I LOVE. Thank you Jill, you are so kind and thoughtful.

My birthday this year also introduced a new friend to the family. His name is Canon, and he's a bit of a Rebel (except he has a cause). That's right folks, Scott gave me a new camera!! I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, but it takes amazing pictures. Almost by itself, which at this point is a good thing. I can't wait to play with it and pretend to be a photographer. HeeHee.

See what I mean? Clueless, but no less excited.

So. I've been 39 for a week now. I have decided to embrace the number and not cringe every time I say it. My thirties have been great! I taught little people for a part of them, built a house, traveled a bit, became a mother, nurtured relationships with friends, tried to grow spiritually, and became a runner. I have also discovered the delightful world of blogging, and don't get me started on the benefits of that. Pretty good stuff all around. I've said before that I still feel like a teenager inside, and it's true. Even if gravity tells another story.


Look, Here's 50 More!

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back in to the Bloggy waters...I have 50 more tidbits. What's that sound you hear? Oh, it's my marching band.

101. Never underestimate the value and importance of well made foundation garments.
102. This wisdom might just come from my dear grandmother, otherwise know as the Girdle Queen.
103. She also believed good underwear was white, and anything else...well, let's just say ladies of questionable character wore the other.
104. My mom didn't want her to know she bought me a beige bra-zeer. Ahem.
105. Other than my Valentine box winning our classroom contest in 6th grade, I don't usually win contests.
106. I never give up hope though.
107. I am not afraid to change my hairstyle.
108. In fact, I enjoy it.
109. After all, it's just hair, and thankfully, it grows back.
110. However, I have made some errors in judgment along the way.
111. Two words: spiral perm.
112. I resembled a shrub.
113. I have a problematic left foot.
114. This stems from an episode in college, when I broke my foot.

115. Um, yeah, when I jumped out a window with my roommate because of some pledging silliness. Long story. You had to be there. It seemed necessary at the time.
116. Thankfully, I can run...although it may need work in the future.
117. I wear glasses and contacts, well, not at the same time of course.
118. If I wasn't such a chicken, I'd have Lasik.
119. Something about being awake and seeing the surgery puts me over the edge.
120. I dream of someday tooling around on one of these...

121. Of course looking fabulous in a skirt and ballet flats, a la Audrey.
122. I can dream, right?
123. In case you haven't guessed it already, Roman Holiday is one of my favorite movies.
124. I love old movies, especially black and white.
125. Back when stars were really stars, you know?
126. My Fiesta dishes make me happy.
127. I am just OCD enough to try to balance the colors when I stack them in the cabinet.
128. I also love kitchen towels. Fun.
130. I don't consider myself a complete neat freak.
131. Although I do make my bed every morning. Just so.
132. I have also been known to twitch when Annelise tours the kitchen grabbing every edge of the counters and leaving her mark.
133. Don't get me started on the stainless steel.
134. It bothers me to leave dishes in the sink.
135. I like for my kitchen sink to be shiny and sparkly.
136. But, um...no, I'm not a neat freak.
137. Have I mentioned I love flamingos?

138. I think they are an under appreciated bird.
139. No, I don't have any in my yard.
140. Yet.
141. I was never really athletic or involved in team sports.
142. I've been through all the exercise crazes: aerobics a la Jane, step aerobics, Tae Bo, Kickboxing, Boot Camp.
143. Somewhere around my 36th year I became a runner.
144. It has been a lifestyle change.
145. It has changed me not only physically, but mentally too.
146. I'm not fast, but I'm steady.
147. Running challenges me in many, many ways.
148. But I absolutely love it.
149. I let my subscription to Creating Keepsakes expire, but I renewed Runner's World.
150. It's never too late to change your life.

Whew! You made it through another set of tidbits, can you believe it? The final 50 is on the horizon.


.99 Worth of Happiness

Once upon a time there lived a little girl. This little girl has an addiction. At 4.

She is addicted to Goodie Mail. Her version of it anyway. Every day, several times during the day, she feels a strong urge to "write" her friends a letter. She then requests an envelope. After affixing a stamp (a foamie sticker) she takes them to the mailbox. She doesn't know that Scott retrieves them before the mail lady comes and that he has a stack of them in his car. Ignorance can be bliss, right?

I digress. Bless her little heart, she has been using up all our envelopes. Today, in an effort to staunch the flow of envelopes from our cabinet, I issued an ultimatum. If she wanted envelopes, she should use some of her piggy bank funds. I thought this might be the end of it.


She gleefully extracted coins from the belly of her pig.

She went with her daddy to Walgreens to make her first independent purchase. Her own box of envelopes. Witness her utter delight. Over envelopes. M'hmm.

.99 worth of happiness.

Below is a pile of her "mail". Bless her little heart!


Of Birds and Birthdays

Thanksgiving morning started a bit early for me this year. At 2:00 am I stumbled out to plug in the bird filled crock pot. That wasn't too bad, since I had put everything together the night before. I decided to give Kelly's No Fuss Recipe a whirl this year. I am all about easy and keeping oven juggling to a minimum. Soon I was back asleep and the bird was simmering away.

Joy of joys, a cold front moved in during the night so we woke to a sunny, windy, brisk morning. I was thrilled to pull on my running tights and 2 (count them) layers of shirts and head out for a run. We had planned on running in a local Turkey Trot, but A. has been battling a cough and we didn't want her to have a setback. I had a super duper run, because of the cooler weather. Beautiful.

I'm trying Kristi's fun way of documenting the miles.
I came home to this.

See, today was also my birthday and I'm the big 3-9. (In my head and heart though I'm convinced I remain somewhere around 16.) Every few years I share my birthday with the bird. (We celebrated earlier this week and I'll post about it soon.)


While I was out, Scott rummaged around in my card stash and found a homemade birthday card. But see, as it turns out, I basically made my own birthday card. Nice, huh? Oh well.

Soon it was time to scurry around in the kitchen (while the boys watched football and munched on spinach artichoke dip of course) and eventually sit down to our Thanksgiving Spread.

This is the first Thanksgiving I have prepared at home, since we've had Annelise. The first year we had JUST arrived back in the states with Annelise and so we ate out. The last two years we also ate out and came back here for desserts and coffee. Even though it was easy, it wasn't as personal and wasn't the best family tradition for A.'s memories. So. I was one with my kitchen this year.

The turkey came out perfect! It was so tender and juicy. This may be my new favorite way to prepare turkey. We also had salad, cornbread stuffing, green beans, corn casserole, cranberries and rolls. Needless to say our tummies were satisfied. Of course there's always room for pecan pie squares or cherry pie or cheesecake for dessert!

Before I knew it Thanksgiving was basically over. Except for the dishes.

Those didn't take too long thank goodness. Then it was time to fix a to-go bag for my dad (he had visits to make). Some recliner recovery and of course...

some catch and some hopscotch.

Then a traditional viewing of this classic. I *heart* Charlie Brown!

All in all a wonderful Thanksgiving and birthday!

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?

Do you have to share your birthday with a holiday?


The Next 50

The 200th post tidbit parade continues...

51. Before we had Annelise, we never really traveled like we should have, you know, footloose and fancy free.
52. We did take a cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. I enjoyed it, but felt a bit like a sheep at times being herded around.
53. Scott and I also traveled to Singapore on a mission trip in 2002. Even though we didn't know it then, the long plane trip prepared us for another trip in the future.

54. When we flew to Moscow, Russia twice(within two weeks) in 2004 to meet our daughter.

55. This summer we flew to Maine to visit Scott's family. Now I'm no longer scared to travel longer distances with a child. I've learned the memories and experiences far outweigh any worries or fears.
56. In large groups I tend to be quiet and reserved. Maybe even shy.
57. I relate better in small groups or one on one.
58. I don't mind being alone. In fact, I crave it sometimes.
59. As a child, I was in between a girly girl and a tomboy.
60. I played with dolls and Barbies (and Little People of course).
61. I could also bait my own hook.

62. I loved playing outside on my swing set, riding my bike, jumping rope or rollerskating.
63. I thought I was so cool with my disco tennis shoe roller skates. They were bright blue with yellow stripes and jumbo yellow wheels. Yep, cool.
64. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls badly.

65. I had the biggest crush on Elvis. The young one, not the Las Vegas one.

66. I was convinced I would grow up and marry him.
67. One of my first records, for my little Sears record player, was Elvis, Live from Hawaii.
68. I was devastated when he died.
69. I moved on to Shaun Cassidy and The Fonz. He-y-y-yy.

70. I had long hair when I was little.
71. My mom discovered the Shag, hence so did I.

72. My mom thought it was adorable and easier to fix.
73. I thought I looked like a boy and was devastated.
74. In 6th grade, after my hair had grown again for several years, she did it to me again.
75. 6th grade is NOT the time to drastically change your appearance, trust me.
76. Plus I got braces.
77. By junior high we reached a hair truce and I got my own curling iron to create the wings or sausage rolls, depending on how my hair did that day.
78. I even carried a little butane curling iron to high school.
79. Hair is a big deal in Texas.

My senior portrait circa 1986

80. I also carried vital make up and hair spray to reapply between classes and after P.E.
81. I was never in an organized sport during school, so I had to take P.E. What a treat.
82. We were a close little family when I was growing up.
83. When I was in 8th grade my grandmother had a heart attack and passed away.
84. Our little family was rocked to its core as my grandmother had been a very large part of our lives.
85. My mom was hit hardest.
86. Her health rapidly declined and in 1983, she passed away. I was a freshman in high school.
87. This loss has defined me in many ways.
88. My dad remarried and I had a stepmother.
89. This addition also defined me in many ways.
90. I'm not a social butterfly.
91. I find comfort in having a few close friends.

92. I have a freakish memory, especially for details.
93. In marriage, this can be disconcerting.
94. I like silver jewelry, not gold.
95. I don't wear a lot of jewelry or accessories. Usually.
96. My favorite ensemble is a t-shirt (typically white, brown or black)and jeans, capris or bermuda shorts.
97. I wear comfortable shoes. I love my Crocs, flips and Born Mary Janes.

98. I detest pantyhose.
99. I have colored hose flashbacks from the late 80s and early 90s. Shiver.
100. However, I love my Spanx and BodyWrap foundation garments. ;)

I bet you are on the edge of your seat for the next fascinating installment of tidbits, right?


The First 50

Let the 200th post celebration begin! For easier reading, I thought I'd break up my 200 tidbits into segments. Consider it your Reader's Digest version of me.

1. I am an only child.
2. I always wanted a brother or sister.
3. But I was okay with not sharing too.
4. I live on the same street I grew up on.

We built a home on my grandparents' property.

5. I only left for college, Abilene Christian University.6. Can you say sheltered?
7. We never moved when I was a child either.
8. I grew up 2 doors down from my grandparents.
9. My dad still lives 2 houses away.
10. Apparently, my roots are pretty deep here.
11. I've always admired people that have moved a lot though.
12. My favorite colors are pink and green.
13. I love polka dots, plaids, patterns and stripes. Just not together, or at least tastefully arranged.
14. Thanks to my mom, I acquired a love for reading.
15. One of my favorite things to do is stay in bed all day with a stack of books. Or beside a beach or pool. Delightful. In this season of my life however, I don't get to do it often.
16. I enjoy all varieties of books, except science fiction. I most enjoy historical fiction.
17. I feel happiness walking by my bookshelves and seeing the books I've read and then feeling anticipation for the next books to read.
18. Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books, and Amazon.com are dangerous places for me.
19. However, I love the library too. It's much safer for my wallet.
20. I taught 4th grade for 3.5 years.
21. I say 3.5 because I returned to do a long term substitute fill-in for one of my fellow teachers having twins.
22. I love History, especially Texas history.
23. I love children's literature too.
24. I have been married to Scott for 12 years.

June 17, 1995

25. We both worked in the same building at NASA and were introduced by a co-worker.
26.We have a 4 year old daughter, Annelise.
27. After struggling with infertility, God created our family through adoption
28. I love cats. We have two, Spunky and Spooky. We usually see them after A. has gone to bed.
29. We also have a dog named Sadie. She's a Golden Retriever.
30. I alternate between waging war on the pet hair and just accepting it. I try not to be the Floor Nazi, but sometimes...
31. I love to have a clean house.
32. Sometimes I hate cleaning though.
33. I don't mind doing laundry, since the machines do most of the work. I remind myself to be thankful, since in another time period I could be beside the creek with lye soap.
34. I feel a sense of satisfaction when all the clean laundry is folded/hung/put away.
35. I try hard not to resent the first items of dirty clothes that start the cycle over.
36. I don't like to iron.
37. I am thankful that Scott came to this marriage knowing how to iron.
38. I could live on Tex-Mex.
39. And coffee.
40. And sweets.

41. Yes, I am the epitome of health.
42. I enjoy paper crafts--stamping, making cards, scrapbooking.
43. I have a weakness for blank notepads, blank journals and blank card sets.
44. This must speak to my deep need to document my life, however bland and ordinary it may be.
45. I also like to sew. I just don't do it often.
46. I might have craft ADHD.
47. Sometimes I am 100% committed to a project and will finish it with pride and glee.
48. Other times I stop midway, pack it up and slink off with my head hung low.
49. I feel guilty about my quilt blocks sitting in a basket since 2003. Just waiting to be finished. The shame, the shame.
50. I took an oil painting class several years ago, but never finished one of the 4 canvases I started. The instructor kept telling me to relax and not be such a perfectionist. I could never get the trees right. He mentioned a need for liquor.

Congrats to you for making it through the first set! Check back soon for more thrilling tidbits...



Are you sitting down? Did you take your meds this morning? Okay then.

This is my 200th post!

Oh my.

My little brain has been spinning about how to properly honor this achievement. (Ha). I know some bloggers celebrate their 100th post by sharing 100 tidbits about themselves. I had wanted to do this, but didn't realize I was already over 100 posts. So I waited. Now, does anyone really want to read 200 tidbits about little 'ol me?


Do I even HAVE 200 tidbits to share?

How about a fun little giveaway? I like that too.

In the spirit of not making a firm decision, I think I'll do both. My little fence is pretty comfy.

Stay tuned for my tidbits AND a giveaway...


Breakfast with the Sugar Plum Fairies

Annelise and I stepped into a frilly, frou-frou, fantasy this morning. The Nutcracker Breakfast was truly a girly girl's paradise from the ballerina music box centerpieces, the walk-in gingerbread house, the acres of tulle and a short performance from The Nutcracker ballet.

Annelise could hardly contain herself...

especially once the breakfast was served. Waffles with sprinkles, oh my!

A visit to the Gingerbread House with friends,

then some future ballerinas took the stage for some interpretive dance.

A mother daughter photo-op beside the Christmas tree.

Earlier Annelise took several pictures with my camera. I didn't realize until later she had left her mark on the lens. So... we have a soft Barbara Walters-esque focus on some of our pictures. Nice.

We certainly enjoyed our girly morning. It was fun to get dressed up and do something just the two of us. I'd like to make this one of our holiday traditions along with going to see the full Nutcracker Ballet. We might need a little bit of culture to offset our other holiday favorite...

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.



Three years ago today, halfway around the world, God brought our family together. Today is Annelise's Gotcha Day. The day that a nervous mama and daddy dressed their squalling nekked baby girl in clothes of her very own, bundled her up in layers and a snowsuit, and actually walked out of the orphanage. After months of paperwork, questions, waiting and many, many prayers we became parents.

Every year we celebrate her Gotcha Day and remember how special it is. We talk about how we flew to meet her and flew back to bring her home. How we played at the hotel and got used to each other. How she took her first nap in the hotel crib and we just stared at her while she slept. How daddy was tossing her up in the air in the hotel hallway, but didn't see the rafter and bang! I think we had been parents for 5 hours. Yikes! How she HATED her bath the first several times. Just the little things that started making our family.

The pictures behind us are from a flea market in Moscow. They are made out of small pieces of birch trees to make a scene. The picture below shows a few other keepsakes.

Gotcha Day is also a good time to look at her baby book, which she calls her Russia book. We've always been open with her about her adoption, even though she doesn't understand all of it right now.

Tonight after eating Tex-Mex, she enjoyed an ice cream treat. Yum!

We also played Hot or Cold around the house to find a little Gotcha Gift. We really went all out with the wrapping didn't we?

She was so excited to get a Little People set. Yes, I have an affection for Little People, so I was equally thrilled with the new addition.

Time to go camping with the Little People. Good times.

Annelise, we are so very thankful we "Gotcha"!!

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