Monday, June 24, 2013


For 7 months, our house was in transition. The girls desperately wanted to host playdates, but it just never seemed safe, between construction, packing, moving and unpacking.  Avery and Kate consoled themselves by shopping in magazines for party supplies so that they could
host a party as soon as we moved into the new house.

After much perusing, the girls chose a luau theme.  And after many, many weeks of asking, we went ahead and scheduled a house-warming luau party for both of the older girls' playgroups (despite the construction, painting, and unpacking that is still happening).  Luckily, Nana had lots of luau stuff we could borrow, so I took the girls to Party City and gave them each a budget of $10 to spend on anything they wanted for the luau.  We looked at decorations and games and cups.  In the end, Kate chose Hawaiian tattoos and umbrellas for her drinks, and Avery had her eye on a real prize: a dolphin balloon with the perfect price tag: $10.  Both girls ended up adding silly string onto the tab because who can say no to silly string?

The luaus were decorated by the girls and led by the girls.  Kate's party didn't have much structure because Kate was a bit embarrassed when I asked her what she wanted to do at her luau.  Avery's party had a checklist of items to complete.  Two girls with two different personalities.

Kate tells about her Luau
When everyone came over we took a Hawaiian picture and we wore a lei and a grass skirt.  Abigail didn't know that the grass skirts were real.  We played with silly string and we eated and we put on tattoos.  I loveded them.  One more thing that was really special about my luau was drinking Kool-Aid with umbrellas in the cups.

Avery tells about her Luau
When everyone came over, first we played with the stickers.  Then, we went upstairs to play and we hid from Jackson.  We played Pin the Flip-flop on the Hula Dancer and then we played with silly string.  We played with water and ate popsicles.  My friends thought it was fun!  I thought it was great.

Click here for pictures of the week

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"It's Not Easy Being Mom" - A Guest Post By Nana

This week the beautiful, wonderful McClinton girls are spending the week with us while Angela and Jordan spend some time with Trey and Erin in L.A. I had so many plans and really, I’ve raised three kids of my own, this should be physical but easy enough, right?

Monday night, everyone goes down for bed by 9:15, a little later than I expected but they are happy and sleeping. Tuesday morning we start with a four course breakfast (as requested by the girls; eggs, turkey bacon, sausage, fruit, panna-cakes, hot chocolate, milk, juice and later yogurt for Kate and Reese) and then dressed and off to VBS on time, (hair not fixed but combed, I think that counts). WOW. I’m exhausted but Reese and I have a little shopping to do so it’s off to Walmart where one little almost-two- year-old throws a fit if she’s not carried. So an hour later with purchases in hand we’re home, eating and napping and I still haven’t done the break
fast dishes! Good thing this is the night sweet friend Emilee is keeping the big girls overnight. I’ll catch up by then…

By Wednesday pick-up at VBS I am ready; well, not really, I’m still tired, back hurts and foot is swelling, and Reese is tired and throwing fits unless held everywhere we go. But we are early so we go potty (did I mention we are also at the beginning stages of potty-training? And yesterday was a day of several accidents, so I am super intuitive now, watching and responding to “teetee” comments in a flash). We go by Kate’s room. It’s dark. Over to the sanctuary for Avery. No one there. Back to Kate’s room. Still dark at 12:25. Back to the sanctuary- where we find Avery and head back for Kate. Her room is still dark. I ask and of course, that’s her preschool Bunny room, and (I knew this) she is in the Throne class two doors down! So there is Kate with her teacher, not upset but clearly wondering what happened to Nana. I apologize and we go on with our day of fun- ChickfilA, resting, swimming, everyone getting hugs and love and happy. And who cares that the house is now in full blown disaster mode? We did pick up the toys.

On Thursday we head to VBS, confident we are better prepared; we have our hair fixed, our cheese crackers for the donation box, our notes for Miss Kathy’s pick up for playtime, and smiles on all faces. We arrive at 9:30 and there is no one in the halls. No one. We go to Kate’s room and the student aide says the class is in music; VBS starts at 9:00 (I knew that); so we hurry to get Avery to the sanctuary and I crack up laughing.

Really, this is a hard job. And I will not comment when Angela loses her keys again. Or look at her house the way I look at mine. These girls are loving, helpful, forgiving, sweet to each other and Angela is doing a fabulous job. Just ask me. I don’t know how she does it!

Every grandparent should do this for a week or two. It keeps things in perspective. Only two days to go…and I’m loving it!  Nana

Click here for pictures

Monday, June 10, 2013

Galveston 2013

Galveston 2013 had many of the same precious traditions: Pizza dinners.  Pool time.  Smug Mug kids running wildly.  Playing in the sand and jumping the waves.  Toll house pie and adult bonding after sun-kissed kids go to bed. 

There’s a reason Galveston is one of our favorite trips
every year. 

This year’s highlights for our family were:
Jordan – Body surfing in stronger-than-usual waves
Angela – Sitting on the beach with Reese, watching the big girls play with Daddy in the waves.  And winning Cranium with my main man.
Avery – finding lots of hermit crabs and taking some of them back to the beach house.  Checking on the hermit crabs over and over and over again
Kate – The pool with the slide! And swimming with friends.
Reese – Potty training poolside.  And clothes being optional (for her only, of course).

I'm Back

Since 2008, I have blogged once a week about life as we live it.  I process life through words and so this blog has been more for me than anything else.  I hope other people enjoy it, but I don't keep up with it for any reason other than pure enjoyment.  I love recounting our weeks and looking back at pictures.

On May 1st, my brother went in for a routine surgery that was botched.  His life hung in the balance and he went through things I cannot even fathom.  He's still on a journey back to health, and it will be a long journey.  He continues to be my hero as he and Erin ride this wave with grace, honesty, and courage.  

For a month, I couldn't write.  I couldn't look back at pictures, even happy ones, from the weeks we'd been through.  My heart and my mind were, for the first time, unable to process the events we were living through using words.  It was horrific and painful and strangely beautiful in the way God used it in my life.

Although Trey's journey is not over, his determination and resolve are strong and there are instances when I cry with joy over positive news.  May was Survival May.  June will be different.  

So, I'm back, with a month's worth of back-dated posts about life here in Texas while Trey was fighting for his life in LA.  

Monday, June 3, 2013


Reese is almost 2 and she's changing and learning so much.  I hope I never forget some of the best parts of this stage of her life.

Like, for example, how she calls herself 'Deese'.  And how she still uses the one and only sign language motion we taught her, 'more'.  When Reese needs to held nonstop, she follows her people around, crying, 'Ahntchoo.'  You know, 'Want you.'  She k
nows more words than we can count and loves pointing through books and calling out titles of the pictures.

Anytime someone asks Reese a question, her answer is the same: 'Josh'.  "What's your baby's name?" or "What will the theme of your birthday party be?"  or "What should we eat for dinner?"  It's always, "Josh."  If we look away for a moment, she tends to escape out the dog door with Josh.  We will often look out a window to see the two of them, wandering the backyard together - usually unclothed.  We've taken to calling the two of them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.  She does love that dog, but we also think that she considers Josh's name to be a generally accepted term of frustration.  She sees us call his name often when he's in trouble, so it makes sense.  Because of this, she's always blaming Josh for doing things that she has done.  "Who made this mess?"  "Who took off your dirty diaper?"  Her answer is almost always the same: 'Josh'.  She also has figured out how to get a laugh.  She occasionally walks into the room and gathers herself.  After much mental effort, she will tell me, 'Josh did it.'  I don't think she has the intuitive ability to know why we think it's so funny, but she does know we laugh at it.

Reese is obsessed with babies and ducks.  We visit the 'duck park' often, and she knows when we are driving past the park.  Without fail, when we pull up to the stop sign by the ducks, she will call out, "Quack quack!"  Her other obsession, babies, is as entertaining.  She carries two to four baby dolls with her everywhere she goes and anytime we are around someone else's real live baby, she claims it as her own.  She spends most of playgroups telling me that her friend's baby brother or sister is, "my baby".  She says it with a deep southern accent, so it comes out more like, 'baybeee'.  Recently, at a playgroup, one of the families left just before us and Reese threw an absolute fit.  It took me a bit to figure out why: the mom had loaded up her newborn, and it bothered Reese that her baby was being taken away from her.

Reese is the same light-hearted, joyful, determined kid she's always been.  We love watching how her delightful personality expresses itself as each new stage of life develops.

Click here for pictures