Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Thirty Day Obsession with CS3 is Officially Over...and I need your vote!

Well, it's all over but the crying. And wanting. And trying to rationalize spending a bunch of money on something that may or may not turn into much of a hobby...or side job?
My thirty day trial period with Photoshop CS3 has come to a close. But thanks to some handy advice from a friend I may be able to purchase the Elements version (a lot less expensive) and still have every tool I need right at my fingertips.
Although it may look as though I completely shirked all household and motherly duties and parked myself at the computer for the last four weeks..I truly didn't. However, I did spend a lot of late night hours and nap times chugging away at the fun.
I have posted a slide show of my projects here:
(you may need to refresh your page to see it...and if you move your mouse over an image, it should stop and display the title)
Several of you were even kind enough to let me invade your blogs. And for those of you who never heard back from me in regards to a banner...I wasn't ignoring you....I am still having outgoing email issues! When I purchase Elements, I promise to get you your banner ASAP.
I have several questions still lurking on my mind about this program...well at least my use of it. While the last thirty days of this have been so much fun (and a bit of a blast from my graphic design past), I have wondered if this should or could be more. It is one thing to throw something together for a friend's blog and hope they enjoy it. But, if people are actually paying me their money...that may be a different story. A little more pressure, etc. And the whole time commitment is another factor entirely. As I have mentioned before, I am starting a new part time job in the fall. But I am still a full-time mommy and I don't want anything to get in the way of that. I am a creature of always having "too many irons in the fire" but I have tried to be very careful of that since we moved and all. So, I still have no clue what I am going to do.
Also, I NEED YOUR VOTE!! I would like to enter a couple of these banners into a digital scrapbooking banner contest...which do you like best? They are all named, again just scroll your mouse over to see the name of the banner you like. But I would love some opinions. I know some of my readers are self-professed "lurkers" who have confided this in emails to me..but feel free to do it anonymously under the comments area.
Thanks for your help!
Just FYI...this trial wasn't completely frivolous...I plan to use the new banners all throughout the next year or so.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy TAKS Week, etc.

Happy TAKS week to my husband and all of you out there in the blogosphere affected by the craziness and nervousness this week takes on. Last night at LIFEGroup, we prayed for this week with all of our LG kids and parents (and teacher and principal!). I never realized how big it truly is until I talked with some of the kiddos in our group last night. I only hear about it from David's standpoint, you know logistically and score-wise. But these kids really put their hearts into this week as well. A couple of the girls last night told me how nervous they are that they do well. I hope everyone has a very successful week.
We had a busy weekend. Of course Friday night was stormy, but we all survived. So did all of our church friends in Belton, too. We heard some crazy stories about how everyone handled their Friday night (in bathtubs, under mattresses, under laundry baskets!).
Saturday night Benjamin and I went to Corbin's birthday party-- an adorable puppy party! We are actually about to head over there again today for play group. David stayed home to tie up some loose ends for TAKS week, prepare for teaching the high school class at church and split a box of mac and cheese with Jonathan.
Sunday morning we both taught classes...I have been teaching one of the three-year-old classes at church and really enjoying it. We attempted to let Benjamin go to the "children's church" during the sermon, but it didn't quite work out. He didn't seem quite ready for it, yet. When I went in to take him back with me, he said..."I think I just need to go back to 'da warship service' today." Made sense to me. We'll try again soon.
He also was actually very interested in who was preaching, so that may have had something to do with it. Bill Young has been an interim preacher for us for several months now and was back yesterday morning to preach. I knew Bill and Ann from my ACU days and working in the alumni office-- such sweet people. A few months ago, Bill had given Benjamin "five" after services that day and it really stuck with Benjamin. Whenever Benjamin saw Bill after that he would always say, "there's Bee-yull (spoken like a true hick), he is the preacher and he gave me five!" I really think Benjamin just wanted to stay and see Bee-yull. He also gave him five again today!
Last night we had a great LIFEGroup at our home. We are really enjoying getting to know our group. Lots of great families and couples. Our group is a little different in that we keep the kids with the group instead of taking them to the church for the kids' stuff. This actually started as a logistical reason since most of our group lives in Harker Heights and Killeen, and taking kiddos all the way to the church would sort of defeat our purpose of trying to make a group that was convenient to the "west" members. But keeping the kiddos with us has really evolved into a fun time with them. Each family is getting to know each other versus just the couples. We are really enjoying how this has worked out for us and our group. We try to spend some "family time" together praying and talking and then the kiddos have their own time together while the adults have their lesson/sharing time. If any of you are involved in small groups at your church, I welcome (with open arms) any more ideas to help incorporate our children into our group, but also have time as just kiddos, too!
Well, I have rambled for awhile. I just want to try to record lots of memories over time and this weekend had some good ones. Happy Monday!

Benjamin and his puppy ears from Corbin's birthday party.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Storm Season

You know you're back in central Texas when there are weekly (if not daily) thunderstorm/flash flood/tornado warnings issued for your county. Tonight was a doozy for our little area and it looks like more is on the way after midnight.

This is what the sky in front of our house looked like earlier.

You can see all of the madness brewing over our rooftop in this one.

Our friends in Belton seemed to have had a bigger storm. We heard reports of tornadoes touching down not too far from our church. I am praying everyone is okay and that there was minimal damage.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

First Swim of the Season

The pools around here don't open until Memorial Day weekend, so we took matters into our own hands and bought our very own "Paradise Lagoon" about a month ago at Walmart. Benjamin has been asking about it practically every day since. I told him we would need to wait until it was closer to ninety degrees outside to use it. With the rain and the boys being sick, today was the absolute first chance to open it up, inflate it (half an hour), and fill it (another fifteen minutes)!
They both had a blast. At first, Jonathan wasn't too sure about actually touching the water, so I sat him on a chair in the pool, so he could at least "experience it."

After he finally did get into the water, I had a pretty tough time convincing him to come back out! He loved splashing:

Here are a few other pics from our fun little afternoon in our "Paradise Lagoon:"

Monday, April 21, 2008

What a Bummer

Well we just thought we were making headway in the whole insurance/Asperger's thing. We received a disappointing letter from our insurance today saying they are now denying the claim to the facility in Waco. Back to square one. Prayers are coveted. Thanks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mom said my blog was "old"

I just got an email from my mother requesting an update on here.
Not a whole lot to report. We've had a case of major cabin fever. Jonathan is still a little cranky, but seems to be getting somewhat back to normal. I desperately needed to get out of the house today...and so did the boys. So, we had a little picnic at the park. The last place we have been was the doctor, so I figured McD's would be a nice treat for Benjamin since he was so tired of being at home.
I figured we were least likely to give anyone else any germs at an almost empty park. I think Jonathan isn't really contagious at this point anyway.
KISD is closed tomorrow to use up a bad weather day-- woohoo! We will probably just do some yard work and hang around the house.
Oh, and I joined the whole Facebook thing. It really is very interesting. I feel a little old on it, but there are a ton of ACUers on it. A bunch of both sides of our families are on it as well. Just one more way to stay in touch.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Late Tag

Lauren tagged me last week and I feel bad that I am just now getting to it...but here goes.
I think I have done this one, but there are so many random things about me I could probably do it a hundred times!
Seven random things you probably didn't know about me:
1. In high school, I was the editor-in-chief of our newspaper: The Anderson Edition. The year I was editor, we were ranked #6 in the nation-- woohoo! This is when I first became interested in graphic design and such. That was such a fun "job", too, because I traveled to several big high school journalism conventions in cool places like New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
2. My first job was sacking groceries at Simon David in Austin. Simon David was a very cool grocery store (it was two stories!) that has since closed.
3. I do not like Dunkin Donuts coffee. I tried very hard to make myself like it, but I couldn't. I am currently in love with Seattle's Best Cinnabon Flavor. So yummy.
4. I love to not only paint, but I love to cut in around the edges and ceiling. I know, it's weird. Whenever David and I paint a room, we have a very well-functioning "system" that we don't even mention anymore, we just get to it. He rolls, I cut.
5. David & I have never been on a plane together. Isn't that weird? We have both flown places since we got married, but never together or to the same place. We are big time road trippers, which accounts for a lot of that weirdness, I suppose. When we go somewhere, we usually hop in the car. But I have yet to meet "Airborne David". And he has yet to know the crazy effects that Dramamine has on me (I sleep like a crazy woman with that in my system). What is even funnier is that Benjamin and I have already flown together. Come to think of it, when I flew to Dallas two summers ago to see Lori, I was pregnant with Jonathan, so I guess I've flown with him, too!
6. I absolutley LOVE the beach. We vacationed at the beach a lot when I was growing up and I loved it. We are planning to take the boys sometime this summer. Benjamin had his first beach experience last summer here.
7. I am currently waiting with baited breath for tonight's grand finale of The Biggest Loser. Any other fans out there? Or am I the only one who voted the past week? I voted for Mark to make it onto the finale. This was pure strategy, folks. I want a girl to win for once. And since Mark had the least weight left to lose, I thought maybe one of the girls could beat him. Go Ali!
Well, that's about it.
I tag....Faith, Deborah, Kyra, Annie and Melanie (my Muleshoe peeps). Oh, and how about my sister-in-law Syndi, too (only because she is due a new post to her blog...wink, wink).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Getting better....slowly!

Well, okay, so several of you called and emailed last night and I probably sounded blissfully naive when I said..."they're doing soooo much better! Almost back to normal!" Whatever. I was completely unaware of the night I had ahead of me.
Jonathan had a very rough night. He was so upset and nothing made him happy. At one point, I took him into the living room and let him lay on me while I laid on the couch. I thought maybe we could both get a little sleep that way. Not so much.
I was happy to call the doctor first thing and they were able to get both boys back to back appointments (Benjamin truly is much better, but I thought since we were going I might as well get them both looked at). And yes, I got them each their own appointment (with their own co-pay each, eyeroll); I feel like there is a certain unwritten "doctor's office etiquette" that we all try to adhere to. I would have felt like a bit of a heel saying..."hey, while I've got you in here, would you mind having a looksie at the other one, too?"
We truly did get in and out within 45 minutes! That was a record. They both have upper-respiratory infections and poor Jonathan has his first little ear infection. He is learning to aquire a taste for refrigerated pink medicine. Yummy.
Benjamin was so good that the doctor gave him two lollipops. He was very conversational with her, too. She got a big kick out of him.
When she was done with us, she went over to the sink and washed her hands.
"Are you washing your hands?" he asked. She nodded and smiled.
"Gettin' all the germs off, huh?" She cracked a laugh.
"That's what we do in my Bible class, too." This one got an eye brow raise from everyone. I was glad to hear of the good hygiene skills he is picking up at church. Funny boy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Benjamin's Music

We had a funny thing happen the other day.

We were at a gas station on the way home from church, when Benjamin began singing a song from the back seat. (Just as a little background: For this to make sense, you need to know that Benjamin was, at the time, keeping a pet "Roly Poly" from the backyard. He has since released it back into "the wild".)

Anyway, out of nowhere, and to no one but himself, Benjamin sang, "Ro-o-ly Polies, get gas, get gas! I-I-In their cars, their cars, their cars!" That was about as far as the song went, but the song was sung to the tune of "The Blue Danube" by Strauss. (Don't be impressed by my quoting that. I had to hum the tune to the Band Director at school to get the title.) We had a good laugh. We're assuming he learned that tune from one of his "Baby Einstein" DVD's.

Later on at home, Benjamin noticed me listening to music on our iPod. Benjamin wanted to listen in as well, so I let him. The song was "No One" by Alicia Keys. (Totally worth a buck on iTunes, by the way....)

I'm not sure if Benjamin had really paid attention to this song before, but he sure picked it up quickly. With headphones in ears, he belted out the chorus, "No one, No one, Noooooo ooooooooonnnne!" with a pretty much blank expression on his face.

We cracked up.

After this, it was the Cars soundtrack, singing along with Chuck Berry to "Route 66". Benjamin's becoming quite the iPod king!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Temperature's Rising

The title of this post pertains not only to the weather here currently, but also to Benjamin and Jonathan. They both have the sickies. Benjamin ran a low-grade fever on and off for a good part of the week and by yesterday we thought he was pretty much on the mend. Until last night, when he lost his voice and wasn't exactly sure why this was happening to him. He was in whisper mode and it has come and gone through today as well.
Jonathan was fine until about two in the morning when I could hear how restless he was over the monitor. He was burning up when we went in to check on him. After a round of ibuprofin, he slept on and off the rest of the night. He has had fever on and off all morning.
I was hesitant to take B to the doctor for several reasons:
a) They usually tell me they can't see him unless his fever was at 102 for at least 24 hours. Which is a little confusing since they also recommend the whole ibuprofin/acetomenophin rotation when fever starts. Technically, his fever never has a chance to even get to 102, let alone remain there for 24 hours or more. Is this confusing to anyone else with kids, or is it just us?
b) For the most part, he acted fairly normal. He was a little lethargic, unless he was on an ibuprofin kick (that stuff does wonders for him, it is very deceiving when he is sick).
c) I figured it was probably viral since there were no major signs of anything else (until Friday night when the voice went and the doctor's office was closed). And well, I hate going to the doctor when it is just a virus, because they just give them a lollipop and send them home to let it "run its course." And as most of you know, I am a Type A personality that needs concrete answers ("in all facets of life," David just chimed in from across the room. So funny.).
So now, we have two sickies on our hands. This is a whole new thing to me. I can handle it better when only one is sick at a time. However, the boys' personalities are so opposite that it seems to be working out okay. Benjamin handles illness very quietly. He would rather curl up in bed and pretty much be left alone, providing his juice cup stays full, the DVD player keeps rolling and California Bear (yes, that is his legal name) stays within arm's reach.
Jonathan, and this is probably a lot to do with his age, cannot decide what he needs. He wants to be held. He wants to get down. He wants to eat. He wants to pretty much fuss the entire time.
We are very blessed with sweet people at our church who stepped in and took over some duties on what was supposed to have been a pretty busy weekend. We were both scheduled to teach different classes in the morning at church. A friend of mine kindly took that off my hands and that was a relief. We were also supposed to host the LIFEGroup over here tomorrow night. Our leaders that we are partnered with offered to have it at their house again-- even though I know they had an already full weekend of big homework projects with their girls! (Thanks Jeff & Therese and Jennifer! This is all really helping us out so much. We owe you.)
I am hoping that by Monday we can either get into the doctor's office quickly and without a big wait (I am dreaming, I know) or what would be even more fabulous is that this all "runs its course" between now and then and we are left with two healthy boys by the time the week begins.
Benjamin has completely kept his little sense of humor all week and that has been refreshing. He has stayed in our room a lot so he can watch the television and lay in bed. I've told him to "go lay on Daddy's side of the bed." His reply is always, "that's Benjamin's side of the bed."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Goodbye, Babyhood

Jonathan has really started becoming quite the toddler; it looks like he has said farewell to his baby days.
In the last couple of weeks, we managed to get rid of the bottle (although we had a slight regression this past weekend, no big deal). He is also about ready to kick that morning nap habit as well, which is a little soon for me! Benjamin and I have gotten used to that morning time as our little time to do projects, so we will make some adjustments there. I have noticed that if he just has the one nap, he can sleep for a good three hours. However, if there are two naps that day, he usually wakes up 30 minutes through the second one very cranky. So, we'll be nixing that pretty quick.
He is into everything, but starting to realize that no-no does indeed mean no-no. He has a very mischievious side which makes us laugh when he isn't looking! He knows which drawers/cabinets are off limits and he proceeds to not only get our attention before breaking the rules, but giggle through the process.
He has a few words that he uses repeatedly: "Thank You" (pronounced daint-doooooo), "HappyHappyHappy" (Benjamin said the exact same thing), "Daddy" (pronounced datteeeeee) and "Night-Night" (pronounced nigh-niiiiiiiigh).
He is very loving and cuddly and slops sugar on anyone who picks him up.
One thing that has raised our eye brows is what Benjamin refers to as the "growly bear." Jonathan will grunt and growl anytime he wants to get Benjamin's attention (he only does this to his brother, it is quite interesting). And of course, it drives Benjamin absolutely nuts. And we are pretty sure Jonathan is aware of that.
He is still a foodie. He loves bananas and splits one with Benjamin every morning. He also adores bread (wouldn't you know it, a carb-junkie, just like his mama). One of his favorite meals is any type of casserole you set in front of him-- a true Texan, huh?
He is not walking quite yet. But I am not worried about it, B didn't strut his stuff until the very end of fifteen months. He crawls everywhere and pulls himself to a stand by tripoding (is this a word?) himself up-- it's pretty funny to watch. Every so often I catch him walking on his knees! I think he could truly walk if he wanted to, he is just making the rest of us wait!
I am sad to see the babiness fade away, but am certainly enjoying our loving and mischievious little toddler.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Woohoo- Progress...

Just to update you all on Benjamin...our insurance finally approved us to start the diagnosis process. We got a call on Wednesday and were just thrilled. We'll begin in Waco at the Childrens' Center there. Currently we are just waiting on a phone call with a date and time. So, the prayers are being answered. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Getting Our Garden Together

For the last two days we have been putting together our new vegetable garden in the back yard. We didn't arrive in Killeen until late June last year, so that was a little too late to start one. In Muleshoe, we had a little vegetable garden and really enjoyed it so we are really looking forward to those yummy treats again this summer.
My parents came to help with our project. Since the soil is so rocky and hard here, my dad built us a great raised bed for our veggies. They have several of these that he has built at their house and it seemed like the best way to go.
We have planted tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers. I couldn't seem to get a pepper to grow in Muleshoe, if anyone has any tips for growing them down here, I would love to hear them.
Benjamin really enjoyed helping me plant everything this morning and Jonathan enjoyed sticking the dirt in his nose.
If anyone can name the movie and speaker for the following quote, I'll try to (in some way shape or form) get some tomatoes to ya this summer:
"...because I'm a southern woman and we're supposed to wear funny hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt..."
(This is my all time favorite movie!)