Sunday, September 30, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
There is a song sung by Counting Crows called Omaha. It talks about it being "Somewhere In Middle America" and that song (or at least that part) rang through my mind this weekend while I ventured to "Middle America". I flew from DFW to Minneapolis to Rochester and then drove 1 1/2 hours to Decorah, Iowa. Melissa picked me up at the airport and we headed south to Decorah (which is about 15 minutes from the Minnesota border). We made a stop at the "Kwik Mart" and got some refreshments. Melissa showed me the "Cheese Curds" which are famous there (from Wisconsin). I realized I was no longer in Texas (however, they did have Diet Dr. Pepper in the fountain drink selection)!
The country side was beautiful. The leaves were changing and the smell of cattle would waft through the car every once in a while. The corn had already been harvested and dried stalks remained. The rolling hills, barns, silos, and John Deere tractors were something out of a picture book...but the picture book was just starting to unfold. We drove into the valley where Decorah was. The rolling hills with trees of red, green, orange, and gold surrounded. It was breath taking.
I am from Texas and small towns that I drive through on my way to Dallas, Austin, or Colorado are...OLD. Time has forgotten them and they seem like ghost towns of yesterday. It is really sad. So, that is what in my mind I picture a small town...especially one with the population of 8,000 (10,500 if you count the students at Luther College).
Decorah is much different. A river runs through the town and the downtown is a strip of cute, well-maintained store fronts. (Yes...I felt like I was in Mayberry and Andy Griffith was going to pop up at any time!!!)
We went to Melissa's house first and stopped by to say "hi" to Robert & Ty. Then, we headed downtown to visit "Trendz" (her store which I've been dying to shop at for 3 1/2 years!). It was so cute. I couldn't get over it! After that, we headed back to their house to play baseball with Ty before the storm rolled in.
For dinner, we went to Melissa's parents' house. It was amazing! Full of all the bells and whistles with a gorgeous bird's eye view of the town. We ate pizza and fried cheese curds before heading to the high school homecoming football game. Mind you...I was not in Texas. The school has 120 in each graduating class so the stadium was as small as junior high field in Texas. There was a band and cheerleaders but no drill team (Melissa and I were both in drill team in high school). After half time, we headed back to Melissa's house.
The next morning, Melissa and I took a long walk around the town which included the campus, the river, and cool homes. After the walk, we went to the Farmer's Market to buy some bread, fresh whole wheat pasta, cookies, etc. These were the farmers who grew them! So neat! There was no fresh herbs because of the freeze they had had a few weeks prior. After the Farmer's Market, we walked next door to Bryson's tag football game. After the game, we showered and headed downtown for lunch (Delicious coffee shop with the best herb pasta and sandwich I had ever had!), shopping, and helping at the Parent's Weekend reception that Melissa's store had a booth.
We then went for a bike ride with Melissa's mom (Jolene). What a beautiful ride! It was so relaxing! Then, we got dressed to go to dinner at La Rana. Can I tell you how YUMMY that dinner was? We shared Hummus (Ok...that was my first time to eat it and it was delish), Bruchetta, and Fennel Salad w/Candied Walnuts. The flavor was incredible. Then, we split a pasta dish and the "special" which was Pork Loin with Brie cheese and chutney & brussel sprouts over couscous. Oh, my!!! The flavor! I've never had a meal that flavorful...and I live in Dallas and used to live in Houston! You can't get better cuisine than that! (Or maybe it has been a long time since I've gone to a really good restaurant...the chain restaurants around me have seen my family too much lately). We had a great meal!
The next day, we went to the store to get some goodies for our canoe ride. Before the canoe ride, we had brunch at the college. Beautiful campus! Then, got dressed and headed out for the canoe ride. So fun! I'll have pictures soon...those were taken with a disposable camera. That night, we had hamburgers and (of course) CORN! You can't be in Iowa w/o experiencing it!
On Monday, we went for a walk and then got dressed for an early lunch and then shopping at Trendz where I bought such cute things!!! After that, it was time for our drive to the airport. My flight was delayed in Rochester and in Minneapolis so it took longer to get home than expected. The kids were sad that I didn't make it home in time but we've spent quality time together today (I took them both out for lunch today).
So...what can I say? I understand why my friends live in Decorah (although there was no snow at the time). It is a great town...full of art, beauty, and peaceful living. I now understand why people rent RVs to drive around this country...there really are some amazing parts and I hope to one day see more of this great country (and less of the drive from Dallas to Raton, NM).
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I finished the little bit of work I had to do online. Thankfully, Melissa called and I talked to her for a while while cleaning up the kitchen & clutter. After that, Kelsi called and we caught up for an hour. (It was fun to talk to both of them, though. I've known them since our babies were born...now they are 7 1/2!! We've had many play group times together! Sadly, those days are over.)
Ok...my new "fancy", front loading washer takes FOREVER. So, laundry will take a while.
Don't want to go shopping and spend money because I want to save my money for this weekend...although Jeffrey suggested running to Forever 21...that might be tomorrow.
I could start one of the many projects I want to do (make drapes for our bedroom, plant flowers and landscape our yard, paint the downstairs bathroom trim black, paint the kids' room, etc.)...but they all cost $.
I guess I'll run to Target to get paper for Jake's playdate invites and try not to spend any money. Good luck with that one...
Friday, September 14, 2007
My theme songs have been two fold the past 3 weeks:
The Way I Was Made by Chris Tomlin
and some other song about friends that I will have to find out who sings and write out the lyrics.
I've been thinking about how I was made. I am definitely "Unique". What floats my boat? People.
Is that weird? I love people. A good conversation can put me into a euphoric state. I'm weird, I know but that is how I am wired.
Examples of great conversations from Saturday on that left me rejuvenated...
a. A couple whose son is on Will's soccer team is from Nigeria. I had an amazing conversation with her at the soccer game (with her baby on her back like they do in Nigeria). Tears came to my eyes when she said she decided to follow Jesus as a high schooler (her father is Muslim and her mom is now a preacher in Nigeria). Wow! What a blessing that God is making my bubble break and my world smaller. I can't wait to go to Nigeria with her!
b. Hanging out with the Kids' Village "band" this weekend. I love getting to know people and their hearts...I was so energized!
c. Taking Stephanie to chemo on Monday and getting to hear her words of wisdom...and getting to eat some Pappasito's afterwards! Double blessing!!
d. Group Connect on Tuesday night...hanging out with Sarah...she is precious and I enjoyed getting to know her better.
e. Running into a couple I recognized from Group Connect on Wednesday night when they were sitting on the patio eating at Pazzo. I just randomly introduced myself and said, "Were y'all at Group Connect last night? I'm Stephanie." Total weird thing...they said they looked for me at Group Connect but couldn't find me. It was a "God thing" that we met that night.
f. Having my dog attack a lady's dog which brought about a 2 hour conversation about God, adoption, decorating, and cleaning house (yes, women have random choppy talk)...and a new friend who lives in the neighborhood!
There are so many more but these are the highlights. I think these are the times that God says...let me just fill your cup. And He does! I'm weird...I know!
Now I must finish the other 2 bathrooms, dust, vacuum, make dinner, and finish the laundry...thank goodness God filled my cup so I have energy to do it!
September 12, 2007
My Cousin Sawyer
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I was going to call you. I talked to * (& my children) about what has been going on while they are riding the bus. Apparently, * called Jake “chubby” and pinched his cheeks. Jake didn’t have his feelings hurt but has in the past regarding him being “bigger”. I told * (and my boys) that they shouldn’t call people by names because it would hurt their feelings if someone did it to them. Obviously, it didn’t faze Jake because he called * “chubby” today. So, Jake got his mouth washed out with soap this afternoon.
Feel free to call me if you have any questions…otherwise, I’m sure all 3 of them will be more careful with their words to each other in the future.
Here was her precious response:
Obviously, God took care of it! * is not a bully and his sweet, godly parents took the just like we would have. Thank you, Lord! I am going to better equip my children to take care of these situations...it is time this mama bear loosens her grip...God's got His grip on them...so I can release mine!!!
Friday, September 07, 2007
Let me back up...the boys have been saying that a boy on the bus has been calling Jake "Chubby" and pinching his cheeks. On Monday, Will talked to the dog and ask the dog if he was looking for the "chubby one". We promptly sent him to his room where he got a good "talkin' to" (and should have had a spanking).
I told Will he needed to stick up for his brother and tell the boy not to call him names.
Today, I saw the boy at school. He said, very politely, "Mrs. Richardson, Did you know I am Will's partner on the bus?" I said, in a stern teacher voice. "Yes, I do. And I also heard you called my other son chubby and I don't want to hear that again. How would you feel if someone called you a name?" The poor boy looked like he was hurt. And then I felt guilty...
This is the time in my children's life when I have to "butt out"...release control. This is something they needed to work out on their own. Oh, it is so hard...my baby was hurt (well, maybe not that time but he will if he keeps hearing he is "chubby")!
Will and I talked about it at lunch. He said, "Mom! I'll take care of Jake...you didn't need to say anything!" He was right! My 7 year old was right! Ugh! I told him that I don't want anyone to hurt them. I jokingly said I would beat someone up if they did...then I said, "No, I would show them love". Will said, "Like you did to that boy? I saw you...it didn't look like LOVE." I said, "It was in LOVE...just FIRMLY in love." Was it really in LOVE or more like a mama bear protecting her cub?
So, last weekend, my cousin had her wedding reception (they had a Wedding-moon on an island where only the two of them were allowed to go...pretty cool, huh?) in Deep Ellum. If you want more info, e-mail me...she is very happy and we are super happy for her!!! We really look like we could be sisters instead of cousins. It is really weird! My parents, brother, & sister-in-law stayed downtown. The boys and I went to hang out with them at the hotel and then went to Northpark mall.
On Tuesday, I met Kami & Eileen for lunch (after visiting Julie at the hospital who was about to deliver her baby...sorry Julie...I'm sure you didn't really want to see us 4 hours before giving birth!). It was the first time for Kami to meet Eileen's girls (Mary & Kate). I wish we all lived on the same street...that would be heaven!!!
We had planned on going to Cheesecake Factory to celebrate and get some dessert. Since it was 4:30pm we decided to eat, too! Oh, my...that was expensive! The boys said it was the nicest place they had ever eaten at...maybe in 3 years they can go back (because that is going to be how long it will take to pay the bill off...just kidding...it was expensive though).
Yesterday, I met Ramona (the Nursery director from IBC) for lunch. It was so good to catch up with her! She is precious and I miss her!
Last night, we had our first 2nd Grade Mommies Night Out at Life's A Beach. It was a lot of fun. We really have fun moms in the 2nd grade!!!
Today, I baked (well, I started them on Monday and most were frozen) 70 cupcakes to take up to the school for the teachers. I have been so grateful for the teachers this week...it was my way of saying "thank you". I hope they liked them and felt appreciated!
So, tonight is FM360 (a family worship thing at our church) and soccer starts tomorrow so I'm sure there will be many more pictures to post. For now, here is a picture of the boys at the fountain in Southlake Town Center!