Sunday, September 30, 2007

We've Got Spirit...Yes We Do...We've Got Spirit...How about YOU?

Friday was a big day! Jake had his first play date with his whole class at our house! He was so excited! To count down the days, he made a list of all the kids in his class who were coming to the party. He said he would mark them off the list when they arrived. That morning, he asked me if I would have on a purple dress for the party. I don't have a purple dress but he went to the closet to pick out the perfect dress for me to wear (the boys are really into me wearing is really quite funny...I think it is the novelty of it since I am the only girl in the house).

10 kids came to the party and Jake was in heaven. They waited outside for each child to arrive. He would announce to me, "We have a new customer" as each one came inside. It was pretty cute! Mrs. Williams (their teacher) came to the party, too! You would have thought she was a rock star!!! It was so crazy that I forgot to take pictures...but I'm not sure I could have gotten them together long enough to take pictures...they were too busy playing!

That night we went to the new Shops at Highland Village. We were quite disappointed! None of the yummy restaurants were open yet and the "fun activiites" they promoted weren't that great either. So, we went to dinner at Village Grill with our friends the Lasaters. The funny thing was that Will got dressed up (he has this one shirt he thinks is "fancy" is a soccer jersey) because we were going to be with his friend who is very "special" to him...his BEST friend...who is NOT his "girlfriend" but a girl that is his friend. Hmmm? Why doesn't he dress up for the other people? Pretty cute!

We frantically tried to finish Will's project. He was to replicate a store in HV, Lewisville, or Flower Mound. He picked the new Corner Bakery (although it still isn't open yet...ugh!). We tried to make a gingerbread house ourselves but it fell apart. We went to Plan the kit! Here is how it turned out:

After that, we had to paint their faces (since we wouldn't do it the night before b/c there was a long line). Don't they have team spirit?

Will's team is Chaos & Jake's team is the Jaguars. They had fun at their games...neither one won but they looked cute (and they both played hard) so that is all that matters!

This weekend, I sang in Kids' Village (which is so fun). After this morning's services, we went to Southlake to eat at Snuffer's since our new Snuffer's isn't open yet. It is probably a good thing...I still need to lose a few pounds in order to get to my 2007 goals before 2008 begins...I only have 3 months! Yikes! Cheese Fries w/Bacon doesn't really help!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Somewhere In Middle America

(This is REALLY long but I just wanted to put down for myself all that I did and don't have to read it...but feel free)
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).


This is the slide show from my trip to Decorah, Iowa. I left on Friday morning and got home around 10:15pm last night (due to the delay at the airport). I have so much to write as I process what Decorah, Iowa is...

For now...enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Bored Day has been my first somewhat bored day being home alone. I've been overly busy until now. This morning, I finished my workout and shower by 9am. I then thought, "I haven't watched Regis & Kelly in years!". So, I sat on the couch eating my oatmeal watching Regis & Kelly. After that, I thought...what next?
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 they are 7 1/2!! We've had many play group times together! Sadly, those days are over.)
What now?
Laundry. 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


As I am procrastinating from cleaning my house (well, I've already done 2 loads of laundry, cleaned 2 bathrooms, and cooked chicken for the pot pies I'm making), I sat down to ponder (while singing in my "in-my-mind-I'm-a-Rockstar" harmonizing voice...which I'm glad no one is around to hear b/c it might hurt their ears) my week with what has been brewing in my heart and mind.
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!

It's Hot In Here!

That was a song by Nelly a few years back (one of Jeffrey's favorite songs). Last weekend, the boys started soccer. Neither of them are too jazzed about playing but we made a family rule: Fall is Soccer and Spring is Baseball. We just wanted to make them do something that required exercise. No offense, baseball has SOME athletic benefits but cardiovascular...not so much. It wasn't good for the "soccer cause" that it was super hot outside this weekend. They both would prefer playing indoor soccer...unfortunately, the indoor field has been permanently closed...we are bummed, too! Here are some pics from Saturday:

Who I Admire

My nephew, Graham (who is in 7th grade), had to write an essay about who he admired. Read what he wrote:

English, 4

Graham *****

September 12, 2007

My Cousin Sawyer

My cousin, Sawyer ****, is one of my favorite people to hang out with. He is autistic, but he’s just like you and me on the inside. My cousin is energetic, caring, and lives life to the fullest, and he would die for me no matter what, and I know I would do the same for him.

Sawyer is energetic, he will run around wherever he is and laugh, and try to fight like a power ranger. He challenges me to many battles, some I come out on top, and others I do not. He will also chase every dog in sight, he doesn’t always catch them but he can get very close. There was one instance where he chased my dog all around our yard for about five minutes, the dog started slowing down, but Sawyer kept on going. Eventually, he caught up to my dog, and celebrated with a little nap.

He is caring, Sawyer can be very hyper, but other times he will calm down and watch TV with us or whatever we are doing. There are some occasions where, coincidentally they are all on my bad days, he sits down right next to me and scratches my back with out being told to or anything, he just does it out of his love for every one.

Sawyer lives his life to the fullest. To most, being autistic is a curse. To my family and me, it is probably one of the greatest blessings ever. We just live our life how we are supposed to, Sawyer lives his unbelievably wonderful. He runs around all day having the time of his life, while doing anything! Anything he does he does it as hard as he can, and enjoys life like it should be enjoyed.

Again, my cousin Sawyer is energetic, loving, and lives life to the fullest. If we all lived like Sawyer, this world would be a much better place for us to live, happy, care for each other, and enjoy the limited time we have on this earth.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Update on Big No No

Here is what I wrote to the boy's (who I am calling * to save identity) mom:

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.

When I talked to * about it (at school today)…I just didn’t want to hurt his feelings (or yours) that I brought it up. I just didn’t want them calling each other names (even in fun). I hope you agree…feel free to call my children on their behavior any time!!

Again, I hope I didn’t hurt * by bringing it up and I should have stayed out of it. My “mama bear” instinct kicked in.

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:
It is amazing that you emailed about this. We did not know until in the car ride home last night that * had called Jake "chubby". (His dad) immediately told him it was hurtful to call people names.....he's told (his dad) before that he was "big" and that did not go over well with daddy! I think we've nipped it in the bud and I'm absolutely fine and think its appropriate for you to handle talking to him too. I would have done the exact same shows how much you care about * by showing him the right way to treat friends. Thank you!

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 is time this mama bear loosens her grip...God's got His grip on I can release mine!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Big No No

Today I did a BIG No No.
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 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 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 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?

What do you do with your time??? days are flying by. I don't know how I am staying so busy (and NO...I have not gone to lunch every day with friends or gone shopping).
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.
Here is a picture of the boys looking at "the tallest building I've ever seen" (quote by Will)

On Sunday, we met over at Jeffrey's brother's house to hang out with the whole family. The boys spent the night and had a cousin sleepover (and we've been paying for the exhaustion ever since). Jeffrey and I had a date night...went to Garden Ridge and Pei Wei. We were redecorating our room this is looking much better! I absolutely love doing projects with my husband...I don't like doing them alone!
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!!!
(Notice the hair is better...not great but better!)

On Wednesday, I picked the boys up early from school (after helping Mrs. Williams cut out bears for Bear cutting skills are not very strong but I am getting better) to take Jake to his check up for his finger. The NEVER ENDING DOCTOR'S VISIT (1 1/2 hours) ended by us seeing the doctor for 5 minutes to tell us that Jake is fine and he can get back to his normal activities. Why did it take 1 1/2 hours to tell us that! Ugh!
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 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 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!