Monday, November 26, 2007

History of Round Top

20 years ago, our family started to go to Round Top. Round Top is a town (population 77) but we call the Round Top Retreat "Round Top". The Retreat started many years ago by Nick & Euphanel Goad. They had a house on some property in Round Top. People would ask if they could come stay at their house to get away from Houston. Maybe they were having marriage problems or stress...they just needed to get away. So, the Goads decided to put another house on the property...and then another...and then finally built the "Big House" (which is approximately 20,000 square feet). They moved to Round Top (from Houston) to run the Retreat full time.
My dad was a Singles' Minister at Houston's First Baptist Church. There were many families who didn't want to go home to family at Thanksgiving or didn't have family to go home to. There were also Single Adults who didn't have options either. So, we began celebrating Thanksgiving at Round Top. There could be up to 150 people for the meal and everyone brought their favorite Thanksgiving "side" to share. We've had so many great memories. Now, the Thanksgivings include the "core" families that started it 20 years ago and there were probably only 50 there this year. We've grown older and still enjoy the nostalgia and peacefulness that Round Top brings. There is always football on the front lawn, football watching in the back room, people enjoying conversations in the dining room or on the front porch in a rocking chair, and relaxation. Oh...and always a movie to go to in Brenham on Thanksgiving night and eating at Royer's on Wednesday night (YUMMY!).
My kids have loved Round Top. Will cried the night before we had to leave. They were the only children there but what fun they had! They couldn't wait to get there this year and are already talking about next year...just like I did 20 years ago!

Deceptively Delicious

My parents sent me a new cookbook called "Deceptively Delicious" to help me with mealtimes around our house. I don't know about your house, but my house doesn't like veggies (including my husband)!! Fruit is great but anything GREEN...YIKES!!!
Jessica Seinfield came out with this smart book which has you puree veggies and fruits into kid friendly meals. Genius!
So, I spent an hour or so baking and pureeing yesterday. I made two different muffins (Applesauce and Peanut butter with Banana) and neither one was a big hit! Ugh! The didn't like the "seeds" on the Applesauce Muffins (which were oats). The peanut butter ones looked "icky". Oh, Lord...please help me!
This morning, I tried again with scrambled eggs with cauliflower. Not good. They even smelled bad to me! I tried them and would concur...yuck!
BUT, I'm not giving up! There are several more recipes I want to try. Tonight will be another test! I'm headed to the grocery store. Wish me luck!

Sexiest Weatherman

(You'll have to turn off the music from the slide below to get the full funny!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

November In A Nutshell... has been over 2 weeks since my last post. I think I'm still recuperating from Fall Festival!
Soccer is over and now we have our Saturdays back. Almost 2 weeks ago Alexy from Penza, Russia was in town and we were able to go to dinner with him. He and his wife stayed with us a few years back and it is always a treat to see him! They are returning at the end of December and may stay with us again. They work with orphans by helping them assimilate to "real life" when they get out on their own (i.e. how to cook, relationships, taking care of children, etc.).
Jake had his Turkey Feast and he looked so cute! The turkey was in the stuffing and he seemed a little confused in the lunch line. He tried it, though.
We headed to Houston last Sunday. We got to see Papa teach in The Woodlands and then have lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (Will's favorite) with the Aulds and my college roommate, Eileen. The Woodlands is so stinkin' cool! We rode on the water taxi and walked around.
On Monday, we got to have lunch with two of my high school friends and their kids. So fun!
On Tuesday, we went ICE SKATING! It was great! After skating, we headed to Round Top, Texas (population 77) where we have spent Thanksgiving for most of the past 20 years.
Wednesday's weather was beautiful and the boys enjoyed playing soccer, football, and riding their bikes.
Thanksgiving was a bit chilly so we didn't get out very much to play. We did, however, go in town (to Brenham) to see Enchanted (which I loved...because I'm cheesy and that is OK!).
Friday, the boys went with Jeffrey to March In at Texas A & M (and I stayed back to shop with my mom in Brenham).
We came home yesterday. The boys were so sad. Will cried and wrote a sweet note to my parents and the owners of the Retreat Center...all on his own! We didn't even tell him too! Amazing!
So...that, my friend, is what we've been a nutshell!

Funny Card from my birthday...


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Apostle Paul

I have a confession to make...
10 years ago I did a bible study called Bible Study Fellowship. We studied Romans and I didn't like it. I like the bible study and the people it in but I didn't like Paul (the writer of the book). I found him to be arrogant and brash. I know...I shouldn't admit that but it is true.
Craziest thing...
I'm studying Romans again. This time, it is an abbreviated version of what Community Bible Study is doing. Basically BSF and CBS are the exact thing.
Can I tell you how much I'm enjoying it? Not once have I thought that Paul is arrogant or brash. I have been humbled and have learned so much! I guess that is what was meant when it is written "God's word will not return void." God is teaching me so much and changing my insides. Not only has he changed the way I view Paul, He has also changed the way I view myself. Whew! I need some work...I'm finding out I'm quite brash and arrogant myself...but not in Paul's loving, Christlike way!

Finding Myself

No...I'm not leaving my family to go "find myself". It is just kind of the stage I am in right now. It has nothing to do with my relationship with Christ, either. I know WHO I AM and WHOSE I AM. It just has to do with Who I Am apart from my children.
As you know, I'm solo most of the day these days. It is a weird feeling! For 7 1/2 years I had someone who was attached to me for almost all of the time. I remember how weird I felt becoming a mom. It was so odd. I didn't have my job any more for my identity. I was now a mom and I didn't know what this new identity would feel like. It was a hard adjustment to say the least.
So, now I am in the same predicament. I have a new identity...Stay-at-home-Elementary-Children- Mom. I now am figuring out that I can do some of the things I haven't been able to do in the past 7 1/2 years. I can take Guitar Lessons (I haven't done that yet but I'm working on finding a teacher). I can play tennis (started that last week...played 3 times this week). I can go have lunch with friends whatever day I want and not have to rush (oops...did that a few too many times last week). I can volunteer at the school (I'm helping with this amazing program the school is doing called Motor Lab and just finished Fall Festival...whew! I'm tired!). I can go to bible study without worrying about how long it takes from my day. I can workout at home without interruption.
So many new experiences! Most days I feel guilty about being able to "Find Myself". I wish Jeffrey had the same opportunity but maybe his identity didn't change as much as mine did. I don't know...
I just know I'm enjoying this time.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Great Article...

Ok...if you've been married for a while you know you CAN NOT change your spouse. If you've been a human being for a while, you know you CAN NOT change other people's actions. This is a great article my friend found to help urge others to change without cramming it down their throats! These are helpful ways to help others change to a healthy lifestyle. I need to do these things more often in my life if I'm to be an example...

Help Your Loved Ones Stay Healthy

Random Acts of Fitness, Nutrition and Health
-- By Mike Kramer, Staff Writer

If you’re not comfortable with talking to loved ones about the touchy subjects of health and weight loss, you can still help them lead healthier lives by practicing “random acts of fitness.” There are dozens of small things you can do every day to make healthy living as easy as possible. Sometimes, you end up helping create good habits without them even realizing it.

And in the true spirit of being a positive force, when you give your time and energy with any of these random acts, you get just as much in return.

Some ideas (in random order of course):
Keep a variety of foods in the kitchen.
Make sure you talk to them about other things besides weight loss and fitness.
Stock kitchen with healthy cookbooks, leaving them where people can find them.
Get the junk food out of the house.
Plan an active activity after dinner.
Make it a habit to play outdoor games together.
Plan a cooking date.
Cook at least three times a week for the household.
If you already cook, cook healthier foods for the family.
Maintain an upbeat attitude.
Invite them to take part in a fundraiser that supports something important to all of you.
Get a physical and urge them to do the same.
Give “active” gifts, like personal training packages, a bicycle, roller blades, etc.
Make a bet.
Use positive language all the time.
Be straight up and let them know you’re concerned about their health.
Start a garden that you can work on together.
Plan a “surprise” hike.
Suggest walking more than driving.
Take everyone on a canoe trip.
Make their exercise a priority. Wash their gym clothes without being asked, do a chore for them so they have time. Make it easy for them.
Sneak healthy snacks and a friendly note (maybe even a love note) into their lunch, briefcase, jacket pocket or purse.
Prepare their favorite dish in a healthier way.
Opt for activities as an excuse to spend time together.
Ask them to help you stay on track.
Turn off the TV and hide the remote.
Give big, positive attention to changes that are made.
If it’s your turn to pick, choose a healthy restaurant or one that’s within walking distance.

Friday, November 02, 2007

"You're Fired"

(To quote Donald Trump)

Yes, I was FIRED! The P.C. (politically correct) term is "Terminated". Yes, I was terminated from my substitute teaching for LISD. I'm not kidding!! I was fired before I even started! They said because I didn't sub the whole month of October (I've been busy...not sure with what...but I really have), they needed to terminate my employment. I've never been fired before. It was pretty funny!
Thank goodness for MDB. At least I didn't need the substitute job...I have enough coming in from MDB to make Jeffrey happy (and pay for Christmas presents...yippee)!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween

We had friends over last night for "Cheap Pizza" and Fun!
Here was me getting ready for the party:(Yes, I am cleaning the toilets. I thought it was appropriate. It really shows who I really am! Hee! Hee!) I am wearing the hat the boys bought me for Mother's Day last year. It is a Disney Princess appropriate. Don't you think?

Here are all the was wild to say the least!!! The boys are dressed as Obi Wan and Luke Skywalker (Jedi from Star Wars...if you didn't know who that was). I made the capes this past summer with my mom. The rest was just put together. Why are they so stinkin' cute?

We were so tired afterwards. I think we went to bed around 9...which felt like 1am! We were out of candy pretty quick this year. Fun times!