Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dead-eye Dustin

Keith's Dad, Ken, passed down his .222 Remington Rifle to Dustin for Christmas this year and we bought him a case to put it in, put a bow on it and put it under the tree. He asked Santa for a gun, case and a day hunt. He must have been a really good boy this year because he got all three!

It's New Year's Eve 2009 and Dustin is in the deer stand in Moffat with Keith. Ken has been feeding deer behind his house all year so it was likely they would see at least one deer today. The first deer he saw was a 4 point, but it saw him and got a little spooked and went too deep in the woods by the time Dustin got his gun up. Next a doe came out and started walking toward the feeder. Dustin was trying to get his gun up and he realized he was not high up enough so he got on Keith's leg. By now, the doe turned back around and started heading back into the woods. Keith told him to pop it if he wanted it and Dustin's shot was dead on. It only took one bullet to drop the doe dead where it stood.

Dustin was very happy and excited and could not wait to tell everyone. He called Grandpa Ken on the walkie talkie, me, uncle William, Maw Maw and John Bailey. They gutted the deer and took it to Green's Sausage House for processing and of course had to tell everyone there that they knew. It will be another week or so before he gets the meat back and is looking forward to having his first chicken fried back- strap from his own deer.

We are very proud of our little hunter. Way to go Dustin!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Visit with Santa

Santa came to visit the kids at our religious education class last night. Kids from small to extra large got to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Santa gave everyone a coloring book and chocolate candy and wished that everyone's wishes come true.

Rachel: I want bendaroos (retail $15)

Courtney: I want a Nintendo DSi (retail $150)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Homemade Noodles and Persimmon Bread

My conversion from Software Engineer to Domestic Engineer is coming along quite well. I am enjoying spending time in the kitchen with the kids making things from scratch. This month we made Chicken Noodle Soup with homemade egg noodles like Grandma used to make and Persimmon Bread.

Ok, so I'm stretching the truth a bit... I just wanted to play with my new rolling pin my brother made me out of mesquite wood. And, boy did I like it! Thank you William!!!

The persimmon bread was fun to make too. Sandra and Melvin Haisler gave me some persimmons and they looked really pretty sitting in the bowl on the bar. Finally, they started getting ripe so I figured I should do something with them besides throw them out. I found a recipe on the internet and it turned out to be a good one. I saved the seeds from the persimmons so maybe we will plant them and have our own tree some day. Thanks for the persimmons, Melvin!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Courtney!

Call me brave or just plain crazy, but we had a great time with Courtney this year for her 7th birthday. Eight of her friends were able to join her at the house for pizza, cupcakes and a sleepover. They had fun with the karaoke machine taking turns being stars on the mic while they took turns getting thier nails painted, had a pillow fight that lasted forever and then watched "Shorts" and "Akeelah and the Bee" before crashing for the night. Rachel joined the girls so we had 10 of them sleeping out in our little aggieland upstairs. Keith fixed breakfast for them while I got a few more zzz's and had them all around the new dining room table with their cereal of choice.

The girls all looked like they had a good time and Courtney thanked me for everything with a big hug and kiss. I enjoyed every minute of it and would do it again in a heart-beat.

Thanksgiving 2009

We started out this Thanksgiving season with dinner at Kelli and John's house on Sunday, November 22nd. We joined Kelli, John, Matt, Sara, Travis and Elizabeth for a quiet afternoon of food and fun. Courtney got a trivia game for her birthday and it gained lots of attention to see if we could answer the 1st grade trivia questions.

We had a delicious roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, carrots and rolls. And for dessert a delicious banana blueberry pie and chocolate chip cookies. Thank you John and Kelli for inviting us, preparing the meal and sharing this day with your family.

Don't worry, Sara. I think I took enough pictures for both of us, although somehow your Dad disappeared when the camera came out. I didn't get any pictures of him cooking the roast or washing the dishes!

Matt and Elizabeth hanging out in the kitchen.

Dustin and Elizabeth busy at work building their creations. I think they traded creations ;)

Sara and Travis posing for the perfect picture.

Brain Quest... not sure who was winning here!

Kelli and her favorite girls.

Then it was on to Thanksgiving Day at my house. We had my brother William and his family Misty, William and Wyatt in from Spring, TX and Keith's Mom, Norma and Don over for a delicious meal, if I have to say so myself. This was my first holiday meal on the grand scheme prepared in my new kitchen. I enjoyed every minute of the preparation which started Sunday night boiling chicken for the dressing. We had a honey baked ham (thank you Don!!!), homemade dressing Cyclone-style topped with whole cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, candied sweet potatoes, noodles Wesphalia-style, and rolls. And for dessert there was cheesecake covered with a berry medley and pecan pie (thank you Judy!!!). Later we made a pumpkin pie too just to satisfy the craving.

For supper, I made a pot of chili, cornbread and had chips and queso to enjoy while watching the Texas A&M vs. #3 t.u. football rivalry game. The aggies put up a tough fight but fell short in the end on defense. It was a great game and set an all-time high scoring rivalry game record of 49-39. Better luck next year!

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us. Normally we are running from house to house trying to visit with everyone, but this was a nice change being able to relax at home having family visit with us. Thanks again, Misty, for helping me with all the clean-up and making the pumpkin pies.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday William and Wyatt

We drove to Cut & Shoot, just East of Conroe, today for William and Wyatt's birthday party. They had the party in the pavilion and party room at the city park that William and Wyatt helped to build their playground. Wyatt turned 9 in October and William turns 10 next week. The boys are getting so big!

We had fun at the party. The kids played hockey under the pavilion and big William cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Misty had everything decorated hockey style and gave they boys tickets to the Houston Aeros hockey game tomorrow. Dustin played "Happy Birthday" on his clarinet as we all sang in celebration.

The after-party included go-kart riding for all the kids which is always lots of fun. They all got a little muddy and wet, but we took towels to wipe them off before the long ride back home.

Big William's workshop is right next door to the park, so we went to the shop to find a nice surprise that William and the boys have been working on. They built me a 9' x 4' dining room table out of Wamara and Pecan wood. It is beautiful. They will be finishing it up and bringing it to me on Thanksgiving Day so we can break it in with style. William does not make chairs so I will need to find some chairs to go around it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hit n Run Fall Bash 8U Tournament Champions

This fall we were able to get Courtney and Rachel tryouts for a few select teams. We decided to go with a team out of West named S.W.A.T. Softball With Attitude Team 8U because they wanted both girls on the team, even though Rachel will only be eligible to play with them until the end of December when she has to move up to 10U.

On November 1st, the team participated in the Monster Mash tournament in Temple and took 4th place. Not bad for their first tournament as a brand new team. On November 7th, they played in the Hit n Run Fall Bash tournament in Temple and came home with the 1st place team trophy. They played 7 games, with the last two being the most exciting. They lost their first bracket game of the day which put them in the loser's bracket so they had to fight back all day to come back and beat the team that they first lost to. It was such a sweet victory!

We are so proud of this team of girls, and it is especially joyful watching both Rachel and Courtney play together on the same team. Rachel has become such a leader with these girls and is breaking Courtney in to take over when she leaves. They are calling out where the next play is to be made and reminding the others of how many outs. They really have a good sense of where they are in the game.

Congratulations girls and S.W.A.T.!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween was so much fun this year. We started out trick or treating at St. Joseph's church in Cyclone after Mass. There were about 12 cars lined up with their trunks open and full of sweets. The kids got to go trunk to trunk to get their treats. Some of the trunks were even decorated spooky to get in the spirit. From there we drove to Aunt Kelli's house and then Anne and Charles house for more treats. Sandra and Melvin Haisler and their grand-daughter Amya, joined us for the door to door fun which led us to Rogers where they showed us where are the spooky houses were. We met up with a hobo and the kids decided to give him some candy, you know, for charity. He was very greatful and even allowed us to take his picture.

When we got back home, we made spooky Halloween cakes with fudge swirl and milk chocolate frosting. Rachel and Courtney had a lot of fun helping (i.e., licking the bowl). They turned out cute and were pretty yummy too. I think Courtney ate the most, of course.

Friday, October 30, 2009


After working in the public for 25 years, I have decided to retire to be a full time Mom. For the last 12 years I have worked with three ex-IBMers as they grew from Team Tech International to Applied Theory and now Alliance Tech. It has been a whirlwind of learning, fun and stressful times and I'm ready to slow down. The kids are getting so involved in their after school activities and homework and they need me more than ever now.

On October 1st, I met with the owners of Alliance Tech and turned in my resignation. It was a very difficult decision for me as I have become a very valuable resource to the company and really like what I do which is software development. I am giving Alliance Tech a two month notice to ease the transition and will finally be free beginning December 1st.

I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. There are so many things I want to accomplish for myself, the kids, Keith and the new house.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I haven't read any books in about 15 years, at least. This summer I decided to start reading again. My friend, Angela, has been bringing me books to read and I've found a couple of others along the way. I am really enjoying this and want to quit my job so I can read all day long! Maybe I will... hmmmm. Seriously, I think Joanne prompted me to start reading from her blog post plus I needed something to do to satisfy some well deserved ME time. It can't be all about the kids and Keith, you know. So, if you want to recommend a good book for me to read, please send me a comment on it. I have created a list below my Facebook badge of the ones I have already read. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Surprise

Keith just sent me a beautiful bouquet of roses thanking me for his birthday weekend. That was so sweet! I am so lucky!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Secret's Out

Keith was quite surprised when he found out the surprise golf included a night's stay at Barton Creek Resort in Austin and a round of golf on their Fazio Canyons course. The course was absolutely beautiful and in perfect condition. Our golf game, on the other hand, left much to be desired. We had a great time though, just taking in the sun, scenery and each other.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy 42nd Birthday Keith!

For any of you who know Keith in the slightest, you will know that he has had trouble keeping a nice pair of sunglasses over the years. In fact, one month is a pretty long time for him to keep a pair in good enough shape to even wear, if he hadn't already lost them. The last pair of sunglasses Dustin bought, Keith confescated and took for his own. This pair has lasted a couple of months, but Dustin really wants them back. This motivated him to get Dad a new pair for his birthday and couldn't wait to give them to him. So last night, the kids celebrated early with their gifts of homemade bracelets, decorated cups, payday candy bars and you guessed it, a new pair of sunglasses. Dustin wanted to make sure Keith had them to wear all day on his birthday and likewise, Dustin got his back. I have a wonderful weekend planned for this weekend with Keith for our celebration. We will be having dinner at Gumbo's on Friday night in Austin. After that we will attend the theater performance of "Love, Janis" at Zachary Scott Theatre. Saturday we are playing golf at an unidentified location. It's a surprise!

Apparently, the girls in Keith's office are getting to know him pretty well. They got him a gift card at the Sunglasses Shop! They also treated him to Macaroni Grill for lunch. Boy, am I jealous now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Saturday night Phil Hanusch and his family joined us at the house for a quick tour and then we were on our way to Walburg. Phil and Laura attend church in Cypress with a friend who is the lead singer for the Slick Hiway band. They were playing at Dale's Biergarten, so we joined them for the night out. They are a very good band and sound awesome. While there, the band wanted to take a picture of all the kids that were there since this was a family establishment, much like Oscar Store. They plan to post it on their website There were tons of kids. They had a playground and a basketball court for them to entertain themselves while they weren't running around on the dance floor. Phil's mom, Lillian and Robert along with Keith's dad, Ken and Judy also met us out there along with Robert's son, Shane and his family and his daughter, Michelle and her family. It was a good time had by all. The food was good too!

Visit from the Janaks

We were surprised by a visit on Saturday by Sara, Travis and Elizabeth. We got to show them around the new house and the kids had a blast walking Elizabeth around, I mean carrying! I'm not sure how much her feet actually hit the floor. We enjoyed hearing about their remodeling efforts too. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

State Champs!

What a thrilling week we had taking Courtney and the Pixie Styx to Clifton to compete in the Texas Teenage Softball Association's t-ball state tourament. I coached the girls to an undefeated season in league, district and finally state. We run-ruled every team we played. By far, we had the best defense and offense of all the teams in the association. It worried me at first because we were not having any close games and thought we would meet our match at some point. Well, the girls were just that good! Nobody ever came close and it was such a sweet victory. Truly, a once in a life-time feeling.

We celebrated after the final game on Friday night at Clifton's Bunkhouse BBQ restaurant. Thomas Maddux arranged for them to stay open late just for us and we had the place packed with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins... you name it, they were there. Everyone enjoyed the meal sponsored in part by the RYBSA league, Andel Financial and Oscar Store. We also received enough sponsorship money from the RYBSA to buy each of the girls on the team a t-shirt from the state tournament. Thank you so much sponsors! We love you!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday Rachel!

Rachel's softball team sponsor, Kacir Construction, held a swim and pizza party for her team at Walker pool. They provided everything for the girls and their families to have a good time. Coincidentally, it is also Rachel's birthday so it was fun for her to be able to enjoy the party with her friends on her birthday, even though the party was not for "her". Thank you Carla and Kyle!

After the party, we went home to have our own little celebration where Angela, Dustin and Courtney had decorated her bedroom door earlier in the day and we had her gifts waiting for her when she arrived. She also got a razor scooter plus some blendy pens and other girly things. She loved it all. Happy Birthday Rachel!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SPJST Summer Camp

After church on Sunday, we rushed home to get the girls packed for summer camp. I had prepared most of their take-along things earlier in the week, so we really just had to pick out the clothes and throw it all in the suit cases. We loaded up the car and headed to Brownwood to the Woodmen of the World camp grounds. We met the Vaniceks in Goldthwaite to pick up Sam and Stephanie to go the rest of the way with us. They had been to a wedding in Ballinger and were headed back home so it was a good place to do the exchange and Brian and Joan needed to get to Austin for another event.

Four days of camp chocked full of swimming, crafts, and sleeping in the air conditioned cabins. Now, they weren't air conditioned when I went as a chaperone a couple of years ago or when Keith went as a child, so they were in hog heaven. Plus, we didn't have to send fans!

Tuesday around lunch time I received a call from Dustin. He was crying hysterically telling me how much he missed me and wanted to come home. Poor guy! I wanted to drop everything and go get him right that minute. I arranged with Keith so that we would leave as soon as he made it home from work. I met him in Temple and we drove and met my sister, Tammy, in Plano for supper at Boudreaux's and retrieved our precious son. He was in much better spirits and talked non-stop until he finally crashed in the seat and fell asleep. We made it back home just before midnight. Thankfully, we did not have to drive the entire trip to Caddo, OK to get him. That was very nice of Tammy to meet us part way.

The girls got to ride a charted bus home from camp on Wednesday and they were quite surprised to see Dustin was with me when we picked them up from the Supreme Lodge. They were all happy to see each other once again and had plenty to talk about with their respective trips.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


While us girls were at VBS, Keith was helping me with the bake sale we scheduled to help raise money for the trip to Clifton for the state t-ball tournament. We made 18 pints of hot salsa and I don't know how many dozen cookies. Thomas Maddux has a daughter on the team so he graciously offered to let us set up shop at his Oscar Store. They were having a birthday party at the facility with a live band and it was a great opportunity to draw in some business for our efforts. Besides having the party, the store was packed all night long with some hungry folks waiting to try out the meal at the restaurant. Thomas had just had the grand opening the weekend before, so people are still swarming to check it out. We fared well with our earnings there but still had lots of desserts leftover when we shut down business at 10pm. We took the remainder to church Sunday morning and nearly sold the rest. All total, we made $800 at the sale plus another $300 of business donations. With 12 families traveling to Clifton on a daily basis during the tournament (as long as we continue to win), this is going to help out tremendously with gas and food.

We couldn't have done it without the help of our friends and family bringing their baked goods for us to sell. I want to thank everyone that contributed either by baking or donations and Thomas for giving us the use of his store front. We appreciate you SO MUCH!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vacation Bible School

Rachel, Courtney and I spent the day at Vacation Bible School at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Cyclone (our home church). Once again, I took on the role of photographer capturing every smiling face I possibly could. This year's theme was Crocodile Dock and I tell you the teachers that volunteer their time to plan, prepare and decorate are doing a fantastic job. They transform the hall into a moment in time that corresponds with the theme and I never thought I would see a fishing boat and dock inside the hall, but indeed I did. The kids have so much fun going between music, outdoor activities, story telling, crafts and snacks with each station providing a message about God. I have to also brag on the wonderful cooks slaving over the hot stoves in the kitchen preparing the perfect meal for the occasion. The fried frog legs were out of this world and most of the kids agreed they tasted like "chicken".

After a long day in the hall, we ended the day with mass and a family supper which the cooks also prepared. During the supper is where my job comes in setting up the slideshow of all the kids pictures that I took all day on the big screen TV for all to oooh and ahhh after. This is such a great way to get the families together and let the parents see what their children were up to all day. It makes for a long day, but it is very rewarding for all.

Dustin is still in Oklahoma and we miss him!

Friday, July 10, 2009

District Playoffs

Last week was a whirl-wind of fun. Both Rachel and Courtney's teams made it to the playoffs in softball this year.

Rachel's district tournament was in Troy. She played on Monday and Tuesday and lost both games. The team had nothing to be ashamed of though. Half the team consisted of young 8 and 9 year olds that decided to move up into the 11 and under league a year early. Rachel was one of them. She played first base and did a great job.

Courtney's district tournament was in Rogers. She played on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday going undefeated after four games to win first place. Courtney (3rd base), Meghan Malcik (2nd base) and Aayliah Montalbo (1st base) made the all-tournament team along with two girls from Belton. Courtney, a.k.a. "Slugger" led the tournament with a mere 7 home runs for the week. She is so small and puts everything she has into hitting that little yellow ball.

We are now preparing Courtney's team for the TTAS State Tournament to be held in Clifton beginning on July 20th. I have taken vacation time again since I am her coach and will need to be available for scouting the other teams and getting everything ready to go to give it all we got. Wish us luck and come out and watch a game if you can. I will have the first game schedule this upcoming Sunday evening.

Congratulations Pixie Styx!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oscar Jam

Thomas Maddux has been working over the past couple of years to rebuild the Oscar Store and had it ready for its grand opening this past weekend to help celebrate the 4th of July. On Saturday, the events started early with activies for the kids, horse shoes and several live bands. We attended later in the evening and had dinner at the store. The steaks had really good flavor and the hamburgers must have been good too. The girls split one and both finished it all which rarely ever happens. After supper, we went outside into the yard where T.C. Taylor band was playing followed by Wild Horses. Thomas had a circle dance floor made out of concrete and Keith and I tried it out a few times. Keith was in heaven. He got to dance and wear shorts and sandals. While listening to the music, most people brought lawn chairs and Thomas also had some bench seats and swings and some real tailgates cut off the backend of some old pickups. It was really a neat setup. Amazingly, there were no mosquitos out either and the heat wasn't so bad after the sun went down. We plan to go back for dinner again soon.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Friday started early with our 8:30 tee time at Sammons Golf Course in Temple. I used to love playing that course. Although there is a lot of water and trees to get around, it is a fairly short course to the advantage of the red tee box. We were quite surprised and disappointed that the greens were in horrible shape. The fairways were in pretty good shape though as usual. Despite the greens, we played fairly well. Some shots better than others. We ended up only playing 9 holes and between the two of us had 5 pars. Yes, I had one of them!

We ended golf early because I had an appt I could not get out of right before lunch. So we went to the appt and then had lunch at Luby's. We were looking for some healthy food for a change and we found it. The talapia was very good. While having lunch, my sister, Tammy, called to change our plans for the rest of the day. She had decided to come to get Dustin a day early to take him to Oklahoma for a few weeks. But don't worry, there was no panic to get him packed. Dustin had been packed for at least two weeks now, anticipating the big day.

Our original plans for the evening were to have a night out with Dustin to celebrate his birthday since he would be gone on his actual birthday, July 10th. Dustin had been nagging all week to let him go to Academy so he could buy a skateboard with his own money, but I would not let him. Yet he continued to nag. I got the hint that he really wanted that skateboard. So, after lunch Keith and I went to Academy and bought the skateboard and a razor scooter and brought it back home for a quick celebration of gifts before we loaded up and headed to Gatesville.

We met Tammy at Aubrey's parents house in Gatesville to make the delivery. While we went inside to visit briefly, Dustin was outside loading his suitcase, skateboard and scooter into Tammy's truck. He was ready to go. We gave our hugs and kisses and the usual respect speech along with the "you know right from wrong and don't let your friends influence you to do wrong" speech and then they were on their merry way. We are going to miss you, Dustin!

Rachel had earned through her grades a go-cart and since we saw a Tractor Supply on the way to Gatesville, she wanted to stop and "look". We stopped but they didn't have any worth "looking" at so we went on home. When we got there, we had the usual chore of feeding the dogs. Courtney was so cute hand feeding Rowdy. For some reason, he would not eat out of the bowl and Courtney was happy to help. She didn't like the slobbers on her hand so much, but she was very patient and immediately went to wash her hands when he finished.

Keith and I tried to get in a quick nap before getting ready to go out to Tom Sefcik's Hall. Our nephew Matthew Jahns and his friend Bret Marek were playing and singing for the night. Matthew played the bass guitar while Bret sang. Occasionally Bret's Dad, Glen, would take over the bass when they played some of the "older" songs. In his younger years, Glen played with the Vrazels. They sounded really good together and we were so proud to be able to attend. Ken and Judy came out for the entertainment too and then later in the evening Kelli and John came out. There were a lot of people there and everyone was having a good time. Rachel and Courtney played pool and then Keith and I joined them for a game. After that, the competition was on. Keith beat me two out of three and I am anxious for a rematch. Ken also took a stab at it after not playing for what, at least 50 years?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 11th Birthday Dustin!

Dustin had planned a trip to visit his cousins in Caddo, Oklahoma. My sister, Tammy, was going to be in Gatesville on July 3rd to pick him up and take him home with her for the "summer". Since Dustin would be gone during his birthday, we had a quick celebration before we loaded up to take him to Gatesville. He couldn't wait for his cousins to see his new razor scooter and skateboard. He plans to stay for several weeks, but my money is on either he or I giving in way before that! We are going to miss you, Dustin. Happy Birthday and have fun!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hot Dogs and Ice Cream

The kids had their SPJST Youth Club July meeting at Flag Hall tonight. Everyone met to make sure all of the necessary paperwork was completed for summer camp. Rachel and Courtney will be going, but Dustin will be going to spend a few weeks in Oklahoma instead. Afterwards, they enjoyed hot dogs and ice cream. Looks like they were good!

Just Golfin' Around

Keith and I are both going to be off on Friday for the 4th of July holiday. We decided it would be fun to play golf again although it has been a LONG time. To get ready for the big day, we went to the driving range last night with all three kids. We were both hitting as if we hadn't missed a beat. That's usually not a good sign for the next outing! The kids had a blast too. In between shots and sometimes during shots, we would hear "Mommy, Daddy, watch me" and sometimes in unison between the three of them. They were so proud to be able to connect with the ball and they actually had a few good shots. It was fun to get out and do a family activity.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

It has been a wonderful weekend here at the ranch. When I talked to Keith on Friday for the usual "what's for supper" routine, I had it already planned out. We are going to grill steaks and steam some fresh vegetables while enjoying a glass of wine (or several). Keith got to try out the new infrared burner with the steaks and boy did they cook quick. They had really good flavor but next time he will cook them slower. The directions with the burner instructed to cook for 2 minutes each side on high. I'm glad he waited for the veggies to finish cooking before he put them on the grill! Our favorite wine wasn't available so Keith got another kind from the same region in Chile. It was OK, but kind of grew on us. Although the meal was very good, I gained most of the pleasure from being together as a family and enjoying our quiet time together.

Saturday morning came without warning as Keith awoke me at 7 am for coffee on the patio. As simple as it sounds, we plan to do this more often. Just watching the birds diving through the pillars on the patio and the bees pollenating the rogue sunflowers was very relaxing. I don't remember the last time I was so relaxed and really felt happy about it. We've been so busy here and there that we just haven't been able to enjoy each other as much as we'd like. This weekend was different.

Sunday morning started out with mass for which Dustin and Rachel were serving. This too turned to be eventful. The heat indexes here are well over 100 degrees which just drains the energy right out from underneath you. During mass, Dustin disappeared when it came time for the offertory. I wrote it off thinking he must have had to blow his nose and didn't have a tissue with him. I was relieved when he came back. But after that during the consecration of the bread and wine, he missed his queue to ring the bells as he was swaying trying to keep his balance. He rang the bell and then disappeared again. Now I knew something was not right so I went around to the sacristy to find him lying on the floor. He had gotten hot the first time and became nautious. The second time he got so dizzy he could not walk. He all but passed out. I felt so bad for him. He had not been feeling bad before this, so I really think the Texas heat got to him.

We got home from mass and had our traditional brunch of bacon, eggs, and biscuits. One of our favorite meals is breakfast and especially this one. Even Dustin made a happy plate, so I think he got over the heat episode.

Our community baseball/softball league sponsors a day at Summer Fun Water Park for all the players once a year at the end of the season and today was that day. Over the last few weeks, I have been taking the kids to swim lessons and they were ready to strut their stuff. Even Courtney is swimming like a fish. It was nice for all of us to get into the pool after such a blistering hot day. I noticed the temperature in the truck around 1:00 was already at 107 degrees and then at 5:00 it registered 114. I have never seen it this hot in June. We are hoping for a cold front soon to bring it down into the 90's!

Oh, and we did throw in some yard work this weekend. Keith spent all day Saturday and half of Sunday on the tractor moving the piles of rocks out of the yard. He did a great job and had fun with it so it wasn't so much like a chore.

The Inscription On The Door

The gospel from today's mass left an impression on me. Not that it hasn't before, but today I really felt it. The inscription on the door says it all...

Ann Jillian, a three-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress and singer, is an American actress born to Roman Catholic Lithuanian immigrant parents. In 1985 the then 35-year-old actress was diagnosed with breast cancer. On her way to the hospital to check the nature of the growth which she had noticed, she stopped at St. Francis de Sales Church and read the inscription on the door. “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” She went into the church and prayed for the strength to accept her ordeal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


My step-mother-in-law, Judy sent this poem to me today. She lost her middle child, David, this week to medical complications that were unforeseen. As I read the poem, I realized how it not only applied to Judy's unfortunate curcumstance, but to my life's journey. I'm sharing this with you as there may be someone that just needs a little lift today. It worked for me.

Today, I will delete from my journal two days: yesterday and tomorrow. Yesterday was to learn from and tomorrow...well that will be the consequence of what I can do today.

Today, I will face life with the sure knowledge that this day will never return.

Today, is the last opportunity I have to live intensely, as no one can assure me that I will see tomorrow's sunrise.

Today, I will be brave enough not to let any opportunity pass me by, my only alternative is to succeed.

Today, I will invest my most valuable resource: my time in the most transcendental work: my life...

Today, I will spend each minute passionately, to make today a different and unique day in my life.

Today, I will defy every obstacle that appears on my way, trusting I will succeed.

Today, I will resist pessimism, and will conquer the world with a smile and a positive attitude of always expecting the best.

Today, I will make of every ordinary task a sublime expression.

Today, I will have my feet on the ground understanding reality and the stars' gaze, and thus will invent my future.

Today, I will take the time to be happy and will leave my footprints and my presence in the hearts of others, not just in the sands of time.

Today, I invite you to begin a new season where we can dream that everything we undertake is possible and we fulfill that dream, with joy and dignity.

Today, why not perform a random act of kindness...?

And, if there are those that you love, tell them, you don't know when it might be your last opportunity. Tell them, as I have just

Have a good day, my friend and a better tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm back

For those of you who continue to check my blog for updates, I apologize for my tardiness! I have been sucked in to the everyday life of building our dream home and yes, finally moving in over Memorial Day weekend. I have had my nose deep in the crevices of this house and have totally neglected my family and friends over the past year. I am sorry for that and just want to let everyone know that I am back among the living.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ice Cream

Rachel came home from school today and told me she made ice cream in science lab. She was very excited about this and wanted to make some for her family. I was somewhat skeptical to let her do this so I asked her how it is made. She went into very clear detail from start to finish so I thought, why not? Dustin got the ice from the freezer and poured it into the jug. Rachel mixed the milk, salt and chocolate in the coffee can and put it into the jug. Then Dustin went to shaking the can. As he got tired shaking he would pass it to Rachel to shake for a while. Courtney even had a few shakes here and there. They must have gotten tired of shaking because next thing you know they were eating their chocolate ice cream. It was very soupy, but they enjoyed the taste and had a lot of fun making it.

What is that noise?

I kept hearing this noise coming from outside the living room window and every time I looked I could not see anything. Someone was hammering or building something. I was sure of it. Turns out after using the zoom lens I discovered the culprit up high in the pecan tree. It is so funny that I found this little guy and took his picture and today I am reading about this same thing on Karen's blog so I thought I'd post my picture (if not for anyone else but Karen!). It is definitely a woodpecker. No wonder my limbs are falling out of the trees and I thought it was from lack of rain!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Pot of Gold

Finally, some rain. I think we've accumulated about three inches in the last two weeks. This is more than we've had over the last six months. The burn ban was lifted and we're finally able to burn the construction trash pile from the new house. Last weekend we burned for two days and got about half way through the trash pile. I hope we can get some more burned this weekend, but it looks like windy days ahead of us.
Last night after a nice shower, we were presented with a beautiful rainbow to the east of the house. Rachel told me she saw the pot of gold. I told her we're going to need it to pay for this house!

The kids also brought home their report cards yesterday. The good thing is that they are all passing. Rachel brought up her "B" from last time and now has all "A"s. Dustin's scores are much more diverse and Courtney raked in all "S+"s. Dustin and Rachel also got their TAKS scores back for the reading exam. Rachel made 100% and got a commended performance score. She was the only one in her class that got all of the answers correct. She also recently doubled her AR goal which is a reading program the kids do to help them with reading comprehension. Dustin met the standard which is an improvement for him as well. We are proud of all of them for trying their best.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Farewell Vrazels Polka Band

It is no secret in East Bell County or all over the world that the Vrazels Polka Band is one of the greatest of all time. The band members live only a few miles from us and we've been entertained by them quite a few times. They have followers that travel to nearly every dance all over the state of Texas and even as far as the Czech Republic. Keith's Dad, Ken and his step-mom Judy are of that group of followers. After 55 years of entertaining the band decided to retire and held a farewell retirement dance at the Mayborn Convention Center in Temple. The dance was scheduled for Saturday, January 24th from 3:00 to 8:00 with the doors opening at 1:00. Ken and Judy stood in line for some time to get in the door early. They are so faithful! Keith and I and the kids decided to get there at about 2:30. When I asked the lady at the ticket booth for two tickets (kids got in free) she told me it was standing room only and asked if I still wanted a ticket. Are you kidding me? Of course we got the tickets and went in and mingled with the other 500 people that could not find a seat. They reported selling 1700 tickets and with half the room taking up the dance floor, it was crowded to say the least. The band played their favorite songs while a thousand people at any given time danced along. I actually got to dance to one of the songs. Thanks again, Daniel, for the dance! During the intermission, there were several groups and organizations that gave awards and tributes to the band. Ken and Judy's group of followers put together a plaque for the band members' wives that thanked them for all that they did and another for the band members. It was a very special moment for them with many teardrops falling.

We were having a great time but got kind of hungry. The concession stand hot dogs and chili did not look very appetizing or sound appealing so we left the dance and went to the Texas Roadhouse just up the road a few miles. Had a wonderful steak dinner while a Christian youth raising money for missions made balloon animals for the kids.

After dinner we went back to the dance just in time for Courtney's favorite "Polka Celebration" as the band continued playing several songs past 8:00. The band was also surprised at the turnout and thought it would be nice to give a few more songs in return. We got to visit with the band briefly and take a few photos after the crowd left. To the left above is Ken and Judy with Bernice and Alfred Vrazel (band leader). On the right is Courtney and Rachel with Tommy Strmiska (drummer). Tommy invited us to the after dance party at Tom Sefcik Hall but we decided to pass on the party and leave that to the hard-core followers. We love you, Vrazels, and will miss you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Basketball Season

It's the time of year for basketball. Both girls decided to play this year. Rachel played last year for the Academy team because she was the only girl her age from Rogers that signed up at the Ralph Wilson Youth Club. This year, Keith decided to coach her team and recruited enough girls from Rogers to make a team. There is also one girl from Academy playing with them because she was the only one that signed up from Academy (her Dad was the coach last year). Tonnia and Ricky Crow (brother and sister) are coaching Courtney's team. I learned after talking to Ricky one day that he coached Kate Jahns when he was a coach in Rosebud. Small world... These are fun times with the kids. They are building skills and playing with their friends. They are also competing against the other schools in the area that they will compete against all the way through school. They don't keep score at this age, but we really know who the winners are!

Friday, January 2, 2009

D.W.R.C.W.'s Storage Ben

It is amazing what kids can do. When my brother, William, came to the house with loads of the wood flooring for the new house, he brought his two boys William and Wyatt. Dustin had been working on a dog house out of the scraps from building the house and it kind of snowballed into making a dog house and a storage building. It was so cute watching all five of the kids working together hammering and putting together their own masterpiece. When they finished they signed their names on the dog house which they named "Buck's Racecar" and put their initials on the storage building which they called "D.W.R.C.W.'s Storage Ben". They even put hooks and nails inside to hang things on and made a counter in front so they could play store. I think they did a great job, don't you? Now, if I could just get them to do something with that pile of rocks...