La Navidad

I haven’t blogged in over a year, but tonight I suddenly feel like blogging because the guys are watching a movie in the “man cave” and I have the house to myself. There’s a fire in the fireplace and a chocolate cake in the oven.

It’s Christmas time, which in past years meant we set up a Christmas tree in the living room and after a few days, carried it to one of the bedrooms because of Tilly. She’s worse than a cat. She thinks it’s a snack tree. She doesn’t bother the plastic Hallmark ornaments, but she loves the wooden ones. There are teeth marks in the manger scene made of olive wood. She destroyed one of the ornaments Roman made when he was little. Last year, she even threw back a glass ornament, until she realized that was a bad idea.

So this year, we put the tree up in Roman’s bedroom for safekeeping because it’s the only room with any space left and we still wanted a tree. But that only works if you remember to keep the door closed. Which he doesn’t. Rick hates open doors anyway. (“How many times are you going to have the dog’s ass on your pillow before you learn to close the door?!”)

I love celebrating Christmas–it’s the beginning of the redemption story! So even though I cannot handle the crowded stores, I celebrate!

This weekend was Roman’s birthday celebrations, Julian’s baptism Sunday, and a family reunion. Therefore, my brain was running in all directions and I made some mistakes.

  1. I was trying to finish the decorating projects I’ve had going all summer that have bled into fall. Everything was great: The ceilings, walls, and doors look so much cleaner and prettier now. We got a new mirror and faucet for the bathroom, which looks good. But I had to take it a step further, and it was a step too far. I decided to spray paint all the doorknobs so they would match our light fixtures and ceiling fans that I spray painted before. I did just one inconspicuous doorknob to see if it would work, and it worked beautifully. So I began all the others. But some of those had stripped screws and were not coming off. So I had to tape them off and spray paint them on the door, which made an enormous mess. I frequently forgot which ones were wet and put my hand on wet paint. Some of the doorknobs would not go back on. And Rick was teasing me silently. I was laughing so hard I was on the floor, because at that point, what else can you do? I had company coming in days, and none of the doors had knobs on them. Well, one. The stupid first one. But now that the project is done, I’m glad I did it.
  2. When I invited the family to Julian’s baptism, I accidentally told them that church started at 11:45 instead of 10:45, and didn’t realize it until yesterday, so people were running late. We were going to see if we could delay the baptism until later in the service, but then Julian started to cry. He got nervous about the water and all the people. We believe baptism should be when the child is ready and they should want to do it, so while we tried to talk him into going through with it, we didn’t push him, and still he refused. Maybe when he’s older. Roman has always been an old soul, but not Julian.
  3. After church the whole family (20 people) were invited to our house for lunch. I ordered some pizzas from Domino’s on my phone, but sent the order to the wrong location, so when Rick went to pick up the pizza, they did not have the order; the other store did.

But some things went according to plan. Roman loved his laser tag birthday party. Put together his friends, his cousins, guns, and pizza, and he’s happy. I can’t believe my handsome boy is twelve years old now. It’s his last year before he becomes a teenager. And he is the most kind, intelligent, funny boy. I love him.DSC_0024[1] DSC_0016[1] DSC_0030[1]

Also, it’s been one year since we adopted Tilly. On her adoption day she had to be outside or in her crate because she’s the Tasmanian devil when people come over, and we didn’t want her to knock children over or steal food. By evening she was pretty offended. But she was happier when I gave her a present: a tug-of-war turtle toy. She immediately grabbed it and took it outside to play with it. Then she took it to bed with her and slept with it next to her head. This morning I gave her a sausage, and she forgives us for restraining her all of yesterday.

Nieces, Food, and God


Usually I wait until after a special weekend to blog about it, but today I’m doing it before. I’m excited because we’re going to St. Louis to visit lots of our siblings and little nieces–Ellen, Clara, and Lyla. And I hope tiny new Audrey is born the same weekend so I can meet her. It will be any day now. I can’t wait to hold her and kiss her! I love soft little baby hair (or soft little bald heads, whatever the case may be) and bitty little fingers with dimples in them.


Yesterday I had donuts for breakfast, and all day I felt tired and sad. Today I had an egg, a piece of Ezekiel toast, and half a banana, and I felt much better. I have to say the taste of the donuts was definitely worth it–we love St. George’s donuts. It’s our snow day tradition–Rick treats us to donuts. But I couldn’t do it every day.

Last night I dreamed about a feast–lasagna, pizza, sweet potatoes, etc.! I woke up happy and can’t wait for dinner.


I spent my morning at work reading about world religions. So interesting! I’m learning about the differences and similarities between my beliefs and those of people from other cultures. For me it boils down to one thing: From the beginning of time people have been searching for God and God has been looking for a relationship with people. It seems we can’t be satisfied until we find God.


I’m not one to micromanage my every step, and here’s why: When I timed myself today, I was disappointed to find that it took me nearly 12 minutes to run one mile. So I ran another one, and that one took 11 minutes. I guess it takes a while to oil up the muscles. I didn’t time the third mile because half of it was walking. I could have kept going, but I didn’t want to. So: I can run for a long time, but only very slowly. I can understand why because of my high school physics teacher. She did an experiment where she measured the students and timed us running up some steps, to show the relationship between size, power, and speed (or something like that). Then she compared me to one of the bigger students (pick any kid), and explained that my slow speed was due to my small size. At the time it hurt my feelings (because for some reason humans like to be average as well as special, and I wanted to be the same size as everyone else). Now, I don’t care about stuff like that. (Yay for the forties!) ALL that to say I’m probably not going to time my runs anymore. Exercise is supposed to be relaxing. What is your favorite way to exercise?

One Songwriter’s Explanation of John 3:16

Sometimes I get in one of my “Nobody cares about me; nobody likes me” moods. I know that isn’t true, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Sometimes it gets dark anyway. Well today I heard this song sung by Third Day:

I’ve heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one He loves
How many times has He broken that promise
It has never been done
And I’ve never climbed the highest mountain
But I walked the hill of Calvary

Just to be with you, I’ll do anything
There’s no price I would not pay
And just to be with you, I’ll give everything
And I would give my life away

And I’ve heard it said that a man would swim the ocean
Just to be with the one He loves
All of those dreams are an empty emotion
It can never be done
I’ve never swam the deepest ocean
But I walked upon the raging sea

Just to be with you, I’ll do anything
There’s no price I would not pay
And just to be with you, I’ll give everything
And I would give my life away

And I know that you don’t understand
The fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sins
And I know that you don’t realize
How much that I gave you
And I promise, I would do it all again

And just to be with You, I’ve done everything
There’s no price I did not pay no
Just to be with You, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away, I gave my life away

Just to be with You
Oh, just to be with You
Oh, just to be with You


And it helped!

All Dogs Go To Heaven

DSC_0116[1]Fourteen years ago when I acquired four pets, all about the same age and lifespan, I knew that it would get hard around now. We had to put Lucy to sleep yesterday. She was having digestive problems on top of her diabetes and arthritis, and when the vet saw a mass in her digestive tract, we decided to let her skip the hardest part of her decline, and let her go with dignity. Rick told me she died quickly and peacefully next to him, and that’s all I want to know. When we got her last x-rays back, it happened to be a time when my entire family would be together, so they and Lucy got to say goodbye to each other at two family parties. So I’m not the only one who cried over her. And the money we are saving on treating her diabetes will go to Roman’s cello lessons.

Texas 2014

I saw my first 85 mph speed limit sign on August 2nd in Texas. I said, “Eighty-five miles an hour? No, thank you!” I can barely hold it together at 70 mph. Late that afternoon we checked into our bed and breakfast in a Greek revival home in downtown San Antonio. Upon entering the house and seeing the dark woodwork with the elegant furniture, Roman said, “Mom, I bet you five bucks that if I asked you to upgrade our house to this, you would say no.” (He’s right.) A little later he said, “Wow, this is amazing,” and still later, “Man, you gotta love a bed and breakfast.” I think he could get used to luxury!

The boys were at their happiest when they were watching Phineas and Ferb on Netflix while drinking the Coke and Sprite they got out of the small refrigerator in our room. You would think that was the only reason they took this trip: to watch Netflix and drink pop, something they can do at home.

Our first meal in San Antonio was at Tito’s, a Mexican restaurant down the road from the B&B. I discovered that authentic Mexican food is not as spicy as Tex Mex. It was a pleasure to be able to eat without tongue pain! Ironically, the boys ordered cheeseburgers, which were delicious.

On August 3rd we enjoyed our first breakfast: fruit compote, blueberry pancakes, and sausages. The innkeeper alternates between sweet and savory breakfasts, and each day there is a story about how the recipe came about. I ate my fruit and Roman’s; my pancakes and Julian’s. I can’t keep that up! At least we walked some every day. 

When the housekeeper was making the beds, she lifted up my son’s pillow and found a kleenex graveyard: about 15 rumpled up kleenexes under the pillow. She said, “Whoa, Mr. Sneeze-a-lot!” We told the kid to pick up his kleenexes, but the lady said, “Don’t worry about it,” and quickly picked them up with her bare hands. I think he was sufficiently embarrassed because he didn’t leave used kleenex under his pillow again the whole week.

We took a bus tour of San Antonio; went to a wax museum and a mirror maze, which made Roman dizzy; had a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches downtown; and took a long hot walk through the market square. I would have liked to shop, but I know the boys would have lynched us if we had, so we just walked through it and back “home.” 

The wax museum was creepy, of course. The worst part was the horror section with the hanging body bags, and it was made worse when somebody cropdusted and I had no choice but to walk through the cloud. Roman’s favorite part was the display of Jesus’ passion week. He said it was “intense.”

The best part of the day was the cave tour we took in the evening. The whole park was beautifully landscaped. It was easy to forget you were in a hot, dry place with all the greenery around us. I thought the cave would be chilly, so I made everyone take a jacket, but with the humidity, it was warm. The warmth increased when the walk up became strenuous. 

The boys bought souvenirs. It was so cute and so typical of each of them: Julian bought himself a keychain that said “The Boss.” Then when Roman paid for his own keychain, he dropped all his disorganized dollar bills all over the floor. There isn’t much that kid does neatly. 

Julian had a little case of swimmer’s ear. He was talking unnecessarily loud, and every time someone said something, he would say, “WHAT?” 

On August 4 we went to Splashtown, a water park like White Water, but not as nice. We saw a cockroach and some hair in the wave pool. But in spite of the grossness, we had a great time. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. The only reason we got out of the water was because a certain little redhead needed more sunscreen. The boys did not want to get out, but as soon as they did, they realized how tired they were and were ready to go home. We went to an Italian restaurant because our innkeeper, admittedly a foodie, recommended their pizza (but nothing else). The pizza was definitely worth it. And we ate and slept very well after a day in the sun.

On August 5 we saw the Alamo movie at the IMAX theater and then toured the Alamo. It was much smaller than I thought it would be. But I learned a piece of history, even if it was about 30 years late.  Julian was irate with his father for making him put sunscreen on. He emerged from his sunscreen application experience scowling, with his hair sticking up and his face redder than his hair. He complained all the way to the museum about walking in the sun: “You don’t care about me at all! You need to start caring about me!” Rick rolled his eyes, and I could hardly control my laughter. Julian yelled, “Stop laughing!” I stopped. Then he screamed, “Stop laughing in your mind!” He did not calm down until we hit some air conditioning and he could sit down and rest. 

Grandma joined us that afternoon. After eating some leftovers and resting, we went to Villita to look at the artists’ work. We went to Tower of the Americas. I liked the view and we were going to eat appetizers at Happy Hour, but we left because it was crowded and dizzying. Instead Grandma treated us to dinner at a BBQ restaurant. The place was nothing fancy, but the meat tasted good! We walked on the Riverwalk, then watched a movie with popcorn and brownies, compliments of the B&B. 

We started August 6 with a boat tour of the Riverwalk, then we visited the museum of Texan cultures. I was museumed out by then, but I did enjoy the string- and fabric-making demonstration by an elderly lady. When she finished demonstrating how to turn cotton into string, she said, “Well, you can’t just wear a string,” and she showed us how to weave that string into fabric. 

We walked to the Market Square to shop. My mother-in-law is a good shopping buddy – she enjoys it instead of complaining like the boys do, so I bought a few things. We had dinner at Mi Tierra. It was the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. I loved my chalupas. The place was loud and garishly decorated, with shiny, colorful pinatas hanging on the ceiling and lights everywhere. There was nothing muted about the place. Like a grownups’ Chuck E. Cheese. We were just glad the Mariachi band didn’t come to our table. After dinner, Grandma bought the boys dessert at the Mexican bakery. They had the pastries my grandmother used to buy us when I was little! I watched a street magician perform, then we walked back on the Riverwalk, when the heat finally lifted. I enjoyed the luxury of pound cake with lemon drizzle at the Bed and Breakfast, that I got from a crystal dish in the  entry. I miss that. Nobody bakes for me at home 🙂

On August 7 we went to the art museum to see the Matisse exhibit, then to the Witte museum of natural history. Julian woke up a prairie dog and we watched it crawl through its artificial underground tunnels. Then we felt like we couldn’t hold any more information in our heads, and we let the boys chill in the room, watching TV with their favorite beverage in hand. After pizza for dinner, Rick and I had a little date on the Riverwalk, to say “goodbye” to it. We spent Friday and Saturday at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where the boys played with their Texas cousins and we got ready for the long drive home.