Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pericope No. 11

Happy Tuesday!  I think it’s official-- TODAY-- I’ve got one foot in summer and one still in school.  We have three more weeks and then finals and it is ADIOS to school for 2-3 months and I almost get giddy thinking about it--- lazy mornings, pool with friends, Sonic drinks when it’s 1000 degrees, the lake, road trip, peaches, the smell of sunscreen and chlorine...... 

 Bring. It.  

I am so ready.

You know I make books each year out of these blog entries, and of course, the kids like the pictures-- as most people do.  They could care less about all these thousands of words I write from week to week.  For now, anyway.  I could only hope they will enjoy them later.  These “Pericope” posts are some of their favorites because they are usually in the pictures and there aren’t AS MANY words.  So I do them but for them, never often enough and so here we go with No. 11.  {It’s quite the chronicle so hang in there.} 

Here’s a great example.  This was after the ONLY 10 am game we’ve had all season-- just a snap of them eating lunch at the island.  I will NEVER be able to purchase enough strawberries for these two.    And by the way-- I thought my good camera was on the blink..... until I took more than 2 minutes to study it and realize it was a simple switch on the lens that I had overlooked.  I’ve always said that camera was way better than me-- far more than I deserved!

Same island, same activity but this is breakfast.  I borrowed TJ’s copy of The Hiding Place the night before Julia would receive the book at school so she could start on a project and when she came down for breakfast, she was nearly finished with it.  I didn’t want to know how long she’d been up the night before so I didn’t ask.  I raised ONE reader so now I get to deal with it.

I followed Denise’s instructions after St. Augustine and the Cake Making Lesson and went straight to Wal-Mart and bought all the supplies to make The 12 Layer Cake.  She nailed it again for Easter.  

If you follow me on Instagram {kristaleigh1}, you know I found myself here a couple of weeks ago.  I had a few minutes until I needed to pick up the kids from piano and could not say no.  I am as guilty as anyone about ordering from Amazon the Great, but I LOVE A BOOKSTORE.  LOVE.  Especially Barnes and Nobles.  What are we going to do, you guys, when they are all gone?  I think the libraries need to spiff them themselves up a bit and put in a real live coffee bar.  Can you imagine hanging out at the library on a Saturday night?!  I could SO do it.

Baseball bicep.  He can be quite entertaining.

Grateful for our school and the things they choose to recognize and thankful for this girl who helps me out on Wednesdays! Rachel, YOU are a shining example of the Christ you love and an excellent role model in so many ways to my kids.  Counting my blessings that we got you as a junior and we’ve got you ONE MORE YEAR!!

So here is a peek at the books I have just a hands reach away from my computer, my devo area, a Very Important Spot-- with the exception of “Surprised by Motherhood”, {It was in my Amazon {the Great} cart just to not forget about it as a gift or something and Jeff ordered it.} these are all valuable to me right now.  I’ve been meaning to write about The Rest of God for a few months now but I can’t bring myself to read the last chapter because I don’t want it to end.  Crazy, I know.  Someone asked me what had I liked so much about the book and I told them I just wanted to crawl inside of it and live there.  {I am positive Surprised by Motherhood is a GREAT book with MUCH value, I just haven’t read it.}  And if you don’t know “Cleaning House”, it’s NOT what it sounds.  It’s all about entitlement in our kids.  She’s speaking next Thursday at our women’s gathering- email me if you want to know more!

Thankful for the “big kids” that take time to make our B feel special.  Towner, your basketball moves are impressive and VERY entertaining.  I love that you demonstrate FREEDOM to be who God made you to be!

To get this assortment in the mail as a “Thank You” is really just too exciting.  Lola Loreno-- Yvette, you guys are amazing and know how to wow all of us.  Thank you!

Those pine trees in the top pictures scream of HOME to me so of course I think it’s BEAUTIFUL.  We had a couple of nights to spend with our community group from church about a month ago and it was dreamy.  Obviously the setting was stunning but the best part was the relationships and the challenging conversations around the firepit.  So thankful for EACH person and grateful for love in spite of some of the ridiculous things I say.

This is my really handsome trim carpenter or cabinet guy---- I have one handy husband.  He is hard at work on the Murphy Bed that will allow us to use the school room as a guest room too.  So thankful for the time he’s willing to invest!

The scene from behind the counter..... Fort Worth was extremely sick late winter/early spring.  I think it was all the drastic changes with the weather-- from 85 to 18 one day--- that causes a few trips to the doctor and then to the pharmacy!  Just keep this stack in mind when you are in a hurry for your prescription.  “Right” is better than “in 10 minutes” any day.

Mom taught Julia to play Hand and Foot {an extended form of Canasta} this trip so she’ll be ready for the beach.  This is a rite of passage.

As badly as they would like a tree house, it just won’t happen here on our lot.  But I thought this was a great compromise.  They put the leftover brick to good use!  They just don’t understand why the owners of that lot will need to remove their house when they begin building... “It’s only about 2 feet onto their lot!"

Watching Brighton play baseball.  Could she look more content than this?

To any young moms who might be reading:  Pray over and pick your sitters well.  I can’t tell you what a blessing they have been to me and my WHOLE family! God provided kind, Jesus loving girls who have invested in my kids in so many ways.  They have left impressions on their hearts-- and mine- that will always be with them.  They truly are friends for life.  The top picture is of Joanna’s kids.  Sadly, they’ve moved from Fort Worth but came in for a couple of nights and I was able to share home schooling materials with her--AND love on her kids.  The last two pictures are of Carrie’s kids.  Once she started babysitting our kids, Carrie lived with us during her seminary years. She, too, sadly has moved away but we got them for a weekend when her husband came into town to do a wedding.  I love these pictures of my kids with two of her four.  {Remey-- can’t wait to babysit YOUR kids.  Just don’t move away!! Please.}

I can’t talk about Spring without mentioning baseball-- one of the highlights for sure.  I don’t like giving up nights at home but if it’s to watch B play, I don’t mind AT ALL.

Easter is big deal, right?  We try but nothing will communicate the magnitude of the occasion we attempt to celebrate.  This garden-- idea from A Holy Experience-- is my favorite and possibly my kids’ favortie because they get to plant it.  This year when Brighton was anticipating Friday night and closing the tomb, he said, “Will we do that thing when we sit in the dark, light candles, listen to music about the cross and cry?  You know, I cry every year, right?.”

Another Easter tradition is heading down 377 to spend the day at Cappy and Daboo’s.  What fun this is every year!!

These gals always make me feel like Sasquatch.  You know, like a giant or something.  Even so.... I love them SO MUCH.  Seriously, friends like this {and the rest of you know who you are} are gifts straight from our gracious God.

Sweet Benjamin kept trying to photo bomb these girls.

We can always find something interesting at Wrare.  Julia is my faithful window shopping companion.  We’ve got some fun days to come!

The kids still look so young when it’s morning- especially in morning pictures.  I love this face.  Any time of day.

Can you see it?  Prepare yourself.  It’s creepy.  I don’t know about you but it’s a tad disturbing to find one of these at the baseball fields-- or anywhere.  And yes, that’s some kid’s stick about to prod it.  I was happy as I could be just to watch it sit still.  Agh!!!!

And this is Jeff’s beautiful mom-- and Julia with Peter Pan make up on for photos {!!!!}  His parents flew in for the weekend and it was such a treat!  Grateful for wonderful in-laws.

And quite possibly the highlight of my week-- BESIDES HAVING JEFF’S PARENTS IN TOWN-- I had 2 techs from work-- and their spouses over for dinner.  They are friends, of course, and I so enjoyed having them around my table for the night.  And this picture represents that the hostess gift is NOT dead-- such a sweet gesture reminding me that people appreciate a dinner they don’t have to prepare and time with friends.  My biggest regret is not getting a photo of the special people!

This is “ballet season” too --- the recital is coming in a couple of weeks and so the rehearsals ramp up about a month out and we are there four times a week.  It’s Peter Pan this year and my girl is an Indian en pointe.

Enough?  Yep.  Just know my kids will be so happy to see this in the book come Christmas time.  And I will too.

Life is sweet.  Life is something to manage.  Parenting is harder than I ever thought it would be and parenting is a privilege and children are a blessing from the Lord.  Marriage is ever deepening and challenging us to stay connected on all fronts.  And in these days of fullness, time with friends is precious.  I love all these pieces that make up a life.  God is gracious and good.  Even we when don’t understand Him.  He loves us.  Period.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

St. Augustine: Blue Dogs Fly at Midnight, Love the beach, Watch Baseball and Make Cakes. {Oh, yeah and they stay up PAST midnight.}

Denise, my dear friend, has had a lot of good ideas over her lifetime -- some of which I have benefited personally-- but the one she had back in early March might have been one of the best.  Through crazy but really cool circumstances, her family and my brother own beach houses next to each other in St. Augustine, Florida.  Never in a gazillion years would I have ever dreamed that Blake and Adele would own a beach house, you know, by the ocean where the sun shines a lot and it’s hot often and there are no shade trees and there is sand and stuff, but hey, wonkier things have happened.  Not many, but a few.  My nephew’s college baseball team was playing a 3 game series at Flagler which is in St. Augustine and everyone was coming from Soperton to watch him play.  She suggested I surprise Blake and RJ, my nephew. And because I am my parent’s favorite child, they got me and the kids there.

Denise and her husband, John, were to meet Blake and Adele at Palm Valley Fish Camp and so while we hid in the bushes, Julia and Brighton sat on the bench in front.  Blake is still a little stunned in this picture but the first word I heard him say was, “DUDE!”  and then, “What are you doing here?!”  I think Adele had a silent panic wondering where in the world she was going to sleep THREE MORE people but we already had all that worked out.  It was great fun catching him off guard and the food was, well, I had mahi mahi over stone ground grits.  Really. Yummy.

The next morning we went to see some sights in St. Augustine, the oldest city in America-- you know, Ponce de Leon, the Fountain of Youth-- dig back into your elementary days studying explorers.  The original fort still stands strong by the Atlantic ocean and the historic city is just beautiful.

We had our first gourmet popsicles with “Aunt Denise”.  Hyppo popsicles.

And found way more things the kids wanted to buy than the money they had.  It was amazing the “deals” the storekeepers would give my children as Denise filled the owner's hands with money when the kids weren’t looking.  Seriously.  If I’ve heard B say, “THAT MAN WAS SOOOOOO NICE!!!!” once,  I’ve heard it twenty.
Here he is in a tricorn hat but what he really wanted here was a chain mail head dress.  He said he’d “wear it all the time”.

Then we landed here in the vintage dress shop.

The owner enjoyed giving Julia all the accessories to try on with the dresses.

Definitely in her element

Next stop- gourmet popcorn- like none I had ever seen or tasted.  The word “gourmet” was not used loosely here- like on fund raising packages!

If you don’t know Spanish Moss, now you do.

Then we had about an hour to run down to the beach before meeting everyone for dinner.

Both sporting our Longhorns-- and neither of us are really huge fans.  One man, after seeing my hat, said he saw I had already been to the outlet stores.  {the only place that would sell such a hat?}

Searching for shark’s teeth with Denise.  We wound up finding so many, it made me a little uncomfortable sticking my toes in the water!

The beach there has sand but it’s also covered with “coquina” which is fragments of shells and other sea finds.  Julia enjoyed throwing it and watching it shimmer in the sun.

And it was NO JOKE getting it OFF your person. 

Simple moments like these make me grateful to be able to see my family and friends if just for 3 days.

My sweet Mom and lovely niece, Hunter 

The college girls, baseball followers, sampling the cake the Denise taught Julia to make-- more on that in just a minute.

John showing B the amazing “pull our thumb off” trick…. I so enjoyed watching John bug my kids.  They LOVED it.

We surprised RJ right before the game.  The kids asked for him at the dugout.  He was NOT expecting them to be standing there.

Brighton chased foul balls for 3 days.  Anytime I lost track of him, I’d just wait until the next foul ball and then I’d see him running.  I lost count on how many he retrieved but he got to keep one of them and he wanted it signed-- and also his hat.  The players were happy to indulge him.  He didn’t sleep much that night.

More beach time before game #2

Looking for more shark’s teeth

There were activities for kids all 3 games and this boy won almost everything.  Here he is with his first  chocolate bunny-- all of them turned into chocolate syrup on the sunny day.

The next few pictures are of what Denise and Julia did during game #2-- she taught Julia how to make THE 12 Layer Chocolate Cake.  I’ve been eating Denise’s for many years and she even tried to teach me once.  Denise documented the whole lesson with pictures and videos because she didn’t think we’d believe her when she said that Julia “did it all by herself”.


Spreading batter thin 

This was the part I remember being so nervous about-- getting out those THIN layers-- can you see them on the back row?  Thinner than pancakes thin.

Her final product and I give it a great big WOW!  And this is what it looks like cut.  Some people assume these are dry and maybe someone’s is but Denise’s has never been and Julia’s certainly wasn’t. It was really amazing.  

And here she is with John giving her a high five!  He, kindly, seemed as excited as Denise was about Julia’s accomplishment.  It didn’t hurt that Julia made a 13th layer and shared it with him!

Evidence of a well loved cake-- Sunday morning after the delicious Saturday night dinner Blake {and Adele, and David and Lisa!} cooked for us!

So three baseball games over one weekend, there was a really bad call.  And a really bad reaction.  I won’t go into the details but here is my brother “holding off” another player’s dad.  He kept his left arm between his friend and the opposing team’s representative.  It was heated and it didn’t not end quickly.  Can you see what I love about this picture?

Yes!  The bag!
I texted this out to all involved yesterday just to give my brother a hard time so after a few texts back and forth, John saying, “Does pink go with muted gray this season?”  And here is the rest…..
{Note:  “Dennard Drugs” , the family pharmacy, is my daddy texting.}

And that is “Classic Daddy”.  The patriarch spoke.

He had left early Sunday morning to meet friends to fish elsewhere in Florida and we were clearly annoying him.

We came home exhausted but it was that sort of trip.  We didn’t want to miss anything or anyone-- so many special people in ONE PLACE.  We stayed up entirely too late EVERY night.  I thought I was going to make it home with no real drama-- making it until I could get to Jeff- to have my parenting partner again-- and then B accidentally spilled his ENTIRE water bottle in his seat and onto the lady’s things seated behind him.


I wish I could say things like, “Oh, she was fine. She was so cool about it and told me not to worry one bit.”  I can’t.  Because she was not.  At all. God love the lady seated next to her who kept chanting, “At least it was just water. At least it was just water." I was not upset with B because it was a complete accident but the whole incident drained away about a day of my life.  I was glad to see Jeff.

It was a great weekend for so many reasons.  I am so grateful to have this family around me.  You guys are the best!