Monday, December 31, 2007

"So Make It a Good One!"

We ended the year and welcomed the new in the best way possible. We had a private party at our home. This party was so private that you had live here to be invited. We still had a pretty big turn out with only one guest leaving before midnight.

We had pizza and soda as we watched the Back to the Future Trilogy. Those movies are so much fun when they are all watched together. Aside from being incredibly tired when they finally ended, I loved it. I like how the movies present the concept of time passing and of how little actions can effect our future and those we love.

The third movie ends with the Doc explaining to Jennifer why the words had erased from her paper (from the future.) The response was very appropriate to remember in the passing of one year to the next.

"Your future hasn't been written yet.
Your future can be anything you make it.
So make it a good one!"
Doc, Back to the Future III

We toast to you and to your happiness. May God bless you in 2008! Remember it is what you make it so make it a good one!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Then came Christmas!

It was a long and wonderful Advent season. We had many early Christmas times. We were so blessed that the children got those special Christmas hugs from their Nanny and Gramps. Cowboy even got to meet his Mimi, Aunt Katie, his CA cousins and his KeeKee. What we thought would be a restful Advent season was not, instead it was filled to the brim with running, visiting, sharing, gifts, activities, and good food. We were delighted to share all of that with our families, friends and each of you.

As the shopping stores began to close on Christmas Eve we began to cook our feast. It is our family tradition to let each child pick their favorite appetizer to prepare for our meal. There are so many of us that we are always over whelmed with many different dishes to munch on. We then clean up in time to start baking the cookies for Santa. After cleaning that up we prepare for Mass. We got ready for Midnight Mass at 9:00 p.m. and enjoyed every second of it. The younger kiddos were just as tired and have no idea that it was no where near midnight. We met up with some good friends at Mass and they shared their seats with us (thank you so much.) After a few friendly hugs and pictures we headed home.

At home we grabbed a few more group shots and some more individual shots. The kiddos know how much I love to take pictures and they were all dressed up. We laughed at ourselves, each other and at everything the entire time. After changing we opened our sibling gifts and the secret Santa gifts the kiddos bought for each other. After mom and dad started to fall asleep the little ones headed off to bed. We all hoped that St. Nick would visit after everyone fell asleep.

We woke early to enjoy the generosity of our Saintly friend. We sang birthday wishes, said our morning prayers and then opened the gifts. We all found peace and quiet this Christmas. Dad found it hiding in the kitchen with the turkey, the kiddos found it in their new toys that they shared and mom found it while napping. The day ended with a huge feast. Every over the age of three helped dad to prepare it. During our Christmas toast we thanked God for all the gifts He has given us. Those gifts include each of you, our family and friends.

Another perfect day in the life that we are so blessed to live in.

What was our Advent like?

Our celebration of our Lord's birth was wonderful. It was full of love, life and family!

There are so many ways that we can look at this time of year. I tend to get stressed about the cost of everything and have to work at enjoying the time. Last year we spent our time ill with the flu. After one trip to St. Louis for a wedding at the end of October we were preparing for another trip for another wedding at the end of December. During that crazy time Cowboy entered our lives even though we didn't yet know about him. What a wonderful gift he would turn out to be. We were planning on a peaceful, calm and relaxing December, A joyous Advent season in which we would prepare for Jesus birth. God had other plans for our family.

At the beginning of December we had the exciting visit from dad's family. We really did have a blast. Nanny and Gramps brought Aunt Erica and Beaner with them. The Texas's Ts loved every second with their family. They felt so loved and enjoyed every conversation, each meal, the toast for Uncle Michael and Beaner's family journey to Japan for the next baseball season, the Christmas cookie making, the visit with St. Nicholas and the early arrival of gifts. Dad is still in shock that his own Dad, a.k.a. Gramps, would make an early morning trip to the stores during the post-thanksgiving rush to find and purchase the Wii system for the grandchildren.

My dear husband and God had another adventure crammed into this very busy month. Mom got to fly out to Fresno to see her family and have them meet Cowboy. Mimi and KeeKee joined Cowboy and mom in San Jose and we drove to Fresno to visit with Aunt Katie and her gorgeous daughters. There Cowboy and Mom got to have another Christmas feast, more gifts, game night, pizza night, and lots of hugs from all those girls.

We spent hours trying to get a good shot of the kiddos for the Christmas cards that never went out. We had a blast this Advent. We spent tons of time together trying to get a good picture. They are getting so good at setting up the shot. One of our favorite new traditions will be our Christmas lights adventure. Thanks to another blogger for the idea we headed out with Thank you notes in hand. When we came across a house with great lights we gave them a thank you note. We went with some friends in two cars, 2 gallons of hot chocolate, and 30 thank you notes. We lasted as long as our bladders could hold. It was GREAT FUN and we counted 34 outside nativity sets.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Cards

We love to send and to receive Christmas cards. They really are a family favorite for our family. This year we have been so busy that we have yet to send out cards. As I stated earlier we had a computer crash and we lost all of our addresses. I have been working hard to recompile and update our list. I want to thank all of our friends that do send out cards, notes and pictures. They mean the world to us. We plan to try to send something out wishing everyone a happy new year. (That will be if I can get my act together this week!)

We used to post all cards on the back of the front door. We had way too many this year ans wanted them closer. We moved them right into the family room on the wall. This is a major no-no in the decorating world but it sure brings happiness to us. It was so nice to share this time with you all close by.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Who is this Santa guy?

We all have different traditions with this guy. My family tries to focus on the St. Nicholas aspect. Apparently there is a huge debate out there about Santa's weight. All of our politically correct friends want Santa to loose a bunch of weight to set a better example for the kiddos. That bugs me. I really don't care if he is fat or skinny, just spiritual. What is so bad about children being loved by a man that doesn't care if you have been bad or good, that celebrates our Saviors coming, and that is really a good and holy Saint. I personally find that his robust figures adds to his charm. To find more information on this just Google "fat Santa", you will be amazed.

This season we have had two photo shots with versions of this guy. While family was visiting from St. Louis we all went to see St. Nicholas. My bunch was all set and I was hoping to use that shot for the family card. At the last minute my sister-in-law put Beaner in the shot. Needless to say I can not use that shot, people will be very confused as to how many children we have. (also notice that the kiddos all looked at my sister-in-laws camera and not mine) So the shot will not work for the card but I still love it. It is probably more special because Beaner joined us and because it is clearly St. Nicholas and not the commercial Santa.

I don't know if I have said before how much I really love our neighborhood. There are many great families that live here that have carried on several traditions for many years. One of the yearly activities is the breakfast with Santa at the golf club in the neighborhood. It is just donuts, juice and coffee. We love to sit and watch others bring their children in while we eat. First we visit with the big guy then move to the food. It is always enjoyable. It is a perfect time to get a shot. The pictures are adorable but thek iddos didn't look at me again.

We got a few in front of the tree after our Santa visit. I don't know if we will use these either. I did loose my addresses this year when my computer crashed. It is taking me a long time to recollect all the addresses. We might not send out Christmas cards but Happy New Year cards this year for that reason. Here are a few of those in front of the tree shots.

Who is this Santa guy? For the Texas T's he is a wonderful man. We try to copy his spirit of giving that is inspired by his love for Christ. We try to show that spirit all year long. We don't care if he is fat or skinny, that isn't what we are looking at anyway. For us St. Nicholas is a reminder to love everyone, to be generous and truly celebrate Christ's love and example in our lives.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Perfect Christmas Hug

It is so hard to try to enjoy the special day when we put too much hype on what it should be. I used to worry so much about the perfect house, the perfect gifts, the perfect childhood for my children. I then realized that it is what it is. I will continue to work hard to create wonderful memories for my children. I will do a much better job now that I am not getting upset over a china piece breaking, or a tree falling over or laundry not getting done because we are playing with gifts sent by the grandparents.

I know that my mom worked so hard for us to have the perfect day. We always did from what I remember. I don't remember what I got or what I didn't get. I remember the joy, the excitement and love. I remember the time with my family playing, I remember the long songs at Mass and the tears I always felt looking into the crib. I remember the eggnog, nothing fancy just from the container. I loved every drop. I remember how cool it was to go see my cousins, aunts and uncles and my Mommom. There is nothing better than a Mommom Christmas hug. (God I miss those! Mommom, God Rest Her Soul, has been celebrating the big days in Heaven since 2004)

I am learning to sit back and just enjoy what it is and not stress about what it isn't. There will be no snow in Houston this year, at least non in the forecast. That doesn't mean that Christmas is ruined. It might mean that I crank up the AC so I can wear a Christmas sweater even if it is 85 and humid that afternoon. I am preparing to enjoy the gifts God has given to me. My salvation, my life, my husband, my children and all those creature comforts that I enjoy so much.

As you prepare for this great celebration try to enjoy it. The most important thing you can do is that Christmas hug that is so full of love it will take the receivers breath away. My Mommom had it, my mom does, my little children have it, and I am determined to master it this year. That gift of hugging someone with the unconditional love of Christ. (I will also try to remember the cheap eggnog as well. I need it for the Mommom toast!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

RoseMary Teresa, Pray for us!

RoseMary Teresa
October 19Th ~ December 2ND 2007

It is said that the lifetime is in the dash. Your dash was only 45 days and yet you made the most of it. You touched so many people and helped us to grow closer to God. Thank you for sharing your life with us, thank you for sharing your family with us, and thank you for making the most of your dash. Please pray for us that we can do the same.

With all our love,
The Texas T's

*****RoseMary was born with a condition called trisomy 18. This didn't give her hope for a long life. It did help us to appreciate each second with her. Thank you God for allowing us to feel so close to a baby we never met. I am sure her family will continue to appreciate our prayers for them.*****

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

She's Got The Power!

Last night Bagel found a discarded lithium battery. It was small, flat and round - about the size of a nickel. It seamed harmless enough until she swallowed the darn thing. So in the last 24 hours we have watched the progression on a foreign object in side of little Miss Bagel.

While waiting to hear from the doctor, Bagel sat down to eat dinner. I don't know if this helped the battery to pass faster or not. Pickle paused as I sat his cup in front of him. He turned toward Bagel and in a very serious tone said,
Ya know, now that she swallowed that battery, she can start singing, "I got the power!"

At his point Bear corrected Pickle,
"No she can't, that battery was dead!"

As you can see I live with a crazy group of kiddos. We have all had a good laugh about the battery, the power and the passing. We thank her angel for protecting her from choking and from digesting the battery. The good news is that the battery passed very quickly and without any harm to our little Bagel. Thank you God!

A great visit!

We Love you Nanny, Gramps, Aunt Erica and Beaner!!

We had so much fun this weekend. Thanks to our visitors. We had nice warm weather that made the outdoor shopping in Old Town Spring so much fun. We had tasty meals together. We celebrated Mass with our St. Anthony's family. We baked cookies and had an early Christmas. There was tons of love that went around. The kiddos were so upset when we left to take them back to the airport. They really miss having grandparents and cousins around to play with. There really is nothing like family!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Who loves Bon Jovi?

Anyone who knows my husband very well at all knows that he is a Bon Jovi fan. He has loved the music for years. When we first had Pooker he promised me that our children would not waste their time on silly kid music but learn to love great music right away. "Great music" is kind of an open term. What I might think is great, you might hate. I think dad was admitting was that he had plans to make sure that his family all loved the music that he did.

From the first moments after a positive pregnancy test all the way to our dear 16 year old, Bon Jovi music has been introduced. I don't even know it is happening until something happens like it did yesterday.

We were headed to the airport to pick up our visiting family. Dad was still out of town and we would pick him up later. The kiddos had an IPod hooked up to the car stereo. Pooker was in the passenger seat with full control for the radio. She turned to ask Bagel, the 3 year old, what song she wanted to hear next. Without skipping a beat, "Bon jovi" was the reply. "Old or New?" was the next questions asked. Bagel asked for both.

It was such an adult sounding conversation it made me laugh. At least me dear husband has accomplished one of his goals in life. His children, all of his children, young an old love his favorite music. They know his music. They listen to his music. So the moral of the story is that even when dad is out of town mom still has to listen to dad's music. I guess it OK with me considering I have also grown to enjoy Bon Jovi tunes. Needless to say that was all we listened to until Nanny, Gramps and Aunt Erica and Beans got into the car!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A thought from Princess

God just never lets us do a rewind. How come God never just rewinds things?

My first thought was Thank God. There are so many things in my life that I wouldn't want to redo backwards or forwards again. After some probing she revealed that she just wants to be the baby again. She admits that life might not be a good without Bagel and Cowboy but,
the new baby always gets to leave with mom and the rest of us have to stay home.

Well maybe mom needs to make a better effort to include the kiddos in our trips out of the house.

Visitors from the North!

We are busy getting all the decorations up. We will have Nanie, Gramps, Aunt Erica and Cousin Allie coming to visit this weekend. As we scurry around to prepare for their Christmas time visit the temperature continues to rise. It was very good to have a few cold days so we could feel like winter was here. Now I can see that it was just God teasing me again.

So I need to send a warning to our northern visitors. The high temp for the next few days will be 80. It gets cool when the sound goes down but not cold.

I am glad we got so many of our decorations out when it was still cold. I find it hard to enjoy setting up a tree when I am hot. I guess that is just life in Houston.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The ‘GWIRL’ is moving on!

It is hard to believe that we are approaching our fifth anniversary of living in Houston. When we first moved down here Pickle made one friend right away. All of the local K-Marts were closing and they were having huge sales. We took all seven children with us and went to one of these K-Marts together. Pickle had a whole in his head at the time. He had fallen down and cracked it wide open. We had gotten a staple put in and were just waiting for it to heal.

Considering we had just moved in and that everything in the store was now 75% off, you can just imagine how much we wanted to buy. If I recall we had 3 carts full of goodies including all kinds of things like, new dishes and clothes. I think we bought a few things from every department that day. Each buy was a steal in our book. As we rounded the back half of the store, Pickle fell and bonked his stapled head.

He was fine except for the blood dripping from his head. I remember leaving dad with the other six children, one of which was a 4 month old crying Princess. He had the carts divided Pookers had a cart, Goobers had a cart and he had a cart. He had Princess and Moogie to watch over. Goobers had Sugar to help push the very heavy cart and Pookers had the help of Bear. I knew we had reached the end of our money and our nerves. Three over filled baskets, one bleeding child, one hungry and crying newborn was our limit for this evening. Dad and the gang were to head to the crowded check out while Pickle and I headed to the bath room to find something to clean up his bloody hair.

The bathroom was the dirtiest place I had ever seen. They were days from their final sale and had been out of toilet paper and paper towels for a while it appeared. I rinsed my hands, took off my sweatshirt, tied it around his head and met the gang and the 3 heaping carts at the checkout. The carts were fuller, and Dad pointed out they found a few more bargains on their trip to the check out. I could barely hear him over the cries of embarrassment from Pickle (He did look ridiculous with a bloody turtleneck on and his mothers sweatshirt tied around his head), the crying baby, hungry children and rude strangers that were trying to “shop” out our baskets. Dad helped push the carts until we were next in line. He left Pookers to help me and the rest went with him to find the car.

Pookers’ job was to guard the carts as I unloaded the others and then to guard them after they had been repacked by the rude, soon to be out of work, we don’t really care how you feel baggers. It wasn’t pretty. The bargains were awesome but I am glad sales like that don’t come around too often.

While unloading I came across a few items that I did not remembering seeing go into the cart. All three items were from the lawn and garden department. I must have still been picking out dishes when the family visited that section. I saw fire ant yard treatment (at that moment I had no idea what a fire ant was), Miracle-Grow, and a ceramic squirrel. He was a cute squirrel but I thought it was odd that my husband had added it to the cart. We probably paid all of $1 for the little guy so I wasn’t too upset. I did wonder where dad planned to put it.
When we got home I set off to put the younger kiddos in bed and to nurse the baby. Dad, Pookers and Goobers started the chore of unloading and finding spots for all of our new treasures. After getting everyone settled in bed, feeding the baby, and putting her to bed I set out to clean Pickle’s injury one more time. I helped him to change his clothes and while taking his shirt to the laundry room to work on those blood stains I saw the fire ant product, the Miracle-Grow and Squirrel.

“J what is the extra stuff doing on the table? What are fire ants? And why the squirrel?” I asked.
My dear husband just laughed as he responded, “I was going to ask you the same questions. I don’t remember us getting those things, do you?”
“I thought you had to have gotten them when I saw them in the cart, you didn’t.”
“No, that store was crazy maybe someone else just threw them in by mistake.”
“No worries, it didn’t cost us much! I love the Miracle-Grow, what are fire ants?”
“I hear they are bad down here, they bite and it burns, but how bad could it be they are still little ants. Can you take the stuff back?”
“No the store is closing, no returns, remember!”

As it turned out we were very thankful to have the fire ant stuff, those little bites really hurt. It is much better to get rid of the ants before they attack. Pickle walked into the kitchen to say, “Oh there is my stuff. I glad you got it.”

Normally we find sneaking items into the basket to be a very grave offence. Pickle was only two years old and he sure looked cute when he said,
“There is my new friend, he is a ‘gwirl’, ya-know?”
From that moment on the ‘gwirl’ has had a place of honor just inside our front door. That is until yesterday when the ‘gwirl’ was playing with the children and was dropped on the concrete floor. Our dear ‘gwirl’ broke a leg and we have decided to put him out of his misery. We can not bring ourselves to actually throw him away so we moved him outside to sit with Holy Mary.

The ‘GWIRL’ is moving on!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thank you God for a wonderful weekend with wonderful people.

I know it is early but we just couldn't wait. The tree went up last night. I enjoy sitting and watching my children work. They work well together. Each child does have their own strengths. I love that they know that about each other and work with it. We got so wrapped up in our tree decorations that it was a very late night. We slept in and headed to Mass Sunday evening.

After Mass the couple behind us introduced themselves. They had 8 grown children themselves. Watching us during Mass took tme back to when their chiildren were young. I was so sad to hear that they have 25 grandchildren but no one of them live close. They spent Thanksgiving with only one of the children and her family.

Pooker has this year and next before she goes off to college. I am so sad that things will change forever then. I realize that our family will grow and spread out. We will have different lives. We need to try to concentrate on enjoying them now. I have been so blessed with wonderful people in my life. That is one of the things that I am most thankful for.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Day and what it looked like.

Thanksgiving for Faith, Friends and Family

Dear Heavenly Father, I humbly thank you for all the blessings that are in my life. These are just a few that my family and I are most thankful for:

That baby that we didn’t even know about a year ago. Cowboy is a wonderful addition to our family. Cowboy is the one that we did not ask for. Cowboy caught us completely off guard. Yet, he is the one that has added so much to the joy and love that exist within this family.

Cowboy reminds me to be thankful for all the surprises that next year might hold.

The smell of the pies baking in the other room and all the delicious foods that we eat all year round. I am very thankful to all the talented chefs in my home. I love that they make life taste good and that they are not afraid to try new things.

Thank you for our health. We see how fragile it can be and are so thankful for the peace with in our family life. We are thankful for the answered prayers for Moogie and for those around us. We are thankful to those in the medical professions that give so much of themselves to make our lives better.

Thank you for the continued life of Sean Glanvill and RoseMary Theresa. Each day their families have with them is a blessing. Thank you for allowing us to know about them and to offer prayers for them. It is wonderful to be allowed to taste the communion of heaven in the moments of unity with beautiful strangers.

This year we have made so many new friends and deepened so many other friendships. I am so thankful for all of those relationships. We are blessed to live in a wonderful neighborhood. I am so thankful for all the fun activities that other create by their volunteering. We love the swim team and are thankful that it existed this year.

We are thankful for the opportunity to play sports within the homeschool movement. The competitive volleyball was again an added bonus to our lives. We are so thankful that it was here and again to all those people that volunteer to run it.

We are thankful for all the freedoms we have, our bountiful lives in this great nation, and for the comforts that we take for granted.

We are very grateful for our parish and the many youth activities that we are a part of. Our children have grown in their faith and friendships this past year and we are most grateful. We are so thankful for the good and holy priests that have been assigned to our parish, and for all good and holy men that give of themselves so that we can have Christ truly present in the Eucharist each day at Mass.

I am very thankful for my dear husband, he love me, cares for me and accepts me for who I am. We are both extremely thankful for each of our children. We are thankful to DJ even though he was only in our lives for a short time so many years ago. We are thankful for Pooker, she is a beautiful teenager that is full of life and love for all. We are thankful for Goobers, she is peaceful, happy and enjoys working to reach her goals. We are thankful for Bear and his crazy since of humor, he makes us laugh and appreciate humor in every part of our lives. We are thankful for Sugar, she loves without end. We are always thankful for Moogie and her health, we also love her passion. We are thankful for Pickle and his gentlemanly nature. We are thankful for Princess and the elegance and beauty she brings to our lives. We are thankful for Bagel and the smiles that surface when she is around. As we have stated before we are thankful for the surprise of Cowboy. We are also thankful for all the love that a new life can bring into a family.

We are thankful for our Faith, our Friends and our Family. We are most thankful that in so many ways those three parts of our lives are one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cowboy ate Bananas and Squash

I know that this is big news for the world. Cowboy is growing up. He is no longer a newborn by any stretch of the means. He is still a baby, a very active one. He laughs, grabs at his siblings, tries to talk, sleeps at longer intervals, and demands more food. We often refer to him as our little Chunkie Monkie. (another nick name is Poochie, for blog purposes we will stick with Cowboy.)

The kiddos fed him his cereal mixed with squash yesterday. Then he got bananas. I must say that he loved the bananas but there were not many left for him. The older kiddos were so excited to have the taste of baby food bananas back in the house. St. Nick is considering just filling shoes with baby food bananas. He knows it would be a hit. Every sibling walked past the Cowboy and took "just one bite" of his bananas.

It is not a leap at all to say that he loved his food!

Pickle's Birthday

The big boy is now 7 years old thank you very much. His siblings waited until he fell asleep last night to decorate the kitchen and breakfast room. Pickle was all smiles when we woke up and saw all the work they had done.

There were balloons and streamers everywhere. They had covered the tables with wrapping paper. The birthday child must suspect the decorations are coming and yet it is always a surprise.

I cannot explain why but the kiddos decided to pretend to be ninja warriors this morning. They took the streamers and tied them around their heads. That was the only preparation, no actual ninja training. Pickle loved that everyone played with him in his dream world for part of the day.

Even Cowboy had to join the group. I can't even imagine what he thinks of this crazy family that he is a part of. I am glad he doesn't know any different.

We have a very cool tradition in our house for birthdays. When we sit down for the meal picked by the birthday boy/girl, we take turns at the table. Everyone tells the family three things that they admire most about the birthday person. This is one of my favorite things in the entire world.

It was very cool to find out that Bagel loves to play with Pickle, Princess says that he takes care of her, Moogie loves his creative side, Bear likes that he can turn anything into a toy, Sugar likes that he can turn even a piece of grass into a a character, Goobers likes that every time he plays he adds a sound track of car crashes,
Pooker likes that his sense of humor has developed so much this past year, dad loves his inquisitive nature and mom loves his snuggles and his smile. Cowboy can't yet speak but he does smile when he sees his big brother. Pickle is a great person. The world is a much better place with him in it.

The cake fairy brought a cake by. She really is good. As I have stated before I do not bake cakes (ones that look good anyway). We used buy a cake at the store until a friend heard this. She grew up in a family of bakers and was upset that my children did not have homemade cakes on their special birthdays. Now on any family birthday, she stops by with a cake made with love just for them.
Thanks Mrs. T it was another good one.