Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas!!

Good morning, interweb peeps! We're getting ready to attack the stockings, and start cooking after that. Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, filled with good friends, holiday cheer, and lots of love.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 17

Catching Up

Oh, my, I'm tired. Been busy, busy, busy! Finally got the tree up and decorated. Sang in church on Sunday, even ended up soloing one verse, and didn't throw up everywhere. Had lots of people here for lunch afterwards. Sent the kids home with my mom for two days, which was awesome!

Had brunch with a friend from XanGo, learned lots of great new stuff, can't wait to start using my new-found knowledge. Then went over to Kristie's after.

Got the go-ahead to buy a ticket to Ohio for the first full weekend in February (I'd love to discuss this trip with a certain friend who lives there that I'll be visiting, but apparently she's forgotten how to use her phone and hasn't called me back). (You know who you are.) (When you read this, please call me.) (Yes, SARAH, I'm taking about you.)

Drove into Houston yesterday to have lunch with my awesome grandfather, dropped off a mix of herbs for my under-the-weather little brother, went by the Fudge Shop on my way home, and fell asleep on the couch at 7:45. Which, like many other things in the last few days, was awesome.

Received the Greatest Christmas Letter Ever from a very funny and sweet gal that lives far away from me and is becoming a very dear friend. I also got to talk to her last week on the phone, and it was one of the best and easiest conversations I've had in a long time. And her Greatest Christmas Letter Ever was, well, awesome.

Staying at home today, doing housework and school and some limited cooking. And I think I see a nice cozy nap on the couch in my future, because I really haven't been sleeping well the last week or so.

Going to the Nutcracker tomorrow evening, after possibly FINALLY GETTING A NEW STOVE!!!!!!!! But we'll see about that.

I'll have something far more interesting to post tomorrow, I promise. In the meantime, let me introduce you to a few people:

This is John and Che's blog. They have a daughter that I kind of want to meet. I went to high school with them.

This is Mari's blog. I also went to high school with Mari. She's a military wife, and lives in Japan right now. How cool is that?? However, she's tired of being startled by tentacles every time she turns around. She said so.

Most of you know P-Dub. And she truly rules. But did you know she's got a new homeschool section on her website? Ree doesn't write much of it, but Heather at OMSH does a wonderful job, and I keep wondering it if would be inappropriate of my to ask to be adopted into her family.

So. There you go. Please tell me (because I'm momentarily tired of talking about myself) what you're doing for the rest of the week! Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?

Saturday, December 13


Well, the decision has been made. And now that that's out of the way, I can tell you what was going on.

John was offered a promotion. I know, you're thinking, 'Yay, John! Good for you!!'

But not so much. The promotion that was offered was in Plainview, Texas. Which is, as my dad put it, 'not the end of the world, but not too far from it.' If you cut off the panhandle of Texas where it stop being straight on the Oklahoma side, Plainview is about a county below there, right in the middle. The middle of nowhere, that is!

Yes, it would have been more money, and a chance to do something new. But really, it's only money. We're doing fine financially, and we're more than happy out where we are. And we like our trees. The only trees near Plainview are the ones people have planted in town. And we'd end up living in town, and I don't like living in towns. (We're 15 minutes from Bastrop right now, and that's about as close to a town as I plan on living!)

Actually, I was far more willing to go out there than John. Part of that is because I have more of a restless spirit, and you only live once, right? It wouldn't be forever. Maybe 5 years. But I love my life out here. I love my church, and my friends, and my family, and I know I wouldn't lose friendships or family, but right now my parents are less than two hours away. So is all the rest of my family. And John's family. And all my friends.

Except Sarah, who did something ridiculous and MOVED TO OHIO. But that's an old rant that you've heard before.

Sarah, I miss you and I can't wait to see you in February!

Anyway. We'd be at least 8 hours from my life here, and 9+ hours from my family in Katy and Houston. I'd really miss everything out here. John told me that he didn't want to leave, because 1) he thought he'd 'shrivel up and die in that part of the state' (I'm not kidding. He said that several times), and 2) he's never been happier in his life than he is right now.

It's just money. And what's more money if you're not happy?

So after lots of taking and a ton of prayer, we realized that we had made the best decision for our family. And, best of all, we have complete and total peace that we made the right choice.

Thursday, December 11

Prayer Request

Will y'all please pray for us? We've got a big, big, BIG decision to make, and it has to be made by tomorrow morning.

We're asking for specific prayers:
*That we would have open hearts.
*That we would consider each others feelings without being too influenced by emotions.
*That we would be able to take all factors into account, the tangible and non-tangible ones.
*That we would have total and complete peace once the decision is made.



Wow, it's been cold! Yesterday morning, we woke up to some COLD weather. It had sleeted and snowed the night before, and there was lots of white when we got up for the day.

Ok, there was a lot more sleet than snow, but we're from Houston. And we live in Central Texas. We don't get much of either in these parts. It stayed cold enough yesterday to never melt all the ice on the rooftops around here. We never even made it past 38! But it's supposed to be in the mid 60's today, so life is back to normal.

Anyway. Enough about the weather.

I've been BUSY! It's a big week for us if we've got two things in the evenings, and we've got a whole week's worth right now. Saturday was my XanGo Christmas party in New Braunfels. My friend Tana came with me, and it was awesome (Kristie watched the kids). Sunday was church, then potluck, and then I had my book club Christmas party, which was a total blast. I love my book club, not so much for the books we read (although I do love those), but for the lovely ladies that I get to see and know better each month.

Monday, Kristie and I went to IKEA and the Outlet Mall up in Round Rock, and had a lovely time. It's been years since I went shopping with another gal (I'm not a shopper!), and I forgot how much fun it can be. I got a new dress to wear to the Nutcracker next week, new black boots (I love a good bargain. These boots are normally $90, and I ended up paying $32. Woohoo!), a cute pair of really nice jeans, a green and blue top, and a beautiful watch. And not including IKEA, I only spent about $70!! Hello, gift cards and Christmas sales!!

On the way home, Kristie convinced me to sing with her and Johnna at church on Sunday, so Tuesday evening we met over at Kristie's house to practice our sing, after we had picked on out. We decided on a beautiful hymn I hadn't previously heard, In the Bleak Midwinter. I'm scared out of my mind, but also looking forward to it.

Last night, Kristie (yes, I've seen her every day for the last 5 days!) and I took out our friend Melissa, who just had a baby. Melissa and her husband are having a hard time. New babies are wonderful, but they can be ... um ... difficult, to say the least. Can I get an amen, moms? In my experience, the first baby is the hardest, because you have no idea what you're doing! Add a total lack of sleep, and enough hormones to knock out an elephant, and it can be a very hard experience for the first few weeks or months. Melissa's baby is two weeks old, and other than doctor visits, Melissa hasn't been out of the house, so Kristie an I decided to kidnap her and go up to Chili's for food and desserts. Despite what Melissa thinks (she was kind of down, and had lots of questions, and kept insisting that she wasn't good company), we had a great time.

Today, we're getting a tree and pulling down all the Christmas decorations, then going out to a friend's house for supper this evening (they've got 10 kids, but only 7 are still at home). I'm super excited about that. Friday, Tana and her kids are coming out, and I'm teaching Tana how to make toffee (it's such a fun recipe!), then she and her husband have a Christmas dinner on Saturday, so we'll be watching her kids then. I love her kids!

Sunday is church and the special program, and my mom is coming up for that, then she and some other friends are coming over for lunch afterwards. I'm meeting with a friend, Robert, on Monday to learn how to market Glimpse to spas and salons, and I'll spend the afternoon and evening getting all my materials together and ready for Tuesday, when I'll be going to said spas and salons.

On Wednesday, I'm going to sit on the couch and stare at the wall.

And we're going to the Nutcracker in Austin on Thursday.

I'm tired from just writing all of that. I think I'll go and take a nap before John gets out of bed. :)

Monday, December 8

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For more fun, check out

FOR TODAY Monday, December 8, 2008...

Outside my window... It is icky and gray and not very chilly, and all the leaves are turning gold and brown and falling off the trees.

I am thinking... that I love this band I'm listening to, Over the Rhine.

I am thankful for... always having enough.

From the learning rooms... I need to get back on track, cause I've been a total slacker for the last few weeks!

From the kitchen... we're cooking a brisket this afternoon, and I'm getting everything together to make chili tomorrow.

I am wearing... my fav denim skirt, a blue tank top, and a green sweater that I would probably marry if I didn't like John quite so much. :)

I am creating... a pretty blue and while blanket for my cousin-in-law, who is having a little boy in about a month.

I am going... to IKEA this afternoon and evening with dearest Kristie while John stays here with the kids.

I am reading... The Great Influenza, one of the most fascinating books I've read in years.

I am hoping... to have time for a quick nap before I leave this afternoon.

I am hearing... my lovely music, and the kids playing with John outside in the leaf piles we've been making.

Around the house... there is stuff everywhere. Someone really should do something about that!

One of my favorite things... is my HEB Texas Pecan Coffee Beans that I grind each morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week: getting the house under control, and getting out the Christmas stuff.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, December 3

goosebumps and a gun, part two

Sorry, I've had a cold and been in bed the last few days. So here's part two ...

My grandfather was on a security detail in Germany in 1945, and was sweeping an area for the arriving VIP. Under a culvert, he found something wrapped in fabric, like someone had stashed it until they could come back and get it. It was a great find, and he had it shipped back home the next day.

It was a Mauser 98, the basic German rifle. The equivalent of an M1 that the Americans used. This particular M98 was Gestapo issue. It was a good gun. Mauser knew what they were doing. Still do. They made excellent guns that had been around for a long time, guns that got their reputation originally, not through war, but for being good and reliable hunting guns. Big game in Africa. Deer hunting at home. That sort of thing.

My grandfather was home soon after that. He spent the entire next winter working on a new stock for his gun. It's a beautiful one, too. Hand made over a few months from one piece of mesquite, sanded and shaped to perfection. Used it for hunting for many years. My dad hunted with it, too. My granddad doesn't hunt anymore, so the gun has been sitting in the back of our gun cabinet since I can remember. I didn't know anything about it when I was a little kid; I just knew there was a 'German Gun' in with all the rest (we had 10-20 guns, depending on the time. Dad used to love to buy guns at pawn shops and refinish them, make them all purty, and resell them. Some, like my .410 shotgun that I LOVE, ended up being so nice that we kept them. But I digress.).

John's dad was over last month, and he and John got to talking about WWII, and the Mauser versus the M1, and how they'd love to have one of each. I told them that I remembered there was a German Gun at my dad's house, and I thought it might have come from the war, but I didn't know much else about it. I called my dad and he told me what he knew, and told me he'd bring it up next weekend when he and Wesley came to visit.

So my dad and brother got here. They went out to get lunch, but brought the gun in before they left so we could look at it before we started shooting it. (I love living in the country, by the way! I can shoot anything I please, at any time of the day, in my 'backyard.') John and I were looking at, commenting on how pretty it is, and how heavy, and we were laughing about how hard we just knew it was going to kick. John turned it over to look at the underside, noticed something and took a closer look, and stopped cold. I asked him what was wrong, and without a word he handed the gun to me and pointed at something. I took a closer look, and saw what he had seen. And knew right away why he had stopped. I got chills just looking at it.

The Nazi Eagle was stamped into the metal of the gun in three or four places. It was probably about a centimeter high, maybe even a little less, so you couldn't make out a ton of details, but there was absolutely no mistaking what it was.

Let's think about some facts for a second. This gun was made in 1940. My granddad found it in 1945. It was a Gestapo gun. It was worn and had been hidden. This was not a gun that had sat around in a case for people to look at. This was a gun that had been used, probably frequently, probably for its intended purpose.

I was holding a gun that had almost certainly killed Allied soldiers, if not Americans, during WWII.

That's a sobering thought. Seeing those eagles was creepy as hell.

I wasn't able to go out and shoot it with John, Dad, and Wesley. I was just too freaked out. And I'll tell you what ... that gun is LOUD. I mean, LOUD. John got to shoot it several times, and kept laughingly saying over the next few days, 'Oh, man, I've got Mauser shoulder! That thing kicked like a mule!'

So it's a very fascinating thing to have in my family. I asked Dad the following day if I can have it once he dies or is otherwise unable to use it anymore. (He said yes, I can, as long as I don't poison him to try and get it early.)

But until then, the next time he brings it out, I'm looking forward to shooting it. But I'll never be able to forget where it came from.

Sunday, November 30

goosebumps and a gun, part one

Ok, so last post I alluded to some Nazi paraphernalia. Here's my story.

My husband and I love history. He's into WWII, Winston Churchill, and the Founding Fathers. I like the Civil War, the months and years leading up to the Revolutionary War, and WWII. He likes to read about the events and the military leaders, and I like to know about the events leading up to the events. We both like Greek history. It makes for some fun conversations, like the time we spent two hours discussing the role of airplanes in combat, how it changed from primarily observation to one of the more important aspects of warfare. Light conversations like that ...

Anyway. We both have a very strong military presence is our families. John's father was a captain in the Army and tank commander in Vietnam, and his paternal grandfather was in the Army Air Corps in WWII. My maternal grandmother was an Army brat; her father served in WWI, and her older brother was a pilot in WWII (he was shot down over Italy, and MIA for several months. He made is back to safety eventually. I don't know how. I need to learn the details of that story ... but I digress). My maternal grandfather was a pilot in the Air Force during the Korean War. He flew atomic materials. That used to be classified, and he had Top Secret clearance. But it's been declassified since then, so don't worry. You won't get busted for reading this. :)

And now we come to my paternal grandfather. He was a combat engineer in the infantry in the Army in WWII. That means that he was one of the guys responsible for all the construction stuff. Need to get a bunch of heavy stuff over a river? Call the combat engineers, they'll get you a bridge built. Need a landing strip where airplanes don't normally land? They've got it covered. He served (in this order, I think) in England, France, Belgium, North Africa, and Germany.

{Cool side note: he was on a ship, headed for the Pacific theater, after he left Germany. The ship was passing Gibraltar when the captain came over the loudspeaker: Lads, Japan has just formally surrendered. We will be altering our course at this time. Our new destination is New Your City. You can imagine how excited everyone on board was ... especially considering how things had been going in the Pacific!}

When he was in Germany, things were pretty much done there. At one point, he on security detail for a visiting VIP. He and the other men with him were given the task of clearing out an area: making sure there were no bad guys or land mines or guns or knives or boogey monsters or falling tree limbs or Mad Cow-laced beef. (I totally made those last few up, in case you were wondering.) And while he was on that detail, he found something that he kept and had shipped back home ...

And I'll tell you tomorrow what it was, and how it ended up at my house last weekend ...

Thursday, November 27

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 26

kids and closets, and thanks

I've painted myself into quite a corner. My MIL has the older two kids right now. (WOOHOO!!!) I met her in Hempstead on Monday at lunch time to drop them off, and they'll be with her until Thursday, when she's coming out to my mom's for Thanksgiving, obviously bringing Sam and Evie with her.

I had all kinds of lovely things planned for myself when the older two were gone. Playing with David. Watching Friends educational documentaries. Watching House and Bones more educational documentaries. Weeding my gardens. Going over to Kristie's, letting David play while we make toffee and drink coffee and talk a lot. Get lots of work done for Glimpse and XanGo. Reading some books. Hang out with my awesome and cute and funny and sarcastic husband. Have a beer.

And clean out my closet. It's bad, people. It's really, really bad.

So yesterday I started cleaning out my closet, looking forward to getting everything sorted, folded, and put away so I could go over to Kristie's today and drink coffee. I love coffee. Anywho, I started cleaning. And sorting. And folding. And decided to take out the bottom shelf in my built-in in the closet.

{I'm going to have to digress here for a second. THE CLOSETS IN THE MASTER BEDROOM ARE VERY, VERY STUPID IN THIS HOUSE. The built-ins are on the wrong sides of the closet, the doors are angled so it's really difficult to get in, they're skinny and long and, well, stupid. They've been on my to-do list for a long time now: to get in there, tear everything out, paint, and start all over. With a design that isn't stupid.}

Now you know. So I grabbed my hammer. I started taking out the shelf. I realized I also needed the drill, so I ran to get that one, too. This whole time, John had been upstairs with David playing trains, David's latest obsession. John eventually got a little worried about all the banging and drilling and ran downstairs to check on me. He tried to walk into the bathroom (but couldn't because of the mountain of clothes and shoes blocking his path), and settled for talking to me from the door. He had a slightly frightened look in his eyes.

'Um, honey, whatcha doing?'

'John, aren't you glad you didn't marry a girl who's afraid to use a hammer or power tools?'

'Right now I'm a little afraid of you. What are you up to?'

'John, you don't need to be afraid of me. My daddy taught me well. I know what I'm doing.'

'Which is what, exactly?'

'I'm just taking a shelf out of the closet so I can move these storage containers out of my way and have more room for my shoes.'

'About that. Why do you have so many pair of shoes? You only wear 3 pair. Ever.'

'John, a lady has to keep her options open. And shut up. You will not mock my shoes!'

At this point, John worked his way over to my closet and checked what I was doing. He was impressed, because I was doing it the right way and not tearing anything else apart. (Seriously. I love power tools, and I know how to use them correctly. Thanks, Dad!) But then he pulled a John. He started saying things like, 'Oh, we could move the clothes bar over here' and 'We could pull this whole thing out and get new shelving and it'd be much better organized' and 'blah, blah, blah.' I should have known better than to listen to him, and start a mini-remodel project less than two days before Thanksgiving, but nooooo. He conned me with his sweet talk of easy organization, and I fell for it.

Peeps, my bathroom looks like something exploded. And it doesn't even have clothes in it anymore!!! I completely pulled out the built-in. The hanging bars. All the random hardware. I've sanded and patched and sanded and inhaled about three pounds of sheet rock in dust form. I have to very quickly paint today so hubs can put in the new shelves and bars. I'm assuming it'll require at least two trips to Home Depot, if not three or four.

And yes, I'll be very happy about it in the long run, because this is something I've been begging John to help me with since we moved to this house three years ago. But all I wanted to do was play trains with David and drink coffee with Kristie and maybe weed in the garden a little.

On that note, I'd like to tell you a few things for which I'm thankful, before I have to start sanding and painting and hammering things again:

*A husband who helps me and supports me in crazy projects.
*A dad who saw far enough passed the blond curls to teach me how to use a hammer when I was 5.
*My mom, who is hosting what will be a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.
*My MIL, for giving me a few few days off so I can get my partner-in-crime to help me destroy things while David watches from the doorway saying, 'BOOM!' a lot.
*This amazing country I live in. It may not be perfect, but I love it, and can't think of any place better to live.
*My husband's job, which doesn't take him out of town, on the road, under heavy moving equipment, into burning buildings, out to the Bering Sea, or into the line of fire. (I'll talk more about this in a few months.)
*My wonderful extended family of friends, including but not limited to: Sarah, Kristie, Margaret, Jessica at Farm Fresh (I really hope I can meet you one day IRL, girl!), Tana, my awesome book club ladies, and all the lovely women at my church.
*Some really brave Europeans generations back, being persecuted for their beliefs, who had the courage to get on those ships and head towards New England. And for all those who kept coming over, even after reports of those first few winters mads in back across the Atlantic.
*A personal Savior that I can truly call Brother and Friend.

Big hugs and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!!!!!!!

ps-have you ever had something stamped with the Nazi Eagle in your hand? I've got a cool story for you on Friday ...

Tuesday, November 25

Conversations with Sarah

"Brea, I'm going to hack into your blog and post something for you."

"I know, you said that in your comment. I humbly apologize for the lack of posts, and I will indeed strive to remedy the situation and prevent it from occurring in the future."

"I'm not kidding, Brea."

"I believe you."

"So you'll post something soon?"

"Anything for you, dearest Sarah with pretty hair, high above all other best friends."

"Ok. Hey, it's like 14 degrees here. And rainy."

"Dude, I told you not to leave Texas. It's going to be in the high 60's today, and we're supposed to get to 80 on Thanksgiving."

"Shut up, Brea."

"Ok, Sarah."

Friday, November 14

I loves me some Glenn Beck

I really do. I wish I had a chance to catch his radio show every day. I found this archive called 'Big Bad WalMart' over at Amy's Humble Musings. My favorite paragraph is this one:

But the thing I regret on this program is as I delivered these messages, as I say, "Hey, tough times are coming," all the people here for some reason is, "It's the apocalypse; Jesus is coming; run for your lives; the entire country's going to burn to the ground." I don't believe any of that -- well, I do believe Jesus is coming and the "Run for your life" part, but I don't believe that the country's going to burn to the ground. I think we're going to have tough times. But I mean, let's look at the toughest times in American history. The Civil War. Yes, did cities burn to the ground? Yep. Did commerce still happen? Did people still have families? Did people still have food and homes? Did they struggle? Yes. Did they die? Yes. But did we survive? Yes. And that's -- when I say dark, dark times are coming, look at the worst time in American history, the Civil War. That was a dark time. But life still went on. And so when I say look out, here comes the economy, something that we've never faced before, you are still going to have to go out and buy stuff. You are just going to have to be careful to get your money's worth. Things are still going to happen.

Go over and read the whole thing. It's worth the time, even though it's a little long.

And on that note, have a lovely weekend everyone! I'll be back Monday (if not sooner) with a yummy new cold weather appropriate recipe. Mmmmm ... :)

Tuesday, November 11

Holly Rules!

Please check out the latest developments at my fellow Texan's house, aka June Cleaver Nirvana.

Holly, don't tell my husband, but I think I love you. And my boys would love you, too. And I love that you would love my boys and totally get it.


Monday, November 10


Cold weather is kind of here. Maybe it's already here for you. So have some friends over, and eat around the fire with a nice cold beer. What will you feed them? Make this now. Thank me later.

by Brea

3 dried ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded
2 T dried oregano
2 T sweet paprika
2 T whole coriander
1 T cumin seed
2T chili powder
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 lb ground venison*
1 lb ground beef*
3 c cooked pinto beans
salt and pepper
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 canned chipotle pepper, diced (or 2 T chipotle puree)
1/2 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and minced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 yellow, red, orange, or white bell pepper, diced
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 whole cinnamon sticks (break in half)
1 t sugar
2 T masa harina
Fritos, grated cheese, lime wedges, cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a small dry skillet over low heat add the ancho peppers, oregano, paprika, coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Cook until they begin to smell, about two minutes. Put the spices in a spice mill or food grinder and grind until they are powdered. Set aside.

In a heave bottomed pot over medium heat, add the oil, onions, garlic, meat, and peppers. Cook until the meat has lost almost all traces of pink. Add 2-3 T of the spice mix, along with the tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, and sugar. Season with salt and stir well. Add some hot water until the meat is just covered. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for 45 minutes, stirring often and adding liquid to keep everything covered.

After 45 minutes barely simmering, add the beans and mesa harina, and cook at a medium simmer for 10 more minutes, uncovered, to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve over Fritos, with cheese, lime, and cilantro for garnish.

*You can use and combination of ground meat you'd like. I usually only use one pound, total.

Yes, I know. There are beans in my chili, and I'm from Texas. Believe me, I feel very, very ashamed. Please don't tell my family. But I'm not rich enough to be snobby; I can't afford 4 pounds of meat for one dish. And the beans really are a great addition. Just please don't tell my grandma I said that, mmmkay??

Sunday, November 9

Paul, Timothy, and Barnabas

Do you have a Paul? What about a Timothy or a Barnabas? They don't have these actual names (although it would be freakin' cool if they did!); it's the relationships I'm talking about.

The references come from the New Testament, and these people are typically not related to you, although they can be at times.

Your Paul is your mentor. Someone you can trust, someone you know will give you honest advice when you need to hear it (usually when you don't want to hear it), someone you can always go to for help. She's the one who steps in when your life isn't going so great, and maybe you can't even see it, but she can, and she's been there, and she loves you, and helps you.

Your Barnabas is your friend. Your buddy. Someone you walk with, share life with. She helps you. You help her. You cry on each others' shoulders. You laugh until milk (or red wine) comes out of your noses. You freak out and take your kids to her with a 15 minute heads-up, only because that's how long it takes to drive to her house. She shows up on your doorstep, a mess, leaves her kids with you, and goes to Starbucks for two hours. Or Mexico. And you're delighted that you could help out in some way. You hold each other accountable without malice or judgment.

Your Timothy is the person you mentor. Usually younger than you, but not always. She calls you and asks for child training tips. She has a fight with her husband (or sister, mother, daughter, son, whoever) and calls you in tears, asking how to fix it. You give her the honest advice she might now want to hear, and you do it with love. You step in and take over once in a blue moon, and you have the trust between you that you can say, 'I don't think you can see this in your life right now, but it isn't healthy, and I'm worried about you. Here's where we can start.'

I've been blessed by more than one each of the above. And I've found that sometimes, most times, the lines merge, and your Barnabas becomes your mentor for a brief time, or your Timothy is your best friends for a while.

Pace is my all-the-way-Paul. Pace is our pastor's wife, expecting baby #7 in the next few days. I wouldn't say that she and I are buddies, but we are friends. Pace is well-read, and wise, and answers my theological questions, and patiently gives me advice for dealing with Evelyn's temper, or Sam's disposition. Other than church I might not talk to her more than once or twice a month, but she is invaluable to me.

I have been blessed with several Barnabas'. Sarah and Margaret are my two BFFs from high school. They are true, dyed-in-the-wool friends. I'm the only one with kids (hey, Sarah, hurry up already!!!!), but we're all married to wonderful, godly men, and we have similar over-all goals for our lives. And we all love the Astros, even when the Astros suck. We call each other and chat, we have Girls' Night once or twice a year, we give and get advice, and we love each other unconditionally. (And Sarah just moved away, and Marg and I are sad. But we're going to visit her this spring.) I love these women like you don't even know.

Becky and Kristie are two more close friends. Each is a true Barnabas. But each has been married longer than John and I, and they both have children older than mine. Kristie's oldest is 10 (her youngest is a pinch older than David), and Becky's oldest is 14 (her youngest is a pinch younger than David). Kristie took my kids without a single second hesitation the day I started to miscarry, and was a shoulder to lean on. She helped me immensely in the months following, because she's been there before. She is occasionally a Paul, too, when it comes to marriage, and keeping my house, and teaching my children.

Becky is amazing, too. Becky is a peer, in that we have very similar personalities. We both would rather spend 4 hours in the mud with our kids than wipe down our kitchen counters, or do laundry. We have a 5-minute (ok, 20-minute) chat every morning, and ask how our goals for the previous day turned out, and share our goals for the day ahead. More than once, after I've put the kids to bed, I've thought, 'Ahh, now I can plant my butt on the couch now and curl up with that book I'm reading. Oh! Crap! I told Becky I was going to clean off all the surfaces in my bedroom today, and fold an extra load of laundry. I'd better get that done, so when I talk to her in the morning, I can tell her I did it.' It's a wonderful system. I love it.

Here's another really, really important aspect to having a Barnabas like Becky. A few weeks ago, I did something incredibly stupid, and I lied to John. And promptly got caught. It was the first time I'd ever lied to him, and I felt horrible. Worse than I've ever felt before. It was awful. (I'm not talking infidelity or anything like that, just me being stupid.) I didn't want to tell anyone about it, because I was so embarrassed, and ashamed, but I knew I needed to talk to someone and get some advice. I called Becky. Being the wonderful friend she is, she listened patiently to my tearful confession, asked me questions, and thought it over.

Then she called my a dumb ass. And told me I'm an idiot.

Properly chastened, I could do nothing more than agree with her. Because she was right, and I needed to hear it. She told me stop making excuses, buck it up, and own up to what I had done. Becky's been married twice as long as I have, and knows all about that communication stuff a husband and wife are supposed to do. Which, in this case, was me swallowing my (very stupid) pride and begging forgiveness from the single most amazing and important person in my life, my wonderful husband. We talked for quite a while.

Then she told me that this couldn't wait another night, and that this is a talk John and I needed to have without our kids running in and out of the room the whole time. And she told me that she would meet me at Chili's in 20 minutes when we went to pick up John, and take my kids to spend the night at her house.

You need a friend like this in your life. And you need to make a point to be a friend like this, too.

I don't think I have a specific Timothy at the moment. I have friends that come to me for help in certain areas, like cooking or budgeting. My friend Tana called me the other evening, and I finally heard those eight wonderful words I've been waiting my whole adult life to hear:

"Brea, will you teach me how to bake?"

Ha ha ha! I kid (mostly), but my friends do come to me for advice in areas that are my strengths, some friends more than others. And your relationships with your friends are constantly changing, and some seasons they'll be your Timothy, and some will be your Barnabas, and some will even be your Paul.

These friendships don't just happen; like all good things in life, they take work. Some people make friends faster, or more easily, than others; some people really have to put forth the effort. Me? I'm a mix. Being friends with Sarah and Becky is like breathing. It comes easily and naturally and seems like it's always been there. I've really had to work at my relationships with Kristie and Pace, but I'm incredibly grateful that each of these women is a part of my life.

So. Do you have friendships like these?

(ps-John and I are good now. No worries, we're actually better in a lot of ways than before it happened. And in case I haven't mentioned it before, communication is a good thing!!!)

Monday, November 3

Pain, and a little fun

I think I've broken my tail bone. Or at least severely bruised it. I kind of want to die right now, or maybe Jesus will come back before I have to work the elections for 14+ hours tomorrow.

Long story short, I completely ate it going down the back steps (5 of 'em, made of titanium wood), hit the side of my head, my butt, the back of one of my legs, and broke or bruised my tail bone. It ain't fun, peeps. I thought I was going to pass out walking up the stairs to put the kids to bed last night.

(Side note: This is one of those times that it really, really, really pays off to have well-trained children. Other than saying bedtime prayers and tucking everyone in, I didn't have to lift a finger last night. Did I mention that John was working? Sam got everyone ready for bed, including taking David to the bathroom, putting his diaper on, and getting him dressed, and Evelyn mostly cleaned the table and kitchen for me, while I was busy lying on the couch, praying for death. Those kids are angels!!)

So that's me. In pain. Takes me 37 minutes to roll over in bed, unless I'm asleep, and just roll over the normal fast way, but then I wake up crying and scare the husband. Yay!

And on a slightly lighter note ... Let's play the Google game!!! Here's how some people have recently found me here at Ramblings of a Busy Mom. (I might change that to Ramblings of a Clumsy Moron Who is in Quite a Bit of Pain. I'm just saying.)

brea mom's morning off
Really? I get the morning off? Great! I'm going to lay on the couch and watch TV. Sweet.

jeub family racist
I don't think they are. They seem like a lovely family. I kind of keep hoping they'll adopt me, but no such luck yet.

12 hour oven brisket, can i cook a 8 pound brisket in the oven, brisket oven then grill, and many, many other brisket searches
What? It's really freakin' good brisket.

my best mom atx out
Well, I am pretty great, and I did live in Austin (ATX) for a while, but the best? I'm flattered! Thank you!

mom star boy
Huh? If you say so.

lynsey daughter, brea
Is 'lynsey' a real word?

orange cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting
You haven't lived until you've tried it. It's awesome.

Those are some of the more mild ones I've had recently. I'll post some fun ones then next time they come up. Hope everyone has a lovely evening, and a great week. I'm going to go sit on some ice now.

And don't forget ...


Tuesday, October 28

Music, music, music

I love music. It makes my world go 'round. It soothes my heart, lightens my mood, and often (to the chagrin of my dearest husband) makes me dance. Poorly. I like good music (have you heard Take the Skinheads Bowling by Cracker? It's awesome!), and I'll occasionally admit that I love really bad music, too.

I love cheesy Christian music, and I love music from the late 60's and early 70's, and I love love love punk (Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys all the way, man), and I love dance music, and I love classical music, and I love country music (I was crushed in late elementary school when I figured out that I wouldn't be able to marry Garth Brooks. Seriously. Crushed.), and I loves me some bands with great hair (hello, Guns n' Roses and Black Sabbath!), and I love ska (Losing Streak by Less Than Jake is still one of my top 10 fav albums, as is The Fury of the Aquabats, by The Aquabats), and have I mentioned how much I love music?

So I was playing on YouTube yesterday; I decided I wanted some background music while I was checking my email and reading blogs working. I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Love them. LOVE. THEM. Listening to them sing Battle Hymn of the Republic can make me cry every single time I listen to it. And so can their rendition of Climb Ev'ry Mountain. And I came across this, which is one of my favorite hymns (did I mention hymns in my list of music I love? Because I love hymns, too!).

Be Still My Soul, by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

So go on over and listen. Be prepared to weep. Then everyone get together, and pool your money, and send me to see these guys live, please!!

Friday, October 24


Sorry, people. After the two horrible anonymous comments I just deleted (and I pretty much never delete anything; never had any need to), no more anon comments. Go away. I'm not going to be won over to your side by being called a racist, ignorant, being accused of brainwashing my children, or by you calling my friend a broodmare. Seriously.

But way to pay attention when your mom taught you how to win friends and influence people. She must be really, really proud of you. Congratulations.

10 Things

About me. Maybe this is news to you, or maybe it isn't.

Here we go.

1. I hate people touching my feet. I tend to freak out and accidentally kick. Hard. I don't have a problem with feet (others' feet), but heaven help the person who gets too close to mine.

2. I cannot help myself, but I love to smell babies. If you let me hold your baby, and it looks like I'm snorting crack off the top of their head, I promise, your baby is not in danger. I am very, very good with babies. I just obsessively smell them.

3. I am extremely afraid of the dark.

4. I can handle mice, snakes, spiders of all sizes, bugs, lizards and skinks, and just about anything else you can throw my way. But if I see a cockroach, I will be reduced to a small, crying infant, curled int he corner in the fetal position, sucking my thumb.

5. I am a very good shot with my .410 and my .22 rifle.

6. I probably get this from my mother, Annie Oakley, who used to be in shooting competitions, and held her own quite well.

7. There are two kinds of nap people: people who can take a 10-minute nap and be totally refreshed, like my stoopid wonderful husband, and people who cannot sleep less than 1 hour to feel rested. I am in the second category.

8. I form strange friendships online, almost overnight. And I'm ok with that.

9. My best friend ever just moved to Cincinnati, and I miss her. A lot. And she's only been up there for like 15 hours at this point.

10. I painted my toenails for the first time in months last week, and I keep getting a little surprised when I look at my toes, because I'm not used to seeing them painted. How lame am I?

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 21

Would you vote, part 2- an open letter

To whom it may concern:

Well, thank you to all the people the person who left me all the sweet comments. This is why I moderate my comments, by the way. I approved every single one, with the exception of the one left by 'palin is a lesbian' who said, and I quote, 'f*ck you.' Please click here and read what everyone this person wrote.

How do I know it was one person who left all the comments (with the exception of the first three, left by friends of mine)? Well, for one thing, not a single comment was made with a blog address to track back to. Way to show some balls there, buddy. Also, I have StatCounter, and every comment was left today, Tuesday, October 21. One after the other. And according to StatCounter, as of 11:15 this morning, I have had TWO unique visitors. TWO. That really doesn't seem like enough to garner 43 comments from 43 people. Or even 23 people. Or, hell, even 3 people.

"Those of you who have taken the time to read the facts on this matter, thank you. Those of you who are making comments based on things that are not true please educate yourself." (about halfway down, at 1:48 am) I MODERATE MY COMMENTS!! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE SAYING ON MY BLOG, UNLESS YOU'RE THE ONE LEAVING EVERY SINGLE COMMENT. But it was sweet of you to call me the moron, and ignorant. Let's think about that one for a minute or two.

And another thing. And let me make sure I'm very, very clear when I say this, so that there's no confusion whatsoever. I WOULD NOT VOTE FOR SEN. OBAMA EVEN IF HE WAS THE MOST PRO-LIFE OF ALL PRO-LIFE PEOPLE. This article was a drop in the bucket for me, and not one that changed my thinking one way or another. But allow me to specifically address some of the comments.

If you think I'm an ignorant Texan, I'm ok with that. At least I have the common sense to think my ideas through, and I have the decency and manners to never be so hateful to someone I've never even met. My momma raised me better than that. And you, apparently.

Yes, I care that Guns Stop A Beating Heart. I own three. I want a new one for Christmas. The only hearts they've ever stopped from beating are the raccoons who try and eat my chickens, some doves when I was younger, and the tin cans we hang on strings. And if you try getting into my house without my consent, we'll see how well your heart is beating when the dust clears.

I'm not saying I agree with 100% of the views of the author of the article. If she opposes condoms in Africa, I don't agree with her. But I posted one article, not her entire philosophy or life story.

Someone who is anti-abortion (or PRO-LIFE) is not necessarily anti-contraception. But we oppose abortion as contraception, that's for sure. I'm just saying. I have no problems with condoms, Viagra, getting one's tubes tied, or limiting your family size. That's your business, not mine. But I don't think you should be able to take a life to do so, not when there's so many people desperate to get a baby who just can't.

Another good one: "Repubs don't care about babies." No, no, you're right. That's why I thought my heart was breaking in two and couldn't catch my breath for days when this happened. It was probably because I was so relieved not to have another burden added to my family.

So, honey? Yeah, you who left all the comments, I'm sorry you didn't leave me with a way to write back to you. Good luck growing a pair soon!


Friday, October 10

Sleeping Outside

It's all the rage. All the cool kids are doing it. Haven't you heard?

John set up a ginormous tent out front a few days ago, and my older kids have pretty much moved outside, coming in only to seek food, occasional drink, and PBS Kids for Curious George. We've been reading outside, taking naps outside, doing school outside, eating lunch outside, playing outside, and they've been sleeping outside at night. I won't let them eat near the tent, much to their chagrin, because we have very crafty raccoons (all names Billy), and now that the raccoons can't get eat my chicks' toes through the bottom of the coop anymore, I'm convinced they would try to get into the tent and eat my children. They're some big stinkin' raccoons!!

John's going to camp out with the kids tonight, and I might give into Sam's begging and let David sleep out there with them. Imagine, an entire house to myself!! Not that I'll be able to throw a keg party or anything, seeing how they'll all be 30 feet from my front door, but still ...

Tuesday, October 7

I. Hate. Technology.

Seriously. I hate it. I mean, yeah, it really makes my life easy and fun at times (she writes on her computer as she sits in her air conditioned house, drink coffee made in an electric coffee maker and heated in the microwave, eating cake baked in a toaster oven!). Ok, I'm not really talking about that kind of technology. Electricity? Bring it on! DVD's? Love 'em! Remote controlled cars? Yes, please!

No, I'm talking about my/our dependence on communication devices! I mean, if we didn't have caller ID, would the world end? (I don't have caller ID on my land line, and pretty much everyone I know thinks I live in the stone age.) If we go to work, or to the store, and we forget the cell phone, will the sky start falling? What if the email goes out for a few hours? Would your head explode?

I hate that feeling--like I'm tied to my technology. John often refers to his cell as his e-leash.

We have really spotty cable out here. We're literally at the end of the cable line. The people that live across the street from us can't get cable access, unless they'd be willing to run a 100-ft cable to their house. My internet only works about 2/3 of the time. Do I pay 2/3 of my internet bill? No, I don't. I don't like my cable company, but I don't have an alternative. They're rude when I call, and unhelpful, and try to convince me that the call center is in the United States, when I've never been able to understand a single person I've talked to without asking them to repeat what they said 3 times. But I digress.

I've become able to function without internet for a few days at a time. It used to drive me completely insane, but I've learned to live with it. I am a reasonable, thinking human being. I can cope with whatever life throws my way!

That being said ...

My cell phone died.

I can't go up to the AT&T store until Thursday at the earliest.

It's killing me.

I have no cell phone.

My life, as I know it to be, is over.

Here's a list of people I can't call:
my mom
my dad
Wesley (my brother)
John's cell phone
my MIL
all my grandparents except the one who lives in Austin
and about a bazillion other people I know who don't have 512 area codes

I had no desire to call most of those people yesterday morning. But then my phone died. And now that I know that I can't call them, I really, really, really, really, really want to.

I'm just saying.

I hate technology. But only because I love it so much.

Sunday, October 5

5, 5, 5, 5, 5 ...

I like Ryan over at This Is REVERB . He's less than a year older than me. He has absolutely no idea who I am; I lurk at his site. He's a pastor with lots of tattoos. I have a secret thing for tattoos, but please don't tell my husband. He's got a precious daughter whose cheeks I want to kiss, and I totally want to be friends with his wife. He lives in a ridiculous other country that's not Texas Cincinnati, but I don't hold it against him too much. Ryan did a post on 5's, and since I've got so many things to say I can't pick just one or two or seven nothing to report, I thought I'd steal his lovely idea. Minus the pictures.

My 5 Favorite Verses (in random order)
1. Galatians 6:9 Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
2. Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
3. Psalm 30:5b Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
4. Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
5. Matthew 5:3-16 the Beatitudes, and then some

My 5 Favorite IRL, Non-Family Friends
1. Sarah
2. Lyndsey
3. Margaret
4. Kristie
5. my book club gals

My 5 Favorite Blogs
1. Farm Fresh
2. Go Fug Yourself
3. Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
4. Amy's Humble Musings
5. This Is REVERB

My 5 Favorite Places

1. My front porch in the morning, watching the sunrise peek over the trees.
2. The spot on my husband's chest where my head rests when I hug him or when I lay down.
3. The Brazos River where my grandparents live, where we used to set trot lines and fish crawl through barbed wire and swim and ruin all our clothes in the red clay.
4. The nursery in our church, where I get to watch babies during Sunday School and chat with Pace and talk politics and borrow books from Evan.
5. Starbucks. (Stop judging me. I freakin' love Starbucks, people. I hardly ever go there, because I can't justify the cost, but I kind of want to move in and drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes all day long.)

My 5 Favorite Things To Cook
1. Pumpkin Bread
2. Swiss Chard Over Pasta
3. Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
4. Bread
5. Anything with lots and lots and lots of bell peppers.

(I really, really miss my oven. I've having baking withdrawals. I've waited months and months fro fresh pumpkin, so I can make pumpkin muffins, and they're finally in season, and I can't make pumpkin muffins now!!!!!!)

So there's my 5 by 5. What are your favorite things?

Thursday, October 2

The Rules

Check out this link. It lists one family's half-joking rules for marriage. Totally safe read, even with little ones peeking over your shoulder. :)

The Rules

Monday, September 29

my Lone Star boy

Well, we're back. We've been back for a week. And I haven't updated. Sorry!

The trip to Corpus went as well as can be expected. I didn't have to go to the beach (YAY!!), and the aquarium and the USS Lexington (an aircraft carrier that's been turned into a kind of museum) were awesome. So. That's all I have to report from the trip.

And this week. has. been. insane!! My oven went out a few days ago, and it's probably going to cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $5000 to replace it. $300 for the actual oven, and $4700 for the rest of the kitchen that'll be remodeled. I'm very, very nervous, and incredibly excited at the same time. I've not been crazy about my kitchen since we've moved in, and we've been planning on remodeling before we move (probably in 3-4 years), but this is just a little sooner than expected!

The weather here has been absolutely wonderful. We could really use some rain (I think we're something like 20 inches under the average amount), but we've practically been living outside. I don't think we've been higher than 92 in the last two weeks, and the nights have been getting in the low 60's/high 50's. You can all laugh at me, but it's like winter here! :) Not really, but it's been awfully nice.

And last week, Sam got out of bed and went outside to bring the newspaper in for John. He went out wearing a t-shirts and no pants. Underwear but no pants. (Look, we live in the country. We can get away with this kind of thing, ok? Just be glad he was wearing any clothes at all.) It was 62 out. I know, because this comment prompted me to look and make note of the temp. He ran back inside, shivering and telling me he was freezing cold. Then he asked me the question. The one that proved something to me.

"Mom, do you think it's going to snow today? Because it feels like it's cold enough for snow."

It was at that exact moment that I knew.

We're from Texas. There's just no two ways about it.

Saturday, September 20

and we're off!

It's almost 6 on Saturday morning as I type this. I was up early this morning, at ten after five. Luckily, I was wise and went to bed early last night OK, I'm a moron, and didn't get to bed until almost one. Helloooooooo, coffee!!!

I'll be leaving in about two hours to take the chicks (and various 'thank you' goodies) over th Kristie's house. God bless that family; what wonderful friends they are to have!! I'll head back home after that, to load up the van and collect my family. Luckily, we'll only be gone for two nights, and David doesn't require near as much stuff as he used to when it comes to traveling, so there's not too much to load.

We'll head over to Enterprise to pick up the car we're renting for the trip, because even though we took the van in on Tuesday and thought the a/c was fixed ... it's not. So they'll work on it over the weekend (I can think of more pleasant things to do that drive over 12 hours round trip with no a/c in September in Texas!), and hopefully we can pick it back up on Monday afternoon or Tuesday. After we get all our stuff from the van to the rental, we'll be off for the drive down to Corpus Cristie, which should take us about 5 hours, with a few stops factored in.

As much as I enjoy whining, I really am looking forward to this trip. I've been given a pass from getting in the ocean (Brea + the Gulf of Mexico = NOOOO!), and I don't have to go fishing (if I'm going to fish, I want to do it from a river bank, under a tree, with a bell on my line and a good book beside me), and we're planning on going and seeing the aquarium they have down there, and either the aircraft carrier I've been to when I was a wee little tyke, or the battleship. I wish we had time to do both, but we don't. Oh, well.

Please pray that we have a safe trip, that this would be a time of fellowship for our family (I'll explain more on that when we're back), and that our van won't be too durned expensive to fix!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Remember to hug your children more than normal, kiss your husband slightly longer than you'd normally deem appropriate, and call up your friends or family and tell them you love them!! God bless!!

Wednesday, September 17

it never rains, but pours

Well, that's not true. It doesn't actually rain here at all. But the weather has been dreamy for this time of year! I haven't had to run my a/c in 3 days. Yeah, buddy!

But anyway. It's been insane as usual around here. Last Friday, we went to the ER (at 6:15 in the morning, may I add!) to get David's stitches taken out of his head wound. He did beautifully; not a single whimper, flinch, or sniffle, and he didn't even try and move the doc's hand.

Yay, David!!

$500 later, we got home. (Why is it so expensive??) Everyone was excited to see how his head was doing, and how he was healing. About 2 hours later, we were all outside, and no one was more happy about that than David. He hadn't been able to be outside all week, and he was delighted to be out there. Until he fell, hit his forehead on the wheelbarrow, and busted about half of his head wound back open.

Bad, bad David.

Blood everywhere, older kids freaking out, John kind of freaking out (if you'll remember, he wasn't here the first time), much running for the first aid kit, and a debate over whether or not to take him back in and get him re-stitched. We decided no to go back to the ER, and rely on butterfly band which has worked pretty well. But still, I spent most of the three days after that keeping him within arm's reach, to 1) keep him from injuring himself again, and 2) keep him from taking the bandages off his head.

Hurricane over the weekend, which meant lots of attempted (and several failed) phone calls. Everyone we know is ok. My mother-in-law, up in The Woodlands, still doesn't have power, and probably won't for at least another week.

Church on Sunday, and John worked Saturday night. We only have one car, and John doesn't go to Sunday School when he works Saturday nights, so here was our routine Sunday: I woke up at 5:15, like always. I had my coffee and quiet time, got all the church clothes ready, got the kids up and made breakfast for everyone as quietly as possible. Brush hair and teeth, dress, and try to be out the door by 9:10, waking John just before we leave so he can start getting ready. Then I have to leave Sunday School early (I work in the nursery with Pace, and we only have 3 babies, one of which is mine) with David and go back and get John. We try to make it back before the service begins, but we usually miss the first song (it's a 40 minute round trip, church to home and back), so Sam and Evie always sit with another family until we get there. This week, John had to be at work around noon, so we bolted out the door as soon as the announcements were over and took him straight to work. The kids and I headed home for lunch, had a lovely afternoon and evening, and went back to pick John up around 10. It was close to 11 before we were home and the kids in bed. Whew!!

Then came Monday. Monday was bad, because my sweet, wonderful, precious dog, Maggie, got run over by the school bus and died. It was an awful afternoon. After being screamed at by my neighbor (no, he wasn't the one who hit the dog; he was just that pissed off at me, I guess), and having Maggie's collar thrown at me, I came inside, told the kids, put on a movie, and promptly threw up. (Not because of how she looked. She looked perfect, like she was asleep. I was that freaked out by everything.) I called my dear friend Becky, who decided that I shouldn't be at the house with the kids by myself with a psychotic neighbor next door, so her family came over to watch the Cowboys game. Did I mention that her husband is a former Marine, current Navy reservist, and a police officer? And that John was at work and not due home for at least a few hours? I was more than ok with them coming over.

Tuesday we got up, picked up a rental car, dropped the van off at the shop to have the a/c fixed, came home, buried Maggie, I ran some errands and had girl time with Evie (and got the first chunk of my Christmas shopping done), we went and picked the van back up, came home, had supper, and I passed out on the couch around 9:30, watching The Best of the Johnny Cash Show, which was amazing, before I fell asleep.

And today, I've cleaned out the chicken coop and made lost of repairs to the year, started clearing my gardens so I can till them tomorrow, and folded lots and lots of laundry.

Tomorrow, we start a new Bible Study at Kristie's house. It's a Beth Moore study. I've never done one before, but they're supposed to be awesome. I'm excited. And tomorrow I start getting ready for our short trip to Corpus Christie, which I'm emphatically not excited about. John's dad has a timeshare or something down there, and we're going Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I don't like leaving my house, I don't like sharing a room with all three of my noisy-sleeping kids, and i. hate. the. beach. Sand gets in my hair, and in my clothes, and in my car, and in places that sand has no right being. I'm just saying. And I really hate going places on weekends, because then there's other people out, too, and I just don't like other people. Except you, of course. :)

I know, I know. I'm just whining and trying to gain sympathy at this point. (Is it working? Do you feel ever so sorry for me yet???) Anyway ...

I'm awfully tired. If someone could come body-snatch me for a day or two, and I could just nap, that'd be great ...

Sunday, September 14

Would you vote for him after reading this?

Wow. I'm not one to post a ton of political stuff on my site, but I came across this article from July 19, 2006 on this morning. It truly scares me.

Why Jesus Would Not Vote For Barack Obama

What the hell is wrong with some people? Seriously!

Saturday, September 13

hurricanes and other ramblings

As you know (or maybe you don't, in which case this is new to you), I'm from the Houston area. Katy, just went of Houston on I-10, to be exact. And as you also know (and if you don't know this, you probably live in a big hole in the ground, with a rock for a door, in which case you probably don't have interweb access and aren't reading this anyway), a hurricane just hit Galveston and Houston. Hurricane Ike. He wasn't too strong, as hurricanes go, but he was a big ole' boy.

I've been in touch with all the vital friends and family in the area this morning, and while no one seems to have power (thank you, Lord, for cell phones that work without power!), everyone is doing ok. The storm has essentially passed my Katy/West Houston friends and family, and the rest of my peeps are north of Houston, mostly in The Woodlands, and they're doing ok, too.

This is/was a really bad storm. I think it's going to be a lot worse than people previously thought. Please pray for everyone in the path of this thing; they really need it. I heard on the news that 3 million customers are without power, which means over 4.5 million people without power, and it's goin got be weeks before the power is restored everywhere.

Tuesday, September 9

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Jessica at Farm Fresh just did this post, and I loved it! So I'm going to be a sheeple and do one, too. :)

For Today ...

Outside my window ... The sky is just turning gray, and it's incredibly still and humid. It's only supposed to be in the upper 90's today, which is such a lovely break from the multiple 100+ days we had most of last month!

I am thinking ... that I need to get my butt of the computer and get in the shower, and wondering why I decided to sleep in and not get up until 5:50 this morning.

From the learning room ... I have no idea. I think we're going to do a lot of baking this afternoon, so we'll get quite a bit of unintentional learning done. :)

I am thankful for ... so many things. My darling husband. My sweet children. My amazing friends. A Savior who loves me no matter how many times I screw up. XanGo, for really helping with John's allergies.

From the kitchen ... Oatmeal for breakfast, yummy chicken salad for lunch, maybe stuffed squash for supper, and lots of baking when I get home this afternoon.

I am wearing ... a towel. I really need to get off the computer and into the shower!

I am reading ... two different books by Elisabeth Elliott. God's Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light, and The Shaping of a Christian Family. Both awesome. You need to get them, today.

I am hoping ... that all the kids wake up with great attitudes, and behave for John today while I'm gone. And that they all have fun together. And that the dentist isn't going to charge me for the cap that popped off.

I am creating ... a very fun and noisy family. And a large new flock of chickens, who will hopefully be nicer than our last ones, and not eat their own eggs. (We got 20 new chicks a few weeks ago, and had 7 out of 11 of the last ones processed.)

I am hearing ... Maggie's tags on her collar jingle as she follows David around, and David playing with a truck and a gun ... both toys, of course!

Around the house ... I'm loving my clean floors downstairs, I need to vacuum upstairs, and I can smell my new candle all the way up here in the loft ... and it isn't even lit right now!!

One of my favorite things ... is my quiet time in the mornings. You might think I'm crazy to get up so early when I don't have to, but nothing beats drinking a hot cup of coffee and reading my Bible on the front porch before the sun has come up. It's lovely, and quiet, and not hot, and almost magical. Seriously.

A few plans for the week ... Dentist and lunch with a friend from book club today. Watching the hurricane to see if we can make it in to the Astros game Friday night (probably not). Preparing for visitors if the hurricane is still headed straight to Houston (probably, but hopefully not!). Kissing my kids and husband many, many times. Taking David at 6 am Friday to have his stitches out. Tying to keep David from pulling out said stitches before the correct time, or smearing dirt in them. Conference calls and work stuff. Homeschooling. Trying to convince my best friend Sarah that she really, really, really needs to come visit me before she moves in the next month or two. Taking care of the chicks and chickens. Playing ball with Maggie. Y'know, all the normal, everyday stuff that makes my life so dang awesome!!

The Simple Woman's Daybook is held over at The Simple Woman every Monday. Go check it out!

Monday, September 8

one fall, five hours, and seven stitches

Mom, please don't read this. I can't be held responsible for you reading this, seeing the b-l-o-o-d word, fainting at work, hitting your head, having a concussion, and being rushed to the hospital. So just check back in a few days, please, Mother Dearest.

Ok. So. I'm putting some towels away in my bathroom yesterday when I head a fall. One of those falls that you hear, and it makes your heart stop beating for a few seconds and makes you run faster than Jesse Owens. So my heart stopped beating for a few seconds and I ran faster than Jesse Owens to the living room, where David had decided to swan dive into the corner of the fireplace. It only took me a few seconds to get to him, and he looked like an extra from a low-budget horror flick. I'm not kidding. Blood everywhere. By the time I picked him up and got to the kitchen to wipe him off, his face, his shirt, and part of my shirt were covered in blood. I thought maybe he had knocked a tooth out, too, because of all the blood that made it into his mouth, but it was only the spot on his forehead.

I saw he was going to need a stitch or ten, so once the bleeding really stopped, I taped a piece of gauze to his head, got a bag ready (full of books, snacks, and drinks- hey, man, I've got three young kids. I go places prepared!), got everyone changed and found shoes, and went up to the hospital. We made it there about an hour after it happened, which is pretty good, considering all the shoe-finding, and that we live about 20 minutes away. David was totally calm at this point, and jabbering on about whatever it was he was jabbering about.

I got the older kids settled in the lobby, checked in, and saw the triage nurse. There was only one doc in the ER, and there were several people to be seen before us, so I called my dear friend Kristie, who lives five minutes from the hospital, and her husband came and got the older two kids about ten minutes later. Yay!! My kids are absolutely wonderful, but I had no objections whatsoever about not having them there with us.

Have I mentioned that John was at work? Fortunately, he opened yesterday, and was able to get someone to bring him up to the ER as soon as the night manager came in. John got there around 4:30, just as we were going back to be seen by the doc. The doc looked at David's head wound, put a gauze soaked with topical lidocaine over the gash, and told us to wait. David continued to have a wonderful attitude, flirting with the female nurses, the male nurse, the doctor, the admissions girl, and the little old lady who (I think) had a broken wrist.

After the lidocaine worked it's numbing magic, the doc gave him the shots, waited a few minutes longer, and stitched him up. I got to watch the whole thing, and it was awesome. Seriously, I'm not being sarcastic. I'm a freak, and while I can't handle anything resembling a zombie movie, I love to know how the body works, and watch all those gross things doctors do. (My mother would have been on the floor, passed out. I'm not kidding. When I called to tell her where we were, I never got passed 'David cut his head' before she was shrieking and telling me to stop talking. It was a very interesting conversation.)

So we were at the ER for almost five hours total, and my little baby (yes, I know he'll be two in less than a month. No, I will not stop calling him my little baby. You can't make me. So there.) has seven stitches in his forehead. I got home, put the kids to bed, and poured myself a nice, cold, much-deserved beer. I drank most of it, watched some old-school Star Trek with John, and fell asleep on the couch before ten.

We go in on Friday to get the stitches taken out. Did I mention what a little trooper he was? He was amazing!!!!!!!!!! And I don't think he even noticed that he had stitches until he saw himself in the mirror this morning. :)

Wednesday, September 3

Conversations with Sarah

(phone rings)

Brea: Sarah!!!!! I'm so glad you made it home from Ohio safely. Tell me again why you're being crazy and moving away from Texas?
Sarah: Because I want to be near my sister and her boys, and help her out because her life is difficult.
B: Oh. Ok. Well, if you're going to be all not selfish, I guess I can't rag on you too much.
S: So how are you?

(rambles fly back and forth about the weekends we had, family issues on both sides, drama or lack thereof, blah, blah, blah)

S: Did I interrupt you from anything? Sorry to be calling so late.
B: No, John and I were watching I Am Legend.

(let me interject something here. Legend is about the sole survivor in New York City after a virus kills everyone, and the dead people turn into zombies. I don't do zombie movies, ever since watching the new Dawn of the Dead, and when I see zombie movies, I don't sleep for at least two weeks. I'm not kidding; zombies completely freak be out!!!!!!!!!)

S: Oh, I'm sorry! I'll let you get back to that.
B: No, it's really ok. We were only like 10 minutes into the movie, and when the phone rang, I shouted, 'O, thank you Jesus,' then glared accusingly at John and said on my way to answer the phone, 'I can't believe you were going to let me watch that!!'
S: Is that the one with Will Smith?
B: Yeah.
S: I remember that. Everyone dies in the end! Even Will Smith!!
B: Yeah, I figured as much. John saw the original and liked it, so he wanted to watch this one, too. I think I might like the old one, but this one is already getting to me.

(we go on to talk about the movie as Sarah remembers it, plot lines, other zombie movies, my issues with zombies, etc.)

B: The thing is, I hate zombie movies. I mean, I really, really hate them. I love scary movies, but I just can't watch zombie movies anymore since Dawn of the Dead. Zombies freak me out.
S: You have to keep reminding yourself that they aren't real.

(at this point, I think, 'Wait, did she just say that to me? Did she seriously just tell me to remember that zombies aren't real?')

B: Wait, did you seriously just tell me to remember that zombies aren't real? Sarah, I know that zombies aren't real!!!!!
S: Oh. Yeah. Sorry about that.

Friday, August 22

Prayer Request

I would love your prayers right now, wonderful interweb friends. A good friend of mine, my best friend in the whole wide world since sixth grade when we played the oboe together in band what? I wasn't in band. Ok, ok, yes I was. I am a true, double-reed playing nerd at heart. Don't tell anyone.

I digress. My bestest friend ever was diagnosed with cervical cancer this week. It's really early, and I think the outlook is good, but still. When you hear 'you have' and 'cancer' in the same sentence, it's not exactly a perk-up-my-week kind of moment, you know? Please pray for her. She's been one of the most positive influences in my life, and she's a little down right now. Ha. As you can imagine. Pray that she would have peace and calmness, and wisdom for some decisions that she and her husband are in the process of making, and that she would just feel God's loving arms wrapped around her, which I know they are.

I'm off to visit her this afternoon, so I'll be back and try to have a fun post up tomorrow. I keep forgetting that I still haven't introduced y'all to Maggie, my new, sweet, slightly scared (of other people, not me) pound puppy.

Tuesday, August 19

An Open Letter

Dear Food:

I don't understand why we have to be like this right now. We've always been on the best of terms! I love you more than I love myself. When someone asks me if I'm hungry, I always reply with a smirk, 'Oh, we must not have met before.' I am always hungry. My husband constantly tells me, 'Baby, you've never met a carb that you didn't like.' And it's true. Except maybe for um well, there's that one thing uh, oh, how about that dish nope, uhh, I love carbs. Oh! Rye bread. Sorry, I don't like rye bread. Whew, glad I got that off my chest. Rye bread, I'm sorry to break it to you like this.

But I digress. Food, we've always had a lovely relationship. I mean, there was that one time in high school, when I flirted with maybe being anorexic or bulimic, because I knew a lot of (in retrospect, really messed up) girls who were doing it. Then I realized that I'd just be hungry, and I was already tiny to begin with, and I didn't want icky teeth and stringy hair, but mostly I didn't want to have to break up with you. Because I love you.

Even my husband has come to terms with the other love in my life. (Sometimes, I tell him that he's my other love, but he knows that I'm probably kidding, unless I'm making coffee cake or pancakes or homemade bread, in which case, like I said, he's come to terms with that.) And don't get me started on butter. The three secrets to French cooking? Butter, butter, and a little more butter. And I don't even eat French food, although I can make a mean crepe.

I have a love affair with fresh vegetables, as you can see evidence of in this recipe. And this one. Don't even get me started on bell peppers, or we'll be here all day. I have gardens that I sometimes view as shrines to you, food. Herbs. Tomatoes. Pumpkins. Oh, pumpkins. This recipe changed my life for the better, and I've never looked back, even though you actually have to peel and grate a pumpkin.

I have a thing for peaches. Especially fresh ones from Fredericksburg. I love books about food. I sit down and read The Joy of Cooking, even though a bunch of the recipes are crap, like it's a novel. Last week, I made 12 coffee cakes. I'm not kidding. I mean, I gave several of them away (just ask Sarah), and some are in my freezer, but did I mention that I made 12 coffee cakes???

And now, I can't have you, dearest Food. I have picked up a light version of John's despicable stomach bug. Eating half a banana, the thing I find most tolerable at the moment, sends me to bed with queasiness for three hours. Those five bites of lasagna I had yesterday evening? I'm still regretting that, and it's 8:30 the next morning.

What have I done to you? Please, just tell me, and I'll apologize and make it up to you. I promise I'll never say whatever it was I said ever again!! Since Friday night, here's what I've eaten (and please bear in mind that it's now Tuesday!): 4 small slices of an amazing pizza from Two Rows; four Rolos; a hot dog; two bananas; five large, ill-advised bites of lasagna.

That's it! This is killing me!! Why can't we all just get along? I'm ready to kiss and make up, Food. I yearn for chicken pot pie, I long for a fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie, I pine for a big steaming bowl of brown rice, I weep for spice cake, my heart breaks for purple hulled peas, and I mourn the fact that I can't eat the pancakes I'm about to make for the rest of my family.

Why, God, why??? How do I fix this? I'm just hungry, and I want to eat without cursing the Food I love 10 minutes later. I'm very happy with my size, I feel no need to change it, and already my stellar boot cut jeans that may have been a tad on the ... uh ... fitted side aren't so fitted anymore. If this continues, I'll have to buy a belt!!!!

So, in closing, my darling Food, please get back to me soon. I miss you like a caged bird misses flight, like a sightless man misses colors, like a broken pen misses the poetry it once wrote. Please, please, let's make up and be friends once more.

Yours always and forever,
and with more love than you can imagine,

~Brea Stewart

Friday, August 15


Holy shark repellent, Batman!! Life is crazy, but great! We've been really busy with the new dog, starting school again, baking, and keeping up with the everyday housework. I keep waiting for things to slow down, but truth be told, I'm happy being busy. It keeps my mind off other things, and makes me feel great being accomplished. Or something like that. :)

Sorry I haven't posted more. Other than work stuff and email, I haven't been on the interweb very much in the last month. I've been lurking around my friends' blogs, but haven't done much blogging myself, obviously.

And now, we're off to Houston!! The kids and I are going to drop John off at a friend's house (we only have one vehicle, and he's going to borrow a car so he can do wild and crazy things like go to work ...) and head to my mom's, stopping on the way to visit my youngest brother at work. I'm going to the Astros game this evening with my two best girlfriends from high school, Sarah and Margret. It'll be our last time to go out together for quite a while, because Sarah is a fool moving to Ohio. Who leaves Texas to go to Ohio? Seriously!! But I really an going to miss her like you don't even know.

Then I've got an awesome XanGo event on Saturday ... So I'll be able to write my whole weekend (except for the drinks after the game, of course!) as a tax deduction!! Woohoo!! My brother and some friends are going to crash here on Saturday night, because they're going tubing in New Braunfels and driving here after. They were really hoping to camp, but since basically all of Texas is under a burn ban, they can't have a fire, and what's the point of camping if you can't have a campfire??

So. What do you have planned over the next few days? I want to hear about it, even if it's not the most exciting weekend you've ever had. :) I hope everyone has an absolutely wonderful weekend!!!!

Thursday, August 7

millions of peaches, peaches for me

I love my husband.

But I love him even more when he isn't sick.

Seriously! It's like having an extra 3 kids!!

But he's doing much better. He walked in the door yesterday evening with a big grin on his face. Immediately suspicious (believe me, I didn't marry a big-ole'-grin kind of guy), I asked him what was going on. He said, 'Oh, nothing. It's jut nice to feel human again.' He did not have a good few days!!

And last weekend, I bought over half a bushel of peaches from the guy at the Farmers' Market ... for only $10!!! That's right, a ginormous cardboard box of fresh Fredericksburg peaches, for just $10. I rule. :) But this is why it pays to know the people who grow your food. I had mentioned to Peachy John (not to be confused with Husband John) a few weeks ago that I love canning food, and having good quality stuff to eat when the fresh food goes out of season. So when I went up there on Friday, he said, 'Hey, I might have something for you! Are you still putting up food?' I told him that I was, and he said, 'Well, I brought a whole box of slightly bruised fruit, and I can't sell it, but I thought you might like it. I'll give it to you for $10.'

I died. Then I came back, shrieking, 'I'll take it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' And when I got home and started looking through the box, I knew Peachy John had been more than fair. Much of the fruit was really great, maybe a slight bruise or imperfection. A few of them ... not so much. I had to throw several to the chickens. They were ok with that. But since peaches turn so quickly, I had to work my butt off this weekend to get everything done. I made about 8 smaller peach cobblers, canned 5 pints of sliced peaches, made 5 pints of peach butter, and made a peach pie. This is after we all (except Sick Husband John) gorged ourselves on fresh peaches out of the box.

I know, I know. It's a hard life, but somebody's gotta do it!!

This goes to reaffirm how good God has been to my family. This might now have been such a big deal to another family, because 99% of the people I know don't can food. They would have turned down this offer. (Then again, I can't sew to save my life, so while being offered a few bolts of pretty cloth might be wonderful to someone else, it wouldn't help moi.) But God always provides; it's just not always in when ways I was expecting or hoping. But the unlooked for blessing can be the best ones, in my opinion!!

And in other news, we've had three recent additions to our family in the last month, so I'll post some pictures tomorrow. It's just hard to get a good snapshot, when they're constantly chasing each other, or running after sticks you throw, or getting distracted by butterflies.

On that note, I have got to gets me a nap!! I haven't been sleeping well lately, and it's not helping my over all, general sweet and pleasant disposition.

Tuesday, July 29

What Day Is It?

I'm not kidding. I had to sit here for a minute or two, telling myself that I would not stoop to scrolling over the clock in the bottom corner, to see what day it is. Seriously! We have been so busy the past few weeks, I haven't hardly had time to take a deep breath, let alone figure out where I am or when I am.

(Don't you love my grammar there? That's right, I is gonna homeschool my young'ens!)

Let's go back about three weeks.

Week one: I was starting the process of getting ready for our trip to the Frio River. I did lots of shopping and cooking ahead and list making. I was even using the lists to do the shopping and cooking ahead! I had my first prenatal with my midwife, got to hear the baby's heartbeat, and spent the day in Austin with my friend Becky, buying things together for the trip (her family went with us). Also trying to keep up normal life stuff, like cooking every night, keeping the house in order, teaching my children, taking care of the new kittens and new chickens, blah, blah, blah.

Weekend one: My world pretty much crashes down around my ears, starting Friday evening. I have a miscarriage. It takes over 48 hours to happen. I went through a freakin' mini-labor, people! Contractions and all! (That's the side no one ever really tells you about) I momentarily lose my mind, then come back to reality and am startled to see just how wonderful the people there are in my life; I have never, ever felt more love surrounding me at all times.

Week two: We leave for the river less than 24 hours after it happens. I have a surprisingly good time, and come home ready for a vacation from my vacation.

Weekend two: Get home, unpack, freak out about 38 times about my house because it's a wreck and I think I feel ok but honestly, I'm not physically up to doing that kind of thing yet and it's frustrating my to no end.

Week two: For the first few days, see above. But then I do start to feel better. Emotionally and physically. Which is good, because I had a booth at the Butterfly Festival this weekend that it took my a good, full three days to get ready for.

Weekend two: (this is the weekend we just came out of) bake. And bake. And go to the Farmers' Market, buy a bunch of peaches to make peach butter, fall in love with a rescue dog, convince John to let me get this dog even though he had yet to see it, and get a new dog. That was just on Friday. The festival was all day Saturday. And I had a great time. And made enough to cover my costs and pay for my surprisingly expensive dog. John's mom was here, so we decided to go see Batman. After I was out in the Texas heat all day. All. Day. Long. I'm just saying. There's a story behind seeing the movie. I'll save it for another day. You'll appreciate it, I promise. The short part is that we didn't get home until after 1 am. Then we had Sunday School and church the next morning. I was about to fall asleep, despite a very, very good sermon.

Week three: (which so far has been yesterday and today) I have cleaned my house top to bottom. And played a lot with the new dog. More about her to come soon. Her name is Maggie. And played with the kids. And cooked many meals, because John has been off both days, and it's been Project Central around here. And I got my book club book yesterday and read the whole thing already because I don't have time to read tomorrow because I've got XanGo calls and phone meetings most of the day, and book club is tomorrow night.

So if you're in the Bastrop area in the next few days, and you see a barefoot, un-showered, half dressed, sleep deprived woman wandering the streets with a really cute dog and some cute kids in tow, muttering to herself, that's me. Just write a note on my head saying that I like non-fat vanilla lattes (no foam, please!), and point me to the Starbucks. I'm sure a little caffeine will perk me right up!

And then please drop my children and the dog at my mom's house, and take me back to the river with a 6-pack of beer. You can just leave me at the gate to Garner State Park. It's ok, I have a pass! But please don't tell them here you've taken me until I have time to take a nap by the river, under a nice big tree, mmk? Thanks!

Thursday, July 24

The More Things Change ...

.. the louder my kids get!! Haha, just kidding.

Well, I'm not really kidding. My kids are just really loud. But that's the way I love it. I would be so sad to have quiet, still, boring children. As I told a friend last week, 'You can ask a rambunctious or mischievous child to be quiet for a few minutes, but you can't ask a boring child to be interesting for a little while.' :) It's totally true.

So. Anyway. I was making Purple Hulled Peas and Potatoes, with Mashed Butternut Squash, for supper last night. I love both of these dishes, and they're very Southern fare, so I decided to take pictures and do a lovely recipe-with-picture post, Ree Style. It was all going great, until I started cutting and cooking things, and then life happened. So, I'll post the recipe later today or tomorrow (and you'll thank me when you make it all), but instead, I decided to give you a little peak into the supper-making process around here. People who have no children yet, enjoy the fast cooking while you can!! :)

Let me set this up. Italics will be my running internal monologue, the bold type will be the things I did, and regular type, things I said. I'll toss a few times in there, just for kicks, but I'm not exactly watching a clock in the midst of all the chaos uh insanity um standard operating procedure.

noon: Man, I really feel like peas and squash. Let me make sure I have everything, so I can make that for supper this evening. Oh, I do. Sweet.

5:00 Hmm, John should be home by 6:30, and the squash takes a while to cook. I should start thinking about prep work. 'No, you can't watch Monsters, Inc. You already watched it today.'

5:44 I should get that squash started. Don't want to forget to turn on the oven like last week. I'm totally the smart one, I know. Start singing I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt. I can't believe I'm singing this. What is wrong with me? I'm embarrassed, and John isn't even here to make fun of me! Oh, well. I am too sexy for my shirt, it's true. I need to wash this shirt, come to think of it. I hope that spot from earlier comes out. Get squash ready and in oven. Where are my children? Eh, they'll turn up eventually. David's in here, so the other two must be outside.

Take last onion out of pantry. Make sure to get more next time I'm at HEB. Throw away 3 rotten heads of garlic. I hope this last one is still good. Well, I'm ok there. 'No, David. The last time I gave you a piece of onion to eat you cried and wouldn't speak to me for almost an hour.' Is it strange that my not-yet-2-year-old knows how to give me the silent treatment? Oh, well. Cut garlic and onion, trying to take pictures of the process, without getting garlic and onion all over my camera. How in the heck does Ree do this? I need a tripod. And a better kitchen.

I hate digging through my fridge. Why is there so much crap in here? Yeah, like I can blame someone else for that. Oh, there's the bacon. I'd better sharpen my knife. 'What do you mean, Evie's bleeding? How much? Where? What did you do to her? No, don't give me that. You need to be respectful, and tell me the truth. Ok, I'm sure it was an accident that you hit her in the butt with a baseball. No more baseball this evening. Is she actually bleeding? Ok, good. Take your brother outside with you. Say yes, ma'am. Try again. Once more, and with the right tone of voice. Great! Thanks, hon. Yes, I'll tell you when I chop the peppers, but you can't have much, because these are smaller than normal.'

Cut bacon. Pull out bell peppers. Orange, yellow, white, and purple. I love bell peppers. I hope they stay in season a little longer this year. Why will peppers not grow out here? Everyone else in the entire freakin world can grow peppers. I have a green thumb!! Why can't I grow peppers? Seriously!! 'Evie, stop yelling at me! What are you panicking about? Which one? David? Yes, I'm coming. Did you help him out of the fire ants? Why not? Well, that was nice of Sam. Oh, sweetie, I'm so glad you helped him get the ants out of his toes. You're such a great sister. He seems ok now. You keep playing out here for a while. Yes, I'll tell you also when the peppers are cut. But they're small, so you can only have a few pieces this time. Yes, I know how much you loooove peppers. It seems to be genetic.'

Start cooking onions, garlic, and bacon. Why do people cook their peppers? They taste so much better then they're crunchy. I'll give David his own little bowl of diced peppers, and the kids can just have a slice when they come back inside. I think maybe I think too much into peppers. I love purple hulled peas. I feel so ... I dunno, Southern when I cook them. I'm glad Erica had some left when I got there [to the Farmers' Market] on Saturday. OH! I wish they wouldn't slam the door.

'Hey kids. Yes, I was just cutting them. No, you can't have your own bowl. Stop arguing with me. You need to say Yes, Ma'am, before you can ask me why. Again, with the correct tone. Thank you! Because you only have one slice, and David has several small pieces. You don't need a bowl. Yes, I see that he got out the little pot. I know he's putting his peppers in there. It's ok. Yes, the pot is clean. I'm not going to let your little brother eat food from a dirty pot. We haven't lived in Bastrop for that long. Never mind what that means.

'Stop interrupting your sister. No, Evie, you can't tell me about how Sam was scaring you with a sword. I don't care if he told you he was going to cut off your leg. No, Evie, he's not actually going to cut off your leg. No, he isn't. Evie, no he isn't! Oh, stop arguing with me. You two made a mess up in the loft this morning. Please go start on that while I make supper. It doesn't matter what we're eating. That has no bearing on your cleaning the loft.' Give kids detailed and boring cleaning instructions.

Well. David is occupied with putting his peppers into three different pots before eating them. I can live with that. Where was I? I did garlic, onions, peppers, bacon. What am I making? Peas. Mmk. I'd better get the peas out of the fridge. CRAP. I forgot to shell them. Well, the kids are occupied, so I should be able to get them done pretty quickly. Oooh, that didn't sound good. 'SAM! WHAT WAS THAT NOISE? STOP SHOUTING AT ME AND GET YOUR BUTT DOWNSTAIRS! Thank you for coming down here. What was that noise? Seriously? Sam, you can't climb in the bookshelf and try to jump on Evie. I don't care if you're trying to be a spider. No, Sam, you're not actually a spider. Stop arguing with me. No, you can't take a drink upstairs. Here, just have a sip of mine. Don't get your cooties in it. Never mind. I'll explain cooties when you're older. Go politely apologize to your sister.'

Ok. Peas. Where's the baby? 'David!' He's in the laundry room. I hope he's not in the chicken scratch. 'David! Get out of the chicken feed! And the cat food! No, please don't take anything out of the trash. Thank you. Can you close the door for me? Thank you. Eat your peppers! Good job.' Where is my strainer? I need a bigger bowl to shell these peas into. I haven't shelled peas since I was a kid. This is going to take forever. We're not going to eat until next Monday! Why didn't I do this OH MY GAWD, SOMETHING IS ON MY TOE!!!! IT'S A SCORpion never mind, it's just a leaf. How did a leaf get on my toe? Oh, well. I'm glad John wasn't here to hear me shriek like that.

'HEY, Y'ALL COME DOWN HERE. Thank you. I need y'all to help me shell peas. Shell peas. Shell. Peas. These are peas. Yes, I'm making purple peas for supper. Yes, you have to eat it.' Pulls out clean bowl for peas and gets the kids in a circle. 'Sit down. I know, I like doing things on the floor, too. No, we're not putting the peas on the floor. In the bowl. That one right there. The white one. Right in front of you. Right there! Sam, are you messing with me? You goose. You're funny.'

Explain two times how to shell peas. 'David, stop biting the peas and spitting them back in the bowl. Evie, the dark ones are easier than the green ones. Sam, stop taking all the dark ones away from your sister. Thank you. Evie, don't say HAHA at your brother. David! Stop that! Evie, I know he's trying to sit on you. Just let him. See, doesn't he look happy? Thank you. Yes, I love David, too.'

THIS IS TAKING FOREVER!!! Nostalgia, my ass. I think I have a bag of frozen fresh shelled peas in the freezer. Sweet! I do! 'Ok, kids, thanks for your help. Sam, please take David to use the restroom before you go upstairs. Yes, you both did a wonderful job. Thank you!' Man, I forgot how long it takes to shell peas. What idiot buys peas in the pod, when you can buy them already shelled? At least if you grow them, you've got a reason to shell them. Peas are in. Hope they don't take too long to cook. It's already 6:45! Goodness! When did it get that late?

'Hey David. Did you go to the bathroom? Good job! Please come help me unload the dishwasher.' My kid isn't even two, and he knows how to unload the dishwasher. He even does it the right way! Man, I RULE. I'm the best parent EVER! Crap. 'David, stay back. NO! Don't touch the broken glass. I'll clean it up.' Clean up glass. Glad that was just a small bowl. What was I saying? About my parenting? Pride goes before the fall ... of a bowl? Ha, I'm funny. I wish John was here so I could tell him. He'd HATE that joke! Ha! 'Great job, David!' He really is such a precious kid. He'll be an awesome older brother some day. I wonder when we should start trying again? Ok, can't start on that right now. I've got too much else going on.

Basil! I forgot the basil! 'David, keep unloading the plates.' Run outside to cut some basil. EWW! Poo! Stupid chicken. I hate chicken poo. That'll teach me to go out back without my flip flops. Clean feet. And hands. And basil. Where's my knife? There is it. Basil is in, let's get that dishwasher finished.

Turn around from unloading dishwasher. EGADS!!!! It looks like a bomb went off in here! I gotta get this tidied up, at least a little bit! John should be home soon. 'David, go put this in the pantry. Please don't lick the top of the pepper.' What was that verse in Isaiah that Pace sent me? I need to find that and post it on the fridge this month. I'll put it alongside this one. I love this verse! Am I forgetting something? Older kids are occupied, David is still putting stuff away, peas are going, I'm almost done with the clean ... THE SQUASH! Crap! Frantically pull squash out of oven. Ok, that's a little ... uh ... done. Well, I didn't burn it, so it should just be that much easier to mash.

'Oh! You scared me! Are you done with the loft? What do you mean, you're done with your part? Is Evie done? Well, no one is finished until the loft is totally clean. Uh huh, her side too. Dude, you know how it works. The more help you give her, the faster you're done. Great attitude, Sam! Thank you!'

Where's the baby? I hear him talking with Sam up the stairs. Good. Squash. Man, that's easy to scoop! OUCH! And hot. I need to overcook this every time. It was much harder last time. Well, that's in the mixer, butter and sugar and salt, good to go. I'm glad I used foil, clean up will be so ... 'WHAT???' Run upstairs. 'He spilled water near the computer? Where? Oh, Evie, don't scare me like that. He's like 10 feet from the computer. Is this your water? Stop crying. Please stop crying. You're not in trouble. Is it your water? Well, you know you're not supposed to have drinks up here. Clean up what he spilled, then you can all come downstairs.'

'No, your foot isn't bleeding, Evie. It is not. It is not! I'm looking right at it! Ok, you can get a band aid for it. Go. Sam, stop telling her that you're going to cut off her limbs. Yes, and toes and fingers. Don't tell her you're going to cut off anything. Remember, you're supposed to be her protector! How can you protect her if she's scared of you? Yes, you can apologize to her. That would be a very kind thing for you to do.' Turn to David. 'I hope anyone who comes after you is a boy Y'all are so much easier!' Laugh when David shrieks 'Yeah!'

Back down to the kitchen. Bowls on the counter for the hot soup. 'Sam, please set small plates out for everyone. Evie, forks and spoons. David, come clean up your books. Now, David. Say yes, ma'am. Thank you!' Squash? Check. Soup? Needs some salt and pepper. Check. 'Everyone go wash hands. Sam, help David.' I gotta change my shirt. John should be here any second. I can't believe I timed it like this! I never have supper on the table when he gets home! Of course, it's 7:30, so that might have something to do with it, also. I gotta get more organized.

'Hi, honey! I'm glad you're home! Yeah, it does smell good. Thank you! I'm glad you noticed the clean kitchen. The kids helped me a lot this afternoon. I think I'll let them tell you about it ... Our day? No, nothing out of the ordinary.'