Monday, November 2, 2009

Global warming...right

In case you're not on Facebook, it snowed in Houston today, December 4, 2009. I'm not talking a few flurries here and there - we had enough to build snowmen.


I mean, it snows every so often (when I was in sixth grade - 1993, Xmas Eve - 2005, and last December to be exact), but never enough to make actual snowmen, and boy were Houstonians up to the task.

Here are some we snapped as we drove around our parents' neighborhood. Vote for your favorite by clicking on the comments at the bottom of the post!

Snowman #1 "Reese's Pieces"

Snowman #3 "Sammy"

Snowman #4 "Aggie Yell Leader"

Snowman # 5 "Tiny Tim"

Snowman #6 "The Snow Queen"

Snowman #7 "MacFrosty"

Snowman #8 Frosty

Again, Blogger has taken over my computer and changed the font on me without my permission. Taylor has already told me to stop working on this because I keep yelling at the computer, and they want me to pay attention to The Godfather 2 which is on in the background and kind of clashing with the Christmas spirit of this post.

I just have to say, I love how most of these snowmen don't have hats and scarves on probably because they're gearing up for the high 50s coming promptly tomorrow. Typical Texas.

Don't forget to vote! (This is really just for me to see if y'all have given up on reading my blog since I haven't been on since July - O Come All Ye Faithful!)


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Treasure and It's Final Resting Place

Here are some more of the priceless treasures we uncovered as we sifted thru la casa de DK and LK:

Yes, unfortunately I regularly donned this ski hat on the slopes in the 90s (does that make it excusable? at least understandable...right?).  Mom is wearing Mark's hat though he would switch between this stegosaurus style and an extremely long stocking cap with a fuzzy ball on the end of it - think "A Christmas Story".
  It's like only wearing a cowboy hat when you're not in Texas because the only time you can get away with it is when you're around total strangers three states away. Needless to say, frigid temperatures melt away my vanity pretty quickly! 

My dad was having a hard time parting with these jackets he and my mom bought in New Zealand circa 1978. Ultimately we were not convinced to help keep these in the family much to DK's chagrin.

Our treasure's final resting place (at least at my parent's house): the driveway!

I think I've mentioned before that I extremely dislike garage sales.  I feel so taken advantage of watching people rifle through my stuff only to offer a quarter for it.  Though somethings are probably worth less.  
Observe Exhibit A:

This little number, jumper if you will, was one of my competitive cheerleading squad's mandatory practice uniforms. 
You know you've gone low when you find yourself defending this outfit in your head because two ladies just paused when they came across it and then proceed to speak Spanish fast enough to rival that old Micromachine commerical spokesman.  A vague image of Elaine in a nail salon comes to mind, and I immediately send Taylor telepathic messages to stop studying and get over here quickly, so he can fill me in on their ridicule.  

It really wasn't that bad on...

I think I inherited my love for garage sales from my dad.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Penned and Packed for Posterity

Now that Taylor and I are home for the summer, my parents are taking advantage of the fact that I can finally sort through my haphazardly packed boxes, of well, let's just call it "crap" for lack of a more appropriate word. My brother, Mark, can attest to this as he has helped me move every time I've ever moved (except this last leg from Charlotte to Houston). And for the record Mark, I don't begrudge you this one second. I know I owe you more than I could ever repay. Because...

I am horrible at packing.

Especially before I got married and had nice things that I didn't want to find broken when the moving truck delivered us to our newest destination. You see in college, my idea of packing was to secure Mark's help in moving my stuff, throw whatever would fit into any shopping bags I had lying around, leave the rest piled in the living room, and then go out of town before Mark came to load and unload. Needless to say, he has wanted to kill me on numerous occasions. I think this may be part of the reason he moved to Hawaii.

Sorry Mom.

Back to my parent's house... As they culled through cabinets, closets, and the attic, they kept stumbling upon bags and boxes of random stuff of mine that contained items like: a scratched beyond belief Justin Barnard CD (good thing I hung onto that these 6 years), one out of the nine cheerleading uniforms I have saved over the years (no telling where the other eight are), stacks of VHS of movies like "Austin Powers" and "Empire Records", and used kid sized t-shirts I bought for 25 cents a piece at Good Will in College Station. What treasures!

With the likelihood of moving to Scotland in mind, I have been sobered by all of the treasure crap I have collected over the years. However, among the scratched CDs and obsolete videos, I came across an envelope overflowing with random pictures from my childhood and school years and of course, had to stop and look through all of them. You can't throw away professional pictures taken by Olan Mills of you and your brother aged 2 1/2 and 4 months can you? And what do I do with all of the wallet sized senior pictures of my friends that were so eagerly traded after we penned heartfelt personalized notes on the back (ie - "Stay Sweet! I am like going to miss you so much next year. Have a gr8 summer! LYLAS, Your BFF Jill*")? Do you just throw those away?

So what did I do with all of that stuff? Well it's probably not hard to believe that Justin Barnard ended up in the trash, the cheer uniform set aside to eventually be repacked with the others, the VHS sold to the highest bidder in a garage sale, and the t-shirts restored to their rightful place at Good Will. But the pictures got put back in the envelope, packed, neatly this time, in a new box until I come across it in the future in which I am certain I will again be compelled to stop whatever I am doing, sit down, and leaf through them again.

Who knows, maybe some day one of my ancestors will hang that Olan Mills picture on their wall among their other ancestors like the trend seems to be these days. And without this blog maybe all they would know is that long ago she was a teacher and he a boat captain. The moving wars, cliff diving, Heavenly snowboarding, John Grisham trading, Jack Johnson listening, stir fried beef eating, Mexico mission tripping, Ghost playing, Destin vacationing long forgotten.

I am OK with this because someone very wise often reminds me that only two things in life will truly last: God's Word and people. So I don't need to horde my Christian CDs and t-shirts for posterity. The photos however, I'll keep - maybe one of my schoolmates will become president someday. What?! It happened to my mom! We keep trying to talk her into selling her yearbook with Obama's senior picture in it on eBay.

Don't I look innocent? The truth of 2 year old me is reflected in Mark's eyes.

*Disclaimer: This is not my actual high school friend Jill's note on her picture. It's an allusion to what TV commercial...anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Photo Shoot!

Again, never a dull moment at Sus and Jas' house.  We were eating take out from El Rey (so good by the way; try their Summer Special), and I noticed Lizzie had disappeared from the kitchen.  I figured she was headed for her favorite place, the stairs, so I discreetly tailed her. She was making a beeline towards her target, so I followed her, and Lillian followed me.

We ended up in Lizzie's room in which she discovered that fans are obviously hilarious and provide endless hours of entertainment.  Who needs Baby Einstein?  

Not Lizzie!

How cute is this?
(I have no idea why this is computer has a mind of it's own!)

Lils and Thrills loved it too. With a nick name like that, how could she not?!
(And we're inexplicably back to normal font again.)

This girl can strike a pose.  

I think this is a tribute to John Travolta. I can hear it now, "those suhummer, niiiiihhhhhiiiiiiiiights."

Lizzie, did my Danny Zuko impression scare you?

The serious pose.

This one is my fav!

Ahhh! Blue then back.  This computer is starting to scare me!

Thank you Vornado.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Bunny named Maxi

Oh, the joys of living with Susannah and Jason. Here is just a little slice of life at their house.

"A Bunny named Maxi"
Once upon a time, there was a baby named Lizzie.  Her sister, Lils, thought Lizzie's life would be enhanced greatly if she were a bunny instead of a baby sister (maybe her motives were less pure, but we'll leave the inner workings of the 3 year old psyche for a another story).

With her new bunny ears, we felt it appropriate to name her Maxi. 
Maxi loved playing with Lils. Who wouldn't love having a big sister who could change babies into bunnies? Maxi felt so proud to have such a creative big sister.

Maxi was very content on staying a bunny as it gave her the ability to do beyond what a 1 year old human could do.

She was now proficient at playing the piano.

And she could read.

But still, her very favorite thing was to be held by Mommy.

She was a happy little bunny, but soon wished to become a little girl again.  She looked and looked for her sister to change her back, but Lils was nowhere to be found.  
However, she had the good fortune of crossing paths with a hobbit named Taylorina who also had the gift of changing bunnies back into little girls.

With a magic kiss, Taylorina caused her bunny ears to disappear right off her head, and instantly she was Baby Lizzie once more.

She was very thankful for that cute little hobbit.

And she went off on her merry way.

The End

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bringing you up to speed

We're loving being back in Houston especially seeing that big Texas sky, living with Susannah, Jason and the girls, sharing meals with our families, seeing old friends, and eating Tex-Mex (this list is not in any sort of order because if it was,  you know Tex-Mex would be first)!

Before we got here and since we got here a lot as happened: I had surgery, Taylor graduated from seminary, I had surgery (yes, again!), I missed the last week of school to go to Houston to see more doctors, Taylor and Matt went on a 50 mile bike ride in the mountains, Taylor visited Shelley and Ben in Lexington, Taylor preached in South Carolina, we moved to Houston, the girls had a joint birthday party, Taylor preached in Houston, we landscaped, we found a possible flat, and we met with a possible future employer for while we're in Scotland - whew!

This is why I have been neglecting the blog.  

As far as my health is concerned, most of you probably already know the details, but if not, I'll spare you.  Bottom line is things are looking back to normal, but I will have an X-Ray in July to make sure, so please pray that it will show that I have healed properly and can put this all behind me.  Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for me! Other prayer requests: we would love you to pray for Taylor's job in Houston, Taylor's Hebrew translation, our visa applications - we can't do this until Taylor finishes this Hebrew translation, and this possible job opportunity in Scotland (will give more details later).

Here are some photos of what we've been up to:

Lizzie (aka Gooster) at her 1st birthday party

Mia and Gooster

Shelley, Ben, Evan, and Taylor in Lexington
Matt and Taylor after the ride
Jason, Susannah, Nathanael, me, Taylor, Mia, and Pops at graduation  
Yes, I regret wearing those shoes!
Taylor, Dr. Kelly, and Matt
We made it - Praise the Lord!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"With a garden there is hope."

Wow, I haven't been able to blog in a really long time because we have been in the process of moving. I have that selective memory thing going that deleted any remembrance of how painful and involved moving is so that I would actually go through with it again.  Otherwise, we would have set up shop in Charlotte...for life. 

It has taken a ridiculous amount of time and energy, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel; however, that light is shining on the city of Edinburgh which means more moving. Ahhhhh! At least our flat will be the size of a shoe box and won't require us to bring anything, but clothes and books. And maybe Merriweather.  

She hasn't taken to moving very well, so I may just leave her here.  We have a love/hate relationship and right now I am not so fond of her.  I'll spare you the nasty details, but it has to do with needing to administer Pepcid AC on a regular basis. Can we say high maintenance? Actually, my saint of a mother-in-law is taking care of her for me, so I guess I can't complain too much.
For Fathers' Day/Mothers' Day, Taylor and I helped my fam landscape their yard.  My dad is chomping at the bit to see the pictures, so I don't have time to think through a clever blog post. I had this grand plan of writing a tribute to each of the fathers in my life (Taylor, Dad, Pops, Grandpa Bob, Papa, and Paw Paw), but that is a lot of dads, and our family is ready to kill us if we don't get our stuff out of their usable living spaces, so I mustn't tarry. These photos and captions are to explain what we did to the yard for my dad, so don't expect anything riveting unless gardening is your thing.

We finished the stone walkway and planted Mexican Heather on either side of the tree. It's hard to see because of the lighting.  Taylor says it will grow up to about 18 inches.  This was Mom and Kaitlyn's favorite plant.
In the main beds, we planted vincas, and on the far right are the agapanthus which will get bigger and bloom though I know not when. We lined the back of the monkey  grass with stones which will help some with drainage and should take the brunt of the rain from the roofline. The edge of the roofline falls right over the monkey grass, so the flowers should be safe.
In this planter, Kaitlyn planted a foxtail fern, vincas, and some potato ivy which will get huge and spill over the sides.
It's hard to see in this photo, but there are foxtail ferns in the two planters by the benches as well as the inside of both of the front beds.

Hope you like it Dad!  We missed seeing you on Fathers' Day. Love you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tom and Gina Tie the Knot

This weekend I got to spend about 28 hours in Houston. Everyone kept complaining about how hot is was while I just soaked it up, humidity and all. Yesterday it was 59 degrees in Charlotte people! Be grateful you're getting the benefits of lots of Vitamin D while I still freeze walking to my car in the morning on the way to work.

So why was I in Houston a mere 28 hours you might ask?

If you haven't already figured it out by the title, I was a witness to Tom's wedding. Yes, Tom Hicks is married.

I couldn't make it to the rehearsal dinner, but Will stood in for me and read my toast. It's kind of long, so I'll spare you any further comments...

First off, I am so sad not to get to share this speech in person and be with all of you tonight, but since I can’t make it to Houston until tomorrow, Will so graciously agreed to stand in for me. So just picture Will with long hair, a higher voice, and much skinnier, and it’s like I’m actually here. I mean if you’re friends with Tom, I am confident that you have been talked into crazier things in your life than this.

When I think of Tom, so many things come to mind: the Trainstopper, football, the Robonian Monster, Colorado, stunting in the pool, taunting truckers with CV radios, youth group and the Cone of Silence being the only thing I was ever excluded from on the basis of being a girl, Tom always giving me shotgun in Will’s car, getting 2 million dollars from Tom when he becomes a millionaire (I’m still waiting on that one), but I settled on one memory that shows the essence of Tom’s character in my mind.

Rewind exactly 10 years…

After little cajoling, I convinced Tom and Will to try-out for cheerleader for our senior year of high school. Notice I said little as they quickly came to the conclusion that cheerleading meant hanging out with a bunch of girls everyday as opposed to running up and down a basketball court or wrestling with sweaty guys on a mat.

Knowing Tom’s penchant for enduring pain and taking risks, I immediately tagged him as my stunt partner, and we practiced throwing stunts all summer in my pool to prepare for cheer camp and the upcoming season. Once camp rolled around, we were feeling pretty comfortable with trying these stunts on solid ground without the protection of the water in case he dropped me. Before the bus pulled out to take us to camp, my mom accosted Tom making him promise that he wouldn’t let me hit the ground. Tom confidently pledged this to her but not without letting her know that his pride was slightly wounded that she would think such a thing was possible.

Camp went pretty smoothly until the last night. It was our chance to contend for the honor of All-American Cheerleader. Each participant had to try out individually in the middle of Baylor’s basketball arena with the whole camp watching. Talk about intimidating. When he got to the stunting part of his tryout, I joined him on the court. Will may need to act this out for you guys so you can get a true picture, but Tom throws me in the air by the waist with the intent of catching my feet in his hands at shoulder level where I then stand upright and cheer on the crowd. But somehow the stunt went terribly wrong. As he grabs my feet, my toes point forward tipping me face first towards the court. My life flashes before my eyes. With ninja like reflexes, Tom dives under me just in time for me to land flat on his back consequently knocking his chin into the floor. The crowd was silent, not believing the amazing save they had just witnessed. After it was all over, Tom matter-of-factly commented, “Hey, I promised your mom you would not hit the floor. So you were not going to hit the floor.”

The point of the story is this, when you are friends with Tom, he may let you fall, but he’ll take the hit for you every time.

Here are some pics of the big day. Actually to be accurate here is a picture because it takes way too long to post photos on this thing; plus, according to my brother that lives in Hawaii, I look like a ghost, so I refuse to splash those pictures all over my blog. You'll have to hunt them down on Facebook instead:

Me, Brent, Tom, and Will

Congratualtions Tom and Gina!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Footloose and Fancy Free

Do you ever get that nagging feeling that you have forgotten to do something really important? With my fabulous memory and all, my system is to make a mental note whenever I am reminded of something important I need to do so that I don't forget to do it later. Maybe I should figure out another way as I get that nagging feeling multiple times a day.

So this happened to me after reading Big Mama's post just a second ago. By the end, I had this terrible sinking feeling that I hadn't done something really important.  Once I figured out what it was, I had to let you join in on my insanity. Picture this:

Frantically I  scan back through her post searching for clues.

Nope, I didn't forget to do The Shred yesterday - that was on purpose. 
Nope, I didn't forget to put tater tots on my grocery list as I do not have a five year old. 
Nope, I definitely didn't forget to watch Nascar ( I am totally against this sport and all it stands for...actually I just think it's boring to watch cars drive around in circles - though whoever came up with this sport is genius as most of the sophisticated state of North Carolina tends to disagree with my opinion on its ability to provide endless hours of entertainment). 
Nope, I didn't forget to clean/organize my closet.

And then it dawns on me, and I laugh out loud. 

I am ashamed to write this, but at the genesis of this blog, I pledged my undying honesty (or something a little less dramatic) to my fellow blog readers, so here it is - my elusive mental note and cause for slight panic brought to light: 

Must research why Zac Efron isn't doing the remake of "Footloose" anymore! 

Wow - I really shouldn't be wasting such important brain space.

But I totally did look it up :) 

So obviously I am in need of your help.  Please leave a comment giving me much needed advice on how to remember things besides making mental notes because that is just making me crazy!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

She had me at Costco

Besides worrying about getting our Visa applications in on time, there are a few things that are occupying my mind about our impending move to Scotland:

1. I know the official language is English, but will I really be able to understand what the heck they are saying? (I am brushing up on this by reading a fiction novel set in Scotland. See Taylor, I needed to buy Thorn in my Heart . It's for research purposes...)

2. Will I have a dishwasher? (not the kind that is bent over the sink, up to her elbows in dish soap, and has a Texas accent)

3. Will I have to go grocery shopping before each individual meal because our refrigerator is the size of a shoe box?

4. Will my diet consist of eating parts of animals I do not normally eat (or ever want to eat) and cannot pronounce?

5. Will I be able to get a job that does not require me to serve said food (or food at all for that matter)?

6. Will it be worth living in a beautiful and historic old city since I won't actually be able to see it? (Apparently it gets dark around 3 PM.)

OK, I know I sound high maintenance which should surprise all of you, but I am just kidding.


I'm not really worried about all of that stuff...just the food part because I LOVE TO EAT! Some might call me a picky eater, but I disagree. I'm not picky; I just know what I like and prefer to eat it. Maybe we could call it persnickety. I can live with persnickety.

Speaking of food, last night Taylor and I had dinner with some of our good friends, Mel and Chris. They met while working together for YWAM in none other than, Scotland. So we jumped at the chance to pick their brains and look at their pictures, so we would have a better handle on what we're getting ourselves into.

We ate dinner in their new gazebo on the back porch - the weather and food were glorious. Mel and I chatted about what to expect in a furnished apt so that I would know what to pack. And this is when the Lord gave me total confirmation that I could indeed survive living in Scotland for 3-5 years.

"So Mel, should I bring my dishes? Mixing bowls? Cutting boards? What won't be furnished that I need to bring with me, and what food will I miss?" I ask eagerly, pen in mid-air poised to take copious notes (OK you caught me...I'm not that organized and suffer from a false sense of having a great memory). But seriously, I do not want to be without what I consider typical kitchen necessities - I've already made plans to drive to San Antonio when we're in Houston to pick up some Rudy's BBQ sauce and have already stock piled Tabasco!

Nonchalantly she answers, "Nah - don't bring any of the kitchen stuff. You can get it all at Ikea cheaper than shipping it over. You'll find it, it's huge, and it's right next to Costco - you can't miss it."

"Did you just say Costco?" I shriek in disbelief. By now the guys have stopped in mid-conversation, wondering why my voice has risen multiple octaves. "Taylor, they have Costco in Edinburgh!"

Taylor turns to Chris to shed some light on my insane outburst, "Costco is basically Robin's second home."

And this is what I love about Mel and Chris. Instead of looking at me like I was a nutcase, they immediately advise, "Just make sure you cut the pizza in quarters before you try to bake it because the whole thing won't fit in the oven at once."

And with that - Scotland, here we come.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Globe Heads

Ever since we've been back from Spring Break, our students have been infected with Spring Fever. I run a tight ship from the beginning of the school year to avoid this as much as possible, but even with a typically well behaved group of kids, I am seeing the symptoms. I think I may have contracted a little bit of it myself.

I love teaching 8th grade. Usually when I tell people that I teach 8th grade, they say something like, "God bless you - I could never do that" or "I'm glad it's you and not me." Well I am glad too because I really do absolutely love it. 8th grade is such a great year because they know how to take care of themselves, they know how to "do" school, and most are not too cool for school yet. I've taught 6th grade in the past, and as precious and innocent as they are, they ask way too many questions.

When I first started my undergrad, I was on the early education track (K-4th certification). As soon as they promoted the middle grades program in one of my early ed classes, I jumped at the chance to switch. My decision may have been heavily influenced by the fact that I could drop 2 math courses if I made the change. This ended up being a great decision because

a) the thought of me teaching anyone's child math is just scary and

b) once when I subbed for a 1st grade classroom at my mom's old school, she came to check on me, and found me backed into a corner by 15 six year olds asking different questions all at the same time. Can we say claustrophobia?

But back to Spring Fever.

Our 8th grade team is made up of 4 core subject teachers, and I am the 2nd oldest if you can believe that. Needless to say, it's a really fun group. The 8th grade is stationed in modular units (euphemism for trailers) behind the middle school building. I share one with Lauren, the history teacher, but unfortunately we don't have a door in between the wall that separates our classrooms (pictured) like the math and science teacher do. I think our principal may have done this on purpose.

Lauren is one of the funniest people I know. Here is a direct quote from her "25 Things About Me" list on Facebook, "I love making people laugh. Whether they are laughing at me or with me, I don't care, just as long as people are laughing." Obviously this makes her perfectly suited for teaching 8th grade - they love her and think she is hilarious. There is never a dull moment with her around.

But like I said, after our students got back from the break, they have been crazy, so we have been cracking down on them and venting to each other about it because disciplining is our least favorite part of our job. Especially when nine times out of ten it's for a student having his shirttail untucked for the millionth time. Though I did get one recently for sending another kid's shoe up the flagpole. Where do they come up with this stuff?! We've overheard comments like, "Man, she must have had a bad Spring Break since she's in such a bad mood." I mean I love the fact that they think we're handing out more discipline referrals (known to them as Student Reminders) than ever before because we're in a bad mood, not because they are doing things to deserve them. And by love, I mean loathe.

When I remind myself that they are fourteen, it quells my frustration somewhat because weren't we all like that at fourteen? In one of her Bible studies, Beth Moore referred to this attitude as being a "Globe Head." She told a story about when her daughter was in middle school and how all middle schoolers and most high schoolers are Globe Heads during that time of life. You know, everything revolves around them, and they don't take much notice of things around them unless it affects them personally. It was extra funny to me because I was best friends with her daughter in middle school, so I'm sure I contributed to her Globe Head theory! Yikes.

The newest speculation of Lauren's heavy handedness was overhead by our Math counterpart during her study hall. One of the boys surmised that Lauren must have a boyfriend, and that is why she's always in a bad mood lately. Lauren and I howled over this one. Because, of course, having a boyfriend would put you in a bad mood, right? Gotta love an 8th grade boy's perspective.

Speaking of an 8th grade boy's perspective, I'll close with this noteworthy observation from a different one just today. Context: "Super Science Day" - we basically throw out the typical schedule to do science stuff all day IE make magnets (pictured), construct towers out of straws and shishkabob skewers, compete in egg drop contests, watch a local museum worker put on a Mr. Wizard-esque presentation, and listen to Larry Sprinkle (no joke), our resident meteorologist, talk ad infinitum about tornadoes (which did not help my phobia of them at all!). Once the dismissal bell rings, this boy exclaims, "Finally! We're free from this horrible prison of learning."

And that is why I teach.

I hope you enjoy your weekend as much as he does!