Tuesday, May 26, 2009

They were Rhinestone Cowboys!

Okay, so maybe they were really just two little boys who LOVED living a day in the life of a cowboy during our trip to George Ranch about two weeks ago. I can't believe I had not taken the boys there before as it is only ten minutes (at the most) from our house. We used to take our fourth graders here at the end of every school year, so it was nice to get to enjoy the ranch with my sweet boys. And believe me - they were in heaven which meant I was in heaven x 2.

We saw cows before we got out of the parking lot! This particular cow liked Grant... Who wouldn't with that cool "Durant Toyota" cap he's wearing that Pops gave him??

Grant was sooo happy to be at the ranch, he wanted to push Rhett's stroller. I was really happy with that as well. I knew right then that this trip was going to be a success!

Grant standing next to an old saddle in the little museum at the ranch.

Look at this cool old truck! Grant LOVED it (although that is not apparent by his facial expression)... It was just like the ones in the books we get from the library!
We got to see cowboys lasso cows.

We got to visit the blacksmith's shop. This was by far G's favorite thing. Too bad the blacksmith was on his lunch break by the time we got to his building. I promised G that the next time we went to the ranch, we would be sure to see the blacksmith in action. Since there was nothing to watch, Grant went around touching and twisting and grinding anything that had a handle.

And this is what Rhett did in the blacksmith's shop: He saw a horseshoe and immediately put it up to his face... Hmmmmmm...

Grant and Rhett enjoying the gorgeous view from an old porch on one of the old houses on the ranch.

Rhett had fun watching the "old timey" baseball game that was occurring in the field next to the house.

And this is thrown in for fun. I asked Grant to take a picture of Rhett and myself on the beautiful porch with the huge tree behind us. So, he took this picture... not sure who that man is, but can you see us in the verrrrrrrrrry back of the picture? What? You can't?? Did you squint? Try again...

This is the HUGE tree house the boys played in. It is built in a 200+ year-old oak tree. Notice that the trunk is sooooo big, they were able to build a staircase around it leading up to the tree house itself.

Fun in the tree house.

This was the main reason we decided to visit the ranch on this particular day: They were hosting an old tractor show. This was Grant's favorite tractor from the early 1900's. See that big wheel behind his left shoulder? That is what you had to turn to start the tractor. The nice guy there did it for us, and it took FOREVER. We learned quickly that all ranchers should be thankful for tractors with KEYS.

I loved this one: An old cotton picker attachment. It attached backwards to a "regular" tractor and the driver would essentially drive the "regular" tractor backwards to make the cotton picking attachment go forwards. Whew! I'm confused.

We got to ride the "tram" at the ranch (aka: a covered wagon type thing that was pulled by a tractor). The boys loved it! Look how red poor Rhett's face is! He was getting hot by that point!

Since this is a REAL working ranch, there was work to be done. And since we were there, we "had" to help. So, we grabbed hold of the rope (see Grant in the dark green hat) - - - -

- - - - in order to help this man pull his plow.

Later on, Grant took a try at moving the plow by himself with no luck...

A rooster and his chickens live on the ranch and walk around with you. Rhett was totally impressed.

This "intelligent" man showed Grant and other young boys how to start a fire with hay, flint and iron. Let's just hope Grant never has all three of these supplies in his hands at the same time. Thank goodness for insurance, huh, Josh H?
This ranch woman is showing Grant how to get the cotton seeds out of the cotton so it can be spun into thread using the spinning wheel behind them.
Rhett wanted a turn.

Once they turned the cotton into thread, she showed Grant how they used a loom the size of a powdered bathroom (it was ginormous) to turn the thread into clothes and blankets.

And to end our trip on the cutest note ever, Rhett wore G's hat to the car.
Yes, this is the way he wears all hats. No, he can't really see where he is going, hence the reason he was not wearing one in any of the pictures seen above.
What a perfect nut!

And just for funsees (sp??)
This is what I found today upon entering the living room after I had been putting laundry away.
It seems Rhett had decided to play with all three gerbils. We are lucky of three things:
1. That Grant was in school so he did not see this happen and therefore he did not flip out.
2. That Rhett did not squeeze them too hard (I think).
3. That all three gerbils are still alive.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Micah Saves The Day

Micah H. totally lifted my spirits tonight. The boys and I (sans Kerry - he was working late - again) packed up in the car and headed off towards a going away party for a friend who is moving to Tennessee. The evening did not go as planned as somehow we got in the car w/o Grant's shoes (had to stop at a store on the way to the part-a to get more). Rhett added to the "fun" by being fussy (guess he should've gone to sleep during nap time, huh?). When we finally got to the restaurant, the music (there was a live band) was soooo loud and the line to place your order was sooo long and I was NOT in the mood to wait in a long line with two kids, that I decided I had reached my breaking point for the day. I told my friend a quick goodbye and left in a bad mood. I had been looking forward to this evening for a week now only to go back home five minutes after we arrived. I think if Kerry would've been there we could have maybe pulled it off, or he could've taken the boys home and I could've stayed. Oh well.

But Micah H. gave me the best news ever as we were on our way out to the parking lot... I get to sing "All That Jazz" from the musical "Chicago" in VBS this year. Micah is writing and directing the show (Wow! How she has the energy to do this, I don't know. Not only does she teach 1st grade all day, but she gets up at 3:00 a.m. to work out!), and I told her a L-O-N-G time ago that I'd love to sing THAT song. I had actually forgotten I had told her that - until tonight. Yipppeeeeee! Do you know how awesome that song is??? It's fun. It's upbeat. It's jazzy. It's sexy. It's LOUD. It's the kind of song you lose yourself in. It's the kind of song you sing your heart out to while in the shower - It's PERFECT. Are you getting the feel here? Basically, it's the kind of song that makes your day. (It certainly ranks up there with "Love Shack" by the B25's in my opinion, and that's saying a lot here, people.) So thanks, Micah, for making my doozy of an evening more tolerable. I do believe I'll be singing in the shower tonight instead of shaking my fists. Hope my neighbors don't mind...

How can I ever repay her??? I know: Don't worry, Micah. I'll always have your back whenever you are being verbally attacked by a crazy person during a Girls' Weekend in "Canton". ha ha

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Change is Good (and gorgeously gaudy!)

How much do I love my new blog design??!!! Sharon with Redbud Designs did a fabulous job. She was very patient with me and truly did whatever I asked until the design was "perfect"in my eyes. What a trooper! Be sure to check out her link at the bottom of the left side of my blog. She does other things besides blogs! She does great invitations and birth announcements!

And on a totally different note, I have to share what I learned today while the boys and I were visiting the post office: A) Post office workers are FAR from friendly. B) The post office does not have tissues.

Now to the story: Right as I was finishing up my turn at the post office counter, Rhett and Grant took off running away from me down the hall where you can hear "ghosts". (It's actually the post office workers talking behind the P.O. boxes, but I can see where Grant gets the idea that there are ghosts there.) After four steps, Rhett falls. He does not cry. He gets up and wants me to hold him. As I am lifting him, the lady behind me dashes over saying, "He's bleeding, a lot!" I look down, and as Rhett's luck would have it, he fell and busted open a scab on his knee. Saying that he was "bleeding a lot" was an understatement. I was not aware that bony knees could bleed that much. A leg or an arm, sure, but a knee? I noticed that not only was blood flowing down his leg, but there was blood in his shoe and on the post office floor. I immediately said to the clerk, "He got blood on your floor. (wasn't that nice of me to put the post office before my child?) It needs to be cleaned up. He is bleeding, too. Do you have a tissue?" Her answer fit perfectly with all her other I-hate-my-job responses that I had the pleasure of enduring during my short visit at her counter: We'll take care of it. I responded, "Well, I need a tissue or something to clean him up with," to which she casually replied, "We don't have any," and continued to stare at me like I was an idiot. I was pretty much at a loss at that point as I was scanning the room for anything to clean my child up with. (By this point, I have blood on me as well.) And wouldn't you know it, two good Samaritans came to my rescue. The first was a guy about my age (lest we forget how fab 30 is). As he was jogging out the post office, he said, "I'll get a rag out of my truck!" While he was gone, a precious older lady who did not even speak English came over, opened her purse, and pulled out a first aid kit whereupon she handed me two alcohol wipes and a band-aid. Wow! Thank goodness others were present besides the post office workers, huh? Soon, the nice guy came running back in with a bright yellow hand towel and said, "Here ya go. It's new; it has never been used," as if he knew what kind of germ-a-fobe I am. All I could say was, "Bless you!! Thank you!" That towel was put to good use as it mopped up the blood from Rhett and my shirt and my arm. Then I was able to clean the wound with the wipes from the lady, and I was very thankful for the band-aid since it helped to contain the blood oozing from his bony knee which enabled us to get out to the car and away from the post office workers who I wanted to share some thoughts with.

Rhett's knee is fine. My shirt may be ruined, but he is fine. But perhaps most importantly, I learned today that there are still people - complete strangers -who will go out of their way to help. It meant a lot to me. I feel like I am always the one going out of my way for others, so it feels good to know that there are still nice people - nice people who got out of the long line at the post office in order to help me - in big cities like Houston that help when post office workers won't.

I am assuming someone cleaned up the post office's floor that was dotted with Rhett's blood. I didn't stay to find out. I did, however, warn others in line not to step in it, which was more than what the post office did.

On a side note, the boys and I visited a nearby ranch last Friday as a must-get-out-of-the-house-and-do-something-new-before-I-lose-my-mind excursion. I'll post the pics soon.

On a second side note, since my school is already out for the summer and Grant's is not (the Lord is good), I am VERY much enjoying my time away from the busy child. Rest assured I am living it up on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays of this week and next week. To top it off, as if it couldn't get any better, Rhett has actually taken naps on these days. Woo-hoooooooooo! You'd better believe I've been on the couch eating chocolate and watching "The Golden Girls" all by myself. I don't think winning the lottery feels better than that!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

Since the last time I posted, Rhett turned two. He is living it to the max, too.

I stumbled upon this scene last week... I guess my drink wasn't only for me.

Why does Grant make pallots on the floor? Maybe he has some Myatt in him (ha ha). As you can see, Rhett always joins in the fun.

My beloved ex-teaching partner, Angie, is expecting her first baby in June. I had a BLAST making her gifts for the shower. Can you tell she's having a girl? Did you guess that I am jealous?

Jessica is responsible for joining these indulgent brownies and myself together in a true love affair. You can make an entire box or a single serving in ONE minute! Wow! Add some fat free whipped cream or ice cream, and you've got yourself a quick, low cal, low fat dessert that is fantastcially similar to Chile's molten lava cake. I found it at Target hidden on the very top shelf in the baking aisle.

Grant's latest contraption.

We're already enjoying summer here in Houston.

Busy Season, although almost gone, has once again taken its toll on me. It's funny how I've grown throughout the last eight years of Busy Seasons. I've gotten tougher, and I've become quite self reliant. I don't get as depressed or as lonely as I did those first four Busy Seasons. It takes a little longer now for it to really get to me, and I suppose that's good - it shows progress and strength in my department. Maybe in eight more years I won't even notice Busy Season at all (wishful thinking???). Of course it has completely worn out Kerry, but in different ways. I honestly don't know HOW he does it - how he works all those 12+ hour days month after month after month. He even works on Saturdays. The only day we really ever get to see him is on Sundays, but Sundays end up being the days Kerry sleeps all afternoon to try to catch up on lost zzzzz's in order to survive. As luck would have it, those end up being the days he is either on or is leading praise team at church - - - - - figures. Sunday ends up being just ANOTHER time for me to be ALONE with the kids. And that's pretty much what sums up my emotions these last few weeks: Alone and so tired and BLAH. There are days when I think, "If I do one more load of laundry, I'm going to explode!" "If I have to change one more diaper, I am going to rip my hair out!" "If I have to tell Grant to quit causing trouble one more time, I'm going to bang my head against the wall!" It's really hard to be a single mother day in and day out for several months in a row, and it really brings me down just b/c I never get a break. Even night time is not sacred. G will come get me at least twice. (This is something we will be breaking over the summer, but it will have to wait until then b/c I just can't handle it right now as I can already tell that the process will truly be exhausting.) This means Grant is ALWAYS with me. Never a break. I'm getting a bit nervous about the summer. Not sure WHAT I'm gonna do with three months of two kids and NOTHING to do and NOWHERE to go...

Really, I don't mind doing housework and being a part-time stay-at-home-mom. (Thank goodness for my job - it's the only thing that gets me out of the house and keeps me sane.) It's not sooooo bad when Kerry gets home at decent times because then I get help with the kids and even ocassional breaks from them. But right now, I'm the only person above the age of five in this house, and it really feels like there's not enough of me to go around. I guess I just miss "Amanda". I've missed "her" ever since Grant was born, but that's part of being a mom - giving up yourself. But right about this time every year, I begin to feel that "Amanda" is gone, and she is never coming back because she is lost forever; lost in daipers and cleaning and errands and baths and stain fighting and laundry and laundry and laundry. I long to do craft after craft after craft - sewing, monogramming; doing things for MY soul/MY sanity. I'm the kind of person that needs two things:

1. Lots of alone time.

2. Lots of creative time.

Problem is, I've had NONE of these in what feels like forever, and I gotta say it's surprising how draining it is that I have not been able to refill "my" tank. And really, doing laundry and cleaning up and picking up and cleaning up and picking up and chasing after two very busy little boys empties "my" tank faster than anything will. Sure, I could totally do crafts and creative things, but my house would become an incredible heaping mess, and that means my work load would only double. Is it worth it?
I don't get it. How is that life is so meaningless without kids, and yet it is so stressful with them? Maybe if Kerry was able to be around more I'd feel more aided and therefore less stressed. I wouldn't have to a be an incredible juggler (maybe I should join the circus). I wouldn't have to find ways to fill 24 hours and feel successful in my choices. I want so much, and it is hard for me to accept that I can't do it all.

I want:
1. My house to be picked up and sanitized all of the time.

2. Laundry to always be caught up with.

3. My car to be cleaned out and for it to stay that way.

4. The small spaces in my house to be organized and quite impressive like Shaye's house surely is. (laundry room, my closet, the garage, the pantry, etc.)

5. To be able to take care of my dog by taking her on healthy walks without the boys. Good grief! It's like I need a leash for all three of them.
6. To be able to be a mom that gives 110% all of the time. The kind that never tires and nurtures her children inside and out. The kind that goes above and beyond. The kind that does not look forward to nap time. The kind that actually gets things done during nap time...

Ugggg. What happened to me? I used to work out and have big goals and be in my twenties and was sure I'd have perfect children that would be potty trained at 18 months, and I was going to sing and sing and sing anywhere they'd let me, and I was going to live life to the fullest and never grow weary. Man - it's hard to do that with kids. I guess you spend your whole life being YOU and living your life to the fullest, and then Busy Seasons and kids come along and you end up making sure they are living their lives to the fullest. I think it's important that I stop and realize that "life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." That singing and being in my twenties (can you tell I am not handling 30 well???) and conquering the world just isn't going to happen. That maybe I am just another soccer mom. I don't mind it - really. It's just that I feel like such a failure at it. I just wish I could peer into the future and see what my boys will be like when they are grown with families of their own. I want to see them strong in their faith. I want to see them being THE BEST husbands and fathers possible. I want to see them making a difference in the world. If I could check all of those things off of my list, I think I'd be able to relax more because I'd know that all my hard work paid off. All that worrying and trying so hard to be the perfect mother to Difficult Grant was worth it. The only thing that helps to give me peace is that I know that for some reason, God gave me Grant. (You've gotta understand here - Grant is NOT your average kid!) He obviously knows we were a perfect match. (Not always sure how He thinks that since many days I end up wanting three glasses of wine and a soak in a bubble bath.) He trusts me with Grant and knows that I am the only mother out there that is right for him. Therefore, I must press on and finish the race marked out for me. Surely I can do this!??

After writing all of this and relaxing in the therapy it gives, I really think that once Busy Season is over and Kerry "comes back" to us, I'll be doing much better and I won't have to feel like I'm supposed to be Super Woman and that I'm lousy at it. I think expect too much from myself - always have. I think I worry too much. (Let's face facts: That will never change.) I think I care too much about what other people think. I think I may be taking life too seriously. But really, I think it's time for Busy Season to close before I go gray or suffer a stroke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!