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Friday, September 5, 2014

Everything in between Part One

Everything in between
but it is everything in between that makes it worth living.”

Preface: My summer, after my incredible trip, has been a whirlwind…mostly of faith trying moments, and incredible grief…all of which I want to share, eventually… but I have decided I want to finish what I have started… a blog about the blessed trip I was allowed to make this summer…with my amazing brother and sister-in-law, my beautiful and incredibly funny nieces and unbelievably handsome and sweet nephew… and their awesome and fun friends who accepted me as one of their own and showed me such kindness… It is nice to focus on happy thoughts for a bit.
Camping with the Cox’s is an art.  I am not kidding.  Everyone knows their roles, their duties, their chores… and let me tell you, crap gets done in a timely manner. Trailer is loaded. Last minute additions are made.  Car is organized and ready to go.  Kids are sleeping and have their stuff ready to go.  Ice chest loaded with everything we need to eat and drink on the road. And it is strategically placed where my sister-in-law can reach it with minimal effort. She is prepared for meals and snacks on the road, and even has a cutting board packed into her bag of food for the day (which is also packed near her feet)… it is like traveling with a circus… no questions and no gaps.  Michelle makes lists, lots of lists… I wanted to get a photo of one, but I was not able to find one of my favorites.  Most of her lists have a box beside the “to do item” and she checks the box as she gets each job completed.  They make her happy.  She makes me happy.
I am not sure what time we actually went to sleep the night before we left; the two hour time change is always a challenge for me.  I am sure that when I woke up, it was still very dark… and I was so excited that I had no idea if I was still exhausted.  I think that is the feeling I took with me the entire trip, which explains why, during the month of August, I have been exhausted.
We woke up- got dressed- finished loading- pulled the kids out of bed and put them in their car seats- and pulled out of town. We watched the sun rise as we started our adventure… I believe the hour was 5:15 a.m.
First stop? San Francisco!!! We monitored our time, our route and our estimated time for arrival on iPads and iPhones… we had a healthy breakfast of granola  bars, peanut butter sandwiches and salami and cheese (all of which were also our lunch grazing- mixed with a variety of chips for snacking…HEAVEN!!!) And we drove along the coast of California…as we drove, I began to understand why people build houses knowing full well that a mud slide might not only destroy their home, but take their lives.  I am in love.  I want to move to California. I want to live on the beach. Or in a houseboat in the small community on the other side of Golden Gate Bridge.  Or in one of the colorful, tiny, homes nestled in the rolling hills.
Landscape changes are quick and amazing as you drive through Cali.  You can be in what seems like dead rolling hills with patches of green Oak trees one minute and the next you are driving by rolling hills of lush strawberry crops or incredible grape orchids that are attached to quaint wineries…and then, suddenly, you are back on the coast line again… looking out over the water and the beaches and the different types of housing that have been built along it.

Our arrival at our first destination was late in the afternoon… everyone was stir crazy from being in the car for over 7 hours, and we were just ready to be uncaged. Camp set up for Brandon and Michelle is just as amazing to watch as their preparation for departure… they are a team.  And as a team, they accomplish their goals swiftly!!  I had the blessing of playing outside with the kids while they got us settled in and ready to head into town






The only "list" I could find to take a picture of on the morning of departure... must have been a last minute list... the others had their boxes checked off and were in the trash.  She obviously did not have time for "box checking" on this one!

Final departure preps underway... I believe we were 15 minutes behind schedule...
Just a snap shot of how our scenery changed... California is beautiful.
I am not sure what the quality of this video will be on the blog... but this child was more than entertaining on our road trips.  Leading me to believe, once again, that 3rd children are a different breed... they are sent here to make us laugh.
Tracking our time by iPhone!!! Loved it!!
Our campsite... amazing...
Selfie in San Francisco!!! WE ARE ON VACATION!!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Begginnings

“Beginnings are usually scary, and endings are usually sad, but it is everything in between that makes it all worth living.” Bob Marley

I hate to travel… I hate everything about it… I hate planning, packing, figuring out how much money I need (probably a part of planning) getting my airline tickets, getting to the airport…  The reality is- I am not safe, nor happy until I am at my airline gate. (And generally it helps if I have a cocktail in my hand)
Now getting from my house to the airline gate is the tricky and stressful part… first of all, there is something genetically abnormal with me in regards to preparing for a trip. As soon as I start to plan packing my suitcase, my mind and body decide that I need to super clean my house, starting with the garage.  It is as if the warning from my mom about making sure I had clean underwear on everyday, just in case I was in an accident, has been taken to a whole new screwed up level…So, yeah, there is that craziness to combat…
And then, just the packing…what do I take?  What do I need? How much does my suit case weigh? In my mind, there is no reason to put myself through that stress until the very last minute… so, yes, I pack starting generally around 11 p.m. the night before I am leaving for a trip… unless we are driving.  If we are making a trip by car, my packing starts much closer to 2 hours before the designated time of departure. And no, I have never missed a plane… nor have I made anyone wait on me to pack my suitcase before we could load the car for a road trip. Somehow it all works out. How? It’s a mystery!!
As I was packing on Monday night, my sweet husband was trying to keep the panic to a low simmer by watching all of our Monday night shows… which includes “24”. That show stresses me out on a normal day…I blame that show for the fact that I put 3 tank tops in the dryer with the full intention of packing them in my suitcase, only to realize sometime during the trip that my tank top supply was extremely low, because three of them had been left in the dryer. In my house. In Texas.
I received an e-mail with my shuttle confirmation and I knew that we would have to go by the shop on our way to the airport so that I could print that and have it with me when I landed at LAX in order to get a ride to my brother and sister-in-law’s house. I went over the details of how to find the shuttle with Cody so many times that I am pretty sure Cody was scared to even let me travel alone. It was obvious my mental capacity to retain information had some sort of a glitch in it.
Finally after the 50th question, and the deep breathing exercises I was practicing, Cody said, “Panic setting in?” I just nodded my head.  I was about to leave him for 13 days. I was certain my bag weighed well over the 50 lb. limit. I was leaving my grandkids for 13 days. What if Cody had a heart attack? What if I could not find my shuttle? What if they took me to the wrong house and my cell phone was dead and I could not figure out how to find Michelle and Brandon? What if something happened to my mother-in-law? What if Brandon and Michelle’s friends did not like me very much, after all I was about to be spending 10 days with them!!  YES!! IWASINFULLPANICMODE!!!
Before I knew it, we were at the American Airlines entrance!  I kissed a sleeping Hudson goodbye. (Yeah- that’s right- one more thing to worry about…Hudson was spending the day and night with Cody alone part of the “keep Hudson while his parents are in Mexico” schedule)My husband unloaded my 75 lb. suitcase, and I hitched up my back pack.  I kissed and hugged him bye, knowing I would miss him every step of the way. I took a deep breath and walked the long walk into the airport.
Retrieving the boarding pass was a breeze.  Next step finding out how much my overweight luggage was actually going to cost. After I heaved it onto the scales, I held my breath as the numbers jumbled around in all sorts of order,( much like they do on “Biggest Loser” something that always bugs me on that show because you know it is just for effect) and yet  they stopped, miraculously on the number 50!! “Fifty pounds! No more no less!” the luggage mad said to me and I wanted to jump up and down!  I made it through security and found my gate in no time!  I soon had a Bloody Mary, a good book on my Kindle and I was waiting patiently for my plane!
Before boarding the plane, I bought my brother a Bar-b-Que sandwich from Salt Lick, and I tried to figure out how to keep it together without losing control of my back pack during the 3 hour flight.
Getting to Brandon and Michelle’s house went off without a hitch!  My luggage arrived at the same time as I did.  I found my shuttle and received the confirmation text message.  Only problem I had was the intense hunger and only one sandwich that I had bought for my brother. The sandwich that I began to eat while standing in the heat waiting for my shuttle… Oh- and the fear of my phone going dead became a reality- however, the shuttle driver overheard me tell my sister-in-law that my phone was going to die, and he gladly offered to charge it for me while we were driving to Pasedena!
Key was in the mail box as promised, and soon I was on the back porch, fishing an ice cold Modello out of the cooler, sitting by the pool waiting for my niece and nephew to come spend what was left of the afternoon with me…I had arrived and I was in one of my favorite place in the world- my brother and sister-in-law’s back yard.  As I sipped my cold beer and looked at the beautiful palm trees and the mountains around me, I felt all of the tension I had built up start to drain…I was on vacation.  


“Beginnings are usually scary
 Cody and Hudson driving me to the airport!
 Hard to say goodbye to this sleeping boy...

 Safe at my gate...enjoying a relaxing cocktail!!


 Brandon and Michelle's backyard!!

Backyard pool time with the older two... Let vacation begin!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Running Away...

I, for all intents and purposes, ran away…for thirteen blissful days I was absent from my real life and immersed in a dream vacation…a dream vacation that started at a house with a pool and hot tub (and a cooler with iced down beer)… a dinner delivery and an early morning wake- up call that enabled me to get in my ride at dawn and watch the sun rise in beautiful California as I began to make the coastal journey from Pasadena to San Francisco… a dream vacation which has taken me from my real life in Temple, TX to California where I spent time in Pasadena, San Francisco, Humboldt Red Woods, Yosemite National Park and once again returned to the private house in Pasadena with a pool, hot tub, fire pit…and the cooler of beer…
I shared this adventure (or in all reality they shared their adventure with me seeing as how I was tagging along on their vacation)with a  4 year old, a 5 year old, two 8 year olds (one of which turned 8 on the trip), a 10 year old and 4 other adults. But I was not responsible for any of them, and each and every one of them showed me so much love, grace and hospitality that I was saddened to say goodbye at the end, and I miss them terribly, still today.
The trip, which was planned by my incredible sister-in-law, Michelle and her friends, Windy and Erin, was an invitation that I received on Sunday, May 4, via text message, while I was in church… it said, “Wanna take a trip with me and kids? Coastal red woods and maybe Yosemite? XOXO Leave on June 19 from our house and get back 27 or 28? Would LOVE for u to come with. And you could stay thru Brandon’s bday and u could hang with us on the 4th of July??? Tempted yet?” When I read it, I started crying…Tempted? Darn right I was tempted!!  In fact, I had been dreaming about running away for several weeks…but knew that I really had no place to go.
Then I received this amazing invitation… I was so tempted it scared me.  But I knew that there was really no way I could go. Even when I told my best friend, Karen,  about the invitation and she said, “You should go!”  It would never happen… Even when Cody asked me if I had looked into the cost of plane tickets… there was no hope that I would actually be able to make the trip…
But, even though I held very little hope- I looked into the cost of plane tickets. I looked up information on the Humboldt Redwoods.  I looked at the dates on my calendar.  I day dreamed about it…pictured myself making it and then gave myself a mental scolding for being so selfish. 
A trip by myself to California?  I would miss my husband…I hate to go anywhere without him! Even though I smart off about running away all of the time, I really want him to run with me. What if he had another heart attack?!  I can’t go that far for that long… why was I even dreaming about it??? What about Jean? (My mother-in-law) Her health is precarious… How selfish was I to think about going on a vacation, out of state, for several days… precious vacation days that I should be using to make the most of the time I have left with my incredible mother-in-law.  How could I even consider leaving the state and my husband…what if something happened to my mother-in-law? S.E.L.F.I.S.H. thinking.  I can not even think about leaving.
But then, Mother’s Day rolled around.  Cody and I spent the weekend in Lubbock celebrating the great mother that Jean Crittenden is… we had Mother’s Day lunch with most of Cody’s family…and then we had to load up and make the trip back home.
Cody always does Mother’s Day for me in an amazing way. He cooks an awesome meal, and works with the kids to make sure that I feel special.  This year was no different. We had a great lunch on Mother’s Day in Lubbock with Cody’s awesome family- his mom and dad, his sisters, brother-in-laws and nieces and nephew.  He hid a card in my Kindle which I found on the way home and we ate dinner at the Lone Star Steak House in Temple with David. I had received “Happy Mother’s Day” messages from all of my children.  And I had been able to spend the day with my mother-in-law, who deserves a celebration everyday… AND I was able to talk to my own mother (also deserving of a daily celebration!) who was spending her special day in California with my brother, sister-in-law and nieces and nephew.   My Mother’s Day was complete… except for the fact that apparently, it wasn’t.

Lynnsay and Katherine kept wanting to know when we were going to celebrate Mother’s Day as a family…and so we came up with a plan to celebrate it on Tuesday at a restaurant in Temple (funny story- my first choice turned out to be a bar instead of a restaurant now… so we had to make a second choice- Old Jody’s for beer and fried food!!!) At the end of our dinner, I was presented with a gift bag… it contained two mini bottles of wine and a homemade boarding pass for a flight from Austin to LAX… my family bought me tickets for a trip that I could not imagine taking…for Mother’s Day my family was giving me permission to run away… and I did.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why All Mommy’s of toddlers and pre-schoolers deserve a cleaning lady (Even if they stay at home)

It has been since March 1st that I have had a “regular weekend”… in all reality, it could have been longer than that; I can’t really remember all the details of February, because, yes, March and April have been that crazy. But I am positive that I have not had a Saturday to myself in the last two months.
Now- I don’t want to sound selfish…I love doing everything that I do for everyone in my life…but I do love a Saturday that is dedicated to cleaning house, laundry and prepping for the next week…time in the yard working…bathing my dogs…changing my sheets…spending time on my porch and at the end of the day having a perfectly cleaned house, laundry done, folded and put away, dinner prepared and not feeling like I am “behind” on anything  in the homemaking business.  I may be behind in my work at the shop; I may be behind in my Bible reading; I may be behind in almost every other aspect of my life, but for that one little moment- my housework is up to date and in order. So, what I am saying to you is that for nearly two months, my life has not been “in order”; it has not been up to date. It has not been in control. (Mine that is)  I feel like I have been treading water and my head is barely above the water enough to breath. (Which is exactly where it would be if I were indeed treading water…if you don’t believe me, you can ask my trainer, Hannah, who told me and my daughter that we were the worst swimmers she had ever seen…)
A wonderful day that I have had all along is “Hump Day with Hudson and Aubrey”. (For those of you that don’t know, that is my 23 month old grandson and my 3 year old granddaughter.)So, on Wednesday I have a “day off,” or another way to say it is, “I get to stay home.” At this point all stay at home moms should be offended…and speaking as a former stay at home mom, this attitude totally infuriates me. However, that being said, I do feel the pressure that I should “get something done” on the Wednesdays when I “stay home to keep my grandkids”.  But, I try to keep my focus on my grands and off of my house. However, today, was a little different…I had a household goal and planned for myself: clean my nasty bathrooms!  I also had a household goal planned for the grands:  clean the “baby room” before nap.  Thank God my world is not ruled by timeline goals…
My bathrooms (and I only have two) have been in desperate need of attention. I have only “spot cleaned” (I hope you get my drift…all sorts of spots) for the last 8 weeks.  Today, I was sure that while the kids were playing I could really clean my bathrooms…deep clean… get all of the scum off the tubs, get the toothpaste spit out of the sink, wipe down the toilets with bleach and shine them with rubbing alcohol, shine the counters and the mirrors and finish with a shine of the tile and the tub… This is a process that normally takes me 20 minutes for each bathroom, MAX… Today, it took over 2 hours to clean two bathrooms. TWO HOURS!!! And two hundred melt downs… and I am not going to lie… 50 of them were mine.   I worked hard to keep my grandmother attitude in sync with my mother mouth…however that did not work…on so many levels.
“Sweetie, don’t come in here or touch that because it has bleach on it, and it can hurt you and ruin your clothes…why don’t you go play or watch “Mickey Mouse Club”?
“DON’T COME IN HERE!! BECAUSE I SAID NO!”
Those are just a couple of examples…
The interruptions in cleaning…oh the interruptions… dealing with jumping on the bed.  Tug of war over a toy. Rescuing the dogs from a toddler herding attack. (I have to admit that I toyed with the idea of letting them bully the poor dogs because they were laughing and there was no fighting…or tattling. They were united in this effort.)  Realizing that my house is not “baby proof” and I did not realize that the ______ (fill in the blank, because the list is endless) was within reach. (And my grands have a good reach)
And then there is the tattling…oh the tattling… OY VEY!!!! As a former mom myself, I immediately recognize the sing song, whining tone of a sentence being started with my name, such as, “MaAarrrZZZZzz”, as the beginning of a “report.”  It is a report  on another child’s behavior which in no way has to do with blood, broken bones, life threatening actions, or even the possibility that someone has ran away… It is generally to report over the unfairness in the world.  Crayons being hoarded.  Dolls taken away.  Turn taking not going as planned…that sort of report. After halting the 250th of such reports, I inevitably start to scream, “If either one of you tattle one more time, I am going to poke my eye out!!  Seriously, I am going to be forced to poke my eye out… with my finger…” Words that generally cause my grandchildren to look at me as if I have lost it, and then look at each other and start laughing.  I think they are mentally high fiving each other because they realize they have pushed me over the edge.
I also spent a good deal of time answering the same question over and over again… “MarZ, when can we go outside and play with the chalk?” My answer? “As soon as I get these two bathrooms clean.”
After two hours and a lot of counting to 10 in my head and constantly reminding myself that they are just babies… I finished my bathroom cleaning- and we headed to the patio for art and entertainment.  We drew flowers and houses and wrote “I love you’s”. We drew on the dogs, and the house and pots…we had a melt down over sharing the chalk… and both grands were filthy by the time we went back inside…so guess what?  The plan to clean up the kid room before nap time was replaced with bath time… after which, my spotless tub was sporting a chalky soap ring and filled once more with bath toys that had to dry out before being returned to the toy bag.   And I was reminded, once again, that precious time with these precious babies is worth more than any clean surface in my house. 
I have a poem that is hanging in one of my bathrooms.  It says:
Cleaning and scrubbing
Can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up,
Weve learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs
Dust go to sleep.
I am rocking my baby,
And babies dont keep.
Maybe grandmothers need a house keeper sometimes too!
Additional Note from MarZ:  I wrote this blog over a month ago, and have just not taken the time to post it.  Today I was blessed with the opportunity to keep not only my grandson, Hudson- but also two of his cousins (and his DeeDee’s grands)…They had a family funeral, and I had volunteered to keep the little ones during the service.  So from 10:30 to 1 p.m. I had three under three… a 6 month old, a 31 month old and a 25 month old. As I enjoyed them, I realized that having three babies in diapers is exhausting… and only the smallest and then the “squeaky wheel” (aka: poopie diaper) is the one that gets the attention! While my time with these precious babies was spent with so much laughter and love… it was also exhausting.  “Floor time” for the 6 month old quickly changed from precious memories of Hudson loving on “baby” and cooing sweet words to her (causing this MarZ to drift into dream land of how great of a big brother he is going to be) to a war zone when a recovered “swimmer” pull up lead to so much excitement that he forgot the baby was on the floor and almost crushed her (causing this MarZ to remember how tough 2nd babies need to be).  Going to the bathroom waited until I almost peed my pants because I was worried about what to do with the baby while I tinkled… I opted for floor time (which she is not a fan of) on the bath rug, with the door locked. Safe zone…(causing this MarZ to think about how difficult it is for a mommy to potty train one kiddo while you have a small one that you have to figure out what to do with every time you hear the words, “Mommy! I have to go potty!”) And forget about referring the fights of the older two… who really wants to put the baby down to make sure that everything is fair during toy time…Until punches are thrown… and then you risk the total meltdown of the baby in order to kiss the wounded and deal with bully. My mom always said, “I have had some stressful jobs in my life, and serving as County Judge has definitely been at the top of the list.  However, being a Judge is nothing in comparison to raising children.”  Amen, Mother. Amen.
I love all of the young moms in my life who are doing amazing jobs with their children.  I am in awe of each of you… and I am honored to be a part of your children’s lives.  I see so many of my own parenting flaws by watching all of your parenting successes… you guys are an inspiration to me…(I wonder if I could have a “do over”) 

You each deserve a house cleaner!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Re Post of one of my Passions

Several years ago I read a book that impacted my life.  The Same Different as Me is a true story by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Hall is a wealthy art dealer in Fort Worth and Moore is a homeless man who relocated from Louisiana to Fort Worth- their lives became intertwined by the will of God as He moved in the heart of Deborah Hall, Ron’s wife, and the two of them began serving in “soup kitchen” program in Fort Worth.  The Halls developed a personal friendship with Denver Moore that changed all of their lives. 
I know that God guided me to Foundation United Methodist Church 3 years ago, and a few months later placed me in the middle of “Feed My Sheep,” a type of ministry that reading  The Same Different as Me  had sparked a passion in my heart for. Now that I have actually been blessed to be a part of Feed My Sheep, that passion has only grown.
Working with Feed My Sheep has changed the way I think, and the way I live my life. Rainy days now don’t just move my heart to praise God for the moisture; I am also moved to pray for a dry spot for shelter.  A thunderstorm in the middle of the night wakes me up and prompts me to pray for safety.  The long hot days of summer bring prayers for plenty of water. Bitter cold nights cause my heart to plead for people to find their way to the warming shelters. Missing faces give me cause to worry, while someone returning brings relief to my soul!
As my husband, Cody, and I have served in this ministry over the last 25 months, these people have become more than just "the homeless and the hungry" in my eyes. They have become the faces of people I love, and pray for; faces of people who are citizens in my community. They are each created by God in His image.
My passion for this ministry has spread throughout my entire family and often the whole “Crittenden Clan” shows up to volunteer at the FMS center.  I love watching the interaction between our grandchildren and all of the people coming through the line.  When our granddaughter, Aubrey, was two and she had already developed a special way of loving the people at the center.  One Sunday,  I was sitting outside with both of the grandbabies.  I was wrestling my 7 month old grandson, Hudson, and watching Aubrey as she played chase and sang songs with the other volunteers and some of the people just standing around the building. As one man was leaving, he pinched Hudson’s cheek, but walked past Aubrey without saying a word. Being a normal two year old, she felt slighted and the look on her face made my heart ache, but I watched as she took off after the man and caught his attention by grabbing his pant leg and yelling “Hey!"  As he stopped and looked at her, she opened her arms and said, "Hug?" and gave the man a huge bear hug. Watching that interaction brought tears to my eyes... the attention that man gave to Aubrey was so important to her. She did not notice that the clothes he was wearing were filthy and threadbare. She did not care that the hands he hugged her with were calloused and stained with dirt and grime. She did not react to the fact that he did not smell all that great. She reacted to him as a normal 2 year old that has just been overlooked, while her younger cousin received some attention. His acknowledgement of her and her presence made her feel important.
I have heard people say thing like, “We tried to help one of the homeless men, but he didn’t want any help. He was happy to be homeless.” I think I see this situation a little differently. 
I don’t think help means change.  And I don’t think “helping” is equal to “improving”. I think helping is meeting them where they are, as they are.  Many of them have served in our armed forces. Most of them have faced devastating losses in their lives; and several of them have learned to survive despite being mentally ill; I am sure that some are battling demons that I can’t begin to imagine. But they are each human beings, and while they do need help, they don’t necessarily want to be “cleaned up” to receive it. They live a hard life, whether they have arrived here by consequences of their own decisions, or whether they are here because of circumstances beyond their control- I believe that they each deserve love and respect. I think “helping” is seeing them through the eyes of my 2 year old granddaughter- without judgment or pre-conceived opinions.
They mean something to me. They mean something to my family. And they mean something to the body of Christ. I pray that each of you will see where God is leading you to serve these amazing people in our community… these people who sometimes seem unlovable, and obviously socially outcast… but have become my heart’s choice as family.

marleea crittenden

Feed My Sheep Video

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Facebook Status Updates Lent Style- Week Two

Home sweet home… I have missed my husband, my dogs and my bed!

Lynnsay and I returned to Temple on Wednesday.  We had such a great visit with my in-laws, parents, sister and nieces!  But it was nice to be back in my own home!

Asking for prayers for my sweet mother-in-law and our family, and especially for my husband as he works diligently to complete a job so that he can travel to Lubbock to be with her and his family.

My mother-in-law, who has been suffering with liver failure for two years, took a serious turn for the worse and was not expected to live through five days… the family was called in to her bedside. However, no one told her that her time was limited to five days… we took her home on Wednesday, and got her settled in with daily visits from HOSPICE, a hospital bed and side table…and now 16 days later, she actually ate breakfast at the kitchen table with my father-in-law. She said she would go when the good Lord called her name, but not before!  I love that woman so much!!
Five days in west Texas, five days home and five more days in west Texas… my hatred of sandstorms has been re-established…I don’t want to hear anyone in Central Texas complaining about the wind blowing. Ever.

The sand…oh the sand… I told Cody that it has been a long time since there was sand left in the tub after my shower that was not from the beach or gardening. The smell of dirt stuck with us until we got to Gatesville…

Blessed to be able to attend worship at our church this morning… I love my Foundation family!

We came home on Saturday and were able to make it to church on Sunday.  We got to hug the necks of many of the people who have been praying for our family all week.  Such a great blessing to be part of a praying body!

Wine night with the ladies!!! So much fun!

Monday night at the Nolan Creek Winery…it was so relaxing to have “lady talk”!  (And a bonus was the fact that all open bottles were 50% off by the glass!!)
A new favorite quote from Aubrey Blayce, “Do you know what the difference between me and you is? I was born a princess!”  Yes, baby girl, you were.  And don’t ever forget it!

One of my favorite movies of all time is “A Little Princess.”  I love it when the little girl asks the mean old teacher, “Didn’t your daddy tell you that you were a princess? Every little girl is a princess.” (Not a verbatim quote- but you get the meaning) All daddy’s should tell their little girls that they are a princess.  I think it should be a mandate.

Tuesday night and I am working late instead of working out.

I have not gotten to work out all month.  I have been sick, out of town or having to work… I miss my workout days!!
Hump day with Hudson and Aubrey will be spent at the office today!! I love getting to spend time with these two anywhere!

I  usually spend my Wednesdays at home with the kids.  But I have been so far behind at work that this week I went ahead and tried to work with them.  Amazingly, I really did get a lot of stuff done in between looking for Hudson, taking potty breaks, refereeing fights, filling up sippy cups, “opening” bananas and forcing naptime…
Workout cancelled by our trainer…boo! Or is it whoo hoo!! I am conflicted…

Lynnsay and I were changed and ready to go workout when Hannah messaged us and told us that she could not make it.  We thought about working out by ourselves for one hot minute- Instead we picked up Aubrey and went to the grocery store and came back to my house and made spaghetti and played outside with Aubrey and Hudson!
I hate it when I open my grandmother mouth and my mother voice comes out…Sorry I yelled at you Princess… but I just wanted you to get off the porch…I did not have time to show you where the red wasp was in order to convince you that you needed to move off of the porch…

Aubrey is very smart, and unfortunately sometimes that translates to needing to “understand” why you are asking her to do something… which is often followed by a very 3 year detailed explanation of why she should NOT have to do whatever it is you are asking her to do…all of which cause me to resort to just yelling, “BECAUSE I SAID SO- THAT IS WHY!!”  A phrase I hated hearing as a child, and I hated using as a mother- and it is now haunting me as a grandmother…
Aubrey, during a “naptime” came and got me and said, “MarZ, can you just come pray for me?  That’s what my dad does.” Melt.My.Heart.Make.Me.Cry. I will pray for you anytime, anywhere for anything.  I will pray for you without ceasing…


Yes- this conversation took place after my epic grandmother fail while trying to get her off of the porch and away from the red wasp… This granddaughter of mine is almost perfect…Home sweet home… I have missed my husband, my dogs and my bed!

Lynnsay and I returned to Temple on Wednesday.  We had such a great visit with my in-laws, parents, sister and nieces!  But it was nice to be back in my own home!

Asking for prayers for my sweet mother-in-law and our family, and especially for my husband as he works diligently to complete a job so that he can travel to Lubbock to be with her and his family.

My mother-in-law, who has been suffering with liver failure for two years, took a serious turn for the worse and was not expected to live through five days… the family was called in to her bedside. However, no one told her that her time was limited to five days… we took her home on Wednesday, and got her settled in with daily visits from HOSPICE, a hospital bed and side table…and now 16 days later, she actually ate breakfast at the kitchen table with my father-in-law. She said she would go when the good Lord called her name, but not before!  I love that woman so much!!
Five days in west Texas, five days home and five more days in west Texas… my hatred of sandstorms has been re-established…I don’t want to hear anyone in Central Texas complaining about the wind blowing. Ever.

The sand…oh the sand… I told Cody that it has been a long time since there was sand left in the tub after my shower that was not from the beach or gardening. The smell of dirt stuck with us until we got to Gatesville…

Blessed to be able to attend worship at our church this morning… I love my Foundation family!

We came home on Saturday and were able to make it to church on Sunday.  We got to hug the necks of many of the people who have been praying for our family all week.  Such a great blessing to be part of a praying body!

Wine night with the ladies!!! So much fun!

Monday night at the Nolan Creek Winery…it was so relaxing to have “lady talk”!  (And a bonus was the fact that all open bottles were 50% off by the glass!!)
A new favorite quote from Aubrey Blayce, “Do you know what the difference between me and you is? I was born a princess!”  Yes, baby girl, you were.  And don’t ever forget it!

One of my favorite movies of all time is “A Little Princess.”  I love it when the little girl asks the mean old teacher, “Didn’t your daddy tell you that you were a princess? Every little girl is a princess.” (Not a verbatim quote- but you get the meaning) All daddy’s should tell their little girls that they are a princess.  I think it should be a mandate.

Tuesday night and I am working late instead of working out.

I have not gotten to work out all month.  I have been sick, out of town or having to work… I miss my workout days!!
Hump day with Hudson and Aubrey will be spent at the office today!! I love getting to spend time with these two anywhere!

I  usually spend my Wednesdays at home with the kids.  But I have been so far behind at work that this week I went ahead and tried to work with them.  Amazingly, I really did get a lot of stuff done in between looking for Hudson, taking potty breaks, refereeing fights, filling up sippy cups, “opening” bananas and forcing naptime…
Workout cancelled by our trainer…boo! Or is it whoo hoo!! I am conflicted…

Lynnsay and I were changed and ready to go workout when Hannah messaged us and told us that she could not make it.  We thought about working out by ourselves for one hot minute- Instead we picked up Aubrey and went to the grocery store and came back to my house and made spaghetti and played outside with Aubrey and Hudson!
I hate it when I open my grandmother mouth and my mother voice comes out…Sorry I yelled at you Princess… but I just wanted you to get off the porch…I did not have time to show you where the red wasp was in order to convince you that you needed to move off of the porch…

Aubrey is very smart, and unfortunately sometimes that translates to needing to “understand” why you are asking her to do something… which is often followed by a very 3 year detailed explanation of why she should NOT have to do whatever it is you are asking her to do…all of which cause me to resort to just yelling, “BECAUSE I SAID SO- THAT IS WHY!!”  A phrase I hated hearing as a child, and I hated using as a mother- and it is now haunting me as a grandmother…
Aubrey, during a “naptime” came and got me and said, “MarZ, can you just come pray for me?  That’s what my dad does.” Melt.My.Heart.Make.Me.Cry. I will pray for you anytime, anywhere for anything.  I will pray for you without ceasing…

Yes- this conversation took place after my epic grandmother fail while trying to get her off of the porch and away from the red wasp… This granddaughter of mine is almost perfect…Home sweet home… I have missed my husband, my dogs and my bed!

Lynnsay and I returned to Temple on Wednesday.  We had such a great visit with my in-laws, parents, sister and nieces!  But it was nice to be back in my own home!

Asking for prayers for my sweet mother-in-law and our family, and especially for my husband as he works diligently to complete a job so that he can travel to Lubbock to be with her and his family.

My mother-in-law, who has been suffering with liver failure for two years, took a serious turn for the worse and was not expected to live through five days… the family was called in to her bedside. However, no one told her that her time was limited to five days… we took her home on Wednesday, and got her settled in with daily visits from HOSPICE, a hospital bed and side table…and now 16 days later, she actually ate breakfast at the kitchen table with my father-in-law. She said she would go when the good Lord called her name, but not before!  I love that woman so much!!
Five days in west Texas, five days home and five more days in west Texas… my hatred of sandstorms has been re-established…I don’t want to hear anyone in Central Texas complaining about the wind blowing. Ever.

The sand…oh the sand… I told Cody that it has been a long time since there was sand left in the tub after my shower that was not from the beach or gardening. The smell of dirt stuck with us until we got to Gatesville…

Blessed to be able to attend worship at our church this morning… I love my Foundation family!

We came home on Saturday and were able to make it to church on Sunday.  We got to hug the necks of many of the people who have been praying for our family all week.  Such a great blessing to be part of a praying body!

Wine night with the ladies!!! So much fun!

Monday night at the Nolan Creek Winery…it was so relaxing to have “lady talk”!  (And a bonus was the fact that all open bottles were 50% off by the glass!!)
A new favorite quote from Aubrey Blayce, “Do you know what the difference between me and you is? I was born a princess!”  Yes, baby girl, you were.  And don’t ever forget it!

One of my favorite movies of all time is “A Little Princess.”  I love it when the little girl asks the mean old teacher, “Didn’t your daddy tell you that you were a princess? Every little girl is a princess.” (Not a verbatim quote- but you get the meaning) All daddy’s should tell their little girls that they are a princess.  I think it should be a mandate.

Tuesday night and I am working late instead of working out.

I have not gotten to work out all month.  I have been sick, out of town or having to work… I miss my workout days!!
Hump day with Hudson and Aubrey will be spent at the office today!! I love getting to spend time with these two anywhere!

I  usually spend my Wednesdays at home with the kids.  But I have been so far behind at work that this week I went ahead and tried to work with them.  Amazingly, I really did get a lot of stuff done in between looking for Hudson, taking potty breaks, refereeing fights, filling up sippy cups, “opening” bananas and forcing naptime…
Workout cancelled by our trainer…boo! Or is it whoo hoo!! I am conflicted…

Lynnsay and I were changed and ready to go workout when Hannah messaged us and told us that she could not make it.  We thought about working out by ourselves for one hot minute- Instead we picked up Aubrey and went to the grocery store and came back to my house and made spaghetti and played outside with Aubrey and Hudson!
I hate it when I open my grandmother mouth and my mother voice comes out…Sorry I yelled at you Princess… but I just wanted you to get off the porch…I did not have time to show you where the red wasp was in order to convince you that you needed to move off of the porch…

Aubrey is very smart, and unfortunately sometimes that translates to needing to “understand” why you are asking her to do something… which is often followed by a very 3 year detailed explanation of why she should NOT have to do whatever it is you are asking her to do…all of which cause me to resort to just yelling, “BECAUSE I SAID SO- THAT IS WHY!!”  A phrase I hated hearing as a child, and I hated using as a mother- and it is now haunting me as a grandmother…
Aubrey, during a “naptime” came and got me and said, “MarZ, can you just come pray for me?  That’s what my dad does.” Melt.My.Heart.Make.Me.Cry. I will pray for you anytime, anywhere for anything.  I will pray for you without ceasing…

Yes- this conversation took place after my epic grandmother fail while trying to get her off of the porch and away from the red wasp… This granddaughter of mine is almost perfect…Home sweet home… I have missed my husband, my dogs and my bed!

Lynnsay and I returned to Temple on Wednesday.  We had such a great visit with my in-laws, parents, sister and nieces!  But it was nice to be back in my own home!

Asking for prayers for my sweet mother-in-law and our family, and especially for my husband as he works diligently to complete a job so that he can travel to Lubbock to be with her and his family.

My mother-in-law, who has been suffering with liver failure for two years, took a serious turn for the worse and was not expected to live through five days… the family was called in to her bedside. However, no one told her that her time was limited to five days… we took her home on Wednesday, and got her settled in with daily visits from HOSPICE, a hospital bed and side table…and now 16 days later, she actually ate breakfast at the kitchen table with my father-in-law. She said she would go when the good Lord called her name, but not before!  I love that woman so much!!
Five days in west Texas, five days home and five more days in west Texas… my hatred of sandstorms has been re-established…I don’t want to hear anyone in Central Texas complaining about the wind blowing. Ever.

The sand…oh the sand… I told Cody that it has been a long time since there was sand left in the tub after my shower that was not from the beach or gardening. The smell of dirt stuck with us until we got to Gatesville…

Blessed to be able to attend worship at our church this morning… I love my Foundation family!

We came home on Saturday and were able to make it to church on Sunday.  We got to hug the necks of many of the people who have been praying for our family all week.  Such a great blessing to be part of a praying body!

Wine night with the ladies!!! So much fun!

Monday night at the Nolan Creek Winery…it was so relaxing to have “lady talk”!  (And a bonus was the fact that all open bottles were 50% off by the glass!!)
A new favorite quote from Aubrey Blayce, “Do you know what the difference between me and you is? I was born a princess!”  Yes, baby girl, you were.  And don’t ever forget it!

One of my favorite movies of all time is “A Little Princess.”  I love it when the little girl asks the mean old teacher, “Didn’t your daddy tell you that you were a princess? Every little girl is a princess.” (Not a verbatim quote- but you get the meaning) All daddy’s should tell their little girls that they are a princess.  I think it should be a mandate.

Tuesday night and I am working late instead of working out.

I have not gotten to work out all month.  I have been sick, out of town or having to work… I miss my workout days!!
Hump day with Hudson and Aubrey will be spent at the office today!! I love getting to spend time with these two anywhere!

I  usually spend my Wednesdays at home with the kids.  But I have been so far behind at work that this week I went ahead and tried to work with them.  Amazingly, I really did get a lot of stuff done in between looking for Hudson, taking potty breaks, refereeing fights, filling up sippy cups, “opening” bananas and forcing naptime…
Workout cancelled by our trainer…boo! Or is it whoo hoo!! I am conflicted…

Lynnsay and I were changed and ready to go workout when Hannah messaged us and told us that she could not make it.  We thought about working out by ourselves for one hot minute- Instead we picked up Aubrey and went to the grocery store and came back to my house and made spaghetti and played outside with Aubrey and Hudson!
I hate it when I open my grandmother mouth and my mother voice comes out…Sorry I yelled at you Princess… but I just wanted you to get off the porch…I did not have time to show you where the red wasp was in order to convince you that you needed to move off of the porch…

Aubrey is very smart, and unfortunately sometimes that translates to needing to “understand” why you are asking her to do something… which is often followed by a very 3 year detailed explanation of why she should NOT have to do whatever it is you are asking her to do…all of which cause me to resort to just yelling, “BECAUSE I SAID SO- THAT IS WHY!!”  A phrase I hated hearing as a child, and I hated using as a mother- and it is now haunting me as a grandmother…
Aubrey, during a “naptime” came and got me and said, “MarZ, can you just come pray for me?  That’s what my dad does.” Melt.My.Heart.Make.Me.Cry. I will pray for you anytime, anywhere for anything.  I will pray for you without ceasing…

Yes- this conversation took place after my epic grandmother fail while trying to get her off of the porch and away from the red wasp… This granddaughter of mine is almost perfect…Home sweet home… I have missed my husband, my dogs and my bed!

Lynnsay and I returned to Temple on Wednesday.  We had such a great visit with my in-laws, parents, sister and nieces!  But it was nice to be back in my own home!

Asking for prayers for my sweet mother-in-law and our family, and especially for my husband as he works diligently to complete a job so that he can travel to Lubbock to be with her and his family.

My mother-in-law, who has been suffering with liver failure for two years, took a serious turn for the worse and was not expected to live through five days… the family was called in to her bedside. However, no one told her that her time was limited to five days… we took her home on Wednesday, and got her settled in with daily visits from HOSPICE, a hospital bed and side table…and now 16 days later, she actually ate breakfast at the kitchen table with my father-in-law. She said she would go when the good Lord called her name, but not before!  I love that woman so much!!
Five days in west Texas, five days home and five more days in west Texas… my hatred of sandstorms has been re-established…I don’t want to hear anyone in Central Texas complaining about the wind blowing. Ever.

The sand…oh the sand… I told Cody that it has been a long time since there was sand left in the tub after my shower that was not from the beach or gardening. The smell of dirt stuck with us until we got to Gatesville…

Blessed to be able to attend worship at our church this morning… I love my Foundation family!

We came home on Saturday and were able to make it to church on Sunday.  We got to hug the necks of many of the people who have been praying for our family all week.  Such a great blessing to be part of a praying body!

Wine night with the ladies!!! So much fun!

Monday night at the Nolan Creek Winery…it was so relaxing to have “lady talk”!  (And a bonus was the fact that all open bottles were 50% off by the glass!!)
A new favorite quote from Aubrey Blayce, “Do you know what the difference between me and you is? I was born a princess!”  Yes, baby girl, you were.  And don’t ever forget it!

One of my favorite movies of all time is “A Little Princess.”  I love it when the little girl asks the mean old teacher, “Didn’t your daddy tell you that you were a princess? Every little girl is a princess.” (Not a verbatim quote- but you get the meaning) All daddy’s should tell their little girls that they are a princess.  I think it should be a mandate.

Tuesday night and I am working late instead of working out.

I have not gotten to work out all month.  I have been sick, out of town or having to work… I miss my workout days!!
Hump day with Hudson and Aubrey will be spent at the office today!! I love getting to spend time with these two anywhere!

I  usually spend my Wednesdays at home with the kids.  But I have been so far behind at work that this week I went ahead and tried to work with them.  Amazingly, I really did get a lot of stuff done in between looking for Hudson, taking potty breaks, refereeing fights, filling up sippy cups, “opening” bananas and forcing naptime…
Workout cancelled by our trainer…boo! Or is it whoo hoo!! I am conflicted…

Lynnsay and I were changed and ready to go workout when Hannah messaged us and told us that she could not make it.  We thought about working out by ourselves for one hot minute- Instead we picked up Aubrey and went to the grocery store and came back to my house and made spaghetti and played outside with Aubrey and Hudson!
I hate it when I open my grandmother mouth and my mother voice comes out…Sorry I yelled at you Princess… but I just wanted you to get off the porch…I did not have time to show you where the red wasp was in order to convince you that you needed to move off of the porch…

Aubrey is very smart, and unfortunately sometimes that translates to needing to “understand” why you are asking her to do something… which is often followed by a very 3 year detailed explanation of why she should NOT have to do whatever it is you are asking her to do…all of which cause me to resort to just yelling, “BECAUSE I SAID SO- THAT IS WHY!!”  A phrase I hated hearing as a child, and I hated using as a mother- and it is now haunting me as a grandmother…
Aubrey, during a “naptime” came and got me and said, “MarZ, can you just come pray for me?  That’s what my dad does.” Melt.My.Heart.Make.Me.Cry. I will pray for you anytime, anywhere for anything.  I will pray for you without ceasing…

Yes- this conversation took place after my epic grandmother fail while trying to get her off of the porch and away from the red wasp… This granddaughter of mine is almost perfect… 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Status Updates Lent Style- Week One

Well, I decided to give up Facebook for lent.  I think I am spending far too much time on it, and a break was long overdue.  However, I decided I would just start blogging my status updates… I will share them with you, but I have realized that most of the time, a status update is simply for my own enjoyment.

 “Happy Birthday Elika!! I love you, and I am so thankful that God blessed us with your birth and that He has allowed me to be small part of your precious life!!!”  With Dianne Kiblinger

Sweet little Elika Kiplinger turned 6 on Friday!  We met them for lunch at Chick-fil-A and we got to go to Pet Smart and pick out a new Beta fish for her!  She did a great job picking out a beautiful blue crowntail!  She named him Blueberry.


“Road trip!! Packed up and heading to west Texas!”

Lynnsay, Hudson, Aubrey and I packed up and left for Shallowater late Friday afternoon.  We arrived at my sister’s house about 11 p.m.  Other than having to perform moves of a professional contortionist in order to pick up dropped sippy cups, snack bags or toys…our 6 hour ride from Temple to Shallowater was uneventful and fun.


“Watching some little dribbler games in Shallowater… my nieces are ballers!!”

Saturday morning consisted of a house full of girls, with the addition of one 22 month old boy (who was being manhandled, for the most part, by the girls) and one daddy/uncle, (who was being ignored, for the most part, by the girls) all rushing around to get ready for a 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. little dribblers basketball game.  Oh how I have missed sitting in a gym filled with the sound of screeching tennis shoes, a ball bouncing on the floor and the blowing of the whistle!  As well as the yells of all the onlookers…”Move your feet!”  “Grab the rebound!” “SHOT!” “Get it to the basket!” 


“Well, that was embarrassing…in a freak accident, Aubrey and I ended up in a tumbled heap on the floor of the Shallowater Elementary School gym…with everyone looking on.  Yes, Shallowater, I am a klutz.”

While trying to gather all of our “stuff” together, keep Hudson from jumping off the stage as well as running onto to the court to grab a “bahitball”, consoling Bella (7 year olds don’t take losing seasons without a little bit of tears)and meeting and talking to my sister’s friends, somehow Aubrey took my hand and began walking around me and we got tangled up in a heap and ended up sprawled on the floor.  Everyone in our “group” yelled and started gathering around us… the on lookers just stared at us, with what I felt was veiled judgment, and I just wanted to stand up and get out of there!  I was pretty sure I had damaged Aubrey’s internal organs by landing on her and my family was certain that I had broken something by falling on the floor.


Aubrey, “MarZ, this baby needs to go to the doctor, I think she is sick.” With Jacob Crittenden and Katherine Stewart

Um, yeah… it does look like there is a problem with that particular baby that goes a little further than the fact she is at least 38 years old…


“No one eats chicken and French fries at Leal’s, Aubrey!" Apparently Aubrey will only eat chicken and French fries at Leal’s.

Needs no explanation.

“Preslee: I can’t eat lunch. I feel gross.  I am still in my pajamas.
“Me: I am still in my pajamas too…I feel gross…but I am totally eating lunch!”

Yes- on Sunday, at my mom’s house, I ate lunch in my p.j.’s!

“It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood here in west Texas.”


Sandstorms in west Texas…


Preslee, noticing that I was crying at Reagan’s middle school choir concert, said, “MarZ, are you crying?  You do realize that Reagan is doing basically nothing up there right now except moving her mouth, right?”  Man! That child keeps it real!

Shallowater Middle School  Choir concert…it lasted all of 15 minutes and we were 5 minutes late. But I still found 10 minutes worth of music to bring me to tears…

“I have lived through two haboobs in West Texas.”

This is a photo from the haboob in October of 2011 taken at a Shallowater Mustang Football practice.


Photos of the Haboob coming in on March 11, 2014


For Real… and I don’t care if everyone wants to just call them “Sand Storms”... these were both a little different in the way they hit hard and all at once... And both reminded me that I am happy to live in Temple, Tx, where the wind may blow, but the sand does not.