Thursday, June 28, 2007

Flooding Leon Springs

Yesterday, we had no idea it would flood here. We'd heard about it flooding about 100 miles North of us in Marble Falls. But the rain hadn't been too bad lately, so it truly caught me by surprise.

In fact, yesterday, I moved the car from the driveway so the boys could run thru the sprinklers on the driveway (and away from ants in the yard)...but of course, they had to help me do it...

Moving the car

Then they played in the sprinklers...

Summer Fun


Then they ate watermelon...

Summer Fun
[Look closely, this wasn't his first piece!!]

Summer Fun

All around, it was a typical summer day. So this morning there's a thunderstorm, and our power goes out. Once the boys wake up I decide to run errands. I had actually jogged through my neighborhood (in the drizzle) a few hours before and there were no signs of flooding. But then as I drive out, this is what I see:

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[A road in my neighborhood. You'll see a progression here...]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[The entrance to my neighborhood.]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[Across the street from the entrance, on Boerne Stage Rd.]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[Cross Mountain Church on Boerne Stage Rd.]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[Oops, I guess I can't get out on Boerne Stage Rd...You might want to look closely at this one.]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[Bridge for Twin Creeks Subdivision.]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[I saw a few people going around barricades (on Boerne Stage Rd/Scenic Loop).]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[Oops, gotta turn around again on Toutant Beauregard Rd.]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[One of the many little waterfalls on Babcock Rd.]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[Yay, I made it out, although even the interstate is dangerous (see the splash coming from this car? it's actually drenching the car beside it!)]

Leon Springs Flash Flood 6/28/07
[Lastly, I feel really sorry for whoever owns this!]

So it was quite an exciting day! Once we got back home (and our power was back on, yay!!), the boys napped, and then Chance watched tv...like this:

Summer Fun

One last thing. In my last post, I talked about how Charlie slept the entire time I went to drop off a meal to a friend. Well, one part I left out is I had to keep giving Chance chocolate chip cookies in order to keep him quiet (and not waking up Charlie). Well, this is what he looked like afterwards:

Summer Fun

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why?

That 3 letter word is really doing a number in our house.

"Why is it raining, Momma? Why is that music playing on that movie? Why? Why? Why?"

Charlie has hit the "Why?" stage, but not with intelligible questions yet. He also asked "Are we there yet?" yesterday.

This evening Chuck said, "Charlie, you have big muscles." He replied, "But Daddy, the dentist said I have a small mouth!" I guess he truly believes he isn't "big" anymore.

He also plays games all day. Slap Jack with cards, play doh, hide-and-go-seek, etc. He often says, "Chancey, you can't find me..." from his hiding place. It's so funny...because instead of finding him, Chance will go hide as well.

Today we went to bring a friend dinner, and on the way Charlie fell asleep. When he woke up we were almost back home and he said "Why our friends have to live so far away?!" He thought we were still on the way there, an hour later!

Also, tonight, he came to me all giddy saying, "Momma I found a little lobster!" Further investigation showed it was a scorpion! Yikes!

I know these are just tidbits, but I've been meaning to record them. :)

Has it really been a week?

Wow, I'm really lagging here.

Last Monday night the boys didn't sleep well. Then Tuesday night I had a lot on my mind which gave me insomnia (which is when I wrote my last post) and only got a few hours of sleep. So you can imagine my joy when my step-mom (Nana) told me she was coming to stay a few days!! She was here 3 days and was such a huge help. I got to sleep in, go on two dates with Chuck, and have a photo shoot with her at a park. It was a great visit. :)

Nana and Her boys
[Nana and her boys.]

Then this weekend Chuck was playing in the praise band at church, which meant he would be busy from 12:30 PM Saturday until 1:30 PM Sunday (he plays 4 services for the church). So I took the boys and spent a night with my grandmother, Mammy. (I've written about her before in a previous post). I love visiting her. She taught me to make her delicious chocolate pie (I'll post the recipe at the end if you want it), and showed me her many beautiful flowers. The boys also loved seeing the train go by near her house. My dad, step-mom, sister and brother-in-law also stayed the night...so we had 4 generations under one roof! I wish I would've gotten a picture.

Mammy's flowers edited
[Mammy shows me her flower.]

Running to see the train
[My pregnant sister, Anna, running with the boys to see the train. Once I got this pic, I ran to get Chance off her hip!]

Ranger Charlie
[Lone Ranger Charlie]

Cowboy Family
[My Cowboy Family...My dad, step-mom and of course, Charlie!]

By the way, Chuck said church was awesome this weekend. I wish I would've made it to a service, so Charlie could've experienced it. It was music the whole time, which I think would've held his attention. Maybe next time...

So now we're home and catching up on everything...including blogging. :) The boys' newest things: Charlie has decided to call me "Momma" instead of "Mommy." Maybe it's another effort to show how big he is, but I don't know if I like it. He is also still having some separation anxiety with Daddy. He had a breakdown when Daddy went to church and we were leaving for Mammy's house. But when we got there, he said "Yay! Mammy's house! I been missing her!" Then he asked me if I thought Daddy and Hosea (our dog) were missing him. I thought that was sweet.

And Chance learns a new word everyday, including "Kitty," "Charlie" (sounds like Cha-Ee), and "Goldfish." Chance has been cutting those last 4 front teeth, only one more to go. Other than needing tylenol a lot, he's pretty much a happy kid.

And finally, Mammy's Chocolate Pie:

preheat oven 375

2 frozen pie crusts - fork them for venting, bake them until they're tan in color

mix together:
4 tablespoons cornstarch (2/pie for choc 3/pie for cream pie)
4 tablespoons flour (2/pie)
dash of salt
1/2 cup cocoa (1/4 cup/pie)
2 cups sugar (1 cup/pie)
6 eggs (3/pie) - add yolks in, set aside the whites)
4 cups milk (2/p)

heat over medium, stirring constantly
when it begins to clump, add in:
4 tbsp butter (2/p)
2 tsp vanilla (1/p)

pour into pie crusts

beat egg whites in a mixer until stiff
then add up to 8 tbsp sugar (2-4 tbsp/pie) until mixed in, then add on top of pie

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Father's Day

~Father's Day was great, and I felt I needed to record it... Charlie and I picked out a portable hammock for Chuck a few weeks ago, and I instructed Charlie not to tell Daddy about it. Well, he told Daddy that we had a present for him, but I was SO proud of Charlie for not telling him what it was or where we hid it. What Charlie doesn't know is that Chuck tricked me into telling him a week ago! Argh! Hehehe.

So for Father's Day we gave Chuck his hammock and enjoyed some outdoor time (more slip-n-slide of course!).

Chuck's Father's Day Hammock

Then we took naps...

Dad & Son

And then we got a surprise visit from my dad and step-mom. That was so great! Charlie was so excited, and he tried to be so strong later when they left, but he sat at the window waving and saying "Bye Bye, I love you!" over and over, until he was in tears. While they were here, my dad said he'd get Chance to nap while the rest of us went to Target. So he said he spent about 15 minutes reading Chance a book, then Chance fell asleep with him. That's amazing, considering Chance doesn't usually fall asleep unless he's in his crib. "Big Daddy" has the touch I guess.

~I took the boys to the park today, even though it was about 90 degrees out, hoping to run off some energy for nap time. It worked. :) On the way home I told Charlie he had two options. Read books in bed or take a nap. He said "how bout I just skip options today?" I thought that was pretty funny.

Raymond Russell Park Raymond Russell ParkRaymond Russell Park

In other news, it finally dawned on me (one of those, "well, duh!" moments) that I could put verses on photos now. I'll post a couple and if you want to see more just click on these and it'll take you to where they are.

Children are a Gift (ps 127:3)

Laughter (Proverbs 17:22)

I have more funny stories to share, but it'll have to wait til tomorrow... So stay tuned. :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

I cannot believe this...

but I'm running again!!

Quick background: In high school I began jogging casually. Freshman year of college I joined the cross country team and got a little more into it. I also had a best friend who would run with me, and I loved our fellowship time that we shared over a "good run." After that it was back to casual, and I had other running buddies, usually youth from the youth group (I was a youth leader). I got heavily into it again just before Chuck and I started dating because I wanted to look good in a wedding dress :) But eventually my running buddies all moved away and I didn't run much. Chuck didn't want me running alone for safety, understandably. Then I had kids, and that left even fewer opportunities. 6 weeks after Chance was born I joined a training group for a 5K race, and while I had all the motivation I needed, I soon realized it was too hard on Chuck, with the various times he'd have to watch the boys so I could run. So I didn't make it to the race. At that time I resolved that when the kids were older I'd someday run a 10K, which I have never done before.

So then last week I found out my aunt had been diagnosed with leukemia. The same day in the mail I received a pamplet to run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I sighed, knowing that there's no way I could run a half marathon by November unless I started training now, which doesn't seem possible.

A few days later I got an email from the place I trained with a year ago. This is the first email I've gotten from them since that time. They wanted to know if I'd join the 10K training group, for a race in August. I sighed again, but didn't delete the email. So I thought on it for a day or two, but knew that it'd probably be too much on Chuck again; too big of a time commitment for me.

THEN I get an email from Karen. I met Karen in April at the Women's retreat, and we even ran together while we were there. So here it is, 2 months since we last talked, and she'd tracked down my email address and asked me if I would like to run with her! She said she'd come to my house twice a week and we could run my neighborhood while our families were sleeping in the early morning.

At this point I'm thinking, "God are you trying to tell me something?!?" All of this suddenly fell into my lap in the last week.

So I gladly accepted her invitation, and talked with Chuck and decided to join the 10K group! And Karen joined as well!

This morning Karen and I went for our first run, and I'm acutely aware of how out of shape I am...and how much I've missed it! And the fellowship is sweet, too. It's amazing to me how God meets our needs...sometimes we don't even have to try.

I'm hoping my enthusiasm will continue to help me keep up with getting up early 3 days a week (2 runs with Karen, one training meeting)... But I'm so grateful to be back in the saddle again. And will I run a half marathon in November? We'll see. I think I'll go to the informational seminar and find out!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

A week from today is considered the first day of summer, but here in San Antonio, summer is already in full-swing.

Dog Days of Summer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But first, an update from my last post: I took the boys to the dr to get checked again for strep, thinking that Charlie had it since he was getting nauseous a lot. To my surprise, Charlie doesn't have it...but Chance does! The dr did send me to get Charlie's stomach x-rayed, and found out that basically "he's full of it." Ha ha! But we all knew that already, huh?! ;) So Charlie's on metamucil and Chance is on antibiotics again.

This has led me to think that Chance is a strep-carrier like me. I did some research and found out something very interesting. Carriers are not contagious! (Makes sense, because the rest of my family wasn't getting it often over the last 2 years...just this one recent episode). So, when the boys got it, it wasn't from me. It makes sense too, as I look at the timing of the outbreak Charlie had with his symptoms, and how Chance has had it every time he's tested without symptoms. Also, carriers are not in danger just by carrying it. They're only in danger of strep flare ups, which happens when the carriers get worn out (and explains why I've had flare ups since I became a mom!!). You get tired, your immune system is weakened, and the strep gets its chance to flare up. But also carriers are usually asymptomatic. This was true for me, and is true for Chance. So, in 2 weeks, once this antibiotic round is done, we'll have Chance tested again, and probably figure out how to cure the "carrier" side of it. I'm just so relieved to finally have this figured out!

And lastly, I was supposed to get my van back 2 days ago...but there were more delays. It's comical at this point. I'm not mad (at least we have a loaner), but I'm looking forward to getting it back. I can't deny it, I'm a soccer mom now.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On to lately... We got a new slip'n'slide, and have been enjoying the summer weather. I'm so grateful for having oak trees with shade! And of course, the boys are loving it...

Slippin' and Slidin'

They're at an age now that it's so fun to play outside...until it gets too hot! Chance is a little shy of the slide but Charlie's totally into it (obviously).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On another note, I found one more online editor (www.dumpr.net). This one lets me put my photos in museum settings:

Charlie in the Museum sculpture in the museum

I know, I know, I'm going a little overboard. It's fun though!

What Would You do for an $8000 Camera?

Crestock is running a photo competition, where the winner wins a top of the line $8000 (plus or minus) Canon camera.

I have entered the contest, and am toward the top of the popular photos so far, and I would like to think that I have a pretty good chance. So check out my photo here: http://www.crestock.com/blog/photography/contest2007/entry.aspx?id=3939. If you like it, and haven't voted yet, please vote for me, and help me win! :) You do have to sign up, but it is free and doesn't take very long.

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Catching Up

Sorry it's been so long since I've blogged ;)

First of all, Thursday morning I took Charlie to the dentist to get 5, count'em FIVE, fillings! My poor baby has terrible teeth, and I feel responsible for not enforcing strong enough dental habits, and most of all, allowing him to eat too much sugar. I had been a little wigged out by the fact that I had to give him a sedative beforehand, and then he'd have laughing gas on top of that. But I've talked to many people who say this is normal and no big deal. So we get there, and they can't get far back enough in his mouth to do the fillings because he keeps gagging. He was such a trooper and kept trying so hard to let them do everything. He even had tears running down his cheeks as he tried to remain submissive! They decided this simply wasn't going to work (not one filling was done), and we'd have to try again in a hospital with him asleep!! Then the dentist informs me that 2 areas (4 teeth) are nearly abscessed, so I should watch him closely and not allow him to eat any sugar, since this could make it abscess and hurt a lot. So I'm waiting to hear when the hospital visit will be. And I just got our last minor surgery paid off... :(

Secondly, this week brought us a new nephew!! Chuck's sister Melanie had her first baby, and he is big and perfect!. We spent a couple of days in Austin bonding with the new little guy. Charlie's excited about having a cousin nearby! Chance said, "Baby!" then got jealous that I was holding him. ;)


Welcome Kaleb!

Jason & Kaleb
[Jason bonding with his new son...who is an exact replica of him!]

Third, this weekend Charlie kept getting carsick. On the way to Austin and back he said he thought he would throw up. We thought it might be because our Escape doesn't ride smoothly if you're in the back seat. But then yesterday he began crying while we were at a park, thinking he was going to throw up again. So I'm going to take him to the doctor today to see if the Strep is back. And hopefully we'll get our minivan back soon (I can't believe I'm saying that! haha!)...it's been in the shop for a month now! Thankfully we still have the loaner.

charlie playing
[Charlie playing outside. I love those blue eyes!]

Fourth, not only is Charlie suffering, so is Chance. He's been teething a lot, about to cut 3 teeth (he just cut one last week also). Sometimes he doesn't sleep well, but overall he's returned to waking between 8-9 AM. He's also been taking 3 hour morning naps, and pretty much skipping the evening nap. He's just growing so much!

ketchup lover
[Chance, enjoying his ketchip, as usual!]

And lastly, a couple of funny stories...

~Charlie was singing the Alphabet song the other day like this: "A, B, C, D...dot org." Truly the world is different today than it was when we were kids! I'll get to tell my boys of a time growing up without computers and internet, just as my parents told me of a time without television (and it was so hard to imagine...)

~Charlie often misses people and tells me he wants to go to their house (or that they want to come to ours). But this week he actually started telling other people that he missed them. He told Aunt Melanie, "I've been missing you so much, Aunt Mel!" Mel said it meant a lot because she didn't know if he really cared or noticed her before. Then in nursery at church, one of the ladies watching him told me he went up and gave his friend Caleb a big hug and said "I've been missing you, Caleb!" and Caleb said "I miss you too, Charlie!" Then yesterday Charlie gave me a hug and said, "I missed you one day Mommy, when I was at Nana's house." He's definitely getting more verbal with his emotions.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Picture Story

This week while Charlie was gone, I set up the pool on the porch. Chance couldn't wait for me to get him ready to swim on several occasions:

Chance Chance Chance

Finally the day arrived when we could get Charlie! It was naptime, so I thought Chance would sleep the whole way to Blanco... but he fought it hard until about 10 minutes before we got there.

Chance

Then he awoke to see his brother and Nana! This made him very happy!

Chance

Then the boys explored a park in Blanco.

Chance Charlie

And once we got home, it was back to the swimming pool...

Chance and Charlie Swimming

It was a happy day for the boys. The End.

Chance

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Chance's newest tricks

The last few days Charlie's been at the grandparents'. I sent him there because A. he'd been asking for it, and B. I think he deserved a break from his brother. Sometimes I feel guilty that he has to put up with so much, having a little brother. Chance takes 2 naps a day, so I'm constantly telling Charlie to be quiet. And when they play together, he has to endure Chance always taking his toys. The rule is that he can find Chance another toy and trade, or he can ask me to get the toy back. The other day Charlie just took the toy back...and got a big bite on the arm from Chance. Charlie also doesn't get it that Chance babbles. He's always trying to argue with him about how to say something. "I not Dada, I Charwee David," for instance. Then he'll get mad when Chance keeps saying "Dada."

On the other hand, they do entertain each other, and I can see how Chance has missed having Charlie around. Life is much more boring without Big Brother around. I've missed Charlie a lot, too. He's having a great time though, and it was a neat thing to see Charlie talk to Chance on the phone last night. They were both cracking up at each other. And it's an amazing experience to actually have a conversation with Charlie!! He's quite the story teller. He told my about how my folks took him to a mini golf place, where he made a hole-in-one on the last putt! So the owner of the place gave Charlie a real mini-golf club!

Central Library

But anyhow, having only one child since Saturday, I've noticed a lot of Chance's newest developments:

~His vocab is increasing by the day. Cracker, Cookie, Outside, Car, and Puppy are all new this week. He's also trying to say "Wake up" when he gets up, and sometimes when he points to things, it sounds like he says "That!"

~He's getting into more things. I often have to pull him off of the kitchen table, and he's figuring out how to put things together so he can climb on them. He also has discovered the water dispenser on the fridge and loves to see water spill everywhere! Thankfully, it has a lock option ;) He pulls things off of counters now, so everything has to be moved even higher.

~He has quite a temper, and he's figuring out how to use it. When I tell him No about something, he often will hit something or me, and then watch to see how I respond. It's sometimes difficult to keep a straight face. He differs from Charlie in that Charlie rarely hit people, usually he'd hit only himself. And another way he differs is I don't have to spank Chance much (yet). If I just get onto him, he's in tears. My words never seemed to affect Charlie that much at this age. And one more way he is different is, his anger flares quickly, but it also dissipates quickly. Charlie usually mulled on a bit longer, and threw stronger fits. Maybe Chance will get stronger in his fit throwing later...but I'm so thankful that he's still not the fit-thrower his brother was from 6 months of age!

~He's harder to take places. He has given up on the idea of sitting for very long. First the high chair, and now the stroller. He is always wanting to run around (without holding anyone's hand) in whatever store/restaurant we're in. It makes me want to never leave the house, for sure!

~He plays games now. He loves to play peek-a-boo (which he can now say "peek a boo!") and patty cake.

~He's quite the dancer. He's been watching "Built to be Wild" by Bob the Builder, which has a lot of country line dancing in it, and he imitates it really well. He stands in front of the tv and stomps around all over the place! I'll try to catch some video soon and post it.

~He's very affectionate. This is a nice balance to the quick temper. He often wants to be held, and it's so great when he walks up and wants a hug. He does it often. As I'm writing this, he's hugging on his stuffed puppy. ;)

Ok, so that's all I've got for now. I get Charlie back tomorrow, so I'm sure there will be more funny stories soon.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

I Am Totally Sucked In

I'm moving past denial and I'm just going to admit it: I'm now a photography addict. What started out as a simple point-and-shoot session with my 6 week old Charlie has now grown into much more. The more pictures I take, the more I want to be able to do better.

Charlie 6 weeks old
[Charlie, 6 weeks old. The first time I really got excited about taking pictures!]

1. Last week I hit a milestone: my photo made it into a photo contest. Actually I have already won one weekly contest for parenthood.com, which was because I asked everyone to go vote for my picture. Charlie was totally stoked because the grand prize was a Thomas the Train movie! Anyhow, the reason this new contest is so important is because it's not just for parents with point-and-shoot cameras, it's for everyone, from the novice like me to the seasoned professional. You may remember I entered round one with this photo:

photo contest reject

But I didn't make it to the shortlist...which were the ones to actually be voted on. I figured it's just as well, since I'm a total amateur, and the ones that did make it were great photos. So I sat out for Round 2 but Chuck convinced me that I had a photo worth entering for Round 3. So I submitted the entry last Friday and checked over the weekend to see if it has been added to the shortlist. It hadn't. I figured it had been rejected, and that really I'm not skilled enough to run against talented photographers. Then Tuesday Chuck emails me and tells me to check the list...my photo made it!!

So starting tomorrow, it's open to the public to be voted on... But also, if you choose to vote, you have options. Chuck entered his recent masterpiece of Charlie with the glow sticks, and that one made it as well!! So, if you'd like to vote, my entry is here, and Chuck's is here. I'm so elated that we both made it, and that our entries are of Charlie! If you visit our entries, take a look at some of the other entries. They're amazing! And we're competing against about 600 other photos...so I'm not holding my breath! By the way, the theme of this one is "speed."

photo contest entry
[My entry]

chuck's entry
[Chuck's entry, isn't it awesome?!]

2. Then yesterday I finally had a photo shoot of someone besides my own kids. I asked my sister to let me take some pics of her and her baby belly! When I came home couldn't wait to process them. Chuck graciously stepped aside, and got off the computer. Thankfully, he understands the obsession! And I'm learning a lot about image editing, but more about that later. Here are my favorites:

Anna pregnant bordered_phixr

Anna Pregnant Verical Mosaic

Anna 5 months Pregnant

3. And today brought another milestone. I actually went to a meeting for photographers! We post our pics on flickr.com and have joined a group called flickr-group-sa. It was so fun to sit and talk with about a dozen other photographers, which made me realize...I'm definitely hooked. Talking about lenses, equipment, software, places to go take photos...it's all interesting now. I can't deny it anymore, I'm an addict. :)

So skip this part if you're not much into photography...
I'm now aware that the best way to process a photo is with Photoshop, but it has quite a learning curve, and costs $800! There's also Photoshop Elements which is easier to use and only $80 (at Costco, at least), but I still haven't been able to justify spending that much yet. However Chuck has purchased one online which is based in Austin called Bibble. It's really great for adjusting the colors and stuff, but it's not much into borders, text, etc. So I found a few online free editors, which I've been experimenting with. I still think I want to get Photoshop Elements someday, but for now these will do. These all work especially well if you have your photos on flickr.com, although most allow you to upload from your computer or other photo-storage sites.

Free Image Editors Online


1. www.Bighugelabs.com/flickr
This one is fun for making mosaics and putting interesting frames on the pics.

2. www.phixr.com
This one allows you to add text (cursive, even, which is hard to find for free), despeckle, bend the photo like an instant photo, and add basic borders.

3. www.piknik.com
This one works really well with flickr! It's in beta so everything's free right now, but that may not last forever. It allows all sorts of effects like lomo, boost, infrared, hdrish, vignette (in any color), and basic borders.

4. www.wiredness.com
Also has a neat instant photo effect, text, and overlay, which is a thin line inside the photo around the perimeter.

It's so fun to have a hobby again!