Saturday, December 10, 2011

2 Hoots for Allfrig Puck Elroy..I mean Dobby, our Very own Elf

He's here, he's here and oh what a chatter..the kids woke me up to the delightful sounds of: "He's here, he's here..our elf really showed up!" It was such an incredibly different and peaceful way to awaken as opposed the usual groans and rumbles. When I got to the kitchen this is what I saw:

He came with a lwtter stating his name is Allfrig Puck Elroy but he doesn't like his name. Something about merciless teasing from the other elves after Santa gave them all monogrammed sweaters one year and since his nickname has been APE. After some investigating, I have discovered that the name Puck is notorious for mischief. (some reference to Shakespeare or something as well). Oh my!! Should I be concerned? Anyway, so we gladly honored his request and came up with the name Dobby.. in honor of another elf we are all in love with.
So Little Hoot is already busy working her magical powers of influence and befriending him w/bites of powdered sugar donuts. While Big Hoot is busy stuffing his mouth with the usually sinfully absent sugary treat for breakfast. Personally, I think he was afraid the awesome treat might disappear as quickly and magically as Dobby appreared.

So that little feller appeared in the dark cloak of night. He must be sneaky as he slipped in without even a growl from our dear Butterball. This morning he came with a list of likes and some rules. He can't speak and his magic might permanently disappear if he's touched. But he will watch and repeat all he's seen and he's heard to the Big Fat Generous Man up in the N.P. He doesn't like fussing and arguing or disobedience. And his nerves get all shot with loud noises too. Once when the kids started playing real loudly, they later discovered the donut gone and he'd move on his shelf. So it really must be true!!

So Dobby we welcome you to our home this season. We hope you bring giggles for these kids full of wiggles. For we so need a change to our holiday season. From sadness and tears we hope to find smiles and maybe a giggle. And some more of those great donuts and hot chocolate would be great too!! And as I write this..the hoots have come in from playing outside and are now singing Christmas carols to our very own Dobby.

* Disclaimer.. a very special thanks to my friend, Heather who introduced her very own elves to me and gave me the idea. And I also notoriously stole her breakfast introduction from her as well. Thanks my friend.. you have made a huge difference in our holiday season during our overwhelming grief.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

~Elves, Mischief and Rats Oh My~

So it's been awhile since my last entry. Sad feelings of losing a loved one take time. And the Christmas holiday is rough enough without having to miss our MeMe. The kids miss her and haven't learned a healthy way to express those feelings. Heck, who am I kidding? It's really hard to even pinpoint what exactly those feelings are when they creep up during the supposed "Most Wonderful Time of the Year". And just how do you teach your child what is appropriate when those feelings of anger well up so quickly and harshly?

A friend has invited a couple of Santa's elves to stay over the holiday season to "Spy for Santa" per se. The premise is they are supposed to be watching the kids for the report back to Santa on whether it's a naughty or nice kind of Christmas. I saw the box for "Elf on a Shelf" in Target a couple of weeks ago. And I must admit I did a double take..thinking "Is this really what it has come down to"? The box set comes with one posable elf figurine that you get to name and a book. At the time I thought it was another typical mass produced overly materialistic form of celebrating Christmas. Now mind you.. I have been studying and participating in a book group over the excellent book "Christmas is Not Your Birthday". And this has made me very mindful to react to Christmas this year as if I were looking through Jesus' eyes. And so maybe my halo has been a little tight of late as well.. it won't be the first time mind you..

However, I have now completely changed my mind. And I will be the first to admit that I never understood the true premise of this cute little elf. Where I thought it was a ploy to preach and poke your kids into good behavior equals better or more gifts, it actually is not that at all. This little elf while the kids are thinking he is the utmost of spies for the Big Man, he gets into tons of mischief, trouble and mayhem. It is an excellent way to take the pressures off of the holiday season and the incessant and inevitably painful countdown to Christmas Eve that only a giddy child can get..into a season of fun and joy. MeMe Loved Christmas. No I mean she really LOVED Christmas. She would get so much JOY out of watching the kids open their presents. She felt like she showed her love best by giving. It was the way her mother was to her. We always thought it was extremely excessive (ok.. not to the rugrats of course) and we just wanted to spend time with her. But that is what made her Her.

So I got to thinking today about how we can best remember her. And I know that every holiday from this season forward will bear painful witness to our loss. But then I got to thinking about how much she loved to laugh and spend time with her family. And the more I think about it.. the more I LOVE the idea of our very own little mischief elf. What better way for the little hoots to awaken every morning to see just what kind of mess and trouble our little spy gets into. See he/she has decided that The North Pole is very boring. After working so dang hard every single year after year banging out toys and wrapping zillions of gifts, a change is needed. And what better location than Central Texas? So he will become our seasonal adopted family member for a little while. I think that MeMe would be smiling down upon our little hoots as they giggle, laugh and wonder in delight as to how our house becomes turned upside down. And I personally can't wait until I can finally let lose and pay these little heathens..oops.. I mean rugrats back.. for all they havok they rendered. What comes as this little guy.....

Can quickly turn into this: Haha.. underwear was hung by the chimney with care!!

and this: Who knew? Halloween all over again?

and this: Oh yea.. can't wait for Those sugar blues to hit~

and even this: And as Eddy Murphy always proclaimed so well on SNL "Celebrity Hot Tub"

And my personal favorite..Oh how I get giddy just thinking of painting my little hoot's nose red:

Yes I do believe that we could use some humor this Christmas Season. And maybe just maybe..we will also be kinder, gentler and nicer and who knows.. Maybe we will find that it really isn't all about us all anyway now is it?

And we now come to the part of the blog where I must admit the truth. Yes.. everything I wrote is true and accurate. But I must devulge the real reason I decided to blog about this here and now. While I was conducting research on whether I really wanted to do this or not, and all that it entailed.. the very best.. and I mean BEST product commentary from an actual customer made me giddy as little hoot over the thought of presents galore. The following is just to damn funny not to hoot hoot about.. I (I thought my family had some wacky traditional rituals and thangs going on)...

The customer recommendation went like this:

We had the same tradition in our family when I was growing up, only it was called "Rat You Out" and the Elf character was a huge black scary sewer rat with sparse hair and glowing red eyes named Dexter. Every night at bedtime my brother and I were told to stay in bed or Dexter would come and eat our toes off. Every December 1st we were told that Dexter was hiding somewhere in our house for the duration of the holidays and spying on us while our parents went next door to play Canasta with Jocko and Bootsie Felisherman. If we didn't behave, Dexter would report back to our parents AND Santy Claws, and if Santy Claws got three bad reports that kid would have their ears clawed to shreds and get no toys for Christmas.

If we made it through Christmas, then on December 26th until the end of summer we were sent outside to find Dexter. Whoever found him got a candy bar, but even though we searched night after night until dawn, we never found him. But it was a delightful hide-and-seek game, just like this Elf one so I know your kids will like it, plus it gets them out of the house for hours on end and you (the parents) get some peace and quiet from all the loud fighting that is called "sibling rivalry" by most psychologists although ours called it "These siblings are hopeless here's your money back don't call me ever again".

My brother of course grew up to be a top-notch rat exterminator, so this can be called an educational toy with great practical benefits for young boys. I grew up to fear rats, darkness, beds, toes, Christmas, Santy Claws, earrings and ear muffs, canasta and anyone named Dexter. I have a job as an Avon lady, but I only sell lipstick (no red) and a few of the toys (no dolls or stuffed animals, sorry). Call me if you need anything, but not if your name is Dexter or if you have uncovered ears. Thank you. Happy Holidays.

And that my friends is priceless.. So just how can I resist? An elf has got to be way cheaper than the poor kids who grew up and are still forking over vast amounts of moolah on professional counselling. Here's hoping I can score my elf tomorrow in my hunting and gathering expeditions and won't have to resort to a rat name Dexter!!

Merry Christmas Ya'll!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

~a Heavy Heart, a Little Salt & Just Because~

This is a hard entry to write. However, I feel very compelled to put my feelings into words. My mind races, memories come crashing and tears just won't stop pouring
these days. It seems I am able to compose myself for a few hours only to have a downpouring of new tears after little hoots have a question, insight or I recall or talk about something to someone. Just when I think I can not possibly have anymore tears left.. a new reserve becomes available. And I do know that for every tear that I shed...I am not even close to the sadness felt by my husband, father in law or my husband's siblings. We lost a very special person 2 days ago. And it is still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that my mil is gone.

I met Jeri, my future mil 23 yrs ago. My initial impression was of a friendly and feisty woman who was not afraid to speak her mind. She was warm and funny. And I liked her immediately. She reminded me quite a bit of my MawMaw. She said what she meant (usually) and stuck to her guns on what she believed in (always). She was what I like to call Salty. Not in a bad way.. cause I happen to adore salty foods much better than sugary ones. Any decent cook knows that it is SALT that is vital in every recipe. Even sweet chocolaty dishes call for salt. It is the salt that brings out and balances the sweetness. And most cooks are always asking "Does it need more salt?" And that was Jeri.. she was the salt. She spoke her mind, was the key ingredient in her family and added the spiciness to family gatherings. And it isn't until just this mimute that I realize how we needed that Salt in our lives. The courseness at times in words, the glue in our relationships and the brassy flavor of unpredictability.

As time went on and she later became my MIL our relationship grew.(and for the record.. MIL is Mom in Law..there is a distinct difference! =D ) I LOVED spending hours talking with her. She was the most generous person I have ever known. She lost her mother when she was just out of high school and this loss made an unforgetable impression upon her life and the choices that she made. She was a natural athlete and was awarded a collgiate scholarship that went unused. She married young and had 5 kids in 6 yrs. I can only imagine how much she needed and missed her mom for advice and guidance and maybe just a loving shoulder to cry upon when times got hard and uncertain. And times did get really harsh at times. But she dug in and persevered. I truly admire how she made it through some very dark days.

When it came time for my wedding Jeri handed me some money and gave me a big hug and kiss. Those hugs & kisses are what I will miss most since she was so full of love. She told me that when she had become a bride, her MIL did the same thing with the instruction to go pick out a beautiful negligee. This meant so much to her as it did me. She appreciated her MIL & FIL so much for the love and guidance they bestowed upon her..esp. when she was missing her mom so much. And I plan on continuing this family tradition if given a chance to the bride my son chooses to marry. (If I'm not senile in my old age) =D
And she did it...Just Because..

To know Jeri was to know her family. Her family WAS her life. It was the only thing she wanted. And she devoted her entire life to her kids,grandkids and great grandchildren. If she wasn't involved with her kids she felt disconnected. Her home was always full of activity, people and food. She was the best self taught cook. I loved being in the kitchen with her. And her hundreds of recipe books and her guidance was always a terrific inspiration in my own kitchen endeavors. I wouldn't like to put a number on the phone calls I made to ask advice or help w/a dish I was making and needed help. And bless her heart.. she was beyond gracious when she discovered that this native Texas girl could NOT cook rice if it wasn't concealed in a handy little bag. Laugh.. you better believe it.. I was marrying into one of the most Cajun of families. Both parents were born and raised deep in Cajun country. So..I learned early on how to make a decent pot of rice. And I know that she will be looking down from heaven laughing out loud at my attempts at the so far unreachable decent Roux...just because.... My attempts at "her" gravy I have a better chance at achieving. Her voice will always be in my head and her laughing at my attempts.

She was so witty and funny. And I loved laughing and chatting into the wee morning hours with her. We had such deep and wonderful talks. I loved hearing about all the family history stuff and events. I feel so blessed that she shared them with me so I can pass them down to our Hoots. A sense of history and family belonging has always been very important to I feel grateful that she wanted me to share her family history with them too. In this way, the family members that have passed on will not be forgotten and will be known...Just Because...

She was a natural athlete as I wrote earlier. Recently, I learned that her gift for golf came later in life. She took to it like a pro. Literally an amateur Pro. The very first golf tournament she entered she won after having no official lessons. But her love of the game was so strong she was practicing and playing in the rain, frigid, windy and heatstroke hot weather. And her passion paid off. She became one of the top ranked women golfers in the State of Texas. It afforded her the opportunity to make great new friends, travel to fun destinations and spend quality time w/my FIL whom she loved deeply. It was such a hard sacrifice when she had to retire due to declining health in recent years. Before she retired, we enjoyed meeting up with her at her tournaments when she would be closer to us in location.

Her generosity was immeasurable. There was nothing she would not give. Her love, time, effort and any kind of help you might need..she was there. Because she had spent some really dismal and hard years, she made it her life's goal to over indulge her family. I think that realizing that her mother never got the time or the opportunity, Jeri would repeatedly say.. " I want to see my kids and grandkids enjoy my inheritance while I am here".."The joy is in watching the enjoyment of it". She showed her love best (in her eyes) when she gave something to someone. It meant so much to her. She thrived in spending time, money and attention on her family...Just Because... What we thought was over the top, she viewed as never enough.

She was one of the most complicated people I have ever met. She and I did not see many things the same way. And I recognize that we came from completely different worlds. But, I always was proud of the fact that we could on most occassions respect each other enough to either drop the issue, leave it alone or just agree to disagree and move forward out of respect. We did agree on many issues as well. She adored, loved, fretted, worried and lived her life completely for her children. And it was out of this love that she did what she felt compelled to say, do, and interact. I now recognize that it was always out of the deepest and most compelling of LOVE that she acted. It might not have always been correct or appropriate but it was the core of who she was completely. And for this I will always admire and respect her. And I regret not recognizing or telling her.. sooner.

On several occassions she dropped everything in her life to come and help me out. She stayed to assist with the birth of little hoot and later for a scary major surgery I had to have. Not ever asking anything in return. That was who she was.. drop everything and be here/there... whatever the need. I will forever be grateful for her help. Especially when it also included unexpected income tax preparation while I was recovering from surgery. She went above and beyond...Just Because...

I also admired her so much for the love and care she took in caring for her aging/ailing MIL & FIL. When home healthcare became a necessity, Jeri still went over to bathe and take care of them. They were parents to her and she loved them deeply. Even though it was the healthcare giver's job..she wanted to do it becsuse she knew her meal, her bath and her care were far better than any they would receive. And she also was strong enough and loud enough to insist on citing ill care and finding better care when need be..She had their back.....Just Because...

When I think about it now, I realize I am probably not the person she had ever imagined her son marrying. We usually aim really high for that position for our children. I don't know if I ever really made that goal, but she showed and taught me so much throughout the years. And I am so incredibly thankful for all she did for me and my family; and feel incredibly blessed for all the love she showed. And I hope that the little things I did for her to try and repay her kindness back were enough.

She had always been in poor health. Truth be told, we couldn't believe she had survived the comas, cancer, back surgery and unaccountable bouts w/pneumonia and bronchitis. She was always getting sick and recovering best she could. And Thanksgiving is the time of year that she always fought a major battle. Every year for so many years, she would get sick and then be recovering while she insisted her family gather at her home for the holiday. And every year, she would recover and linger. Battling more crisis throughout. Only this time, she took us all by surprise. The "granted" that we took called margin call due on us all. When the call came Monday night we were taken by surprise. The news earlier in the day was she had improved. Too little too late. There is a huge hole that will never be filled. But I take comfort in knowing that her constant struggles and pains are now of the past. She's breathing deeply for the first time in years. And I'd like to imagine she's playing the best golf and teaching a few how to make the most incredible Gumbo. (and that's another thing.. everyone else loves her chicken gumbo (which is outstanding)..where mine is shrimp often times she would have a creole made for Me.. .. and her son an onion free dressing for him..... Just Because

So MeMe.. I will always try to take to heart and recall all the life lessons you generously taught me. Your patience, love and attention will always be very dear to me. I will most likely not ever flip through the TV channels landing on a western, see a Danielle Steel or other romance novel, cook certain foods,while butchering others =D, order kid's photos, hear your laughing and edgy voice when I do something dumb, enter Cracker Barrel or Cold Water Creek, drink an Amaretto (you got me in love with) or a million other things without thinking of you. You have left such a HUGE imprint on mine and my family's lives that YOU will never be forgotten or erased. We will forever miss you and I will always regret not picking up that phone the last two times. But the question will always be asked: "Is there enough salt?" And the answer will forever be "Never again!!"..and that my friends.. is...
~Just Because~

Sunday, November 20, 2011

~Sink Your Teeth in This~

Christmas is Not Your Birthday - Michael Slaughter

So very very excited. Every year I make a pledge to cut back, simplify, slow down, and find the JOY in Christmas. And every year I manage to get suckered in, take the short cut and just plain make poor choices when it comes to the Christmas Season. I LOVE giving gifts.. I would much rather give than get.. and can't wait to see how the person likes the gift I selectively chose for them. And the hoot faces on Christmas morning is priceless. It's such a wonderful experience. And the day goes on.. we have 4 Christmases on Christmas Day. By the time the day has ended the kids are on overload and worn out. They have that sad "deer in the headlight look" that looks so sad. And that usually ends with a hellacious barn burner breakdown of sheer exhaustion and overload. And after a certain point in the day.. the little hoots are in such a state of overload.. they get greedy and want to open more and more.. as if 20 gifts just hasn't been enough.. (and the number 20 is on the small side)!!
So the day ends in sheer extreme tiredness. And then a feeling of let down and sadness occurs. All the emotion and motion has set into play vast array of expectations, feelings and movement. And in the end.. often times a feeling of let down. Let down? Let down from what? And I have to review the entire holiday season of constant activity, parties, people, events and expectations. And when it ends the silence is painful to me. But this is supposed to be the most wonderful timeof the year.. And it is in many instances. I LOVE shopping and spending precious too little time with family. But still.. it always feels a little less than.
This is THE YEAR! This is the year that I participate in a book review of an awesome book. And the title alone blows me away. Why of course! Why didn't we think of that? Who are we to claim this day as our own? If we look around.. it's so easy to see how we confiscated this day. Why we often don't even say Christmas anymore. Christ has been reduced to XMas. And we no longer say "Merry Christmas" it's not politically correct.. now it's "Happy Holidays".

Jesus has been missing from Christmas for a long time. I don't mean to say that I don't think of Him, I most certainly do. Never a Christmas comes that I am not reminded of Easter and His sacrifice for me that is coming. But I and we as a culture have taken away they complete JOY in the gifts that He brings. If I see through His eyes, then I will see what He sees. And it isn't the bright lights, beautifully wrapped packages and traditional huge meals. What He sees is so completely against what we would LIKE to see and celebrate.

And So will I!! I am so incredily excited. Our school district takes on a challenge for most schools to have a food and $$ drive so less fortunate families will have a Thanksgiving meal. One incredible little boy in our school challneged himself to raise $4000.00 in less than one month!! It seemed impossible. But God said "Now Yall help him out and watch this!". He will turn in almost $3000 tomorrow morning. I get chills and tears when I think of this. And his schoolmates delivered over $2200 and over 1300 lbs of food. The money alone from drive will feed over 260 families!! And this is just from our school alone!!!
I can't wait to bring my two hoots to the little food pantry where I volunteer. They will get to see a snapshot of their good works in action and what it means. I am so incredibly thankful my hoots it".. they see that it has nothing to with them, me or even the folks getting fed.. But it's about HIM!! And we are just the tools to show the world what He sees and What HE/We can do.

Another activity we hoots like to participate in is the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox project. We each get to fill one shoebox and man can we stuff them. They have so much fun thinking about, shopping and filling their box. It's a challenge sometime to see if the lid will stay on.

We do these things every year. And they are fun and great lessons for us. However, we still get suckered into the commercial and crazy memememe
of the abused holiday. This year, I vow to stay focused and on track to teach myself and our family the Real Reson for the Season. And the first chapter of this book is wonderful.. It's a small book, 4x6 with short quick chapters. But man to they pack a punch.

The HUGE Dugar family with their 20 kids and counting has gotten me to think. My opinions have been out on this unusual family which has a show on Cable TV. HOw can they be so sane, healthy and happy with that many kids. But the truth is.. I can't find anything really wrong with them. They communicate, are debt free, and peace seems to reside in their home. How many American families can say the same. They have a family rule that I have incorpored into our home for hopes of peace and tranquility amongst the Hoots.

It's very simple: JOY
1. Put Jesus first
2. Think of Others second
3. And then Yourself

What a simple concept~

Thursday, November 17, 2011

~Hip Hip Hooray.. Let's Hear it for Lola Mae~

"Hip Hip Hooray!! Hip Hip Hooray!!
Let's Hear it for Lola Mae"

My grandmother used to chant really Really loudly this ditty
"Hip Hip Hooray..Hip Hip Hooray..We're Living in the USA"
It was her endearing and yet obnoxious way to getting us awake
and going while on Summer break at her home. I am very happy to
announce that Lola Mae has turned 98 today!! Yes.. I said it..
a total of 98 well lived years. And we are so blessed to still have
her with us.

Theres a cartoon that I for the life of me I can't find at the moment.
But it's of two old women chatting. And the one tells the other
"I've lived so long, I'm afraid my long passed friends are gonna think
I didn't make it" (referring to heaven).. This fits my MawMaw to a T.
My MawMaw IS Maxine.. If anyone ever could have been the inspiration for
the character it is her.

They broke the mold when they made her. They had to. It would have been impossible to contain two Lola Maes. She's had a long and full life. And she is the glue and foundation that connects the many generations of our family. But she has had a very hard life. She lost her mother when she was a young girl and literally had to fend for herself after that. Everything she has ever owned she earned through her blood, sweat and tears. She has always thought that she wasn't very smart since she didn't get past the seventh grade. However, she is one of the smartest and most practical people I have ever run across. Her common sense and people skills are bar none. I can only dream and imagine that had she been born either during a different time or different situation, what her life could have been like. She taught herself to cooks and her cooking is AMAZING. Friends and family still come across country to visit and share a meal with her. Had she been born later.. I can see her as the Paula Deen of her generation.

I can't help but think of food when I think of her. And I have made it my goal to a smidgeon, as she would say, to cook and bake like her. At 98, she's still hard to keep up with in the kitchen. She has since retired from KP duties, but has given me some incredible cooking lessons with the things they don't tell you in any given recipe book.

How do you describe such an incredible person?
She's funny as hell and quick with her wit
She's humble and generous to the nth degree
She's independent, salty and crass at times.
There's no denying where a person stands with her
She speaks her mind and tells it like it is
She's loyal and smart and can throw a party like
no other
I could go on and on, but you get the drift..
She is the total package..

And she's the complete opposite of my wonderful mom.
My mom is refined, prim and proper. She's reserved
and contained. And I can only imagine the household
environment when my mom was young.

MawMaw has always lived in the now.. the today..
the Moment of the only day we have. And she would
work to near exhaustion and then find the reserve to
enjoy friends and family with an incredible meal she
put together or a stiff drink.

Where my mom and put together a Martha Stewartess party.. MawMaw can
throwdown the informal and laid back hoedown seated around her entertaining bar. Our family has the most incredible get togethers because family is the main focus. And having a great time is required. You laugh until you spit your drink form your nose, you fight the urge to pee your pants and your stomach hurts for hours later from laughing so hard and so much. Despite all the incredible hardship she has endured, the greatest gift she has given us all is the ability to laugh and not take life so seriously. And this is one of the greatest gifts a person can receive in my book. She has taught us to look for the blessings and to be greatful in Every circumstance. And my mother has nurtured this gift to the extreme. It takes the sting out of hardship so we can see beyond today and the significance this problem will bring to the conclusion later in life.

I am so blessed that my children who I had late in life still have had the opportunity to love and spend time with this remarkable woman. It's quite amusing since age and time have allowed her to simmer and mellow in demeanor. She's not brash, sassy or salty on most days. But it's a thrill to see that side come out from time to time. My two hoots can't fathom her mad and chasing me with her butt ugly oriental looking wedged house slipper for an infraction that I imposed. I remember that shoe and eveything about it. She was quite a sight when I was a child. She scared the crap out of me. Words were never minced or filtered at that time. But with time, I realized she was the real deal and grew to love and respect her immensely. And now, I can't imagine our lives without her.

I can't even begin to imagine all that her eyes have seen. She's lived an incredibly long time and so much has happened. These are a few of the things of what life what like in the year that she was born. And to think that for many of those years she never had her mother to love, lead or guide her along thoe treacherous times.

On Nov. 17th 1913 The Panama Canal opened
In 1913: Grand Central Station opened in NYC
Rosa Parks, Jesse Owens, Pres. Richard Nixon, and Tyrone Powers
were born. Harriet Tubman died.
The 16th Amendment was ratified to begin collecting a 1%
income tax (damn them!( =D )
Stainless Stell was invented as was the modern zipper

Gasoline was .12 per gallon
Milk .32 per gallon
Eggs .304 per dozen
Car $490

And President Woodrow Wilson our 28th President was elected
That's alot of presidents to live through!!

So here's to you my beautiful and loving MawMaw. May this be the best birthday ever . I drink a toast to you with buttermilk that reminds me of all the wonderful meals we have shared, the late night mystery
radio shows that we used to fall asleep to, the scary Dr. Phibes movies you watched with us, the scrambled eggs that are one of kind and out of this world, the chocolate cream pies you made just for me, the cooking & baking lessons you patiently endured so I can hopefully keep going, the fireflies caught in your backyard, the yearly Thanksgiving pecan roof gathering, the parties and laughter, my precious Mom you raised and all the incredibly wonderful things we have shared. I remeber them all and carry themwith me always. And just know that we will have some boxes of your beloved Moon Pies,and your favorite cookies next week when we see you.The hoots and I plan on baking just for you... We love you dearly!!

Oh yea.. and one last thing..Thanks for not sugar coating life so you could teach us how to handle the disappointments, struggles and pain. In it, you have taught how to live for today and be gracious for all that is good and right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

~1 Turkey,2Turkey,2 Turkeys More!!~

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for more years than I can remember. I LOVE that I can make time to meditate upon my immeasurable blessings. It overwhems me when I think just how incredibly fortunate. And I don't truly deserve one. The fact that I was born into such an incredibly strong and loving family goes without saying. What doesn't is the fact that I won the lottery when it came to parents. Mine are to literally die for. And they have become surrogates over the years to my friends as well. A fotrune cookie once read, "You are a credit to your parents". But the truth is, when you have parents like mine you will do anything and everything to honor and reflect all the love, respect and integrity-given guidance they have give to me.
Another blessing has been the school district in which I live. 15 yrs. ago when my husband and I decided to buy our home we had no children. And one of two deciding factors on the home we selected was the strong school system. (The other was the 1/2 acre now almost non existent lot) which has also proven to be a great decision.
We knew that even if we never had rugrats, we wanted our home in this school district and the allotted schools. The value of our investment would be strengthened with its schools. And so far, they too have held their credibility. We do have some of the best schools for miles. And I don't take for granted a single moment that our children are receiving excellent public educations. Not only has our school earned the Excellence in Education rating for another year, there are several more in the district with this distinction.
Our district has faced many many struggles with incredible growth. In fact, we have been one of the fastest growing areas in the state. And our school have done what I consider to be their best effort to meet and forsee these challenges in a proactive manner. Not everything they do is on par, but no one's record is. Something that most people don't realize is that our school system has in place a children's well clinic. Not only do they reach to educate, they realize that if a child is ill, then they can't learn s easily and can sometimes fall behind. Healthcare has been the single most economic struggle for the majority of families. Many can't afford to go to the doctor due to the rise in healthcare prices. And others do not have the insurance to provide care for their kids. Our school district has maintained a free or sliding scale clinic to help alleviate these issues so kids can stay strong and healthy. Recently, their efforts have been helped by a 1/2 million dollar grant to build a free standing clinic to serve even more. In fact, if a parent has one child in the school district,then they will extend their health services to all children in the family.
Our school district has also held clinics on positive parenting tools held on Saturdays to help parents become stronger role maodels. I have personally attended this seminar and went home with many awesome tools to help turn difficult behavior around with my kids. What I didn't realize is that our schools are now equipped with interventionists and extensive training for teachers in our many schools. They help our kids as they proceed through difficult behaviors and life instances.
Which comes to my blessings today. One of the very best programs our schools have implemented is the mentoring program. I mention this to bring awareness, gratitude and recruitment to this exceptional program. For the past 4 yrs. I have mentored 2 incredible boys. Anyone who knows me has heard about these special fellas. Kids today have to face such incredibly painful life situations and problems. And the mentoring program has been established to let these kids know someone is there for them. We are their friend, sounding board, safety net, interventionist if needed, and just a buddy to listen and care. We joke, play games, listen to each other and at times have cried. I LOVE these boys!! And they teach me to be a better person. Who knew kids had such incredibly great advice and insight? Well I do.. now. Unfortunately, they learn through the university of hard knocks. The lessons hurt and don't come free. But they handle them with grace, character and humor.
Our school also hosts a wonderful Thanksgiving Meal w/our kids. And so I leave in a few minutes to begin the first of four lunches. I will be turkeyed out after today. And I will nibble at each meal.. Filling up on laughter, love and friendship. My two always look forward to having me with them at lunch as I with them. And I am honored to share a meal with my fellas. They think I am doing them a favor.. Little do they know.. It is an HONOR to have lunch w/them. I am a truly blessed parent in that I don't have resposibility which obligates me to be somewhere else. I also believe and know that each parent wishes they too could be there. So for the moms working, I thank you for your blessing. And for the father in heaven watching down upon us today and everyday, I hold this day in honor of you. You have a most incredible son..who I see you in..even though I never had the honor of meeting you. He is growing into an exceptional fella with his sights on you and the guidance and love from his mom. I will gladly eat as many turkey lunches to be blessed with 4 Incredible Kids!!
Who could ever ask for anything more? I am so abundantly over blessed~
So thank you for the turkeys...oh my!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

~How Can Thank You Ever Be Enough?~

How Can a Simple Thank You Ever Be Enough?

I can't help but ask and meditate this question
when it comes to thanking our men and women who
have given and dedicated absolutely everything
they have and eerything that makes them uniquely them.

They so openly and givingly dedicate and sacrifice
every comfort, possession and even individual spoken words
in the effort and struggle to keep our nation and all it's
people free. They ask for so little. Just a simple thank
you and that so humbly asked. It just feels so inadequate...
so little and so few. For I owe them absolutely everything
for the freedom to write this blog, to conmplain and disagree
with what I do not like about our government, and the freedom
to worship the God and in the place I so desire. This list
can go on and on.. and still it takes me right back to
the feeling of it being so little and insignificant when I
hear and see the struggles and losses each service person has

I know that every person that serves is changed in some form or
another. Even if they never set foot on a battlefield or come
directly into harm's way. And many these days are coming home
from battle with losses and personal damages my mind can't even
begin to fathom. Just how do you come home and re establish and
reconstruct your life again after fighting in this war today?
This is the first time in history when our soldiers are coming
home from battle w/injuries sustained that in years past killed
former veterans. Our medical advances and modern technology has
surpassed the ability to save so many major injuries. And our soldiers
come home to rewrite the lives they now have.

I remember the images on TV of our Vietnam soldiers coming home in
body bags and how disturbing it all looked to my little mind. But I
do believe that we need to honor our fallen soldiers today on the TV
(maybe not their body bags) but at least a major mention on the news..
and not just the losse we sustain in our geographical location. Each
soldier gave the ultimate sacrifice, the least we can do is honor them
and let the families know they mattered

My paternal grandfather enlisted at an older age during WWII. He didn't
have to enlist as he had a wife and 2 sons at home. Several family
members tried to talk him out of it. The military has improved in many
areas as time has passed. My granddaddy had his heart set on the Navy.
Luckily, his oldest brother was worldly in the ways of the world. He
instructed under no uncertain terms to ever let the military office know
he wanted to go into the Navy. Grandaddy wasn't quite certain his
brother was right. However, when asked what branch he wanted during is
physical, granddaddy replied, "Oh I don't know.. anything but the Navy I
suppose"..or soemthing along those lines.. And sure enough.. he was
placed in the Navy! Uncle Arvie was a wise man and saved my gd lots of
unnecessary misery. World War II was a life changer for him and his
family. I do know that he was in Germany. And I cringe to think of what
he saw, smelled and heard. I do know that when he came home, he never
could talk about his service. It was just too painful. A yr. or two
before he died, he started a journal about that time in his life. He was
never able to get very far due to a vision disease that robbed him of
his sight. He was able to seek and find refuge and peace in his strong
strong faith in God and his connection to my grandmother.

My paternal grandmother had a younger brother, James, who served during
WWII in the Army. He found himself in a difficult situation when he
became MIA when his unit became overwhelmed from the Germans. Luckily,
he was found and harbored by a French family who kept him safe and I am
certain saved his life. He eventually made it back to the US.
Unfortuately, he was so mentally damaged by his war experiences and
sacrifice that he ended up in a mental institution. It wasn't until with
in the past few yrs that I learned the truth about my Uncle James. He
was a handsome young man who came home a very damaged and tortured soul.
AS did many men his age I suppose. The family story had always been that
James was lost and never heard from again. As if he came home and just
walked away from his family and life. I guess if you split hairs there
is much truth to that. But the other truth is he did come home and did
have a family that loved him. Today, I realize that times were different
and shame played a huge factor in concealing things that might not be
acceptable in the general public's eye. However, I can't help but
wonder how this lack of acceptance and secrecy of James's condition
affected my grandfather and the mental and emotional battle that he
himself faced and fought daily. Did it make him feel worse. And how
could it not put him in a place where it might be safe to share and
talk about his issues and emotions?

People say the old days were better. I happen to think that they were
better in some ways, but a long shot away from the openness and
acceptance that we have learned to understand. And what kind of help
James would have received today and the stigma that came along with his
illness back then. For a family to just tell everyone he was gone. Yes
he was gone, but he deserves so much respect in my eyes for the ultimate
sacrifice he gave. No, he didn't die in battle, but he did die in a
very important sense. His life was never the same. So I share his story
today so that his service and sacrifice not be minimalized to the
condition in which he returned. He deserves and gets my utmost respect
and gratitude for he never got to share in life's simple pleasures when
he returned.

Veteran's Day has been on my heart alot this year. I find myself drawn
more and more to all the Military holidays we have throughout the year.
And I want my kids to know, respect and most of all be so incredibly
grateful for all the sacrifices our men and women make in our behalf.
I can't even begin to fathom the thoughts and reactions they have when
return home. We complain, moan, whine and gripe about the smallest of
things. I would gather that they would like to stifle many of the
trivial things we make mountains out of mole hills. One of my favorite
bible verses got stuck in my mind. And I believe it fits so
appropriately when thinking about how my actions and words spoken can
possibly affect our military while home.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing
in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer" Psalm 19:14

My favorite preacher taught me those words that I try to frequently
meditate upon. They bring me peace, calm and clarity in my reactions
and actions. And today, I think they should be personally used in how
I present myself in gratitude and calm in my daily life. May I not make
trivial mountains out of little ant beds.. even if those beds house
fire ants. This I can do to try and help our military. My actions can
effect others.

A simple thank you is all they ask. But we as a nation should DEMAND
that housing, medical, employment and emotional services be adequately
provided. We OWE it to them. And we need to demand that our govt.
make good on the debt we owe them. They will never call the loan on us
but we should absolutely make sure our debt is paid in full to them.

It goes without saying.. but THANK YOU to all Veteran's. May we
fully support you as you have for us. God Bless you and keep you safe!!

~Hooter Gone Sad~

Little Hooter had her first field trip yesterday. The plan was to go to a working farm about an hours drive away. Now Mama Hooter has been looking forward to field trips for while now. Big Hooter had them when he was in K, but because he was insanely jealous of Little Hooter going anywhere within say a 5o mile radius of anywhere fun that he got to go he acted inappropriately to Little Hooter if she was around. And since he would act aggessively towards her, Mama Hooter had to put her foot down an refuse to go with him. And then, he grew up to where their field trips don't allow for chaperones to attend I missed the boat with him. =(
So last week while in the car I inquired Lil Hoot if she wanted me to chaperone the said planned trip. She adamently replied "No". I was taken aback thinking that surely she mis- heard what I had asked. Nope.. there was no hearing loss on her part. So I asked if she would be embarrassed by my attendance? This is usually about as long as any conversation can go without Big Hoot chirping in his opinion. And yes.. He could be counted on for his input.
He replied very quickly and efficiently, "Nope.. that won't happen. She can't embarrass you cause she won't be singing or dancing!" Yes.. thanks Big Hoot for taking up for me. No wait. What? I embarrass you with my singing and dancing?

Ok.. So this isn't an unknown fact. In fact, I have used such non talent to threaten to break out into song and dance when they are misbehaving in say WalMart, Target, anyhere.. And it has worked like a charm too. So maybe too well? This being said..Little Hoot still stood by her initial decision. So the day came and I bid her farewell and sadly shut the door.
Thinking how sad that I couldn't share this event in her life. And all the possible missed photo ops I could snap. And then I had myself a lovely quiet day.

So when she returned I happily asked her how the day and trip went. She had fun. It was nice weather. Lots and I mean Lots of parents went. She saw and heard a very strange sounding rooster, and got to pet a pig! I'm glad she had a good time.

And this is how I feel after chatting with one of the moms that went. Yes, there were Lots of parents, a sick turtle that the owners did not quarantine the curous kids away from, and a child that didn't exactly make it to the bathroom in time. And then there were the kids arguing about where to sit, and who and when and how to ride back to school. Oh yes, and I forgot that Little Hoot told me about an accident that happened where one of her friends had to go home before they left for the farm after her fingers accidentally got slammed in the bathroom door. So now that I've had time to really think about all of this.. I think Little Hoot may have done me a favor. There is a possibility that the parents enjoyed the trip exponentially less than that of the wonderful kids. So thanks Little Hoot!! I have fully recovered from my parental delusion of touchy feely perfect memories. Maybe some are better left ununremembered and unexperienced. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Maybe it had nothing to do with Mama Hoot embarrassing Little Hoot, but more of Little Hoot just wanting to grow up a little on her own and show her independence. She does have a need to make practice flights cause one day she will eventually fly away. I just need to keep reminding myself. And her..that it could be worse.. maybe my lack of rhythm and vocal talents

aren't that bad? It could be far worse?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

~It's The Most wonderful Time of the Year~!

When I worked a Summer for the State of Texas I came to realize just how many holidays are on the books. And for a State/Federal worker..they pretty much take each and every one off and get paid for it or comp. time. Now that's a great deal to some. However, I always thought it cut into effective production and caused more havok in trying to catch up w/the work that needs to get completed. So back in that day.. when I knew that my time was on a very short leash with this employment gig, I proposed a National Chipmunk Day. Another day to take off so work would not get done. These days, I know of some hunters who would actually prefer it to be National Squirrel Day in which they could then have national recognition for their anuual squirrel hunting encounters.
In my old age, I have come to realize and recognize that if we are gonna make a grand celebration out of something, then it should be something we can all really get excited about. And who doesn't just get all teary eyed on the day of the year when we get to gain another hour? Another hour to celebrate, waste, spend ..delete in any way we feel inclined?

This happens to be an occassion in which I can't help but giddy and teary eyed over. It's like cheating your day. If you find you didn't like how you spent an hour of this day, well then.. lucky you.. You get a Do Over!! So How Cool Is That?

And the older I get, the more excited this day becomes. So why not have a holiday when everyone can enjoy the actual day. In all honesty, I believe that Columbus Day has run its course. Who can honestly say that they appreciate, know and even give a rat's ass about the controversial man who supposedly "found" our hemisphere (as if it were actually lost) and under the circumstances in which he desired to find it? President Obama I will give you permission to apologize on behalf of Christopher Columbus to the world for his actions and those that followed. And I will also overlook the fact that he was a Spaniard since our founding is attributed to his greed. Columbus Day modern day has become nothing less than the motive in which Columbus set sail.. Greed. Please name one activity or event that you acutally participate in celebrating this National holiday other than "Retail Shopping". Oh the bargains and sales and shopping oh my!!

Oh please!! And don't even get me started on "President's Day". When was the last time we even celebrated two incredible Founding Father's even remotely close to their birthdays? It too has become another reason to SHOP. I am actually encouraged to learn that school kids will actually study some of the contributions these two great men contributed to our wonderful country. While their folks... yes.. once again... SHOP!!

So this leads me to suggest making Daylight Savings Time a holiday. One in which we whill actually enjoy, understand and celebrate. For those who don't care to celebrate will be fully compensated for the gained time in a few brighter months. The holiday will actually take place on the day it occurs and will be noticed by every some form of another.. And yes, I have forgotten to celebrate this precious time.. finding myself a drama of one in church once while making a very dramatic entrance. Time off to celebrate time gained. It's a win win situation if you ask me. Think off all the fun parties one can host and attend. All the fabulous food.. and all the opportunities to Enjoy that precious thing we all complain of losing and missing~ TIME.

So while my little hoots dream of the upcoming Christmas Eve, I will continue to dream of this MOST Wonderful Time of the Year!! So how will you spend yours?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

~Charm #3~

Welcome to Two Hoots & a Hollar! And thanks for your patience. I have decided to combine my other two blogs into one catch all. Hopefully, I can now keep striaght the content and not have to choose what and where I post. I also think the name two hoots & a hollar fits me to a T. Dumbass did fit me and many others quite often. However, I'm busy raising too young hoots who I personally think are the most precious and yet most annoying birds I've come across. And I often find myself hollaring to keep them in line. And I also can't ignore the fact that I am magnetically pulled to anything that resounds with great ignorance, irony and humor. So Two Hoots it will be...

Not only does insomnia do me well at times....I have been up all night putting this blog together.. I have come across some hilarious and rare creatures online. It simply astounds me the vast amounts of useful and useless knowledge I can find online in my lost attempt for a decent night's rest. The following are a few that I have recently found. I wish that I had written down what the heck they are..but they are entertaining non the less.

~ He looks like he's entertaining the thought of working somewhere..~

~ I have not a clue..????~

~Nothing like a good laugh with a friend~

~The Pink Panther theme plays in my head when I see this fella~

This guy is so incredibly ugly & strange I can't help but feel sorry 4 him

~I am Spartacus......Gladiator Armadillo~

~Oh my.. I have no words for this one~

~hmm.. he looks closer to some regular fellas I've seen.. bat ears!!~

~My personal favorite..the monster from "Where the Wild Things Are"..a little rare rhino~

~Now him I can relate to.. I"m feeling just like that right now~

~Don't go in the water too deep~

~ And this is ME when I don't get my caffeine or Sonic ice!! ~

~And these are my two little monkeys (I mean little hoot owls)~

~And I have to end with my buddy Myrtle.. it just doesn't get any
betta than my Myrtle~~

Have any thoughts as to what these things might be?
Leave a comment if you feel so inclined...
And Have a great day!! Friday is almost here~