Monday, November 29, 2010

Frosty's Butt "n" Nose

Lindsey has been very busy practicing for her Mother’s Day Out Christmas Program. Her class will be singing Frosty the Snowman. For the most part, we practice in the car so I don’t get the full affect of the performance. The other day though, she was practicing with John. As they were singing, John noticed she kept patting her butt and then her nose. He finally asks what she is doing. “Dad, the song says he has a butt and a nose, so butt (slaps butt) “n” nose (taps nose.) And I thought we were going to have to explain the corncob pipe! We can’t wait to see the performance. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Last night after we went to vote, we visited a local favorite for delicious Mexican food. I wish I could tell you what it is called, but I have no idea. I just know it as “the little taco place on the corner.” Lindsey loves is because there is always music playing and at the same time Telemundo is blaring on the TV, there are parrots hanging from the ceiling and she gets chips and salsa. We love it because it is delicious food at really inexpensive prices. The only drawback is that no one speaks English, which really isn’t a problem unless you want to try something new on the menu and you can’t read Spanish. Anyway, I have taken the long road to get to my point, but seriously if you are in town and want to stay away from crowds, call me and I will take you for some tacos.

Lindsey loves the jukebox in this place. She loves to push the button and make the cd’s move around. Yesterday was one of those, “I am going to test Mommy all day and see exactly how much I can get away with” days. She begged for money to put in the jukebox and I kept refusing. Then she gets really quiet. I find her under the table looking in her purse she just happened to bring with her. She opens up the Barbie wallet and pulls out a dollar. “That’s okay Mommy, I have my own money.” I wish you could have seen it, the hand on the hip, the way her mouth was all squished together. Surely I am not the only mom to get the squishy mouth?? I almost laughed out loud. So she proceeds to put the money in, make her selections and provide us with a delightful show of dancing and trying to sing along with the Spanish words.

Her fascination with the Dukes of Hazzard continues. She walks around singing, “Just a good old boys, never meanin no harm.” She loves to say Roscoe P. Coltrain (sp) and tell me he is bad news. It was parent’s day at dance this week. If I can figure out how to get the video off my phone I will post it. Oh, who am I kidding, I still have three years of video trapped on my real video camera that I don’t know how to post yet. We also made treat bags for her classmates at school. Oh my goodness, you should have seen their faces. It was like gold was being brought in. The jabbering started instantly. I saw stickers, I saw M&M’s, can we have them now? Poor Ms. Marian, she had a long day.

This week has been challenging. Our schedule has been wacky and she has not gotten enough sleep. She is a dramatically different child on not enough sleep, just as I am a dramatically different Mom on not enough sleep. This by no means is an excuse to behave badly, just an explanation of why it is happening and it makes me feel terribly guilty that I let her stay up and carve pumpkins or that we got home late from running errands and there was no nap. Although the time change seems crazy, I can’t wait because it means John is back to getting off at 6 pm. So instantly we are an hour ahead of schedule! Dinner at 6:30, bath at 7, Dad and Lindsey can play and we are ready to head to bed at 8. We all need this, not just Lindsey. I need a few minutes of down time to myself. I so miss reading for myself. I am ashamed to say how long it took me to finish “Big Russ and Me.” I want to start my next book and not have it take me three months to finish it. Another goal is to start exercising in the morning again. Late night running kills me as I am wired for sound afterwards. Working out in the morning worked for many years, there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to get up 30 minutes earlier and incorporate that back into my routine. This is where having a workout partner would be really helpful. Hey, if anyone is up at 6 and wants to give me a call each morning to kick start the program let me know!

Guess that is it. I need to save my energy so I can complete the Cat in Hat costume this evening. ;) Another busy weekend ahead. Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Busy, Busy

Goodness, it has been a busy couple of weeks and yes, the other morning it was so chilly I actually had to put a light jacket on!! Of course, I am back to shorts this week, but we are making progress! It is kind of hard to even remember what happened over the past few weeks, but here goes. (I really have to start keeping my journal again!)

We have been pretty busy at work, so busy that I have been out in the shop working. I know, desperate times call for desperate measures. My skills are expanding, but my outside shop skills are still pretty much limited to cleaning, edgebanding, moving materials around and I am the master of painting fabulous door ventilation holes. I will try to take a picture of these things and if any crafty person has suggestions to make this process easier, I would soooooooo appreciate it. I have tried my finger, regular paint brushes, pouring the paint through and currently use small spongy craft brushes. For the love, there has to be a better way!! Anyway, we just completed a store in Grapevine and are ready to move on to the next project.

The past few weekends have been packed. Since returning from my adventure run, on top of our regularly scheduled programming, there has been something every weekend. We celebrated Betty and Ray’s engagement and Ray’s birthday, my brother-in-law Robert’s birthday, went to Ray’s family reunion, celebrated my birthday and hosted the family reunion for my mom’s side of the family this past Saturday. Whew, I am partied out. I am ready for a Saturday where I can just relax!!

Honestly, I guess it is good that it has been busy. I have to admit October is a hard month. I handle most holidays pretty well, but since my Mom passed, there is something about my birthday that always makes me melancholy. (and no, it’s not my advancing age) We were the birthday planners, cake bakers, party shoppers. We both had so much fun doing these things for each other and other family members and now it is just me. I don’t mean to say no one makes my birthday special, because I have an amazing family and friends who do a terrific job of making me feel loved and special. I wish I could explain it, maybe I just sound weird. Maybe it is that she is the one who put me here on this earth and I miss her celebrating with me. I don’t know, but I am hopeful one day this dull ache in my heart will ease.

Speaking of advancing age, I hit 39 this year. Wow, I don’t know how that happened!! Surprisingly, it hasn’t affected me. Some people are so concerned with a number, I am more concerned with how I feel. I think I feel better now than I did at 29, which was an incredibly hard year. I am healthier, I sleep better (most nights), I have a better hair lady, eyebrow lady, eat better and exercise more. So, maybe 39 is the new 29. I know, check with me again next year, when it is actually 40 and we will see how I feel!

And of course, no post is complete with a few Lindsey stories.

Lindsey and I are eating our afternoon snack of yogurt. I was trying a new flavor, Strawberry Shortcake, complete with the little picture of stacked strawberry shortcake. She looks at me and asks, “Is that hamburger flavor?” I guess it does kind of look like a hamburger.

“Mommy, can we go play in the foot puddles?”

As Lindsey is “driving” the forklift with me she honks the horn several times and says, “Hurry up people, we are going to the circus!”

Hope you all have a fantastic week!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Got Dirty, Had Fun, Did Good!

I did all three of these things a few weekends ago, with a strong emphasis on HAD FUN!!!

Several months ago Marti called me and somehow convinced me that we needed to Run the Jailbreak together. I seem to recall something about what a bonding experience this would be and that we would be helping third world countries obtain clean drinking water. It didn’t take too much arm twisting because the bottom line is I would get to see my bestie. And so the training began. I started out so strong, diligently following the Couch to 5K training program. Listening to Suze’s squeaky little voice motivate me as I desperately tried to prepare this old body for the race. Unfortunately, as the temperatures increased, my training decreased. I was running at 9 pm and the temps were still in the 90’s. So somewhere along the way, I would say about week 4 or 5, I got stuck. I still managed to get in runs here or there, but I would have to admit I was ill prepared the Run the Jailbreak.

We are off, for 3.8 miles of adventure! I guess the beauty of adventure racing is that at least there are obstacles that offer a break in the actual running part. (Thank goodness) The first obstacle was a series of hills with a mudpit at the end. Thankfully we watched the wave before us take off and we saw that there was a serious mudpit beyond the last hill. With a little planning we managed to miss that one, however there were about 13 obstacles after that. So we run a little and on to obstacle two, what appeared to be a long ditch full of water and what seriously smelled of poo. Oh well, what is one to do but dive right in, then on to a long stretch of running and then onto another pit full of mud. It was then we approached the lake with the water cannons from which we emerged pretty much soaked from head to toe. It was after this adventure that Marti’s right side met the hard, cold ground. I have to say she is a real trooper because it was a hard hit and I don’t know that I would have wanted to go on. We did however and managed to make it through the Mustang Maze, climb a mountain of hay bales, run through more mud pits and water holes and even climb up the side of the river bank covered in tires. I am sure the last obstacle is Marti’s favorite. She was so graceful as she dove into what we both learned the hard way was a mud pit with a bunch of gravel on the bottom. And then, we were done, crossing the finish line together.

I can honestly say it was one of the most fun things I have done in a long time. Although it was a bit tiring and physically challenging I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I mean when was the last time you threw yourself into a mudpit? Seriously, I spend a good part of my day trying to keep my three year old clean and here I am covered from head to toe in mud!

I learned several things from preparing for and running this race.

1) Set a goal for yourself, even if it is something that you think you can’t do. I never imagined I would ever participate in a race like this or anything that involved running. And although my time wasn’t record setting, I finished and I figure I can only get better.

2) Have a partner to motivate you when you are training and to run the race with. The race would not have been nearly as exciting if I hadn’t had Marti there. I have to admit when we weren’t saying, “Are you serious, we are going to run through that?” or dropping a few choice words, we were laughing.

3) If something like this isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. I think it will be an annual event for the Prison Pirates Running Club, at least I hope it will.

4) If you do a race like this and you have to drive three plus hours home, go ahead and spend the money to get a hotel so you can shower afterwards. Although I changed clothes, I did get a few odd looks when I made my pit stops.

5) I am still working my way up to be a real runner, but if you have a chance, hang out with real runners. We had a few in our group, one of whom won our wave! (Shout out to Joey!) It really is motivating and makes you want to do better.

6) Real runners probably don’t carb load at the Fort Worth Stockyards with Miller Lite, but man I sure had a good time!

7) Have fun! Find something that you enjoy. Although I would probably enjoy relaxing on the beach with a beer in my hand, I really have started to enjoy running. It is peaceful. When I am running, it is just me. I am doing something for myself and I don’t feel bad about it.

Well, I guess that is about it. Oh, wait, the Do Good part. The money raised from this event benefited Sower of Seeds International Ministries and helped drill water wells so people can have clean water to drink. Sad to think that there are people who still don’t have clean water to drink. Happily about 10,000 people helped them not only reach, but exceed their goals. There is another race in May 2011 near Austin. Visit if you are interested in signing up. We just might see you there!

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Week of New Things!

Another few weeks have flown off the calendar and a busy few weeks they were. The hottest topic in the Williams’ household is Lindsey starting Mother’s Day Out. I am happy to report that Lindsey LOVES “school.” The night before she started, we picked out her outfit and prepped what we could for lunch. The next morning as soon as I rubbed her back and asked if she wanted to go to school, she was out of bed and ready to go! We managed to eat a little breakfast, brush our teeth and most of our hair and change our clothes. We kissed Daddy and out the door we went. We arrive to the sweetest welcome. Everyone not assigned to a classroom is at the door greeting people and there is fun children’s music playing throughout the hall. Lindsey’s smile was even brighter. We get to the classroom, put away her lunch kit and backpack and sign her in and then without hesitation Lindsey runs in to play. Ummm, hello, it’s me Mom, I am going to need a hug and kiss before I leave. She runs back and provides me with my last snuggle for the next six hours! Don’t cry Susanne, you are a big girl, turn around and walk away, she is obviously fine. I turn to leave, drop the sunglasses and hold the tears until I am safely in the car. As silly as it sounds the tears would not stop. I had to call my bestie Marti to talk my down from my moment. My, oh my, could you imagine what I would have been like if she would have been a screamer like that little boy when I dropped her off (I will address screamers in a moment). Each Tuesday and Thursday since then, Lindsey has excitedly prepared to head to her big girl school and have fun!

We also started dance class last week. The class is fairly small and Ms. Cheryl is very nice and patient and seems to know what she is doing. Lindsey was a little apprehensive, but once the parents left the room she seemed to do ok. The class went well, even though we had a screamer in that class too. Although I think everyone was ready to leave when the hour was up. The screamer was Lindsey’s concern with going back this week. She said she didn’t want to go because “that girl is gonna scream again.” Secretly I was hoping she wouldn’t be there, but I said maybe she was just nervous and I bet it would be fine this week. She was there and although there was less screaming and sobbing, she didn’t really participate with the class.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound judgmental about screamers, because it is only by the grace of God that mine wasn’t the screamer. I guess I just think that the teachers are the professionals here. I am certain these two children weren’t the first screamers they had. They know how to handle these situations and we as parents, as hard as it may be, need to listen to these seasoned veterans. If they tell you to step out, step out and let them do their thing. Ms. Emily said as soon as the parent leaves the little boy calms down, but it is hard getting the parent out of the door. Oh, I know, I am bad, I shouldn’t say anything at all, but it really is a good lesson in trust and a lesson I will try to keep fresh in my head in case Lindsey is the one with the meltdown next time!

Let’s see, what is new with John? Well, he had a decent month (thank you Lord!) and as always stayed busy at home. I think he felt a little defeated at not being able to clear the clog in the kitchen sink. We tried everything, Liquid Plumber, a plunger and a hand auger with no success. It warranted a trip from not only the plumber, but Brazos Valley Sewer as well. And for the record, it wasn’t the potato salad I put down the disposal. The plumber said it was probably build up about 45 feet down the line at the T in the pipe. He said it just happens in older houses. Of course John probably still thinks it’s my potato salad, but I feel a little better about the whole situation now! A note on hand augers, those little boogers are painful to use. My arm was so sore the next day. If you have the money, just call the plumber right off the bat! Oh and let’s not forget it is dove season. John is busy prepping for some bird hunting and of course the annual guys Deer&Beer Fest.

I completed my first day as a Eucharist Minister at the hospital. Oh my stars, was I a nervous wreck. I was so scared I was going to say the wrong thing or worse drop the Eucharist! My mentor was with me to answer any questions and guide me a bit. I had to read off the card each time as I couldn’t remember the order of everything. The look of thankfulness on the patients’ faces and those of their families were the greatest reward ever. I remember how important this was to my mom when she had to spend so much time in the hospital and how disappointed she was when they didn’t come by. Hopefully this will help make someone’s day better.

I also broke my ban from soda on my 131st day. I had read earlier this summer that Dr. Pepper was going to be celebrating some anniversary by putting real sugar back in the soda rather than high fructose corn syrup. I told everyone if I found this soda, I would have one and help Dr. Pepper celebrate. So, on our last day of vacation, in a small town in the middle of nowhere, I found a can. After dreaming of what this would taste like, with a large dose of guilt, I took a sip. It was well, okay. Not sure what I was expecting, especially since I didn’t drink real soda before I gave it up. I stayed clean for another two weeks and decided to have a diet cherry limeade from Sonic. That was pretty disappointing too. It tasted really bad. So, I am back on the soda free thing and I really am okay with it. However, if I do decide to drink one, I already know that it will be a diet Dr. Pepper with cherry from Sonic. ;)

And let us not forget that in a mere 16 days I will be trying to force this old body to cross the finish line when Running the Jailbreak. I think Marti calculated that there is an obstacle about every ¼ mile. On one hand that is good, but who knows what the obstacles really hold for us. Anyway, say a prayer, cross your fingers, giggle a little, whatever it is you do and hope for the best for us! Honestly I could really care less about the race, the real treat is getting to do this with Marti!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to post something that starts with, “My it is so chilly today I needed a light jacket.” Yep, it’s still hot. When I left work the other day the reading in my car was 109. Yikes!!

A few weeks ago we had a fun-filled, somewhat relaxing, almost week of vacation. We set off on our journey on a Thursday evening to meet up with my sister and her family for our annual weekend getaway. We met at a friend’s lake house outside of Huntsville. This year our getaway involved a bunch of nothing. We sat around and enjoyed the cool breezes off the water, we ate, we played pool, we ate, we played Wii, oh did I mention we ate??? We could have fed an army. The menu consisted of hand-cut ribeyes, bbq ribs, hobo dinners, tailpipes, baked beans, potato salad and yummy breakfast foods. I have to brag on myself for just a moment. My nephew Robert, who is pretty low key, not much excites him and rarely expresses wow moments, told me that my chocolate chip pancakes were probably they best pancakes he ever had. Now of course he might have just been trying to be nice, but I think it was sincere. WOW!!!! The highlight of this leg of our journey for Lindsey was the neighbors dog Belle. If she could have hidden her in her suitcase I know she would have!

On Sunday we packed up and headed to The Villages at Flint to meet MiMi and Ray-Ray. Our schedule included more nothing, tossed with mini-golf, lots of swimming and a waterpark visit, reading and my new favorite game shuffleboard. Have you played this, the one on the ground with long poles and pucks? (not sure of the terminology) It was a blast and I can’t wait to play again. I think I liked it so much because it is one of the few games that John didn’t immediately pick up and beat me instantly. The trip to the waterpark was fun, but definitely still a lot of work with a three year old. Lindsey and I both are not fans of the big bucket that fills up and dumps out on you every five minutes. Maybe I should have just known this was going to happen, but my Mommy radar must have been malfunctioning and I was barely able to grab Lindsey’s arm before she was almost completely knocked down by the force of the water. One of the highlights of my trip was actually being able to read for more than two minutes at a time without falling asleep. I started Tim Russert’s Big Russ and Me. This book is amazing and in my opinion a must read. It is a book of how life used to be, a book of family values, basically of book of common sense. Thanks to my Mimi for sending this my direction.

We ended our trek with a quick trip to Nacogdoches for lunch with Aunt MaryAnn and Uncle Bo-Bo. We had a great visit and marked the second highlight of Lindsey’s trip, Aunt MaryAnn and Uncle Bo-Bo’s rat terrier Little Bitty. Lindsey fell in love the moment she saw her with a delighted squeal and a “She looks like Sissy!” I am certain Bitty was ready for us to leave when we did as she is not used to that much activity! Then back to reality and a big load of laundry!

It was so nice to be off for a few days and just relax. No real plans, just play it by ear. That is usually pretty hard for me, so all in all I would say I did okay. I love the fact that we were able to drive through some beautiful Texas backroads and enjoy the scenery. My dream is to drive to Yellowstone or the Redwoods. Maybe it is because we never went many places growing up that this sounds so appealing. I was blessed with a job that allowed me to see a lot of places, but it was always fly in fly out for the most part. The load up the car, stop at the rest stop for a sandwich and drive until you just can’t go any longer is what I want. I know, I know most of you think I am crazy. When this actually happens I will make sure to report back!

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekly Wrapup

I began this on a peaceful Saturday morning. Sitting listening to some new music I downloaded with my two year old iTunes gift card, drinking a cup of coffee with real sugar, deciding what to do with the day. I am completing this with my sweet little girl in my lap, patiently waiting to watch a little Caillou before heading to bed. Ahh life is good.

Work is still busy. We just finished a big job that will be going to Santiago, Chile! It is still hot. Oh, I unloaded my first shipment of “expensive” stuff! I did well and nothing was lost or broken!!

I still have not had any soda. I am trying to cut the artificial sweetners out altogether, but it hasn't been as easy as the soda. I will get there though.

I began my volunteer work at the hospital. I will be serving as a Eucharistic Minister one day a month at the hospital. I shadowed my mentor last week. I am so nervous, but excited at the same time. Will I remember exactly what to say? Will the patients be receptive? I go again in two weeks with my mentor and then I am off on my own in September. I really am excited to help out. Still looking for something else to fill that void, hopefully something will come along. I miss planning events, I miss feeling organized, I miss being part of a group. Why was it so easy when I moved to Rosenberg? It has been challenging here.

I had another “I have turned into my mother” moment the other day. The very first time I remember thinking this was when rather than crumbling the little foil yogurt lid and tossing it, I carefully scraped every last bit off and enjoyed it. There have been many since, but this week I made “rags.” Yep, I pulled out the old scissors and went after some old t-shirts. I had never done this before. I watched Mom numerous times, but never paid attention to her technique. Oh well, I am assuming the rag police won’t be coming by to inspect my work. I did have to laugh though when after putting my rags away, I saw the handy little Swiffer duster I won at MOPS. Yep, that probably would have worked too.

Friday we took a big step, we signed Lindsey up for Mother’s Day Out. She will attend two days a week. We met several teachers and the headmaster for a tour. The facility is really nice and it is a very small program. They have a curriculum, art, music, computers and most importantly a playground! Lindsey seemed very excited. As she followed one of the teachers, the teacher said, “Lindsey, I think you might be a leader.” Lindsey replies, “Yes, I think I am.” I couldn’t stop talking about it last night, but today I have a little knot in my tummy. It will be good for both of us, that is what I keep telling myself. I don’t know when they sealed the deal for John, but they had me at, “We watched this one Mom as she left the building, we knew she was going to cry, she did wait until she got to the car and we went out to comfort her.” So hopefully I won’t be the only blubbery mommy.

Of course I will close with a Lindsey story. She has run around all day singing, “Work your body, everybody.” I have asked her repeatedly to stop, it just doesn’t sound right. I am wracking my brain trying to figure out when I had the radio on, is this even a song, I don’t recall it. Well, as I was walking through the living room this evening, I hear the song on the TV. It is from Sid the Science Kid on PBS. He is talking about how important it is to move around and be active. Okay Mom, get your mind out of the gutter.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Evolution of Sisterhood

Thankfully, many of us in this world are lucky enough to have sisters. Depending on your birth order, I guess how you feel about sisterhood may vary. I am lucky enough to not only have a sister, but I have a big sister.

Now if you would have asked me 30 years ago if I was lucky, I probably would have rolled my eyes and given you an exasperated no! I would have told you about my sister having long hair and sitting on top of me tickling me with her hair. I also would have filled you in on how she would scream for my mom to have me stop touching her when we had to share a bed. You see, sisters just do that sort of thing. (For the record, I was only touching her a little, with my toe, just to make sure she was there)

It seemed that the gap between us grew wider for a while. Being a little older than me, she experienced all sorts of things before I did. Career, boyfriends, marriage, children. She knew about all of these things and I was just stuck in my own little world. At times this annoyed me, but now I am grateful. Someone has walked the road ahead of me and can share their experience. You see, sisters just do that sort of thing.

I guess I always knew my sister was there for me, there are numerous stories I could tell you, but there is one that sticks out in my mind. It hadn’t been too long after Mom died, maybe a couple of weeks. I was back at work and had a terrible day. All I wanted to do was cry. At the end of the day I got in my car and started to dial my Mom. I couldn’t. My Mom wasn’t there, she couldn’t answer and solve the dilemma of my day. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean, I knew she was gone, but this was the first time I really needed her since she passed. I called my sister hysterical, literally sobbing as I drove down Highway 6. I told her I simply couldn’t do this, I was not going to make it without my Mom. I don’t know how she did it because she was completely calm, and told me that it would be ok and that she would be right over. I told her no, but lo and behold as I pulled into my driveway she was there. So as I crumbled into a mess standing in my garage, she held me and I swear spoke just like my Mom would have. She told me that we would make it, that we had each other and that although it was going to be hard, we would be just fine. Where did you come from? Have you always been this wise? Did I just not listen before? How did you not fall apart when I know you were hurting as bad as I was? Well, I don’t know how you did it Rosemary, but I am thankful you did because I really did believe we were going to be okay.

So whether you are a big sister or a little sister or you just love someone like a sister, be grateful for that relationship. Treasure your similarities and your differences, it is how we learn and grow. It is how we help torment, teach, love and lift up each other. You see, it’s just what sisters do!

Friday, June 25, 2010


It’s June, it’s hot, it’s typical Texas. I really do love living in Texas, I just love it a little more say from November to April. Working in the shop has given me a new appreciation for air conditioning.

Speaking of the shop, I was recently promoted. I have now been entrusted to drive the forklift to empty the trash barrels. I am planning on working my way up to actually being able to take deliveries of expensive materials off of the trucks. That situation has actually gotten me into a pickle before. Some delivery drivers are not authorized to unload material and when I am the only one out on the lone prairie it causes problems. Now there is no raise or anything that goes along with the promotion, just the sheer honor of being able to say, I can drive a forklift. Like I said in an earlier post, my toolbox is becoming full of all kinds of versatile talents. Oh and did I mention I could do this all with a three year old on my lap?

This past week my sister and brother-in-law have been out of town on business. As a result I have been playing mom to a houseful. Four kids at one time. All I can say is hats of to all mothers of more than one. I haven’t had all four together in a long time. Granted, my nephews and niece are very self sufficient being 18, 17 and 11, but still I feel as though I need to be on my best mommy game. Just the sheer volume of laundry has been amazing. Cooking for a family of six everyday, wow. Getting teenagers and pre-teens up early in the morning so we can head to work, oh my! I can honestly say I have a new appreciation of being tired when I lay my head down at night. It has been fun though and I am thankful that I am in a position to do it. My house is alive, alive with laughter and activity. How many people desire that and don’t have it?

Lindsey will complete her first week of swim lessons tonight. Out of the five kids, she has been the most apprehensive. She did okay the first day, but the second day when they wanted her to put her face underwater the teachers met her firm NO headshake. Finally the teachers had to take control and “helped” her go under. I am happy to report, for the past two days she has gone under on her own. We even went to the pool last night to practice and she showed me how hold my breath under water and blow bubbles. :)

So as usual, I will end with my favorite Lindsey stories of the recent past.

We are pulling into the Target parking lot in College Station. Mommy, I want to go to forks. What, do you mean Spoons, that is down the road a bit but we can’t go today. Nooooo, Mommy, forks. We go back and forth until I finally take her out of the carseat and she turns quickly and points. I have never in all my years in this town paid attention to the Gattitown sign. It does indeed use a fork for their W. I am waiting to see what location will be dubbed Knives.

Fedex man is making a delivery. He asks Lindsey, “What is your name?” She responds, “My name is Lindsey. This is my Mommy, her name is Mommy.”

We rescheduled Lindsey’s swim lessons. As she is jumping for joy and squealing she says, “Mommy, this is great, I am so exhausted!” Guess I need to work on exhausted and excited meanings.

The other day I was dressing Lindsey to go to dinner with Mimi, Ray-Ray and one of MiMi’s friends. I was very nervous as she was accompanying them on a dinner to the country club, the very quiet, country club. I dressed Lindsey in one of her “really cute” outfits and put her white dress shoes on. She knew she was going to dinner so she asked, “If we are not going to Jesus’ house, why am I wearing my Jesus shoes.”

Until next time friends! Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sissy - Little Dog, Big Heart

About 16 years ago, a tiny black and white furball came bouncing into our life. Sissy was an amazing friend, so I thought it was appropriate to pay tribute to her.

The background to bringing Sissy into our lives is special to the Williams’ family. John’s dad, Lonnie, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s a while before I met John. As the disease began to really take hold, everyone was looking for something to help. Some of the things recommended were items that made them comfortable, possibly something from their youth, something they could help take care of, something to help them feel in control. The two items I remember reading about were dolls and dogs. Aside from the doll who he walked arm in arm with for almost forty years, Lonnie wasn’t much of a doll man, so a dog it was. Betty and Lonnie set off to find a suitable pup. It was decided a Rat Terrier would be the new addition to the family since Lonnie had Sissy the First as a young man and had trained her and they were faithful friends for years. This was no easy feat though, finding a Rat Terrier. Kennels, breeders, pet stores were scoured for what seemed like forever until they found our Sissy. I think it was love at first sight for Lonnie as Sissy came home with him a bit sooner than she actually should have. He couldn’t part with her from the start. And so it began, our love affair with our small furry friend. Small enough to fit in a ballcap, loud enough to make you jump, slightly unruly…that was Sissy in the early years. We knew she was a fighter, having battled cancer and a broken leg within her first year, we just never knew how tough she was until later in her life.

Lonnie and Sissy were inseparable from the start. She was with him constantly, on his lap or at his feet. Both content with each other’s company. I remember when Lonnie had to go to the Manor. Sissy was so depressed. Her friend had left her. In the beginning, Sissy actually had visiting privileges at the Manor. Lonnie’s face would light up when she would trot up to see him. It was magical. We soon lost our privilege when a nurse tried to do something to Lonnie as Sissy was in his lap and naturally she tried to protect him. No injuries were sustained, but that was the last time they saw each other. (Really, if we had just explained how protective she was of him, why would you lean over and try to touch him, seriously, it could have waited) Anywhoo…

So how did Sissy end up with us? Quite by surprise actually. You see, you may find this hard to believe, but I wasn’t always Sissy’s number one fan. In fact there was a long time that I would say we just tolerated each other. She loved John and Lonnie, but I was another story. Anytime I got too close to either of them, she looked a little disgusted. In fact, one time she nipped me in the rear when John and I got a little too close! John talked about Sissy moving in with us and I refused for a long time, that is until she came to “visit” for a few weeks when Betty went to Europe. In those two weeks, I fell for her. She was my dinner companion and reading buddy on those many nights that John worked late. She kept me from being scared when I had to go to bed by myself, plus she kept my feet warm. Believe me, I was as shocked as John was when the words came out, “Let’s keep her.”

I think Sissy enjoyed her life with us. I guess I have to admit she was pretty spoiled. She ate more people food than she probably should have. She probably had more toys than a dog really needs. And yes, we even left the TV on for her during the day so she wouldn’t get bored. (Food Network was her favorite)

There are so many stories I could tell. Like the time I tried to take Sissy for a picture with Santa, how she would always jump into my Mom’s lap as soon as she rolled into the house, how she got into Uncle Johnny’s ashtray once, how she just loved me trying to put a pumpkin costume on her, how she whole heartedly loved to play hard in her younger days…they go on and on.

One of my favorites is that Sissy was the one who really started John’s interest in building things. One night Sissy was jumping into bed and didn’t quite make it. (Yes, she slept with us) She fell and dislocated her leg. I had never in my life heard such a terrible cry. We bolted out of bed, John is trying to calm her, I am crying hysterically, not able to see the phone book to find a dog emergency room. I finally call my neighbors, avid dog lovers, waking them up. They run over to help, but by the time we open the door, Sissy’s leg had popped back somehow and she greeted our neighbors with a nice bark and a kiss. Peter and Sherryl must have thought we were crazy. I think John was a little scared by my lack of composure. The next day John was late coming home from work as he had run by Home Depot to get everything he needed to make a dog ramp for Sissy so she could walk up into the bed with us. Sissy never took to the ramp, but we did finally find a good use for our ottoman. So thanks Sissy, John has turned out to be pretty crafty all because of you!

So life moves on and so do we back to Bryan. Once again Sissy takes it in stride, moving back in with Betty as we prepare to welcome our little one, finally losing her spot in our comfy bed. I think Lindsey’s arrival worried many people. Afterall, Sissy had been an only dog for what, almost 13 years now? Sissy did so well with Lindsey, it was amazing. I read up on what to do with introducing them. We took a baby blanket Lindsey was wrapped in overnight and let Sissy have it so she could smell her and get used to it. We never went so far as buying the CD with the crying baby so she could get used to the noise. Their first meeting went well with Sissy smelling her like crazy and trying to lick her. Sissy never really showed too much enthusiasm for Lindsey, but she was kind and gentle and let Lindsey pet her and play with her even when I am sure Sissy didn’t feel like it.

The last three years were challenging for all of us. Sissy had heart trouble, lung trouble, she coughed like she had been a smoker for 50 years, she was deaf, she had benign tumors all over her and I am pretty sure she was starting to have trouble seeing. Thankfully, there is a tremendous team at Van Stavern Small Animal Hospital. These have to be the most caring, compassionate team of animal specialists out there. Dr. Dennis is not only super smart and helped diagnose several situations, including the dreaded reverse sneeze case, but she has a heart as big as gold and the most amazing bedside manner. Lori and Pam kept us going with our, what seemed to be weekly visits for medication, always with a smile. I know there were others who cared for Sissy over the years, so thank you to everyone. You made Sissy’s final years easier and more comfortable for all of us. You helped us let Sissy go with dignity and let us be with her in her final moments. Bottom line, you cared and it showed.

I worked for a vet throughout high school and part of college. Countless times I watched as families brought their faithful companions in one last time. I watched as they said one last good-bye, feeling sorry for them, but never really understanding how their hearts must have been breaking. My heart was breaking as Sissy slipped off the sleep, but the amazing peace that came over her body made it worth it. And although it was a hard decision, I am thankful that we can release our little furry friends from a painful, irreversible situation.

So here we are now, going on two weeks. I get through most days without crying. The silence in our house is overwhelming. I still slice a couple extra cucumbers for her. John saved a bite of chicken for her the other day. Probably the hardest part has been explaining this to Lindsey. We told her Sissy went to Heaven to be with Jesus. Sometimes I think she understands and then she will shock me and tell me she thinks that Daddy might bring her home today. She has only cried once as she told me she wanted Sissy to come home and be done at Jesus’ house because she really missed her. So that day we just cried together. Yesterday, we donated Sissy’s food and treats to the animal shelter. As we were leaving Lindsey said, “You know Mom, I am pretty sure Sissy is going to be mad you gave away her food. She liked those things!”

So I just wanted to say thank you my loyal friend for everything. For taking care of Lonnie, for keeping my feet warm, for helping me “clean” my kitchen floor, for loving Lindsey and never hurting her, for always knowing somehow when I needed someone to just sit by me and make me feel better. I am sure there is a special place for dogs in heaven. Rest in peace my friend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Lindsey!!!!

So tomorrow my baby turns three. There is this part of me that is jumping for joy, wohooo, we have made it this far. Then, there is this little part of me that is sad. My baby is growing up. I know I blog about this often, how it is joyful and painful at the same time. It makes me think of the Darius Rucker song, “It Won’t Be Like This for Long.” One day she won’t be able to climb up into my lap and snuggle up with me and what is worse is that one day, she probably won’t want to snuggle with old mom.

The terrible two’s as they are called were merciful to us. I can honestly say we had a blast. Of course, we had our moments, but for the most part each day was full of new adventures with relatively few tense moments. As we head into the three’s, I wonder they are not called the terrible three’s. We seem to be more in a stage of wanting to test authority or see exactly how far we can be pushed. However, we are so amazingly curious and so excited about learning new things it seems to lessen the severity of our challenges.

Rambly thoughts for sure, my norm it seems at this point in my life. So I don’t forget though, some of my favorite Lindsey moments from the recent past.

1. As we were lying in bed one night reading books, Lindsey was trying to get her father’s attention. “Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Uncle John, Uncle John, Uncle John, Uncle John, JOHN, JOHN, JOHN, JOHN. Are you there???” It cracked me up that she was so persistent and finally he did answer. Poor girl.

2. John was doing book duty one night. He started to read A Pocket for Corduroy. He flips the pages and Lindsey stops him, turns the page back and says, “You have to say Corduroy Gets a Pocket, by Don Freeman.”

3. We are driving home from work and Lindsey is daydreaming. I ask what she is doing. Just thinking she replies. About what I say. Oh, just about agribating Speed Racer. I have tried in vain to this point to explain the word aggravating, but she still doesn’t get it. She does however love to use the word.

4. At church last Saturday, Lindsey placed her arms around my waist and patted my back through a good part of mass. I have no idea what the homily was really about as I was lost in my mommy moment. It was blissfully quiet and my baby was holding onto me.

5. Lindsey constantly wants to help me with whatever I am doing. Cooking, laundry, cleaning. If I could just bottle this enthusiasm and give it back to her in about ten years. Sometimes, it is hard, I just want to get things done. I have a note on my fridge that says, “Mom, I know you can probably do things faster and better, but please let me help, it is how I learn.” I have to look at it sometimes to remind myself how important it is. So I am happy to report that Lindsey is my official laundry sorter, lint tray removal expert, wash cloth folder, dishwasher starter and unloader, table setter, and dog feeder.

Words can’t really explain how being a mom is the most fantastic job in the world. There are so many little things I wish I could tell you that make my heart jump for joy, but you would probably think I am nuts. So with that, I will close with a heartfelt Happy Birthday to my little girl!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Memories!

Yesterday was a fantabulous day! My family celebrated together with an old fashioned picnic. It was reminiscent of my younger days when every Easter my family would come together at Charlton Park and we would eat, play ball, hunt eggs and visit. Simple things that brought so much joy to all those who attended the celebration.

Yesterday, we gathered in Navasota at Rosemary and Robert’s place and began to make wonderful memories again. Against a backdrop of beautiful blue skies and exquisite wildflowers, we ate delicious food under a large shady oak tree, hunted eggs over and over again, played horseshoes, Frisbee and baseball and visited with each other. I have to admit that I did a lot more visiting this year than I did playing ball or horseshoes, but it was joyful. Seeing my daughter hunt eggs with her cousins was amazing, the wide smile across her face, the giggles as she found the eggs.

The entire weekend was amazing. My aunt came to stay with us and it was so nice to have her there. We didn’t really do too much besides cook and visit, but we had an amazing time. It was kind of like I had my Mom there with me. Comforting. I am sure there was much more activity than she is used to, but I hope we didn’t scare her too much and that she will come back for another visit.

As I get older and now that I have a child, I guess I long more for family. I want Lindsey to know the joy and importance of family gatherings. I want her to appreciate her family and to help carry these traditions on, traditions that are fast becoming lost for many families. I want her to be so happy tired that she falls asleep before we get out of the driveway. I want her to have what I had as a child…wonderful, happy memories!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dear Mom

Wow, five years. Some days, it feels like yesterday and somedays it feels like forever. It is hard not to feel a little sad today, but I try to let the happy things outweigh the sad. John and I celebrate 11 years today. I remember you saying I love you as you gave me away at the end of the aisle, that sneaky second tag on your dress and the way you smiled at the reception. We all had a great time! Nancy turns 17 today. Can you believe that? All of these "little" kids growing up. I think I am what I considered old when I was their age. Yikes!

Anyway, just wanted to say that I am okay.

I love you and I miss you...still, always, forever.

Monday, March 1, 2010


So I am back from my big weekend adventure. I am feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world again. I am going to blog about the weekend, but before that I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to my bestie.

I am ashamed to say this, but it had been three years since I had seen Marti. We talk everyday, so it really didn’t seem like that long, but it is terrible that we let it go so long. John and I met Marti and Coy in 1996 (I think) and life hasn’t been the same since. The day after we met, we were at their house eating steaks. Two days after meeting Marti, I accompanied her to Austin to get her car fixed. We rode all the way to Austin and back and never once had the radio on. We haven’t stopped talking since! From the beginning, it was like I had known her forever. Distance came between us quickly, but it only seemed to make our friendship grow stronger.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for being there for me through all the good stuff and the bad stuff that life dumps on us. Knowing that I can call anytime and get some encouragement means the world to me. Oh and thanks for helping my find my adventure again! Oh and I am so proud of you for running the 5K! Oh and I promise not to let it be three years again! Oh and I love you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hello 2010!

Here we are, almost a month into the year and I still can't stop myself from writing 2009. How did it get to be almost the end of January? Slow down the train friend, time is just speeding by. Kind of reminds me of Lindsey's new favorite TV show, Dinosaur Train, where the train speeds backwards into prehistoric times, except this one is speeding forward with me holding on white knuckles and all. We could call it the "Crazy Mommy Train." (Except that we don't use the word crazy anymore)

The year ended with a beautiful Christmas celebrated with family. So much better than last year, for so many reasons. Although Lindsey still does not like Santa and we didn't even attempt to take a picture, she did love the play kitchen he brought her. Everyday I am lucky enough to eat delicious meals prepared with such pride! We opened presents Christmas Eve, which I am still not a fan of, but it was necessary. Went to Pearland to celebrate with with my cousins. It was just the four cousins and their families. These celebrations used to consist of anywhere from 30 – 50 people. The 15 of us made the best of it and had a wonderful time, complete with some dice game that was hilarious.

Custom Woodcrafters is officially operating in our new facility! No more being gone four or five days a week. I was so excited about being home more, but it has taken some adjusting too. I am working everyday now which is hard. I have had to re-sharpen my organization skills, meal pre-planning skills and my getting up at 6:30 a.m. skills. Yuck! Lindsey has been a champ through it all, loving the “Big Shop” as she calls it. She has 15,000 square feet to run though, stairs to climb, acres to roam and most importantly plenty of cows and horses to admire. Hopefully the excitement will last for a while.

Lindsey continues to amaze me daily. She is so full of energy and personality. Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Most of the words I am happy about ;) Some of my favorites right now are, “No, way, Yes way,” “Do it again, do it again,” “Mommy, do you understand me?” and the always favorite “Mommy, you are making me nervous!” We continue to work on counting, colors, the ABC’s. She can count to 14 most days, sometimes getting hung up on eleventeen. She loves to go to the Children’s Museum, to ride the escalator at Macy’s, to play at the “Big” McDonalds and to read. This girl loves books! When it is time for bed, I often find upwards of ten books waiting for me. She has started to “read” to me as well. She knows almost the entire “Big Dog, Little Dog” book and reads it to me. What a nice change of pace. She has definitely begun to test me more regarding discipline, seeing how far she can push me. It is frustrating sometimes. John can just count to one and she pretty much stops what she is doing. When I count to one, she follows with two, three and smiles at me. I am trying to implement time outs, but it is tougher than it looks. We will make it though, I will not have a wild banshee for a daughter!

So with a new year comes thoughts of resolutions. Hopefully it doesn’t sound too selfish, but I kind of want to find me again. Sometimes, I feel like wife, mommy and employee have taken Susanne and are holding her hostage. Where did I go? John called me Susanne the other day and you know what, it felt good! No one calls me Susanne anymore. Even at work, we are all related so I am Mommy or Aunt. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming anyone but myself. I have let it happen. So I will try a little harder because I think everyone will be happier with a little bit of old Susanne back in the mix. This is probably something that a good night out at the Chicken, playing pool and having a few adult beverages would fix. :) Ohhh, and I will also find a place to volunteer this year. I so miss my Catholic Daughters at home!

So, maybe I should lose weight, maybe I should be more organized, maybe I should do a better job at budgeting, maybe I should decide what to do with that closet full of suits that stare at me in my home office. How about I just do the best I can and that will have to be good enough!