Saturday, October 30, 2010

The proof is in the pudding

I said we were headed out for a Halloween parade and an adventure in the Fall foliage, and that is indeed what we did.  Wanna see?

Oh yeah, and stopped by a local winery on the way.

Have a fantastic weekend, y'all!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Funny Friday

I take 3 billion photos a day.  And as I go through to delete, I find some real keepers.  And some really amusing shots.

These tickled me.  I hope they tickle you.

Antennary Fun

 Super Fly Butterfly Pie

 Over Here, Camera's Over Here!  Look at ME!

Classic Protest of Mom's Camera


Woohoo, Part 2!

Bananas For Butterflies

We're out the door for our school's Halloween parade and then off to enjoy the Fall foliage.

Happy Friday, YALL!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wide Open Windows

Waiting for our friend to come.

Happy she is here.

So that I can enjoy this view from the back porch.

Aren't friends the best?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Dinner Table

The church is a place where lots of different people meet.  Although I know you probably don't think that's true.

When I was in high school, I was very involved in both school activities and church.  The school had the cliques that all large schools have--the jocks, the nerdy science kids, the orchestra groupies, the thespians, the honors students, the goodie goodies.  Yada, yada, yada.

I was in a few of those cliques.  And I happily circulated in my clique orbits . . . and sometimes out of them too.  I went to youth group at church.  And the most amazing thing happened.  Kids from all corners of the high school came together and became friends.  They were really close friends too.  They still are.  I had friends from all four corners of my high school because of the friendships birthed from youth group.

I know when people think "church" or "christian" they think WASP and segregated because that is the way it often is.  There are black churches, white churches, and vietnamese storefront churches across any given city.  Church goers often look the same--dressed nicely, no visible tattoos, modest and conservative.  Long skirts, long hair.  They all homeschool.  All of them.  :-)  Sure, that's true. Or mostly.

Adult life is not at all different from high school life.  We still circulate in our orbits.  Cool/Uncool, Vegans/Country Clubs, Sport Bars/Coffee Shops.  Birds of a feather flock together.  I'm not saying it's good, just saying that it's true.  But in the church, there's a chance for orbits to cross.  Orbits can collide and smash and destroy all kinds of social protocols.  Okay, maybe I'm pushing the image a little far.  It's true though.

Because in the church, we know that we are all really the same in light of God.  We are all nothing.  From dust we came and to dust we'll return.  We are all really small in front of a magnanimous God.  And yet, he invites us to come and eat with him.  He calls us his friend.

And that's why I can walk into our church and greet an alcoholic with a hand shake and a smile.  I can greet a divorcee with a hug.  I can exchange the peace with a Democrat and a Republican.  Gasp!  I hug a choir member and an Army General.  All ages, all colors, and all in the same struggle of life.  Most importantly, all united by Christ.

So when we walk into church this evening to take our directory photos, and I peer in and see this man and this woman sitting there, I'm chilled.

I'm honored to sit at the same table with this couple, the top official taken hostage in the Iranian Hostage Crisis and his very brave wife.  I'm honored he's consider me a friend, and I'm more than honored that Jesus calls us all his friends.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


This is what we look like today.  Just before we headed out the door to our day.


1.  Texas Rangers hat for team spirit.  
2.  Texas Rangers hat to cover up my terrible, dirty hair.
3.  Running clothes for the jog I planned to take during ballet.
4.  All black was just an accident.  No meaning there.  At least I don' think...

The Girls

1.  Eloise is Cinderella.  Her first outfit of the day.  She was only in it for about 30 minutes total.
2.  Eloise's tiara.  Because she's a princess.
3.  Cordelia in a light blue dress to match her beautiful eyes.
4.  Pink and white pants to make sure everyone knows she's a girl.


1.  A distant and provocative look on his face.  Because he's a cool model like that.  
2.  A priestly collar because he's an Episcopal pastor.
3.  Argyle socks to keep life fun. 

Extra Credit

Q:  What's a pirates favorite pattern?  

A:  ARRR-gyle!
(That's for you, WVR friends!)

Monday, October 25, 2010


Halloween week has begun.  Our little butterfly and pumpkin will be making at least 3 more appearances this week.  So you know what we'll be up to.  I better hurry and get that laundry going.

Little pumpkin walks full time now.  She destroys everything.  Climbs chairs, tables, couches, everything.  And she waves to everyone.  A happy little pumpkin, she is.

A good friend and fellow blogger, Brooke, asked me recently how we live on a single income.  I'm not an expert, we do it but not well enough.  There are tons of great resources out there on how to live on a tight budget.  I am not one of those resources.  But I do have one tip.  Befriend the kitchen because cooking is the best way to save money.  Eating out, especially eating out with a babysitter at home, drains a budget.  We eat at home almost every meal, so I make sure I keep it exciting.  I splurge on gourmet cheeses and wine to keep it exciting for me and Alex.  I make full breakfasts with special cinnamon rolls and bacon to keep it fun.  And I use the heck out of my freezer.  If I'm going to make delicious butternut squash soup, I make a lot and freeze the rest.  Keep it yummy so that the troops don't get tired of it.   Also, check out Tessa's blog for some tips for party throwing on a budget.  She's got some great ideas and recipes.

In other news, the Rangers are in the World Series.  I'm thoroughly enjoying Laura Bush's autobiography.  I'm genuinely upset that the Cowboys keep beating themselves. I'm halfway through my monthly subscription of Texas Monthly.  I have never felt so Texan in my life, but please do not tell Alex.

While I'm all things Texas tonight, I'm really enjoying our beautiful Fall leaves.  And of course election season.  No town in the world gets more worked-up during election season than our town.  It's all rather entertaining.  But that's material for another time when my brain is turning a bit more quickly.

So that's all.  Here ends my scattered post.  :-)


Pink is Eloise's favorite color.  Pink is such a beautiful and girly color that reminds me of delicate rose petals, baby girl blankets, and sweet smelling perfume.  Soft ballet shoes.  A sweet blush of a girl in love.

And so it's most appropriate that Pink is the color for Breast Cancer Awareness.  Because women are tender and beautiful and lovely.

But, Pink isn't always soft.  It's can be quite loud in fact.  Punchy, vibrant, and strong.  Bold and powerful. Spunky and full of life.

And that it's even more appropriate that Pink is the color for Breast Cancer Awareness.  Because women are strong and fierce and invincible.

I think of the strength and power required in childbirth.  Contracting, laboring, pushing.  And then a life long service of child raising, devotion, and sacrifice.  We all know that women can do anything.  Including defeat breast cancer.

Here is Eloise in her Halloween costume.  She's a spunky pink butterfly.  Let Halloween week begin!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fix-It Friday

It's Fix-It Friday at I Heart Faces.  I love this little boy running through the orchard.  With his Sunday best on, he's tearing out of the place.  The photo has so much energy and motion.  It's an energy you can feel.  The contrast of his dressy, grown-up clothes outside playing in an orchard has an old, magical feel.


My Edit

I wanted to accentuate Fall's colors, the boy's motion, and the magic energy that the photo already exudes.  I used PSE-8.  Opened in Raw and adjusted a few things, including increasing the vibrancy and warming the temperatures.  Then I ran PW's Boost at about 80%, PW's Soft and Faded and adjusted opacity to my liking.  Cropped to an 8x10 to get rid of some of the foreground grass.  Burned some grass and edges.  Flattened.  Saved.

It's such a neat moment captured.  Check out other Fixes at I Heart Faces.  It's a place where you can learn so many new techniques and great ideas.

Also, if you have particular opinions about scary Halloweens and children, check out my previous post and join the conversation.  I'd love to hear how others navigate Halloween with their families.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween, what do you think?

Halloween is growing and growing and growing.

After college, I worked and lived at a wonderful Christian children's home called Wears Valley Ranch.  It's a beautiful place of God's healing and blessing for children and adults alike.  And we did not celebrate Halloween.

I had heard of these people growing up.  Those poor children with super strict parents.  The crazy religious or maybe just uncool and dorky parents who didn't let their kids dress up, go trick or treating, or do anything fun at all.  What sticks in the mud, I thought.  Thank goodness my parents weren't that strict.

My parents had their limits though.  No offensive costumes.  Always attend the church's Fall Festival--the lighter, life giving answer to the darkness of Halloween.  And never eat all your candy at once.  I think was an alternative, healthy approach to the night.

At Wears Valley Ranch, we took the church's typical Fall Festival to the next level.  We celebrated Reformation Day.  Did you know that Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to that old German door on October 31, 1517?  Oh yes indeedy, and for us Protestants, that's a big deal.  So the children dressed as Bible characters, we played Bible trivia, and of course we had Bible candy :-).

Here's sweet Arissa with sweet Anna Kathryn.  Arrisa was an angel and still is an angel today.

Zachary and I played Pin the 95 Thesis to the Door.  

At the Ranch, so many children had suffered in dark scary places.  They experienced real life monsters.  They really knew skeletons.  So why would we ever let them see that again?  But truth be told, we all have real fears.  We all have monsters of our own.  It's got me thinking, are monsters funny?  Are witches or vampires really amusing?  Does it do us any good to play around with darkness, even if it's just for one night.

The others side of Halloween is the sheer materialsim.  According to this morning's Wall Street Journal, Halloween is inching up on Christmas.  68% of Americans buy Halloween decorations while 66% buy Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.  90 million pounds of chocolate sold at Halloween, 65 million pounds at Easter, and 48 million at Valentines.  (I think Valentines needs to pick it up a bit!)  It's getting bigger each year.  And it's not helping our First Lady's fight against obesity one bit, is it?

Just walking around the neighborhood you can feel the presence of Halloween increasing.  Enormous spiders are crawling on the roofs and pumpkins the size of my car are bouncing on lawns.  There aren't many scraggly scare crows, but there are a lot of skeletons hanging from trees.  And they groan as you walk by.

A little too scary.

Or, sweet and silly.

We have new neighbors from Barcelona.  They've never experienced Halloween before and have asked me lots of questions about it.  Today this mother of 4 told me she is overwhelmed by all the parties and goodies and expectations and that her children are frightened by the decorations.  In fact, a friend on Facebook posted that her little girl cried herself to sleep because the neighbor's decorations are so frightening.  A little over the top, I think.  There are mummies up the street from us that are way too realistic.  It grosses me out.  Yuck.

So what's the point of all this?  I like pumpkins, playful costumes for children, candy (but clearly not candy corns).  Some people make it down right chic.  Like the famous blogger NieNie.  The autumn colors and flavors and excuses to party are fun.  But the dark, occult, and scary is too much.  Should I bag the whole thing or just keep it light?

I'd love to know what you think.  Is it just for fun or serious?  How do you navigate the scary with your children?  I know some of you have good ideas and opinions.  Please share!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Who could have imagined?

Who could have imagined that in one year time, life would go from this

to this?

Same front yard.  Same autumn leaves.  Same baby.

Just much more capable.  And squeezable.

And comfortable, probably.

This time last year, I was in my doctor's office going over delivery plans.

Today I'm seeing my doctor at the library with an almost 1 year old in my arms.

We all know this is what happens in a year after birth, but it still blows my mind every time I think about it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Secret Potion

What's the secret potion in life?  How much sweat, tears, and sheer determination should I give to life, and how much should I let God contribute?  Should I take on 50% and give God the other 50%?  That sounds a little pretentious, right?  I mean, me split things evenly with God, nah, I'll take 30% and he can have 70%.

No one really thinks like this.

But everyone acts like this.  Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, etc, etc, etc.  I think we all to some degree take on what we can and then give the rest to God.  We do it but we're not conscious of it.  I do it, and I'm not conscious of it.

Some of the most popular religious leaders in our country send this message of partnership with God everyday.  And we, eat it all up.  Because we like the idea of being in control.  It means predictable, achievable, smart.  Out-of-control is scary, unprepared, stupid.

Do the best you can. But I want to emphasize that it be the very best. We are capable of doing so much better. We must get on our knees and plead with the Lord for help and strength and direction. We must then stand on our feet and move forward. -President Hinckley (LDS)

The LDS church (the Mormons) is one of the fastest growing religions in the world.  And the message as it is seen here-- do the absolute best you can, ask God for some help, then get up and do the dang thing yourself.  A tidy partnership with God.  I do my part, he does his part.

Here's another popular example.  Joel Osteen, church leader and popular author, yeah, you know who he is.  That guy from Houston with 43,000 in the pews every Sunday:

Do all you can to make your dreams come true. -Joel Osteen

Summary So Far
1.  Do my very best.
2.  Do all I can.

And 3, coming from Oprah Winfrey,

It isn't until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are - not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within - that you can begin to take control. -Oprah Winfrey

3.  Take control.

Phew.  This list is making me tired.  So much to do!  So much perfection!  Anyone else feeling tired?  Anyone else feeling incapable?  Burdened?  Defeated?  Anyone want a 5 o'clock cocktail right about now?

It makes me rethink my de facto plan I have with God.  You know, the one where I take 30%, he takes 70%?  Or, 50%, 50%.  Or, 80%, 20%.  Depending on how capable I'm feeling today.  And how much sleep I got last night.

It's making me too tired because on a day like today, I can hardly even fold the laundry.  I have no motivation to start cooking dinner, and I'm ready to sit on that couch and put my feet up for the night.  

On a day like today, I'm glad that God requires nothing.  I've got nothing to give.  Can't give my best.  Can't do much, let alone accomplish my greatest dreams and aspirations.  I can't even name my greatest dreams and aspirations.  

And I have no control.  With very small children, there is no control to be had.  Zilch.

On days like today, I think of another quote (a loose quotation told by a friend who lived with her for the summer.  One from Rev. Janet Broderick.  You don't know her, but you might know her brother...yes, that's her brother...

Christianity is for losers. -Rev. Janet Broderick

God requires nothing because Jesus already gave it all.  Me 0%, God 100%.  And, on a day like today, that's the best news I've heard.

Good Morning

Anyone have a case of the Mondays?

Anyone?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Hope that helps!

Have a great week, Love Eloise.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

God loves vampires too

It's a beautiful Sunday today.  Crisp cool air and a warm sun.  And to top it all off our little buddy Eliza Grace was baptized this morning.

So today I celebrate babies.

Even vampire fang babies.  Like sweet little Delia Fae.

Because vampire or not, all babies are beautiful.  And God loves them all the same.

Praise God!

Friday, October 15, 2010


At my reunion last weekend, we looked around at each other and thought, "man, we haven't changed a bit!"  I look the same, you look the same, we both feel 18 still.  We're doing pretty well with this aging bit.

Then a classmates Mom sees us at the football game, and she starts laughing at us.  "The same?!"  She says.  "You guys look so different.  Much older!"  We got a good laugh.  She looked older too.  But I'm thinking to myself, much older...hopefully just 10 yrs older, right?

Watching the cheerleaders and the drill team and the football players made Alex and I realize that she was in fact right.  We don't look 18 any more.  But sometimes we feel like it!

Last night I felt youthful again.  I put on my cool jeans and we went to the Belle and Sebastian concert with two cool friends from church.  For their first anniversary, they gave each other identical gifts, 2 tickets to see Belle and Sebastian.  Resulting in 4 tickets.  Isn't that the cutest thing ever?

When over for our monthly church young adult lunch, they heard Belle and Sebastian playing and voila. The rest was history.  It was a hipster crowd for sure.  Before the concert began, I enjoyed seeing what all the cool 20 somethings are wearing these days and what apps they have on their iphones (our seats gave us a great view of many screens.  They were in our line of view, I promise.  No stalking here. :-)

We sat there with our old clamshells in our pockets and tried to conserve our energy.  Truth be told, we were out way past our bedtimes.  Because I think we are old.  I think 3.5 years ago, at the birth of our first child, we aged 1,000 years.  We made an irreversible change.  We will now forever have our cell phones in our pockets on vibrate in case the babysitter needs to get us in the middle of the show.  Our minds will always wander from the music and energy and wonder if our children are snug tight in their beds.  And as I quasi noodle and dance among the other concert goers, I think of how I'm going to embarrass the heck out of our daughters in a just a few years as I break down dancing to the radio while driving carpool.    

Last night I felt simultaneously 18 and 108.  The spirit and fun and amazement of an 18 year old as I grooved with an awesome band and the responsibility of an 108 year old as I thought about my children, their future and their health.  

It feels funny to be 18 and 108 at the same time.  But I'm sure you can relate.