Sunday, January 31, 2010

Most of the time...

Most of the time I love Saturdays. I say most of the time because sometimes Saturdays can get hectic with the kids' schedules, or Pete might get called into work on a Saturday. But most of the time, Saturdays are the only day during the week that I get to sleep in. Not only do I get to stay in bed as long as I want, but Pete cooks breakfast on Saturdays. His pancakes are the best, I might add.

Not only do I get a reprieve from breakfast, but Pete usually grills on Saturdays as well. His hamburgers are out of this world, and most of the time he makes homemade coleslaw (the best ever) to go with the meal.

Last night we had hotdogs and sausage on the grill with the coleslaw. I was preparing the buns when I noticed the coleslaw didn't have any tomatoes in it. Sometimes Pete purposely leaves out tomatoes, but I really like the added flair the red brings to the dish (not really- I just love tomatoes), so I asked him about it. He said if I can find a tomato in the fridge, I could add it. I knew we had one, and after searching vigorously for a few minutes, I found a Roma tomato. I diced it up, but the small tomato didn't seem to be enough. I looked in the fridge again and saw a baggie with a pickle, ONE slice of tomato and some lettuce (I keep handy for the kids). I grabbed the wee little slice, chopped it up and dumped it in the coleslaw just as Pete came in with the meat.

As we were eating, Pete gets this bitter look on his face and says, "Who added pickle to my coleslaw?"

I could not believe that one little slice of tomato with probably not even a miniscule amount of pickle juice on it could make a difference, but apparently it did. But, Pete got over least until lunch today.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Splurge Prayer
by Laurie Kolp

Now I sit me down to eat;
I pray this splurge won’t cause defeat.
If I should gain a little weight;
I’ll know the Key Lime pie was great.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The New ME
by Laurie Kolp

My window brings me
great comfort...

through the glass
and beyond the
smeared pawprints,
I see hope-
blue skies,
green grass,
blooming flowers,
hungry birds;
promises of spring,
new birth,
new life,
new attitudes,
new goals;
breaking through
the gray, dark days
of winter's wrath-
the new me
I'd like to be...

my window brings me
great comfort.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drum roll, please...

Here's our chicken! I have Pete so enthralled in the whole thing, that when he came home from work to find the chicken on our porch eating birdseed, he knew he'd better get some pictures. I was at the school with the camera in my purse (I have not separated from it since this started), so Pete had to find his work camera and put his clever hunting skills to work in order to capture these photos. I am sure Pete looked much more suave sneaking around our neighbors' yards silently like he knew what he was doing, as opposed to my impatient dash to get the picture before I lost the chicken!

Then when we got home after school Pete greeted us at the door and said he had a surprise for us on the computer. Voila- there was the chicken. I could not wait to fill you in. Any ideas for a name?

Monday, January 25, 2010

My chicken chase

If you passed by and saw me running around like a chicken with its head cut off this morning, it's because I practically was. I was chasing THE chicken...that came back...with my camera. Please forgive me for looking so crazy, I'm really not (yet). You probably saw me leave my car running halfway in my driveway, halfway in the street, door open, camera in hand and ready to go. I'm sure you saw me dash through my neighbor's yard, pause for a minute and then take off running again. You might have also seen me sneak up to the house two doors down, tiptoe up to the front door and very quietly stoop beneath the bushes. Next, I'm sure you saw me take off full speed, camera in the air trying to snap a picture before the poor, scared chicken finally flew off. SIGH. I'm going to get a picture of that sucker if it's the last thing I do. So please be patient with me.

P.S. We do not live in the country. In fact we live in the middle of the city on a busy street, which makes this whole thing so bizarre!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A wild "chicken" chase

I don't know what it is about our front flowerbed, but I do know it is the source of a lot of interesting stories. This one definitely tops the cat story.

I was pulling into the driveway this morning with Katie and Nicholas and Dunkin' Donuts in tow. My eyes were instantly drawn to a bird under the bird feeder. This was not a cardinal, nor a dove or even a crow. This bird was HUGE and it was plucking away at birdseed with a squirrel right next to it.

We all sat in total amazement staring at the strange bird, not a word coming from our mouths. When we finally opened the car doors, I thought the bird would fly off, but it just stood there unfazed. We got out of the car and just stood there, too. Pete finally came out to see if we had gone crazy, and I pointed frantically to the bushes and whispered "LOOK," my finger waving nonstop. By that time the bird, or CHICKEN as I soon found out (I thought it was a rooster) was waddling to the next yard.

Pete stopped and talked to a neighbor who was staring at the chicken, too. He said others had spotted the bird roaming the neighborhood lately. Sam's theory is that the bird is a Mardi Gras chicken to be caught and made into gumbo. Nicholas wanted to catch and shoot it so we could have chicken for dinner.

By the time I had my camera, Mr. Chicken was long gone, which I told Pete was good because I had never gotten so close to a real chicken before and that I was a little "chicken" about the whole thing. Plus, I did not want to go on a wild CHICKEN chase. Pete got in his car to try and find the chicken so he could take a picture for me, but he had no luck either. So if you find a chicken running around town completely lost, it probably is.

But Pete did share a chicken story with me. His father and step-mother lived in a house in New York next to a fraternity house. One morning, Joan woke up and found a baby chicken in their front yard. They ended up turning this chicken into a pet and kept it for years (in a cage in the backyard). They later found out that the fraternity had had a scavenger hunt the night before the baby chicken was found, and one of the items was a farm animal. Either nobody found the chicken, or they just decided not to keep it.

I'm not sure I could eat a chicken I found in my yard, but I know I couldn't keep it as a pet either. The dogs would go crazy...

Friday, January 22, 2010

by Laurie Kolp

Suicide is…
a permanent solution to
a temporary feeling.

Suicide takes…
a piece of our hearts
that nothing can replace.

Suicide leaves…
loved ones lost
forever wondering why.

Suicide causes…
shattered memories
that truth can never erase.

*I have lost a very dear friend to suicide, a brother to a friend, and now a father to one of my children's friends. I only wish we could stop the pain, prevent the damage and help those suffering so nobody else would have to go through the agonizing pain that those left behind have to deal with for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cat on the prowl

Okay, so I'm sitting at the computer going through my nightly activities when a horrible sound fills the room.

Is it the kids? No, they're sleeping.

Did Pete turn on the radio for his shower? I think not.

Then I hear the loud sound again and recognize it at once. I am drawn to the big window at the front of our house and take a look. Sure enough, there it sits- all cunning and majestic- right under my precious birdfeeder. You guessed it- a cat! I stare at the big orange tabby staring back at me and quickly close the curtains. Then I slowly open the curtains just enough to take another peak, and the cat is still there looking at me.

I rush to the back of the house to grab my hero before he steps into the shower, but Katie stops me. She heard the cat, too. In fact, she said she heard two last night right outside her window, which is where, I might add, my birds live. We dash to the front window to look out and this time I pull open the curtains far enough for both of us to see the cat.

The cat looks at us for a minute and then dashes off to the bushes in front of Katie's window.

"Awww, how cute. Can we give it some water?" asks Katie.

Are you kidding? All I can say is that tomorrow morning my cardinals better still be there to wake me up. I like cats, but I love birds.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another miracle...

A blessed ACTS sister from my church had this to say, and I simply could not pass up the opportunity to share it:

"When I first saw pictures of Haiti after the earthquake and (that) the people who were still alive would soon be dying if somehow food, water and medical supplies were not brought in quickly, I thought of the miracle that Jesus performed with the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. If only we had Jesus here. If only someone could start passing around the little food the Haitians found, and it would be multiplied enough to feed everyone.

Didn't Jesus tell us that we, the followers of Him, would also do these things, in fact, even do greater things! (John 14:12)

Jesus was one person, yet He fed thousands. We, as the Body of Christ, can also feed thousands, and I am encouraged and made stronger in faith, as I see the outpouring of humanitarian relief to the Haitians. I just heard on the news that the USA citizens have donated 210 million dollars, even though our economy is suffering and people are out of work. This is more that double what our government offered, which will also be paid by 'the people'. So, in effect, we are doing what Jesus said we could do!
God bless America and God bless Haiti."

God is all around us. I hope we can all take a minute from our busy lives to witness His grace everywhere. I know I am much happier, peaceful, and content when I do! I hope you can feel His love, too. God bless.

Monday, January 18, 2010

by Laurie Kolp

I watch the flicker of the flame
mesmerizing and methodical,
dancing to the melody
of my heart.

The warm soft candle’s glow
arouses and awakens
emotions I‘ve had
torn apart.

Yet I feel the light
comfort and console
as I close my eyes
and start to pray.

The warmth, the glow,
and ease of emotions
uncovers new hope-
this is God’s way.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Cub Scout Pinewood Derby was today. I'm pretty sure it washed away any leftover grief Andrew had from yesterday's spelling bee because he got second place in his den, second place overall and first place in the open class race. Pete got third place in the open class (a race at the end that anyone can compete in). Pete should feel proud, though, because of the twelve cars in the final competition, he helped build the three cars that placed.

Nicholas was disappointed that his car did not place this year, but he got an award for the "red-hottest car." Andrew generously gave one of his second place trophies to Nicholas, who won't put it down.

The boys had a great day at this annual scout event and Katie and I enjoyed watching the races. It is always refreshing to see good sportsmanship being used. As far as I'm concerned, everyone who participated is a winner.

Friday, January 15, 2010

by Laurie Kolp

I hurt when my children hurt,
I want to cry when they cry.
Sometimes it takes all I've got
to just let things go by.
Take, for instance, this morning-
when a spelling bee occurred.
Katie and Andrew both took part
and neither one did place.
Katie took it gently,
let it roll right off her back.
But Andrew was heart-broken,
his plans for Scripps now smack.

We're so proud they got that far,
and love each one, our shining stars.
Friday Fish Night
by Laurie Kolp

Fish, fish, fish-
every Friday we ate fish.
Whether it was Lent or not,
Mom made us eat this dish.

Sometimes we went to Luby’s
(now I see that as a treat),
I gagged at the elderly-
McDonald’s I wished to eat.

And even at McDonald’s
I hated the filet-o-fish,
but then again I had no say,
even though I liked to wish.

So now that Lent’s approaching
and as the household cook,
I will continue this fish cycle
while each scowl I overlook.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


"Honk as you drive by if you love Jesus, text while driving if you want to meet Him."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Unexpected dinner guests

The arctic air has thrown us for a loop here in Southeast Texas, and we are all glad to see that it is finally warming up a bit with temperatures tonight only expected to be around freezing. Luckily our pipes are okay, but many people did not fare as well. We did lose some plants even though we covered them up. Sadly, the Beaumont Enterprise reported the other day that someone had left their dogs outside in the cold causing one of them to die. Being the dog person that I am, that breaks my heart. It makes what happened tonight with our dogs so insignificant, although at the time the boys did not think so at all.

All of the kids have been dragging lately with colds and coughs, so when they got home from school today I told them they could wait and do their homework while I tutored. Nicholas turned on the TV (Katie went to her room to listen to music and read while Andrew started his computer game)and much to his delight the movie "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" was beginning. Nick claims he has never seen the whole thing through, and that "it only comes on once a year!" So when thirty minutes later I told the boys it was time for them to go to the back of the house and do their homework, Nicholas burst into tears. This was not because of the homework, but our TV in the back does not get the channel the movie was on. Pete was home by then, so I let him handle it.

After I was finished with my tutoring, Pete and the boys came back to the front and Nicholas rushed to turn on the TV. The movie was ending, but the network was going to show it a second time. So being the softy that I am, I let the kids eat out in front of the TV, which we usually only do on Friday or Saturday nights. We spread a big blanket and the boys eat on that, while Katie sits at the table in front of the couch. We have one big room, so our kitchen table is right there and Pete and I can watch TV, too, if we want. But we began talking about the pipes that had burst in the neighborhood, some simply from icicles, and that prompted Pete to go outside and investigate to make sure our pipes were still okay. Can you guess what happened? The dogs barged in when Pete opened the door (they were out while we ate) and before you could wink, they had gobbled up all the food on the boys' plates. Can you blame them? Nicholas was more upset than Andrew, but after replenishing their plates and putting the dogs back out, everything returned to normal...for now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fishing for...shark?

Our neighbor went fishing several years ago, and were we ever surprised when he brought home this shark. We even had the opportunity to eat some of the shark meat, which we all liked. Charles hasn't come home with anything quite that unbelievable lately, but we still get some delicious fish every once in a while. Charles and his wife, Monica, are the best neighbors ever, and we are truly blessed. We often tease each other and say if one of us ever moves, we'll have to find two houses so we can remain neighbors.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A wig gig

Several years ago, a dear friend came down with breast cancer very unexpectedly. She and I are the same age and knew each other in school, and now we belong to some of the same groups. When she began to lose her hair, a group of us decided to throw a luncheon to show our support for her. We all met at the Black-Eyed Pea restaurant wearing wigs, surprising our friend tremendously. She had planned on going wig shopping after our lunch, but unfortunately, I think we convinced her to keep her scarf. Thankfully she is healthy today and doing very well. So my question to you is, can you guess which one is me? Please leave a comment with your choice.
Now I See
by Laurie Kolp

I feel the warmth hit my body
from my head down to my toes,
and a tingle rushes through me
in the dark where nobody goes.

At once I am surrounded by
this comfort beyond compare,
and I revel in the moment
for I know that you are there.

I close my eyes and see the light
overpowering my mind’s eye,
I know sleep will have to wait
so I can cherish this high.

Never had this happened
until your death occurred;
so I know you are my angel,
every prayer you have heard.

Cover me, enrapture me
for now I truly see,
cover me, enrapture me
for at last you are free.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My, how the kids have grown!

As you can see, the children have grown so much and so fast. It seems like just yesterday they were all sitting at the kitchen table showing off our kitchen wall that was freshly painted yellow(and it probably took me quite some time to get this picture taken). Now Katie, Drew and Nick are posing for Christmas pictures outside without any fuss or ado... just a simple and quick click of the button.
This past decade, the kids had their share of bumps and bruises, though. Along with Andrew's boken nose, he has broken his arm. At the age of four, Nicholas broke the growth plate in his foot running barefoot outside and tripping. Then last year, as some of you might remember, poor Nick broke his finger at a bounce house place. He had to be put to sleep to have his finger reset. Katie fractured hew wrist also.
But in spite of all the sicknesses and hardships raising kids can bring, I must say these have been some of the best years of our lives. We try to show love in all we do, and hopefully that will be enough to carry us through.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A decade in review, part IV

Dear Teenage Driver,
Do you know how much hardship and pain you caused my family when you barreled down the neighborhood street at breakneck speed and rammed into my husband's car, leaving it crushed like an accordion? Did you know that taking your eyes off the road for one split second to change your radio station would have such an impact on an innocent family's life and leave permanent scars?
That summer morning nearly five years ago, when my husband and children were returning home after visiting me at church as I prepared to teach Vacation Bible School, changed our lives forever. Thank goodness the children were okay, but Pete was not so lucky. Do you know what a long road of pain and misery my husband trudged? Long trips to the bigger city for steroid shots and specialists, rounds of physical therapy, treacherous tests and traction only worked for so long before Pete had to undergo long, dangerous neck surgery. Money spent and lost, not to mention pain and suffering, touched the whole family.
So teenage driver, I hope you will think twice before you TEXT, talk on the cell phone or try to change radio stations. Next time, you might just cause someone to lose their life.
by Laurie Kolp

Do you know what I just don’t get
that leaves me quite perplexed?
It’s someone who abandons
a solid marriage and kids
in favor of a lesbian to text.

Do you know what I just don’t get
that leaves me quite depressed?
It’s the death of someone
I thought I knew,
gone to a lying temptress.

Do you know what I just don’t get
that leaves me full of doubt?
It’s when I see those
I love in horrific pain
undeserving of such a knockout.

Do you know what I just don’t get
that leaves me ill at ease?
It’s that pride and guilt
can cause such grief
when simply aiming to please.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A decade in review, part III

Way back when, before we had our carpet replaced and home improved, Pete and I were barely married before we became pregnant with Katie. I was 31 when we married, and by golly, "my biological clock was ticking away." So when we celebrated our first anniversary, we had our three-week-old Katie. She was such a good baby from the very start. As you can tell by the picture, Katie has always loved books. In fact she is so into the Twilight series that she reads the books over and over and would never, ever miss a trivia question. Katie is so smart and curious that she was reading a book that mentioned the Hope diamond, so she had to look it up on the Internet. I bet she now knows more about the Hope diamond than you do. Pete and I feel so blessed to have been given the chance to raise three of God's healthy, smart children.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

Friday, January 1, 2010

The decade in review, part II

Once upon a time, Uncle Mark (Pete's oldest brother) used to visit us frequently. The kids always looked so forward to seeing him, and we all enjoyed the family together time. But now Uncle Mark's job (which has him moving all over the country), along with a girlfriend, has stolen his free time. We are left wondering when sweet Uncle Mark will come and visit us again. This picture was taken a long time ago (almost seven years). Katie adores Uncle Mark, as you can see by her cute expression. Andrew still carried his "binky," which he preferred upside-down towards the end. Baby Nicholas is oblivious to the whole thing, but happy anyway.

Last night in a phone conversation with Mark, I was remembering the time he came to visit and Andrew was just a little baby (fussy- I might add). I really did not know Mark that well yet. Pete had to leave to go to work (it was bedtime), and I had to get Katie to bed. But Andrew was very fussy due to his acid reflux and I had been walking around with him trying to soothe him. When I needed to spend time with Katie, I handed Andrew to Mark and said, "Here. Can you take care of him for a minute?" Keep in mind now, that Mark is a bachelor and has never had any children of his own; he would much rather have puppies. But the good sport took the baby and walked around the house with him. When I came out of Katie's room, I was humored to find Mark holding Andrew quite awkwardly, with a nervous expression on his face. I grabbed the baby and had Mark sit down- he looked like he could use a break. We love you Uncle Mark and hope you come and see us soon!