Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

While most of us are all cozy & warm in our beds this morning, Amanda's friends are in Austin getting ready to start their triathlon.  They've been training for such a long time, and I know they're all excited (and a wee bit anxious) about how they'll do both individually and as a team.  Once again, here's a picture of the team, Good Ass Fried Chicken.  Please don't anybody bother to ask me how they came up with that name, because I do not know!  I can only conjecture that they ate some really good fried chicken one day & decided that would be a good team name.  I truthfully have no idea, but maybe Amanda will fill me in when she gets back in town.  As some of you may recall, she's the team's No. 1 athletic supporter - so she's in Austin as Jockstrap LBS, cheering her team on to victory.  Regardless of how GAFC places in the race, I'm extremely proud of all of them for the time and effort they've put into preparing for this event and helping raise money for the LLS.
As much as I admire them, the REAL reason for this holiday shouldn't be lost on any of us who live in this wonderful country of ours.  It may be flawed here and there, but it's still the greatest nation on earth - and hundreds of thousands have fought and died to keep it that way.  We owe it to them to take at least a few minutes today to pause and think about the sacrifices they made to preserve our freedom.  And while we're at it, I think we should also stop & say a little prayer for all the military personnel who are currently serving in combat.  Even if you disagree with the political reasoning behind their deployment, these men & women are performing their duty - and the very least we can do to repay them is to remember them in prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Please hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform in service to our nation. 

In Christ's name we pray.  Amen.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

If You Don't Believe Me . . .

When I was a kid, it seems like the last day of school was nearly always May 27th. I don't remember that as much for the fact that summer was starting as I do because it was Joe's birthday.  It was always a day of celebration, and it's still hard for me to realize sometimes that kids nowadays go to school all the way into June!  A lot of years have passed since I could even remotely be considered a kid, and I have a tendency to forget a lot of things these days.  But I guess May 27th is forever etched on my memory, because I actually remembered a birthday on time for a change!

It's a shame that we can't all be together to celebrate the occasion like we did in the old days - but there's a new generation of Muterspaugh kiddos running around the Wichita Falls area these days who IDOLIZE their DooDad, and I know that he will be treated with the appropriate amount of hoopla.  I was lucky enough to be in town last year for his birthday cookout, and I don't have the words to tell you how heart-warming it was to witness Joe surrounded by his amazingly wonderful family.

I have to admit that there have been times over the years when I could never have envisioned Joe as he is today - most notably, when we lived on Polk & he hung around with Jackie Cameron.  Now, except for Joe and (perhaps) his grandmother, nobody really cared much for Jackie.  In his defense, he had a really crappy home life, but that didn't change the fact that you couldn't believe a single word that came out of his mouth.  Well sure enough, Joe picked up the habit & started coming home with all sorts of wild tales - some were true, of course, but it was difficult to believe him a lot of the time.  If challenged on the "facts", his response was invariably "Well, if you don't believe me, just ask Jackie."  (And of course, we always jumped right on that!)

But time has a way of changing us all, and that was many long years ago.  Who'da  thunk way back then when he was telling us all about quackless ducks (actually true) and other implausible stories, that one day Joe would become the quintessential family patriarch?  Certainly not I, but that's exactly what he is . . . and I guarantee I'm not alone in that opinion.  Heck, if you don't believe me, you could always just ask Jackie!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE!!  In honor of your big day, I did a layout about another one of your "eccentricities" when you were a kid.  I love you sooooo much and hope you're having a FANTASTIC birthday . . . xoxoxo

Click to enlarge.  (for credits, please see my Flickr gallery - link in sidebar)

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Have a Confession . . .

I'm a thief.

Even worse, I steal from people I love.

I'm sure there's some fancy-dancy cyber term for what I do, but essentially I'm an internet photo thief. You see, I go to Amie's blog and Kelly's, Amanda's, and Erin's Facebook albums - and I take their pictures! If any of the rest of you had pictures for me to steal, I would probably burglarize you as well.

Sure - occasionally, I acquire my treasures by legitimate means. Stephen and Jann are pretty good about sending me pics of our little miracle baby, like the one in the layout below of Stephen & Marek at the kitchen sink. Then, of course, there are my all-too-infrequent visits where I actually take my own photos (what a concept!). But mostly I just have to rely on my pilfering skills.

A few days ago, Amie posted school pictures of the girls. Besides the fact that they're pics of three of my FAVORITE little girls, they're excellent photos. (I know that most of you don't need me to tell you that they did NOT take school pictures like this back in the day.) In any case, I just couldn't help myself - I took those suckers and turned them into a layout for a challenge at Scrapadilly.

Bottom line, if I know the pictures are out there, I'm gonna grab 'em. So if you don't want me snarfing them up to drool over and use in my scrapping projects, just don't ever tell me where I can access them. It's as simple as that.

(for layout credits, please see my Flickr gallery - link in sidebar)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Believe in Miracles

I pretty much always have, but any doubts that might have lingered have been dispelled by a little guy named Marek Thompson Crane.

When Marek was born last April 28th, he was 3 months premature and weighed only slightly over one-and-a-half pounds. The obstacles he faced just to survive were astronomical, but fortunately he had exceptional medical care - and more people praying for him than you can imagine.

From day one, he was a fighter. Despite so many medical issues and the odds against his making it, Marek was able to come home from the hospital at the beginning of July.  I was lucky enough to be there when he was released and to spend a couple of weeks helping Stephen and Mel feed him and do his exercises and suck the gi-normous boogers out of his nose . . . and generally just being in awe of the miracles God can work.

Today, you'd never know by looking at him that Marek had such a rough start in life.  He is a healthy, happy, and QUITE active little dude - and on April 28th, he and his folks went to Irvine to celebrate his birthday at Papa John & Boujie's house.  Boujie (aka Jann) made him his own little cake, and his response was just as normal as could be . . . he was a little unsure at first, but it didn't take him long to figure out that this was something quite yummy!

I know that despite all the horrible things going on in the world, there are plenty of places to look every day and know that God hasn't yet given up on us.  He's still watching over us and doing His darndest to keep us headed in the right direction.  But if ever I find myself wavering in my belief that He still performs miracles, all I have to do is think about Marek.

(for credits, please see my Flickr gallery - link in sidebar)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Angel in Disguise

Nine years ago, a shy little 2nd grade girl with big brown eyes walked into Lara's office wondering if she could get a coat for one of her younger siblings. Lara had just started as the CIS (Communities in Schools) campus manager at
7 Hills Elementary, and the precious little girl who came to see her that day was Maritza Mauricio. At the time, Lara knew almost no Spanish - and Maritza was struggling to keep up at school, largely because she had no English skills. Despite the language barrier, the connection between them was instant, and since that day, Lara has served as a shining beacon for Maritza & her entire family. At the same time, they have been a constant source of inspiration for her (as well as myself & others). The Mauricios are absolutely wonderful people, and we have come to love them as though they were OUR family.

But Maritza is the frosting on the cake . . . the creme de la creme . . . the whole enchilada!

I can't even begin to tell you how proud we are of her . . . despite disadvantages too numerous to mention, she has become an excellent student and has blossomed into a remarkably talented and poised young lady. It would be next to impossible to find anyone who works harder, has more determination, or maintains a more positive attitude than Maritza does. She is beautiful inside and out, her smile is contagious, and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't think the world of her.

On March 27th, CIS of North Texas held its annual "Celebrating Successes" Gala, and our family had the honor of sitting with the Mauricios as CISNT honored Maritza as Student of the Year for 2010. More than one tear was shed as we watched the video of her journey from "then" to "now".  She was presented with plaques, a statuette, and so many certificates that I couldn't keep track of them all. She also received the gift of a senior ring which she had helped Lara design (thinking at the time that it was just a fantasy game they were playing). Throughout the evening, she mingled effortlessly with all sorts of bigwigs, including Texas State Senator Jane Nelson. All the while, Maritza remained nonplussed, carrying it all off with so much poise & grace that you'd have thought it was an everyday occurrence for her. It was truly a memorable evening, and I was delighted to have a part in honoring her.

Without a doubt, Maritza's fate was altered that first day she walked into Lara's office. But other lives changed that day also . . . mine among them. In ways she could never imagine, Maritza has given back so much more than she's received - and she is another one of those blessings that I thank God for regularly. I do believe in angels, but one of the things I've learned from knowing Maritza is that they can come in all shapes & sizes - they might even sneak up on you as a timid little Mexican girl looking for a coat.

Credits: Clementine - Shabby Princess, The Shabby Shoppe

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cheap Trip to the Vet

As many of you know, Dave & I have spent enough money on our dogs in the last several years to buy both of us our dream cars, plus some. Of course, we would rather have the dogs (most of the time, anyway) - but it really is amazing how much we've shelled out trying to keep these furbabies healthy. We've been to the vet's office so often that we're on a first-name basis with the vets, and I've wondered at times if they suspected us of having Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome for Canines. The office manager even told me recently that she really liked us a lot, but she'd just as soon we drop in some day only to say "hi" - without bringing either a sick dog or a checkbook!

Well, we'd actually gone six whole weeks without having to take either one of them in. I had even considered taking Ina up on her offer to just stop in & chat, but Fattie LaBelle decided she didn't like that plan. Yesterday, her neck started bleeding inexplicably. We knew she & Riley hadn't been fighting, but we didn't know whether she had another one of her mysterious volcanic cysts or had impaled herself on an Agave needle. Either way, we figured she'd need antibiotics - so I drug out the ol' credit card and headed back to the vet once again.

Fortunately, it appears that the dumb-dumb managed to gouge herself with an Agave needle (or some other unknown pointed object in our yard), but at least she doesn't have a cyst that requires excision, stitches, checkup visits, and all the other associated costs. She only needs antibiotics, AND she's lost 12 pounds since we put her on her thyroid meds two months ago. WOO HOO!

All in all, it was one of our more positive visits - and I actually got out of there for under 100 bucks :-)

Just The Way I Roll

I've come to the conclusion that there's really no point in continually apologizing for being late - about my blog posts or anything else.  I used to be an extremely punctual person and sometimes got quite irritated by people who weren't.  Well, that's just one more thing that has come back to haunt me - the "never say never" syndrome, y'know?

Besides, I've been chastised countless times for saying "I'm Sorry" too often - and many of you who've told me that read this blog at least occasionally.  So, I'll do my best not to say it any more . . . at least not in writing (LOL) and will just do my blog entries when I can, without worrying whether or not they're about "old news" (there are definitely several of that variety in the offing)!

Let's face it, I'm getting older & slower every day.  I'm rarely on time for anything these days, and - despite my best intentions and efforts to do better, I'm not seeing much progress.  It's actually become somewhat embarrassing, but I can't seem to get a handle on it.  So I'm just gonna run with it, cause apparently that's just the way I roll.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Late Again . . .

I'm afraid it's becoming quite a habit of mine to be tardy in wishing congrats to people on their birthdays and other notable occasions . . . I dropped the ball yet again by failing to wish Kelly & Chris a Happy First Anniversary yesterday. Mea Culpa, guys!

To help assuage my guilt, I'm posting a photo of them at their wedding last year - along with a layout I did the other day on the beautiful little product of their union, Emma Kathleen :-)

Credits: I Loved Her First - Traci Reed, Sweet Shoppe Designs

Friday, May 14, 2010

Still Rockin' After All These Years

I'm so far behind on this blog and have about a dozen things I need to post about - but I'm short on time right now, so I decided to do a quick post about one of Joe's treasures.

The subject of jukeboxes came up today, and I couldn't help but think of the 1948 Christmas Edition Rockola we had when we were growing up.  It quit working decades ago & lay buried under all sorts of tools and egg cartons full of golf balls for who-knows-how-many years in our old garage on Polk Street.  I truly thought I'd seen the last of that sucker until I was at Joe's house not long ago and saw the resurrected version sitting right there in his living room!

He's replaced the old 78's with CD's and the original lighting system with strings of Christmas lights - plus he's added a few extra embellishments (like Rhinoceri & NASCAR memorabilia).  
But the labels are exactly like they were when we first got it so long ago, and it is surprisingly reassuring to know that this tangible little piece of our childhood still lives on.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Margaritas & Other Good Stuff

Well, before the day gets any further gone, I've got to wish you all a Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!  I believe that in honor of the occasion, I just may have to treat myself to some TexMex and a Margarita (or two).  Of course, I've never really needed the 5th of May to trigger my taste for either of those, but it's a muy bueno excuse in my book :-)

Meanwhile, I've kind of been neglecting this new blog of mine . . . just so much stuff going on right now & I can't keep up!  Yet again this weekend, I'm abandoning Dave and the dogs to head out for another play date.  This time, I'm bound for Arkansas (along with Amanda, Bill, Lara, and a whole slew of Meuxes) to take part in a round of celebrations honoring John at his alma mater, Henderson State University.

Also this weekend, Marek is being christened . . . you don't have any idea how I hate to miss that - just as a hint, it's almost as much as I hated missing his FIRST birthday last week. ARGH!!

And speaking of birthdays . . . this weekend is another BIG one in our family - our beautiful Amie will be THIRTY YEARS OLD on Saturday!   Where do the years go?  I vividly remember the day you were born, Amie, and it's almost impossible to believe that so many years have come and gone since then.

Last, but not least, we all know that Sunday is Mother's Day.  I'm so grateful that I've been fortunate to BE a mom and thankful every day that God chose to bless me with such AWESOME children as Bill & Amanda (and Lara!)  It's always a little bittersweet for me since Momma isn't here any more . . .  but I can't dwell on that too much, because I have so many other incredible moms in my life (you know who you are).   And since I haven't had time to make any cards this year, I'll just have to use this post to wish each and every one of you a FANTASTIC day!

Who knows? I might even decide to have a Margarita to celebrate all these momentous occasions . . .

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hey, I'm Just Sayin' . . .

Dave isn't particularly fond of that phrase, but maybe this post will help him see it a new light :-)


My awesome husband has loved me and tolerated me for forty long years (even longer if you count the two years we dated) in spite of my many flaws - and, for the most part, he's kept a smile on his handsome face the entire time.  In fact, Dave loves me sooooooo much that he didn't even pitch a fit when I told him I wouldn't be home for our anniversary . . . yep, I'm out of town playing with a few of my friends this weekend.  In all fairness, he's missed an anniversary or two himself . . . but he was always gone for WORK, and I can't claim that excuse.

In any case, eventhough I'm gone, I've scheduled this entry to post automatically (sure hope it works!), so he'll know I'm thinking of him even if I'm physically absent.  I even did a little layout to celebrate the occasion . . .

So, Dave - even if I'm not there right now so we can celebrate together, I hope you have at least a slight idea of how much I love you, how grateful I am that I met you at that Sigma Nu party in 1968, and how much I'm looking forward to the next 40 years!

Hey, I'm Just Sayin' . . .