Our Little Ol' Family

Our Little Ol' Family

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What's Been Up at Janet's House? March 29, 2014

Lindsey's volleyball team at a tournament in Salina, KS. They earned second place at this tourney!

Soccer season has begun, even as volleyball (club season) is still going, too.! Lindsey's very last soccer season is this year, as she is not planning to play soccer in college. It's been fun to see Lindsey be co-captain with her friend and fellow Senior, Jessica. It's a 'rebuilding year', with having many girls graduate out of our Varsity soccer team the past two years. We have many Freshmen on the team and they are not quite used to high school play yet. It's frustrating for Linds and Jess at times, but they are being great leaders for the younger girls. Here are some soccer pics:
I told Lindsey she looks like a little girl pretending to be an airplane in this picture, but she actually just did a header on the ball, if you look closely! :)
Kylie's best friend Morgan dropped Kylie off at one of Lindsey's games. Here is part of Morgan's family, including her doggy Lady, who likes to go for rides!

Our friends from Colorado came for a visit last week. They even got to go to one of Lindsey's soccer games with us!
Lindsey with her cello after her quartet played at the Orchestra competition. She has played the cello for 9 years. It's another one of those things that she won't be doing all of the time anymore after graduation. I sure hope she gets a chance to do something with that talent in the future!
Lindsey's quartet at contest. They earned a II, so that was good!
 The Senior girls usually have banners made to hang up at home games during their Senior soccer season. This year I designed them and ordered them from a company near Los Angeles. They are supposed to arrive in the mail on Monday. Can't wait to see them! Here is Lindsey's:
Lindsey's Senior banner that I designed.
Kylie got her tonsils out at the end of February, after having strep throat 7 times in 5 months. Rue was her snuggle buddy during her recovery.
Rue tries to help Kylie feel better.
Before the surgery her tonsils were like a huge wall in the back of her throat. The dr said that they were full of infection when he removed them, even though she had just finished a long round of antibiotics. Her tongue is coated with icky stuff, too.
Morgan came to say "hi" on Day 4.
The swelling from her surgery referred pain to her ears. Poor thing! Thank goodness for good pain medicine!

Well, now I have you all caught up on this month, for the most part, other than the fact that Nat came home for Spring Break and that was wonderful! Here's Natalie at her volunteer job at the Waco Cancer Center:


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's Been a Long Time

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated! Life has been busy and crazy since I went to work full time at the school, in addition to my photography business. I'll try to update here more frequently, as I find the time.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Evening

Whew, it's been a busy two days of deep cleaning, and my muscles are feeling it! Yesterday I spent two hours scrubbing our shower and bathroom. Our hallway bathtub has a leak, so it's not usable right now, so everyone gets to use our shower.  Oh boy...that makes a mess pretty quickly. There was an area of soap scum right under the soap holder I was trying to get clean and tried every cleaner and scrubby thing I had, but still couldn't get it clean.  I finally tried my Pampered Chef brown scraper thing that was made to clean the baking stones.  Wow, it came right off! That was awesome and I was so excited! Today I tackled our bedroom and my closet.  The first half of the day was spent dusting and 'de-dog-hairing', if that's a word! I even swept down the walls and removed the pictures and dusted behind each picture. It took forever, but the dusty dog-hair stuff was in every little nook and cranny. I washed all of our sheets and blankets, cleaned off my desk, moved everything and scrubbed the floor, cleaned under the bed, etc. Then...I tackled my closet.  Oh my! I have hated to get rid of any of my 'dress clothes' in case I ever had a job that required them again. Well, I have a new job that I start next week as the Assistant Librarian at a local middle school!  (Woo-hoo!) Those dress clothes I've been saving are all a wee bit outdated...as in 1990's outdated. Yep. But, I have a few shirts and a couple pair of pants, so I'm good to get started and can add to it as I go.

This silly thing is still not letting me post any pictures.  I can't figure out why. That's so frustrating!

We took Miss Natalie back to school last weekend. She's starting her Sophomore year of college. Lindsey and Kylie started school last Monday.  Lindsey is a Senior this year and Kylie is a 5th grader (or a Senior in elementary school, as she says!)  Lindsey has been playing volleyball all summer and her high school games start this week.  Looking forward to it!! She has a college visit planned for September 13th.  The coach at that college helped at the Pitt State Volleyball Camp where Lindsey was voted one of the top 12 players. She spoke to Lindsey at the camp about how she would like to have her come and check out their program, campus, etc. She also told her that they would be willing to offer her a substantial scholarship! We'll see what happens! Lindsey is a very good player.

Tyler is planning to move out in mid-September.  We've enjoyed having him here this summer! He was very good at stopping by to visit and give hugs when he moved away last time, so I'm glad that we'll still get to see him! He works here in town and is moving only about 15 minutes away. We haven't seen much of Miss Larissa this summer. She has been staying with a friend and is working full-time at a convenience store.  (Not the same one as Tyler, but with the same company.) She finished her summer school class and earned her diploma.  Phew...that was a close one, but we are so proud of her for sticking with it to the end.

Todd is still enjoying his job, and the kids and I went up to visit him and have lunch at the cafeteria at his work several times this summer. Everyone seems to enjoy that! He hasn't had to travel any this summer, after his trip when we dropped him off at the Dallas airport as we were driving Natalie home from college in May.

Well, I have a pair of Todd's pants I need to mend before I head to bed, so I'd better get off of here. I'll sure try to update more often, and hopefully I'll be able to post pictures soon!

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Been a Long, Long Time...

Sorry it's been so long since I've written.  I'm not really sure why I haven't been updating.  Part of it is that I share many things on Facebook as they happen.  But part of it is because I often go 'deeper' here, and I haven't felt like sharing deeper things lately.  Well, I HAVE actually felt like sharing deeper things, but was afraid I might go into too much detail, or that I might mention something that might hurt someone's feelings, or something of the sort. Does that make sense?

I've mentioned in the past how I absolutely hate having to deal with angry people.  I know much of that stems from the fact that I grew up in a household with a dad who was full of rage about every little thing, and you never knew what kind of thing would set him off.  I never remember one day where he didn't get VERY angry about something, and I hated that. I feel angry sometimes, but it is very much against my nature to show that anger in an unkind fashion. You can be angry without being a jerk, is how I feel about it. My mom used to put up with my Dad's crap without giving it back to him.  Now she kind of wishes she would have. I don't think that would have worked, though.  I think it would have made things worse, but who knows?

I once had a friend who is a counselor ask me, "Are you a peace maker or a peace keeper, because they are different?"  I told him, "I'm equally both."  He said, "No, people are usually either one or the other." I thought about it some more and decided I really AM equally both of those: peace maker AND peace keeper.  That makes life kinda hard sometimes, especially when dealing with angry people, which has been a LOT for me lately.

Why do some people act so angry? I once heard it said, "Anger is the easiest emotion." Maybe, but that's not a good enough excuse. I think some people act angry as a way to control other people. "You don't listen to me unless I yell." Sometimes people act angry to push others away. "If I yell, people leave me alone."

Angry people, for the most part, hate to be met with logical discussion. If you try to defuse the situation, some angry people actually escalate. You wish you could send them to 'time out' to cool off and then you could talk logically, as you do with children; but what do you do when they are grown ups?

It's really difficult when you don't know what situation may set off the anger of another person. It may be something that, on another day, would be met with no reaction at all, but when the person is already upset about something else, they may blow up at you about something inconsequential you've done. It seems like it really doesn't matter what you do when the person is primed to explode; they are going to find something to legitimize their anger. I remember feeling that a lot with my dad. A few months ago, I was cooking some eggs.  When I turned one of the eggs, the yolk broke. Immediately, the thought came to my mind about my dad blowing up at my mom because of a broken egg yolk on his morning plate. (Happened numerous times.) At those times, was it really about the egg yolk? Well, maybe for him, because if someone gave him something less than perfect, he took that as a lack of respect; even if they gave you their very best. But for the average angry person, maybe they are upset about something else and use that flaw to have an outlet for their anger.  Do they even realize they are doing that? Do they care if it's a legitimate reason? In those cases, it feels like it really doesn't matter what you do, it will never be good enough. I have felt that a lot over the years.

I was always a straight A (they were actually called 'E's' back then) student. I helped around the house. I didn't complain about what we had for dinner. I started my own lawn business at age 12 mowing 18 lawns on a rotation to buy my own clothes, etc. I later added babysitting and being a waitress to that equation; all while maintaining the good grades. I remember a specific instance where I had mowed a bunch of yards one morning but had to waitress that evening, so I took a bath before work.  Something happened at work (cleaning up a spill or something of the sort), and I had to bathe again when I got home. My dad threw a fit because my excessive bath taking was going to increase the water bill, and he expected me to pay the difference. I did. When I went off to college on a full-ride scholarship, I called my parents to let them know that I made it there okay and had gotten moved in. I had to call collect because I didn't have a calling card and there was no such thing as cell phones back then. When I came home for my first visit 6 weeks later, the phone bill was on my dresser with the collect call charge highlighted and the estimated part of the taxes for that phone call were added to it. I paid it with exact change, and never called home again during my whole time in college, until I had my own phone my Senior year. (I did send lots of letters, though.)

In high school, I wanted to be part of everything I could be. I loved Student Council, marching band, softball, and choir, etc. Marching band practice was before school; I think we had to be there at 6:15AM. I wasn't allowed to go into the kitchen that early in the morning because I might wake my dad.  (I made that mistake once, and only once.) I would buy myself a box of off-brand Pop-Tarts to keep in my room, and would have a cup with instant coffee crystals, dry creamer, and sugar that I would make to have in my room.  In the mornings, I would just add hot water to my coffee, and the breakfast issue was solved. I was used to dealing with the anger and finding ways to avoid it. I ate my 'breakfast' and walked that mile to band practice. He wouldn't allow my mom to drive me to or from any extra curricular activities. I always found a way to get where I needed to be, usually by walking or borrowing a bike from a friend.

I used to get so aggravated at my older brother because he didn't seem to recognize those things that might set our dad off on a tirade. I have many vivid memories from early in life, and sometimes, even at 2 years old, I would instruct my 4 year old brother in what to do and what not to do to keep the peace. I remember trying to change the subject at meal time to avoid a subject that might cause conflict. Needless to say, my big brother thought I was awfully bossy. That really wasn't the case; I was just trying to protect him from getting into trouble. He never did figure out how to keep the peace with Dad; or maybe he just didn't care. He went through so much rebellion in his teen years and into his adult life. He died of an accidental drug overdose at age 39.

So, why be angry and explode and throw a fit? What does it accomplish, other than pushing other people away? It's okay (and normal) to get angry. It brings to mind a Bible verse, "Be angry, and yet do not sin." The next time you start to lose your temper and yell or cuss or throw things or slam doors or whatever, stop and think if that part of it is really necessary.  Be the grown-up and talk things through, instead.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I've Got Some Catchin' Up To Do!

Well, blogspot is being difficult this morning and not letting me upload any pics for my update, so let me see if I can just remember all that's been going on this past month or so.

*I went back to work at the library after my surgery.  That is going well, other than one of my incision areas being really super tender.
*Lindsey had her 17th birthday on April 28th.  She was the 'baby of the family' for so long that we still think of her that way.  Can't believe my baby is going to be a Senior next year!
*Tyler was promoted to Assistant Manager at his job! He is living back at home for the summer, as his lease on the house he was renting with friends has expired.  He is going to save some money, then find a house or apartment this fall.
*We've attended about 20 gazillion RHS soccer games.  The girls finished up 2nd in their conference, and we were really proud of them!  It was a great season, but I don't remember EVER having games postponed for snow before this year OR of having so many terribly cold games.
*Kylie's volleyball season is going great.  She is a good little player and it is fun to see how much all of the teams have improved since the beginning of the season! Her team is currently undefeated, and they have just one more game left. Kylie hates to see the season end, and is hoping we can find a team for her for the summer.  (We'll see...)
*I've been doing some photo shoots and have more coming up!
*Lindsey and Lien went to Prom and looked adorable!
*Kylie was sick and missed her Spring Orchestra concert.  That was sad!
*Larissa got an award as one of the Outstanding Senior Art Students!
*Lindsey and her friend, Paige, were in the talent show at school and did a great job!
*This past Sunday, Todd, Kylie and I drove down to Waco to pick Miss Natalie up from college. We got Natalie's stuff loaded, then drove Todd to the airport in Dallas so that he could leave for a business trip to Richmond, VA. He comes back this evening. The girls and I drove home and made it here around 1pm on Tuesday. I was glad to get home so early so that I was able to attend Lindsey's Symphony concert that evening.
*Natalie is excited to be home for the summer.  She will be taking a Chemistry class and Chemistry Lab at UMKC, as well as working a part-time job, and getting to job shadow with a Neuro-Opthalmologist at KU Med.  She is especially excited to get to be there on Fridays when he performs surgeries. She will get to see some regular eye surgeries, as well as some intricate brain surgeries.
*Next week is Larissa's last week of high school! We are having her Graduation Party Sunday afternoon. Please pray for her as she takes finals Monday and Tuesday.

That's about it for now.  I'm sure I've forgotten something, as we've been crazy busy with 'regular life' as well as all of the 'extras'! Hope you are all doing well!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Susie Homemaker

Busy day of cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry; plus taxiing kids around to and fro, and attending a very cold soccer game in which Lindsey scored a goal!!  Woo-hoo.  I tried a new recipe for cinnamon rolls today.  Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Rolls (Pioneer Woman recipe)

40 to 50 cinnamon rolls

For the dough:

1 quart whole milk (4 cups)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
9 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt

For the filling:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more as needed
1/4 cup ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
2 cups granulated sugar, plus more as needed

For the maple icing:
2 pounds confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon maple flavoring or maple extract


For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat; do not boil. Set aside to cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.

Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.

Remove half of the dough. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 by 10 inches, with a long side facing you.

To make the filling, pour 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don't be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar!

Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don't worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls will be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together.

Transfer to a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, make 1 1/2-inch slices. One log will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of tablespoons of melted butter into several pie pans or baking dishes and swirl to coat. Place the rolls in the pans cut-side up, being careful not to overcrowd.

Repeat the rolling-sugar-butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cover each pan with a kitchen towel and let rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towels and bake for 13 to 17 minutes, until golden brown. Don't allow the rolls to become overly brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, milk, butter, coffee and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add more sugar, butter or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be thick but still pourable.

While the rolls are still warm, generously drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing's moisture and flavor. They only get better with time...not that they last for more than a few seconds!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday Morning

Love this picture from Tuesday evening's game! Lindsey is playing goalie this week, as our regular goalie has a basketball camp she has to attend in the evenings this week. Great catch, Linds!

 Larissa won a medal and certificate in the Art Show Sunday! A Distinguished Honoree in the Fine Arts (Jewelry). Her rings were my very favorite. Way to go, Sissy! She is so creative! She designed and made all of these pieces! Arent't they awesome??

Larissa had a little friend visit this weekend. Baby Lily really liked Rue and kept saying, "Fiff, fiff!" which we are pretty sure means 'ruff ruff'! 
This evening is Cameron and Cyrena's rehearsal, then tomorrow is the wedding! I had one of those 'wedding photographer's nightmares' last night. First, I was wearing my pj's with no bra (yeah, NOT good!) and I was running around afraid that I was going to miss an important picture. Praying it all goes well. It should be a really fun wedding. Tyler is a groomsman, so I'll be sure to post a picture of him in his tux! I'm so excited!

Miss Natalie had called several ophthalmologists in the KC area about an 8 week job shadowing opportunity this summer. Today she received a call back from the office of one of KC's best dr's and they have invited her to accept the job shadowing position! In researching this dr, we've found that he is a phenomenal doctor, a Harvard Medical School and Tuft's University graduate, leading many research studies (which is a real area of interest for Natalie), and serving on national committees. We're so excited that she's going to have this opportunity this summer!! Way to go, Nat! (AND she'll be home for the summer!)

Tyler moved back home last weekend. His lease on his house was up and he is wanting to find something in a different location and with different room mates. One of his room mates had been stealing from him, which really stinks. Also, Tyler was recently promoted to Assistant Manager at the convenience store where he works. He's been putting in a LOT of hours with training and his regular hours, too. He's been working about 10 hours a day. UGH!

Larissa just has 37 school days left before graduation. Please be praying for her for the stick-with-it-ness to get it done! I know she can do it, but it will take a lot of effort on her part.

Evidently I misunderstood my doctor. Since I have to push around heavy carts with books, she doesn't want me to go back to work until after my April 25 appointment. I knew I wasn't supposed to 'lift' over 10 pounds, but wasn't thinking about 'pushing' and 'pulling' waaayyy over 10 pounds. So glad THAT was cleared up before I hurt myself! Healing is going well and I do NOT want to mess anything up! I was originally planning to go back to work yesterday.

 Gotta scoot for now. Hope you are having a great week!