Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Card

Colorful Joy 2010 Christmas
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Retro-Post: Jameson's Birthday

So...I like to use this little blog as a substitute for creating actual photo albums, and I like to tell the "Adventures of Sophie and Jameson" in some semblance of order, so when I got behind this summer (around about Jameson's birthday), I just stopped blogging. Almost completely. I also blame Facebook. So, to break me out of this OCD reverie, I present to you: JUNE. Right around J's birthday, we traveled to Port A with the Ditchdirt Crew. Instead of trying to plan a party around the vacation, we decided to celebrate his 2nd birthday at the beach! The kids made peach ice cream, decorated beach buckets, and dug for buried treasure.

Click here to see more pics: BEACH_BIRTHDAY

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Self Esteem

Sophie doesn't want to sing in the Christmas Choir Concert today -- she told me that she's feeling "a little shy." She hates going to her after school gymnastics program on Tuesday/Thursday, in part because her friend has a new friend, and three can be a difficult number (when it's not busy being magic). Anytime we arrive at a birthday party or evening event, she sticks right by my side for a while, observing everyone before she jumps into the fun. So I worry a bit about her confidence. About her assertiveness. But I think she has a pretty good self-identity.

When I walked by the bathroom for the fourth time today and asked Sophie why she wasn't brushing her teeth, she told me: "Oh, I'm just looking in the mirror at how beautiful I am.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Too Smart For Her Own Good

Sophie has been really jazzed about buying her lunch in the cafeteria at school, but after her self-reports of only eating the "yogurt plate" and desserts, we've had lots of talks about how she needs to choose healthy food -- or maybe she's not ready to buy her own lunch yet. Apparently the cafeteria ladies don't automatically put veggies on a tray, and as soon as you touch a tray, that's your lunch. No backsies. So we practiced at home. She was supposed to ask for veggies if none were on her tray. Here's our conversation tonight:

Sophie: Mom, I asked for veggies today! I said, "I need some vegetables, please!"
Me: Good job!
Sophie: Then they gave me beans and they said, "Beans are your vegetable."
(Then she scrunched up her face.) Are beans a vegetable?!
Me: Yeah. Beans can be vegetables.
Sophie: That's weird. Because I thought beans were a protein.

And, on a totally different note, she barfed at school today. Thank goodness we had already read the Ramona book where Ramona upchucks in class and everything turns out fine. Maybe it was the beans...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

R.I.P. Sally Menke

I'm not the blogger in my family; Stacy is. But tonight I feel compelled to share with the universe my admiration for Sally Menke. Sally was a movie editor, and one of the best. She earned her reputation and a couple of Oscar nominations for her collaborations with Quentin Tarantino.

I've been teaching a film course for over a decade now, and for nine years I've tried to guide youngsters in creating their own short films. What surprises my students the most about filmmaking is the power of the editor. It is the editor who controls the pace of a film, the editor who pieces together numerous takes to make an actor appear to do a better job than they could ever do in real life, the editor who crafts the order and duration of every shot in the film, and the editor who repairs the numerous mistakes the director commits in shooting. In short, it is the editor who makes the film.

The damnable thing about editing is that most people don't even notice it. Usually, that's the idea. Editing is often so seamless that our minds, absorbed in narrative, fail to recognize it all. And in the rules of classical editing and the Hollywood style, one should hide the edits as carefully as possible.

But then, there's Pulp Fiction. The structure of the movie is quite possibly its most compelling element, and that it makes any sense at all is due to the labors of Ms. Menke. The film calls attention to the fact that it is assembled, not just filmed, and that there's a genius behind the assemblage. Most people assumed that genius was Tarantino, but Tarantino has always been quick to credit Menke's role.

Film editing is grueling, lonely work. The editors miss out on all the glory (what little there really is) of filmmaking; no hobnobbing with the actors, no private trailer. You get a dim room, a computer, and a deadline.

If you've ever seen Tarantino in an interview or in person, you know that he can be delightfully intense. He seems almost maniacal in his enthusiasm for film shots and sequences. I wouldn't want to be the one to say, "Quentin, it's just too long. We need to cut this." But Sally Menke was a woman of unending patience and persuasion, and the perfect foil for Tarantino's glorious mania. She, more than any other person on the film crew, spends the most time one-on-one with the director. Tarantino considered her a close collaborator, and in many ways a co-writer.

What made Menke a great editor was not just the mind-bending piecing together of initially convoluted plots, but her clear understanding of how to get the most out of a scene without losing the big picture. Consider any scene from Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill and you'll see how it works both as a complete piece (often with a complete mini-plot) and how it fits into the larger whole.

What saddens me about Sally's death is not just that we've lost one of film's greatest editors, but that we've lost a beautiful relationship between two coworkers and dear friends. Sally and Tarantino seemed to have such admiration for each other and the other's craft, and I'm sure Tarantino's grief is profound.

So condolences to Ms. Menke's husband and two children, and to Quentin Tarantino.

If you'd like to learn more about film editing and hear both Menke and Tarantino discuss their crazy collaboration, check out the documentary The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing. It will forever change the way you look at film.

And here's an interview with her: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/dec/06/sally-menke-quentin-tarantino-editing


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Kindergarten Kid

Sophie went to kindergarten today. Big school -- "real" school, where your mom drops you off and then you're in someone else's care and they don't meet your mom or dad on the playground at the end of the day to recount funny stories and talk about what you learned. It's all a mystery. That school.

She was fantastic at drop off. At one point, she leaned over to me and said, "I'm a little shy." Some of you who know her well might scoff and guffaw, because she can be quite the character. But I know what she means. She needs a few minutes to observe. To check things out. I told her not to worry, and to just start talking whenever she felt like it. "Look!" I said, "there's Riley from Abbey's birthday party. And there's Jack...he went to your Montessori school. And remember Katie? From meet-the-teacher day?"

And that's when Katie turned to look at me. Her eyes were filled with tears, and she almost shouted at me: "I am feeling SAD!" Oh. Oh, crap. My voice got high and I started talking really fast about how kindergarten was going to be so great but it's okay to be sad and please don't cry and you're going to have so much fun! She wanted her bear. I told her that he was probably waiting for her at home to hear all about how great kindergarten is.

And then we left in a hurry.
Because little Katie was going to push me over the edge.

Sophie, though, was stoic. And brave. And when she got home today, she announced: "Kindergarten was...was...it was AWESOME. Dat what it was!"

It's still all a mystery to me. She told us that she went to a man's house, and he's in a band. (Figured out that she met the music teacher...maybe he's in a portable?) And she wants to buy her lunch tomorrow, because all those kids got a "sweet fing" and I did not pack a sweet fing in her lunch box. Just an avocado. (That is not ALL I packed, friends! But she was not impressed.) And there's a lady named Pinky who helps you open your lunch box. And she met a friend. She does not know her name yet, but told me, "She's good at drawing monsters. And she thought my jokes were funny." What more could I want for her?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What We Did During Summer Vacation, Part 1

You would think that since Frank and I were both "off" this summer, there would have been a steady stream of witty, thought-provoking, zany blog tales of parenting the littles. Sorry...we were at the pool. Or on vacation. Or cruisin' in the new swagger wagon. Or cowering inside our house, right next to the air conditioning vents. But here's a recap of some of our summer fun.

In June, we went to the BEACH!

We shared a big beach house with great friends:

Sophie was a little fish, as usual. She would swim across the gulf, if we didn't stop her:

Jameson loved the beach, too. What a heartbreaker!

To see more pics from the beach (including really cute shots of Lucy, Milo, Laney, Solly, and Josie!), click on the link below:


Or copy this into a new window: http://www.frankandstacy.net/photos/ditchbeach2010/index.html

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Remembering Mom

Sophie and Jameson's great grandmother passed away on July 8th. She was 96 years old. It would take me about that long to tell you all that she meant to me and share all the stories of her life. I was honored to deliver the eulogy at her funeral, and share the memories of my cousins, as well. This is an incredibly long post to a blog, but I want to keep these words, and share them with family. So now it's out there in cyberspace (a word that my grandmother would not have known. In fact, when I said I was going to post the eulogy on a website, my father told me that Mom Allen would have thought that had something to do with a spider!) I love you, Mom.

My "Mom" and me:

She probably sewed those red bell-bottoms for me!

Eulogy for Ruth Murial Gryder Allen
Read on July 12, 2010

My name is Stacy, and I am Ruth’s sixth grandchild – the baby of the family for a long, long time. And then there were more kids and babies. More grandchildren and all their spouses, fourteen great grandchildren and even three great great grandkids. That’s what happens when you live 96 years with a gentle and loving heart – you get to do a lot of mothering. And that’s what we all called her: Mom.

My cousin Lisa set that trend for us, because that’s what she heard her mom, Joy, and Aunt Cloye and Uncle Jerry calling their parents. It might have been a little confusing to those outside the family, since we also had parents that we called Mom and Dad, but there was something in the intonation or maybe context – we always knew who we were talking about: Let’s drive out to Kerrville and go camping with Mom and Dad. See you Christmas Day at Mom and Dad’s! Mom made the red velvet cake. How’s Mom doing? Give my love to Mom.

She was an amazing mother figure to all of us. She was tiny, but she was huge to me – this little red-headed lady with a grin on her face and a twinkle in her eye. When I picture her in my mind, she is walking out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a tea towel, saying “Well, hello, Stacy” and opening up her arms to hug me. Her children will tell you, she sacrificed for them (and they have sacrificed for her), and she taught them by example. She needed a lot of patience to raise three children – two girls, Joy and Cloye, so close to each other in age, and then that Jerry Dean, who once burned down a field trying to cook the neighbor’s chicken in a pot. My grandmother didn’t smile in many photographs we have of her, but I have memories of her laughing out loud, cackling even, telling stories about my father, Jerry, when he was a little boy.

I pestered her to tell me stories about the past. Every single time that I visited her, we would pull out the photo albums and I would leaf through the pages, delighting in all of the pictures of our family: Lisa and Lori wearing matching Easter dresses that Mom had made, Scott and Jeff running around in spaceman helmets, Bradley wearing a little bow tie, family trips to Colorado, Lisa’s awesome jumpsuits from the late ‘70’s, and all the pictures of our family units – the Berry’s, the Largent’s, the Allen’s – in front of this one segment of fence. In all of the school pictures she has of me, I am wearing an outfit that she sewed for me – she was a wonderful seamstress – she made all of her daughters’ clothes until they were married. I wish I had learned more from her. I liked to rearrange the straight pins in her tomato-shaped pin cushion while she sewed, but now that I have a four-year-old, I wish I could sew jumpers with little schoolhouses on them. In one of those old albums, there are pink-tinted photos of my aunts wearing ballgowns and tiaras, for homecoming, I suppose. I used to stare at those photos and try to jump into them -- they looked like princesses to me. But my favorite photos are the black and white group photos from the late ‘20’s and ‘30’s. There are pictures of my grandfather’s first students when he was a teacher – all the children barefoot and wearing overalls. And the best picture of all, my grandmother’s basketball team. She’s wearing a uniform that goes all the way down to the ankles, and she has a short bob haircut and steely-eyed determination – they called her “Little Red,” because there was a taller redhead on the team. Mom loved basketball. Her team went on to play in a state championship one year. She loved watching basketball on t.v., even into her nineties, but she was diplomatic about it. She would cheer for the Mavericks when one side of the family was visiting, and root for the Spurs if my Dad was there watching the game with her. Football was not so nebulous – it was always the Dallas Cowboys.

There are many “always” moments when I think about Mom. She had the same hairstyle for the entire 39 years that I knew her – done each week at the beauty parlor and sealed into place with Aquanet, and we weren’t supposed to touch it. (I don’t know why – it would have just bounced back into place, I think.) Mom always made red hot salad when she knew kids were coming for a visit – for those of you who have never heard of this southern delicacy, it’s not a salad, and it’s not really hot. But it’s definitely red. And there were other dishes that she always served: creamed corn, homemade cakes and pies, green beans that had been frozen after they were freshly picked from her garden, hot cornbread, mustang grape jellies that she had put up…even her cream of wheat had the just the right amount of lumps. Always. And when Dad was alive, he always stopped at the Golden Chick after church for our Sunday dinner.

Everything changes in life, but not Mom. And not her little house in Belton. Mom and Dad believed in clean living, and their house reflected that. Everything was always just so – everything in its place. For my entire life, I have known that the plastic alligator lives in the small drawer of the dresser in the middle bedroom, right next to the matchbox filled with wooden checkers. Mr. Bim, the stuffed monkey that every grandchild and great grandchild dragged around, lived in the bottom of the closet. There is a rattlesnake tail in Mom’s jewelry box. And there is a drawer filled to the brim with bread ties. I don’t know what anyone could possibly do with all of those breadties, but my grandmother was not a waster. She had memories of the Depression, and we have all seen her rinse off tin foil and flatten it out to re-use. If there were three bites left of a casserole, it went back into the icebox and reappeared, alongside 14 other small dishes of leftovers, at the next meal. She rinsed out milk cartons so she could fill them with water and freeze them into blocks of ice. Appliances were taken to repair shops before they were replaced. And she was more likely to buy new buttons than a brand new dress. We can still learn so much from Mom.

I learned a lot from my grandmother on our drives together. After Dad passed away, I often had the job – the blessing – of driving Mom to family events like weddings or Thanksgiving at James and Sarah’s house in Stephenville. Again, I would pester her to tell me stories of the past. She would point down one road where her family’s farm had been, and down another to where C.D. Allen – she always called him “Doc” – had lived. She told me she had had a beau before him, but he won her heart. She told me about growing up with her brothers and sisters, Austin and Spivy, James, Lucille, and Doris, fishing with cane poles and hoeing cotton in the fields. She rode a horse to school each day and always wore a bonnet because she thought freckles were ugly. When she was a young girl, she wanted to grow up and be an English teacher. And while she did not become a classroom teacher, she and Dad led so many of us to that calling. I remember her telling me, “Get your education – once you have a degree, no one can take that away from you.”

Each one of the grandkids has memories like this – and they’ve been sending them to me this week:

My brother, Jeff, wrote to me about a summer when he spent a couple of weeks in Belton. He said, “I remember waking up very early every morning to the smell of breakfast cooking in the kitchen. I spent my time helping Mom and Dad in the garden, building a bird house with Dad (this is where I got my love of wood working), playing basketball in the driveway, and going fishing at the lake. I remember that Mom would change clothes before going in to town, even if she was just running to the grocery store. One day we were fishing at the Bell County Sportsman’s club and I was bored because the fish were not biting so I went outside and was throwing some rocks or something when I heard Mom start laughing. I went back in the fishing dock and Mom had both her rod and reel and mine with fish with two fish on each line. My favorite memories of Mom are the way I would feel when she would sit next to me and hold my hand and say “I love you Jerry”. It never upset me when she would get me mixed up with my Dad.”

Lisa spent a lot of time with our grandparents each summer, too. She wrote, “Mom woke up early every morning and put on a full face of makeup before breakfast. At night I liked to lie on her bed and watch her slather her face and neck in cold cream. She always smelled so good. She moved like a house afire from the time her feet hit the floor – three full meals every day with her garden produce; we only bought necessities at the store. Our social life was church – church every Sunday and Wednesday, church socials and picnics, reading the Bible daily. One special vacation was to where else --- Glorieta Baptist Encampment where we stayed in the college's cabin! More church! Every night ! Huge services. My most vivid memory is singing in the car: "When We All Get to Heaven" was memorized by the time I was 6 years old.” They took Lisa on several outings: to the department store to buy sewing notions, to the Picadilly in Austin – even to the caverns and the Capital, with Dad telling stories of Sam Bass and the outlaws, and to the Belton library, where Lisa loved the smell of the books. She remembers Mom working around the house and singing and said, “She, and my mother, were the two more important female influences in my life.”

Brad and Scott both remembered the holidays and meals at Mom’s house, and how she always made everyone feel special. Brad said, “Mom was ALWAYS happy to see us walk into the house. Whenever we arrived she really seemed to beam. She loved to cook for her family. She never wanted to “go and get” anything. She preferred that we all sit down to a home cooked meal and enjoyed her time in the kitchen cooking for us.” And both Brad and Scott spoke of her patience. Brad reminded me, that in all her years with all these kids underfoot, we never heard her raise her voice.

And Scott wrote: Words are hard to describe about a bond/love that you have for someone. I feel very fortunate to have had Mom as a grandmother. Her patience has always been exemplified with her grandkids. Nothing can describe love like patience can, and she loved us all. I truly appreciate the Christian example that she set for us. My best memories were the holidays, particularly Christmas and Easter. The smile that she had as she looked at us and the great many meals that she cooked will always be a part of my heart. I feel very blessed to have her as a grandmother. She was the perfect grandmother.

Mom fed our hearts, and our souls. And she definitely fed our bellies.

Lori said, “One of my favorite memories of Mom is the way she instilled a love of cooking and bringing the family together. She was an excellent cook and always put so much love into every dish. She also instilled a love of cooking in all her children which has been passed down to her grandchildren and great grand children. I’m sure the Red Velvet cake, which always made each Christmas celebration so special, will be passed down to all future generations and we will always think of Mom each time we make it. We watched her cook tirelessly each holiday and every time we visited and we always felt so special and loved. I have so many special memories of our family coming together and just enjoying each others company and spending time together.”

We felt special, because Mom knew us – she knew what we loved and encouraged our gifts.

Vanessa said, “Every time we would visit, she and I would talk about our favorite sport, basketball! I can still remember the photographs she shared with me of her playing. Talking about the same basketball position we both played. Not only did we share stories about basketball, but she showed how much she cared when she would call to the house to see how my games went. Most importantly, the one thing that meant the most to me was, she always accepted us in the family like we were one of her own. She was always kind and good hearted. She always was asking about our accomplishments with school, work, and life.

And this is what Taz wrote: Mom Allen was always the sweetest most kind lady. She always saw the best in everybody and was optimistic in every way. I love how she accepted me, a random little brown boy, into her family and treated me with the utmost hospitality. She treated me like a real grandson. She cooked the best meals in the world; like most grandma's she was famous for her dishes! She never failed to ask me how my life was and always wished me the best in everything. She genuinely cared about me and in return I loved her and will always love her.

We all have so many memories of Mom that we’ll treasure in our hearts. But what she most treasured in her heart was a love for God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. And by example, she taught us. The real meaning of family is holding hands in prayer before a meal. In our family, the greatest honor was being old enough to read, because the youngest literate child was asked to read the story of Christ’s birth each year at Christmas. Often, a grandchild or great grandchild would sing a song or play an instrument they were learning. We all filled her den at Christmas, even when the grandkids were grown and married. And before we dug into the goodies under the tree, we always sang Jingle Bells and Silent Night. We always sang about this heavenly peace she’s living now.

There was only one theological question that I think she got wrong. When I was four or five years old, we came to visit Mom and Dad at the end of October. October 31st fell on a Sunday that year, and she was absolutely sure that a good Christian town like Belton would not celebrate Halloween on a Sunday evening. So I was crammed into my Tinkerbell costume and went door-to-door on a Saturday evening, before anyone had done their candy shopping. One kind soul gave me some change, but another lady scolded me for being on her doorstep on the night before Halloween. We gave up and went home, where I’m sure I was fed with Mom’s cakes and pies until I could bust.

I don’t presume to know any more about theology than she did. I don’t know what Heaven is really like. I can imagine asking Mom, and her saying, “I don’t reckon I know. What do you think it’s like?” and grinning at me. For now, as we are all saying goodbye, I’d like to imagine her tying a scarf over her hair, then walking along a path and down some steps, across stones in a river and over a long wooden plank bridge, until she reaches a fishing dock where a cane pole is waiting. And right at the edge of the fishing hole, there is a group of people sitting in lawn chairs. There is Doc, and Joy, and all of her brothers and sisters and other family members. There is the fisher of men. And they all turn to look at her and say, “Here she comes. She’s finally here.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Holiday Ro-oh-oh-oad!

Our memory "book" is a little out of order (I still have pics of Jameson's birthday and the beach trip to post), but I thought it would be easier to blog a bit from the road on this 13-day minivan adventure to the Potomac and back! So...

Day 1: We drove for about 8 hours. Only had to pull over to "run the wiggles out" one time at a rest stop near Texarkana (but we also stopped for lunch and two bathroom breaks). So far, we haven't even pulled the dvd player out! We saw a great semi-truck hauling playground equipment, and I took a picture through my window. Hours later, after driving into Arkansas and into Hot Springs and around and around Hot Springs getting our bearings and finding a hotel, we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel we'd decided upon, and there was the playground truck! A good sign. On Night 1 in Hot Springs, we ate Latin cuisine (et tu, burrito?) at Ronaldo's, checked out the spiral staircase at the Arlington Hotel, went to a city park to dip our fingers into the hot springs, and walked Bathhouse Row at night. The hot springs are NOT lukewarm...they are scalding hot. Who knew?

Day 2: We headed back to Bathhouse Row and got caught in a quick but heavy thunderstorm. While it rained, we toured the National Park Visitor Center at the Fordyce Bathhouse -- it included four stories of exhibits and artifacts from the heyday of the bathing craze. Very interesting! We drove through the park, hiked a trail (Sophie does best if she's the trailblazer), talked to people filling up jugs of water at the springs, filled up our own water bottle, ate at the Brickhouse, drove around looking at fancy schmancy houses, bought Lucas candy at a Mexican grocery store (for margaritas at the river!), then went back to the hotel to rest. For dinner, we headed back downtown to eat at the German Brau Haus -- great brats * and beer! (* and by "brats," I mean sausages. The kids are fine, too.)

Here are some hdr photos that Frank took on Bathhouse Row:

An exterior shot of the Quapaw Bathhouse Dome:

The gym at the Fordyce Bathhouse.

Interior shot of the men's bathing room:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kickin' Things Off With Kerrville

The Kerrville Folk Festival is sort of the herald of summer. Frank and I have tons of pre-kids memories of staying up all night playing music, sleeping as long as we could inside a tent during a heat wave, eating hot bagels (with friends in the posher camper section!), then escaping to Third Crossing to float in tubes and drink cold beer. (And Frank has pre-Stacy Kerrville memories, too...he's a lifetime ticket holder, you know. I mean, he doesn't have a Kerr-name or go without showering for the full 18 days, but he's close to that level of fanaticism.)

Kerrville with kids is a little different. Don't get me wrong -- it's a totally AWESOME place to take kids. They kind of run around in packs (when they're older elementary age), they gain independence and confidence, they entertain themselves for hours and hours with NO video games or television. It's nice. But changing a diaper in a tent is challenging. And these days we pack more sunscreen and healthy snacks (versus our previous meal plans of Frank "playing for food" with beef jerky as a back up plan).

So here are some highlights from this year's Kerr-perience:
1) I had to text our camping location to Maggie so she could meet up with us the next day. She laughed and laughed because we were camped between the two school buses, near the teepees. It was a great spot, really. No shade left by the time we got there, but we still had a little "real estate" in front of the tent. If you're ever visiting Kerrville, we set up shop near Camp Cuisine and, well, I guess it was Camp RRRrrrr (they dressed like pirates and sang sailor songs all night). Right in front of us was "Camp Crack," a van full of 18 and 19-year-old hippie kids. They were there for the full 18 days of festival -- 'nough said. Frank played some music over at Camp Bayou Love -- best camp name ever. Maggie recommended "Camp Kerr-mudgeon" for us for next year.

2) Jameson's birthday was three days AFTER Kerrville, so we spoiled him a bit and gave him his birthday present early: a blue guitar! He was sooo happy when he opened it, and he's been walking around strumming it and trying to tune it (good boy) ever since.

3) The Stephenses joined us the second day, and Solly brought his guitar, too. Solomon is a guitar prodigy -- no joke. He sat in the big guitar circles and strummed with perfect rhythm. So many people commented on his skills and his passion -- he already has calluses from strumming! Sophie was thrilled to have her Laney-friend join her, and they somehow talked their way into borrowing dress-up clothes from some tiny-waisted (wasted?) hippies.

4) Sophie snoozed through the loud music, the campfire chatter, the "Camp Crackwhores" whooping and hollering on the top of their van while they flashed lasers in the trees. Jameson woke up grumping several times. Frank wandered around and played music. I stayed with the kids and read a trashy vampire novel by flashlight, late into the night. The next day, EVERYONE was exhausted. Except Sophie. She woke up at 7:15 ready to take on the world. The teenagers across from us were still awake, and Sophie wanted to take all her books and Barbies over to them so "Jaffy" and "Clementine" could read to her. I told her to go ahead. Serves 'em right for being so obnoxious at 4 a.m. The Camp Crack Kids LOVED Sophie. They let her decorate their van with chalk. Frank and I were in our tent listening to her chatter away, and Clementine told Sophie, "You are so fucking cute!!" Great. So far, we haven't heard her repeat the word, but it's probably going to slip out on Day 1 of kindergarten: "I f'ing LOVE kindergarten! Pass me the f'ing crayons!"

5) The best thing about Kerrville was watching Sophie lead Laney through the tents and campsites. She really did show amazing independence that weekend. Or maybe the best thing was watching the boys strum their guitars in their matching guitar shirts. Or maybe the best thing was watching our friends, Stuart and Hilary, play on the mainstage. No, definitely the best thing was when Bob Saget (feral kitten, claimed and named by the crack-kids) ran into our tent and landed on the highly allergic Frank. And they all started calling out, "Saget! Saget!" You can't dream that stuff up.

Click on KERRVILLE to see the best parts of our campin' and pickin' weekend!

All Pomp for this Circumstance

Well, we've had a dearth of posts for the past month and a half due to 1) crazy, hectic schedules and 2) a computer virus that makes exporting and uploading pics a real pain in the arse. But I'm determined to post a few momentous occasions before we head off on our mini-van adventure and take hundreds of pics.

BIG THINGS are afoot at the Webster household. First, Sophie graduated from pre-school. Quick story: When I went to register her for kindergarten, she was missing a Hep B booster
shot, so they stamped her file with a big red stamp that said "DELINQUENT." That's the way to start a permanent record, kiddo!

So, this first album shows you some sweet pics from Sophie's graduation from Primavera Montessori School. I cannot say enough schmoopy things about this magical, hippie-dippie (cloth napkins only, tie-dye shirts for graduation) place. It really is a community, and we will miss it next year. But Jameson will be there when he is three! Lookout, Rachel and Marianne, there's another Webster headed your way!

Click on GRADUATION or the picture below to see a few shots from Sophie's last day at Primavera:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What a GENIUS Says

So, the truth is, Sophie still wears pull-ups to bed. We went through months of waking her up at varying times of night, limiting liquid-intake past dinner time, sticker charts, promises of sleepovers when she could go a whole week without wetting the bed...and then it occurred to me (loading the washing machine AGAIN) that maybe her body is just not ready to make it through the night. So we bought some night-time pull-ups and put off the issue for a while. A long while. Tonight, Sophie said she wanted to wear panties to bed. Hooray! Twenty minutes later, she climbed out of bed and came to tell me:

Sophie: Mom, I think should wear a pull-up tonight, because I don't really like to wake up at night.
Me: Well, I could wake you up and help you get to the bathroom.
Sophie: But I don't want you to have to wake up. I'll just wear a pull-up.
Me: You know...I get up every night to go to the bathroom. I don't mind getting you up, too. A lot of people wake up every night to go to the bathroom.
Sophie: Not if they're a genius.

I got nuthin. No comeback. She IS a genius.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


From flying monkey to the dog. Is that an upgrade?

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Leader of the Plaque

This blogging moment brought to you courtesy of: things I should write down so they are documented and I don't forget. Tune in some other time for: cute and sassy things the Webster kids are doing lately.

Sophie took her first trip to the De-ehntiiiiiist! (You have a knack for causing people pain. Oh!) All the child rearing websites recommend the first visit happen sometime after the first few teeth appear. Well, four years is certainly AFTER (I could launch into a pathetic story about missing the deadline for paperwork when she was three and having to wait an entire year to add her on to our policy because teacher insurance is sooo lowbid with so many inane regulations, but...oh, I just did).

Anywho...we finally got her added and I did a zip code search for a dentist that mentioned pediatric or family dental care. When we pulled up to the office, it looked a bit sketch. Lots of bars and gates -- perhaps people have burgled this office searching for good drugs? The waiting room was painted with an ocean mural -- a deep, dark ocean scene that made it a little hard to breathe, actually. Someone had added a wharf or dock or something, but it just looked like a structure about to topple over. The good news -- despite the weird smell and dark green carpet and black pleather waiting room furniture, the office staff and assistants were SUPER nice and efficient and sweet to Sophie and I told myself to stop being so judgmental -- maybe I would LOVE this dentist.

Punchline: Sophie sat very still for her x-rays, which showed three teeeeny tiny "spots" (new word for cavities?) between her molars. They are going to fill them at her next appointment, $200 please. And then they flashed me their straight, white teethy smiles. Sophie now thinks that "going to the dentist" means wearing a heavy vest, getting pictures made, and getting a new toothbrush and a sparkly pencil. I think it means a Target hiatus for Momma. Dumb dentist.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Moonrise Over Bluebonnets

In Central Texas, the "babies in bluebonnets" picture carries the same charm (and cheese) of a pumpkin patch. And we couldn't resist. This is a field of bluebonnets where we used to take Callie for a walk (back when we took pictures of our dog) (back when we took our dog for walks). Some combination of weather and rain has resulted in an explosion of our state flower this year. Almost looks like an ocean if you squint your eyes and drink a Lone Star at the same time.

Just before we headed off for home, a gorgeous moon came up over the field. And we all stayed up past our bedtimes to see it.

See more romping and frolicking here: BLUEBONNETS

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Last Hurrah

Like so many hung-over and punch-drunk festival attendees, J could barely keep his eyes open for the final concert we saw this week. Even when the band passed out pots and pans for everyone to bang and demonstrated human bowling, he snoozed.

Sophie got to see Peelander-Z play, but she was not nearly as giddy as Frank. I guess this outfit isn't all that weird if you're a four-year-old.
And then the wind blew through his hair and J. was up and at 'em again. "I'm up! I'm up!"
I think this is a glimpse into the teenage Sophie's face. Angsty? Dreamy?
I love the sign right next to her -- hands off the net, kid!

What an awesome Spring Break. Bring on the summer!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Little Rocker Kids

SXSW Music Fest, 2010
(My apologies for posting these on FB
and the blog, but my grandma only checks the blog. And these are keepers.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kite Fest

Spring Break SXsofar: it's the third day of our break, and we have enjoyed a jam session with fiddlin' friends at Pie's house, running around like crazies at the Zilker Kite Fest, drinking "smoovies" in the afternoon, and then yesterday we saw a monkey riding a dog herding some sheep at the rodeo fairgrounds. Sophie's favorite thing so far: "eatin' a hot corn dog on a rainy bench."

Here are some pics from the Kite Fest:

Nothin' better than being barefoot in a field of grass (oh, yeah...the green butterfly kite in the background is ours!):

When we tired of flying kites, I decided to "fly" the kids:

Kids, kites, and the skyline...maybe my favorite picture ever:

More kitefest pics (including the kite-eating tree and some cool HDR pics that Frank took) are here: KITE FEST PICTURES

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crushed Bug Flakes

Lugubrious lamentations around our house: "Shrek," the cicada carcass that Sophie kept in her jewelry box and petted often, disintegrated tonight. Godspeed, Shrek. You were a nice, albeit dead, pet. shell.

Thank god we still have "other Josh," who is the other cicada shell. Who is also dead, but still pettable. Pet-able?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Funday

Family and friends and chilango margaritas...these are a few of my favorite things! Last Sunday we met up with some friends to celebrate my final 30-something birthday. Jameson was a charmer. The girls tried Pop Rocks for the first time (we're listening to the crackle in Pic #2). And I sipped on my favorite margarita -- an orange-infused spicy margarita with a top secret crushing on the rim. My guess? Chili powder and Mexican Lucas candy (rumored to contain lead). Yum. Say...why don't they make a margarita with pop rocks lining the rim? On the rocks with rocks? I digress.

Check out some of the party pics by clicking here: StacyDay

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

There's a monster IN my bed.

Last night Sophie poked me on the arm (I was slumbering peacefully) to tell me that she had had a bad dream. I pulled her up into the bed with me..."just for a few minutes, Soph...then you're going back to your bed." A few minutes later, she peed on me. Sometimes, THAT is parenthood.

I didn't cry or spank her or beat her with the wire hangers. I'll be checking my mailbox for the mother of the year certificate.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010


So, this blogpost has nothing to do with how funny and wise Sophie is or how cute and rascally Jameson is; this is how tired and crazy Stacy is. Frank keeps a list of conversations I have with him in my sleep. Apparently I'm prepping for big things in the near future. And I think my husband, totally awake and sober, is pretty funny, too.

Stacy: What happens if there's a miracle?
Frank: What do you mean?
S: If there's a miracle. Then what?
F: I guess we shout "Hallelujah"
S: No. I mean in general.
F: Like a garden-variety miracle?
S: No, not that kind of miracle. Like what happens?
F: I guess you say "Thanks God. Good one."
S: Not like that. Like a miracle. Like a thing thing. Miracle.
F: Amen.
S: My toes need to be covered.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Golden(plated) Rule

Sophie told us this great story at dinner tonight:

"At school the other day, Rhea was singing and then Arden interrupted her and Rhea got upset and then Miss Rachel asked did anybody know the golden rule. And I raised my hand and I was the only one and Rachel said, 'Yes, Sophie?' and I knew it!"

(I was so proud at this moment, I think I even had a tear in my eye. "So, what is the golden rule, Sophie?")

"The golden rule is when you treat someone the way they treat you. So if someone is mean to you, you be mean to them."

Oh, well. She's got eye-for-an-eye down pat.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

And now, the HOLIDAYS

We've been busy, busy bees around here. Yesterday, though, Frank sat down at the computer and finally created a photo spread for Thanksgiving. Christmas is coming soon.

This may seem REALLY outdated to most of you, but the Websters still have Christmas cards taped to our windows and the tree just exited the house last weekend. We like to cling to that holiday feeling, you know? (Truth: lousy housekeeper meets lazy housekeeper and they fall in love. You were all at our wedding.)

So. Thanksgiving. This year we split time between my Dad's side of the family (out at my aunt's house in Clyde, TX -- near Abilene) and then back to the farm in Weatherford (my stepdad's side of the family) for the traditional Thanksgiving bonfire at my Gram's house.

Click on the turkey pic (or here: THANKSGIVING_2009) to see the album.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sweet Sophie

Just a few moments ago, Sophie was wrapping up Jameson in a soft blanket, no SWADDLING, I should say. Then she announced, "This is the Baby Jesus, and I am Mary!" Then she patted Frank and said, "You can be Joseph." I asked who I was. She said, "Oh, you're the donkey!" Indeed.