Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We had several events to dress up for this year. The girls always love an opportunity to dress up! And the boys didn't really care.

The first was our church's Trunk or Treat.

J not really dressed up, but sporting the black plastic teeth. J was a little cautious this year. She kept asking, "Mom, are you sure everyone will be dressed up. You lied last year. No one was dressed up.". My response to that,"Yes. Ummmm, I don't think I did, pretty sure everyone was dressed up last year too.".
G is an angel, or a princess or a bride. Depending on what answer she gave to whom she was answering, or what she felt like at the time of questioning.
A is a candy corn.
W is a cowboy with a horse.
L is a pirate.

Then there was the school dress up day. J was Merida and G was a Barbie princess.

Fairytale Feast. G is Princess from one of her Barbie books. Her sweet friend was Gretel.

A. could wear whatever and she chose to be candy corn. W. went with me to take A and he was wearing his Superman costume/pjs that day too.

And lastly was October 31st. Church had crafts and games. Then we came home and walked the block.

G with her caramel apple.
J making her caramel apple.
W painting with water colors.
A with MN and HS bedazzling a leaf.
J is Hannah Montana. G is Taylor Swift. A is Cinderella. W didn't want to wear a costume, so he wore his I Love My Mummy shirt. L is a pirate.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Great Expectations vs. Reality


Great Expectations
Beyond just providing for their needs and protection, daddys love to do special things just for their daughters just because.  A couple of months ago we found out that Francesca Battistelli was going to be playing in Waco.  We saw her play a set at Sea World 18 months ago, but this was going to be her tour.  She's the headliner.  We knew that we wanted to take the girls, she's their favorite, but I wanted to give them something more. I looked into it and found out that there were VIP tickets available so I called the company producing the tour to get the details.  VIP tickets would include those cool laminate VIP cards on a lanyard, a poster, preferred seating, and a meet and greet session with Francesca before show.  It was an easy sell.  By midnight on the 23rd of October I was going to be the best daddy in Texas.  The girls would get to meet one of their heroes.  The boys would have splendid behavior.  Leslie and Francesca would become great friends and would exchange parenting stories and emails.
Reality Strikes
We picked the girls up from school, drove to Waco, and had an early supper at Chuy's.  My first time at Chuy's and I was impressed.  Good food, good service, reasonable prices.  Loved the creamy jalapeno and boom-boom sauces.  After stuffing our guts, Jones and Annie changed into their Francesca t-shirts. (Georgia had worn her's to school.)
We loaded up and made our way to Columbia Avenue Baptist Church.  VIP seating was at 5:30.  We were given our posters and put on our cool VIP pass lanyards and were shown to the front row.  I asked about the meet and greet session and was told that they weren't sure if that was going to happen, but that there would be an autograph line after the show.  My plans were already falling apart.
The concert wasn't supposed to start until 7:00.  Now we had five kids on our hands, 90 minutes to kill, plus three opening acts to get through until Francesca time.  Fortunately, I'm married to a woman who makes instant friends where ever she goes.  We met a lady and her seven-year-old daughter who had traveled from Roundrock with the same plans that we had.  The girls and moms spent the time playing and visiting with their new friends while I did my best to entertain the boys.  I was proud of the kids for their patience and good behavior.
Finally, the hour was nigh.
Concert Review
The church was a slightly smaller version of the Ryman Auditorium, my favorite concert venue. 
City Harbor, a guy and gal duo, opened the show.  Great acoustic sound accompanied by the drummer from Sidwalk Prophets playing a box with his hands and a suitcase and tamborine with foot pedals.  Their short set concluded with a great version of one of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. I liked them enough to by their 4 song EP after the show.  I wasn't sure what the girls thought of them at the time, but it was what Georgia and Annie wanted to listen to on repeat the next morning.
Here is their best song...
Andy Cherry was next.  I didn't like the looks of the guy when he came on stage, but by the end of the first song I was a fan.  Things got loud when he hit the stage.  I'd brought foam earplugs for the kids, but it was a little too loud for Annie and Loden.  She snuggled her hear against my chest and Leslie papoosed Loden against hers.  A one man show, he built his songs using looped guitar riffs and got the crowd involved and singing with him.  He had every one on their feet and finished his set with a roof raising version of Nothing But the Blood.
Sidewalk Prophets came on next and put on a great show.  The kids were more responsive to them since they were familiar with some of their songs from the radio.  They are a great rock-and-roll band.  Much better live and loud than they are on the radio.  I listened to their Live Like That CD all the way through today.  My favorite song is the one they opened with at the concert, Wrecking Ball.  Check it out....

Right after Sidewalk Prophets left the stage, Francesca strolled out by herself and kind of took everyone off guard.  You expect the headliner to have some big intro or something, but we looked up and there she was.  She thanked everyone for coming, then brought out her husband and they talked about World Vision and opportunities to sponsor children in third world countries.  I think this was a good time for my girls to see that Francesca was just a regular person with a husband and kids.  She left the stage and there was a 15 min intermission before her showtime.
By the time Francesca hit the stage with her band it was past bedtime for our kids, but they hung in there.  Annie and West spent most of the time in our laps.  Jones and Georgia and their new friend mostly just sat in their seats and stared with rapt attention as their favorite singer sang the favorite songs 10 feet in front of them.  She shared with the audience some personal stories about herself, her family, and some of the band members, and that it had been a stressful day personally.  Turned out that this was the 20th date on this particular tour. 
Just Frannie and her husband, Matt, while the rest of the band took a break.

Francesca and her band did a great job with every song.  Here's the last minute of "Free To Be Me".....
Reality Settles In
After the show we visited the merchandise tables and were told that Frannie was not feeling well and wouldn't be doing a welcome line or signing autographs. We did the potty shuffle and got everyone into their jammies and seatbelts and started for home around 10:45.
The kids all passed out soon after we left the parking lot and Leslie and I had 30 minutes of driving time to process things on the way home.  Whatever bitterness that had started to growing about not getting our meet and greet session melted to disappointment, then faded to understanding on our way home.  Francesca is a young mom with a son West's age and a daughter born a couple of weeks before Loden.  She'd been traveling around the country on a bus for over a month, had played in Oklahoma the night before, and would be playing another show in Indiana on Thursday.  We were dealing with the hassle of traveling 30 miles to Waco and a late bedtime for one night, while she was in the middle of a two month stretch of late nights away from home.  

I don't regret the time or money we spent taking the kids to the show.  Front and center seats were awesome.  It was a great time for all of us.  I was reminded of some things though:
Even sort of famous people are still people.
By default I'm the coolest daddy my girls have no matter what kind of tickets I can get.  They're stuck with me.
Being a mom is a hard job full of emotions that I can observe, but can't understand.
I love my wife.
My girls probably think that a $2 doughnut date before school is just as special as dinner out and a Francesca concert.

Friday, October 12, 2012


What with Pandora on my phone and a 37gigazillion mp3 player, I rarely put a CD in a player anymore.
But I found this one a while back and have been listening to it all week.  It's a mix-tape-cd that I gave to Leslie 10 years ago shortly before our engagement.
Scott Meyer said in one of his recent sermons on marriage, "Marriage isn't supposed to make you happy, it's supposed to make you holy."  Amen, Scott, but it sure is a lot more pleasant if you can have some happy too.  I've figured out that one of the keys to marital bliss is reminding myself of why I wanted to marry that girl in the first place, remembering what I was feeling when I took the time to chose a bunch of songs to put on a CD for her.
Here are a few of my favorite lines from some of those songs:

I've never been good with my thoughts and even worse with my words,
but you read like familiar poetry that I have never heard.
I wish I could tell you,
but I just can't find the words.    -from Sandra McCracken

 I've got my mind made up I've got to love you or leave you fast,
'cause I've been thinking straight but I don't know how long that will last. -from Derek Webb 

Now I know how the river feels when it reaches the sea,
and finally finds the place it was always meant to be.  -from Diamond Rio
I know you're wondering what else is on it, so here's the playlist with links to the youtubes of some of them.

Springtime Indiana- Sandra McCracken
For the Longest Time- Billy Joel
She's Always A Woman- Billy Joel
It Ain't Necessarily So- Willie Nelson
Rainbow Connection- Willie Nelson
Daring Daylight Escape- Derek Webb
Theme of Love- The Acappella Company
The Way You Make Me Feel- Michael Jackson
Now I Know How the River Feels-  Diamond Rio
Stand By Me- Ben E King
Robin and Marian- Nickle Creek
Jesus, Let Us Come to Know You- Dave Branson and Carrie Tungate

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yesterday Was A Good Day

Running down the rails last night I was thinking back over my day and was reminded of how blessed I am with my home and family.  Here's a review of my day:

I got home around 6 a.m. after a long night at work.
I spent some time with Blacker, who is recovering from her spay surgery.
Then I got to snuggle with Loden and watch him practice his smile skills after his breakfast.
Then I got to wake up my girls and fix breakfast for them.
When Leslie got home from taking Jonesy and Georgia to school it was my turn to go to bed.  Annie tucked me in.  She's the best tucker inner, snuggling, patting me, and talking about whatever comes to her mind.
I slept until 1:30, got up and had cookies and milk for breakfast/lunch.
We loaded up with the boys and went to pick Annie up from pre-school, went to HEB for gas, then to pick up Jonesy and Georgia from school.
After we got home, Georgia and Annie went with me to put gas in the pick-up and then to Walgreens to watch me get a flu shot.  They were impressed that I didn't cry.  We also purchased ice cream and candy bars to smash up for toppings for dessert.
When we got home, Leslie had to leave to go to a conference with Georgia's teacher.  No, she's not in trouble.
While Leslie was gone I fixed supper and the kids decorated our front yard for Halloween.  Jump ropes hanging from the tree, black crepe paper and orange duck tape stuck to everywhere they could get it to stick.
When Mama got home we had supper.
As we finished our meal I was ordered to go back to work.  After I got ready to leave for work we had our dessert.
I got a round of hugs and kisses before I left.
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