Warning: Extremely Long Catch Up Post!

Well, I’ve spent quite a bit of time moving all of my websites over to Midphase – and let me tell you, they are phenomenal! They’ve been great. It won’t be much longer and I’ll have all my old posts back. But, rather than make you wait for updates until then…I’ve decided to just jump right back in! Woo hoo! Let me catch you up with us!

Tony is currently in Missouri hunting. He’s got a farmhouse on 300 acres and an ATV all to himself as he tries to harness the Spirit of the Wild and bring home some backstrap! This is Tony’s annual birthday/anniversary gift and he’s been preparing for it for months! He made it up there in record time on Friday and has already been out in the stand. Here’s a shot he sent me from his phone this morning…

Tony strapped into his tree stand.

His business is keeping him super busy, but the recent upset on Wall Street has calmed down the frenzied pace a bit – just in time for his trip..ha ha! His hair is super long now (in a pony tail in the pic above). His newest fascination is Harley’s – and we’re looking at getting one in the next couple of years -AFTER I get a new car.

Amanda is doing great in school, getting help from me in her Computer Science class and acing her first essay test in Political Science. Hurricane Ike shut down Sam Houston for a couple of weeks but all is well and working there now. Amanda is working days as a receptionist and really likes her job. It also helps her pay for gas and trashy romance novels…not to mention minutes on her phone. We’re so proud of her! Serious boyfriend is no more – she broke up with him. I’m glad, as I didn’t think he treated her as well as I think she should be. (Poor child, I don’t think she’ll ever find anyone who makes both me AND her dad happy! ha ha!) She got her ear cartilage pierced with her friend Katherine, but she was good and followed my no facial piercing or tattooing rules. What can I say – she’s a good kid and understands how fanatic I am about NOT doing those things. Her big 2-0 birthday celebration is coming up soon!

Donny is doing really well in 6th grade. We decided to let him finish out at NJE this year instead of moving him to Burleson ISD. He joined the band and now plays the French Horn – quite well for a newbie, I might add. I’ll have to take some video and post it here for you to share in our afternoon ritual of French Horn practice. Here’s a pic of him with his horn.

My next generation of band nerd!

Donny and Caleb are now sharing a room and a brand new, super cool loft set up with 2 beds, dressers, and a computer table built in. They’ve done a pretty good job of not killing each other. Donny (and the other boys) will play basketball this winter. They finally wore their dad down and he agreed. That should be lots of fun and provide me with lots to blog about.

Zachary is attending Frazier Elementary – one of the newest campuses in our district, and he’s in 4th grade. His teacher, Ms. Blackstock is fabulous, the room is huge and full of great toys and learning tools. He can now sort index cards with numbers from 1-60. Just throw the pile on the table and he’ll line them up numerically. He wanted to watch a movie the other day and his DVD player wasn’t working.

Zach read Donny's math book for almost 2 hours!

So, he got one out of Donny’s room and managed to hook it up CORRECTLY to his TV! Can you believe it? He only missed one cord! I was astounded! He’s such a bright boy! He got commended on the reading TAKS last year. He’s still not eating a varied diet, but it’s on our list of things to tackle this year – along with naming body parts (I’m always worried when he’s in pain because he can’t tell me where it hurts). He’s now sleeping in the front room with Liam. That’s not working out as well as I’d like – mostly because of Liam being a stinker.

Caleb is loving third grade and he has a really patient teacher. He’s still trying to figure out how to be friends without being bossy. He’s still a super duper athlete and is excited about playing basketball. He’s disappointed that I wouldn’t let him play football this year, but he’s still very small for his age and I was afraid he’d get hurt. Sigh – next year I’ll let him play and just bite my nails the whole time.

He still struggles with having to do homework – he doesn’t like it. He reminds us a lot of TJ with the way he handles his school work. But I sit with him every day when i get home from work and we do it together. That helps keep him focused…and it gives him about an hour to run and play after school to burn off energy. His grades are good and his handwriting has improved immensely! Caleb turned the big 9 this August and acts like he’s going on 19…ha! (Lord help me, I’m not ready for that yet!).

Liam is still going 90-to-Nothin’ every day. So much energy, I wish I could bottle it and sell it. We’d be rich! He’s loving his new teacher and first grade. He’s doing so well. He’s lost several of his front teeth recently, and it’s funny to watch him try to eat. LOL. He LOOOVES to slurp spaghetti through those holes.

The big news for Liam along with having lost some front teeth is his behavior at school. He made it the entire six weeks with only two color changes, both of them minor and both for blurting out in class. What a phenomenal difference his ADHD medication has made. He had STRAIGHT A’s on his report card and he’s reading on a 3rd grade level in the 1st grade! We’re so proud of our little man!

That just leaves me…mom. I’m doing really well. My job was moved into another department at work, so there’s been a lot of adjusting and figuring out what will be different and what will be the same. I’m working with 8 really great ladies, so it’s all good. In 2008 I’ve already been to Austin, Galveston, and Boston. I’m missing another trip to Galveston to have surgery. I’ll be having surgery on October 16th and will be flat on my back for a while. Tony’s mom is going to come in and help, and Amanda. I love my girl, she’s so sweet…even if she did laugh at the old granny looking robe I had to get to wear after surgery (had to button or zip up the front so the doctor can get to my incision). I’m a little nervous, especially since I’m rarely sick and rarely go to the doctor. I haven’t been in the hospital since Liam was born. Prayers are appreciated.

My sweetie even sent me roses at work at the start of my pre-op diet because he knew I was having trouble with the nasty protein shakes that are all I get to eat (thank God we found a better one). He’s been helping me get through this and I love him for his extra effort to be supportive. He’s positive that I’ll be alright and I’m believing him.

That’s it for the individual stuff…

Uncle Johnny, my older brother, is going to come and live with us at the end of the year. We’re going to have to do some bedroom rearranging and we’ll be really cozy, but we are all excited to have him in our home! The boys are so excited that he’s coming to live with us – I think they’re going to UNO him to death the first day! We’ll have to install a lock on his bedroom door to keep them out! Ha ha! I’ll post more as soon as we’ve got dates and stuff!

My Grandpa John suffered a serious stroke, but he’s recovering very well in Arizona. He’s my last grandparent and it’s been hard to know he’s sick and I’m so far away. He’s in physical therapy and I’m hoping that he’ll be better soon.

My Grandma Shirley passed away last month. I was so worried for my poor dad. He had just gotten back from looking after her in Las Vegas – he came home early to be with mom for the hurricane before Ike -and she passed that day. So…back to Vegas they went. It’s so sad to lose family members and know that all the stories and memories are gone with them.

On a more upbeat note – Tony’s grandma tuned 88 and we had a big party at Bonnie and Ollie’s. It was also Ollie’s 66th birthday…so there was all kinds of cake! ha ha! The brisket and chicken were great and the cousins had fun playing together. Good times.

Mom and Dad decided to stay home and weather Hurricane Ike. They did pretty good…lost the fence in the yard, and the roof lost enough shingles to cause some serious leaks and water damage, but all the people there were safe – and that’s what matters. Insurance isn’t going to cover the entire thing, but it will pay most of it.

And now….OUR VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!

We’ve reserved the villa and I paid to have the pool heated for our stay – I wanna swim in January! Woot! You can see the Disney fireworks from our pool. We’re going to spend 2 days at Disney for Zachary, a day at Sanibel Island for me, and we’ll probably spend a day or two at Universal Studios for the rest of the gang. There’s also this huge pirate dinner show that takes place on a ship…we’re thinking about that for one night as well. I should be recovered enough to do everything…God willing. . (I can’t seem to get the picture to come in right – hmm…oh well – here it is!) We’re hoping our best friends, The Hoskens, will be able to come over for dinner at least once since they’re only an hour or so away. I miss my girl Cindy!

Our Villa
Da Pool!

Of course, this isn’t just any run of the mill vacation…this is our freedom celebration. We will be free of the ex forever (legally anyway) on January 25th – so that’s the first day of our vacation. I’ll be starting the first night weenie/hamburger roast fire with copies of the divorce/custody agreements. Woot! No more lies, no more false accusations (and you know it son, shame on you for hurting us just to get your way), and no more melodramatic declarations of maternal love! We can’t wait. We’re taking the boys out of school for a week and Amanda is coming too – she’s been helping me plan the whole thing…it’s been fun (you’ll see the part she picked herself in a sec).

My mom and dad and older brother John are all coming to stay at the villa with us ( the

Our private fishing dock.

house sleeps 12). There’s a full kitchen and laundry room, a game room with a pool table and air hockey, and an Xbox for the kids. They’ve even got bikes and fishing tackle for Tony to fish off the private dock from the backyard. The house backs up to conservation land with a lake, there are snowy egrets, otters, turtles, and maybe we’ll see a GATOR! (I hope not – Liam would try to pet it! ha ha)  What more could you ask for?! We’ve saved for over a year and we’re really going to just enjoy ourselves and not have to worry about how much things cost. On the way home, we’re going to stop at Weeki Wachee for Amanda so she can see the live mermaid show (see – I told you she’d picked something just for her) – when she was little, she thought she WAS Ariel from The Little Mermaid. She was thrilled to find out they actually have a mermaid summer camp! ha ha!

Okay – this is probably the longest post EVER…but I just wanted to catch everyone up so I can go back to posting more regularly! Be sure to check out the gallery – I’ve updated that a ton! Okay – I’m off to enjoy my new jacuzzi tub in my newly renovated bathroom!

Love you!