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Month: October 2010

My girl broke a board. With her bare hands.

My girl broke a board. With her bare hands.

Actually my boy did too, but more on that in a minute.

Last week was their taekwondo belt testing ceremony and Savannah and Jacob were testing for their green belts.
To be honest, this is absolutely amazing video to me.

Savannah just boom … breaks a board in half.

Pretty impressive, huh?  
I think so anyway.
And here’s the thing … Jacob was in the very next group and he broke his board too.   There is however no video evidence of it.  They get five attempts to break their board.  Jacob tried twice and I videotaped those.  On the third I was so overcome with absolute terror that my baby wasn’t going to break the board that I stopped videotaping.  And then …. you guessed it … he whacked that board smack in half on the third try.
And here is what is most impressive about that  …  the boards are two different thicknesses … one for students under 60 pounds and one for students over 60 pounds.  When they handed Jacob his board they said … “over 60”.  Now, I may not be great on details, but I DID know that my boy didn’t weigh 60 pounds.  57 fully clothed.  
And I thought about raising my hand and saying … “NO, wait, you’ve got it wrong”.  But I didn’t.  I would have said something if he hadn’t broken it by the fifth try (that would have resulted in a no pass) but I kept quiet.  Now he is even more proud that he broke the “BIG” board.  

Here is the proof (it wasn’t until he was going to sit down that I regained my composure enough to even snap a picture):

 I do have this video of Jacob doing one of the “green belt” moves:

And I guess this is a pretty good move because this morning as we waited on the bus to come (we watch for it to round the corner from inside the house and YES, just so you know, that is because I still have my pajamas on and the bus stop is at my driveway), Jacob begged me to let he and Savannah wait outside by themselves.  When I told him no, he replied … “BUT MOM, no one is going to get us …. we’re GREEN  belts”.

You’ve been warned.


Bicycle built for 2

Bicycle built for 2

Yesterday we picked the contractor for our new house.  It was such a relief and we felt really good about our decision.  So good that we decided to go on a family bike ride. Bill and the younger kids rode to the park while I dropped Caroline off for a school project work session and then came back to meet the others.

There was a fence barring the bike trails.  Bill had left a message for me to go around the fence … which I did … but I never saw the “dirt trail” he told me to follow after that.  

It was not for lack of trying.  I looked, I called … I never found them.  So I came home and made a dinner and waited for my hungry crew to come home.

We love a good bike ride and it reminded me that last week I was thinking about tandem bikes.  Someone mentioned them to me and I said … “I wrote an article about tandem bikes for Home Life magazine one time.”  

It was basically a tandem bike as a metaphor for marriage story.  I went and looked on the blog to send this person the link and couldn’t find it anywhere.  

I could have sworn that I had posted it once but I guess I didn’t.

But all that is about to change, because I’m posting the link here now …

It’s a beautiful day for a ride!  I’m even wearing my “I Biked the Golden Gate Bridge” t-shirt (it’s actually a coincidence .. please don’t get the idea that I’m dressing to match my blog because that would just be weird).  🙂

Bloggers take their kids to pumpkin patches … it’s what we do.

Bloggers take their kids to pumpkin patches … it’s what we do.

We drive right past a pumpkin patch each day as we go to and from school.  And as soon as the pumpkins are unloaded (Jacob’s Boy Scout troop helped unload this year!), the begging begins for us to go pick out a pumpkin. 

So Monday we made good on our “we’ll go soon” promise.  I’m hoping the fact that those pumpkins are now sitting by our front door makes our home look warm and welcoming and cozy so someone will buy it!!!!  (please).

Plus I needed pumpkin pictures for the blog. 

All the bloggers have pumpkin patch pictures, right?

We took lots of pics:

And had a good time.
Bill showed up which made things even better…

I took lots of fun pics:

But this picture I REALLY love … cheesy painted board with face cut outs and all … because Jacob’s little face is tilted towards Bill … just like it always is … and I think it’s really, really sweet.

Hope you are enjoying fall wherever you are!  And if you have pretty trees with falling leaves where you live … go jump in a pile of those leaves for me.  This Arkansas girl gets homesick for some fall “color” down here in ever green Houston.
A Mama Bear and her Cub …

A Mama Bear and her Cub …

Brittany flips all the time.  

Over every piece of furniture we have, on the trampoline … and since she was about 3 years old she has literally, LITERALLY been climbing the walls.  

When she was three, her gymnastics teacher at her preschool told me after class one day that he thought Brittany needed more than what he could offer her.  He said she was a natural.

So we found a new gym for her.  It was a great gym but it was competitive in “show team” gymnastics.  I always assumed she’d go the “show team” route.  Because that was the natural path at that gym.

And when she achieved the level to try out for the team she said … “no thank you”.  She wanted to compete … individually.

I was shocked and knew what she wanted to do would change a lot of things about our family.  But she was determined and she had a dream and she wanted to pursue it.

Trust me, we have never pushed her on this.  She pushes herself, plenty.

So, 14 months ago we went in search of a new gym.  A competition gym.  We tried two gyms for a week each and let Brittany make the call as to where she felt the most comfortable.  Fortunately for us she picked the one almost right by our house.

They work her hard.  REALLY hard.  She practices day after day, hour after hour. 

The first year they were required to go three days a week but she opted for the “extra” 4 hours of training on Saturdays as well.  

This year she went to four days a week and has never complained.

Until Wednesday.  She told me she didn’t feel like going which was weird.  Later that evening she asked if I could take her to the doctor the next day.

I was kind of sad she had to ask me to take her … I mean, shouldn’t I recognize that she needed to go?!?  But she suffers from seasonal allergies and I just thought they had gotten the best of her.

Until her doctor diagnosed her with walking pneumonia.

And here’s the deal … she had two more days in the gym before her final district gymnastics meet which, if she did well, would qualify her for South State.

And those two days in the gym were required … if you miss one day on a meet week you are automatically scratched from the meet, gym rules.

I told the doctor she had gymnastics and he said … “no she doesn’t”.

I told him she had a big meet (as in HUGE) and if she didn’t compete she had to wait another entire year before she could compete again for state.

He thought about it and looked straight at Brittany and said …”you are not going to be 100% on Saturday.  You rest the next two days … NO gym … start a Z pack and let your lungs heal and if you feel you can compete on Saturday, then you have my blessing.”

After a quick lunch, we drove straight to the gym to tell the owners of the gym.  Turns out they were gone for the day.  We called and left a voice mail for her coach and waited to see what they would say.

About two hours later we got the news:  “Due to your illness we feel it is in your best interest to scratch you from Saturday’s meet”.

And with that they ripped her dream right out from under her.

She handled it better than I think I ever would have … in fact, better than I did.  Bill said he had never seen me like that.  The only way I know to describe it is that my “cub” had a beautiful fish she was about to eat.  I had taken the cub fishing for years, I had watched the cub learn to fish and just as she was about to take a bite, someone snatched the fish out of her hands.

And mama bears don’t take kindly to that kind of thing happening to their baby cubs.

Thankfully Papa Bear handles situations like this much better than I do.

Bill called the coach and agreed that Brittany’s health was everyone’s greatest concern.  None of us wanted to put her in jeopardy at all … being on the bars or beam in full health is scary enough.  But after some “discussion” they agreed not to scratch Brittany.  The plan was to let her rest Thursday and Friday and let her warm up on Saturday.  If the coaches (or Bill) didn’t think she looked good then she would be pulled.  There would be next year.

And Brittany rested.  And did routines in her head.  And took her Z pack.

And Saturday morning Brittany held on to the beam, stuck her landings, rocked some routines and posted her very best scores OF THE ENTIRE SEASON.

And Brittany made it to South State.

One of her coaches on Saturday jokingly said she should get sick more often.  Tonight when she went to the gym some of the other coaches who weren’t there told her she shocked them all.  When I asked the lady at the front desk (who had heard Brittany’s hacking cough on Thursday when we went by the gym) if she heard she got to compete nodded and said … “and I heard it was the best she’s ever done.”

Yes, my cub ate her fish.

And it was delicious.


There is always the land line …

There is always the land line …

OH the honeys.

We laugh and we laugh and we laugh and we laugh.  

Especially when I’m holding my phone up in the air trying to find a cell phone signal and expressing dismay that I can’t call Bill.  Without missing a beat Michelle turns and points to a phone sitting on a table and says … “you can always use a land line.”  

Oh yeah.

A land line.  I completely forgot those existed.

We howled.  I mean, who have we become that we forgot we once all used phones with cords that were attached to the wall or sitting on a table?  You know, the kind you have to actually get up to go answer and can’t walk around the house carrying?  

AND, get this … we never knew who was calling us in Hilltop when the phone rang.  No caller ID.  It was like the land before time out there.

We’ve come a long way baby.

We spent a whole weekend with 4 cell phones and no cellular signal and one land line.

We did just fine.

The phone was not the only technology challenge we faced during the weekend.  We also spent time we can never get back trying to figure out how to work the DVD player.  But we finally saw “Letters to Juliet” without it stopping every few minutes and I THINK someone actually put notes in their phone to remind us next year how we made it work.

I should mention that I use the word “we” very loosely here.  I just watched.  I don’t know the first thing about DVD players.  The whole thing seemed kind of overwhelming to me.  (I had to type that because it will make the honeys laugh).  

Anyway … we had a wonderful time.  It does my soul good to know there are three people in the world like Debra, Michelle and Carol.  We are so different but so the same.  I know God hooked us up in life and I thank Him that he keeps us together.

Because we really do have a good time.

Even when our cell phones don’t work!

Little things ..

Little things ..

I am packing up in just a bit to head out of town for the annual “Hilltop Honeys” trip.  We have traditionally gone in February but decided to move it up this year because it always conflicted with basketball and there are only so many carpools Bill can drive alone.  
Besides, in February one of the honeys, Michelle, is hoping to meet the daughter her family is adopting from China.  EXCITING!
It looks like it is going to be a beautiful weekend which MIGHT mean we actually get dressed and go for a walk.  Maybe.  Don’t hold your breath.

There are some moments from this week though that I want to remember … aside from the throwing of all manner of stuff into my washer and dryer in an attempt to hide it, placing dirty dishes on top of clean ones in the dishwasher to hide them, etc.
One moment was holding hands with Jacob as we walked into Walmart to get a new bike for him.  He has been without “wheels” since an unfortunate blow out during the 4th of July parade.  He was outgrowing it anyway so we “upsized”.  There was talk of waiting until Christmas, but the weather is so perfect now for some rides we went ahead and got it.  It took him all of about 5 seconds to point to the bike and say “that’s the one I want”.  And the expression on his face and the excitement of his spirit was so completely evident.  And I don’t know how much longer it will be “ok” to hold my hand and pull down on my arm as he does a little hop … and I don’t want to forget the joy of that moment.

Or the moment when … after finding out, unfortunately, that Brittany has walking pneumonia … celebrating the fact that it is “walking” as we “walked” into her very favorite burger joint and had lunch just the two of us.  Unhurried.  Soaking in the sunshine. Grateful for some rest.

Or watching this girl delight in picking out a pumpkin after her dance class …

I never want to forget to enjoy the ordinary of the every day.

Everything in it’s place ..

Everything in it’s place ..

If there was a game show where they give a homeowner one hour or less to get their home ready to “show” to a buyer … well, I totally think I could win.

Especially now that my closet is clean.  🙂

A CUTE young couple came to see our house tonight.  I dropped the kids off at church and raced home and did the craziest kind of cleaning you have ever seen.  And minutes before they arrived I had no idea what to do with the clear plastic container that is otherwise known as my shoe holder right now.  

So I took it outside and put it by the air conditioner.

I couldn’t think of anywhere else … which HELLO, the garage!

I never envisioned that in the dark of night the “prospective home buyer” would want to go look at the air conditioner.

I mean, it’s a big box.  And I told him the unit was new.

Seriously, look at my beautiful candles burning, look at my pretty closet but the a/c?!?

When he came in I said … “guess you saw my shoe box!”

He looked at me like I was nuts so I dropped it.

Bill told me later he saw me go out there and he came behind me and put it in … THE GARAGE.
Bless him … he’s my completer.  

The funniest was right before they came Bill was going through the house announcing  … “CLEAN SWEEP, CLEAN SWEEP” as he went through each room surveying it’s “readiness”.  

He’s really trying to sell the house.  I felt like I was at summer camp and they were doing the whole “clean cabin contest”.

Which reminds me …. I forgot to tell you this but it TOTALLY cracked me up … the other day when I was, I don’t know … PLAYING WORDS WITH FRIENDS IN MY CLOSET … when I was supposed to be cleaning …. well, every time Bill “caught” me he would yell … “SMOKE BREAK”.  It it made me die out laughing because when we moved from Nashville to Houston the movers that were packing our stuff literally … I kid you not … worked about 30 minutes and then yelled “SMOKE BREAK” and sat around doing nothing … sometimes not even smoking … for quite awhile.  So, for the last 15 years every so often we’ll yell … SMOKE BREAK …. just for grins.

Trust me … I took more than my fair share of smoke breaks on Sunday.  Except I don’t smoke.

Several of you emailed me suggestions, comments, etc. on the closet post … and a few asked for a picture.  I’m kind of embarrassed to show you because it’s still not any great thing, but you asked and you shall receive.

The important thing to note is that you can see the floor.  

I must have gotten closet inspired because the next day I tackled Brittany’s.  I thought it was so cute because I noticed the next day that she had set her shoes on the bottom of her closet (instead of under her bed where they usually are).  Again … I think it had to do with the fact that the floor is now visible.

I would show you Savannah’s too but I think my smoke break went a little long and it’s not quite so pretty.  It’s getting there though.

Anyway … the cute couple seemed to like it.  They told me they had a puppy which is what Bill and I had when we moved here.

A puppy, a couch and chair, and not much else.

And through the years we’ve added furniture, kids, 2 fish (RIP)  … and a whole bunch of stuff … but most importantly we’ve packed in a lot of love and laughter into these walls.

And we’re totally taking that with us.

The closet cleaning didn’t go well …

The closet cleaning didn’t go well …

First of all, a big thank you to Christopher Columbus for finding America and providing the day off for many an American.

Unfortunately Bill Baerg was not one of those Americans with the day off which was a bummer for me.  Because I like having him around.

Except when he makes me clean my closet.

Which is exactly what he did on Sunday and is why, come Monday, I was so grateful to old Chris Columbus because, let’s be honest … I needed a break after that exercise.


The man was relentless.  I came up with every excuse in the book for why another day would be better for the closet cleaning.  He told me it looked like my closet had thrown up and if we are ever going to sell our house, the situation would have to be remedied.  

He had a point.  A very valid point.

I just didn’t really have the skills or personal fortitude I needed to make it all happen.

Until he forced me.  Basically he said I couldn’t come out of our room until it was finished.

HOSTAGE SITUATION is what I almost posted on facebook, but thought it better that I not for fear someone would show up and actually see the mess that was my closet.

So I pulled out, culled through, organized, spruced up, you know … tried to make it look like I don’t use it!

I did draw the line with color coordinating my clothes which is exactly what Bill Baerg does with his clothes.  I think it’s good if I hang it up … putting it back in it’s proper color rotation is a little over the top if you ask me.  (Caroline actually inherited the clean closet thing from Bill.  Her closet is a thing of beauty.  Mine … not so much).  Every now and then I’ll hang up one of his, let’s say, blue shirts in the orange section … just to spice things up.  I’m annoying that way.

Throughout the afternoon he found me:

1.  Playing Words with Friends on my phone in the closet.

2.  Telling him I needed a nap … it was like tiredness was overtaking me.  Begging for a nap … and I’m not even a napper but on Sunday … I felt the need.

3.  Sitting in the corner of my closet wondering how it had gotten that bad

4.  Wondering aloud what the rest of the world was doing that was more fun that cleaning out a closet

But alas, I persevered.  I completed the task set before me.

Kind of. 

There is still a stack of “rubble” if you will that I don’t know where to put.  That is my project for this afternoon.

After I play Words with Friends.

So, home buyers of the world … come on by … my closet looks good.

And I don’t know how long it will last … so please HURRY!

Why of course …

Why of course …

Brittany has been reading the book “Where the Red Fern Grows” for her Language Arts class.  

Raise your hand if you cried when you read that book.

I totally remember our teacher reading us the book out loud 
in 6th or 7th grade.  

And all the girls crying.

I didn’t cry but then again, that was before I had loved and lost a dog.  

As a side note, I miss Looper so much.  Bill has been on the road 4 nights a week for the last three weeks.  I think I miss her more when he is gone.  It has absolutely nothing to do with protection (seriously, once she lost her hearing protection was low on her list of things to do) … but it has everything to do with companionship.  I stayed up until 1:00 am grading midterms exams last night and  I wanted my dog at my feet more than you can know.

But enough about me and my sad dog story – back to the book.

In school now the students are required to “annotate” the book while they read.  (This means I have to buy four copies of this book over the years since you have to annotate a fresh copy.)  This is what the page looks like that has been read:

Last week when I had Brittany’s backpack in the car … remember that? … well, she had a packet of questions to answer from this book.  They were hard questions and you had to cite the page number that you found the answer.  I assured her that I would help her find the pages when I got home.  It was the least I could do for her!

As she wrote stuff I flipped through the book looking for the correct page numbers for her (our) answers.  🙂  On p. 98 (now I can’t help but cite page numbers),  Brittany had written this:

Why of course God helped.

I looked to see what she had written that in reference to and saw that the main character, Billy, had asked …  “Do you think God heard my prayer?  Do you think He helped me?”

The book goes on …

Papa looked at the ground and scratched his head.  In a sober voice, he said, “I don’t know, Billy.  I’m afraid I can’t answer that.”

And that is where Brittany had written it … “why of course God helped.”

Like duh.

On that night where Brittany thought her world was crashing in … right there in the book she had written it … “of course God helped.” 

Of course.

Y’all, I loved it.  It meant so much to me that she had that confidence in her God and that she had written it down on paper.

In fact, I totally don’t mind now that I had to pay $6.99 at the book fair to buy the book even though Caroline still had her old copy.

And here’s the deal … I have a friend right now who is praying.  And she knows … she knows God can help.  She knows He could answer her prayer.  She knows He could allow this treatment to lessen her symptoms of MS.

My friend is Debbie Bertrand.  She came to the South Main Baptist event last week and it was like having family there for me.  In fact, her husband Larry was the one who suggested the church invite me to speak.  He keeps telling me he wants a finders fee.  

I’ve been meaning to take him some of my candy corn.  🙂

Debbie was our director when Bill and I taught 6th grade Sunday School a few years back.  My favorite part about teaching was that I got to see her every week.  She had so many pearls of wisdom.  Debbie and Larry have raised three incredible men.  When Debbie began suffering from the symptoms of MS Larry started doing Debbie’s hair for her.  He even, this is huge, went to her stylist and learned how to style with a flat iron so he could do her hair “just right”.  

Y’all, if the sacrifical love of that act right there doesn’t make you want to bawl cry like you just heard Old Yeller died, well then I don’t know what to say.  

I think it’s beautiful.

And this Sunday, Debbie is flying to Mexico for an experimental treatment.  It is rigorous but the effects of it could change how she is able to do life dramatically.

I have written Debbie’s name on every day of my calendar for next week.  Every time I see it or she is put on my mind I want to lift her up in prayer.  Please join me.

To read more about what will happen or to follow along with each day of her treatment, you can visit her blog at  

Pray for Debbie.  Pray for the treatment to work.  Pray for Larry as he cares for her.

The verse at the top of Debbie’s blog is this:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Debbie is joyful.  She prays continually.  She gives thanks in all circtumstances.

And if you asked her if God could help … well she’d say:

“Why of course God could”.


Boys will be boys … and girls will watch football!

Boys will be boys … and girls will watch football!

So far this year we had to cancel our family vacation due to high school volleyball.  Then Caroline and I had to change a flight due to high school volleyball.  The coaches told us … “don’t make plans for Labor Day” and then this week we got an email that said … “we will practice on Columbus Day” even though it is a school holiday.

I think they are really serious about that volleyball stuff.  Yikes.

Last weekend Brittany had a gymnastics competition on Friday night and Jacob’s soccer game for Saturday morning was canceled.  Savannah had a game but after some discussion we decided we’d had enough of our lives being ruled by sports schedules.

And so we went to a football game.  (YES, I see the irony!)

It was a girls trip to go watch football! 

Jacob and Bill went on their first ever Boy Scout campout.  It had been planned as a family campout but Bill said … “I think it might be nice to go just us boys this time” … and really … who am I to argue with THAT?!?!?).  

Here they are at the campout (and no, I have never seen anything cuter, thanksforasking):

About the time Bill made that decision, someone offered us four tickets to the Baylor/Kansas football game.  How perfect was that … because it just so happened that four is exactly how many we needed.

So Saturday morning we loaded in the car and headed to Waco.

I love SO MUCH hearing the words “Baylor” and “Touchdown” spoken together.  And Saturday I lost track of the number of times they said it but it was a lot!  It’s hard to see on here but the score was 55-7!  I realize Kansas is not having a good year but still … the Bears looked good.

One of the big excitements was getting to see my friend Susan Pratt’s son get put into the game.  I had sent Susan a text asking her if she wanted me to yell “Put in 34!  Put in 34!!” since we were sitting pretty close to the field.  But, as it turned out, I didn’t have to yell that … he went right in and assisted in a tackle.  

“Assisted in a tackle” is the most sports like thing I think I have ever said.  Someone tell Bill.  Actually I think he knows because the other day he asked me why I had a “college football” sports app on my iphone.  I told him so I would know who was playing, what the score was, etc. and he didn’t say anything but I’m pretty sure it was a highlight moment for him.

After the game we did the requisite campus tour:

This picture was my favorite – Savannah had no idea her sisters were having a crazy moment:

Don’t worry, we took a regular one too:

It is probably against the law to leave Waco without a milkshake from Healthcamp so we went there on the way out of town.  I told the girls about how Bill and I had eaten there back in the day but I’m pretty sure they just rolled their eyes and gulped down their shakes.

And we came home and slept in our beds and showered in our showers and waited on the stinky campout boys to come home!