Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Friday, December 26, 2014

And the MOTHER of the Year award goes to........


Just going to take the birthday kids out for a movie and pizza with a friend.

Just going to do that.

No biggie, buy some tickets, get some seats, eat some popcorn, watch a good movie....

No biggie, right?

Here's the thing.  I heard Screen 1.  I had tickets that said Screen 1.  Screen 1 was showing the PG rated Annie.  That was the plan.

What my old eyes saw over that door was 1......yes.....1.     Not 7.  Heavens no.

So enter my 2 tween girls,  my 2 11 year old boy companions, and the 5 year old boyfriend that spits on  me whilst he speaks, and is solidly glued to my hip at all times. 

We are arriving right as the movie is supposed to start, so I'm a bit dismayed that the previews have already started......

and more dismayed that the theater is at capacity, and we will have to sit in the front row.

As we sit down, and I am trying to get the 5 year old's icee "drink ready", I hear a word that should NOT be in a movie preview at a PG movie.

I look up to the screen just in time for a naked man to kiss an equally naked lady's toe, then inject drugs into her vein in her foot.  And instead of getting their popcorns and drink "Movie Ready", the 5 children in-my-care  have their pure, untainted eyes glued to the giant screen in front of them. 

I.AM.HORRIFIED.   I glance over to my neighbor and urgently whisper, "IS THIS ANNIE?", to which he spits out his popcorn and spews pop out his nose and laughingly whispers back, 'UHM, NO."

He didn't have to spew pop out his nose... I got it.

About that time, companion of my 11 year old has abandoned his seat and is rushing to the door.  I grab his arm and say, "Get your stuff, we are out of here".

I think he was going to call his mom on his brand new smart phone and rat me out.

But no.  As we head toward the correct theater, all of us speechless from the trauma I have inflicted on them, and me, head swimming thinking of all the therapy I'm going to have to pay for 1...2..3...4..5 children and MYSELF..... the companion adds,  "I'm NEVER telling my mom what just happened".


I try to salvage the "party" and in we trot to Annie.   Annie?  Really?   Foster care, mean foster parent, system issues, no hope for Annie?   Have I lost my ever loving senses?

Therapy for 1...2...3... kids, please. 

When it was over, and I was crawling to the car....Steven offered,  "That was the best movie, ever, Lolly".

Stinkin' little liar. 

Pizza followed, and the Downs Christmas lights in Norman, and we sang entirely too loud in the car, and I promised them that I would take them to a better R rated movie next time.

All in all, a super successful day.

It ain't easy being me. 

Christmas 2015

Christmas was just a huge success this year.  I had several people rally to help me gather gifts and good tidings for my tribe, (since December is my lean, horrendous month in sales) and boy did my friends come through.

Lacey (knowing my shortage of funds), asked me to write her a "love letter".  I wrote one in my head about a dozen times, and on my search of the attic for our Christmas "ortaments" (kip'ineese) I ran across Lacey's "Kid" box that I had all her handprints, school work, Jim Paul dance recital tshirts, baby shoes, etc, and lo, and behold, a little journal I had started for her shortly after Kip was born. 

I was a blogger, even before I knew what blogging was.  My life turned upside down in 1991, and I managed to write in her book from 1989-1991, and it had a few wonderful memories tucked in its' pages. 

I added a 2014 postlude to it, and wrapped it for my girl.

She was a mess.  To say it was a great success was an understatement. 

I love little surprises you find at the exact perfect second. 

She added pics to my wall of kids (in my hall), so now my wall hall of fame has expanded 100%.  I'm guessing I can't adopt anymore kids, or I need to get a bigger wall.

It was a great day.

 Steven cleaned up
 I had a dream of us all baking cookies and handing them out to the neighbors.  It was Hallie, who made 6 dozen sugar cookies, and I'm pretty sure 3 dozen of them are still in the kitchen as we speak.  Movies won out over neighborly love.  Well, I tried. 

 Bubba jumped on his reindeers and came from Edmond to hang with the slovenly, all we do is eat, family and this was Lacey's "Original Jackson" family picture.  Mom's worn that sweatshirt about 20 christmases now.  It's ok, I've worn that Yankees shirt for about 15, and I don't even watch baseball. 

 G-dog loved her stuff, and we had a fashion show of all her new clothes, she looked quite spiffy, I might add.

 Lacey & Hallie played Hannah Montana Mall Madness (a gift from Christmas past), and Tyler decided he needed in on the action, and beat them handily. (who knew he was such a mall shopper?)

 This little boy (with his fresh haircut) cleaned up on the toy end.  We aren't even sure how to play this toy, but he sure likes it.

 But really, in the end, all you need is a good set of reindeer ears to make the day complete.  And, oh, a really cute 5 year old vietnamese boy to wear them.

Deaton cleaned up.   He got several fun bibs, and some onesies, and the reese's butter cups may be for his mama, but he will benefit too.  You're welcome, grandson...already sending you candy in utero.   Love, Lolly.

Seriously, I can't even begin to tell you what a great day.  We watched good movies (The Hundred Foot Journey), intense movies (The Maze Runner),  RIDICULOUS movies (Guardians of the Galaxy), and ate 200 bowls of soup, 1000 sour gummies, and two bags of chips. 

It's a wonderful life.  It truly, surely is. 

What a Week!

I've been so remiss in writing, I have a BUNCH of stuff to report.

The biggest and BEST news to report.....on the Grandma front..........

Oh HECK yes,

Tyler and Lacey found out on Friday that the sweet little bean is indeed a boy bean.  I had long suspected it, but Tyler wanted a girl so bad, that I didn't want to squash his dream.  :)  But ole Lolly knew.  What everyone probably doesn't understand though, the constant worry that Lacey lives under.  Everyone is luckily oblivious to "things that can go wrong" in their pregnancies, and they move blissfully aware, of how very very lucky they are.  Lacey and Tyler met with a geneticist before the ultrasound, where thankfully, the doctor was someone that knew Lacey's background, in fact, he was the same guy that urged us to "terminate" when we first found out about Laynie.

Before the ultrasound, he decided to share with Lacey that she indeed, was a carrier of the gene that Laynie carried.  If Tyler was a carrier as well, another Laynie could happen.  Can you even imagine Lacey's instant worry?  I had prayer warriors all over it, and in under an hour, the doctor had scoured the images, and Deaton Alan Holt was deemed perfection.  (duh).   He will bring so much JOY in our homes, I just can't hardly wait for May 5 to get here, so the spoiling can commence!!

On the Hallie front, she was awarded Norman Athletic Asssociation Volleyball Student Athlete for Norman North (along with Audrey Alford, our senior setter, who has a full ride to OU, and was also named Gatorade's Player of the Year for Oklahoma.)  So a very big, exciting honor for our sophomore.

She's been having horrible trouble with her ankles hurting, and after a quick visit to her orthopedic, found out she has her father's feet, and she walks on the inside of her arches.  We will have to see a podiatrist and get some inserts for her shoes, and maybe some Miss America walking lessons from Shelley Swope Wall and she should be good to go.

Gina turned 14 this week, and she continues to grow and mature.  So proud of this pretty girl.

As we move toward Christmas, (with alarming acceleration) I am thankful for our continuing health, the kids excellent attitude toward school, and their wonderful choice in friends.  All blessings..

And this little sunshine cutie turns 11 on the 26th.....

Merry Christmas one and all!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hallie Bo Ballie Fee Fi Fo Fallie

This big ole drink of water...

(thanks Katie Begley for the funniest picture ever, and the perfect shot of her Ugh face)

The volleyball playing, hard working, big ole chick has hurt her ankle.  Not a rollie type sprainy type of pain, but a searing drop her to her knee type of pain.

To say I am stressed out of my head (even more than usual now) about this new development.....


Please pray for this kid.  Complete and utter healing. 

If anyone can do it, my prayer warriors can.

 Cause we need her doing this full out, without falling on the ground in pain.

Thanks for always loving and supporting this crazy "lil" gal..

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December and Faith

Every single December I feel this way.

But, it shows up every year. 

And every year I stress and stress and stress and stress through December.  

It's just awesome.  (where is my sarcasm font?)

It's in December when I really yearn for a partner to share life (and worries) with.  

It's in December that I feel my most alone. (even though I'm surrounded by hungry kids, needing food constantly).  

It's just a bummer month for me, people.  

I read my bible today, and I am in the book of Hebrews.  The entire chapter was on FAITH.  

Showed me example after example of how FAITH will get you through, even the darkest of hours.  

I like to think that I am a woman of faith.....but when I lay my financial worries at God's feet, and 

surrender them, I will be double dogged, ding dong danged, if I don't rush right back up to Him, and 

grab them back,  

I don't know why I am in the severe desert of testing that I am in now....I haven't blogged much lately, I haven't shared my worries with too many people, but I need your prayers.  

And I need to expand my faith, and not let FEAR take me over.  

Prayers, please.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekend review

This week, I had a little vietnamese boy turn 5 years old.  Now, he can't remember that he turned 5...he knows it's his birthday, but he can never remember how old he is.

No matter how many times we tell him.....he never remembers.


I found this on my ipad.  His first attempt at a selfie.  Cracked me up.

That was Monday.

Tuesday was a big day.  A ton of surprises at my work, left me in shock and reeling, so having Hallie singing in a fall concert choir thing, helped smooth me out.  Seeing her in a long black dress with pearls, curls in her hair and red lipstick, (instead of volleyball spanx and a ponytail) helped right my day.

I don't think they have many 6'2" singers.  So her dress didn't drag the ground??  Who cares??

Volleyball regionals happened this week.  We were lucky enought to get to host it at home this year, so that meant we had home court advantage, and I got to work in the concession stand.  (can't let that higher education, food handlers license.....go unworked).   We played Lawton and Moore.  We smeared 'em.  It was epic.

Here's the link to the the neat write up they had in the newspaper..... Hallie had a spectacular showing in the first game against Lawton.  She had 16 kills with a .94 average....., you can see for yourself    
Or if you have 18 minutes, you can watch the whole game.  :)

Now we move on to state (playing in Shawnee on Friday) against the Edmond teams.  We have yet to beat any of them.  We've taken a set here and there with them, but taking the match?  Not so much.  So we will play Edmond North first, and if by some miracle in heaven we pass and hit like we did against Lawton, we might have ourselves a match on Friday.  If not, we can hold our head up high and look forward to next season.  Meanwhile, we break for about a month, and then club volleyball starts (practice), with games starting in January again.   So, on we march.

Saturday, we had a fun SUPERHERO party for Zachary, and the Super fam from Shawnee (aka Lacey and Tyler) and we had fun playing in our super hero tshirts, and ate soup, took pictures and ran to the movies to see Alexander and the horrible, terrible, no good day...(which we all loved, and give 5 exuberant thumbs up)

 We now have a ninja in the house......Thanks to his older sister and brother in law.  "I a ninja".  And yes he wore it to the movie.

We are a really special bunch.  I especially love Lacey's small writing on her shirt (Laynie's sidekick).  

And yes, we went in public like that.  I did leave my ninja mask at home though.  It's hard to see out of it.  

And today we went to hear our buddy Kannon's wish from Make a Wish foundation, and they will be going to DISNEYWORLD over Christmas.  I'm pretty sure that would be my wish too, if Make a Wish ever notices me.  :)  Actually, I'd spend the whole time at Harry Potter's place at Universal.  For real.  Alas, I have kids in a single mom's world, so that will never happen.  Sigh....

So everyone have a great week, and I am going to try to be vigilant -er in writing more.  Steven starts basketball this week, and that should be a hoot.  Small world, Carl's cousin Jim Jarvis is his coach...... that makes me oh so very happy.  I adore me some Jarvis family.

On to the next........

Monday, September 29, 2014


In case you didn't hear.......


Yep, that happened.  Lacey messaged me and said,  "Look, we have a bean!"  to my excited reply,  "I LOVE beans!!!"  Due to arrive around my birthday, May 2015.  That is the best birthday present EVER.

Kip and Brandon are settling in to their married life.  They sold the 2 door BMW and bought a "MOCHA" Honda Pilot (a familial vehicle) that fits the large granddog (she doesn't have to sit with her head out the sunroof.  :)  They've been putting in flower beds, and planning house renovations, it's just fun hanging out with these two.

Hallie has flat killed the dang thing in volleyball this month.  She won all-tournament at 2 of the 3 tournaments she played,   and has just continued to grow and learn this whole school season.  Thinking about the little non-hitting, "Where do I stand", player that we had just 3 seasons ago.....I am soooo  blown away by her determination and commitment to the game she truly lives, breathes and sleeps.  I'm looking forward to club season, and seeing how she continues to grow.  All very exciting.

Then my 3 take-outs.  I told you that I call my oldest 3 my "homemades" and the newest members, my "Take-outs" right?  Anyhoo.

In being transparent here, it's been hard.  Real hard.  It's ain't easy being me.

Gina has some real learning issues.  She is failing 3 classes in school this year.  And bottom line... she just can't read.  Period.  It's very very hard.

We vacillate back and forth with really great days, and really really sucky ones.  She's headstrong, moody, immature, loud, generous, big hearted, and loving.  Usually all within seconds of each other.  It's just exhausting.  It's growing up a teenager.  And even in the best of circumstances, this is a daunting task.

Steven is doing great in school, he's doing great in sports and just about every area.  He's a sunshine, big talker and really is the sweetest love.  I'd say if I had favorites, and all.....but since that's not even an option.....

Zachary will be the death of me.  He's about to turn 5, and informed me that he needed a new bed.  "This bed too small"  (which it probably is, but until we move.....not one thing I can do about it), so I told him, "Perhaps you quit peeing your pants at night, and we might see about getting you a big bed".  He solemnly thought about that for a minute and declared, "Well, that's never going to happen".  But then to my utter astonishment, he went pee-free for 3 weeks.    "Lolly, I quit peeing, I need a big bed".


I also chastised him the other day for just leaving his clothes laying all over the floor.  We had a big talk about where the dirty clothes go and where the clean clothes go.   Next morning or two I went in to wake him up and some pj's were laying on the floor from the day before.   I'm was all,  "HEY, what are these doing here".... to his (just woke up, mind you),  "Oh, I've been looking for those".  Little stink wad.

How will I ever make it?

Well, in May, this new little bean will have a 5 year old vietnamese uncle.

This little love will join a LOUD, exuberant crew and I, believe you me, CANNOT WAIT.

Nor can the new mommy....she sent me this text from the grocery store, along with emoticon feet and hearts....

Oh yeah.   

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Post #400 Running and Running and Running for Kannon

We pulled a TEAM HOPE together for Get Inspired's 2nd annual 5k yesterday because mainly it was to benefit our sweet friend Kannon and his parentals.  

I don't run.  Even when someone is chasing me, I kind of skip, fast walk.  Because, well, I ain't no runner.  If you ever see me running, call the police for sure. 

But yesterday, we won "Biggest Team" at the run and YEAH! we love to win that award!!!

Here are the 5k'r's ...
Minus Hallie.  Have no idea where she was. 
And ready, set, GO GO GO

 Ok, Zach is Kannon's daddy, so he is an honorary member of Team Hope, but he blew in first (from our Team Hope family) with a fantastic time of 26 minutes.  Wow.  
The first official member of Team Hope over the finish line was Steven, rolling in just seconds before Lee (in back of pic).  I was too busy trying to get my phone to work to get a decent picture of any of them, I'm really happy that Gina was johnny on the spot with the pictures.  She is handier than a pocket on a shirt.  

Here's Hallie.  She collapsed on the side and proceeded to toss her cookies.  It was a proud moment for me, and not at all embarrassing for her.  Did I tell you it was a whopping 44 degrees?  Yes, it's been 70 every morning, until the minute we try to run, then it drops to the 40's.  What is up with that?
Lacey's training partner and her daughter came rolling in and I was super impressed that the little gal just ran like the wind the whole way.  
Laynie's birthday buddy, and my sweet friend, Amy Astle came rolling in next .. that girl is my hero.
Amy's husband, John was right behind her, and he is quite the stud himself.  
The Astle's brought some friends, and they would have all had on Team Hope tshirts, had someone (me) not left their shirts on the table.  Yes, I'm quite cool that way.
Lacey ran her first 5k (she always just plans and coordinates the Wings to fly run that happens every year in El Reno, so she was pumped (cough) to get to run in this one.  She did fantastic.  She makes me almost want to run.  Almost.  Ok, not really, but Almost. 

Short britches won her age division.  
Semi short britches took 2nd in his age division.
 Not short britches at all won 1st in her age division.  The dude handing her her ribbon added, "Dang, you are tall". 
John won 3rd in his age division...that's amazing, lots of great runners there. 
Lee took 3rd in his age division (Grandpa) !!
So proud of him!
He also won 1st place in small boy wrangling and I did appreciate that. 
 I especially love this one of Lacey getting started, and Austin's little cowboy hat shining on her hip! 
And I guess I win the award for "Best Kleenex provider" and yeller at the finish line.

It was a great day, and I am anxiously awaiting to hear how much was raised for Kannon at the run.
They raised over $10,000 at the golf tournament and I'm hoping beyond hope they raised enough to get the van and the things he needs (and the things Kelli and Zach need) to provide for him.

Great Showing TEAM HOPE!  maybe one day it won't be freezing conditions.  

Nah, probably not. 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sixteen a blink

When I found out I was pregnant with Hallie, I thought the doc was kidding.  I was fairly old, and had a 10 year old and a 14 year old.  Getting pg wasn't anything on my

And then, along came Hallie.

She weighed 9 lbs, 9 oz and was 22 inches long.  She was just shy of being a toddler when she was born.

With a 14 year old sister in the house, and all the 14 year old's friends, she was quite the hipster.

 Her first Christmas.

Before we blinked twice, she was already pulling up on random things like legs and fireplaces and walking.

She seriously was the cutest little baby.  All dimples and eyes.  Her hairline was so receding, I was afraid she would be a forever grandpa.

When she finally got a little hair on top, we didn't waste any time flaunting it.

 Her sisters adored her, even would change her diapers without groaning too much.
And she was oh, so, oh so very happy.  All the time.  Just a little happy camper.

As I was looking through pictures to share on this blog, I ran across a few of her "scrapbooks" she made, while Lacey was doing the real scrapbooking, she would give Hallie some "Scrapbooks" of her own to keep her busy (and out of her stuff).  These pages were so precious, I'm just sharing them.

Hallie Hallie Hembree   (age 7)

"Bald as Can Be"  Me and My Baby Days

Don't you think we are FUNNY?  My Fourth Birthday!

I especially like the pictures of the turtles that she cut out of some random magazine.  Her hearts were perfection. 
Hal & Lacey  "Sisters love each other"  

"Me & Kip"

This was interesting.
"animals are awesome".  I'm still clueless where she got the cat. 

There's so much fun on this page, I don't know where to start.  Her curlers, Her witch costume, her lady godiva on her rocking horse......Too many to chose from.  

I like this for one reason only.... the picture of her in the doghouse.  Priceless. 
Both of those little black puppies succumbed to parvo, about broke all of our hearts.  

She had quite a knack with the scissors here.  Takes after her mom. 
I especially love the one of the left corner...way scissor happy.  

On her 7th bday she got her ears pierced.
That lasted about 3 months.  
I think one of my all time favorite picture though
is this one..
She is 3 and Corey is 6 or 7.  
One of the cutest pictures ever.  
Her and her brudder. 
She was a terrific aunt, and couldn't get enough of Laynie.

I thought it was ridiculous when she turned 8.  Where had the time flown?  And where did Gram find those hip red/white/blue patriotic specs?

Now she is 16, and ridiculously tall.  And Smart.  And Beautiful. 
 Her sisters can't believe she is so much taller than them, and has such a better butt than them.  
It's all a mystery. 
They spend a lot of time pinching her volleyball booty and giving her a hard time.

All I know is yesterday we were doing this......

And now we are doing this.......

And today she will drive.  All the hours chauffeuring this child will come to an end, and I will be forced to find my own entertainment.  The difference between this child and my first two, I never slowed down enough to realize where I was with them, and really drink in every minute.  We rushed to the next milestone with amazing swiftness, and rushed to the next without acknowledging any of them.  That is my biggest regret as a parent.

If I can offer any advice to any of you busy busy parents......don't race to your milestones.  This past summer, I slowed down at work, I slowed down at commitments, I slowed down my life, to really, truly drink in this time with Hallie.  Oh, don't think for a minute I didn't want to put a sign around her neck "Free to good home" most days, but I lived full out in every minute....cherishing all of it.  And now, as of today at 10:45 am (barring she doesn't hit a curb in her driving test), she will be off and running herself around in her Nissan Frontier....... paving her own frontier.  As I drove into the high school parking lot yesterday morning, exasperated as crap at my teenager who thinks I'm dumb as dirt, and only put on this earth to make her life miserable.... I took a moment's pause and celebrated the fact that I will never have to push my way through the crazies in that parking lot in the morning, ever again .


Drink it in.

Happy birthday, Hallie Lauren.  God's got Big, Big plans for you.  And I will be behind you, cheering you on, every step of the way....all of your life.

Forever and a day, Love you to the moon..........MoMo