13 December 2009

Done with school!

More pictures taken by my photography-inclined brother!

Claire pretends to hang an ornament showing our dearly departed Shadow. Just a sidenote on that loss: This has made me realize how perceptive Claire is (and I'm sure most children are) of my feelings. Several times in the last week, when I sigh, sniffle, or am just quiet for a little while, she'll say, "Are you sad, Mama? Sad about Shadow?" And I'll say something along the lines of, "No, I wasn't thinking about Shadow, but it does make me sad to think about him." And she'll say, "Shadow was a good boy." That's what I told her in the couple days after he died, when I was still crying sometimes, that it was okay to be sad, because Shadow was a good boy and we will miss him.

Claire hanging her stocking: we're going to try putting her pacis in here on Christmas Eve, so that Santa can take them to younger kids who need pacis ;), and she can get treats in her stocking. She still gets her paci at naptime and bedtime, and that's it, but she definitely wants it at those times! She has mentioned Santa taking her pacis and leaving stuff in her stocking two different times out of the blue since we talked about it, as though it is part of the plan, so we'll see how it goes! (I know it's kind of a weenie approach; I should just say NO and take it away, no bribery or silly stuff, but I'll try that if the Santa thing doesn't work!)

Loving on Mama's belly! She sometimes lays her head on my belly and says, "Love you, Baby Sister." She did this once at my suggestion, and I guess she could tell I was so pleased with it that she has done it quite a few times of her own volition now.

So I posted my final grades on Friday, and that makes me DONE with school until next year at least! I still feel a a bit of stress over getting my curriculum for next semester ready, considering I want to arrange the first couple weeks of my semester so that I can do part or all online work. I'm teaching one section of Comp 1 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:30, so that's a nice, light schedule, but it's anyone's guess how those first couple weeks will go, depending on when Baby Sister decides to make her appearance and how long it takes me to recover.
We had a great weekend, with Jay and I taking a semi-successful date night on Friday while Claire spent the night with Grandmom and Papa in Coleman. Saturday, Claire and I did a bit of Christmas shopping with Mom and Tyler while Jay went hunting. Then we went over to Paul and Diane's house to wish Paul a happy birthday and eat a quick bite before going to watch the SE men's basketball team get slaughtered. They're actually much better this year than last, but they were playing an undefeated, nationally ranked team. Came home and watched the Heisman ceremony after putting Claire down--disappointed Colt didn't get it! Jay's gotten quite a few comments this year that he looks a lot like Colt McCoy--I see that they both have round cheeks, green/blue eyes, and blond hair, but the resemblance stops there in my opinion. Jay is definitely way better looking! (And that's a compliment to Jay, as he is always accusing me of thinking every college athlete is cute :)
Today we had a baby shower in between church services! Our church family is so good to have a shower for us for our second child, and our TWELVE hostesses got us a Sit and Stand stroller so that Claire can ride along with baby sister. It's also compatible with the baby carseat we have.
This week, I've got a story to work on, Christmas cards to get out, a bit of Christmas shopping to finish up, and a smaller baby shower on Saturday! I'm putting off getting everything set up for Baby Sister until at least next week, so let's hope she waits that long to join us! Everyone keeps giving me that knowing grin and asking or telling me about how "READY" I am to have this baby--apparently misery is written all over my face and posture. Anyway, I am so NOT ready!! Not only would Baby Sister have no place to sleep (bassinet not assembled yet), no clothes to wear (they're all in the attic or in gift bags with tags attached), and no diapers (am going to go with washable ones this time), but I still don't feel mentally prepared for being a mother of TWO!! One is suddenly seeming entirely too easy, and I'm already feeling bittersweet about saying good-bye to these days of picking up and going wherever with my one laid-back daughter. I'm worried that when I finally get all my baby girl stuff down and organized, I'll realize there actually are more things I need that I didn't tell anyone before my showers and I still have shopping to do!! Anyway, to answer everyone's "I bet you are SO READY," I would like to say I am most certainly NOT, mentally or physically. Give me just a couple more weeks of lugging around this basketball-belly, Baby Sister!

30 November 2009

Last two hardcore weeks

I have no idea what I'm doing still awake after taking a Benadryl, but here I am. Perhaps it's the post-shopping high I'm still on from checking so many names off my list after some Cyber Monday shopping! What I really should have been doing is grading papers, as that deadline is a bit closer than my deadline for Christmas shopping! But for a die-hard online shopper like myself, Cyber Monday is not to be missed!

We had an excellent Thanksgiving in Kansas, filled with the usual great food, wild Black Friday shopping, four-wheeling (eight in use this year!), Nertz, and kid chaos! We now have FIVE two-year-olds, all born in 2007, so you can imagine what it's like with all them, plus the five older ones, in one basement together on the eve of bedtime! That was my last hoo-rah before Baby Girl Mauck arrives in January, and I came home with a sore back from that six-hour drive, and an upper respiratory infection! My OB put me on an antibiotic today, and put me on a schedule of OTC meds, too, so hopefully I'll kick this thing quickly! It's tough enough sleeping with this basketball on my front (one of the things it was lovingly compared to last week, as well as a prosthetic movie belly), without having to add in coughing and congestion!

The Pannell family will start looking more like that next year at this time, when we will have five new babies all born within a year, too! So exciting! It looks like it will be three boys and two girls, if all ultrasound predictions prove correct!

As always, I have grading AND a story deadline this week! They never seem to stagger just right; it's been both at once all semester! But I'm so thankful to have a great combination of part-time jobs that keeps me busy and fulfilled, but still home with my girl most of the time! Once I get my final grades turned in in two weeks, I'll be in full-on Christmas and baby prep mode, but one thing at a time!

15 November 2009

Chill Family Weekend

I have officially taught my last session of Comp 1 this semester! No, the semester is not over yet. But this week and next Monday before the break, I'm just meeting with students individually for their final papers and presentations, and then the week in between the break and finals week, the students will be doing their presentations. That's a little bit of pressure off, but I still have the dark cloud of final grading looming over my head!! One more month until it's all over, and then another month until my due date!

After last weekend's hustle and bustle, it was so nice to take it easy this weekend. Friday night, Jay worked until dark and then came home to our first ever Family Movie Night! Even though Jay fell asleep within 20 minutes of Monsters Versus Aliens, it was still a great night. Claire and I fixed chili and cornbread, and then hot cocoa and popcorn. We made a pallet in the floor and watched it "all togever," as Claire said with delight. I considered taking Claire to see that movie in the theater, and I'm glad we didn't end up doing that--it was neat in parts, but definitely slow in others. I was glad we could pause it for bathroom breaks and talk and read during the Presidential conferences.

Saturday, Claire and I hit the library and a couple stores in downtown Durant before lunch. Claire and I both scored big--both shop owners just loved Claire, and gave her free candy, and I actually got two people marked off my Christmas list!

I savor these casual shopping trips--Claire is such a good shopper, even in a gift shop like The Hollow Tree with quite a few breakables and racks of jewelry and such. She loves to pick things up and say, "Oh, that's cool" or "That's cute." Anyway, I know these days are numbered, as when Baby Sister comes, shopping will be a bit more trouble, although I'm sure still doable while she's still content in her carseat/stroller.

Jay came home to "work on some floor plans" after a morning of work in Calera and golf with a college buddy, which meant he ate lunch, watched football, and then headed to the office and made phone calls until Claire and I got home from an afternoon of more shopping! This time, we were on a mission for winter clothes for Claire, which we found along with Mom and Ty. Mom and Grant celebrated their SECOND ANNIVERSARY on Saturday--I cannot believe it's been two years already!!--so Grant met us in Sherman to take Mom on a date, and we took Ty back home with us. That night, we went to our church Harvest Dinner. While Claire napped yesterday, I made a strawberry pretzel salad and a caramel pecan pie for the dinner--both were great! I will try to post them on the sadly neglected cooking blog.

Here's a video of Claire "reading" her toddler Bible--she'd only heard these three stories once a few minutes before when I read them to her, and then I came back in the living room to find her re-reading them. I was really pleased to hear her say, "Look at the birds people! God doesn't feed them!" from Jesus' awesome "Consider the lilies" passage. She loves to "read" her books and is getting to where she loves for Jay and I to tell her stories about her and her friends. These are usually adaptations of her favorite books and movies--usually either Goldie (a spin on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or The Three Little Pigs, with her and her friends' names substituted for the character names.

I've got to write this down before I forget it. A couple nights ago, Claire woke up a little while after I'd put her to bed saying she needed to go pee-pee. This is almost always either a stalling tactic or a signal that she's just woken up for some reason and wants me to put her back in bed. So after a fairly unproductive sit on the potty, we went back to her room, and Claire said, "I saw something in my room just now." This is a new thing; I can't remember her telling me she was scared of something or even telling me a story about something happening like that. So I looked around and said, "There's not anything in your room right now. Did it scare you?" She said, "Yeah. Sometimes, in my room, I see something over there," and pointed to her dresser. So I did my best to explain to her that she doesn't need to be afraid and that sometimes things look different in the dark and that can feel a little scary. I just thought that was so sad and sweet that her imagination is starting to sort of backfire on her, and that this has apparently happened before, but she is just now telling me about it.

09 November 2009

Proud moments for the Mauck family!

We welcomed our hunting hubby/daddy home Friday night from his WEEK-LONG trip to western Kansas. Claire and I spent the week in Coleman at Nana and Grandad's old house/Mom, Grant, and Ty's temporary house while Jay was gone. I really don't mind staying by myself that much, but last week I had a story assignment to travel and write for, and a slew of papers to grade, so I really needed some built-in evening babysitting help. I ended up coming back to Durant everyday to feed our animals and run errands, even when I didn't have to be at school. Claire stayed with Nana and Grandad two mornings while I went to school, and really enjoyed playing with their toys (that trash bucket full of toys has served many grandkids, and now great-grandkids!) and spending time with them, along with Aunt Betty of course. I liked getting to watch Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway with fellow fans who aren't two and a half (Love dancing with Claire, but adult conversation is nice occasionally, too!).

Jay spent the week waking up at the crack of dawn, hunting until lunch, coming back for lunch and a bit of a rest, and then heading back out at 2 or 3 and staying out until dark. NO cell phone signal meant we didn't get to talk for THREE DAYS, probably the longest ever in our relationship. Maybe it was just pregnancy hormones, but I probably could have just sat down and cried a couple times if I had thought too hard about that. Jay did get a Kansas buck, a 200-pounder we will use for meat and mount for our wall. We have a nice upper corner of our cathedral ceiling in the living room where a deer is barely visible unless it is pointed out. I still am not a huge fan of feeling a dead animal's glassy eyes staring down on me.

Saturday morning, Jay got back behind the wheel, this time with his wife and daughter in tow, to head to Edmond for Jay's induction into the Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Fame. Paul, Diane, and Ike Miller, a family friend from our church who has taught Jay to golf, and has watched him play basketball since he was in elementary school, followed fairly close behind us.

I'll just go ahead and brag on my talented hubby for just a minute. During Jay's three years at OC, he broke the career scoring record (even with a knee injury that cut a year out of his career!), and led the OC men's basketball team to one of its best seasons ever. He was NAIA Player of the Year his junior year (again, even after his season-ending injury), and is the OC record-holder for most 3-pointers in a game and season.

Too bad I never got to see any of those things! I was just telling Jay it's ironic that so many people know him because of watching him play basketball, and I am probably the person who knows him better than anyone else, and have never seen him play! I probably saw him play in high school, but I was four years younger, and didn't play close enough attention to really remember.

Anyway, Jay dropped Claire and I off in Norman after we ate lunch with Amanda, so that Claire could get a nap and be rested for our long afternoon and evening. Don't know how much good that did, as this little one was a LIVE WIRE during the basketball games and the banquet. Jay got to watch the women's game, seeing a girl from our church who graduated from Durant High School last year, score 11 points for OC! I wish I could have seen that; hopefully we'll get to watch them again this year. Amanda and I came on a bit later, and slid into our seats just in time to see Jay's slideshow go up on the big screens. Whew!

After the slideshow, with an announcer voice-over that told all about Jay's accomplishments, the OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz went out to center-court with Jay and held up the banner of him that will be hung up in the gym. He got a standing O!

Girl-cousins at the game! It was so hot in there, no matter what skinny old Amanda says.

For the banquet that night, the program was really neat. Also being honored with Jay were Stan and Betty Green, the longtime OC Sports Information Director and his wife, who was a longtime athletic department secretary. After they got up with several pages of notes for their speech, Jay and I exchanged nervous grins--of course, Jay had only written down a few words on his iPhone by way of notes. For Jay's part of the program, they of course read a bunch of his most impressive awards and records, and then showed the slideshow from the basketball game, and some game footage from the OC/OKCU game where Jay turned it around in the last few minutes with some three-pointers.

Then four people got up and gave testmonials of all Jay had done for OC. His freshman-year roommate, Clint Vaughn, who also played baseball at OC, talked about how Jay was not a big man on campus, even though he could have been. He was kind to everyone and humble, despite his ball-hogging on the court--hehee, couldn't resist!

Then the national championship winning OC golf coach, Kelsey Cline, who didn't know Jay personally, but was a fan of his, talked about the fan base Jay and his team built up for the basketball team, and how he still tells people today that Jay is the best college point guard ever. (Lots of tossing around of the word "best" tonight.)

Then Jay's former teammate, Rob Seat, got up to really warm up the crowd. He got them laughing so much that by the time Coach Hayes and Jay got up to give their talks, we already had big smiles on our faces. Since Rob is also 5'8", he cracked a joke about how he and Jay were one of the most intimidating 1-2 combos many players had ever seen. He also made a real crowd-pleasing joke about Coach Janz' hair, which of course, is a favorite subject for any OC basketball fan.

Coach Hayes also talked about Jay, of course, and it almost brought tears to my eyes when he described watching Jay get injured at the OBU game. I can't imagine what a heartbreaker that was for the Maucks, Jay's team, and all the OC fans, when they were so close to conference play in an undefeated season. Many people will make comments about Jay's talents using the phrasing "pound for pound" or "inch for inch," qualifying his abilities by saying that for a player his size, he's the best. But Coach Hayes said there is no pound for pound or inch for inch. He was simply the best point guard and best shooter he's ever seen. *tear*

Then Jay got up to give his talk, which of course, was mostly off the top of his head, but totally heartfelt. He said that OC is a family, and you don't realize what a support system you have until you leave. He also talked about how difficult it was to transition to not being an Eagle anymore, how that at the first Southeastern huddle he was a part of, he actually shouted "Eagles!" at the end when everyone else said "Savages!" He told a couple stories about people not believing that he was a basketball player when he was trying to charge his books to his athletic scholarship in the bookstore (the worker actually called to verify it), or at the pre-game dinner for basketball players.

Here's the Paul Mauck family who was present: oldest brother Brian, his wife Jennifer and their kids Zach and Abby, middle brother Kyle (his wife Audrey was at a church retreat, and his kids Carson and Kerrigan were home with Mimi), and Paul and Diane. Hopefully the OC staff got one of Jay looking at the camera; Amanda, my faithful photographer, was a little rushed. Other Maucks who were present were Jay's cousin Tracy, an OC alum who opens her home up to us every Thanksgiving, and who was in for a reunion of her college track team, and Jay's uncle Don, Paul's brother and another OC alum (most of them are!), who was in for a class reunion.

The proud family!

And one of the sisters! Look closely; there are actually TWO sets of sisters in this one! So exciting! I was glad Amanda got to be here for this, both to share this neat time with her, and so that she could help with Claire, who really needed to do some running around during this two-hour-plus banquet.

Even though I didn't ever get to see Jay in his basketball glory days, I am still so proud of him, not just for his God-given and hard-practiced physical abilities, but for his good heart and friendly smile. Those are what bring so many people to his team, not just for Calera, or OC, or later, for Southeastern, but through all of those experiences where he excelled, the light that Jay projects has always been for Christ.

31 October 2009

Trunk or Treat

Tonight, we went to the Trunk or Treat and Carnival at 7th and Beech Church of Christ, which was a lot of fun. Here's Claire and Katelyn, who was an adorable butterfly.

I could not choose between these two pictures; both too cute!

She shoots, she SCORES! Aralyn (in the Cinderella dress to the left) and Jay were both coaching her along.

Bounce house, always a highlight. Claire discovered she could go down on her belly, and did that probably 20 times. Kate Albright, to the right on the slide, is in Claire's Thursday School class, and was Bob the Tomato.

Pumpkin Patch!

Holidays are when you really realize how much FUN it is to have a child! It's suddenly totally okay to be unabashedly thrilled over kids' Halloween costumes, getting free candy, playing cheesy carnival games, and going to an awesome place like a pumpkin patch!

Claire got to wear her Halloween costume four times this year, and we lost a crucial piece to it each time, so that by the end, she was fairly unrecognizable as Abby Cadabby. Her poof pigtails and wand both *poof* disappeared, so we had ourselves one very cute fairy or butterfly.

Since my last post, we've been to the Coleman Halloween Carnival--a total madhouse, definitely no photo ops there--Baker's Acres pumpkin patch in Tishomingo, and the 7th and Beech Trunk or Treat and Carnival (another post on that to come).

Mom, Tyler, Dani Rose, Molly, and Aunt Donola went with us this morning to the pumpkin patch, and it was surprisingly almost empty! We had every attraction almost completely to ourselves, including a private hayride! It was amazing! And this place had so much to do, as you will soon see.

Claire and Molly on the hayride.

This train cracks me up: it was plastic feed barrels with holes cut in the side, welded to wheels and a frame, and attached to a four-wheeler! The seats were 2 x 4 that the kids straddled, so ouch-ee-momma for the mommas who had to ride, like Dani!

Hay slide! Tyler is so good about helping Claire get along, and doing it as many times as she wants. Oh the perks of having older siblings, which we will very soon know!

Huge barrel full of corn, with lots of scoops and buckets to play with? Wow, what an easy, fun thing for little ones, right? Totally, until they get up, and fish HANDFULS of corn out of their underwear. Not surprising for Tyler, but Claire just sat down for a few minutes at the end! We had them throw their bobo corn onto the ground of course, but think of how many kids didn't!

Feeding the donkeys! There were buckets of feed for each set of animals just sitting in the middle of the barn with cups, so we could get as much corn or pellets or whatever as we wanted. The goats enjoyed this a little too much, of course. Enjoyed meaning butted each other out of the way to shove their noses into our cups. There were also bunnies, chickens, calves, and pigs. Seriously, I would have no chance to coo over these adorable--and if not adorable, then funny--animals if it weren't for Claire!

Tyler got into these duck races a little too much. You pump the water down this sawed-off PVC pipe so that a rubber ducky shoots down the stream and into a tub at the other end. Mom showed that we are definitely related when she bent over to pick up a duck and her sunglasses fell off her head and into the tank. Ha! So something I would do.

Neat little race track with pedal go-karts. Ty and Claire were not ready to stop, but for Mom's sake, we promised caramel apples and they hopped right off.


29 October 2009

Fall Fun

We're in the midst of a bustle of Halloween activity--what a difference a year makes! This year, Claire actually understands the concept of Trick-or-Treating, and is excited about it. We went to our church's Fall Festival last Saturday night, where we got to do a hayride, draw pumpkin faces, and do a costume parade. Claire's favorite part of the evening, though? "Playing Ring Around the Rosy with Kim and Katelyn." This lasted like five minutes, and then Claire and Katelyn took up their favorite activity, racing back and forth from and screaming.

That is incidentally the same way that Claire dances when we watch Dancing with the Stars. This past week, half the couples danced the jitterbug, which of course has super-fun music, so she and I would boogie hard for about two minutes, and then wait for the next dance. As soon as the music would stop, Claire would say, "Another dance, Mama?" She still likes to comment on the girls' crazy outfits, saying "Oh, that one's funny" (her usual comment for Karina's ridiculous feathered outfits), "That girl's nekkid!" (a usual refrain on weeks with a Latin dance) or "That dress is pretty." (We're big fans of the ballroom gowns--Claire sometimes calls them princess dresses.)

Today was the Thursday School Fall Carnival, and Claire LOVED it! They had a bunch of little booths set up in the gym, all easy preschooler games, as well as a Bounce House, and pony rides outside! Wowee zowee, was she in hog heaven! She does so well with taking turns and when something is over, saying, "That was so fun!" or "Now I ride the pony!" or whatever else is next. Of course, the good thing about this type of event is that her bucket is full of candy when it's over, so she's perfectly happy to leave!

This weekend, we've got a [last-minute!] trip to the Pumpkin Patch, the Coleman Halloween Carnival, and a church Trunk or Treat. We might go to the trick or treat at the college this evening, too, we'll see. It's in the newest dorm--At least then Claire would get the experience of actually knocking on doors for candy!

23 October 2009

Fat girl acting skinny

...and finding that skinny I ain't! I'm officially in the uncute stage of pregnancy. Say what you will about a glow, being "all baby," or looking "so cute," I don't feel any of it!! The third trimester last time was when all of a sudden, everyone thought I was due any day, and the idea that I was still a month or two from my due date was simply ludicrous. At 28 out of 40 weeks, I'm already getting this reaction. Getting up and getting comfortable are already becoming difficult. Lifting Claire is a challenge, and hiking from my car to my third-floor office three days a week almost kills me.

So suffice it to say, I'm not one of those crazy girls who loves being pregnant, but I've certainly been blessed to have an almost-completely complication-free pregnancy, with no morning sickness or strange cravings. I guess I'm more like one of those vain girls who gets tired of having a body that doesn't feel like her own.

On our schedule for this weekend: one of my little brother Tyler's basketball games (third and fourth-grade ball, always a show), a birthday party for a dear family friend, and our church's fall festival for the kiddos. Not sure where Claire's nap is going to go in all those Saturday afternoon/evening activities. Jay, meanwhile, is all in a tizzy because muzzle-loading season starts tomorrow, so I've been busily washing all his hunting clothes (which have been crammed into a camo duffel--UNWASHED--since LAST hunting season) in scent-block detergent.

Next week, we've got my 28wks dr. appt, a birthday tea party, Thursday School Fall Festival, and of course, Halloween. Claire's going to be Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street, but it's a homemade version, so really, she'll just like a super-cute fairy in a blue-and-pink tutu, wings, and a *poof* wand! (Abby's trademark phrase and hairdo: Poof!)

Somewhere in between all that and prepping for my classes, I've also got an Oklahoma Today deadline looming--another Dining Guide, in which I call 20-25 restaurants and get really hungry. Seventeen interviews down already, but still got the writing to do next week!!

14 October 2009

Naming Baby Sister

We have obviously been talking over baby girl names a lot lately: not enough to satisfy me, and too much for Jay's taste. I like to run names past Claire, not that she will actually have any hand in choosing the name, but it's funny to see what her reactions are. So far, her suggestions have been Marabelle (the doll name of one of Claire's favorite book characters, Fancy Nancy), Annie (she's a fan of the movie musical), and Moto. I don't know where she got that last name; she named a robotic dog that, and then started using that name for lots of things, including baby sister.

11 October 2009

Life is good!

We had a great weekend of family and couple time! Jay and I have not been doing a very good job of making time for just us, so this couples retreat could not have come at a better time. Date nights have fallen by the wayside in the past few months!! We only got to go to the retreat on Friday night, but it was still so great to just be around adults talking about strengthening our marriages for a couple hours. The drive to and from Pettijohn gave us some good talk time, too. My favorite thought from the night was that Ephesians 5:33 can provide us with a good guide for our feelings toward each other: "...each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." If the husband doesn't love his wife as himself, the wife has a difficult time respecting him, and if wives don't respect their husbands, men can't love them as they should. I feel like for me anyway, the love part is intuitive, but the respect takes a little more work. So it's important to remember that a husband really needs to have respect from his wife to be able to love us the way we want to be loved.

Mom, Grant, Amanda, and Tyler kept Claire for us Friday night, and we went ahead and let her spend the night with them, since we were going out for the Coleman Centennial Saturday morning. That was only her second night without both of us in her life, and her first night at Mom's house without us! So needless to say, Claire stayed up verrry late and ate lots of sweets! We arrived Saturday morning before nine to find her sitting on the Highway 48 Church of Christ parade float with a Tootsie Pop in her mouth! The parade had a total of three floats, a handful of antique tractors, ten or so kids riding decorated bikes, a bunch of local fire trucks, a dozen or so horseback riders, and a swooping helicopter! The Community Center was all decked out with Coleman history displays, yearbook photos, and a slide show, so that was pretty cool. Between my mom's and dad's families, and people at mom's church, it seemed like we knew people in almost every graduating class! Mom's grandpa was in the second-ever graduating class from Coleman, and his sister I believe, was in the first. Mom's grandmom had the coolest graduating picture, a full-body group shot of her and three other girls wearing these super-cute flapper dresses with pearls, patent shoes, and wavy hair.

It was great to see so much of our family and schoolmates, even though it was SO much colder than I thought it was going to be! I don't mind cold weather if I'm dressed appropriately, and I definitely felt in need of another layer! It makes it even worse when I know Claire isn't dressed any warmer than me! We ended up eating an early lunch at the community center and then going back to Mom's house for an early nap. Jay pulled on a hat and another layer and then took our car to go fishing with his cousin while I stayed to hang out with the fam and watch the OU game. Go Sooners! It's kinda sad when we have to be so excited about a win over Baylor, but it was good for the old Sooner morale to see Sammy B back and in fine form.

We've spent today just being lazy. I was a "feeder" at church this morning--four women share the fellowship meal after church every Sunday, and I was in charge of veggies and salad this week. So after making corn casserole, cooking frozen green beans, and putting together broccoli slaw and a tossed salad, and then helping serve, clean up the church kitchen, and then coming home to clean up my kitchen, I was pretty tired! So of course, I didn't start getting stuff ready for school tomorrow until 10:30 tonight!

Here's to a week of love and respect!!

24 September 2009

Good times

Hey guys, sorry I've been such a lazy blogger. Since my grading and story-writing frenzy died down, I've felt a little restless, and have been spending my computer time searching for new jobs! So far, I'm really excited about pursuing writing some lesson plans for readwritethink.org, the resource website for the National Council for Teachers of English, and possibly doing some freelance public relations work. That last one is really still hypothetical; I've talked to several local people, but no one wants to spend extra money on PR right now. So hmmmm....if it's God's will, I'll find some jobs, and if not, okay! This week I had the ephiphany that I've not gotten several full-time positions in the past couple years that I really thought would be absolutely perfect for me, but God had a better plan for me! I know if I would have gotten any of those jobs, I would be totally committed and wrapped up in them still, and feeling torn about having Claire in child care and all that. This time a year and a half ago, I actually said to Jay that what would be absolutely ideal for me, professionally, would be if I could teach a couple classes at the college and do freelance writing, and that's it. And look where my wishful thinking got me!! I really feel like I gave that to God and He has rewarded me so richly with this great balance of work and family.

We've been just cruising along lately, taking it easy mostly: watching football games and hanging out with family on weekends, and doing our normal weekly routine. Jay is going nutso about hunting season coming up--having to do all these various trips and duties associated with preparing for the big day of bow season opening! Last Friday night, I asked him if he had to work on Saturday, and he said he did, and I made the mistake of not asking him what he would be doing specifically. Turns out working was brush-hogging on my uncle's ranch to clear sight paths. Lovely. I needed to go shopping for Claire's fall play clothes, anyway.

I've also been pretty wrapped up this week with the premiere of Dancing with the Stars, of course! Ah, the sequins and spray tans are back!! How I've missed them. I could really do without the three-night extravaganzas though. I can't keep doing this.

I guess I better document this little incident which other people seem to think is hilarious, but I still think was nothing but annoying. Maybe in the future, I'll be able to appreciate it. I met Claire and Diane at McDonald's the other day after class, and I was hanging out with Claire for a little while after she finished dipping her apple slices in ketchup (repeatedly!) to play on the playground.

I've only ever played with her at the Chick Fil-A playground, and turns out, its climbing steps are quite a bit shorter than the ones at McD's. Claire could get up them with some extra effort, but getting down was the problem. You see where I'm going here.

I encouraged her to go up to the car at the top, so yes, I know, this whole thing was really my fault. Hence, its annoyingness. Anyway, Claire made it to the car at the top and was quite pleased with steering it toward the on-ramp directly ahead of her. When it was time to go, she crawled back through the tunnel with no argument, but then as she eased herself over the edge of the first step, she apparently realized her legs weren't quite long enough to reach the next step while she held onto the window above.

She started calling, "Help me, Mama!" I calmly assured her she could do it (as she had done on the lower steps that didn't have that window to cling to). She apparently thought I couldn't hear her well enough though, because she only yelled louder, combinations of "I can't do it, Mama" (one of her new favorite saying--how do I deal with that one?) and "I need help!" and "Help me, Mama!" Finally, I eased through the kid-size tunnel and sat on the first step. Tried calling from there, thinking my closer proximity would ease her nerves. Nope. Managed to get my feet under me, stooping very awkwardly in my swingy maternity skirt, lean forward to the next step, and then twist my protruding belly around to sit on it.

Again tried to talk her down; she just kept yelling. I repeated this horribly awkward process, hoping no one is looking through that bubble window at my grunting twists and turns. When I finally reached the point where I could see her feet, they were dangling no more than TWO INCHES above the next step!! When I saw this, my pleas became as frantic as Claire's: "Claire, just drop down; you're almost touching! Let go, you'll be on the next step!" I tried yanking on her ankles a bit, but she was not letting go! One more step--Stoop, twist, grunt, and sit again. Wrest Claire's fingers from the holes in that stupid window, and hoist her down each and every step while she cries.

When we finally got back in the car, what was her first comment? "That was fun, Mama."

04 September 2009

School days...

Claire and I are settling fairly well into our school routine: Mondays and Wednesdays, she goes to Mamaw's and Papaw's house while I teach classes and do office stuff from 8 to 11. Thursdays, she goes to Thursday School at 7th and Beech from 9 to 12. And Friday, she stays with my good ol' cousin-in-law, Kim, and her daughter, Claire's buddy, Katelyn, for a couple hours while I go to school. I usually spend naptime either doing stuff for my writing or doing stuff for my class, and then when Claire wakes up, we usually do some house cleaning or errand-running.

Thursday School has been awesome the past two weeks; I've had Oklahoma Today deadlines both weeks, and have used that time to pound out a story. Claire seems to really enjoy school--the first week was a little rough, only because she didn't want to leave! She just about threw a fit to stay and play with Play-doh. Also that first time, Katelyn got upset when her mom started telling the day's Bible story, and couldn't hold Katelyn, and that made Claire start crying, too! But since she now understands about me coming to get her after lunch and some Play-doh time, she's fine with it and says bye to all her teachers and friends just fine.

Yesterday, I asked Claire what her Bible story was about that day, and I asked, "Was it about God?" She said, "No, Jesus!" and then I asked, "What did Jesus do?" and she said "Crossed the river." I asked her if he walked on water, and she said "uh-huh." So in any event, Claire remembered learning that Jesus at some point crossed a river.

Claire is also becoming quite bossy, and sometimes about weird things. Like if I lay my head down on Jay's shoulder in the car, she almost always says, "Don't lay your head down on Daddy, Mommy!" and sometimes she adds, "Sleep in bed!"

She's also becoming an avid drawer of things, usually cows and deer and fish. Hmmm, is she a country girl or what? But her shapes are actually starting to look somewhat like the animals they're supposed to--a cow is a big humped circle with sticks coming out of the bottom and back, and a deer has additional sticks coming out of its head. A fish is again, a humped circle, with a few other shapes drawn around where the fins would go.

Speaking of fish, Finding Nemo is definitely her movie of the moment. She loves the sea turtles, and will say, "Did you see me? Did you see me?" like Squirt, or "Gimme some fin" like Crush. Also, the other day, she asked for something, and I said, "No problem," and she said, "Like Dory!" And if I say something like "Ah!" she'll sometimes pipe up with some "Hoo hah, Hoo haha"s! It's pretty funny.

Here are some other highlights from the past couple weeks:
  • Saw Mamma Mia in Dallas with Kim and her mom and sister. So fun! Probably one of the most enjoyable musicals I've seen.
  • Went to Norman last weekend to do some interviews and exploring for two Oklahoma Today stories. Claire and I spent the night with Amanda and got to go to Edmond to see my niece Abby in a musical production of Annie. We went to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History Saturday morning. Claire loved pushing all the buttons on the interactive exhibits and playing in the kids' Discovery Room. We even got to see some lizards get their daily dose of crickets doused in powdered vitamins!
  • As I posted on FB and texted almost everybody in my phone (including one person who didn't know who I was--whoops, old number!), we found out we're having a girl, and are thrilled. It's going to be neat to have two girls two and a half years apart, almost just like my sister and I. We are actually just 21 months apart. I had my five months' appointment this week, and everything is going well.
  • I've starting to feel the baby's movements in the past couple weeks, which is amazing. Jay's even felt it a couple times.
  • I wish I could think of something exciting to report about Jay, but he's just staying busy, as always. The other day I asked him, "Don't you feel like you're so overworked since you've been working most Saturdays this summer?" And he said, "No--Haven't really thought about it." He said if you're working for somebody else, getting up at the crack and working on weekends is a pain, but when you're working for yourself, it's just what has to be done, no bad feelings. Or something like that.
  • Oh! I thought of something about Jay--He is building my Nana and Grandad's house in Coleman, right next to their old house. So that's really exciting; they've been in their house now for like 40 years or something (Aunts and uncles, correct me in the comments!), and it's going to be so nice for them to have a new, sturdy brick house where the family can all gather a little more easily.
  • But we'll still have to suffer through a few OU games in the old house though!
Speaking of which, BOOMER SOONER!

18 August 2009

ABC's and weekend with Aunt Manda

Forgive my banging around in the kitchen during this!! This is the best ABC video I've seen of Claire yet, and she skips Y and Z! Usually when I grab my camera, she forgets about performing. Amanda must inspire that in her!

My sister Amanda and her dog Lucy spent a night with us last weekend, which Claire and I both thoroughly enjoyed! We jumped on the trampoline, went to the park and did some shopping at Bliss Boutique. I was right; that store is so Amanda. Her one repeating comment was only a tad offensive to my beloved hometown: "This is so not like a Durant store." We also watched girly movies (Ella Enchanted when Claire was awake; Confessions of Shopaholic after she went to sleep--Hugh Dancy-a-thon!! That's okay with me!). Lucy kept wanting to explore our house, so Claire kept having to tell her, "Come back here, Ucy!"

I also started school yesterday. I'm teaching two sections of Comp 1 at 8 and 9 a.m. YIKES! That's a shock to the system after Claire and I have been waking up in the 7:30-8 range most of the summer! Plus, Claire and I both had terrible nights' sleep Sunday night, so we both had long naps on Monday afternoon. But my classes went well. I'm apparently a pretty long-winded teacher, as I kept both my classes for at least 40 minutes, whereas my office mates both made it back within 25 minutes. Last semester, my schedule was opposite those of my office mates, so we communicated only through Post-Its, but this semester, we teach on the same days, their classes right after mine. They're both girls close to my age and have or are about to have young children. So that's fun.

Claire starts Thursday School at 7th and Beech Church of Christ on Thursday--her first Mother's Day Out program!! Her cousin Katelyn goes to the program, too, and Katelyn's mom Kim is a volunteer, so that makes me feel so much better about it!! It's from 9 to 12:15, I think. There's a parent meeting tonight. She's picked out a lunch box and Dora yogurts for her lunch (why she gravitates toward Dora products, I don't know; she barely watches the show). I think we'll make cookies tomorrow for her lunch, too.

Big ultrasound in T-minus 30 minutes!!

14 August 2009


We got a trampoline a few weeks ago, and Claire loves it. We didn't go for the net around the outside, so she's already flipped off of it once. That was only because Tyler was here and she was acting like a nut; she was so excited. She just put her head down on the blue mat and flipped right off onto the ground! But then she wanted to get back on after she cried for a minute.

Taking a break!

Huck likes to "jump" with Claire. Every time she gets on, he hops up and hangs out with her.

10 August 2009

Beach pics (finally!)

Well, we had a great trip, but I've been in get-ready-for-school mode since we got back! Sorry for the delay; it's probably not so exciting to hear about at this point, but just for posterity's sake, here goes...

We were on the beach three days and one evening, and had a great time boogie-boarding, snorkeling, and playing in the sand. We went with our friends from church, Seth and Kara, and Jay's cousin Matt, his wife, Kim (also Kim Mauck!), and their little girl Katelyn, who is six months younger than Claire. Outside of our immediate families, these are some of Claire's (and our) favorite people to hang out with, so Claire had lots of playmates. We drove the 15ish hours (with the all the stops we ended up making!) in our two loaded-down SUVs.

We all shared a three-bedroom house that was in a private neighborhood near a public beach, so we walked a few blocks every morning to the beach. After three or so hours at the beach, we would walk back, eat lunch, shower, and then have a nice rest time, where the girls took naps, and some of us did, too. The guys went and played golf one afternoon, while the girls went shopping.

Claire and Daddy play in the sand.

Daddy buried Claire in the sand between our beach chairs.

Our first night at the beach, we were in our clothes b/c we were about to eat dinner, and Claire got soaked by a wave that caught us by surprise. We had to strip her down and let it dry for the rest of the time!

Kim entertains the girls during our SECOND dinner at Dewey Destin Harborside!
Daddy and Claire lounging. Our last day, we drove to another public beach that paid snorkeling trips boat to, so we could snorkel. There was a super-calm inlet (pictured above), where all the snorkelers were, one empty one, and one super-wavy one, so we got a little bit of both. Jay, Kim and I had what felt like a near-death experience when we got caught in a current in what I dubbed Jellyfish Cove (the empty one--probably for good reason)! It's all fun and games snorkeling until you realize you're out of breath, caught in a current, surrounded by fish, and right next to a rocky jetty!! We had to climb up on the rocky jetty and pick our way along there until we got to water where we could touch. BUT by then, I had cut my toe on a rock, and was bleeding!! Matt, the fishery biologist, assured me that a shark would NOT come into that little cove and get me, so I hopped back in and walked back to shore on shaky legs. Good times...

Claire and Katelyn had a great time one night at a fun park we went to that had a little kiddie ride area and a putt-putt course. We had a hard-core couples tournament--Jay would probably not like it if I told how Team JK did.

20 July 2009

Great times on Lake Texoma!

Whew, what a great weekend! Every year, the Maucks have a big family get-together for a week on Lake Texoma. Lots of fishing, swimming, great food, and visiting! All the little kids loved it--there was a street in between the Maucks' campsites, and they kept it busy with bikes, trikes, and Big Wheels. We also kept a bunch of dump trucks in a pile of rocks and dirt over to the side. Between that and the giant water trampoline that the guys anchored in the middle of the our little inlet, the kids had a great time.

At our lake church service Sunday, we had 39 people present (and four had to leave early--missed ya, Gail, John, Raegen, and Lauren!). It's always so awesome to worship with family you don't see very often in God's creation!

Of course, I only get pictures of the cute kids, and not any of Jay and I, the adults, or the fish!

PaPaw with his youngest two granddaughters.

Claire coloring with her third cousin, Logan.

Claire and Katelyn enjoying an evening boat ride.

Claire, Katelyn, and Katelyn's first cousin (Claire's third), Dylan.

Claire, Kerrigan, and Katelyn play with the trucks!

Carson gives Claire a hand on the trike! She can reach the pedals on this one, but she still can't figure out how to push.