Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Fond Farewell to 2012

My #2 son is pumped!

My #2 son is pumped!

When they say “what a difference a year makes,” our family understands. We’ve lived it in 2012.

My #2 son poses with his Cookie Monster goodies.

The kid posed with his Cookie Monster goodies during Christmas 2011.

Looking back at my last blog post of 2011 and especially at the photo I used of my younger son (shown above), I feel amazed and blessed. Amazed at how much better my beloved baby boy looks after a year of somewhat normalcy. Blessed that he’s pretty much back on track, with his high school graduation in early June and college starting in August.

A year ago I worried that we wouldn’t see those two important events. But getting him to return to his public high school after the debacle of the online version turned out great for him. Starting his senior year in the fall was touch and go for a couple weeks, but he persevered and finished the first semester with A’s and B’s.

Even getting socks for Christmas made him smile.

Even getting socks for Christmas made him smile.

Most importantly, joy has returned to his gorgeous green-gray eyes. That empty glass is filling up once again. The Mister and I are so relieved and remain hopeful for our son’s future.

Friends and family have complimented the Mister and I for helping the kid regain his footing. But we just did what all parents should and most parents would: We swam underneath him and kept his head above water until he could once again take strokes on his own. Yes, it took all of 2011 and some parts of 2012, but we always believed that our son would be okay again. Our faith in him never wavered.

Know what the best gift of all is? Reading what our 17 year old wrote in his blog recently:

“Holy freaking cow! This semester has gone by so fast, and I have to say that it has been a blast. I enjoyed all of my classes and had fun almost every day. I will say that almost every day was the same. I woke up at the same time every day. Then I arrived at school at the same time every day. Then I took boring notes in every class every single day, and then I would go home and take a nap.”

He liked school! The kid actually liked his high school!!

Happy New Year’s Eve, y’all!! Stay safe, and please don’t drink and drive.

Please Donate!


Looking for a great cause to support, one that’s also tax-deductible? Please donate to the American Heart Association, which is the charity I’m running for during the January 13th Aramco Houston Half Marathon through its Run for a Reason program.

According to the AHA, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, more deadly than all forms of cancer. More than 2,200 Americans die of heart disease every day, one death every 39 seconds. Someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, with a stroke-related death occurring every four minutes.

Those are sobering numbers. My father suffered a heart attack, my father-in-law a stroke, I have friends and a dear cousin battling heart problems, and I have other pals who have lost their loved ones to heart attacks. I want the AHA to be able to help as many people as possible.

The American Heart Association’s mission is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020. This is an aggressive disease that needs the AHA’s aggressive response.

Any amount of money will help this important cause, from one dollar on up. Just click here: Run for a Reason. Thanks for helping the AHA kick heart disease to the curb.

A Gift From the Heart

My older son sprays away.

My older son sprays away.

By the time your kids are in their late teens and beyond, you think you really know them. And then one day, they surprise you in the best possible way.

When my collegian returned home for his winter break from UTSA, his first order of business just about shocked me: He wanted to make a Christmas gift for his younger brother. This, my friends, was incredibly unusual, because it would be my almost-21-year-old son’s first do-it-yourself present.

Showing his not-often-seen sensitive side, my older son thought about what little bro might want and then sprung into action. The goal? Produce seven small, starred, orange balls similar to dragon balls, which are used in the Dragon Ball animated series that my #2 son likes watching.

It’s messy work.

It’s messy work.

My #1 son invested four bucks in a can of orange spray paint. We already had plenty of small bouncy balls that the boys used to collect. So while the kid was at school last week, his older bro was busy in our backyard spraying again and again and again.

The glove fits the orange crime.

The glove fits the orange crime.

At first, my son put the orange orbs onto newspaper to dry, which caused them to have bits of newsprint on them. So I gave him a corrugated tray, which helped the cause; however, he still couldn’t get the paint to apply smoothly. When the blotchy balls finally dried, he sketched his rendition of stars on them (and discovered that he absolutely could not draw well, which he was able to laugh about, thank goodness) and showed me the finished product.

I smiled and then wiped away a tear—this was such a wonderful idea but with such poor execution. Knowing how much his brother had spent on what he bought for the collegian (the baby Luigi plushie), I complimented my scraggly-bearded boy on his effort while advising him to buy another gift, which he did.

The dragon balls

The kid holds the dragon balls.

On Christmas morning as little bro opened his big bro’s gift, I held my breath wondering what his reaction would be. Another surprise: He loved it, especially since it was handmade.

My #2 son likes his special gift.

My #2 son likes his special gift.

My older son approached the kid and explained about all that went into producing this unique present, the highs and the lows. And then they actually hugged!

This just proves that it definitely IS the thought that counts!

One-Word Wednesday

My older son likes the baby Luigi his little bro gave him for Christmas.

My older son likes the baby Luigi his little bro gave him for Christmas.


The kid’s favorite NBA player is Kemba Walker.

The kid’s favorite NBA player is Charlotte’s Kemba Walker.

A Candy Cane Christmas Wish

Candy canes all in a row

Candy canes all in a row

To my much-appreciated readers who celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy a sweet holiday today.

Do reindeers like candy?

Do reindeers like sweets?

Merry Christmas, y’all!


The sky looked so interesting during my walk yesterday morning.

The clouds looked so interesting during my walk yesterday morning. (iPhone 5)


I love the patterns.

That before long . . .

The sky is gray and white and cloudy.

They made me start singing this Paul Simon song!

They made me start singing this Paul Simon song!

Sometimes I think it’s hanging down on me.

Berry Good!

Bluish fruit grows on a local shrub.


It’s the first day of winter!

Red fruit brighten up a tree.


Here in Houston, all is berry and bright!!

Terrible Towels

My bath towel hanging neatly by our hand towel.

My bath towel hanging neatly by our hand towel.

Everyone in our family takes showers in our large master bathroom.

Once my sons outgrew baths and could manage on their own, I lovingly and gently showed them how to neatly hang up their bath towels on the multi-tiered rack over the commode room door so they dry properly.

The Mister even hangs up his towel neatly.

Even the Mister hangs up his towel properly.

But, apparently, the lesson never stuck in brains filled with math, science, English, videogames, baseball, disc golf, and texting. Every year or so I’d have to remind the boys—less gently every time—to stop throwing their towels on the racks. How difficult is that to do?



Looks like it’s back to the drawing board!

One-Word Wednesday

Love these colorful leaves!

Colorful leaves pop in front of a blue sky.


Dark red predominates.

Dark red predominates.

Peaceful Feelings

Ducks make ripple on one of our community’s lakes this morning.

Ducks make ripples on one of our community’s lakes this morning.

Today as I tearfully think about the funerals of innocent children and brave adults taken too soon in Newtown, Connecticut, I wish for peace. For the families and loved ones left to mourn. For our nation trying to make sense out of yet another senseless tragedy. For the mentally ill and their loved ones and health professionals who are trying to help them.

Let there be peace on earth . . . and let it begin with each one of us.