Thursday, August 31, 2017

Meet the Raiders 2017

I love our little town! Every year at the beginning of the school year we have a big pep rally called Meet the Raiders.  The middle school and high school football and volleyball teams are introduced.  The middle and high school year cheerleaders and bands perform.  The varsity teams are introduced individually.  Little girls who attended cheer camp with the high school cheerleaders do a cheer and dance.

Before Meet the Raiders Ryan got to help Sam put his Varsity decals on his helmet.  I love this tradition!
This is the first year B was able to make it through the entire thing.  We used to have it in the high school gym.  This year it was held outside at the stadium.  It was still crowded but a little more tolerable for B.  Having it outside also let the booster club show off the new tunnel.  Ryan got to work the tunnel.

I was barely able to snap a picture of Zac's 8th grade team after they were introduced.  Zac is way at the bottom, almost out of the shot.  Mom fail.  I was able to get one of Sam coming out of the tunnel

B did have a brief meltdown when we got there. He was overwhelmed with the crowd and noise.  And the stands were a little crowded.  A friend of ours is a principal in another district and she was great with B! She convinced him to come back to the stands and sit by her husband.  He got his own little set up.  She even took him to get skittles.  During the school song, B held hands with her and her husband.  Have I said how great our community is????

My absolutely favorite part of a wonderful night was when our mascot, Rowdy the Raider came out.  When Rowdy was introduced, B snapped to attention.  He ran after Rowdy like he was a rock star!! Then he stood at the fence dancing and trying to get Rowdy's attention.

It was a great night for our family and our community!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


What do you when you don't understand something?

I'm really struggling with this right now.  I'm really the book of Isaiah.  It's so hard for me to understand.

I read a chapter.  Then I read it out loud.  Reading out loud really helped me understand Shakespeare.

Next, I read the footnotes in my Bible.  Sometimes these notes are commentary. Sometimes they're a language lesson.  Usually, I get a good understanding from these 3 steps.

Not with Isaiah.

I've added a new step for Isaiah.  Actually 2 steps.  First, I pray.  I ask God to reveal himself to me through the scripture.  I use the words of this song by MercyMe

I've also added The Message.  I read the same chapter in The Message.

The Message has really helped me understand Isaiah. I'm still struggling with the application to my own life.  Isaiah is a book of prophesy. provides some great background information that helps provide context.

So, what do you do when something is hard to understand?  How do you break it down? Tell us in the comments.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


B: Momma, what's heaven like?

Me: I'm not entirely sure but I know that there wouldn't be any suffering and that everyone who accepted Jesus as their Savior will be there.

B: will you get anything you want?

Me: I don't know.  I'm not sure what we'll need in heaven.  God will provide for us.

B: I have bad news.  I don't think I'm going to heaven.  I think I'm going to hell.

Me: Why do you think that?

B: Well, I've been doing those spells.  {see Dog Spells post about this}

Me: There is a way to make sure you're in heaven.  Accept Jesus as your Savior.  Do you believe Jesus died for your sins?  That he took the punishments for your sins so that you can be in heaven with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit one day?

B: Yes

Me: Then you can pray a prayer like this: Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for me.  Please come into my life and forgive me of my sins.

Meanwhile, he's in the backseat praying on his own.

And that's how B-man was saved Sunday morning on the way to church.  We've talked about being saved before but this is the first time that he's recognizing his own sin and need for a Savior.

He was so excited to go into church and tell everyone!! He talked to Ms. Laci and is super excited to get 'babaptized'.

He even told his friends "Bro! Guess what? I've got Jesus in my heart!"
this has nothing to do with this post but I love
pic of B & Cub

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Sweet peas, we all know that our B-man gets on little kicks and usually hilarity ensues.

A couple of weeks ago, he got on a cereal kick.  He started watching cereal commercials on YouTube Kids.  He figured out how to cast them from his iPad to our living room TV so he could watch them on the big TV.  He spent the better part of a day doing this.

When we went to Oklahoma he wanted a box of cereal for the road and one once we got there.  I vetoed the "on the road" box because I did not want cereal all over my car.  He was thrilled to have cereal in Oklahoma.  I don't keep cereal at the house often, mostly during the summer.  During the school year, I make them have some kind of protein for breakfast.

Once we got home, the cereal kick continued.  He wanted to make cereal.  He experimented with several different things.  He wanted his cereal to be fruit flavored.  He tried lots of things and made many many messes.

Finally, I convinced him to make his original cereal recipe (one he'd made before from a YouTube video).  We added almond, orange and lemon extract to the sugar mixture that you mix with the oats.  It was pretty tasty.

We made this after I'd had a long day at work so I just left it out over night.  By the morning it was rock hard.  I decided to cut up some pats of butter, put them around the edges of the pan then warm it in the oven.  I told B my plan.

"I think that's a dumb idea that will never work but it's your time not mine."  Then he walked away.

It worked! This time I poured out the cereal onto parchment paper.  B walked through the kitchen about this time, "Ummm, I did not think that was going to work." And kept right on walking.

He also created a cereal box.  His cereal was called Tiger Stripes.  He thought the orange extract would make the cereal orange.  As you can see his box has a puzzle.  The other side is some kind of game with other cereal mascots.

B-man goes all out, every time!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Meet The Teacher

Monday night, B man did something he has never done before.  He attended Meet the Teacher at his elementary school.

Meet the Teacher can be very chaotic so we've avoided it.  We've always taken him to meet his teacher the day after Meet The Teacher.  This gives us some time to visit and for B to look around the room.

B's awesome principal sent a letter to each kid this summer telling them how excited she was for school to start.  She also included a flyer about Meet the Teacher.  B wanted to know what it was so I explained it to him.

Me: "It's usually pretty chaotic so we skip it."
B: "I like chaos. I want to go."
Me: "Not this kind of chaos.  It's loud and lots of people."
B: "I love people! I want to go!"

Ryan and I talked it over.  I was against it.  This is a stressful time of year for me and I didn't want to add to it with a public meltdown (by either B or me).  But, Ryan had a great point: he wants to go, let's let him try.  We need to start letting him do some hard things.   We decided to go to the last session, hoping there would be fewer people.  I emailed his principal to let her know.

In addition to meeting his teachers, B would be meeting his new behavior specialist.  B really loved his former behavior specialist.  Thankfully, we'd been able to have lunch with him a few weeks ago to say goodbye.  Another blessing is that Ryan played baseball against the new specialist.  They go way back and he's a great guy.  I was able to talk to him at staff development about B.

When we walked in Mr. T, the new behavior specialist, was the first person we saw.  We introduced B and B gave him a big hug.  It seems like they hit it off!

Our neighbor went to an earlier session and had already texted me about his teacher but we let B discover it himself.  One of his teachers, Mrs. McDermett, from last year moved up to 3rd grade and B was ecstatic to find out that he would have her again! He has a new teacher, Mrs. Barnes, for homeroom, ELA and Social Studies.  He'll see Mrs. McDermett for math and science.

He has a lot of friends in his class.  Like I wrote yesterday, he already started recruiting some into the Legion of Lizards.  

I loved seeing B hugging everyone at Meet the Teacher.  He was so excited! He told Mrs. Barnes, "I really loved Mrs. Sirois (one of teachers last year who retired) but I think I'm going to love you more."

He's really looking forward to Genius Hour (a time when kids get to work on projects of their choice).  He's already making of list of things he can do during Genius Hour.

I slept like a rock after Meet the Teacher. I was so relived he'd be back with Mrs. McDermett.  Last year was the best school year B's ever had! And I know this year will be just as wonderful!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Super Powers

Last week I wrote about B trying to cast a spell on himself to become a dog. After that B started researching how to get super powers.  He decided the Spider Man method was the way to go. He liked that Spider Man's DNA actually changed.

However, he wants to be a chameleon based super hero. He couldn't figure out how to get a radioactive chameleon to bite him a la Spider Man.  So, he decided that he should just find someone to infuse regular chameleon DNA with his DNA.  His great idea was for Cub's vet to infuse him.  He dictated this note to Ryan

He didn't want to limit the vet to chameleon so he drew 5 animals and asked the vet to put a check by the DNA he had handy.

Monday night at meet the teacher, he asked EVERYONE if super powers were allowed at school. I mean EVERYONE: both his teachers, his behavior specialist, the counselor, the assistant principal and the principal. He and the counselor agreed that he would need to contain his powers between the hours of 8-4.  He could use his powers at recess also.

He recruited a friend into the Legion of Lizards.  His friend will have geeko powers.  Some other friends are still thinking over his offer.  B asked me to take his friends to the vet for DNA.  I told him that's on their parents.

I haven't taken him to the vet to talk over the plan.  I feel like that needs a pre-discussion between me and the vet.  I wasn't sure how to handle his disappointment over the spell and I feel just as helpless on this one.  I don't want to dash his dreams or kill his creativity but how do I let him know that his plan is not going to work?  I have no idea but his ideas are awesome to think about in the meantime!    

Thursday, August 17, 2017

HS Football 2017

Last year we started a tradition of having Sam's 5 best friends and their families over for spaghetti before high school football started.  This year we weren't able to do it the night before football started because we were out of town.  But we did have it the Sunday before the 2nd week of practices started, so that's something.  We had all 5 families over and I made a ton of spaghetti.  We don't entertain as much as I would like so I relish the opportunity to serve friends.

Last year, I made the boys a poster of the lyrics from Fix My Eyes by For King & Country.  And I had decided on a verse from Nehemiah for this year.

 When God called Nehemiah back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city's wall, many people tried to stop the work.  But Nehemiah held strong.  When neighboring rulers plotted to kill Nehemiah they sent messengers to summons him.  Nehemiah's response is perfect...

The boys discovered this year that there are people, circumstances and situations that will try to distract them from their work and goals. I wanted the boys to know that they need to stay focused. Their work can not stop while they come down to the level of those who aren't working on those same goals.  I hope the verse will help remind them to keep working.

I managed to get through most of the telling of Nehemiah's story and my explanation of the verse without crying.  A big improvement from last year! One of the boys asked his mom, "Do you think Mrs. Bartis will cry this year?" So they were expecting it.

I love these boys so much. I'm so proud of the men they are becoming.  I'm in awe of their dedication to their goals.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dog Spells

This story is so unbelievable but, rest assured, this all happened.  This is a perfect glimpse of life with B-man.

When I got home from work Monday, I was tired.  I had a cold last week that I was mostly over but it had worn me down.  As soon as I got home, I laid down on the bed.  B approached...

B: momma, I did a spell on myself and tomorrow I might be a dog. Is that ok?

Me: no but I guess I can't do anything about it now
B: if it works it will just be for 1 day and it wouldn't keep me from going to Mrs Lori's.
Ryan: did you tell Mrs Lori you might be a dog tomorrow.
B: she said it's ok. I have to go to bed as the same time as Cub tonight. It's good dog luck.
Me: ok but we have to get up to take Zac and his friends to work out in the morning
B: Will you still let me ride in the car if I'm a dog? I'll still be your son in my heart.

We go to Sam's Club and all he can talk about is being a dog. In line...

B: can we say a prayer tonight about the whole dog thing? I really want to be a dog. It's a good scientific way to learn about dogs. I did have a bad day dream that it lasted more than a day. I think if it lasts more than a day, Presli will be able to cure me.  I think I will thoroughly enjoy being a dog.

At Sam's Club he wants to buy a dog bed.  I manage to put him off on that one.  But, for real, it's all he can talk about.  When we get in the car, he sings a song...

I do manage to use it to my advantage by convincing him that he needs to trim his toenails.  Dogs need short toenails.  He even goes to bed early in anticipation.  At bed time...

B: I don't think it's going to work
Me: me either buddy
B: I love you no matter what. No matter if I'm a dog or cat or bug I'll always love you
Me: I will love you no matter if you're a dog or a cat or a bug but I think God made you perfect just the way you are
B: do you think it's going to work
Me: no, I don't really believe in spells. God doesn't do spells
B: but he makes tornadoes with his will power
Me: that's his will power not ours
B: if god wanted to he could use his will to take away my instincts, especially grammar - that's the most important one language and replace them with dog instincts.
Me: just don't be mad at God if it doesn't work out
B: I wouldn't! I'll be mad at videos
Me: yep, you watch a lot of videos that aren't great

Before I got to bed, I check on him.  He's asleep in the floor because dogs have trouble getting down bunk ladders.  

You are seeing that correctly.  He's asleep on the floor with dog food and a dog toy beside him.  Also, under that blanket he's naked.  He didn't want to ruin his clothes during his transition.  

You know what's coming next...B did not wake up as a dog Tuesday morning.  He was not happy.

B: Well, I'm not a dog

Me: sorry Bubba. I think you're perfect the way you are. Sorry the people on the video lied to you
B: for real they just trolled me out of nowhere!

To him it was a personal afront that the video didn't work.  I tried to console him but he just wanted to be alone.  I couldn't blame him.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Saturday morning, Ryan, B & I set out to run some errands.  I needed to go to Michael's Arts & Craft store and I knew I'd have to let B get something.  I told him he could spend $5.

He's been on a bit of a Halloween kick lately and, of course, Michael's already has Halloween stuff out.  After some back and forth, he picked out 2 small wooden caskets.  Excuse me, a vampire casket and a sarcophagus.  I have no idea what the difference is, I'm a little afraid to ask.

On our way to the next stop, the grocery store, B looked at the back of caskets and noticed they were $1.99 each.  "I still have a dollar left" he announced.  I said sort of but dropped it because I really didn't want to get into a discussion about taxes.

"I'm going to get cereal" B declared as we turned into the grocery store parking lot.

"I'm sorry. Try again" I said.

"I'm going to get cereal at the grocery store."

"Not quite.  Try again."

"I'm going to get cereal at the grocery store."

"That doesn't sound like a question."

"It's not. I'm giving you information. I have a dollar.  I'm buying cereal."

I sat with my mouth gaping open while Ryan giggled.  "Oh that is so you!" he said.  

I tried to recover and explain to B that cereal was more than a dollar.  But I couldn't.  He picked out some cereal.

All I could hear all day was "It's not. I'm giving you information."

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Where the wind comes whippin' across the plains...

This has been an unusual summer.  Not bad at all, just different.  The big boys went to Broken Bow with my uncle.  I went to Galveston with my girlfriends.  Ryan and big boys went white water rafting in Colorado.  But we didn't get to do anything all together, including B.  Vacations are hard for B.  He wants to travel.  He wants to go places.  The actual getting places is hard for him.  Being away from home for several days is not easy.

My momma had the great idea to rent a cabin in Oklahoma.  We didn't want to go back to Broken Bow since the boys had been there earlier in the summer.  I remembered a commercial from my childhood for Arbuckle Wilderness, a drive through wildlife park.  Thanks to the Googles, I started looking in the Arbuckle area.  Long story short, we booked a cabin on a ranch close to Davis, Oklahoma.

We went to Turner Falls on Friday.  Turner Falls has a 77 foot waterfall and natural swimming areas.  It's beautiful.  The first area we swam in had diving boards and a slide. But the rocks were slippery and we didn't think to bring water shoes.  There was a lot of falling.  After an overpriced lunch, we went to the waterfall area.  Everyone was dry and not interested in more swimming.  Except for B who was trying to meet his goal of catching a fish with his bare hands in a ziploc baggie.  The waterfall and surrounding mountains are amazing.  There were people on top of the fall and in caves nearby.  I'm not very outdoorsy so I can't imagine hiking up there.

Our cabin was smack in the middle of no where and I loved it!  We went to a nearby town to get groceries at a local store, not a chain!

All day Saturday we just hung out at the cabin.  Ryan and the boys tried to fish but the pond was too low.  Momma and I hung out reading, coloring (me) and crocheting (her).  It was nice to not have to be some where.  We slept late.  We played games.  We fed the goats and llamas that live in the pasture beside the cabin.  We were goofy!

My favorite part, besides the general sitting around and resting, was the fire pit. Both nights Ryan built a fire and we hung out with the boys for a while.  We had good talks with the big boys.  We made s'mores.  The weather was nice, not too hot, a good breeze.

I can see us making this an annual tradition!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Yesterday, in the midst of the craziness of our life, I got to sit. And it was good for my soul.

I sat with some teachers today and worked on an awesome unit. Working with teachers to create units is one of my favorite things to do.  I really feel like I'm helping the teachers and kids when we plan these units.

Then I went to visit my friend Kaycey.  We laid on the bed and talked.  It was so nice.  We didn't solve the world's problems, we just chit chatted.  Nothing heavy.  Just being together and loving on each other.

Finally, I skipped out on what I was "supposed" to do and went to get a mani/pedi.  I don't do that often enough.  And when I do I usually just get the pedicure.  It was nice to sit still and let someone else massage my hands and feet. I would like to tell you that I just sat there and relaxed but I didn't.  I listened to the end of an audiobook that was slightly stressful, the ending was distressing - not a happy ending.  I also texted with another friend on a variety of subjects both ridiculous and serious and that was not stressful.

I have trouble sitting for too long.  Most times when I get a pedicure I leave with a sore behind.  I think I'm trying so hard to sit still that I tense up.  Completely counterproductive.  I like to either move around or curl up in a chair to work.  I don't work well sitting "normally".  Right this minute my legs are pulled up under me and off to the side with the laptop balanced on top (think z sit).

Sitting still seems a lot like not doing anything.  I've written about it before.  Not doing anything feels lazy.  But sometimes we need to not do anything.  We have to rest.

This past weekend we rented a cabin in Oklahoma.  All day Saturday we did nothing but sit around together.  We played games.  We slept.  We ate.  The boys tried to fish.  I read and colored.  My momma crocheted.  It was so nice.

I'm thankful for the times I get to sit and be renewed.  I need to do it more often.  I need to sit with the Lord as well and let him renew me.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Last night B-man started talking to me about Halloween.  He'd watched something on YouTube and it got him thinking.

"We need to practice, Momma."

"Practice what, bud?"


"Halloween is a ways away, buddy.  I don't think we need to practice."

"Yes, we need to walk all over the neighborhood to practice.  You can go in the car or on your feet."

I'd been at work all day then made it to the gym but I couldn't resist a walk with my little man.  Plus I knew he wouldn't walk far.

We had a lovely little walk.  He went further than I had anticipated.  We had a nice chat.  My favorite part was him telling a neighbor that he was practicing for trick or treat.  The guy played along and seemed amused.

Practicing is helpful for B in a number of situations.  It helps lower his anxiety in new situations.  We try to talk through things.  I answer his endless questions - sometimes patiently, others not so much.

We usually don't practice so far in advance though.  I don't usually tell him things very far in advance.  It helps with the millions of questions.  The less time he had to think about a new situation, the fewer questions.  It's a delicate balance: telling him far enough in advance to help him get comfortable but not tell him so far in advance that we have to answer a million questions.

On our walk, B said he'd like to practice three times a week until Halloween.  I could use some more exercise so I'll go along with it.  But he also said that he'd ask Mr. Tom to drive him around on the golf cart on Halloween night so I'm not sure how long practicing will last.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Line in the Sand

Yesterday I wrote about my walk/run on the beach last Friday morning.  Besides the insight into my relationship with Kaycey, I had another insight during that walk/run.  I guess I should do it more often. I need it for weight control, stress relief and insights. Actually, I'm going to start next week. Mark my words!

As I'm huffing and puffing and looking at my feet, I notice a vertical line the entire width of the beach (it's a relatively narrow beach).  My first thought was that a momma drew that line after her kiddos wouldn't stop messing with each other. My imaginary momma drew the line and said "Do not cross this line! Stay on your own side! Be quiet! I'm trying to relax!"

That imaginary momma got me thinking about my line in the sand.  What are the thing or things I'm not willing to do? There are several moral and ethical things I wouldn't do.  I wouldn't get into that list.  What I started thinking about is my new job and the Breaking Busy book I read this summer.

I'm a little bit nervous about the scope of my new job.  I'm going to have a lot to do.  I'm way more excited about the possibilities of my new job than I'm nervous.

I've already had teachers email and text me to ask for help for the upcoming school year.  A few of them have said "I know you're going to be super busy but..."

That's my line in the sand - I do not want to be too busy to help my teachers.  I wouldn't be at everyone's drop everything beck and call but I will do what I can to help my teachers.  I want to help them understand that while my schedule is full, I still have time to help them.  It's my job to help them!

There will be bumps.  I'm moving some things off my plate that my teachers are used to me doing.  There will be a transition period while everyone learns what I'm doing and what others are doing now. I will have to be intentional about not taking on things outside the scope of my job.  I need to remember to stay in my own lane.

I will need to choose my words carefully.  I need to remember that all the things I have going on doesn't have a lot to do with the person in front of me.  The person in front of me needs my help and attention.  I owe it to them.

I will need to stay organized so I can pay attention to the person in front of me and not be worried about what else needs to be done.  I will have to be ok with things being undone when it's time to go home.  Helping my teachers must be more important than crossing things off my to do list.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017


"Let's go for a run."

"No, I don't think so"

"We'll walk then run for 30 second for 2 miles."

"OK, I'll go."

And that is how I ended up going on a beach walk/run with my friends Rachel and Kaycey Friday morning.  They are both much more fit than me.  I was way out of my league.

We walked a while then did a couple of 30 second intervals.  Kaycey was in charge our intervals.  On the 3rd interval, we seemed to be running longer than 30 seconds.  I was struggling but I didn't want to look completely out of shape and awful.  Thankfully, Rachel spoke up.
Kaycey had let us run longer than 30 seconds.  She was trying to push us.

We weren't having it. We went back to 30 second intervals.

I decided to try hard and stop complaining.  As we ran, I thought about how thankful I am for Kaycey.  She's a pusher.

She's not pushy.  She's a pusher.

She works hard to be better.  She inspires me to do better.

She is generous and loving.  She inspires me to be more generous and loving.

Everyone needs a pusher in their life.  Some one who helps them move forward. Someone who believes in them and encourages them.  How can you push someone today?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Soul Food

This past weekend I did something that feeds my soul for much more than 3 days.  I went to the beach with my sorority sisters.  Although we have known each other for over 20 years, this is our 4th year to gather at the beach.  We are in contact through a group text throughout the year but nothing tops our 3 days together.

This year didn't go as planned.  Life stuck it's ugly nose into our sanctuary.  One of the girls had to leave early to tend to her son who had been in an accident (he's on the road to recovery).  It changed the tone of the weekend. We were worried for Rachel and her son. I know I was anxious about my own boys - they were on a rafting trip in Colorado at the same time.  Actually, these year I think we all had something to be anxious about.

Even with the emergency, I wouldn't trade our time together.  We are able to speak truth to one another.  Almost as importantly, we can receive truth from one another.  It's not easy to hear but we know it comes from a place of love.

We don't judge each other.  We have differing parenting styles and occupations and marital statuses.  None of that matters.  We ask questions and learn about our differences so we can understand each other better.

We bring way too much food and then we eat way too much food.  The food is an act of love.  Let me prepare my speciality for you.  Let me serve you.

We don't do much of anything.  We sit on the beach and hash out our problems.  We sit at the kitchen table and hash out our problems.  We watch movies.  This year we tried to learn to play hearts.  I am the most magnificent loser of hearts there every was!

We laugh.  We laugh about new things.  We laugh and remember old things.  There's a lot of "do you remember when...?"

It's hard to explain the importance of my time with these women.  They fill me up.  They love on me and send me back in to the world a better person.  I hope I do the same for them!