Baby Boy Deja Vu

December 31, 2009

My favorite baby age is 8-9 months. It always has been. I can almost tell you if a baby that I don’t even know is that age because of the way I am drawn to him or her. It seems to be the perfect combination of pure eruptions of facial joy mixed with the beginnings of repeated excited babble that grab my heart every time. Our nephew Marcus is just that age. So, you know what I did during the holidays—-took pictures of Marcus. Oh, my goodness. Merry Christmas to me.

I will only see Marcus twice a year, so the fact that I got to be with him during the “perfect baby window” was of particular delight to me. The other delight was the uncanny resemblance he held to Brenden when he was that age. I can’t decide if it was more appearance or disposition. Probably a mixture of both. I kept taking pictures of Marcus that reminded me of pictures I have  of Brenden.

And so, to immerse myself further into babyhood, I will now display baby Marcus and baby Brenden pictures side by side.

My children should just prepare now for the fact that if they ever have children of their own one day, I will practically be moving in with them during the perfect baby stage. Hope they have very patient wives.

Marcus, thank you for being such a willing subject of crazed photography sessions. You gave your Aunt Jana a very merry Christmas!


Ornamental Memories

December 11, 2009

A few days ago I just couldn’t help but take pictures of individual ornaments on my tree. It was so much fun hanging them and I felt the stories coming back to me. I have decided to post about a few of my most prized ornaments in the coming days as I have time.  The first one is priceless. Well, I suppose they all are, but this one REALLY is. It is the pink ribbon rose (one of several) that Richard decorated our apartment with for my 22nd birthday. It was my first “married birthday” and he did such a great job.

We lived here in Abilene on Washington Blvd. in the Washington Square Apartments #225  (now known as Aspen Place —I think). My dear friend Donna H. dubbed it fittingly the “love nest.” Richard invited the Hesters and the Maxwells and their kids over to our tiny one bedroom apartment for pizza from Pizza America and a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. For some reason I had always wanted a cake like that. (Just one of the many little dreams he has been fulfilling for me for 18 years now) He also bought pink decorations from Hallmark at the mall. I was thrilled. It’s funny to look back on that day and remember how truly “adult” I felt and how tiny I now realize I really was. Unfortunately, only the Hallmark is still left in town. No more Pizza America or 31 Flavors.  So sad —especially now that we live within walking distance of the old pizza place.

That first “married Christmas” we didn’t have any ornaments or any money. Not an original predicament, but non the less true. So, I got the idea of decorating our tree (my first REAL tree—we always had artificial) with the bows from all of our wedding gifts. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to throw them away. If I can find the picture I took of that first tree, I will post it here later. But the little pink ribbon roses from my party tied everything together. I have one left and it is the first ornament I put on our tree every year. Tree #18 looks quite a bit different. But I don’t think there will ever be a more cherished tree than the wedding bow tree.

Except for maybe Charlie Brown’s little tiny scrawny beautiful tree. But I could never compete with a Peanuts Christmas Special.

Ahhh….my little tiny pink rose.

This is Tree #18. I’ll look for the picture of Tree #1 tomorrow and see if I can scan it. I hope I can.

Here it is. Tree #1…

What child is this?

December 5, 2009

Aidan’s Christmas program at school is adorable this year! They are dressed as little choir singers and they all look like angels. I mean ALL of them. Even if they have a challenging time exhibiting a compliant spirit in the classroom, they all look like angels in choir robes. It’s almost magical.

Of course I took a TON of pictures of my own child—–who ALWAYS looks like an angel no matter what he is wearing—–but you already knew that. Here is a sample of the preciousness I saw through my lens. Oh, the photographic joy…

May your holiday season bring you similar moments of joy!

40 Things I Am Thankful For

November 25, 2009

In honor of Thanksgiving, I am making a short list of things I am thankful for. I say it is short because I realized that 40 things came too quickly while I was writing my list. I chose 40 things because I turned 40 last Monday and I happened to have a picture of my candles. No other reason. I had to make myself stop so I could finish the post and go to bed at a reasonable Thanksgiving Eve hour. You will notice that a lot of the list has to do with very recent events. It’s where I am right now. Some of the items are random daily treasures and some are life defining. You decided which are which. Happy Thanksgiving!

40 Things I Am Thankful For (in no particular order)…

1. Boot jewelry

2. 9 year old smiles with missing front teeth

3. My dining room chairs in 4 colors

4. That my children will still pose for grueling photo shoots at the beach for under $5.

5. Bandit

6. That my Thanksgiving cherry pie didn’t burn

7. Free trombones and trombone lessons

8. That I finished knitting my nephew’s blanket before he graduated from high school.

9. Warm queso on a rainy night.

10.Twirly skirts

11. Erie sunsets

12. Friends who sew magical aprons

13. 12 year old quarterbacks

14. That the season of Advent is starting soon

15. Furniture Junk-it (come on addicts—-you know who you are)

16. My camera

17. Blowing out 40 candles while more than 40 friends sang to me.

18. That some boys do dishes

19. Watching Brad Paisley while soaking wet

20. Far away family that loves you enough to feel close by

21. Being married to a poet

22. That my parents moved to Abilene

23. That I got to watch my boys watch their first rock concert (U2 ROCKS!)

24. That we live in this blessed free country

25. That people were willing to die so that we could live in a blessed free country

26. That rainbows come after storms threaten to blow you out of Abilene (anybody go to the ACU nationally televised football game?)

27. That so many of the paper flowers my coffee girls made survived my party

28. Orange sherbet and vanilla twist cones at Whippy Dip

29. Dreamsicle toes to match my ice cream cone

30. The Taylors and their “party barn”

31. That sometimes sick babies come home from the hospital to be well again

32. The magical night I took my boys to the balloon festival

33. Highland Church (including Sojourners class and Ladies Coffee friends)

34. That smile

35. That Richard and I have great jobs at a great places with great friends to work with.

36. That I have watched my boys participate in “Sack Sunday” for at least 10 years

37. Aidan’s quirky sense of humor

38. That certain wizards aren’t “too old” to trick-or-treat with certain mummies

39. That people actually danced

40. That, for the moment, I am still taller than my oldest child—-but only if I’m wearing heels)


November 21, 2009

In anticipation of my 40th birthday party this evening, I had an impromptu photo shoot with my paper flowers that will be the decorations. The theme is Funky Fiesta. I got the idea from a party room my mom showed me when we were at a mexican place in Midland this summer. I knew I was having a dancing/country party at my friend’s barn. I’ve known that for 2 years. I start planning early I guess. But this vision of paper flowers at the restaurant sealed the deal for the decorations. I searched online for the perfect flowers and was disappointed with the cost. So, I started searching for “how to” videos and such. I found PLENTY. So, I happily went to good ol’ Hobby Lobby and bought a rainbow of paper.

I decided to bring it to Ladies Coffee Night a few weeks ago and we had quite a festival of paper. It was one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in a long time. My mother-in law always says that half the fun of something is the planning of it. She was certainly right in this case. I could NEVER have finished this many flowers all by myself. And now I have not only a collection of unique party decorations but a reminder of how blessed I am with so many friends.

When I look at these flowers, I don’t just see beautiful colors and festivities waiting to happen. I see individual people who bring me lasting joy and celebration on a daily basis. I can’t wait to go to my party and share in celebration with so many people—each as unique and lovely as my paper flowers.

(Richard nearly killed himself hanging lights last night over the dance floor/driveway —I’ll have a tribute to him later.Hopefully some pictures tonight will show off his work.)

Now, on to creating the perfect outfit to wear. I want it to express my “inner Dixie Chick.” Fun. Fun. Fun.

Too bad you only turn 40 once!

Dr. Contraction

November 15, 2009

drWell, this is what I did at work the other day. Mrs. Jinkerson in first grade discovered a great idea to try to teach the concept of contractions. She very graciously let me play the role of Dr. Contraction while she went over reading lessons with another group. It was so much fun that I made a guest appearance later in the day for second grade. I sent around an e-mail at school that read as follows…

“Do you have letters that need to be removed? Word condensing is Dr. Contraction’s specialty. Not only will she make contractions right before your very eyes—-she will allow interns to observe in her operating room and have hands on letter removal training.  The contraction possibilities are endless.  Call today to make an appointment with Dr. Contraction.  (Also available for house/classroom calls)”

It was fun making people laugh in the middle of the day. Sometimes I think that’s why I go to work.

Wonder what I’ll be doing tomorrow? I assure you —-it won’t be boring.


dr3This is a photo of an actual surgery about to take place on the words “she is.” The letter “i” will be surgically removed and a red “scar” (a.k.a. apostrophe0 will be placed where the incision was made.) And thus….the word “she’s” will emerge.

dr2This is a photo of riveted children whose minds are exploding with all of the knowledge being poured into their brains. Ot it’s a room of second graders being polite while they wait to line up for music. You be the judge.


November 14, 2009

Hello deprived readers of Library Girl. Many of you have inquired about the lack of new reading material provided here in recent months. Here’s the scoop.

School started.

That’s pretty much it. My job changed and I no longer had as much energy for “extra-cirriculars”. I have continued to take plentiful amounts of pictures. I just haven’t had the time to write them up. There were moments when I felt like I wanted to write something but It wasn’t in the chronological order of things because I had gotten so behind. I felt like I couldn’t write anything current until I had caught up with the summer posts. And so, I wrote nothing. Not good. And not fun.

So, here is my new plan.

(Since I made up the original plan in the first place, I can change it, right?)

After an enlightening discussion over tacos at Rosa’s with my dear friend Katie, I have decided to grant myself permission to drop Project 365. It will be referred to in the future as Project 185 (as that is how many days I actually got to). So, I won’t be printing a journal for myself of 2009. Just half of 2009. I have a feeling I will still enjoy it.

And now—(dun…dun…dun…)

I officially release myself from the burden I placed on my own self. I am no longer bound by date or subject matter for any post. I can write whatever I want whenever I want. I can write about Aidan’s October birthday in January if I feel like it. I can write about our summer trip while I am on Christmas vacation and then add a Christmas post right after that if I feel like it. Ha Ha Ha Ha! Oh, the freedom of  releasing yourself from your own ridiculous constraints.

Thank you for your kind patience in this matter. The requests from my friends and family to continue have been heard. And I am now able to move forward with a boundary free blogging experience. I will write when I can and not worry about it otherwise.


Even though I no longer work in the library, I can’t bring myself to change the blog title. So, it will remain unchanged. However, the woman beneath the name is a new creature of freedom! But I will always be Library Girl at heart. I’ve heard I may be helping with the book fair later this month—so it still counts, right?

I wonder what other constraints I am placing on myself that need to be reexamined. Who knows what I might give myself permission to do? Don’t worry boys, I don’t think the grocery store and the laundry are optional. Now….loading the dishwasher…hmmm…that might just be another story.

Glad to be back!


Happy 4th of July!

July 4, 2009

4thIn this house we LOVE the 4th of July! Ok. In this house we love any reason to celebrate anything…but we particularly love the 4th of July. I have always enjoyed patriotic things. Perhaps is goes back to being at “just the right age” when the Bicentennial hit. I would have been about 6 years old I think. (Math has never been my strong suit.) My mom made my sister and me red, white, and blue double-knit polyester cheerleader skirts—yes, it was the 70’s— and we had little white t-shirts with blue trim with a bicentennial patch sewn on them. If I can ever find a picture of that I will try to scan it in and post it here. Maybe that’s where it all began? Or perhaps it was all the years of sitting in the living room chair upholstered with material imprinted with liberty bells and soldiers of the revolution? Who know? Most recently I think it was that my first baby was due on the 4th of July. Sadly, he didn’t actually arrive until the 7th (a very LONG 3 days—I think it was actually a week). Needless to say, I have passed my love for all things July 4th on to my boys. I actually own red, white, and blue bunting to hang on the porch. LOVE IT!

This year we celebrated by participating in a borrowed neighborhood parade. It was borrowed because it wasn’t actually our neighborhood. We’ve done this for years in the Hillcrest parade. But this year we crashed the Sayles Blvd parade (with permission, of course). My dad was playing in the community band at the same location, so we joined in the fun. It was Bandit’s very first parade experience. He was marvelous.



4th4The boys got the chance to ride the new cool “people movers”. There was a man riding them in the parade and he gave them a litle lesson while we were waiting for the festivities to begin.




4th10 K was our very biggest fan when we walked by.


4th12 Resting after his big debut.


4th20After the parade we got to go to a party at Amanda’s parents house. It was a great cookout with swimming and pinatas. Brenden enjoyed wearing a portion of the pinata as well as filling it with candy . It looked like a pretend ice cream soda or something. Very fun.


4th115 See you next year!

Blast from the past!

July 3, 2009

halloweenMy sweet sister Bethany was cleaning off her camera card and stumbled across these pictures from several years ago. This was Halloween night. I think I was trick-or- treating with a tiny Darth Vader who was no longer wearing his mask. Aidan has always LOVED Halloween and I have always LOVED fun socks. This is a really sweet memory for me. I especially like this picture because I am actually IN it. That doesn’t happen very often. 

That same night after Aidan had his bath , Bethany took a picture of him in his Sponge Bob pj’s (another blast from the past). He was “being an egg.” This was an activity that Aidan created when he was in Stepping Stones pre-school with Teacher Sherry. They were learning about what different things hatch from an egg. He decided to play a guessing game with us at home. He would curl up in a little ball and call out for us to come while saying “I’m and egg.” Immediately following this statement, a great shaking of his little body would begin. He would “emerge” from his egg and we would have to guess what kind of creature was coming out. Most frequently it was some sort of dinosaur. Many times the game took place on the couch after a bath. However, my favorite moments were when we were coming home at night in the car and a little voice would call out from the backseat –“I’m an egg.” This means that Aidan would pretend to be asleep and be curled up in his car seat. One of us would have to pick him up and carry him (while still in his egg shape) and put him gently on the couch. He would then begin the process of “hatching.” 

eggOne year, at the church family retreat talent show, Aidan performed the egg routine —-much to the delight of the considerable audience. He became an instant legend. The performance has been much requested since. Occasionally we still hear to this day in the church atrium —-“Hey, aren’t you the egg boy?”

Many thanks to Auntie B for this little detour to the past.

Science Camp Part 4

July 2, 2009

camp3This was the final experiment of Science Camp. You know—the good ol’ “Watch the egg get sucked into a jar after lighting a match experiment.” We hadn’t done it before because we could NOT locate a glass jar. Do you know how hard it is to find anything at all not made of plastic these days? Luckily, my dear friend (and 1st grade teacher extraordinaire) had the perfect jar in her “magical classroom closet.” This particular closet is kind of like Mary Poppins’ bag. It seems to always have what you need when you need it and you have no idea how it all fit in there.

As soon as we got our hands on the bottle, we lit a napkin with a flame clicker (as we like to call them) and watched and waited with great anticipation. The extinguished flame consumes all of the oxygen in the bottle and the egg gets caught up in some serious suction which pulls the egg through the tiny jar opening. It seems magical.


*Note–Prepare yourself for very cool science in action photos ahead






 The thing that is not as magical is what you have to do to get the egg back out again. The responsible adult (would that actually be me?) tips the jar to bring the egg close to the opening. This same adult then places her mouth on the jar opening and begins to blow with all of her might —or until her eyeballs almost pop out.) The egg slides right out. Did I mention that the egg now has burned ashes all over it? YUM.


camp8Thanks to the Beck boys for the last 2 pictures. Wonderful work.

And thanks to Cindy and her never ending supply closet. We couldn’t have done it without you.