Sunday, July 24, 2011

Charlotte's Prayer

Charlotte likes to say the prayer(s) before dinner every night.  It goes a little something like this:

"God is good.  God is great.  Thank you for our food today.  Amen.

Thank you God, for making the sun, the moon, and the stars.  Thank you for making the seasons, like summer and spring and fall, and... Daddy what's the last one?  And thank you for making winter.  Thank you for making the clouds.  Thank you for making the grass and the flowers.  Thank you for making Mudder's Day and Fodder's Day.  Thank you for making the buildings, well, most of the buildings.  (???)  Thank you for making Bunny.  Thank you for making our dinner.  Thank you for making our souls and our hearts, and our brains, and our bodies.  Thank you for making Kindergarten.  Thank you for making ankles.  (???)  Thank you for making Santa Claus and Christmas trees.  Thank you for making Christmas and Easter and the Easter Bunny.  Thank you for making the beach called Galveston.  Thank you for making books and songs.  Thank you for making my family, Momma and Daddy and Theodore and Alfred and Oliver and Grampy and Spotty.  Thank you for making Grammy and Uncle Michael and Aunt Angela and Steven and Michelle and Matthew.  Thank you for making Lilly and Caitlin and Grace and Miss Becky and Miss Jill.  Thank you for making TV.  Thank you for making milk.  In Your Name. Amen.

Little children here and there, little children everywhere.  Thank you for our work and play.  Thank you for our food today.  Amen.

Thank you Father for our food and family.  Amen."

Then we reheat our dinner in the microwave and eat.

I hope my girl always keeps her passion for prayer.  I love her so very much.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer Fun

Hi loyal bloggy friends!  Remember me?

Wow.  I can't believe 3 weeks of summer has flown by already.  We have been busy having lots of fun every day.  I could type out an incredibly long blog post telling you about it all, but... a picture is worth a thousand words right?  Well, get ready.  Here comes about twelve thousand words, in no particular order...

Alfred joined a baseball team for the first time in his baseball career.  He is a proud member of the Bats.  This probably makes this the greatest summer ever for him!

The littles are crazy about going for walks.  And for some reason, they always feel the need to pack a bag when we walk to the mailbox and back.  I guess you never know when you are going to need some toys...

This picture serves two purposes.  We go to the movies every week for Summer Movie Clubhouse, as we do every summer.  This summer, though, Theodore is potty training (actually, he is not even training anymore.  He is trained!) and he finds it necessary to take a bug box full of underwear with him when we go.  Again, you just never know, I guess...

On really hot days like this, we like to go to the pool with the bestie and her girls or the splash pad.  Of which, I sadly have taken no pictures.  I need to fix that...

Since we spend A LOT of our evenings at baseball practice or games, the other children find lots of fun ways to amuse themselves.  We take sidewalk chalk to the games with us and Oliver, Charlotte, and Theodore play with the other kids there "watching" their older brothers play baseball.  Charlotte has been obsessed with hopscotch since she played at her little besties' house a few weeks ago.  She's getting pretty good at it too.

One of Charlotte's new favorite things to do is to put on singing and dancing shows or puppet shows for us.  These are great fun for the whole family.  She is definitely our little entertainer.  I should make a movie of one of these!

Bunny is worn out from all the summer fun, and is taking a little nap.  Shhh...

Father's Day was celebrated at the beach. (Again, no pictures at the beach.) The kids got Daddy an icecream maker and all the fixins for Father's Day.  YUM!  We love making homemade ice cream.  Well, Daddy loves making it and we love eating it!

The big boys spend hours creating scenes like this one with elaborate stories to tell about what is happening with "the guys."  They are so imaginative.  On this day, Oliver said, "He plotted his revenge for weeks..."

We spend a couple of days each week at Bouncin Bears.  This place is awesome.  The kids run and jump and play, and I get to sit at a table and dole out water and snacks and read my books or chat with my best friend.  I love Bouncin Bears!

Daddy took the big boys on a big fishing trip!  They went on a big boat into the gulf and came home with two sharks and a black drum fish.  Fish Feast at its finest.  I am also proud to say, that depsite the 4 hour fishing trip, my boys did not come home with a sunburn! 
Thanks Daddy!

More playtime at home.  See Jedi Theodore sporting his Buzz Lightyear Big Boy Underwears?  Yessss!

So that has been a sample of all the summer fun we've been having with the kids.  I have also spent time reading (I highly recommend Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  It was delicious!) and watching Sex and the City.  I had only ever seen a few episodes here and there, so I thought, with the lack of summer shows to watch, that it would be fun to start with episode one and watch all six seasons.  I am about half way through season one and I am loving girly mindless TV!  My bestie and I also decided that our sporatic coffee dates are now going to be a weekly event.  I look forward to regularly scheduled girl talk sans kids!

My biggest news of the summer is our upcoming cruise!  We celebrate 10 years of marriage in just a couple of weeks and we are setting sail for the first time ever!  I can't wait for our big vacation.  I will certainly have to blog about that... And remember to take lots of pictures!

I love summer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Club, Lone Star List, and Other Good Reads

AKA: "A post in which I talk about books incessently."

I am an avid reader and book lover.  Lately, I have been binge reading.  My reading ebbs and flows and I love when I get hooked on books.  They are like dessert to me.  Since I have been on this reading binge, I wanted to post about all of the delicious books that have consumed me over the past few months.  I read a lot of young adult literature and working in a middle school, I have a virtually unending supply of books at my fingertips.  I am also a friend of the library, and my favorite librarian and I have the same taste in books, so she is always recommending books to me that I love!  It usually only takes me two or three days to devour a book, so this may not be a comprehensive list, but this post will include all the ones that stand out in my memory.

But first a bit about my new love; my book club:
I have wanted to be a part of a book club for most of my adult life and a couple of months ago, I finally started one.  It's as simple as book clubs get.  We meet once a month at Barnes and Noble, and over coffee, we dish about the current book and then choose next month's book.  And since we meet at the bookstore, we can go ahead and pick up our newly selected book.  I have a special relationship with my books.  I typically read library books, but there is something so special to me about owning my own books that have become a part of me.  We have our second meeting today.  I love my book club and the ladies who are a part of it.  It's definitely a highlight of my month.

So without further adue, here are my latest reads, in no particular order...

The Gallagher Girl Books by Ally Carter

These were recommended to me by my librarian friend, Dawn.  This is a series of books that started a few years ago.  There will be six, when all is said and done.  And there is a possibility that they will be made into a movie one of these days.  In this teen chick lit series, the main character, Cammie, goes to the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, which is a code name for an elite school... for spies.  The first book begins at the start of Cammie's sophomore year in high school and the first semester of the much anticipated Covert Operations class.  These books are adorable.  Cammie and her three best friends, Bex, Liz, and Macey have wild adventures, try to understand boys, jet out on their own secret missions, and try to solve mysteries, like what really happened to Cammie's father?  Is there really an all boys school for spies? Why were Cammie and Macey nearly kidnapped and who is really after whom?  And why are boys such a mystery?  All the while growing as friends, young women, and spies!  I love the storytelling in these books.  Cammie's voice is heartwarming, charming, clever and funny.  The next book in the series comes out in January.  It is definitely on my extended to read list.

Heist Society also by Ally Carter

I actually discovered The Gallagher Girl books after reading Heist Society.  Heist Society is on the 2011 Lone Star List.  The Lone Star List is a collection of books for middle school students chosen by librarians from around the state of Texas.  These are the best of the best for the year.  Most of my summer reading comes from the upcoming Lone Star List.  This year I have gotten a head start.  And I have not read one yet, that I haven't enjoyed.  The main character in Heist Society is a girl by the name of Katarina Bishop.  Kat comes from a long line of high society thieves.  In Heist Society, Kat's father is accused of stealing a set of paintings from a very rich, very dangerous mobster.  Kat believes her father when he says he is innocent of the crime.  How could he be stealing from this man, when he was doing a job in France that same night?  Kat and her friends set out to steal the paintings back, clear her father's name and set things right.  Another teen girl adventure novel that had me hooked from the first page to the last.  There is also a sequel to this one, Heist Society 2: Uncommon Criminals coming out in June.  It's definitely on my to read list for the summer.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Also from the Lone Star List, Forgive My Fins is a cute teen love story with a twist.  Lily Sanderson is also a mermaid princess.  Half human, half mermaid to be exact.  I wasn't sure about this one at first, it sounded a little too "Little Mermaid" for me, but when Dawn handed it to me and I gave her the "Are you kidding me?" look, she cried, "They are just like the rest of us, Sheila!  Just... underwater."  I knew I had to give it a chance.  I am glad I did.  In Forgive My Fins, the mermaid/human relationship is much more complex and so is Lily's life.  She is tormented by her biker boy next door neighbor, and has a crush on the star of the swim team.  And mermaids are not the casual dating type.  When they "bond," it's for life.  Lily soon finds herself with a tsunami sized delimma and a very short window of opportunity to figure it all out.  This novel is written with cute sea-lingo with phases such as "son of a swordfish" and "he bugs the carp out of me."  Like the others, there will be a sequel, Fins are Forever.  It's also coming out in June, and it's also on my summer list.

Matched by Ally Condie

This has been my favorite Lone Star book so far.  It has the same flavor of The Giver or The Hunger Games.  I am a sucker for books about future societies.  They always make me wonder just what our world could be coming to.  Matched is the tale of a future society in which the people are given their meals, their careers, even their spouses without any choice.  They are told when to be home at night, when to have children, and even when they will die.  The Society has prearranged every decision following the best in probabilty and statistics in an effort to give the citizens "the optimal life."  Cassia is happy and content in her nearly perfect life and her Match Banquet couldn't have gone better, since she was matched with her lifetime best friend, Xander.  But then she gets a glimpse of something The Society never meant for her to see, another boy, Ky, as her match.  Doubt in the system begins to creep in and Cassia is left wondering if the Society's way is really the best way.  Maybe having a choice would be better.  The sequel, Crossed, will be out in November.  Sounds like a great birthday present to me!

There are so many more books I still want to write about.  This post is To Be Continued...

Easter Eggstravaganza

It's been a hectic few weeks and my blog has been feeling a bit neglected.  As you know, last Sunday was Easter Sunday.  As far as holidays go, I think I love Easter even more than Christmas.  We celebrated in fine style.  The weekend before, a few of our neighbors got together and threw an Easter carnival for all the kids in the neighborhood.  We all had a blast.  Then, I spent my day off from school on Good Friday with my bestie, Rebecca.  Mani, pedi, and a little shopping is an excellent way to spend any day off.  Saturday was egg coloring day at the Layman house and ended with a lovely Easter Service at our church.  I just love our church.  Sunday morning the kids woke up to baskets filled with lots of goodies from the Easter Bunny and an egg hunt that lasted all of 30 seconds to find 48 eggs!  We had a nice, relaxing day at home and my family came over for our first BBQ dinner of the season.  Here are a few pictures to highlight our Easter celebration.

Friday, April 8, 2011

All These People

If you were on my doorstep tonight as we were all coming home, you would have overheard this...

Me: All these people...
Robert: What people?
Me: (pointing to the children) These people.  We made all these people.
Charlotte: No.  Jesus did.
Me: I think we did a good job.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Whisper Sunday

In case you haven't heard, my hubby Robert, has been transferred back to the night shift.  He is a deputy with a local sheriff's office.  When you work for the sheriff's office, like most other jobs I suppose, they can pretty much put you where they need you.  So Robert is back on the night shift.

He used to work nights when he first started in the jail, 7 years ago.  And then again, when he first went out to patrol, 5 years ago.  I've gotten used to the almost-like-a-regular-job day shift he's had for the last few years.  But nothing lasts forever, I suppose.

The children are certainly not used to this new schedule either.  And I have never had to manage a sleeping husband and four children all in one house before.  It's not really a job he can go to and do well on very little sleep.  I want more than anything for him to be bringing his A game to a job where not only do you work at night, but you also carry a gun and wear body armour!  So today, I had a great idea.  Whisper Sunday.

It's just as simple as it sounds.  Nobody speaks louder than a whisper.  All day.  And to make it more appealing to the children, the one who is the quietest all day gets to choose our movie for Sunday Night Movie Time tonight.  This idea was brilliant, if I do say so myself.  I am enjoying sitting on my couch, listening to the sounds of my fingers clicking away on the keyboard, the dishwasher washing dishes in the background, and... well, not much else.  I think I will take this quiet time to read a few chapters in my book and maybe doze on the couch for a little while.

I hope your Sunday is as peaceful as ours, friends.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Theodore follows me down the hall, pointing a nerf gun up at me, and says in the fiercest voice a three year old can muster, "Time to die." I turn, look at him, channel my inner Grey's Anatomy, and reply in the most somber voice I can muster, "Nobody dies today."

Monday, March 28, 2011


I found these on my camera.

I bet you could guess who left me those little treasures before you even got to that last one of giant baby.  I hope you enjoyed those as much as I did.

Now, I wonder if Theodore knows where I can find my remote control...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It’s Friday. Wear yellow. For teachers.

The following is a repost from a blog titled "Warren's Piece."  I don't know Warren, but I like his writing.  This is a good read.  Check it out.  And if you want to read more from Warren, click here:

In a few days it will be Friday again. I will go to the gym, as I do every weekday. Shortly after I arrive, my friend Don will come in. He will be wearing red. He will survey the rest of us, nodding cordial greetings to anyone else wearing red. When he comes to me, he will greet me politely, but with a slight air of disapproval. I do not wear red on Fridays.
The first time this happened, I didn’t know what to make of it. After a couple of weeks, I asked someone. “It’s to show support for our troops.” Don is retired military, and supporting our troops is important to him, as it should be to all of us. Being in the military is brave and dangerous work.
But I don’t think my wearing a red shirt to the gym gives any tangible support to our troops. It doesn’t send them food or birthday cards. Or supply them with gear. Or give them rest when they are weary. I don’t believe that one person in the military would benefit one bit from my wearing red on Friday. I don’t think they know whether I wear red or not. If I wore a red shirt to the gym, it wouldn’t be to support our troops. It would be to support Don.
So why have I decided to start wearing yellow on Fridays?
I’m going to do it to show my support for another group that does brave and dangerous work. Teachers.
Teachers are just as important to our national security as soldiers. Maybe more important. Every person in our military has had the help and support of dedicated and hard-working teachers. We all got that help and support, whether we are in the military or not.
But our teachers are under attack. They are being blamed for all the ills of our educational system. Their budgets are being cut. Their workloads are increasing. Their ability to do their jobs well is being stripped away. Many are losing their jobs entirely. And every single one of the attackers is the beneficiary of dedicated and hard-working teachers in their own lives.
One high school English teacher whom I know (quite well) had a wooden barstool near her desk where she would often sit to give her lectures. One day one of her students, displeased with being asked to pay attention, picked up that heavy barstool and threw it across the room, hurled a thick textbook against the wall, then glared at the teacher and snarled, “You’re goin’ down!” The teacher reported the behavior and sent the kid to the office for the standard disciplinary regimen. The next day, back in school as though nothing had happened, he smirked at this teacher as he passed her in the hallway. As I said, brave and dangerous work.
Our teachers need our support just as much as our troops do. Maybe more. It’s just my own opinion, of course, but, hey, it’s my blog. I can opine as I wish.
So I’m starting my own way of showing that support. I’m going to wear yellow on Fridays. I like yellow. It’s bright. Positive. Like sunshine. I think that’s a good metaphor for what teachers give us.
This Friday I will be wearing a yellow t-shirt to the gym. Nobody will probably notice, though Don will notice that, once again, I will not be wearing red.
Later that day I will be meeting with an elementary school librarian (a vanishing breed), and I will be wearing yellow. She probably won’t notice either. But if she asks, I’ll say, “It’s to remind me to thank you for what you do.”
Wearing yellow won’t do anything tangible for our teachers. It won’t reimburse them for the supplies they pay for out of their own pockets. It won’t give them back the evenings and weekends they spend grading papers at home. Teachers will not noticeably benefit. They won’t even know I’m doing it.
I don’t expect anyone else to join me in wearing yellow on Fridays. I won’t give anyone dirty looks for not following suit. This is for me. Every time I put on that yellow shirt, it will remind me (as if I need reminding) that teachers matter. And they have my support. Every day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break: Days Three, Four, and Five

I've been so busy enjoying my Spring Break, I haven't had time to blog about it since Tuesday.  So, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?


I spent Wednesday night laughing and catching up with my dear, old (and by "old" I mean, known-her-since-birth) friend, Jenny.  I love how we can go 3 months or 13 years without seeing each other and we just pick up right where we left off.  I can thank facebook for bringing her back into my life a little over a year ago.  She graduates from college in May and is moving back home for good, so I am looking forward to many more nights together like Wednesday night.  I just love that girl.

I spent Thursday antiquing in the Heights with my very best friend, Rebecca.  We found this wonderful little antique shop that specializes in rare, old books.  I found a treasure in the form of a children's song book that was published in 1880.  It looks great on top of my piano that nobody in my household knows how to play!  Thursday was fun and laid back, as most of my time with Becky tends to be.

Thursday night, Becky and Joe and their girls came over to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with us.  We had our yearly corned beef and cabbage with Irish soda bread and "green coke."  I hate that I did not take any pictures of this event.  Well, I did get this one.  Happy Birthday Joe!

Friday was spent "zoo-ing!"

That's a stork behind us.  This picture seemed appropriate.  :)

Oh and these guys were there too...

It's been a wonderful week and we still have a full weekend ahead of us.  I love Spring Break!