our adventure…life, adoption, and a little bit of everything else
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Posts from — October 2008

I’m on my way to the loony bin….

As if there were any doubt, it’s official. I need to check myself into the loony bin. WHY, you ask? Oh it has one little word written all over it…CLARK! Enough said! I just hope we all survive life with this sometimes little monster. Now that wasn’t very nice, right? But it is SO how I feel today and most days lately. He is either sweet and great…….OR……not so sweet and not so great. But, we love him. Hopefully as he matures he will gain some self control over all the crying fits. Oh we can only HOPE!!

On to other things. Friday we were able to get a sneak peak at an air show that was taking place over the weekend at Ellington Field, where T.C. does his Guard duty. Since he is on orders right now, we were able to join him in watching a run through of the show. We weren’t able to stay for all of it, but we enjoyed what we did see. Let me tell you, that is THE way to watch an air show. NO CROWDS!! (and free!) The Thunderbirds were there, but the kids and I didn’t get to stay for that portion…as Ali had a guitar lesson. We did get to watch some old Japanese planes do a mock Pearl Harbor attack…that was pretty cool. Clark was in little boy heaven around all those planes and helicopters. He was too cute. He kept telling me that he could fly the planes and that he would wave to me. We just acted like we knew what we were doing and we walked right up to all the planes…no one ever asked us what we thought we were doing. Ha! We didn’t have a good explanation, so that was good.

Saturday we decided to venture down to Galveston to check out the devastation. It was so sad. We used to just love going down there to the beach on the weekends. I don’t know if it will ever truly recover. The Strand District where we would take the kids to an old fashioned ice cream and candy shop, was stripped down the sub flooring. There was absolutely NOTHING in the store…just the walls, staircase in the back, and the sub flooring. They had these great old glass candy cases…gone. I can only hope that they are in the process of renovating and hopefully were able to save some of the candy cases. We also drove through neighborhoods and there is still just piles of rubble on the sides of the road. There were piles of peoples earthly possessions, just waiting to be picked up by the garbage trucks. It was humbling, to say the very least. How often do we catch ourselves wishing we had this or that like so and so has? I mean really, and yet so many families lost everything from a storm named Ike. And so we drove back…to our comfortable life, comfortable home, perhaps changed somehow….wondering what in the world could we do to help.

Last night we had our trunk or treat at church. Clark was a puppy dog. That is a funny story in and of itself. We have friends that have a son that is in kindergarten this year. He and Clark are only about 8 or 9 months apart, but he is quite a bit larger that Clark. Clark sometimes gets a few hand me downs from Justin. The last round had a dalmatian Halloween costume in it. Do you think I would have ever put a used costume on Ali when she was that age……….of course not. I would have politely accepted the hand me down, and then turned around and bought her a brand new costume! However, child #2 comes along and I am like “heck yeah he can wear a hand me down costume…sweet!” Not that we love him any less, but money sure has to stretch farther the second time around. Just wait if we ever have a 3rd…heehee.

We were quite proud of Ali’s report card for her first 9 weeks. She made all A’s. As a treat today, I surprised her and took her to Red Lobster. We NEVER go, but she loves it. (though she hadn’t been since we lived in Louisville) Clark was in school, and I just told her to put on her shoes and that I had a plan. She kept trying to guess where we were going. I knew she would never guess Red Lobster, I was right. We pulled into the parking lot (I was watching her in the rear view mirror), and she got the funniest look on her face. She kept saying, “I didn’t do anything..why did we come here.” We sat down at our table and she kept telling me, “this is so weird, I can’t believe we came here.” She was so excited…and ordered her favorite, shrimp scampi. She was all smiles! She even came up with a clever explanation of why kids say they are so full but yet still have room for dessert. “I have a place for my food, and it can fill up…but then there is another spot for dessert.” So, she was able to order dessert and her choice was a chocolate chip lava cookie with ice cream. I have to admit, it was awesome. Needless to say, we left very full and quite happy. It was a great lunch with our sweet girl.

Today was picture day at Clark’s preschool. When I went to pick him up after school, the teacher said, “Clark was such a ham at picture time…he was so funny.” That was it, no explanation…and I surely didn’t necessarily want to know what he did. Ha! If it was embarrassing, I didn’t want to hear it out loud in front of the other moms. So…I laughed…and politely exited the room.

Here are some photos from the last several days.

October 27, 2008   1 Comment

Our mini vacation

So Thursday we loaded up the kids and luggage and headed to San Antonio. We just love it over there, especially the hill country. We ended up getting out of town right before rush hour, and were able to make great time. We didn’t time it so well last year when we went, and it took us over an hour to get through the Houston traffic.

We spent Friday at Sea World. It was wonderful because the crowds were so low compared to last year. I am sure being a Friday helped a lot with kids in school. All of the lines were short, and we had our pick of seats for all of the shows. Believe was pretty full, but we still ended up getting pretty good seats. That is the name of the Shamu show. Clark loved all of the shows. The kids were also able to feed the dolphins this year. We got to the dolphin pool too late last year and they had closed the window where you purchase the fish. Needless to say, they were excited to be able to do that this time around. Clark is still “vertically challenged” so he wasn’t tall enough to ride much. He did ride the Shamu coaster (a cute little kiddie coaster) and the log ride. He is the brave one…so once he IS tall enough, I think he will be T.C.’s roller coaster buddy! However, T.C. was determined to get his dear daughter on a coaster this time around. (she is like her mom and doesn’t really like huge coasters…I am more of a Disney World roller coaster rider…ya know, the smaller ones!) He actually BRIBED her to ride a big coaster…yep, $40!!! I couldn’t believe it. His price just kept going up…$20,$25,$30….He finally got her at $40. She loves money, so she finally caved in. I was shocked that she actually took him up on his offer. She was quite adamant at first about absolutely positively NOT going on a roller coaster. But she put on her semi brave face and walked off into the sunset with her dad, ready to get on the coaster…ok, really she was just ready to get her 40 bucks! However, she did it…pretty much hated it…and said she was never ever riding something like that again. Ha!! Clark, on the other hand, was quite upset that he couldn’t ride with them. He was a little perturbed when they walked off without him!

Saturday was a more laid back day. We decided to check out another town right outside of San Antonio called New Braunfels. It is a small town, but home to one of the largest water parks in the country Schlitterbahn. Of course the park is closed right now, but we got to drive by and see part of it. It is supposedly among the 10 top best water parks. We ended up at Landa Park, a great city park with a little train ride going through it. They also have a great aquatic area during the summer. They have an Olympic sized pool and a HUGE spring fed pool. They blocked off part of the river and it feeds the pool. It looked like a lot of fun, and we will have to go when that section is open. The kids did feed some precious ducks and we rode the train. We also ventured into their small downtown and visited a little train museum that is in an old train station. They had a steam engine and a caboose in the back that we could climb around on. It is a little German town, so T.C. just had to eat in a German restaurant and get his schnitzel fix! After we left New Braunfels, we drove up the Guadalupe River and made our way to Canyon Lake. We had no idea that the hill country was so pretty. It was beautiful. The river is gorgeous with hills right there. It actually reminded us of driving through back roads in New Mexico or Colorado. We look forward to going in the spring/early summer so the kids can play in the river. The big thing to do around there is tubing. You just float with the current. Canyon Lake was pretty as well, and we enjoyed walked on top of the dam. We had planned on strolling around another little area called Gruene, but a huge market/craft bazaar was going on and people were everywhere with nowhere to park. So, we drove through and look forward to checking it out the next time we are there. It just a small sleepy town with neat shops. Can’t wait to browse through them! With a great day behind us, we then set out to see some old friends. We have some friends from our Albuquerque days that are now stationed in San Antonio. Ali and their youngest are the same age. It was fun to see how the kids had changed in the over 6 years since we had seen them. Bryan was a single dad for some time and is now remarried. We enjoyed meeting his wife Karen. They now have 2 Great Danes! You will see in the pictures just how massive these dogs are. They are gentle giants though…which is something I didn’t know. I had never been around Great Danes before. One weighs 155 lbs. and the other is 145 lbs. HUGE!! They are so sweet, as you can tell by the pictures. It was a great evening spent with old and new friends.

Sunday we parked near the Alamo, and spent quite a few hours in that area. Ali wanted to go a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum. T.C. took her across the street to that while I walked around the Alamo grounds with Clark. I was able to get him to sleep while I sat near a fountain. I browsed the Alamo store and walked around while he took a snooze! Once T.C. and Ali rejoined us, we walked along the Riverwalk and had lunch outside near the river. The weather was gorgeous. After lunch, we walked 1/2 a mile or so down to the Market Square and checked out the Mexican market. Clark got to watch some children doing Spanish dancing, and he really enjoyed that.

That is about the extent of our long weekend. We enjoyed it very much. Now I must finish wading through the laundry…I always dread that part of a trip!

Our crazy new pooch has a name at last….Mandy. Ali named her, and we think it is quite fitting. As I type this, she is running around like a mad woman. Full of energy doesn’t begin to describe her. CRAZY girl!! She is sweet, but we have to watch out what she chews on…like everything in her path. Ha! Ok, she was just chasing her tail…oh wow! (and we thought she might be through the puppy stage…ummm, NO)

We want to ask you to pray for a couple of things. Our little miracle of a nephew, Kai, is fighting an infection. He is on antibiotics, but I didn’t get an update yesterday…so I don’t know much. My mom said he seemed to be more comfortable as of Saturday. We just hope God heals the infection, and he will continue to progress very well. Another is a decision we are having to make regarding T.C.’s job. He was approached a couple of weeks ago by NASA to interview for a government job. He did, and was called yesterday with a job offer. We are praying about it, and trying to make the best decision. The civil service job offers more job security…but as a contractor you make more money in the long run…but you can also loose the contract. So, we are leaning more toward job security, especially in today’s uncertain economy. We are truly so thankful for his job.

Here are so photos from our trip.

October 21, 2008   1 Comment

Our family has grown again…this time it has fur!

Oh dear heavens, what in the world were we thinking? Maybe we weren’t…that’s the problem. We made our usual stop to Taco Cabana for lunch after church on Sunday. So far so good…then we decided to go to Petco to get dog/cat food on our way home. We never should have done that…LOL! We went in for pet food, and came out with a 4 legged friend. Actually the kids and I have been looking at her for several months now. Every Sunday at our Petco they have pet adoptions from a local shelter. We spotted her and her sister this summer. However, T.C. was pretty adamant about NO MORE DOGS! I agree, we never really wanted 2 dogs in the house. However, our sweet little Timmy is 14 years old now. It goes without saying that we aren’t sure how much longer he will be around. He is doing pretty well, but 14 is 14! Anyway, I thought it would be good for the kids if we had another pooch when Timmy started to go downhill. T.C. didn’t seem to share my thoughts. So, we were minding our own business on Sunday walking into Petco….then I made the mistake of looking over at the adoption area. There she was………the pup from the summer! Her sister was adopted a couple of weeks ago. I just HAD to walk over and give her a little pet…then T.C. walked over. I could tell that he thought she was pretty cute…and ya know what happened a minute later…he said “I don’t care if you get her…she IS pretty cute.” Ha!! Of course Ali had an absolute fit. Needless to say, we now officially have a ZOO! As if we needed another dog to prove that. So…now we keep asking ourselves “WHAT WERE WE THINKING?” She was named Xaria by the lady that has been fostering her since she was only weeks old. As of now, she is nameless…poor baby. We are still calling her Xaria, Xara, or Xar…but not sure if we will keep that…it is a little strange. She is about 7 months old, black with a little white, wire haired, terrier mix. A sweet little mutt that is very skittish right now. She is good with the kids though (so far).

We had a fun weekend. We took the kids to the Houston Children’s Museum downtown. Clark had more fun than Ali, as expected. She did enjoy some of the exhibits. Clark LOVED it though. There is a neat Mexican town area that he absolutely could have spent all day in. It has little mock stores, kitchen, school, etc. He was very cute to watch.

This coming weekend, we are packing up and heading to San Antonio…just for the weekend, that is. It will be our annual (ok, it can’t really be annual yet since we just started this last year) trip to Sea World. Military families get in free once a year through their “Hero Salute” program. Free….we LOVE free! We are excited to have a change of scenery. There are a lot of fun things to do in San Antonio. That is where we went on our first little family trip with Clark. We went last year just a few weeks after returning from Ukraine. He has changed so much since then.

I forgot to mention that last week I made a flying trip to Lake Charles with the kids to see our little nephew, Kai. We had not seen him yet. He is just too cute. I will post pictures when all of my sister in law’s family has seen him. I wasn’t able to hold him, as he is only 3 1/2 lbs. or so and still can’t be out of the isolette much. Ali was allowed into the NICU to see him also. He is just precious…such a miracle.

Here are some pictures from our weekend and our new furry addition.

October 13, 2008   2 Comments

Kneeling, praying………and KISSING?

Like the cheesy night shows on the radio…”crying, lovin’, and leavin'” or some version of that….well, we have our own version “kneeling, praying, and kissing.” Let me explain for a moment. During Wednesday night worship at our church, we usually sit right behind our associate pastor’s wife and their 5 year old twin girls. For several weeks now, Clark has been sitting with the girls. (since we are right behind in the next pew) She is also taking the “Parenting in the Pew” class on Sunday mornings, so we are all trying to teach our children how to worship without the need for crayons, toys, etc. So last night she was trying to have the children follow along during the liturgy, etc. Prayer time rolls around and she had the children pull out the kneeling bench and they were all kneeling, hands folded, heads bowed……then it happened. One of the twins puts her arm around Clark….and that was all it took! Clark leans over and kisses her on the shoulder…then leans over and kisses the other one on the cheek. Back and forth until he had kissed each several times. We finally had to break up the kiss fest that was going on. We were all laughing (silently, of course…it WAS prayer time). I laughingly apologized to their mom after church and she said “well, you didn’t see the girls trying to fight him off…did you?” Ha!!

So I just thought you might like a glimpse into our lives…it’s always something with Mr. Clark!

Here is another funny scenario that went down on our way home from church. (Clark had an empty styrofoam cup in his car seat cup holder…we heard crushing noise coming from the backseat)
me: Clark, did you just crush that cup?
Clark: umm, no
T.C. and I both: you must have…did you…we heard it
Clark: no
(Ali decides to investigate herself and leans over and inspects the cup)
Ali: yes you did…you poked a hole in it
Clark: well, I didn’t mean to
T.C. and I: that is lying…even if you didn’t mean to, you need to tell the truth…please don’t lie to us
Clark: FINE!!!!!
(ok, so his final response was like a total teenager…FINE!…where does this 4 year old get this stuff?)

October 9, 2008   1 Comment

Austin and back again….

We left Friday late afternoon to head to Austin for the weekend. Ali’s good friend, Sierra, joined us. Her parents weren’t going to Austin, so she went with us. She wanted to swim in the meet also.

Saturday morning we headed out to the UT pool so that the girls could warm up. We were so surprised at how nice the natatorium was! They must have a great team there at the university. I know Michael Phelps set records there, as did Aaron Peirsol. Ali thought that was very cool. As most young swimmers think Michael Phelps is the the coolest thing since sliced bread these days. Ha! You can even buy swim caps with Michael Phelps name on them. In Ali’s words, “that is too cool.” Ummm, if you say so.

Ali improved all of her times this weekend. (we aren’t headed to the Olympics…but she is at least improving!) In T.C.’s words, “I think we need to be focusing on academic scholarships…” Hahaha! But, in her defense…she has only be at this swimming gig for a little over a year now. She has a LOT of arms and legs to learn to maneuver, once she gets that down pat…her height will be to her advantage. They say slow and steady wins the race…just not in swimming. I’m kidding, we were proud of her! At this age, she is much more interested in her social life in between each event. (she can talk A LOT!) Ha! She loved swimming in such a nice pool…she wishes there were meets there more often. However, our wallets do not.

We took the kids to the TX State Capitol and museum after the meet on Saturday. We took a tour of the capitol and then went to the museum in another building. It is beautiful. The kids really enjoyed the museum, so much so that they wanted to go back for a few minutes on Sunday….so we did.

Well, the bat viewing ended up being a total flop. In great Judd fashion…we showed up….waited for an hour (with hundreds of other people)…we waited…and waited…just knowing the wait would all be worth it. So an hour later, after we had only seen MAYBE 20 bats total…we decided to leave. (along with everyone else!) We gave it the ole’ college try! The kids enjoyed it though. It was right on the river, and we were able to watch a great fireworks display right across from where we were. Let me back up, as I can’t remember if I mentioned this in my last post. During the summer, you can watch thousands of bats fly out from underneath a bridge on the river. We were a little late in the season, but sometimes you are lucky enough to catch quite a few flying around. (we were not…haha) You can read about it at this site http://www.batcon.org/home/index.asp?idPage=122

We are in the middle of shampooing our carpets…so I better get downstairs and help! Enjoy some pictures from our weekend.

October 6, 2008   1 Comment