Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Hangin' in DC

Army of Dad came home last night after a long weekend in DC with his Army buddies. I'm sure DC will never be the same.
Here he is in his Valentine's gift from me outside the White House. Yep, my sentiments exactly. If you want one of these shirts, here ya go. You're welcome.


Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Or more appropriately, hair today, gone today. There is the hairdresser measuring my ponytail. The shortest layer was 10 inches and the longest was 11. Minimum needed was 10.
There I am looking greatly pained as he snipped off my ponytail.
and, trying not to look like I'm going to cry with my ponytail. It doesn't look like much when its just in your hand. Looks like some poor dog's cropped tail in that stumpy little ponytail.
The back after the ponytail cut, but before the good haircut that came later.
And, the sassy little swing bob.


Sunny Days

Little Bit Weathergal had a ball on her field trip today. She loved having mama all to herself. Ok, she had to share me with a few classmates, but it was all good.
Five kids for me. That is a good size and this teacher didn't give me a hellion to wrangle. Has to be the first time I chaperoned on a field trip when I wasn't given the class troublemaker to watch.
They were loving the sculpture of the scientist. I love Blondie's pose. Too cute.
And, the pensive face of Little Bit. She was still a bit bummed about one of the boys demolishing her block creation earlier. I just thought this was so cute. She looks like my baby here and not such a big girl. I like that.
And, me, pre-haircut. Pickle took this of me tonight. Come mid-morning Friday, 10 inches of hair is coming off for Locks of Love. I'm nervous!!!!


Exciting and beautiful

Yes, I do like my blog title for this one. These pics are exciting and beautiful (ok, at least TO ME if no one else.) They feature Collin Mangrum, UNT's tastiest athlete. And, THANK GOD, he found his groove last night. I had taken the kids to a movie (The Princess and the Frog - very cute, highly recommended. That is one I'll be buying. Loved it.) and we got in the car to hear the pre-game for the UNT basketball game. The kids asked me: are we going to be late? I had to giggle and say, yes, children. The game is in Houston, I don't think we're going to make it. That earned me lots of giggles and many transportation jokes. But, I digress.
I was so happy to listen to the game and hear Collin found his groove and sank two three-pointers. Woo hoo! I've been debating offering him advice (we noticed his shots were just a little short; he needed more arch - but I could also see his confidence was a little down leading to the short shots. *shrug* I was just glad to see him keep on plugging away. Some players get in a funk and just pass and won't keep trying. He's a plucky player, though, and I'm glad because he's got a pretty shot. And, stop it Army of Dad, I know he has many other "pretty" things, too, but his shot is definitely one of them. I'm trying to remember if he drew the charge foul on this play or not. He should have, if he didn't, because he was planted, as you can tell (even in my shadowy shot).
At least one obligatory butt shot. I love to watch him pass because of the fab arm muscles. Mmmm.
Beautiful is here. Ok, a little above, too. But, my darling little girl and her BFF with Scrappy. Would you believe these girls are just one month apart in age? Crazy. This Saturday is the second to last home game and we'll only be able to attend the first half. :( Hot Rod has a game at 4:30 and the UNT tip off is 3 p.m. Totally bites for us. I thought Little Bit was going to cry when I told her we would only be there for the first half. Trust me, child; mom feels the same way.


Happy Valentine's Day

Today will make it 12 incredible Valentine's Days that I have spent with my wonderful husband. This one should be no different. Just some 'us' time. I can't wait.

I love you, Valentine.


So long snow

The snow is melting away today and I'm ok with that. Its been fun, but I'm ready to go to back to 50s for a Texas winter day. Here is Little Bit with her Snow-fireman that she built in the neighbor's yard with the help of the teenager there. Little Bit did the head and decoraction and her friend did the body.
She was working hard.
Our back yard with all the snow.
And, our front yard. Amazing, isn't it?



It may be the month of love with all that Valentine's Day nonsense, but February will always be a month of sadness for me.

It was on a Friday evening in February 1995 when many lives were impacted by evil incarnate. His name was Henry Lopez Ortiz. Fortunately (or not depending upon your point of view), he died a few years ago. No loss to the world IMHO.

Feb. 10, 1995. My baby was a few days away from being 5 months old. It was my weekend to work the evening shifts at the newspaper. We rotated who had to cover weekends. And, I got the call from the PD PIO. There was a murder.

Worse yet. It was a child. Ohmigod. It was a child.

Abuse, we usually thought. Some poor kid who had been smacked around and finally mom or dad lost it and put the poor kid out of his or her misery. Nope, not even close.

A beautiful little red-haired 10-year-old girl was murdered by her downstairs neighbor - Henry Lopez Ortiz. Her name was Julianne Powell. She was a latchkey child of a single mother.

Her mother had an early afternoon off and decided to treat herself to a matinee. Brad Pitt and Legends of the Fall. Julianne would get home a little after 3. The movie would end around 4; it would be fine.

Only it wasn't on Friday afternoon Feb. 10, 1995. Julianne wasn't home when she arrived. She knew she should be there. She called her friends, she searched the apartment complex. One of her friends said the man downstairs had knocked on Julianne's door while she was on the phone with her.

Julianne's mom - Lynn Fisher - knocked on his door to see if he had seen her. Disheveled and with a scratch on his face when he answered the door, she knew something was terribly wrong.

The police immediately honed in on him, too. After getting a search warrant, they found Julianne's raped and murdered body in Ortiz's laundry hamper that evening.

I was at the apartment complex when Lynn got the news. I still remember hearing her cries. I was out in the courtyard and I heard the wails of a mother who was just told that her sweet little angel was dead. I can still hear that anguish when I think of it.

On Wednesday, I kept thinking there was something I was forgetting. What was I forgetting on Feb. 10? No birthdays of relatives; they're all at the end of the month. What was it? I couldn't put my finger on it. I thought about Lynn, but she crosses my mind upon occasion, as does Julianne.

I covered the court system at the time of the Julianne's death and I followed everything about her case. I was there from the start. I became a part of all of it.

And, I formed a friendship with her mother. The experience hit me much harder than it would have even a year before - because now I was a mother, too. The idea of being in her situation - it left me heartsick. God, how could it happen? Why would YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?

But, like so many wonderful women I've had only passing friendships with in my life - I found her comforting me. She was and is one of the strongest women I've ever encountered in my life. She didn't give up. She didn't crawl under a rock and hide from the world. No. She fought for justice for her daughter's killer. She and I embraced after he was found guilty. That trial was moved from Midland to Amarillo because of pre-trial publicity (well, ok, it wasn't ALL me. The TV stations played a role, too!) But, I can remember many weekends caravanning back and forth following the judge in the trial and Lynn. Our three cars drove home together.

And, I forgot Feb. 10 this year. I knew something was missing. And, I forgot. How could I forget?

And, tonight, I got an email from Lynn. It was just a forwarded email. One we all get routinely from friends. But, you know, from this woman - this email - it really meant something. This is it:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need
You have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with
Guidance and support,

To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,

This person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand..

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire
Fulfilled, their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

*Normally, I would get an email like this and not think twice. Yes, it is sweet when my son's former second grade teacher sends me this. Or when a high school classmate sends it. But, from Lynn, it takes on a whole other meaning. I would like to think that she has a special place for me in her memories like I have for her. And, for Julianne. I truly believe Julianne came to me in my dreams during her trial. And, I wanted to honor her and her memory. I think she'd be 26 this coming August. I think about the boyfriends she never had. The proms she never attended. The babies she'll never have.

But, she will live on in my heart. And, I'll tell people about the sweet little red-haired girl who impacted my life without ever meeting me. And, I'll tell people about her strong mother who didn't let the most horrible thing that could happen to her cause her to shut down. I don't think I have that kind of strength.

I'm not sure why I've been blessed with so many incredible women in my life. Some are there for only a season - and some are ones I've only had the most fleeting of contact with - but they have left me changed. And, I hope, improved.

God love you, Lynn. Thank you. My email response to her: I was thinking of you this week.

What else can you say?

Another Snow Day

The kids loved missing school and getting out to play in the snow.
Of course, many snowballs were part of the morning's festivities.
And, retaliation was the name of the game.
A Texas-sized snowman isn't big like everything else in Texas. We like ours to be wee. Well, cuz, that is usually all we can do with them.
The snowbabies.
And, Hot Rod's creation. He worked hard for this one.

Call me

Now I'm singing that Blondie song from all those years ago.

But, I was thinking about ring tones and how fun they can be. For the longest time, my ring tones included White & Nerdy by Weird Al and Milkshake by Kelis.

Now, here is what I have:

main ring tone - The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars

my mom & dad - Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

my ex - Bound for the Floor by Local H (copacetic was one of his favorite words)

message tone - Boom Boom Pow by Black-eyed Peas or Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield (depends on my mood)

Pickle - the Mario Brothers game music

Home - When I'm Gone by Three Doors Down

My BFF - Hottie by Toby Keith

Army of Dad - Addicted by Saving Abel

My MIL - Gator cheer (yep, Florida Gators in-laws through and through)

One of my good friends - I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry (what can I say? its funny when she calls)


Yes, I do have THREE children

Nope, not mine. Nooooo way. This is NOT why I've been absent and not why my ass is so big. Nope, is the baby of one of AoD's old Army buddies who came to see us Sunday.
And, buddy's bride. Very sweet gal.
Don't these kids look like they love the baby? And, look, there is my third child. The teenager does exist! But, only when he wants to surface from his occasional emo-ness.
I love the baby's face - help me! You, tall one with the glasses - please rescue me from these two children!

Fun Filled Weekend

Maybe I'll start blogging about things again. Fill you up with my opinions on gun control, President Obama *shuddering, I feel dirty just saying the man's name, eww* or any variety of other things. In the meantime, you get the weekend of fun. Here is Little Bit at a friend's bday party.
Cheering on Saturday.
And, post-board break at the
At the Pirate Ninja Camp on Sunday. Too much fun. She even got to karate chop a board in half.

Hot Rod taking the point again.
Looking for an outlet.
And, pulling the Collin Mangrum hair toss. Yes, Collin has a Mini-Me and his name is Hot Rod.
Not a hair toss by Collin, but hair in motion. I have a few shots doing the hair toss, but I don't want to take the time to go search for it. But, you get the point.
When I see this, I really think I missed my calling in professions. Maybe I'll go back to school and become a trainer, kiniesologist, whatever it is. Looks like a good job. Except when they have to spray that squirt bottle to clean up blood on a uniform. Eww.
Yep. Muscles. Cute boy. *sigh*
I just like the look on his face here. We had a lot of fun jacking with the players at this game. I was a little more animated in my heckling than usual. Paid off, I think. Got a wink from the hecklee (is that what you'd call him?)
Now, if only I could get a wink from Collin. I'd probably turn 14 shades of red and crawl under my seat. Speaking of turning red - I can't remember the last time I've blushed. Ok, yeah I can, when I ran into Collin after he found out about the blog AND I realized he recognized me. Oh good Lord. I wanted to die right then and there. Especially with that Cheshire cat grin he gave me. *shaking my head* But, Army of Dad made me blush like a school girl on Saturday night. We took the kids to Braum's for an ice cream. I treated myself to one, too, and it started to drip on my chest. I had the cone in one hand and my money in the other. I asked Army of Dad to get the ice cream off of me (thinking he'd get a napkin) but instead he reaches over and licks it off my chest! Right there in the check-out line! In front of the clerk! I instantly felt my face flush. I never blush either. Army of Dad cracked up - and so did the clerk!!!
NBA All-Star weekend in Dallas starts tomorrow. Wish I could go. I love the skills challenges.

Sci-fi Comic Con

Wow. He is soooo good looking. And, he was really funny and very friendly. I was thrilled to get my 2 minutes with Sean Patrick Flanery at the sci-fi/comic con a couple of weeks ago.
He did a little Q&A, which was very entertaining. I enjoyed learning more about Boondock Saints and SPF.

Ahhhh, he was very handsome, too.
And, I turned all fan girl. I can't help it. I revert to a 15-year-old girl in these situations.
Pickle and the superhero girls. He was loving life.
And a Paul McCartney action figure. Okey dokey, son.
With Tiny Sulu.
And, some Justice League booby girl. I gave myself more cleavage to try and compete.
Pickle and little Edward Scissorhands. Lots of fun, as usual.