Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Aggie football has started with all nights games. While at the game on Saturday, part of the stands at Kyle Field was taken over by crickets. It was a section just under the big lights so there were tons and tons of other bugs swarming the lights. Andrew was obsessed with looking through Pop Pop's binoculars to see what ended up being quite a show of bugs.
Andrew: "Mama, you have got to look at all these bugs. I think there is a million of them!"
Out of NOWHERE comes this horrible shrieking noise.
Me: "ANDREW, why are you making that horrible noise?"
Andrew: "I am calling the bats to come eat all those bugs!"
Josh and Andrew spend a good part of Sunday afternoon watching football.
Andrew: "Daddy, who are the Steelers?"
Josh: "They are from Pittsburgh...the Pittsburgh Steelers."
Andrew: "What did they steal?"
Ainsley is very much a girl. She would stand on her stool, look in the mirror, and either brush her hair or brush her teeth all day if you would let her! I just love it. She is coming into her own personality, very different from her brother who is definitely all boy! Here she is in her favorite shoes. She just prances and prances on her tippie toes showing them off to whomever will notice! Such a big girl.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I wish I had more memories of him, but my grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's. It robbed him of more time with us, his memory, his physical being, and his pride. What a horrible disease. Upon hearing the name Alzheimer's, it does not take long for most of us to conjure up loving thoughts of someone taken by this awful disease.
Please join me in the fight to find a cure for this mind-crippling disease. A dear friend of mine whose grandmother was taken by Alzheimer's has put together a team of us to take part in a "Memory Walk.". My goal is to each raise $200 for this awesome cause.
Please join me in supporting a great cause by making an online donation at: http://blba.us/i.asp?id=299967-265453627-1 I appreciate your sponsorship in what I know is a hard time for all of us.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Congrats gentlemen on a tournament well played! You both are like a fine wine...you only get better with age. :) Which do you think has changed the most...for the better of course?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
4 cups (8 to 10) tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped or 4 cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed (I use one 28 oz. can of crushed + one 14 oz. can of whole that I then crush as I put them in the pan).
4 cups tomato juice or mixture of tomato juice and vegetable or chicken stock (I use one 11.5 oz. can of tomato juice + one 14.5 oz. can of chicken broth). You can buy single cans of vegetable juice at Wal-Mart on the juice aisle.
12-14 fresh basil leaves (it is worth planting basil just for this recipe).
1 cup whipping cream
1 stick sweet unsalted butter, softened
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper (I just use regular pepper).
Combine tomatoes and juice (or juice-stock mixture) in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Cool slightly, then place in a blender or food processor with the 12-14 basil leaves. Process to puree. (This will need to be done in batches. I found that my blender is good to have about 1 and a half cups at a time so that it does not leap up and burn your hand while blending).
Return mixture to the saucepan and add cream and butter. Stir over low heat until cream and butter are incorporated. Stir in salt and pepper before serving. Garnish with basil leaves.
This makes about 10 cups of soup. Each eat half and then freeze half!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Josh and I are going to Mexico with some good friends at the end of September. We have, well Josh did and then convinced me to, started writing down the calories we eat in order to hopefully shed some unwanted pounds before dawning a bathing suit for the lavish beaches of Mexico. (When I say it that way, it makes me more motivated to lose some jiggle). It seems to be working. I find myself contemplating, do I REALLY need to eat that. I have learned that fruits and veggies are your caloric friend, while pasta, rice, and potatoes are not so calorically friendly.
What has God put on your heart to do lately that you have just had to go blind faithly into?
Unfortunately, this will be the last time I get my hair straightened. After my last hair cut, my face broke out in water blisters and I ended up at Urgent Care in San Antonio. I am apparently allergic to the straightening serum my girl sprayed on my hair...which involuntarily ended up on my face also. Just one more reason not to mess with Mother Nature! :)
We spent the 4th of July in Canyon. After not being there for the 4th last year, I have come to decide small town 4th's are the only way to go! Yes, every town, regardless of size, has fireworks. But the difference I appreciate is in the quaintness and charm that comes with the small town celebration. For me, I love the community spirit and togetherness that comes with this patriotic holiday...it seems more magnified and genuine when experienced in a small town atmosphere.
We kicked off the day with a pancake and sausage breakfast put on by the Lion's Club, where our children bought American flags and red, white, and blue twirly-whirls. From there we went to the "Fair on the Square," around the downtown courthouse building, as we awaited the start of the parade. Face painting, greasy fair food, and homemade crafts galore! Of course we sent scouts out early to find the best parade-watching spot while the rest of us tooled around looking at all the various booths and catching up with old friends it is so fun to run into. The afternoon was spent swimming and bar-b-queuing in the backyard. What better way to end this magical day but by watching fireworks in the front yard of our dear friends.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Now, yes, there are people who came to Texas A&M, earned a degree, and then moved on...never really experiencing what I consider Aggieland. My definition of Aggieland is Yell Practice at midnight on a Friday night, falling off bleachers wiggled loose by the other thousands of Aggies who stood there the Friday nights before. It is Kyle field on Saturday, sweating with 80,000 other devouts. It is the Dixie Chicken, playing 42 with dominoes traded at the bar for your drivers license. It is taking your hat off when you walk in the MSC (no matter how bad your hair looks), memorializing all the Aggies before and after you who will give there life defending our great nation. It is to Aggies don't boo, we horse laugh...booing is tacky. It is the Aggie Code of Honor, we do not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do...and we mean it! It is smiling and saying "howdy" on your way to class as you pass by others on their way. It is the Aggie ring, a symbol of our pride and means of finding a common bond with strangers wearing theirs far from the boundaries of campus. It is knowing the words to, singing, and then teaching your children the words to our War Hymn. It is a whoop, what we say when we hear some "good bull"! It is Reveille, who else gets out of class when their mascot barks? It is Silver Taps, where campus is darken and Taps is played from the roof of the Academic building for any enrolled Aggie who has passed that month. It is Muster, a roll call for all Aggies who have died that year. It is maroon and white. It is all the amazing fellow Aggies you meet and get to call friend for many, many years after leaving. It is getting engaged under the Century Tree, to another who also shares this Aggie love. It is bonfire, and Gig'em, and the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, and the 12th Man, and fish camp, and yell leaders! The list goes on and on, but I will not bore you with more...
I know we, Josh and I, are pretty devout. We certainly get some looks when people hear our children's initials are AGS. As one good ole' Ag told us, "Who says Old Army is dead?" Anyway, to all you non-Aggies out there, I can only hope that your 4 (or maybe more) years at college come with as fond of memories as mine. I can only hope that songs written can bring tears of joyous memories as you remember your days on campus. So, joke all you want...make fun of us all you want, but I wouldn't have traded it for the world.
Sorry for the cheesy gushing, but that is what was on my heart. I know there are a lot of other things I could have blogged on...and those are coming...I just got caught up in the moment. Now, indulge me in one more thing. Pause the song and enjoy "Welcome to Aggieland"! Just another way of sharing our Aggieland story.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Ainsley also enjoys playing out on the back patio. She has begun riding the big kids bikes and driving the big kids cars. Heaven help us all when she can actually get out on the open road. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy!
Andrew took swim lessons! A lady, who lives here locally, takes residence at the park pool all summer and gives swim lessons. She has been doing this since the early 70's! Her name is Ms. Kathy and Andrew loves her. I have not heard him this excited about something. I think he told everyone he knows that he was in swim lessons. He took them with a buddy of his and the 2 of them had Ms. Kathy all to themselves!
Ms. Kathy's big goal was to teach the boys to swim and then roll to their backs and float. If they were to get tired while swimming in water where they could not touch, this is a strategy that let's them back float and rest before going back to their active swimming. Andrew caught on for the most part, but wanted to put his feet down instead of float.
The most exciting part of the swim lesson came the new found confidence Andrew gained from he experience. His first big task was to go off the diving board. The park pool does not allow kids to go off the diving board in a life jacket, nor can a parent be there to catch them. It needs to be all them! Andrew took his first jump with Daddy waiting by the ladder if the need for assistance should arise. He LOVED it and the rest was history. Other than having to take a break due to sheer fatigue, Andrew would camp out in the deep end enjoying the diving board all day!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Her newest accomplishments are in the realm of climbing. Ainsley's smallest climbing quests are the living room furniture. She struggles with all her might to get up the front of the couch or the big leather chair and then sits so proudly like the Queen of Sheba on her thrown. Ainsley has ventured to try climbing the glider and its gliding ottoman, but they have bucked her off a time or two, thus sending her to try a different climbing piece of furniture.
Here are some of her largest climbing quests! Ainsley can climb, all on her own, up the ladder to the playhouse on top of our backyard adventure. Once up there, she does a fancy dance, aka stomping her feet and circling around, before positioning herself to slide down and start all over again.
The most unbelievable (to me that is) daredevil feat is seen here. She goes down the slide at the park pool all by herself! (Let me insert here that she does wear a life jacket at all times while on the slide!) Now, contrary to the picture here, she does need some assistance climbing the slide ladder, but I promised Susan I would not publish the pictures of her taking Ainsley to the top! :)
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Andrew enjoyed his baseball days. Lots of base running practice; throwing practice; catching grounders, fly balls, and pop-ups practice. Here they are practicing throwing the balls at hull-a-hoops placed at varying heights along the fence.
If he wasn't playing in the dirt, he was yelling at his teammates to, "Run to first, run to second, run to third, run home!" After listening to myself in this next video, I have to admit, I see where he gets it from.
We are now done with sports for the summer! There is a new addition to the Pee-Wee line-up, football starts in the fall. Also in the fall, Andrew is now old enough to start playing city league, so we will look into playing College Station soccer. In the mean time, we will rest and catch our breath with the thought of more good times to come!
These pictures were taken about a month and ago as we celebrated our first harvest...I know I'm behind, but better late than never! And Andrew has decide he likes cucumbers...like the one he is holding!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Let the games begin! Andrew was the first to go on the first event, parallel bars! Once he figured out all the salutes and ta-da's, he was off to the races...what fun he had!
I truly believe that putting the chalk on his hands in preparation is Andrew's favorite part of the rings. With that said, he also enjoys the flipping around that naturally comes with doing the rings! And I am amazed at how strong he is...he does not get that from his Mama!
The memory card on the camera filled up in the middle of Andrew's floor routine...so sorry! If he practiced this once in our living room, he practiced this no less than 100 times. He was bound and determined to get it just right...just as Coach Geoff taught him to perform it with all the lunges and arm positions put just so! :) I was impressed with how seriously he took all of this.
Andrew finished up with vault. One of these days he will nail the handstand portion. Control is not yet one of his strong suits...but he sure tried! What fun, what fun.
Ainsley is getting to be such a big girl...soon to be 14 months. She loves her big brother and he loves her right back. Any new accomplishment, regardless of how trivial or small, she adds to her repertoire, Andrew feels cause for celebration. And what better way to celebrate than to dance. (regardless of the "Footloose" mentality).
I feel certain that they get their moves from their Church of Christ Daddy!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The Shields headed to Dallas this past weekend to attend the Byron Nelson golf tournament in Irving. It is safe to say that my boys were in heaven. A weekend filled with golf...and a hotel swimming pool! That was icing on the cake for Andrew. The Byron Nelson is now sponsored by HP, who Wayne (Josh's step-dad) works for. He volunteered at the tournament and then ended up winning extra tickets, so we all got to spend some time at the course. The girls actually did more shopping than golf watching...which is just fine by me!
I about fell out of my seat. While at dinner, Josh noticed that one of the PGA tour golfers was also dining at the restaurant. Josh proceeds to tell me that yes, as nice as it would be to get paid to play golf for a living, a huge draw back is the fact that you are gone from your family 30 plus weeks a year. And when you are home, you need to be practicing and getting ready for the next tournament. Not a life style conducive to having a family. When the children are grown and gone, we have decided that Josh can be a caddie...which he would love to do and I think would be very good at...and I can travel with him! What fun...
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Andrew: "Mama, did you know that God is the weather man?"
Me: "No I didn't, but I guess that you are right. Who told you that?"
Andrew: "No one. I made it up!"
Oh, what we have to look forward to!!!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Ainsley and Ashton hit it off beautifully. Ashton is certainly a GREAT big cousin to have. She is smart, responsible, and loves Ainsley...and Ainsley loves her.
Back in College Station, when Andrew gets in trouble for something and is sulking, one of the first things out of his mouth is, "I miss Ashton and Catch!" Truth be know, Mama does too!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Josh will say it all started as a cruel joke played on him by the mail surveyors. You all have seen them...these surveys that come in the mail and ask you 100 and 1 questions, the most grueling for Josh being the one where you check your level of education and your spouse's level of education. It just killed him to check Bachelors for himself and Masters for me!!! Now, I just might have to up the ante and go for a Doctorate. What would he think of Dr. and Mr. Shields? NO way...graduate level statistics gives this math girl the willies.
We had a great time in Canyon celebrating! It did not come without its scares. Josh's ornery online professor decided that he could not e-mail Josh's grade to WT in order for Josh to graduate. Praise goes to God who blessed Josh with some very loving ladies at WT who let him walk on his word that he was passing and the grade would be there in time for diplomas to be mailed out!!! Once that was settled it was smooth sailing...even the drive there was not bad. We made it in record time - 7 hours and 50 minutes. Quite an accomplishment since we set the cruise on 75 and stopped twice. A good tail wind I guess!
To say the least, we are all quite proud of Josh. Here is Ainsley giving her daddy some celebratory suggies! Congrats Joshua David...but don't let it go to your head...we are not calling you Master! :)