Saturday, June 27, 2009

Houdini Hopes...

My son has recently been exploring the world of card magic.
"Pick a card, mom, any card!" he'll say with a sparse worn out deck of mixed blue and red bicycle cards in his hand and a suave stage smile. I grab the one that's sticking out the furthest and relief comes over his face and his smile widens.
"Now look at it and put it back on top."
I look. It's the 3 of clubs. I put it back as instructed.
He attempts a false shuffle which, if done correctly, would land my card back on top. Instead, he jumbles them up into one big some-cards-are-face-up mess. He grimaces slightly and glances at me.
I am staring at him in amazed wonderment. He smiles again and slaps the deck twice, closes his eyes and flips the top card over.
"Is this your card?" He's holding his breath.
"Oh. My. Gosh. HOW did you do that?" His eyes widen at his own amazingness and he himself has to look at the card.
"I can't tell you," he says matter-of-factly, "it's magic."
It was the 5 of diamonds.

The last few attempts at things mystical has been his experiments with hypnosis and mind-control, Julia being his main subject of experiment.
While doing their chores the other day, which consisted of hanging their clean clothes up that were on my bedroom floor, I overhear Garrett gently saying to Julia, "Empty your mind. Empty your mind."
Julia, not as amused with his attempts to wipe her mind clean again says, "It's already empty, Garrett."
Garrett sighs heavily. "Juuliaaa...", he whines.
"Oh , alright." she says and she lays down on the floor and begins to chant while passing her hands slowly across her forehead.
"Empty my mind. Empty my mind. Empty my..."
"Hey, Julia!" Garrett interrupts her.
She sits up.
Garrett leans in and whispers, "Why don't we try to get mom to empty her mind so she'll let us watch TV all day!"
Enter mom, stage left, to break up the fiendish plan and let her little Houdini children know that moms have all power over mind-control and that attempts to hypnotize a female parental figure are indefinitely futile.
However, the male parental figure is completely intolerant when it comes to mind-control. Their bodies are especially influenced by it during the later evening hours.
Just ask them anything as long as they have a certain hand held controller and are staring blank-faced at a TV screen. They'll give you anything you want.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Caching in!

Ever wanted to go treasure hunting but were unsure of where to start?
Or afraid of looking like an idiot with one of those long-handled metal detector things?
Maybe you thought treasure was something you could only find in far away lands that were too expensive to get to?
Well, thanks to "Geocaching" you don't have to look much further than your own backyard! We discovered this amazingly fun and addicting activity this past Saturday and are totally hooked. To find out more go to But for now, check out our pictures from this weekend.

Our very first trek for our very first cache. We thought it was down these tracks a little ways.

We got slightly delayed by the oncoming train.
Then, we realized it wasn't on the train tracks but about 97 feet that way.

There's where our treasure is hidden.

The moment of discovery!
There she is! This was called the Freedom Box and was hidden well beneath a wood pile.

Let's see what's in this baby!
Look at all the goodies!
Dad reads the letter that was included in the box.
Here's the log that's included in each cache. This one had been there since 2004. It was fun to read all the entries.
The Mason clan with our chosen goodie and the one we replaced it with.

Our 2nd cache find of the day in Sherman, Tx.
It was Garrett's turn to open this find.

Our 3rd cache find of the day. This one was a hilarious hide!!
This was considered a micro cache so there was just a log inside. We signed it and put it back, proctologist style.

Father's Day Geocaching adventure. This one took us to Burney Cemetery and was hidden extremely well.
Putting it back where we found it.
We plan on planting our own cache box soon for others to find. We have several ideas. If you think geocaching is something you would be interested in, you're right! Get started now! It's free and totally addicting. Be sure to see what it's all about first by going to the website or talk to someone you know who does it and find out a few of the etiquette rules.
The family that caches together, stashes together!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Rescue Mission

There's nothing like witnessing the genuine care and compassion from one of God's living creatures to another.

My children never cease to amaze me or make me more proud than my smile alone can show.
Ok, so this may seem trivial to some, but to me it's a crowning moment in the history of my journey through motherhood thus far.

After we arrive home from a little post T-ball game snack at Braum's and are heading inside, my kids get distracted (as usual) and wander off to the left of the house. It's nearly dark outside and time for their bath and bedtime. After a few minutes pass, I contemplate calling for them to come inside when they all simultaneously collide into and eventually through the front door. Abby is a nose ahead of Daphne with Garrett and Julia bringing up the rear.

Abby has her hand closed as she approaches me and instinctively I draw back. She is not afraid of anything and has often come to me with creepy crawlies that she has given pet names and begs to keep.

"What?" I ask cautiously.
"It's a lightning bug, Mom. It was stuck in a spider's web."

She opens her hand. The little fella is still wrapped up in the vicious web sack and is blinking a frantic SOS.
All the kids have drawn faces and sappy eyes as they stare at the little bug with such unprecedented pity.

"Can we try to pull the sack off, Mom?" Abby asks as she stares at him, (probably already thinking of a name to give him), and raises a finger to begin the rescue process.

"You can sure try, baby." Although, I was doubtful he'd survive even that.

With all the gentleness a new mother gives to her first newborn, Abby and the others gently scraped their tiny fingernails over the sticky death sack until it disintegrated and freed the bug.
He was wobbly at first and stretched his wings for a while, but soon regained some energy and began making random flight attempts. We took him outside and he took to the night air as we all watched and smiled.

I don't know, but the fact that they saw this tiny helpless creation and decided it needed a second chance and were willing to come to its aid instead of walking away without a second thought, only helps me continue to realize what awesome children I have.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vacation Plan C- Return to Vegas

For our Summer vacation this year we decided to go to Vegas with another couple. I haven't been to Vegas in, like, 14 years and one of the only things I remembered from my previous trip was a guy picking up a hooker in Caesar's Palace. Oh, and I saw Stevie Wonder then, too. It was fun, but nothing was just calling my name to come back.

Then again, maybe I just didn't hear it. Seems as though we were destined to end up there. Vegas was actually plan C of our 2009 vacation planning. Plan A was a Western Caribbean cruise that was canceled due to, of all things, swine flu. (Oh wait, that's not what they're calling it now. What is it? Piggy Pandemic? Sow Sickness? Cob Roller Contagion? Oh well.)

So, we opted for a beach house in South Padre. I booked the cottage online and I received an email with a rental agreement with the instructions of filling it out and sending it back within 24 hours. Problem is, I have a Mac and the form the manager sent me wasn't compatible with my computer so I had to print it out and send it in through snail mail. I wrote the manager and told her of my dilemma and she said "No, problem! I'll look for it." I figured all is well.
The very next day I receive a voicemail from her stating that since she didn't receive my agreement within 24 hours she canceled our reservation.
What?! You did WHAT?!
I felt like calling her and giving her a piece of my very frustrated and not so understanding mind! Instead, I chose to stay calm and call her back to explain our situation. Get this, she thought I was going to FAX it in. Not sure how "I sent it to you in the mail. You should get it in a couple days" got turned into "I faxed it to you. You should receive it sometime today." But, it did.


So, the 4 of us scrambled to find another place to vacation. Keep in mind, we weren't the only ones on that canceled cruise line so, there were at least several hundred other people also booking their Plan B vacation because their cruise was also canceled.
After hours of searching the dozens of travel sites online, we settled on Vegas when we found a hotel that was offering major discounts on their room rates.
I'll be honest, I didn't want to go to Sin City. I mean, I'll find something to make me happy no matter where I go, but Vegas is definitely not my cup of tea. I was sooooo looking forward to the beach and the ocean and the sand and sun and surf.
HOWEVER, it had been 14 years since I last stepped on Vegas turf and things change quite rapidly there.
Just look at the fun I had!

One of the best views of the Strip ever!

The view of the strip from our hotel's watch tower. We stayed in the Stratosphere. It was awesome!

The New York Hotel.

The Excalibur.


The Paris Hotel was a close 2nd as my most favorite hotel in Vegas. Can you see why I love it? Just build me a little chateau like this tucked in the woods somewhere and I'd be on Cloud 9.

The Venetian. This was my favorite hotel because of all the architecture. This is where we saw the Phantom of the Opera, a $44 million production that blew my socks off! I could have watched it every night.

Look at the beautiful architectural designs.

These kinds of paintings are all over the ceilings of the Venetian. You couldn't look anywhere without something like this to catch your eye.

I think this is the entrance to Caesar's Palace. I can't remember. All of my photos have gotten jumbled and I'm not sure which pictures are of what.

This was inside Caesar's in the Forum shops and was over a cute little kids' store. It had an elevator that would take you up to the top where there was a little play area. So cute!
Again, I fell in love with all the art and architecture.
LOVED this marble statue!
And at night, some of the statues came to life.
Being lazy for once while we were there.
Oh come on! It's Vegas, baby! A little PDA is allowed. Besides, he's so hot!
Even Collin and Monett decided 'what the heck!'
Just being silly while waiting on the monorail.
Don't remember what I was doing here. LOL!
Monorail Go-Go Girls.
Vegas needs us!
Dancing Waters at the Bellagio. Awesome ingenuity!
Where on earth is Carissa Anne Mason?
I haven't a clue.
We visited the Hoover Dam while we were there. Interesting actually. Saw the Grand Canyon as we flew over it on our way to Vegas. MASSIVE hole in the ground!
And I'll have you know, Elvis is very much alive.
We did tons of other fun things while we were there, I just suck at remembering to take pictures. For instance, I would've taken pictures of the outdoor show we saw at Treasure Island.

I would've taken pictures of all the other chic and lavish hotels we toured.

I would've bought pictures or postcards of the $44 million Phantom of the Opera production.

I would've taken pictures of some of the food we ate that was art in and of itself.

I would've had someone take pictures of Monett and I dancing to YMCA on the tables of the Hard Rock Cafe.

I would've taken pictures of my toe after it got stuck in a revolving door by some idiot who thought he'd be funny and push the door backwards on the people in it.

I would've taken pictures of the Grand Canyon as we flew over.

I would've taken pictures of me and Jonathan in our cocktail attire when we had our hot night out. (Click on the link and you can see my dress on the model.)

But I have all these memories in my head. Just wish I could've shared them with you all.
And you know, give me about 10 years and I'd go back to Vegas just to see how much it will have changed.
Besides, Elvis asked me to come back.

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