Stock Yard Mama

Just a young mom of 2 sharing her thoughts with the world.

Archive for the month “May, 2011”

Summer 2011 Road Trip #1 Ready to Go!

So here’s the picture of all of our STUFF ready to pack for our 11 day trip to Jonesboro, Memphis and back to Fort Worth! The kids and I will be making the trip there just the 3 of us with Justin joining us for the last 3 days for Grandmother Owens’ (Ruby Duby) 90th Birthday!!

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Book list for 05.25.11

Here’s our book list for this week:

No hugs till Saturday by Julie Downing

Troublegum by Matthew Cordell

The Apple-pip Princess by Jane Ray

My Very first book of Animal Sounds by Eric Carle

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss

Pedicure’s at our house

My toes

Addy's toes

So yesterday I bravely sat as Addyson gave me a pedicure. She did pretty good if I have to say so myself. It only took me eight Q-tips to clean the excess paint off of my toes and feet 🙂

The Hunger Games – Book ONE

Hunger Games by Suznee Collins

This was a book recommended by my little sister herself 🙂 She was reading on the second book in this series when we met up in Houston a few weeks ago for Devin’s competition. I think my little brother, Isaac has read these as well so I thought I’d give them a try. I have to say thought I had to wait almost 2 weeks to get it at the library here and that’s almost always a great sign!

Here’s the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

I have three words….READ THIS BOOK!!! I have finished the 374 page book in less than 3 days time!! I am now awaiting the call from my local library telling me my copy of books two (Catching Fire) and three (Mockingjay) to arrive ready for me to read. I’ve seriously considered driving the 25 minutes downtown to get them because the online catalog says they are available there….what to do!?!

Spoken from the Heart

So this next book may be a shocker since I’m mostly a fiction reader but I have LOVED reading through this heart felt story! No matter what your thoughts are on her politics or her husband, I truly recommend reading this incredible woman’s story!!

Laura Bush Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush

Here’s the detailed description taken from her website :

In this brave, beautiful, and deeply personal memoir, Laura Bush, one of our most beloved and private first ladies, tells her own extraordinary story.

Born in the boom-and-bust oil town of Midland, Texas, Laura Welch grew up as an only child in a family that lost three babies to miscarriage or infant death. She vividly evokes Midland’s brash, rugged culture, her close relationship with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that sustain her to this day. For the first time, in heart-wrenching detail, she writes about the devastating high school car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead and about her decades of unspoken grief.

When Laura Welch left West Texas in 1964, she never imagined that her journey would lead her to the world stage and the White House. She began as an elementary school teacher, working in inner-city schools, then trained to be a librarian. At age thirty, she met George W. Bush, whom she had last passed in the hallway in seventh grade. Three months later, “the old maid of Midland married Midland’s most eligible bachelor.”

With rare intimacy and candor, Laura Bush writes about joining one of America’s most prominent political families, as well as her deep longing for children and her husband’s decision to give up drinking. In 2001, she moved into the White House. She captures presidential life in the harrowing days and weeks after 9/11, when fighter-jet cover echoed through the walls and security scares sent the family to an underground shelter. It was a time that would also transform her role. One of the first U.S. officials to visit war-torn Afghanistan, she reached out to disease-stricken African nations and tirelessly advocated for women in the Middle East and dissidents in Burma. She championed programs to get kids out of gangs and to stop urban violence. In these pages, she reveals her public triumphs and personal tribulations and the story of real life inside the White House. Laura Bush’s compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other first lady’s memoir ever written.

Laura Bush was the First Lady of the United States from 2001-2009. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband, President George W. Bush, and is the mother of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.

MY THOUGHTS:

  • So as I said before I don’t normally read non-fiction books but this one was GREAT! Here are few things I learned about Laura Bush.
  • She is a West Texas girl! I knew she was from Texas but I don’t know why I just assumed she was from Dallas or Houston. I loved her descriptions of the West Texas area and it was so great that I could actually relate:).
  • She was late to marry, 30, and late to having her twin girls. She was a teacher for 4 years (I think) before even meeting George Bush.
  • She and George were both from the Midland area but never dated or got to know each other until years later.
  • She is a VERY well-educated lady whom I always thought was VERY socially aware and AMAZING and now I KNOW this all to be truth!
  • She is a GREAT mother to her daughters and is an AMAZINGLY supportive wife to her very interesting and gentlemanly husband!!
  • Also did you know that the President and his family are responsible for ALL expenses in the White House minus room/ board, utilities and functions. I had NO idea!
  • Her husband (whether you agree with his politics or not) is a great man of God who is committed to doing the right thing even when it seems everyone does not agree.

Here are few excepts from the book that taught me something about the world, Laura, George, or the events of their lives. I hope you enjoy and choose to pick up the book for yourself!!

p. 184 – 185 “I was like all first ladies in that I wanted to look good. I knew how interested in the public and the press are in what first ladies wear. Like women before me, I wanted to look elegant, to appear my nest at events here and abroud, and not to glance back later at White House photos and silently cringe. I really felt for Hillary Clinton, who spent years having the press write nasty things about her hairstyles. It unnerved be enough that I paid with our own money for someone to come to the White House and blow-dry my hair almost every morning, just so I could try to avoid a bad hair day… The daily hair blow-dries were just one of the monetary costs of living in the White House. Most Americans may not realize that presidents and their families are responsible for their personal costs while they reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that George and I paid for ours out of our own pockets.”
p. 201 “So much happened during those terrible hours at the tip of Manhattan. That morning, as the people who worked in the towers descended, water from the sprinkler system was racing down the darkened stairwells. With their feet soaked, from some the greatest fear was that when they reached the bottom, the rushing water would be too high and they would be drowned. A few walked to safety under a canopy of skylights covered with the bodies of those who had jumped. Over two hundred people jumped to escape the heat, smoke, and flames. I was told that Father Mychal Judge, the chaplain for the New York City Fire Department, who had come to offer aid, comfort, and last rites, was killed that morning by the body of someone who had, in desperation, hurled himself from the upper floors of one of the towers.”

p. 218 “For months, I would lie in bed at night or wake in the darkness and think of our troops, think of them sleeping on cold, hard ground beneath the unforgiving Afghan winds, and feel guilty that I had a warm room and a warm bed while they risked everything. At Camp David, on that first Sunday morning after 9-11, our chaplain, Navy Lieutenant Bob Williams, had selected as the scripture reading Psalm 27, “I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  I knew that goodness wore camouflage and khaki; it wore Army green, Navy white, Marine tan, and Air Force blue.”

p.226-227 “On October 16, five weeks after the attacks, I was attempting to return my official life to a regular routine. I had committed months before to teach in different schools across the country for Teach of America week, a highlighting the programs and its efforts to get bright and eager college graduates into some of the nation’s toughest classrooms. Teach for America recruits commit to spending two years teaching in public schools in low-income communities….That week, I was scheduled to teach in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Atlanta, Georgia; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My second stop was the South Seventeenth Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey, where I was to teach a kindergarten class. South Seventeenth Street Elementary was similar to the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Houston; 453 of its 537 students were eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, and the majority of them were African-American. Mark Williams, the kindergarten teacher, had graduated from college just over a year before. He had painted a bright mural on his classroom walls. I spoke to the students and read a story. At one point, a little girl snuggled up next to me and tugged on my arm to whisper in my ear. I bent my head and listened to her hushed, solemn voice. “Did you hear,” she asked, “about the buildings?” I very slowly nodded my head. “The bad men knocked them down and all the people died,” she said, and then asked, “What do you think about what happened?” I wrapped my arms around her and said, “I’m said.” And she nodded and said, “I’m sad too.”

p. 253 She’s telling of the time in 2002 that she spoke at the UN for International Women’s Day… “I spoke of the U.S. government’s commitment to aiding the people of Afghanistan and the more than $4 million donated so far by America children to help the children of Afghanistan. American aid workers were doggedly helping Afghan refugees return home and helping the country’s widows, devastated after twenty-three years of fighting, support their families. Some of our contributions were bags of wheat for the twenty-one women-owned bakeries in Kabul. Those bakeries fed over one-quarter of the city’s population. I spoke too of helping to educate the children of Afghanistan. “When you give your children books and an education, you give them the ability to imagine a future of opportunity, equality, and justice,” I said. My favorite line the speech was a quotation from Farahnaz Nazir, the founder of the Afghanistan Women’s Assocation, who said, “Society is like a bird. It has two wings. And a bird cannot fly if own wing is broken.” We would help bind that broken wing.”

p.270-271 When talking about a time when the Czech leaders, Vaclav and Dagmar Havel, came to visit the White House…” The previous August enormous floods along the Moldau River had engulfed the city of Prague. Marine guards and other U.S. Embassy employees, including our ambassador, Craig Stapleton, had gone to work cleaning out the knee-high mud and debris from flooded historic building throughout the city, saving priceless artifacts. The Havels wanted to express the deep gratitude of the Czech people. Ours, they told us, had been the only embassy and the only ambassador to help. It is easy to be proud of our country, because when there is a need, Americans’ first instinct is to respond.”

p. 276 “George did not want war. No president ever does. He knew how precious any child is, and every person sent into war is someone’s child, and often someone’s mother or father too. He turned to prayer in in these times not with some newfound religion but because he had always turned to to prayer.”

p. 284 “George never wavered under the pressure. It was the same as that moment after 9-11 at the height of the anthrax attacks, when he strode out to the mound, alone in the middle of Yankee Stadium, and threw out the first pitch. He has never been afraid to step up to the plate for whatever is required. When he first ran from president, he told his staff that he didn’t want to make campaign promises that he could not deliver. He said, “If I run on something and say I’m going to do this, make sure it’s something that really can be done.”…I remember too how during those weeks I would glance out from my sitting room window and see George walking Spot outside the Oval Office. On the lawn he could be alone with his thoughts. He was sending the best of America to fight and even die in Iraq because he thought it was the safest thing to do for our country. It was decision that he had always hoped he would never have to make.”

p. 286 “Once, during and interview, Barbara Walters asked me if I could empathize with a mother who sent her child to be a suicide bomber. I said no, I could not imagine a mother who would want her child to blow himself up and kill other people at the same time. Mothers in our country have watched and prayed as their children left our shores to defend our freedom, and the freedom of people we will never meet in places we will likely never visit. not only can’t I empathize with the mother of a suicide bomber, I can’t even imagine her.”

p. 295 “We can and should debate all American wars, but can anyone truly say that the world was a better place and Iraq a better nation with Saddam Hussein in power? Or that it would not have become a full-fledged terrorist haven? And then there are the unanswerables. What, for instance, would the world have said if, in 1999, the United States had invaded Afghanistan? But had we done so, might the World Trade Center be standing today, its offices and observation deck crowded? We will never know. The world does not operate according to the principles of “what if?” All leaders make choices, and no one can say for certain that would have happened had a different path been taken. For myself, I prefer to stand against oppression, to stand, with George, for freedom.”

A few sneak peak pics

So yesterday Justin and I met with a photographer at our church to take some “Staff” photos of the two of us. They take pics of the Staff individual with their spouse so I got to be in the pictures too! We didn’t get a sitter because we knew it would only take a few minutes and because we haven’t found one yet here in Fort Worth so, the photographer took some of the kids too. Here are just a few:

Owen - 19 months

Addyson - 4 1/2 years


The Island

Since I’m on this reading kick;) I thought I’d let you know about a few more of the books I’ve been reading. This next one was a quick read for a mom of two who values her sleep 🙂

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

I have to say that I picked this book up simply because it was on the Recommended New Fiction shelves at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago here in Fort Worth and I happened to take down that list and email it to myself thinking, I want to get back to reading at least 1 book a week. I read through this in 5 days AND I went back to the library and picked up a few more of her books too, I’d already starting reading my next library recommended read pick so her books are currently in waiting but I am excited!

Here is the official full description of the book (if I’d just read this I probably wouldn’t have picked up the book to be honest):

Birdie Cousins has planned a getaway with her daughter Chess on rustic, charming Tuckernuck Island off the coast of Nantucket, a chance to bond before Chess’s upcoming marriage. Birdie’s been through a difficult divorce herself, so she knows the big commitment that marriage entails. She’s only recently dared to tiptoe back into the waters of romance.

When Chess abruptly breaks off the wedding and her fiancé shockingly dies in a rock climbing accident, it leaves Chess feeling guilty and deeply depressed. Birdie circles the wagons, convincing her younger daughter Tate, and her own sister India to join them on Tuckernuck for the month of July. Secrets and intrigue soon make their way to the surface, as Elin Hilderbrand once again weaves a masterful story of summer suspense.

All that to say, READ THE BOOK!!! I’ll let you know how her others books pan out too 😉

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Okay, so I finally read the book that people had been telling me to read The Help. I have to say I loved it! At first I was not seeing what everyone else was seeing with the amazing characters and the great story that draws you in but by 1/3 of the way through I was hooked!

So for those of you who don’t have a clue about the book here’s the synopsis:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women–mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends–view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

So here’s my thoughts:
Kathryn Stockett told a great story developing great characters. The way she characterized the ‘southern’ ladies is exactly how I believe they were. Having been raised in the south and seeing with my own eyes the ways many of these situations are still very much so a reality in daily life I felt honored to read it and glad I took many of my friends & family’s advice. Point of the matter is…I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE to read!!

Visit to the Main Downtown Fort Worth Library & Book List 05.18.11

I forgot just how big the Main Downtown Library was in Fort Worth until today. WOW! We had a blast, so much so that we actually missed the Story Time because Addy was creating her own Puppet Show 🙂 Also they had this clock in the window the little bookstore that I thought was TOO cute!!

SO CUTE!

Lola at the Library by Anna McQuin

Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor - we've read a lot of thest books but never this one

Calendar by Myra Gohn Livingston

Lunchroom Lizard by Daniel Kirk

Audrey and Barbara by Janet Lawson

Just Enough and Not Too Much by Kaethe Zemach

The Jungle Book by Walt Disney - we got the book AND the movie for a first viewing!

Movie for this week 🙂

Rest Time Movie for TODAY!

Getting ready for school again!

So yesterday we had the opportunity to “tour” Addy and Owen’s new ‘school’. They will be going 3 days a week to the Early Learning Center at McKinney and Addyson wanted to learn all about it before it was time to start (on June 6th). We got to look into some classrooms and talk with the director. Addyson walked right into some of those rooms and right up to the teacher asking, “What do you do here?” “Will I have fun at this school?” “Do we color inside the lines?” (this last one has been something we’ve been working on at home). I will be heading back to work part-time while the kiddos are in school which I am actually looking forward to! Getting some more adult interaction 😉 Check out more about the ELC here at their website. I think Owen will be in the Penguins class and Addyson will be in one of the Pre-K classes in the fall. http://www.mckinneyelc.com/

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