Friday, October 7, 2016

Taco Soup

Dear Riley,

You love my taco soup. The recipe came from Grandmom but I want to make sure and share it with you. When I was growing up Grandmom always made this soup for us during Fall and Winter. Aunt Ma and I always loved it too. Grandmom would serve it with cheese and saltine crackers in her white bowls. She always made plenty for us to have as left-overs. I've changed a few things to her original recipe, but it's still pretty close to what she made.

Taco Soup

1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg Ranch dressing seasoning
2 lbs ground beef
2-3 cans corn or hominy
2 cans of Ranch -style beans
1 can of black beans
1 can Original Rotel
1 can Mild Rotel
1 small can of diced green chiles

Brown the beef. Add the taco seasoning, following the directions on the package. I throw all of this into a crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Friday, September 2, 2016



These newsletters have slowed down, haven't they? I hate that we are so busy. I hate having two jobs that keep me away from you all. These newsletters are important to me and I need to do better. I want these newsletters to be a connection for you to your childhoods. When you're older I want you to be able to look back and read about my feelings and what we were going through.


This school year we started at Brownsboro and you adjusted beautifully. I was worried about you moving schools but you're doing great. You love your teacher and have enjoyed the school work. I am proudest of your reading! You are a wonderful reader! You even like to read to your brother and sister sometimes. I love to talk with you about books. You really like it when I order you new books off of Amazon.

You are really just growing up. You're getting taller and taller every week. Lately I've had a hard time keeping you in clothing because you grow out of stuff so quickly. I don't even pretend to try and remember what size shoe you wear. Your independence is growing too. You don't need me to wash your hair, brush your teeth, or lay your clothes out. Sometimes I don't even have to run your bath water. You like to help me cook and do laundry, and you can actually do things that help out. Hey, if you want to make muffins I'll let you. You are old enough to following the simple directions and you enjoy doing it. Yay for independence!

I love how you play with your brother and sister. It's crazy how much you occupy them. I love how serious you take homework or something like that. It's very important to you to turn things in to your teacher correctly and on time. You're definitely a perfectionist.


Hello sister. You are probably the "craziest" kid I have. You love to have fun, laugh, and play. If you're sad, you're really sad. If you're happy, then you're really happy. You are very dramatic too. You use facial expressions all the time, and those expressions match your stories and pleas. If something's not right, you're gonna let me know.

You are the first to say "yes ma'am" when you and your brother and sister are in trouble. You somehow know that a "yes ma'am" is the best thing to say when you're in trouble. If I get on to y'all for too long though, you'll start crying. I've learned it's best to tell you when you mess up and then move on. Harping on you doesn't do anything but make you cry.

It's hard disciplining you and Nolan especially. Most of the time I tell you to quit or stop 10 times before either of you let up. And then it's usually because I yell. You and Nolan are together 24/7 and I try to remember that most people would not be able to get along with someone else for that length of time without having a disagreement. I try to let you and Nolan work your problems out, but that usually always ends in you hitting each other.

Dressing up is by far your favorite activity. All the time. Multiple outfits. Clothes everywhere. Turn some music on and you are good to go.


Hey Mr. You are Mama's boy and you know when to turn it on. You love to be petted on and it reminds me of your daddy. Treat you like the baby and you are the sweetest thing ever.

Your favorite thing to do is chase your sisters or mess up their toys. You're always right in the middle of them whether it's coloring or playing Barbies. I bought you a whole bunch of boy toys for your birthday. When we got home with all your new toys, it had been about 5 minutes when Captain America started marrying Barbie. I haven't seen that Captain America since! You don't seem to mind too much.

Three is supposed to be the stage when kids start wanting to please and I am ready for that to begin. You still get in a lot of trouble and have to be constantly reminded to do or not to do things. Nolan! That's what I say all the time. You are definitely a button-pusher. You know just exactly what to do to make your sisters mad. All bats and sticks have been confiscated because you only want to chase and hit your sisters with them.

I want you to know how good you potty-trained. Hallelujah! No more diapers for this lady. Nolan, you were by far the easiest to potty-train. You did not want to sit on the potty the first day, but by day two, you had it down. You started standing up to tee-tee pretty quickly. I had you sitting and for obvious reasons that wasn't working out very well. But you got it down and rarely have accidents. It's crazy, but we have been to the park several times and you and Ella both have had poo-poo accidents. That's a joy to clean up, let me tell you.

It's funny sometimes when I'm in the shower I can hear you all tromping through the house. It sounds like a bunch of elephants. Usually when I get out it's to find that Nolan is chasing somebody with something.

We are working on behavior out in public. I give lots of warnings before we get out of the car. "You better behave." I try to be quick to nip bad behavior before it starts. It's hard! I just want y'all to be sweet! When you're older, I think I'm going to come over to your houses and knock holes in the wall, chip paint, put dents in your kitchen tables, jump on your couches, jump on your beds, constantly be hungry and thirsty, and any other destructive thing I can think of... all in the nude. This is what it's like at our house.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2015 Wrap-Up


I've said it before, but you really are my best friend. I love the "you" that you have become. You are a sweet girl, smart, caring, kind, loving, everything a little girl should be. It's so fun to see you blossoming into a young lady. 

You usefulness has increased tremendously in the last six months. You are actually "useful." Helpful is probably a better word. You are capable of doing certain chores just as good as I can and you usually enjoying helping out. Especially if there is a financial incentive around. I have no problem paying you, either. It means one less thing on my to-do list and more money in your pocket. 

I am so proud of the reader you are becoming, too. You love to read. You will even read a story to your brother or sister. You read with feeling and expression and it awesome to hear you. You also really like school and you love to learn. Some of your favorite books are fiction or educational. This makes me happy. 

Ella Rae, 

For about the last three months I have battled your lice infestation. This whole thing started in October, and I think Riley brought head lice home from school. It was transferred to your head and I have struggled to get the bugs out of your hair. I actually don't have much trouble removing the bugs, it's the nits I can't seem to get. I have treated your hair, washed your bedding, sprayed your bed, put mayo on your hair, left your hair dirty, etc. I have really tried everything. Morgan sat you outside and pulled nits from your hair. After she did this, I didn't see any nits or bugs in your hair for a couple weeks. I thought, "Finally!" But no, not finally. I checked your head a couple days ago and nits were everywhere. It's been very frustrating for me and you. You know when you have bugs in your hair and you can answer me when I ask. At this point, you HATE for me to even touch your head or hair. You will run, scream, bat my hands away, anything to keep me from going through your hair. It's been hard. 

You love makeup and anything girly. You love for someone to tell you that you are beautiful. "Am I beautiful?" One of the funniest things you're doing lately is gurgling when you brush your teeth. Our routine is for me to brush, then let you brush, you put water in your mouth, and before you spit that water out, you tilt your head back and give a good gurgle. Every time. At first it was annoying to me because it took up time and prolonged our bathroom sessions. But now I just laugh as you gurgle. A three year-old gurgling is funny. 

Another routine that just you and I have is a kiss on your nose at night when I tuck you in. I cannot leave your room until I've kissed you on the tip of your nose. 


My boy. My 100% boy. You love balls and bats more than anything. You like jumping and rough-housing. You like running. You are full-speed all the time. 

Except for when you want to be a big ol' Mama's boy, which you are a lot of the time. You love to sit in my lap. You say, "Maaammmmmmmmaaaa!" as loud as you can and as often as you can. The other morning at 4 a.m. I heard you yelling for me to come and cover you up. I was dead asleep and when I finally figured out what you wanted I started getting up. I stopped to use the bathroom first, and by the time I had finished using the bathroom you had quit yelling at me. I was so mad! It would have saved a lot of your energy to just cover your own self up, but no! You love to yell from your room to your Mama. I've thought about putting you in a big boy bed, but this incident is one of several reasons that I still have not. 

I've also been thinking about you next year during the school year. Ella will start pre-K and you'll still be staying home. What will you do without Ella? She's been there with you every day of your life. You two are always together. I keep on thinking that you will be lonely for Ella. As much as you two fight, fuss, and argue, you are still the best of friends. 

2015 was a tough year, bottom line. You three survived it and thrived. We are happy in this life just like we are. Thank you for putting up with my tears, moods, and messy house. Thank you for your hugs, kisses, pictures, and dirty clothes. Without you three I wouldn't be who I am today and I'll always be thankful to you all for making me a Mama. I love you with everything I have. 

Here's to 2016 being our best year yet. Love you so much.