Monday, February 28, 2011

Here Comes the Heat

It's that time of year.

Time to face the facts.

The fact that I live in a state where I give my deodorant more of a work out than any of my sweaters.

It was actually 85 degrees here yesterday!

We may have only one or two more cold days ahead of us.

And one of those days will more than likely be Easter Sunday.  The day all our kiddos don new sleeveless dresses, adorable plaid shorts with sweater vests, and white sandals.  Then we hide all that cuteness under a winter coat getting worn for the last time.

I am not really a fan of hot weather.

I like fall and winter.  I like a little snow occasionally.  Drinking hot chocolate in front of a fire.  Sweaters and boots.

In Austin, that means I have approximately one month of the year to engage in my favorite things.

Then it's back to sweating.

When you're cold, you can just put on another layer.

There's really not much you can do for extreme heat.  You can't just keep removing clothes, though I've seen some ladies in this town giving it their best shot.

You have to keep your feet looking nice for all those sandals and flip-flops.

You have to shave your legs all the way up.

The little "poof" of hair on top of my head falls flat.

And sleeveless shirts are a daily reminder that I am in need of a great bicep and tricep workout - along with a personal trainer to actually make me do the workout.

But while I'm not a fan of the heat, I do love Austin.

It's a beautiful city with tons of green space, thanks to the large population of environmentalists here.

There are miles and miles of hike and bike trails.

And what other city actually has a map (and an app!) specifically dedicated to all the food carts and food trailers in this town?

Every time I travel, people always ask if I'm from Texas.  Even when I was in Colorado last month. And not because I'm wearing a cowboy hat or a UT t-shirt.  I might have just a little bit of an accent that gives me away.  But it's fun to be from a state that everyone recognizes.

Come July, I may have flat hair, sweaty skin, and armpit stains but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Talking a Little TV

It's Friday.

My brain is already in weekend mode.

So I thought I'd keep the subject a little light today.


Have any of you discovered the show "Parenthood"?

It comes on Tuesday nights on NBC - not that we ever watch it at the exact moment it comes on thanks to the wonderful invention known as a DVR.

Before I go on, I will be the first to tell you that no television show is perfect.  There are elements to almost any program that are less than desirable.  Including "Parenthood".

Having filed that disclaimer, I will tell you that "Parenthood" is an incredible show.

It's all about this large family, the Bravermans, and their day-to-day life - Dad and Mom, their four grown children along with respective spouses/girlfriends, and all of their children.

There's a whole lot of good family drama.  And amazing acting.

This is not the type of program that Ryan and I are usually drawn to watch.  We lean more towards mysteries, suspense, comedy.... that type of thing.

But this show has completely and utterly pulled us in.

I can't tell you how many times we hit the pause button and talk about what we're seeing.  We don't always agree with how certain family situations are handled.  We talk about what we might do instead.   We've even watched it with our teens a couple times and had some great, insightful discussions.

One unique aspect of the show is that one of the Braverman families has a son with Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.

In reality, one of the executive producers of the show has a son with autism. So the portrayal of what autism can look like in a family is quite realistic.

While I don't want to give anything away, the episode "Amazing Andy and His Wonderful World of Bugs" has one particular line in it that only parents of special needs children will get.  It was breath-taking and heart-wrenching.  Ryan and I were both crying at the end.  But not manipulated crying - just great writing that touched us on an emotional level.

In case you're thinking you're not ever going to watch the show if it's going to make you cry, don't fear. The show is also very funny and you'll find yourself laughing out loud.

Now, if you're going to watch "Amazing Andy" sometime, I do want to give you one other small disclaimer.  Another one of the Braverman families is trying to get pregnant with their second child and their efforts will be referred to.  But hey - they're married so more power to 'em.

Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This & That

I am off to run some errands but thought I'd give you a quick rundown of things going on around the Rush house.

Brace yourselves - this is some exciting stuff, people.

Lily is on a healthy eating kick right now.

And by that, I mean that she is eating fruits and vegetables.  She's even eating salad - if you count the lettuce with a little bright yellow mustard that falls off my Mighty Fine cheeseburger.  It's roughage (which seems like it should be spelled ruffage but I'm getting the spell check warning) so it counts in my book.

This healthy eating seems to come around in cycles.  For a month or so, she loves strawberries and cauliflower.  Then the next month, with absolutely no explanation, she can't bear to make herself even look upon them, much less have them pass her lips.  It never fails to make me feel like such a good mom when she's eating well, even if I have nothing at all to do with it.

Speaking of Lily's dietary habits, I am more than thrilled to announce that after a three month trial period of the gluten-free/casein-free diet, we have not really seen any changes.  While I guess it's disappointing when some experiments don't work because you really want to see positive results, I can't say I'm sad to put this diet to rest.  I've never been more happy to just shop at HEB instead of running all over town trying to find coconut milk yogurt, vanilla flavored rice milk, and xanthan gum, among other weird items.

My parents are coming for a visit - woohoo!  I'm hoping that means lots of eating out and one or two little shopping sprees.  Oh, and of course, great conversation while we grow closer together as a family.

I know that I'm always the last to discover anything even remotely related to technology so it won't come as a total shock to you when I say I just found Hulu.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Entire episodes of television shows I didn't even know I wanted to watch.  What a lovely, fun, and entertaining absolute waste of my time.  I love it!

And since I've brought up technology, some of you may have noticed that I have a Twitter button on this page.  You can click it and follow me.  Except for one small thing.  I have Twitter but no tweets.  I'm taking this way too seriously but I think my Twitter debut should be something witty or important.  The pressure is immense.  I'll let you know when it happens.

I've told you about the book "The Family Dinner", which I am still so enjoying.  We've played a couple of the suggested dinner games but over the weekend, we found a winner.  It's called "He Said, She Said" and it's kind of like a homemade version of Mad Libs.  It was an absolute stitch!  Check out the book and see what you think.

OK - I know you are sad to see this life-changing post come to a close but never fear - I'll be back tomorrow with more incredible things to share.

Kiss your spouse, hug your kids, and have a great day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Prayer A Day

I recently discovered something very cool and am so excited to share it with you!

It's called Children of Destiny (you can click on the name) and I think you're really going to like it.

It was started by a husband and wife team, both ordained Christian ministers, when their son was diagnosed with autism in 2001.  The goal of their ministry is to bring God's hope, life, and restoration to families struggling with autism and related disorders, primarily through prayer.

Here's how it works -

First, you submit your email address.

Then, each and every day, 365 days a year, you are sent a prayer through email.

There are two prayers in each email - one for the parents of children with autism and one for the extended family and friends of those affected with autism.

The prayer includes a verse of Scripture.

In its most simple form, you can view the email, stop right then and there, and pray.

Or you can create your own Prayer Journal.  

There are Daily Prayer Journal Pages that include the daily prayer and Scripture, along with some space for you to record your own personal thoughts and feelings.  You can print these pages out each day, along with a prayer journal cover, and compile it all into a binder.  You then have a tangible record of your prayers, hopes, wishes, and dreams for your child.

Children of Destiny also offers a 30 minute weekly radio program, inspirational articles, bulletin inserts/handouts for Autism Awareness Month, as well as a special prayer thrust in the month of April and the opportunity to be a part of an Autism Strategic Prayer Network.

And the most incredible news?

It's all completely free.

I really think you will be so blessed by this ministry.  I know I have been multiple times already.

I am constantly amazed at the content of the prayers.  They are specific, hopeful, and a daily reminder that God is in control.  Click here for yesterday's prayer and you'll see what I mean.

Together, let's make a commitment to pray for all our children each and every day.   

After all, we're never stronger than when we're on our knees.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Ride of My Life

I think all of us with children have good days and bad days.

But sometimes, life with special needs children can feel just plain hard.

And I would be lying if I told you that sometimes I wonder just what God was thinking when He chose to send Lily Bird our way.

By my very nature, I am a fixer.  Give me a problem and nine times out of ten, I can solve it for you.

Just tell me the news, good or bad, so I can start doing something about it.  And it sure won't be sitting around idly, waiting for a solution.

I will read, research, ask questions, investigate, come up with a plan of action, apply said plan and expect positive results to begin happening immediately.

And if they don't?  Then I go back to the drawing board to devise Plan B.

God knows this about me.

Yet He still chose me to be Lily's mother.  Me... of all people.

So now I find myself on this roller coaster ride called "Special Needs", full of unexpected twists, turns, dips, drops....

I wake up every morning, strap myself in, and hold the bar tightly.  My hands bleed.  I worry about sailing right off the tracks. And my heart doesn't just catch in my throat.  It leaps all the way out of my chest and sits beside me, holding the bar and looking up at me like, "what now?".

I don't know what's around the bend.  I'm not familiar with this ride.  And even though I have read every manual, studied how this ride was made, and talked with people who have ridden it before, I still don't know what to expect.

Because this is my ride - my experience.  And everyone's experience on this ride is just a little different.

I may not have a definite plan for the future.  But I know the One who does.

Hear this:

I am your strength and shield.  I plan out each day and have it ready for you, long before you arise from bed.  I also provide the strength you need each step of the way.  Instead of assessing your energy level and wondering about what's on the road ahead, concentrate on staying in touch with Me.  My power flows freely into you through our open communication.  Refuse to waste energy worrying, and you will have strength to spare. 
Taken from "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young
January 31 devotion
The only thing I am sure of is that no matter what thrills and terrors this ride holds, Lily and I are strapped in for the long haul and according to God's plan, we'll get there together, she and I.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On The Road Again

I feel like I've seen quite a bit of the great state of Texas this past week.

First, the trip to Longview on Tuesday - a nice 6 hour drive.

Then, the trip to Amarillo on Saturday - a nice 8 1/2 hour drive.

Of course, if I had to pick a favorite between the two, I'd have to go with Amarillo.

It had an unexpected element of surprise.

Skunk Sightings.

Not live skunks, mind you.  These skunks displayed the various stages of roadkill.

Ryan noticed that while it's not unusual to see a few dead animals on the roadside, we were seeing a very large number of skunks.

To help pass the time, he started counting them.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  You really wish I would dedicate an entire blog post on ways to keep the family entertained in the car - Count the Roadkill, Kids!  There's something you're not likely to see in Family Fun magazine.

Anyway... what started out as a mindless activity soon became the entire focus of the drive.

Ryan would yell out the next consecutive number every time he spotted a dead skunk.

I put my magazine down and joined in the fun, scanning ahead as far as I could see for the tell-tale lump on the roadside.

I would shout, "Oh, I see something!  Right shoulder!"

Then we waited with breathless anticipation to see if the lump was actually a skunk.

We weren't going to count it unless we were 100% sure.

We are people of integrity.

About 4 hours into the trip, Ryan looked at me with pure excitement on his face and said, "We're going to get to 100, Lana!  I just know it!"

At this point, I feel like I should let those of you who have never been to West Texas and the Panhandle in on a little something.

It's flat.  I mean, really flat.  And there's not much to look at.  It can get a tad bit boring.

So the fact that we were genuinely excited about the prospect of reaching our goal of 100 skunk sightings tells you a little something about the boredom level in our vehicle.

By the time we arrived in Amarillo, we had spotted a grand total of 93 skunks.  It was a bit of a letdown to not reach our goal of 100.

I guess you can't have it all.

And speaking of that, Ryley's basketball team played their hearts out and while it was close throughout the game, they did end up losing.  It was truly disappointing.  They've come a long way and should be amazing next year.

It'll be fun to see how they do but I hope we don't have to drive to Amarillo again.

But if we do, we better win the game.

Or see 100 skunks.

I don't think I can take the disappointment two years in a row.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We are the Champions, My Friends (Almost)

First bit of news..... a basketball update.

Yesterday, Ryan and I traveled to Longview to watch Ryley's basketball team in the first round of play-off games.... and they WON!  Woohoo!

We took back roads all the way to Longview, passing small towns like Thrall, Thorndale, Palestine.  I haven't seen that many Dairy Queens in a really long time.

We took the interstate on the way home and I discovered that Sonic dominates along the freeway.

Which confirms my suspicion that one way to tell the size of a town is by their fast food offerings:

Sonic - Somewhat Large Town
Dairy Queen (only) - Small Town

Of course, sometimes small towns take it upon themselves to offer their residents a unique choice of fast food restaurants.  For example, in the thriving metropolis of Willis where I grew up, we could choose between DQ or the Dan-dee-Dog.  It was a struggle to pick where to stop for an after-school snack, let me tell you.

Anyway, back to basketball.

We're so excited about continuing on in the play-offs except for one tiny little thing.... the next game is in Amarillo.  Nothing like a nice ten hour drive (one way!) to get you pumped up for a basketball game, right?  And nothing like athletic events to remind me what a huge state I live in.

Now, since we're on the subject of sports, I wanted to share something with you that Ryley had me read the other day.

Rick Reilly is a sports columnist for ESPN Magazine and we typically enjoy his writing.  In fact, I think Ryley would like to have his job one day.

If you've been following my blog any time at all, I think you know how much value I place on compassion.  This article is just a great example of compassion in action and using your celebrity status for more than signing autographs and getting dates with supermodels.

Share it with your kids and see what they think.

Bullied Philadelphia Eagles fan Nadin Khoury's redeeming moment

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Music as Medicine

I don't know about you, but I've been periodically following the recovery of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with some interest.  I obviously wish her the very best and pray for her full recovery.

And I had to smile when reports told that one of the first words she spoke was a request for toast with her breakfast.  While I think my first word might be something along the lines of chocolate, I am 100% sure her husband will never look at toast in the same way.  It will remain a beautiful word for him from now on.  

When she started her rehabilitation program, I noticed that music therapy was included.  This is something I've been considering for Lily.

While Lily does not suffer from a physical brain injury, I believe that autism has a neurological component to it and the brain needs "training".

And music might just be the ticket.

How exactly does music play a role in learning to speak - or speak again, in some cases?  

Kimberly Sena Moore is a board-certified music therapist.  She also maintains a blog called "Your Musical Self" and she explains in this excerpt below how music can be used to learn, heal, and live.

Read on....

Does music therapy really work?
Well, yes! Here's how...

The Role of Music Therapy in Rehabilitation

It's not uncommon these days to find music therapists in a rehab setting working along-side other treatment professionals, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists. Music therapy is cropping up on rehab teams all over the world. And why is that? Because music therapy works.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll have read that music engages and changes our brain. This is especially useful in rehab because of the concept of "shared networks" in our brain. There are neural networks that process both musical and non-musical information. For example, there is some overlap in the networks involved in processing singing words and speaking words.
Board-certified music therapists can use music and music-based experiences to help activate impaired brain networks. The client then "re-learns" and practices those skills through music, thus strengthening them. To continue with our example above, when working with someone who has expressive aphasia, a music therapist can use singing techniques to help that patient re-learn how to speak.

Music Therapy Treatment Areas

In addition to speaking, what other types of "non-musical skills" am I referring to? Although specific treatment goals depend on the type of damage, examples include:
  • Fine motor skills --- using your hands and fingers
  • Gross motor skills --- reaching with your arms or re-learning how to walk
  • Speech production skills --- forming meaningful words and sentences
  • Communication skills --- using nonverbal "body language" or comprehending speech
  • Learning and memory skills --- remembering the alphabet or strengthening short-term memory
  • Attention skills -- improving focus of attention and strengthening ability to multi-task
Music therapists can use music in various ways to help target the above goal areas. Sample interventions include: instrument playing, singing, moving to music (as when walking to a beat), listening to music, and composing music.

That may have been more information than you ever wanted to know about music therapy but I find it very exciting to think that something as simple as songs from our childhood can do so much good in our brains.

Lily loves music and it's always been a pretty large part of life around the Rush home.  Ryan and Reagan both play the guitar and sing.  Ryley sings and can plunk a little on the piano.  And I remember all the lyrics that everyone else forgets!

I like the idea of engaging Lily in something that she sees as enjoyable but at the same time, it's doing all kinds of good stuff in her noggin.

So we're going to give music therapy a go.  

And I'll keep you posted on any progress - I promise!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Unauthorized “Guest Blog” from Lana’s Husband

That’s right – I hacked into Lana’s complex labyrinth of security procedures to access publishing rights to “Along Came the Bird.”  In other words, I guessed – on the very first attempt – her very weak password.  She’s a great wife, but not so high-tech.

If you’ve been following Lana’s blog this week, you know that I am down with the Flu.  This is something that especially hurts, because I’m the member of the family who is always lecturing everyone that, if they will just drink lots of water, they can overcome virtually any illness.  Influenza makes cowards of us all. 

But since I collapsed in my bed on Sunday afternoon, I have also had something else happen.  I’ve been given a front-row seat to what my wife does on a daily basis.  Most of the stuff, you can probably guess.  So I will spare you the obvious references to chores and errands.  Although those would be enough to fill two full-time positions.

What I’ve been reminded of this week is the more subtle stuff that no one will ever notice.  I’ve listened to her counsel Reagan on everything from school papers to friends.  I’ve listened to her encourage Ryley about everything basketball to leadership.  I’ve heard her on the phone with Lily’s therapists, inquiring about how we might be able to help ensure our new health insurance will cover the care she’s receiving.  I have even heard her on the phone with my mom, offering sage advice on where they might have a house here in Austin (they’re moving here next month).

I have heard her coughing but pressing through until everybody is fed and Lily is bathed and there’s nothing left undone.  I have observed as she continues to research every available option for Lily’s treatment – including the mountain of books by our bed, and the growing grocery list of funky natural ingredients in our kitchen. 

You’ll notice that most of these observations were of the listening kind and not the seeing kind.  That’s because Lana has me quarantined in the bedroom – literally locking me inside most of the time so I don’t infect the rest of the Rush family.  But even lying in here isolated from my family, I have gained a fresh perspective for my favorite person. 

Lana is fond of saying on her blog that she can’t imagine how single parents pull it off – especially with a special needs child.  She has even been known to graciously give me credit for help that may have been a little overstated (was she trying to manipulate me into acting the role?  Conspiracy theory, perhaps?)  But the truth is, she works circles around the rest of us at the Rush house and we all know it. 

My wife’s hard work and selfless attitude toward her family is no revelation to me this week.  I’ve known this for a long time.  It’s just that this week, I have had a front-row seat to watching her in action.  I love that woman!

I just thought I’d let you in on it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Plan for a Successful Night of Slumber

I'd like to begin by stating that last night was one of the worst nights of sleep I've had in quite some time.

I was reminded of Brownie Camp.

In fact, I would not have been the least bit surprised to discover that I would need to walk down pitch black, bug-infested, wooded trails armed only with a dim flashlight just to get to the potty.

Needless to say, I am not a camper of any kind.

Since Ryan is contagious and sequestered in our bedroom, I opted to sleep on the couch.  I had the incredibly comfortable denim couch with the cushy down filled cushions in the upstairs hangout room in mind when I made this decision.

Unfortunately, it became apparent that my plan was not to be.

I could not get a clear signal on the baby monitor which meant that I couldn't hear Lily if she woke up during the night.

I resigned myself to sleeping on the cold leather couch in the family room downstairs.

So between Ryan's coughs, Lily's music toy blaring"Buffalo Gal, Won't You Come Out Tonight?" about one million times, one of the big girls hitting snooze another million times, and my own coughing, I was almost relieved when Lily woke up at 6 AM and I could just call it a night.

I'm hoping for better success tonight.

I am risking it all and sleeping in my own bed.

I hear you gasping in horror at this proclamation but if I don't get some rest, everyone at this house will soon face the true ugliness that lurks deep within and rears it's head when sleep deprived.

Besides, you know me.

I have a plan!

First, I will put clean sheets on the bed.  

Then, I will construct an impenetrable wall between my side of the bed and Ryan's.

Next, I will thoroughly douse said wall in Lysol, which I will also spray with reckless abandon throughout the entire master bedroom.  (if the germs don't get me, the fumes might!)

Finally, I will take a nice dose of NyQuil,  place a lovely surgical mask from Lily's hospital days over my nose and mouth, and promptly pass out.

Surely this plan will not fail.

I can promise you one thing, though.

If I do end up getting sick(er), I'm not going to sequester myself in the bedroom.

No, siree-bob.

I'm heading straight to Lake Austin Spa and checking myself into The Quarantine Suite.

So you see, either way, I really can't lose.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Official - We're 5 for 5

I apologize for not getting to post until tonight.

We are in the midst of some serious warfare in the Rush home.

Germ warfare.

Ryley got sick about 3 weeks ago.  After a couple days, she seemed to turn the corner and was feeling better.

Then Reagan started feeling sick.

Then Ryley got sick again.

Then Lily got sick.

Ryan finally admitted defeat and went to the doctor this morning and he has the flu.  So he is officially in medical lock-down in the bedroom.

Because I have his same symptoms on a smaller scale, I went on in to the doctor.  My hope was to catch it before I needed medical lock-down and the kids were running the house.

Thankfully, I only have a sinus infection so I'm on antibiotics but am not contagious.

So Momma's still ruling the roost around here.

It's days like this that I really and truly gain a whole new respect for single parents.  Ruling the roost by yourself is hard work.

So while I had big plans to post something really awesome, interesting, and completely life-changing, I have to settle for sharing some of my favorite things to have close at hand when I'm not feeling so hot. Here goes:
  • Puffs Plus Tissues with Lotion & Vicks - It's like all the goodness of lotion-y kleenex but with the smell of Vicks, too - genius!  After you blow your nose, you can still smell the Vicks and your nose feels nice and tingly.
  • And while we're on the subject of Vicks, I also love to have good old fashioned Vapo-Rub around when I'm under the weather.  It takes me straight back to being a little kid when my mom would rub it on my chest.  I actually might have a slight addiction to Vicks Vapo-Rub.
  • Shower Soothers - Again with the smell thing.  Dropping one of these big tablets on the floor of your warm shower releases all these wonderful steamy vapors. 
  • Ludens Cherry Cough Drops - I know these are only slightly more effective than Wild Cherry Life Savers but hey, the "real" cough drops just don't taste as good.  In a pinch, Blow Pops and Jolly Ranchers do the trick, too.
  • CranApple Juice - This is really the only time I drink juice of any kind.
  • Someone to cook all my meals and do my laundry and sterilize my house and.... oh wait.  I think I'm describing my mom who is not close at hand at the moment.  Mom, if you're reading this and feel like coming to do my chores for a fun visit, just let me know!
I think you can tell by my list that I like to breathe menthol vapors, eat hard candy, and have someone at my beck and call when I'm under the weather.

Actually, I enjoy these things when I'm feeling just fine, too.

Please rest easy tonight.  I will be back tomorrow morning with something utterly life-changing. 

Or not.

It might just be something as exciting as this post is.

But either way, I'll be back.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Story of The Bird

Since it's the weekend and hopefully that means you have a little more time to hang out and relax, I thought you might like to hear a story.

Back on Sunday, December 26, Ryan invited me to share along with him in both Sunday morning services.

Notice I said "share", not preach.  I am a good Baptist pastor's wife.

Together, we told the story of Lily, from the beginning.

Many members of our congregation feel that Lily Bird belongs to them as much as she does to us.  And we are so thankful that she is constantly loved and prayed for by those same sweet people.

Every Sunday, we are asked about Lily and how she's doing.

It's difficult to know how much to share, especially when we know there are many, many people around us who are struggling and in the midst of their own heartbreak.

But our baby girl has taught us countless lessons, both individually and as a family.

So while much of this story is about fear, uncertainty, and doubt, it ends in faith, trust, and ultimately, victory.

Take some time this weekend to listen.

I pray that while you learn more about my family, you might learn something about yourself and how you, too, can live in faith, trust, and victory.... one day at a time.

Click on the link below to have a listen.  See you Monday.

Walls: The Rush Family

Friday, February 4, 2011

Winter Wonderland - Austin Version

The big girls' prayers were answered and we woke up to snow on the ground and no school.  If my girls needed any further proof that there is a God in Heaven and He hears us, they got it today.

We bundled up Lily in the Texas Redneck version of the snowsuit - one piece zip-up footie pajamas, fleece pajama top and bottoms over those, wool slippers, coat and hat and headed outside for her first experience with snow.

I'd love to tell you that she frolicked playfully, made snow angels, and rolled snowballs.

But that would not be truthful.

In reality, she was less than impressed.

She kept giving us the stink eye and you could clearly read her mind... "why on earth did you take me away from the warm fireplace and my iPad to stare at this freezing cold white stuff???"

This photo shows what you do when you have a runny nose from the cold and no tissue handy. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

I even tried pushing up a little pile of snow around her feet and that got a little smile but not much else.

When we came back inside, Ryley got a large bowl and headed back out to collect some clean snow for eating.

This is when we finally got a reaction from the Bird.  

Ryley fixed Lily her own personal bowl of snow, gave her a spoon and plunked her down at the kitchen table.

Lily happily began eating her snow, occasionally alternating between the snow bowl and the bowl of oatmeal I fixed her.

Who knew?

The perfect way to celebrate a snow day is to bring some inside the warm house and serve it up in a bowl.

It's good to be 4. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Chili Weekend

Nope - that's not a typo in the title just in case you're wondering.

It is cold outside.

I mean really cold.

Like we have the potential for a little bitty bit of snow tonight, which doesn't happen all that often in Austin.

My kids' prayer lives have never been better.  They're spending quite a bit of time on their knees, imploring the Lord for a snow day so they can stay home from school.

Whether it snows or not, this is the perfect weather for chili.

So I made an enormous pot of it this afternoon and the plan is to make it last all weekend.  I'll be using that same chili to make enchiladas, nachos, chili mac, and chili cheese dog nachos.

One night of cooking = four meals.

It just doesn't get much better than that.

Of course, come Sunday, we'll be sick of it but I'm all about making life a little easier for myself.

And the added bonus?

No matter what I make on Monday, my family will be cheering because it won't be chili.

But anyway, every time I make chili, I can't help but think of the eight years we spent in Virginia. Anytime I served chili to friends there, the reaction to it was always quite interesting.

I remember one time, our friends Guy and Jodi were over.  I was cooking away in the kitchen and Jodi was keeping me company.

We got everything set out:  chili, cornbread and sliced cheese.  I was about to call the gentlemen to the table when Jodi stopped me.  Our conversation went a little something like this:

Jodi - "Where's the rest of the food?"
Me - "What do you mean - the rest of the food?  It's all here."
Jodi - "I mean, like the stuff to put on the chili."
Me - "What stuff to put on the chili?"
Jodi - "Onions, beans, tomatoes... you know, toppings."
Me - "I'm not making soup, Jodi.  This is chili."
Jodi - "So basically you're just giving us a bowl of.... meat?"

I had to laugh.  I hadn't ever heard chili described in quite that way but it was true.  It really was just a bowl of meat.  That's the way we do it in Texas.

So every time I'm serving up bowls of meat, I can't help but think of Jodi.

She'll be happy to know that while we ate bowls of meat tonight, the rest of this weekend, we'll be adding all kinds of "toppings" to our chili in her honor.

My goal for the weekend?  No more cooking.

Ryan's goal?  No need for Extra-Strength Tums in the middle of the night.

It's looking good for me.  I'll keep you posted on Ryan.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Little Housekeeping


I'm hoping you noticed the new look of the blog - and that you like it, of course!

I've been working on a design since December so it's nice to finally see it come together.  I wanted something fun but clean, crisp, and easy to navigate around.

And I think we got it!

Thanks to Katie at DreamUp Studios and Angi at Vessel Creations for helping take my words and translate them into what you see on the home page.

There will be more little changes happening here and there over the next couple of weeks (like actually seeing something when you click the tabs on the navigation bar!) so keep checking in to see what's new.

I also opened a Twitter account but have yet to "tweet" anything.  I'm waiting for a burst of creative inspiration for my Twitter debut, which means it may never happen!

Now, yesterday's post had this inspiring video from American Idol that I found on youtube.  You might have noticed that when you click on it, a message comes up stating that I've broken numerous copyright laws and have been hauled off to jail.

OK, it doesn't exactly say that but it's pretty threatening.

To clarify, I didn't record the illegal video.  I just shared it with all of you.

Which, I guess means that in a round-about way, I supported the illegal recording of copyrighted material.  And for that I sincerely apologize and have now taken to wearing a disguise when I enter the post office just in case my photo is on any Most Wanted posters.

So if you missed the chance to watch the pirated video, you can search youtube for Chris Medina and choose from one of several low quality videos in which people actually recorded their television screens.

It's still a wonderful story and worth seeing.

Lastly, Sunday, February 13th is Wall Breakers Sunday at church.  Ryan's book "Walls" will be officially released and available in the church lobby and several of the families featured in the book will be sharing their stories.  It's going to be a fun time of celebration - with cake! - so come say hi if you're anywhere near Austin.

Until tomorrow....


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'm a Fan

I don't know if any of you have been following the Facebook conversation based on my list of 100 Blessings from yesterday's post but here it is in case you missed it.

 I'll just put it this way.... that's the last time I try to share with my family!  From this day forward, I'll just keep my blessings to myself, thank you very much.

  • I just read my mom's blog and apparently Reagan Rush is funny and I'm not. I just have "leadership skills."

    Whatever. Lana Rush, I know who your favorite daughter is now.
    20 hours ago · Privacy: ·  ·  · Share

      • Morgan Lewallen What is your mothers blog?
        20 hours ago · 

      • Travis Maclay You could always blog about your mom, ya know :-)
        20 hours ago · 

      • Ryley Rush Haha maybe so! She says she never said that anyway! :) Morgan

        19 hours ago · 

      • Lana Rush 

        You know, you just can't win as a mom. I try to be nice and this is the thanks I get. I tried to tell Ryley she's funny LOOKING but that didn't go over well, either. Sigh...
        And Travis, please don't encourage her. I've trained her to nev...See More

        19 hours ago · 

      • Anita Askew Ryley, I feel your pain. Mimi & Papa and Grandma & Grandpa weren't even in the top 50. Unless of course I'm paying for a pedicure. By the way, Ryley, your grandparents all think you are very funny!!!
        3 hours ago · 

      • Anita Askew As a very wise woman once said, "You just can't win as a mom. I try to be nice and this is the thanks I get."
        2 hours ago · 

      • Lana Rush Hey now - I SAID that the 100 blessings on the blog was in no particular order!!! This is the last time I try to share how blessed I am with you people! Gee whiz....
        2 hours ago · 

      • Travis Maclay I haven't looked yet, but I sure hope somewhere that I made the top 100 :-)
        2 hours ago · 

      • Anita Askew Sorry, Travis. You may not want to look.
        about an hour ago · 

      • Lana Rush Travis, I was saving you for the 200th post "list of blessings" but after all this negative feedback, I'm re-thinking the whole thing.
        about an hour ago · 

      • Lana Rush And Mom, even though the list is in no particular order, I could be persuaded to bump you up if you send me money for a pedicure.
        about an hour ago · 

  • On a completely different note, I'm reluctantly watching American Idol this season. 
Last season was so awful and so boring that I vowed I wouldn't watch it again.  But I find myself being sucked in, despite my efforts otherwise.

Of course, the draw of this year was to see how Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez did as judges.

That Jennifer has the most gorgeous "glowy"skin and it makes me quite jealous, to be totally honest.

As for Steven, I've never really been a huge fan of his.  He has quite the potty mouth and "bad-boy" reputation.

And while those things are still true, he has now become one of my favorite celebrities.

Before you think I've lost my mind, let me tell you why.

Or rather, let me show you.

Listen to this incredible young man named Chris Medina tell his story.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am truly blessed by people who have a soft spot for individuals with special needs.

And I think it's pretty obvious that Steven Tyler does.

He didn't just shake that young lady's hand. He got down close to her face, talked to her, and loved on her.

Cynics will say he did it because cameras were rolling but I don't think so.

I think we got a glimpse of a tender heart.

And for that... I'm a fan, Steven.

As for Chris, he is truly one of the unsung heroes out there.  What a beautiful picture of unconditional love and commitment.

It's a good day.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...