My Mom

A friend of mine asked for a broccoli repice and it reminded me of my mom's yummy broccoli salad. :-) She brought it to a soccer tournament once and it was a huge hit! So since I have the recipe out and ready I thought I would share one more for you guys. It is the holiday season after all and we can all use more great food!

From my mom:
I got this from
The trick is to cut everything VERY small.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper (whatever :) )
¼ cup sugar
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoon white vinegar
8 ounce sharp cheddar cheese cut into very small cubes
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup craisons (note from Sammi: you dont have to use these)
½ cup chopped red onions
6-8 slices cooked bacon crumbled (note from Sammi: you dont have to use bacon either!)
1 head broccoli

(we added a cup of sunflower seeds)

trim off large leaves of broccoli. Remove tough stalks at end and wash thoroughly. Cut flowerets and stems into bite-sizes. (can’t say I actually use the stems) Place in a large bowl. Add crumbled bacon, sunflower seeds, onion, crasins, and cheese. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently.
Let me know if you try it and how much everyone loved it!!!

Gratuitous pic AND Recipe!

This is one of those recipes you should copy, print or write down. You will love it -your guests will love it. Make it. Stop putting marshmallows over sweet potatoes and start putting brown sugar. Welcome to 2010!
Sweet Potato Casserole

6 cups boiled & mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 eggs
1 cup of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups of brown sugar
2/3 cup of flour
2 cups chopped nuts (I use pecans)
2/3 cup of butter

Peel, chop, and boil potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes and mash until free of lumps. (I have never peeled or chopped a sweet potato. I use four cans of already cooked ones, and I've never had a complaint) Add sugar, salt, eggs, butter, vanilla, and evaporated milk to potatoes. Use mixer to blend. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

For topping combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter until crumbly. Layer on top of potato mixture. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes or until topping looks set.

Freckle Lips!

Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Is everyone having a wonderful holiday season? I know we sure are at the Chavaneth household!
Have you heard I am sewing fabric gift bags? Chad got me a sewing machine for Christmas and mom gave me a bunch of fabric and ribbon to mix-n-match. I've sewn more in the last 2 months than I have during the first 28 years of my life! haha Ok so I'm not 28. Whatever.
I have created a shop on which has been a lot of fun. I named the shop after Ethan for his little freckle lips. :-) Plus I am extending my product line so I didn't want to confine myself to bags, or one kind of bag!
Go ahead and take a look but check back next week when my shop will have several more products and choices! *don't worry- you know i'll remind you on here!*

I mean come on!

I mean come on!
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Are these two insanely adorable?! Clearly I dressed them for Christmas pictures. :-) One time Vanessa told me she can SMELL a camera. They both pose and smile soo cute.
Well our Holiday season is in full throttle! We have already had our California Christmas. This weekend is Bartlesville Christmas - then Dada Christmas - Newton Christmas and then on New Year's Day we are having Carthage Christmas! oh my.
Who said kids of broken homes suffer?! (I kid I kid) Seriously - they don't even have a clue how awesome they have it. Do any of us really?
I sure enjoy this time of year - I'm so busy I can barely think. Before we know it - it will be 2011. And what will we have to show for it?
I'm getting all introspective - I started an anti-racism workshop/discussion group yesterday that is 10 months long (and beyond) and I'm very excited. I'm also becoming active in the board at the kids soccer league - did you know they all play soccer? :-)
Have you heard "become the change you want to see" ? Maybe not - that may be wrong - but you get the drift. I feel 2011 is that year for me. I'm ready - I'm on the cusp - This is it!

To quote an amazing John Lennon song:
So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

2012 will actually be here soon - At the end of 2011 - What will you have done?

Attention Guests!!

"Miss Stephanie is celebrating her 28th - wait 38th?- wait 32nd birthday today! Everyone stare as she rides the saddle!!!" said the announcer guy in the background.
Stephanie's boyfriend, Steve, planned a suprise birthday dinner for Steph and her friends. We had a great time at Texas Roadhouse :-) I told her my family must really love her since I'm a vegetarian and Ethan is allergic to peanuts! But I left very full (who can only eat one roll??) and Ethan did not get ill so it was a succes. Happy Birthday Stephanie - I hope this is the beginning of a fantastic year for you.

Ethan & Hershey

Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
My friend Dana posted on facebook that she found a stray cat. I went and picked it up. She is fiesty. All kitty. She has claws and sometimes will snag ya :-) Ethan is a little afraid of getting scratched because we had a mean kitty before. :-(
Well no matter how scared Ethan is - she just lays and loves on him while he sleeps. He didn't believe me so I took pictures last night :-)
She is all black except for the tiniest tuft of hair on her belly that is pure white. :-)
PS - before Chad was born I had a kitty named Hershey. The kids always loved that and named this one Hershey also :-)

Look out for the Stars!

Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
I know I posted a video of the championship game earlier - but I thought these photos just HAD to be shared! :-)
Vanessa is a trooper. I mean this girl had JUST been cleared to take off her boot and she falls and breaks her thumb. 3 days later she was due to play in a soccer tournament in Broken Arrow. These girls are pretty confident and know they are little hot shots back on the home turf. But you come to a tournament and you're just never sure what the competition is going to be like. Most people don't give up a whole weekend and write out a check unless they feel like they have a shot at winning! I wish I could remember the exact scores - we played 4 games. I may be off a bit but I think the first game was 6-1, second game 6-0, and third game was 10-3. So we made it to the finals and the girls were so nervous.
We heard thru the rumor mill that the team we were playing had not lost a game in 3 years. Our team has been together over 4 years but we HAVE lost a game here and we just didn't know what was about to happen. Our worries were unfounded. :-) The championship game score was 8-3! Congratulations STARS!
Rest up girls, indoor is right around the corner....and I hear we have some competition! :-)

Recycling Day (still)

This is a blog I posted in 2007 on Sept. 11 - Many times I told a story about that day- especially around the anniversary - But this one is more about the facts of the day for me. What it doesn't say is that I was in my office building about 4 hours before they let us go - and then almost another 4 hours before I got to Chad. Cara and Julie had picked him from school when they closed their doors at 10am so he was safe - I just couldn't get to him. So here's my story just like 100's of thousands of people have their stories :-(

Sep 11, 2007
happy anniversary

Ok so this is it. If you are avoiding the news or television in general and you don't want to hear, read, or speak about the tragedy of 6 years ago – maybe you shouldn't read this. (plus it's super long)

I feel so lucky because my company has an on-site childcare facility that is available to it's employees for a specified number of days a year. When your childcare is closed, or your child has a dr. appt and you don't have time to ride the train home and back. Or on days when you feel like having your child close. I think its 30 days a year. Which is amazing, and I take full advantage of everyday I have available. I brought Chad with me yesterday and we went to lunch together. It was so much fun and I'm thinking about bringing him again today. But then I don't want to spoil him – ok I don't want to spoil me. And I think better of it and go ahead and drop him off at his daycare.

As I look around on the train, I notice these are not my normal commuters. I mean, I don't know most of them, but I definitely recognize people after riding the train for over a year at the same time everyday. So I look at my watch and realize I'm almost 20 minutes early today. When we got up this morning I thought I was bringing Chad with me, so I was giving us extra time, so I am ahead of schedule which is so unusual for me.

Every day that I walk in this city I love it more and more. I heard on the news the other day that 150,000 commuters go through the World Trade Center everyday. That doesn't count the employees that actually work in the seven buildings on this huge acreage. I grew up in a town of 35.000 – not a small town by Oklahoma standards. I'm horrible at math, but I think that's over 4 of my entire towns walk through this building, changing trains, or as the beginning of their daily trek or ending destinations.

The WTC is my ending destination. This morning I'm listening to Ani's live version of both hands which has an orchestral introduction and some really strong beats that I love to walk too. I notice the Children's Store is having a 'model' contest to pick a real kid for their campaign. Definitely I have to get Chad into that. I am climbing the stairs to the north east door of the WTC mall and I am walking the 5 blocks to my office. Past the trinity cemetery. Past the Wall Street Sign. Past the gym that I am a member of but have only been 3 times because I'm so intimidated by all of the Wall Street types that also frequent that gym. Past the NYC Stock Exchange. Past the corner where I saw a woman in leather beating men in suits on camera. Past the street where I saw them shooting an episode of Law and Order SVU. I am here. Living my dream. I am so fortunate and determined and full of life.

I am in my building. 85 broad street. There is a security guard but there are 100's of us in the lobby so he isn't really paying attention to me or my neighbor. I don't really think it's a problem. I couldn't even imagine that soon we would be standing in long lines surrounded by troops, with guns as large as a toddler, having our bags x-rayed and our bodies scanned. For now, I am in my building. It is approximately 8:40. I'm almost 20 minutes early today. Instead of my normal 10 minutes late.

Most of the bankers won't arrive for 30 minutes to an hour. I'm trying not to resent this because I do know they stay at work sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. The office is so quiet. I'm mostly catching up on emails and reading internet news. I hear a loud thud noise. Maybe it was an explosion? Or was that thunder? Mostly I forget about it for the next few minutes until the internet caught up.

On my screen is a news flash that a plane has hit the world trade center. I don't even know what to think or how to wrap my head around this possibility.

A banker that has a corner office and a television turns it on. We all walk to his office and see the itty bitty tiny whole in the building. Some moron with a twin engine has put a small whole in the building. I can't even see the plane. He must not have realized the building was so high – or he was trying to show off and buzz it too close.

I'm back at my desk and call my mom on her cell phone. She is driving to work and listening to Dr. Hook – so her radio isn't on.

"hey mom, it's me."
"oh hi! What a surprise"
"Are you still driving to work?"
"yep, whats up?"
"well I wanted to call you and let you know that I'm at the office. Some guy ran his plan into the world trade center but I'm safe."
"oh really? Well I'm glad you called. I would have been so worried"
"haha I knew you would – I'm fine"
"well have a great day – I'll email later"
"ok mom…bye"
My mom never liked that I moved here. She worries about everything. I thought it would be smart to head this panic attack with a quick call.
I'm having an urge to call my grandma too. I'm not sure why because she is probably asleep. But I call her.
"grandma, it's sammi. I'm sorry to wake you up"
"it's ok. Is something wrong" (later I find out she was pretty upset that I called so early)
"well a plane hit the world trade center and I just wanted to tell you that I'm in my office on wall street. I'm safe and relatively far away from there"
"don't you work in the wtc?"
"no, but I do ride the train thru there every morning. So I didn't want you to worry"
"ok. I wont. I'm going back to bed"
"ok grandma, I love you"
"I love you too. Bye"

I am hanging up the phone when I feel that same thud. That same thunder like explosion. Then people start screaming. A half a dozen people are still in the office watching TV. . And almost immediately the phones start ringing off the hook. For a split second I start thinking something has happened to our own building. The chaos is a little deafening. I have four bankers and several hundred more on the floor. I am getting calls for people that I don't even work with. Family members looking for their loved ones.

I want to leave but I don't know where I'll go, the only way I know how to get home, is through WTC. But we seem to be under some kind of attack. My son is only four miles away and there is no way for me to reach him. (Looking back I should have walked a few miles uptown and crossed a bridge on foot. or hitched a ride to jersey. but i think i was in shock.)

I am sitting on a barge. It looks like they normally haul oil or something extremely dirty on this boat. I am standing with about 200 other people. We are all looking toward the sky and we are all silent. No laughter, no mindless chit chat, no anger towards strangers - and no seats. We are all just standing. And we are all filthy dirty because we just crawled across a rickety wooden ladder to get on the barge. Over water. We just stand there.

For more than three hours. It seems to be the most beautiful picturesque day. The sky is clear. Except for that one little sheet of paper floating in the sky. I wonder how in the world that got up there.

It is just swaying back and forth, a white sheet of paper. Floating in the windless sky. We are all fixated on this paper. We have no working phones. The captain of the barge has no idea when we can leave. There are no words.

As the paper gets closer we realize it's more like the size of a car door. But it is still floating like it's weightless. Back and forth - and we all watch. Then it looks a little bigger as it gets closer - like maybe it's the size of a small car...still very thin and weightless but it's pretty big.

It is so close now you can see the reflection of the water from the river in the shiny material. What in the world is it? Then all of a sudden everyone on the barge shifts, gasps and tenses up. This little tiny sheet of paper that came from no where in the sky slams into the side of a NYPD boat anchored right next to our barge. It is so big we can not see the boat because it is covered by the metal. We hear the clang and the boats rocks violently. We all lean forward collectively as a mother would reach for it's child before it falls in a creek.

No one is hurt. Not in that moment. But we all look back up to the sky to see what other mysterious objects will be escaping the clouds.

Recycling Day

Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
I'm stealing this idea from one of my favorite blogs...this is an old post of mine that many of you probably never saw - it was first posted on March 28, 2007!

I do not give my kids crack.

Monday night after church I had only fed my kids snacks. No dinner. It was almost 9 oclock and they were threatening to call DHS so I stopped at Sonic Drive In. On the way I said "is Sonic okay with everyone??" YEA!!!!!!!!!! They were all excited.

Vanessa what do you want? "Cheese Fries!!!" Being the good health conscious mom I said "you have to eat something else too....fried chicken strips or a corn dog" Then I laughed out loud because I realized the cheese fries were no better or worse than the main course!

Then I said Ethan..what do you want?? "Sonic"
I said "yeaaaa! That's where we are going! What do you want to eat???"
He said "Sonic!!!!!"
We all laughed and I said "I know honey! We all want Sonic! What do you want to eat at Sonic?"
He was a little frustrated with me. "SOOOOOONIC!!!!!!!"
I said "ok. we are going to eat at Sonic. What specific food FROM Sonic would you like me to order for you when I pull up to Sonic? Chicken or a corn dog?"
He said "Happy Birthday"

Happy girls!

If you are on facebook, you know Vanessa played in a tournament this weekend. Her team - the Stars have been together since they were 4 :-) They did a fantastic job at this tournament and outscored the other teams 30-7 over the course of the competition. This is a video Chad shot during the championship game. Of course Vanessa is in it a lot - but it shows how the team all works together so well. And how, even though they are "only" a rec team - they outplay outlast and outwit all of their competition :-)
There was over 20 minutes of video - so I edited it down to the times we had the ball (or took it) - if it looks like I cut it off in the middle of a play, or right before a play - i assure you I did not. :-)


Ethan is only 6 as of October - but I think he has a future in showbusiness :-) He loves the camera and the flip makes it super easy for him to do just about whatever he wants. Even if it means filming my minivan that we lived in all weekend because of Vanessa's soccer tournament ;-) (cover your eyes!) I think you'll also see a very proud baby brother. He sure love Chad and Vanessa!
He separated these out into three videos for your viewing pleasure. I added titles and a little bit of music - otherwise they are all his!

Brand New

Isn't this cute and lively and fun? It's one of bloggers free templates but I really like it! Also - at the bottom of each post is a place for you to click so you can connect it to facebook or email it - whatever you want to do! LOVES IT :-)
I hate posting without a picture. So I wanted to include a little cutie patootie. Today Vanessa's class got their class T-shirts - no I've never heard of this until we moved to Jenks - but it's a serious thing believe me :-) The teacher sent all the parents a picture. When I opened it up - I laughed out loud. I know Vanessa is tall - it's all the Fitch in her believe's not Johnson trait! - but I forget just HOW tall she is :-) So adorable. Not so long ago I was laying in bed and she crawled on top of me to be my human blanket. She said, "You have no idea how much I love you" :-)


Vanessa's soccer team is playing in a tournament next weekend. We are super excited for the girls and last year when we did a tournament I found this cute Star sequin t-shirts at Target. for $5! Everyone loved them and the girls looked adorable. It was so fast and easy and cheap. This season we decided to tie dye. But because a lot of the kids tie dye - I thought we should do a little something something. The verdict on the shirts is not in yet - but the socks. A disaster. What in the world. I have included 4 of the 8 pairs of socks we dyed. Notice the lack of similarity. And sometimes the lack of color! AGH!!!!

Any suggestions? Is there anyone in Tulsa that sells Tie Dye socks? (We need 8 pair!!)

Pan de Muertos

For a little extra credit in Spanish class, Chad decided to bake some bread for Day of the Dead. Ethan wanted to help, but that only last about 10 minutes ;)

Kneading the dough....

Ready to bake...

Perfect loaf!!

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
About 6 months ago Vanessa complained of her ankle hurting after a soccer game. I really didn't think anything of it because this girl takes her soccer seriously - with no regard to her personal well being. Unfortunately she started complaining after every practice and game :-( 2 months later I took her to urgent care where they did x-rays and decided it was fine. They diagnosed her with a double sprain and told her to wear a brace while she played soccer. Soon she was wearing the brace every game, every practice and anytime she had gym class at school. Fast forward 4 months and she just didn't seem to be healing. I picked up the x-rays from urgent care and went to Vanessa's doctor who I thought would probably order an MRI. Turns out - there is no need for an MRI - the dr could see with the xrays already taken that the growth plate in her ankle is broken :-( So she is out for at least 3 games :-( Believe me she is very disappointed but she was sooo glad the dr said she will heal up as good as new if she can stay off of it for a while :-)
She's still as adorable as ever!!!

Jamaican Excursion

Natural stream
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
When we went on our cruise we had choices to go on excursions when we stopped at port. When we came to Jamaica- the entire family went to a Rum Party on the beach. (go to if you haven't read that story!)
Well, Chad decided to go with a group of kids on a countryside Jeep excursion. He knew no one. He had just turned 14 and he was in a different country. But off he went! All we had was the underwater camera for him to take so the pictures aren't the best - but they spark amazing memories for him - this one of him sitting in the stream...he said the rock was so smooth from so many people sitting in that exact same spot over the years. And the picture of his lunch is horrible, but when he sees it, he salivates for the jerk chicken of Jamaica. What a wonderful trip!

My baby boy

Getting used to the water
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
I lost the cord to my camera - the one I plug into the computer to retrieve my pictures. So I haven't been taking many pictures and the one's I've been taking aren't being uploaded in a timely manner :-)
Also flickr did a presto chango update and I've been hesitant to come figure it out. You'd think at my age, new technology wouldn't be so intimidating - - I mean I've grown up with some pretty radical changes and most of them I've embraced whole heartedly! So what's my deal?
The point of all of this - is today I'm posting a few 'old' pictures - so as usual - when you see a single picture in a blog, you can click on it to find lots more!!!

Wow! Welcome to the gun show!

This little girl (and maybe her mama too) was on a mission to find rompers. Little one piece short sets. They were HARD to find. MY mom found two like this one at target in the teen section. So we just tied the halter up tighter and Vanessa wore the two of these all summer! So cute :-) Miss Vanessa is an athlete through and through - but until I got this picture back, I had no idea she was so ripped! She is a cutie so I try to get her to model but her passion is soccer. Tomorrow she is going to the doctor to figure out a course of action for her ankle. She has to wear a brace during games and practice and it still bothers her quite a bit. Please keep her in your thoughts and send some good energy her way. She does NOT want to stop playing soccer for sure :-(

Newton Camping Trip

See the goofy guy sitting behind the goofy kid? His name is Mike and he is classmate of mine from highschool. We didn't really know each other back then but we hooked up through facebook and our class reunion. The kids love him and we've been having a blast.
This past weekend we loaded up Mom and Gene's camper and truck and drove to Newton KS. My grandma lives there with my aunt and uncle. We had a mini family reunion but there really isn't enough room in the house for all of us - so we camped out in the yard :-) It was so fun!
On the way we stopped in Hutchinson KS to visit a friend from highschool that we hadn't seen in 20 years! Thanks Michelle for all the goodies - if you are even in Hutch please stop by the library and enjoy an Italian Soda from Bru Crue! :-)
As usual click on the picture for more of our trip! Enjoy!

Six Flags Over Texas

Line for the log ride
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Don't tell Ethan ;-) Maggie went to Texas to visit her dad for a week - Jonnie decided to take Chad and Vanessa with her to pick Maggie up. (In case you have been under a rock- Maggie is Chad's girlfriend of a year - and Jonnie is Maggie's mom)
So since they were all so close to Six Flags anyway - they decided to spend a day there :-) Click on the pic for more pictures they sent me via phone while on the trip! :-)

Happy 4th of July

Ethan Mesmerized
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
This is a pic of my baby boy watching a fountain about 15 minutes before he went and sat in the van and fell asleep :-) Our 4th was a little different than previous years. We made it into a weekend staycation for the kids and I, we had some BIG fireworks - and we had a guest. His name is Mike and we went to school together. We weren't really friends back then, but we share a history in a sense because of past high school lives. Facebook and our 20-year-reunion and has brought us together - It's been lots of fun so far! We like to say we go together like peas and carrots. You can see by the pics he has a goofy sense of humor and loves to cook - so the kids are in love with him already :-)


Wendy's finished tat
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
When Wendy and I were in grade school and junior high we would see each other almost everyday. But still we passed notes in the halls. :-) In the middle of my 8th grade year, she moved to Arkansas. Luckily she had braces and a dad living in Bartlesville so she came back regularly for check-ups and to visit! But until about 7 years ago, we never even lived in the same state again. She went from Arkansas to Louisianna and back to Oklahoma - I mostly stayed in Oklahoma except for my few years in Jersey/NY...but we visited each other often and built a greater bond every year with marriages, divorces, children, and more marriages and divorces :)
At the bottom of our notes in jr high, we would write LYLAS. It was common for a lot of kids to write it - it means Love You Like A Sis. And somehow over all these years it has stuck with us. We text it and email it and say it to each other all the time. It's been almost 30 years now that we have been together. So we thought it was time to commemorate our lifelong friendship with tattoos. Is there really any other way? Click on the picture for documentation of the emotional moment we became bonded permanently to one another :-)

I'm a vegetarian!

Funny pic of Mama
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
I live in Oklahoma. The only state in all of America where every single county voted RED. This is steak and potatoes country. BEEF. It’s what’s for dinner. So a lot of people are very curious or perplexed and sometimes angry when I say I’m a vegetarian.
“But you eat fish right?” No.
“Chicken isn’t meat. You can eat that.” No thanks.
“You just haven’t had a GOOD steak yet”
“I don’t know how you do it. I could never give up meat”
I was born a vegetarian. I didn’t choose this. It’s in my DNA. When I was little I would eat processed meats – nothing off the bone. My family would grill steaks and put a hamburger out there for me. I ate chicken nuggets, fish sticks and hot dogs. My mom made two spaghetti dishes - one with meat sauce and one without. It really wasn’t a big deal – they just considered me picky and didn’t give me too hard a time about it.
One day my sister and I were eating some kind of chicken appetizer at a restaurant. I was about 21 or 22 and I got this image in my head of the chicken being alive and running around the restaurant with no head. I put the chicken down. And never ate another bite.
About a year later I was sitting in a Whataburger at 2am in Stillwater America eating a hamburger when I got a huge piece of gristle. It made me gag. I put down the burger and never ate beef again. I just decided I did not HAVE to eat this stuff! It’s engrained in our culture but it makes me grossed out thinking about it coming from living beings. I just can’t do it.
Sometimes I crave meat. I have eaten meat once each time I was pregnant – aching from an intense craving and then BAM! I’m over it. And after I had surgery once, I begged for sausage. But I could only take a couple of bites.
When I was going to William’s mom’s house for my first big Sunday meal with the family I asked William if he had warned them that I was white. He said “no, they don’t care!” I said “maybe they don’t care but it would have been nice to give them a heads up” He said “it really is no big deal at my house” I said “ok ok” but I felt very nervous.
I walked into the tiny Jersey City apartment crammed with 37 people and saw his mom sitting in her chair on the other side of the room. William and I were standing at the corner while he rattled off names that would take me months to learn. His mom says “what’s your name?” And William answered, “Mom, this is Sammi, I told you I was bringing her” But his mom looked visible puzzled. I knew it! He should have told them I was white ahead of time. She said “I thought you were a vegetarian” Oh. I guess William thought to tell them THAT but not my race! I guess he knows what is important to his family. I said “yes, yes I am” She turned back to the TV and said “Well you are awfully ‘healthy’ to be a vegetarian” And for the only time in the history of that apartment it was dead silent for about 3 seconds.

Our Stars

Our Stars
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Did you guys know my family plays soccer? And by some weird mutation of their genes, they all play really really well. :-) Really.
We usually have a big end of the season Fun Day right before summer but the weather had other ideas so it was cancelled. :( Instead, Isabella's parents were coerced into opening their home for our party and the girls had a blast. As did several siblings and a few parents! Thank you White family!!! The girls will be together again next year, and they are competing in some tournaments between now and the fall season - so look out - The Stars are coming to get ya!

Dooby Dooby Moo

Dooby Dooby Moo
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
So this post is not about Ethan. But oh my goodness doesn't he melt your heart? And lately it seems like all the posts are about Miss Vanessa so I wanted to be sure to include him today. Vanessa had a recital at school based on the book "Dooby Dooby Moo" about some farm animals that join a talent show so they can win a trampoline.
Vanessa was a chicken. She actually chose that animal. Probably because it involved her mother getting up with her to dance the chicken dance. :-) Ethan tried his hardest to take pictures for me while I was dancing. His 5 year old photography skills are evident when you see the pictures.

Paint fumes

Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
We all know I take a lot of pictures. But would you believe I take way more than you can even imagine :-) With my phone!
Even though they are blurry, dark and very random... I decided to upload those and share them with everyone. Just little snipets in our day. I'm just going to get them off my phone and on here - the only explanation will be the vague title of the pic...but I'll go back and tag as time permits :-) Click on the jumping children for hundreds more pictures.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be

-Robert Munsch

Cinco De Mayo @ Elote!

Mini pitcher of Sangria
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Good times Good times! Have you been to Elote? It's a little (but growing!) Mexican place in downtown Tulsa.
Here is their info directly from their site:
At Eloté, we strive to serve you amazing food every day by using the freshest ingredients available. We know how difficult it is too eat healthy, fresh food in our busy lives. We are dedicated to making that easier for our customers. Fresh ingrediants enable us to deliver tasty, healthy, filling food straight from our kitchen, right to your plate. We do all this while limiting negative environmental impact through green practices!
All of that means DELISCIOUS! And just last night was the grand opening of Luchador! A fabulous full service bar!
Although the owner may know who I am from the embarrassing number of times I have frequented the restaurant...I am not a paid or otherwise compensated spokesperson for Elote. I just LOVE it. And wanna share! :-)

Instant Karma

Whoa Dylan!
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
This picture has nothing to do with this post. But my nephews came to Vanessa's game with their parents this weekend and I thought this pic was sure cute!
In case you don't know - I'm not winning any "Mother of the Year" awards - despite my coffee mug that says so. I'm unconventional and have very rigid beliefs about how to raise up some youngins. And you probably won't find my methods in any parenting books - YET!!
And also in case you don't know - I still call people retarded when I mean "silly" and I rarely think at all before I speak.
Now this story shall not surprise you because you have been warned.
The kids and I are in the car parked right at the door of a Schlotzskys. An elderly woman in her late 80s or early 90s was SLOWLY coming out the door. A younger man was trying to help her with the door but he was behind her and couldn't really reach it. She was dressed so cute and looked sweet but she was SLOW.
Without thinking - I said - $10 to the first person who can push down the old lady.
Quickly, we all jumped out of the van, and I opened the sliding door for Ethan. He leaned forward with all of his weight, planted both hands on my shoulders and tried to push me down.

I wish I could say I learned a valuable lesson. But probably not. I'm retarded.

Rated PG13 (for innuendo)

I'm gonna kick you
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
The kids had a great afternoon at the park on Sunday. The weather was perfect, it was busy but not too crowded -- and they were wearing clothing that matched and complimented the playground equipment - which made for pretty pictures :-) (click on this one for more!)
We are driving home in the car and talking about "How to Train Your Dragon" since we haven't been able to see it yet...And Ethan says he wishes he had a dragon so he could fly around. I told him that was a good idea - I'd put a 50 feet leash on it so they could fly around in the yard. He would never be bored again!
But I told him- in about 2 months he would be coming to me - I'm burred! (which is "I'm bored" in Ethan-speak) and I would tell him to go fly around with his dragon and he would say "I did that YESTERDAY!"
And then I said "Well I would tell you to go build a booth in the front yard and get people pay you to ride your dragon"
About 4 seconds later my 14 year old son chimed in.
"I think that's illegal"

The things these kids learn in school!

My babies - Easter '06

Vanessa and Ethan
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Did you know I still call them "the babies" ?? I've tried really hard to stop but it still slips out every now and then. In an hour I will be leaving work and having a fun night out with some of my closest friends. I have no doubt we will have a great time. Chad will be at soccer and the babies will be with their dad.
I won't lie - there have been times I counted the MINUTES until their next visit with their dad or my parents. It meant I could shower without anyone opening the bathroom door and letting all the warm out - or go to a movie that didn't have a cartoon character or 'cheese touch' in it - or even watch an entire sitcom without missing a single punchline. I cherish those moments believe me.
But lately they are getting so big. And I just miss them. I miss them when I'm at work! I hate separating from everyone in the morning. I've taken Chad to work more often this year than his entire school career combined!
Can you believe Chad starts high school next year and Ethan starts Kindergarten?
Pretty soon they will be finishing up grad school or their stint in the Peace Corp. :-) Possibly running for office, or attending their premiere or accepting an award for their new hybrid vegetable that helps feed the hungry.
Or maybe I will just shut the door and close the blinds and we will all play UNO until they are of a decent age to be on their own. 43 sounds good.

Chavaneth Easter 2010 2.0

Just like every family in America, we celebrate holiday's multiple times. :-) So this past Sunday we headed up to Bartlesville and had Easter all over again. Vanessa and Maggie even wore their matching Easter dresses again!
Having kids 5-15 makes it difficult to have a traditional Easter Egg hunt and make it fair and fun for everyone. So Grammi did a field day full of games and prizes! If you click on the photo of Maggie and Vanessa dying eggs, you'll find over one hundred pictures of our fun day!
Also, 90% of the photos on this account are taken by me or someone in my family so I take credit for it. But these are the pictures from Maggie's camera so I give her and her mom credit for taking these pictures! :-)

Spring has Sprung

Chad is out in his garden once again. He loved having one raised bed garden so much - he had decided to do 3! So here he is - even trying a couple of fruits along with the vegetables. In the front yard, he planted flowers - at my house AND Maggie's :-) He also picked out an dwarf apple tree (does that mean the apples are small? or the tree?) but once we got it home, he found out it has to be cross polinated with another tree to bear fruit. So back to searching for tree #2 to cross polinated with! Hopefully we have our lawnmower working properly by then because I don't want to take many pictures of our overgrown yard :-) Although Chad does take good care of it - you can tell a stark difference between our backyard and our neighbors! :-)

Chavaneth Easter 2010

Getting ready for the pic
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Off to church we went - where I spend another Sunday trying to talk at least ONE of my kids into joining a choir and they spend another Sunday refusing. :-) I just think those kids are so cute and the songs are fun. But nope. No one is interested. Luckily, I can get them to pose for pictures and chase down a couple of eggs. Vanessa and Ethan had a great time - and found tons of candy. And Chad picked up a few flowers to plant (another blog on Chad's new garden to follow) so everyone was very happy. Maggie and Jonnie came with us which made for some adorable Vanessa/Maggie pics in the garden :-) I have an Easter pic of the three of them on the same bench from a couple of years ago - I need to find it :-) Click on the picture for more Easter fun!

Surprise Visitors

What a cute bunch!
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
I get a random phone call at work. From a North Carolina area code - and it was my cousin! She has since moved with her family to Arkansas and she was calling to say they were driving thru Tulsa! They would be here in a few hours - did we want to hang out? :-) I said yes!!! But you may not come to my house!!! :-) She agreed.
So of course we dropped everything and met them at the Aquarium after work - The place was empty! We only had one hour until they closed and we stayed almost until the last minute. We had a private lecture on the sharks, and Ethan was able to hold shark eggs as long as he wanted!
Afterwards we went to dinner and then to see Diary of a Wimpy kid. They got back to the hotel around 10 and their dog had been there they entire time :-) I haven't heard yet if there was any damage!
Thank you Juli, Jimi, Toby and Kayli for stopping by! Next time give me a few days notice and you can see where we live :-)

Little Sahara

Little Sahara
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Chad is out in Waynoka Oklahoma. Heard of it? I sure hadn’t! Mom and Gene took their new pop-up out for a test drive and Chad was more than willing to volunteer. We have sand dunes in OK! So as I type this – Chad is riding a 4x4 buggy out in the sand. He took this picture of the sign, which I really love! Mom isn’t fairing so well – she is puking her guts out. It’s a sad sad tale but it made me laugh as she texted the details to me. She said I can laugh since she laughed so hard that day on the beach in Jamaica.
So I wanted to share my ‘Day on the beach in Jamaica’ story.
It was a beautiful rum filled day. Of course I was enjoying the rum, but I found out very quickly that my mother was REALLY enjoying the rum. Vanessa wanted to snorkel. So Papa Gene took us up to the rental booth and we rented 3 snorkels and masks. With much anticipation we walked down to the beach. The water was chilly since it was winter time – but our bodies adapted quickly when we jumped in the water. The waves were hitting hard and we had that extreme sinking feeling as the water cleared the beach area and rushed back out into the ocean. Vanessa was nervous because the waves were so big. I was trying to hold her and put on the mask and help her with her mask and tell her how to breathe thru the tube and clear the mask of water and BAM! A wave hit us. Vanessa somehow with her little 50 pound body, was able to stay standing. I, on the other hand, tumbled head over heels. I quickly lost orientation and I wasn’t sure where I was going to land. Those powerful waves set me very nice and neatly on the beach – and then the ocean sucked all of that water back in, leaving me lying on the beach with absolutely no water. And no swimsuit bottoms. Lying on my back, I began wriggling my suit up as fast I could. But in wet sand and a mild state of panic, it is nearly impossible. Next thing I know – I am tumbling in the water again. Surprisingly, all I can hear is my mother’s laughter. She said all she could see were my feet sticking up out of the water! Luckily for me, the second wave brought me a good 10 feet closer to the line of vacationers lying in their beach chairs – and yet I am still wearing no swimsuit bottoms.
This time I am less subtle – planting my feet in the sand so that I can lift my butt up to pull my suit on. Seriously! I didn’t think I could take another crash of the wave or my mother’s cries of “it’s the alcohol laughing!” Vanessa was traumatized so we did not go back out to snorkel.
Now we’ll see who really reads this stuff!

Ire Mon Rum Party

Hit by a wave
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
This was in Montego Bay, Jamaica. When you are on a ship - they have an "Excursion Desk" with a huge book of activities you can do when the boat docks at each port. In Jamaica we chose a Beach Party! It included lunch, a nice beach, a chair, and tons of alcohol :-) The kids had a great time - can you tell? But there were a lot of drunk people (no one in our party uhem)
They also had a professional photographer who took some fabulous photos. I chose the 6 best. Well - maybe there were about 4 more fantastic shots of that silly Vanessa girl but who needs ANOTHER gorgeous picture of her? Not me. And she is OVER it. If we aren't talking about what a great soccer player she is - or how smart she is - she doesn't wanna hear it. So we pretend she isn't cute and move on.
And speaking of cute. That baby boy of mine. Oh my. I think I'm in trouble. My heart turns to jelly when I see those dimples. So anyway -there are more photos - go ahead - click thru - I know you want to :-)

The Cruise was a smashing success!

I have posted all of the pictures from my camera - we still have all of the pictures from my mom's camera, as well as the professional photos to share - but I thought you might want to see at least some of them now! So here they are! I hope you enjoy them almost as much as we enjoyed posing for them! :-)

Another passport stamp!

Chad on his first dive
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
The clothes are organized and sorted, movies and games for the car ride are ready, cats are being fed, it's time to go! We will be mostly disconnected from the rest of the world while we are on our trip - but between Chad and I - I'm sure we will be posting blogs here and there about our adventures! I have never been on a vacation like this so I am very excited! I know the kids are about to burst too. When your 5 year old has asked "how many days" everyday for the past 2 months - yes i remember saying "60 days Ethan"......I think they are excited! :-) So hopefully you can check in with us online and see what we are doing - but you also know I'll be posting 437 pictures and maybe some video when I get back! :) Have a great week - I hope your weather isn't too bad!!!!

Chad is 14

The whole gang
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
Chad's girlfriend, Maggie will be 15 on the 28th so they had a double party at Radisson hotel. Because they have Louie's Lagoon! (an indoor pool and waterpark) They chose a unisex Mardi Gras theme and we had a great time. Most of the pictures I have are of them two of them opening presents. I know Jonnie and my mom both took a lot of pictures too so I will post those to flickr as soon as I get them! PS I hope everyone had a fantastic Valentine's Day! :-)

Valentine Craft Time

Last night was pretty "normal". Nothing too exciting. I finished up Maggie's birthday project and we made some Valentine Boxes for the kids to take to school - as well as their Valentine Cards! And then we went to bed. Don't forget - there are pictures on the finished boxes if you click on the pic of Vanessa and me. :-)
The house was quiet, but not for long - Vanessa and Ethan both in their beds. A little after ten there was a LOUD pounding on my front door. It was the Jenks Police Department. They were in pursuit of a suspect and they thought he was in my attic. There was a little bit of discussion about me not being 'decent' but the cop ended up running thru my house with my 13 year old behind him and me yelling that i had two other kids in the house! There was no suspect in my garage or attic and I got a mini lecture that mentioned my kids and me being taken hostage if this happens again so I better shut my door.
It was all very exciting. No damage was done to my door and we never heard a peep from the police again so I assume they caught him or he is gone. Or maybe he is quietly perched in my attic waiting for us to leave so he can come down and eat my food and wash his clothes. Joke's on him. There is no food in my house!

Music is in our blood

Chad, Sammi, Brian
Originally uploaded by Chavaneth
It has only been recently that I realized not every family is filled with music and musicians! This pic is of my paternal cousin, Brian Dexter, living in Nashville, TN. He was just recently married *CONGRATS* and is the drummer in "ME IN MOTION" a group that is touring right now. They had a little stop in Tulsa America so Chad and I went by to take him some Coke Zero for the road.
I also have a maternal cousin, Clay Parton in California, was in a band called Duster and now plays with Eiafuawn (i think! I can't keep up) He has also had his own record label and been very prominent in the industry.
My dad holds an acustic festival in Carthage MO every year that keeps growing and growing!
When we have holidays, weddings, reunions or even funerals - by the end of the night everyone is sitting in the same room - singing and playing instruments. I have been very lucky. It's definitely contagious. And with all of this exposure and diversity - Dr Hook is still my favorite band of all time. lol

Movie Weekend!

Here in Oklahoma we get snow. Usually a couple of times a year and it never stays for long. But this year has been a little different. We had a big storm before Christmas and another one this weekend! They sent me home from work early on Thursday and I had been wanting to see a particular movie but I was too scared to rent it. Now I can say - it IS scary. And will freak you out a little. But it cost practically nothing to make and it's good. This is not your typical horror flick. It isn't gory. It is suspensful and creepy. That's the best way I know how to describe it. Watch it during the day. :-)

I also watched the first 5 episodes of the series, Big Love. Starring Bill Paxton, Gennifer Goodwin, Chloe Sevigny, and Jeanne Triplehorn. If you don't recognize the names - you will recognize the actors. It is superbly written and the acting is flawless. I love it. It is on hbo so I don't get it at my non-cable home. But it is worth renting or buying. It takes away a lot of the mystery of fundamentalist mormons who practice polygomy. And it's witty, and realistic.
We also rented Fame and Extract. I have an affection for Fame since I played "Nicole" in a local play when I was in school. A itty bitty 4 line part but it felt like the big time to me. I love the original but I have to say, I am not very fond of the remake. Because of the talented dancers, singers, rappers and piano players - there is hardly a great actor to be found. And the plot is just horrendous. If you HAVE to rent it - fast forward thru all speaking parts and watch only the performances. Extract on the other hand is a great little comedic film by Mike Judge. The same guy that did Office Space and King of the Hill. It is dry and very realistic but exaggerated in a way that makes it really funny. I'm not a huge Ben Affleck fan but I think he becomes this amazing character. And the rest of the cast is stellar - Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis and Kristen Wiig...a few of my favorites. This is a perfect Sunday afternoon renter for sure!
Last but not least - I took the kids to see Fantastic Mr. Fox at the dollar theater. I vaguely remember the trailors for this movie but I was not moved by them. The movie on the other hand - is excellent. It is a kids movie. Rated PG because one of the villians smokes. :-) But Wendy and I definitely laughed the hardest. The sense of humor is mature. And they replace the word "cuss" for cuss words. i.e. I just wanted to cuss with their head so I left a clue. That kind of thing. I thought it was brilliant. And it's stop animation - but you seriously forget very quickly that these characters are not real. I loved it. The kids said they liked "tooth fairy" better - so who am I to say?