Vision Forum vs. College Plus, 2010

Remember last year’s football game between the guys from Vision Forum and College Plus? They did it again!  It was a great game with plenty of exciting action and fewer injuries than last year.  This year the broken nose was owned by the College Plus team instead of my own husband.

[click through to see larger images]

Vision Forum started off the game with 2 touchdowns, one missed kick, and a safety.  14-0!  They were psyched!

Several players had the shirts ripped right off their backs.

Then College Plus made 2 touchdowns of their own and the game was tied.  Uh-oh.  Vision Forum had 4 guys in their late 30’s/40’s.  Could these old guys hold their own with a team full of 20-somethings?

Old guy #1 was a mountain of a man.  I’m pretty sure they were scared when they saw him coming.

Old guy #2 was team captain.  He saw plenty of action on the field.

Old guy #3 gave the speedy youngsters a run for their money.

Old guy #4 was mine.  He stayed in for almost every play, and whipped up the crowd during his few minutes on the sidelines.

My hunney played both offense and defense and most of the time found himself lined up with not one, but two heavily muscled young men well over 6 feet tall.  In spite of this, he held the line consistently and broke through quite a bit.  He even sacked the quarterback once!

Of course he wasn’t the only star on the field.  Andrew  made 2 touchdowns.

And Luke may have been College Plus’s MVP.

Both teams played hard and gave it their all.  The game began and ended with prayer, and fans freely fraternized with the enemy – er, I mean mingled and visited.  We all had friends on both sides.

The kids had fun getting their t-shirts signed by team members and spectators,

getting dirty,

and just watching the game.

They even had the players sign the game balls.

But did I forget to mention something important?

Vision Forum Won!

Final score: 30-22

Vote for Keilah today; win a digital camera for yourself!

update: due to technical difficulties which kept some people from voting, the contest has been extended. You can go here to give it another shot.

Keilah and her family are real-life friends of ours.  Remember when fantasy and reality blurred and I was chosen to receive a luxurious all-expenses paid trip to La Jolla, California where Sony gave me ~$3k in cameras and photography classes from world famous photographer Me Ra Koh, then paid for me to fly up to see  my grandparents in Portland, OR?

While I was up there, Keilah’s mom arranged and hosted a fun get-together for local readers and bloggers.  We had actually met the Engstrom family in San Antonio a few months earlier, but knew them from blogging long before that.

I’m not sure, but we may have introduced the Engstrom’s budding photographer daughter to Me Ra Koh’s set of instructional DVDs.

At any rate, Keilah has a great eye and superb timing, and she is one of 5 finalists in a contest on Me Ra’s blog right now.  Her photo is #1 in the lineup and is clearly the best, but this contest could be just as much a popularity contest as a photography contest.  Who can rally the most votes?  Who wants to support a sweet-spirited homeschooler with a ton of talent?

Vote for Keilah! It’s good for you!

There are 2 good reasons for you to vote for Keilah.  First, she needs the most votes in order to win. duh.  But also, if the contest receives at least 600 votes in total by midnight tonight, two random voters will each receive a Sony Cybershot!

See my review of the Sony Cybershot here.

Remember to vote before the contest ends at midnight tonight (Monday, Feb. 22)


If you follow us at all on Facebook, you might have known that some of the guys from Vision Forum had a friendly little showdown with some of the guys from College Plus.

It took the form of a football game.  My Incredible Hulk played center – the guy who hikes the ball to the quarterback and protects him from oncoming traffic.  He’s #61.  In case you can’t tell, the good guys are wearing white shirts and the bad guys are in red.

Consulting with the quarterback…

consulting (Medium)

…and tackling every moving object that tries to get past him:

tackle (Medium)

tackle2 (Medium)

The nemesis, Tommy Funcle.  He’s the children’s Fake Uncle Thomas, since they already have a real Uncle Thomas.

archenemy (Medium)

Little cheerleaders:

cheerleaders (Medium)

The front of their signs:

signs (Medium)

Even littler cheerleader:

bess (Medium)

Let’s all run this way!

allrunning (Medium)

One player performs the highly advanced Grande Jete

ballet (Medium)

Later, the same guy nearly had his shirt torn off:

ripped (Medium)

torn (Medium)

Big spectators

spectators (Medium)

and little ones:

littles (Medium)

Who’s got the ball?!

pile (Medium)

Dog pile!

5down (Medium)

One guy was just MEAN.

mean (Medium)

Well, maybe more than one:

mean guys (Medium)

grrr (Medium)

They may have ended the game 4 points down, but they sure look like winners, don’t they?

team shot (Medium)

There were quite a few bruises, one guy said his jaw was popped out of joint and back in again, and Hubby’s nose got broken on the top of someone’s head.  There was blood everywhere but he wiped it away and went right back in for more.

In the end, the score was 18-22.  See more pictures posted by the Bad Guys here.

And then there were two…

We met more bloggy friends on Saturday and sent them home with a registered Golden Retriever puppy, so now we have only 2 left – the 2 beautiful blonds that I thought would be the first to go.

We had a very fun visit with Jana and her family.  Perry disappeared with her husband Dan after lunch and we hardly saw them again, always a sign that things are going well.  The children disappeared first to the trampoline and then into the woods and we hardly saw them either, not always such a good sign.

They did reappear briefly to use the 3 Man Slingshot to shoot rocks off the deck.  This made me nervous, but I hovered about pretending to be a fun mom but actually watching to make sure they were using common sense and shooting their rocks in a safe direction.  They also came in to dive headfirst jump off the top shelf of our temporary bunkbeds.  Of course I put a quick end to that.  This whole “fun mom” thing only goes so far.

Unlike our visit with Jeri and her family, this time we actually remembered to take pictures!

4 down, 4 to go…

Last week we had the great pleasure of meeting a blog-friend and her family!  Of course I forgot to take out the camera – will I ever learn? – but we had a wonderfully relaxed visit with Jeri, John and the kids, and we sent 2 pups home with them.

That’s right: I have pics of the pups but not our friends.  I’m a baaaad blogger.

We knew they were here when one of my kids ran into the house:  “Mom!  Somebody is here in a white van like ours but CLEAN!”  I knew they were really and truly readers of our blog because they came bearing gifts – chocolate gifts, in pink and blue!  How fun is that?

We spent a lot of time petting pups, chatting about kids and politics, swapping stories, and generally getting to know each other.  Then it was time to go.  When will you be in town again, Jeri?

Who’s next?  We offer special friend prices on our pups for blog readers who make time to stay and visit!

On Farewells

Posted By: Deanna

It seems like there has been a lot of leaving in my life lately, both new friends and old moving on in their own lives, and it has been a humbling experience for me to realize how important I’m not. Anyway, I have been trying to write a farewell poem for a long time, and I think I finally have.

Why must you leave me my friend?

I know separation does not mean the end,

and maybe when the west wind tall grasses bend,

you will remember me.

Don’t mind my sad tears, dear companion.

It’s not that I think you intend to forget…

and maybe when Zephyr sings through the canyon,

will you remember me?

I do not love a painful leavetaking,

and I promise you won’t see how my heart is breaking.

But by the west wind I’ll send a message so true,

listen, he’ll whisper…”I remember you.”

Update: our trip in a nutshell

We have had such a wonderful whirlwind weekend that I hardly know how to condense it.  There’s no way I can do justice to each of our wonderful hosts along the way – Samantha, Kelly & Andrea, Jeanna, Paulette, Jack & Grace.  Each worked tirelessly to make us feel so very welcome and treated us like royalty.

Samantha gave us a full tour of her farm, where they are doing everything we have considered doing but they’re light years ahead of us: blackberries, figs, pomegranates, poultry, milk goats, meat rabbits.  Samantha and her daughter Greta fed us lavishly and sent us off with pounds and pounds of fresh-picked blackberries, along with a bundle of lavender that is now scenting our condo.  Good thing, too.  This place was a little stinky when we got here.  🙂

Kelly & Andrea greeted us with the aroma of fresh-baked zucchini bread wafting out the front door!  We played pictionary, admired their chickens (can’t wait for our pullets to start laying!), ate a sumptuous dinner of grilled chicken (thank you, Mrs. Reins!) with more side dishes than I could count, spent hours talking, and chose a winner for their drawing.  Breakfast included fried potatoes that were good enough to inspire me to try my hand at making them again.  mmmm.  There was also some amazing marionberry jam from Oregon on homemade bread, and too many other treats to list.

Jeanna and her family made us feel like old friends as soon as we walked through the door.  They were ready with ice breakers and had the brilliant idea to play our favorite game of Spoons as we began lunch so that those eliminated first could get lunch one at a time – no lines!  We felt completely at ease and I think everyone had a great time during our short visit.   She is a great hostess: she had a full lunch waiting for us, and had the great idea of putting all the condiments and fixin’s on a tray in the fridge so she could get everything out in one trip to the fridge.  What a pro!  After eating, the kids played with legos and talked endlessly.  When I realized we were 20 minutes late for our next engagement, we said hasty goodbyes and they sent us off with a big bag of legos and a big plate of zuchini bread!

Our next engagement was the get-together Paulette had arranged at her church.  There we met Connie of Smockity Frocks and Karen – not to mention meeting Paulette in real life for the first time.   Our 22 children must have hit it off, because we hardly heard from any of them the whole time we were there!   Check out the pics on Smockity Frocks, because I think we totally forgot to take pictures all weekend.

Paulette was so sweet that after all her work, she sent us off with a gift.  Two gifts, if you count the chocolate.  She knows me too well.  My weekend was sadly chocolate-deficient, and so was I.  I definitely count the chocolate.

After the get-together, we swung up to visit hubby’s aunts, uncle and cousin – again, no photos – and then headed down to Weatherford to join Jack & Grace.  Their pastor was having a 4th of July party on the 3rd of July and we were allowed to crash it.  Their pastor sure knows how to put on a party!  The food was fab, and there was singing, dancing and karaoke.  Melissa wowed us with her sultry voice, and the fireworks were quite possibly the best privately funded display I’ve seen.

Back at Jack & Grace’s house, we had a good night’s sleep followed by a delightful breakfast.  Grace made a pot of decaf just for me.  The girls got to check for eggs and help milk the cow, and Grace sent us off with a big jar of milk and a bag of chocolate chip cookies.   Instead of sweet fellowship with new friends, this time we enjoyed sweet fellowship with old friends.   I enjoyed my time with them so much, I left my garment bag there with all of my clothes.  I just wanted an excuse to visit again, you see.  Ahem.

And then we left.  9 hours on the road, 1 hour off, and we were here.  The views for the last 2 hours were glorious and amazing!  We wove through the Ozark Mountains, up and down the steep and windy roads, with sheer drop offs and few guardrails, lakes shining in all the valleys.  Our path meandered among the quaint and rustic inns of Eureka Springs,  through a tunnel, across a long bridge.  We made good time, and are now enjoying the company of my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins, and best of all: hubby, who joined us Sunday afternoon.

Life is good.

Hiegh Ho To Branson we go

Posted by: Lydia Mae

Day 1: We left on Thursday (July 2) at 5:00 am (really we did, as crazy as it seems, we actually left on time) we drove for 5 1/2 – 6 hours till we came to Glen Rose. We had lunch with some Facebook/blog reader/old church friends who own a blackberry farm. They were very generous with there blackberries (they gave us approx. 7 pounds). After lunch we drove some a few more hours and then had dinner and spent the night with Kelly and Andrea (Ah the Life) we had a great time.

Day 2: We ate a really good breakfast with Kelly, Andrea and their mom and we left and went to lunch with some other blog readers who lived about  an hour away. We played spoons, a fun and extremely semi violent card game  ate lunch, played with legos, and realized we were late for our own  “party”  Smockity Frocks, Karen and Paulette were there it was fun. After that we went to a 4th of July party with some friends from a sister church where I reintroduced myself to a some girls I met a few years ago. There was a little square dancing and I got to dance a some, a nice little seven or eight year old boy asked one of my friends named Amanda if she wanted to dance and she said that she didn’t want to, but maybe one of us might want to because no one had asked us yet. Looking a little sheepish he asked Megan if she wanted to, she said she would rather not.  So he asked Deanna she said that she didn’t really feel like dancing, after being rejected three times he hesitated not sure if it would be any good to ask me, when he did acted as if he expected me to say no. I immediately said ‘yes’ and we had a lot of fun. After the dancing there were fireworks and sparklers and soon after that we left. We stayed with Amanda and her family that night

Day 3: We ate breakfast with Amanda and her family that morning (It was one of the best breakfasts that I have had in a long time) and then Amanda went out to milk the cow. She let Megan, Natalie, Becca and me help, I think it was fun(I know that might sound kinda weird, actually wanting to milk a cow but I have always wanted to live on a farm and I love animals 🙂 ). Any ways soon after that we left and have been on the road since that. When we were passing through Oklahoma it was kinda creepy, there was wind, lots of wind and heavy rainfall and lots of clouds that looked suspiciously like tornado clouds or, maybe we are just really paranoid.

Well that’s all that has happened so far.

Come visit us in Arlington, TX!

The kids and I are taking a long slow drive to Missouri this week, with a 2 day stopover in the Fort Worth area.  Our friend-and-reader Paulette, whom I can’t wait to meet in person, has arranged for a meeting at her church on Friday, July 3 from 1-3 PM.

Any readers who would like to meet us in person are invited to join us there.  Just bring snacks and a sense of humor – and don’t expect too much.   I’m a wallflower so it could be a bit awkward if you’re shy and quiet too, but my children can talk the legs off a chair so they’ll pick up the slack.  If you’re a talker, please come.  We’ll need your unique skills and abilities!  If not, I will have to force my children to sing for us as entertainment and they have threatened to sing every modern pop/rock song they know.  I’ll be ruined.

If all else fails, we’ll just sit and watch Bethany scootch around on her bottom.  It’s pretty entertaining…especially when she’s diaper-less and her bottom sticks to the floor…

At any rate, we would love to meet you.  Come see us!  No need to RSVP, though I’d love hear in the comments if you’ll be coming!

Who is invited:

Readers of Life in a Shoe, friends, acquaintances, mommy bloggers, mother of many young children, aspiring mothers of many young children, children of any of the above, and benevolent onlookers who want to know what a family of 11 looks like.

NHMs are not invited. Don’t worry.  It’s an inside joke.  If you don’t know what it means, you are not an NHM.   Even if you do know, you’re not one.  Karen? Jenny?  No telling.


Friday July 3rd, from 1-3 PM


Grace Fellowship Church (view map)

1516 W. Pioneer Pkwy.

Arlington, Texas 76063

***go around back to the gym***

Be nice to my friends

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God

Jennie Chancey, founder of Ladies Against Feminism and co-author of  Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, is practicing what she preaches: she took the chance to publicly praise her husband in the 2008 Man of the Year contest, hosted by the Art of Manliness and sponsored by Old Spice.  Mr. Chancey knew nothing about it until he learned that he was a finalist.  Rumor has it that his response was, “You stinker!”

Thanks to Jennie’s glowing writeup, her husband is in the running for a $2,000 cash and a whole lot of Old Spice.  He’s currently in second place, with other contestants trailing far behine.  Let’s push him to first!  Voting continues through December 14, so please click over and give him a thumb-up!

Vote for Matt Chancey