Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

I'm not sure how he does it, every single time...but he creates something so meaningful out of something so simple.  

Go check out my crazy awesome husband's blog (favorite thing #1) to read about our crazy awesome son's crazy awesome drumline (favorite thing number #2)....



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

19 years and counting...

My Dear Husband,

Today we celebrate 19 years of marriage.  19 years of marriage and 26½ years of being together.  There were so many of those early days before we were married when we were far apart - separate schedules, separate cities, and sometimes separate countries. But through it all, there was truly never a day (even when I was making stupid choices and thought I didn’t need you) that I pictured my life without you in it.  

September 1992
(just a couple weekends before we got engaged!) 
I love growing old together - side by side - hand in hand - laughing and crying and yelling and smiling together.  The added creases around our eyes and smiles reminds me of all the fun and silliness and inside jokes we share.  The grey in our hair shows me all the trials and stresses that have only brought us closer and make me so thankful for all the goodness. 

I love the way you love me. I love when you tell me I look pretty.  I love the way you love and care and provide for our crazy, beautiful family.  I love the music you create and I love sharing that music together.  I love how crazy smart you are. I love how you pursue excellence in everything you put your mind too.  I love how focused you can be when something gets into your brain.  I love holding your hand; it makes me feel safe.   I am thankful for the hard days because they make the good ones even better.  I am so very thankful to be your partner in this life. 
June 2012

Today, I thank God for making you and me into “us”.  


Thursday, August 16, 2012

in which I try to explain my absence

let me count the ways...

...multiple 22 mile roundtrip drives each day.
...multiple 14 mile roundtrip drives each day. 
...an active 8 yr old begging for playdates and attention 
...the usual laundry, dishes and feeding hungry children.
...Attempting to prepare for the journey of teaching my 11 yr old/6th grade twin gymnastics crazy girls at home via an on-line school. 
...car repairs x2. 
...a broken dishwasher. 
...the Olympics.  ahem. 
...not having learned the lesson of saying "no" more often ~ I am seriously in over my head. 

Days gone by too fast...too busy.

Even more than missing writing the occasional blog, I have missed the chance to sit on a friend's back deck with coffee. She has a beautiful back yard sanctuary.  I have missed the chance to read more than one book.  (Does the one on CD I listened to each day in my van count as reading?)  I have missed garage-saleing.  We have missed opportunities to spend time with friends.  We kinda sorta owe at least three friends dinner out.  We have made it to the pool, but missed out on campfires.   And there have been too few naps in the shade.  My flowers are all dying because I forget to water.  Our 1st attempt garden produced exactly 4 tomatoes and 2 zucchini.   

So much to do and so little gets done...how is that possible?   

Let me count the ways.  

ps...We head out for vacation next week, which will be fabulous, but takes me away from home.  My comfort.  Away from the friends we want to spend time with. Away from our kitty.   Away from the list of projects that were waiting for summer to be completed.    

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day

Here's a FB post from our good friend James that expresses some pretty concrete feelings I share about the current state of entitlement in the US...and what that means for us today on this 4th of July.  

I learned the most about what it means to be an American during my time as an exchange student in Beijing. It was 1987, China was different then, but seeing how the freedoms I had always taken for granted were nowhere to be found in a Communist country was truly eye opening. And if that wasn't enough, the number of Chinese who would ask us to take them home to the US certainly was. We are in no way a perfect union. But once you realize just how free we are here, harsh and unrealistic criticisms become the foolish whining of the woefully ignorant.  Warts on our face and all - God bless the USA."

(The view from my front door)

~ Happy Independence Day ~ 
where we are truly the land of the free because of the most brave.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I wonder, as I wander...

while sitting at Caribou coffee (instead of grocery shopping like I should be) I wonder... 

what is it that makes a coffee shop so magical - how it is that simply walking thru the door can make all the chaos of your day simply fade away. Even if it's just for a moment.

while hitting the road for the third time today to deliver/pick up one of my children from some activity....I wonder how it is that a mom can be so willing to do and sacrifice so much.  And how can it be that it seems they appreciate so little.   

while sitting at my computer having a short FB message chat with an old friend, I wonder... how can I possibly answer his question "how's your heart?"  truthfully,  knowing I have so little time.   Right now, that kind of question would require hours over coffee...and he and his lovely wife and family live 20 hours away in Utah. I pray for the opportunity to sit over coffee (or beer) together with them someday soon. (in case you're wondering...I told him my heart is good.  But really my heart is weary and my head is filled with schedules and logistics and I wonder how I can possibly sustain this for the rest of the summer when I am already tired 6 days in?)

and I wonder, while praying for my son and his fellow "missionaries" serving the hungriest and homeless in our nations's capital (how can that be?? another blog post all it's own perhaps)...I wonder, how can I do right by him, help him understand what it means to truly follow Jesus, be like Jesus....when often times I look and act like *I* don't? 

I wonder about the power of friendships, the impact of relationships, why they are are so hard, require so much to foster and develop, how crummy of a job I do sometimes.  But I am trying.  I am grateful. 

And right now, as I sit here and edit and re-read, and tweak this post at 6:30pm on a Monday, I wonder, what on earth am I making for dinner?  That's the $100,000 question here in the Hinterland most days, esp in the summer when the mere thought of turning on the oven on a 90 degree day makes me break out in a sweat.   I wonder how we could work it to afford to just eat out most nights...or hire a cook? 

I wander.

I wonder.

And then I seem to wander some more. 

What do you wander and wonder about?  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

in which I discover a new appreciation for everyday...

Sunset over the Gulf Coast ~ April 2012

I had a scare.  It involved words like cyst, mass, ultrasound(3 in all) and biopsy.  It kept me awake at at night and plagued my thoughts and kept me from sleep when I woke up earlier than necessary.   It cast a shadow over an amazing beach vacation with my family. It also made it so much more meaningful and intentional.   For 14 days, I heard too many references to cancer, death and young women leaving their families behind and thought they were speaking directly to me like a message in a crystal ball. I saw a truck that delivered oxygen products and wondered if I would need one of those someday.  I prayed, I cried, and I wondered how on earth I would ever communicate to my already most amazing husband and crazy awesome dad what it is I do as CCO (Chief Chaos Officer) for our family.  How could he truly know all the crazy details that make up my job as full-time wife and momma - how would he ever manage this beautiful crazy mess we're in all by himself? 

I wondered how my sweet young boy would fall asleep at night without our secret kiss....or how my girls would learn what it means to be women of faith without their momma...or how my oldest son would learn the ins and outs of what it means to take a girl out on a proper date.  I feared what losing me too soon could do to my husband's faith.  

As it turns out, the mass was nothing, at least nothing that wasn't supposed to be there at a certain time of the month. ahem.  I will go back for one more follow-up ultrasound in a month, just to be sure.  But as of now, all Drs. involved are certain we've got an all clear. All that worry and stress and fear for naught.  But was it?

So what now?  It means I am changing how I live. I know it sounds cliche, but it has.  I am no longer concerned about doing the things that I think other people think I should be doing, and trying to focus my energy on things that matter to me, my family and relationships and my faith.  

It means I am holding my husband's hand more even if we are just sitting on the couch or we stand in the kitchen hugging in the middle of making dinner.  It means I play hooky and re-schedule appointments to spend the day drinking Caribou coffee and garage-saleing with a friend.  It means making my own health and wellness a priority, eating more healthily, losing some weight and exercising more. It means spending money out-of-pocket to visit a chiropractor to help my body function better and heal itself.  It means pursuing God more faithfully.  It means saying no to things that don't have any lasting meaning and yes to everything that does.  It means more campfires, and ice cream and cheesecake and good steaks.  It means stepping out of my comfort zone.  Singing more, worrying less.  Smiling more, nagging less. It means getting my house in order, but comparing it to the pictures in magazines and blogs and pinterest less.    Letting go and hanging on for dear life all at the same time.

It means contentment and gratitude. everyday.  That's what it means.  And it's good.  

ps...pop on over to my husband's blog to see what all this has meant to him....he's amazing.   

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

in which I teach you how to eat a cupcake...

Aren't these pretty???

 First, pick your favorite flavor...I love any and all flavor cupcakes, (except anything with coconut) but chose the vanilla this time. Unwrap it. 
(I was able to snitch a chocolate one a little later that was leftover on another table...yum!!)

Next, carefully twist off the bottom half of the cupcake...
(See the yummy raspberry filling?  I love surprise fillings!)

Next, place that piece you broke off, on top of the frosting, sandwiching 
the frosting between the two pieces of cupcake goodness.

Voila!  You get equal amounts of cake and frosting with each bite. 

And that my friends, is the perfect way to eat a cupcake! 


Thursday, March 1, 2012

a month of choices

(editors note:  this post has been sitting in draft form since the last day of February.  The author fully intended for this to be a month-long daily posting - one daily choice at a time; OBVIOUSLY that did not happen. better late than never. ahem.) 

A few months ago, I completely cut myself off from drinking soda.   I wasn't a HUGE soda drinker, not even really one a day, but after reading some horrors of what the chemicals do to the human body, I realized it was one small change I could make.  One Small Choice.  I needed to show myself I could feel empowered and choose something for the better.  And aside from the occassional sip, my last full serving of soda (Diet Coke was my poison of choice)  was the first week of November (we won't mention the one 20oz Diet Coke I consumed with my Rocky Rococo pizza at the end of December. ahem.) 

And then, after the stern talking to I received from my Dr. (about not losing the weight she told me to lose 3yrs ago) at my (semi) annual check-up on the 3rd, I decided that February needed to be my month of making many changes. I needed to do something.  Big or small, I needed to make some changes.  And for me change is all about choice.  I chose to give up soda and have succeeded; I thought, what else could I choose?? 

So now, I have decided that the easiest way to do this would be to track my choices for all to see, for better or worse, as a way to make myself more aware....so here goes.  February - my month of choices. 

1st - I chose eat a huge salad for lunch over everything else.
2nd - I chose to go to church for a morning exercise session.."SHE moves".  It felt great.   The alternative would have been curling up on the couch with my tea and the TODAY show and most likely falling back to sleep at some point. 
3rd - I chose to NOT buy a coffee - passing both a Starbucks AND Caribou during my outing to Target.  So hard! (I really wanted coffee!) 
4th - I chose to eat whatever I wanted - we were invited to friend's for an evening dinner/birthday celebration.  It was good.  It was fun.  It was a good choice.
5th - Don't remember anything significant.
6th - I again chose to NOT purchase a coffee in the throes of my afternoon sleepys - saving money and calories. 
7th -  The choice was made almost a month ago, but today I had my first mammogram.  
8th - Spent the whole day at school running a bookfair - I chose joy and smiles, despite the fact that I did not want to be at school all day. 
9th - I chose a grilled chicken sandwich and SMALL fries over a Quarter pounder with cheese and regular fries. 
10th - I chose to eat only half of my baked chicken penne for dinner - and then chose to eat a small dish of ice cream with raspberries before bedtime. 
11th- I chose to eat ice cream and not feel guilty - we had a family date night to a show at RCT and a treat at a local ice shop that is one of our favorite places.  
12th - I chose to make my kids french toast for dinner, with bacon and eggs.  I only had two pieces instead of three. 
13th - I chose to pray over my pending ultrasound instead of being worried about the potential of cancer. 
14th - Happy Valentine's Day!   I chose to be a fun mom today - making heart shaped brownies and yummy dinner from scratch.  I even bought presents.  (Lunch and shopping with the hubby, plus receiving a very special gift didn't hurt either!)
15th - I chose to accept an invitation to have lunch with a friend, even tho it meant ANOTHER entire day of not being home.  I love hanging out with her esp sitting at her kitchen island - it was worth it.   
16th - I chose to not fold laundry, I now have 4 very full baskets calling my name.  I also chose the "grande" size caribou coffee. 
17th - I chose to "go lite" all day, so that I could enjoy our dinner out with friends at Outback.  I ordered the 'Rita Trio (a delightful trio of the tastiest margaritas around)  a steak and shrimp dinner AND cheesecake for dessert.   dee-lish.  
18th - I chose to make the best of a long day - being cheerful and smiley.  It was a day that started very early and with a good-bye to my Robot as he journeys to Shanghai for 7 days.    
19th - I chose to go to bed at a decent hour last night so I could make thru another long day without a nap.  I also chose to worry when I didn't hear from Greg when I kinda sorta expected to. I am good at that. 
20th - I didn't really have the opportunity to make any choices today....big or small.  
21th - Today, I chose a chocolate frosted glazer for breakfast,  joy and smiles (despite spending nearly 4 hours in the car driving a 12 mile loop over and over again), a SMALL (not large) Caribou coffee, and treats at Kwik Trip for the kiddos following an hour at the orthodontist. I also chose a nap. 
22th - I chose to eat a giant salad for dinner. 
23th - I chose a medium vanilla white/dark choc mocha with skim instead of a large.
24th - I chose to smile and laugh (after the intitial realization of the situation and one curse word) instead of cry the ugly cry when I ran out of gas this morning with 3 kids in the car.  I also chose an apple fritter for breakfast, but skipped a large Caribou. I also chose to not have ice cream. 
25th - I chose to treat the kids out to lunch - wasn't in the mood to make it or clean up after it so close to when Greg was due to arrive home. 
26th - I chose to get up earlier than necessary in order to do my best to be ready to go on time for our long day at a gymnastics meet - I was and we did! 
27th - I don't remember my choices for the day.....
28th - I chose to get up and go exercise with women from church - a new group called SHE moves. It's good for the body and soul. 
29th -I chose to Leap into March on this Leap day - I chose to save a little bit of gas and not go home in between volunteering and needing to be back afterschool. (It meant I got to have an impromptu coffee date with my guy)  I chose a medium instead of large latte. I also chose to laugh and smile when I was once again stranded, this time outside of school with a dead battery - yes in the middle of carpooling and on the way to gymnastics.    


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