Monday, March 31, 2008


My house is really quiet right now. The kids are at school. John is at work. Jack is napping in Will's room. I like quiet, but I much prefer the sound of activity around here.

My morning began with a sleepy six-year-old girl looking out the window and asking me why, if it's spring, do we keep waking up to snow? I dunno. I guess because we live in Colorado. It's melting quickly though, and the sun is trying to peek through the clouds.

Everyone woke up and got dressed and made their beds (wow...even I am shocked) and joined me in the kitchen for breakfast. It was amazing to me how quickly we slipped back into our morning routine. Everyone was completely ready one hour before we had to leave, even me! It helped that both Will and Sarah wanted to eat at school today. I make their lunch most of the time, because I tend to be a bit of a nutrition freak. Every so often one of them wants to eat at school, but it's a rare day that they BOTH want what the cafeteria is serving. It was a Monday morning gift to this momma! It bought me at least 10 extra morning minutes...woohoo!

I realized as I was getting ready this morning that I haven't worn my watch in more than a WEEK. I even had to search to find it. Isn't that a true vacation? I haven't been bound by time parameters in the last 10 days, and it has been so refreshing. But, alas (I love using that word), the time has come to chain strap the watch onto my wrist and let myself be a slave to it once again. *big sigh*

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A little blue...

I've been feeling sad all afternoon. Our spring break has come to a close and tomorrow we all return to our normal schedules. John has been home for several days and I love having him here. I often wish he still worked from home. I love having the kids home with me too. I've never been a fan of Monday mornings but tomorrow feels especially heavy because we've spent so much time together and now everyone is leaving me. (waa waa waa!) I like it best when we're all home together!

We did have a nice spring break. John's parents were here for several days and our time together was great. Abbey had her birthday party at a paint-your-own pottery store, and it was very fun. Here's a few pictures from her party.

**I don't know why this last photo is so blurry unless it has to do with being taken from far away, and me cropping out the guests on both sides of us. :)

Anyway, don't think for a minute that I'm not counting the days until summer vacation! We have exactly 38 school days left, or roughly 8 weeks. I can handle that!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Rest of the Story...

John and I were ended our date night last week over a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop. After a few minutes, our conversation turned to blogging, and I was telling him that sometimes this whole blogging thing feels hard for me to navigate. Take the story of losing Jack-the-beagle last week. I didn't report anything that wasn't true, but I omitted some things in the re-telling of the story that made things look a little "neater".

The real story is that I was freaking out when I saw that Jack had escaped. I was furious at my son for not paying better attention to where Jack was when he opened the front door, and I let him have it when he returned home (bawling) without the dog (as if he wasn't feeling bad enough). I was frustrated that I had to take an hour out of my morning to go search for the dog (remember, I had guests coming that afternoon) and I had already had to stop and clean up dog vomit that looked amazingly like the Peeps that had disappeared from the kids' Easter baskets the night before. I was frustrated that Jack wasn't wearing his collar, and even if he had been, we haven't bothered to make a new id tags for Jack with our contact info on it...and we've had Jack since November. I was frustrated at myself, at the dog, at my kids, and at the situation. Ugh.

John asked me why I left those parts out. I dunno. I just did. Maybe I didn't want to look like a bad mom. Maybe I just didn't want to make an already long story even longer. Maybe this, maybe that...I really don't know.

I talked to John's brother last night for a few minutes. He was telling me that their dog escaped last week too, and that the story that played out at their house was nothing like ours. I felt the need to assure him that it was probably more similar than he knew...

I've apologized to Will for losing my temper with him. It was a mistake, and mistakes are fixable and forgiveable. The most important thing is that we found Jack (and he now has new id tags!)

So...there's the rest of the story for you.

Frugal Find!

Remember not long ago when I was lamenting the cost of a loaf of bread and wanting to grind my own wheat and bake my own? Yeah, well, I still haven't tried the recipes you all sent to me, but I want to!

I cringed inside last week when I bought a loaf of my favorite Oroweat bread and the price had gone up to $3.88. For a loaf of bread. From Walmart! I think that is just crazy-expensive for bread, but since I had company coming and we'd be eating sandwiches for lunch a couple of days, I bit the bullet and bought it...because-I'm-not-a-sandwich-kind-of-girl-and-if-I'm-going-to-have-to-eat-one-I-at-least-want-the-bread-to-be-good.

Well, John and I went on a date while his parents were here. We headed downtown to one of our favorite restaurants, and as we were driving, I remembered seeing an Oroweat bakery outlet nearby. I never been in so I asked John to stop and let me run in for a minute, and he obliged. Oh my goodness! Major score!

Remember that loaf of bread I bought for 3.88?

Well, the bakery outlet had the same bread marked 2/3.00. Two loaves for less than the cost of ONE at Walmart!!! I got two, plus a loaf of the Health Nut kind (which I also love) -- all for $4.59. PLUS the cashier let me pick something off of the "free" table because it was my first visit.

I've got the extra bread in my freezer, and next time I head that direction, I'll definitely be stopping back in. I love frugal finds, and this one made my day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Translation, please.

I have about a dozen posts floating around in my head which I'll eventually get posted, but for now I have a question for you.

What translation of the Bible do you prefer to read from?

I've used many versions over the years. I started out in junior high with the New King James Version (did anyone else have a paperback NKJV Transformer Bible?), but shortly after that the NIV became popular so I switched to NIV. In college, one of my religion professors turned me on to the New American Standard, which I really loved, and I used that one for about ten years until John gave me a New Living Translation, which is my current favorite. I like reading from The Message also, but for reading and study, I prefer the NLT.

I'd love to know what your favorite translation is.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Something fun...

I copied this idea from Real World Martha because I've decided you just really don't know enough about me! Actually, you know plenty, but this was quick and easy and f-u-n!
What time did you get up this morning? 6:30. My body clock won't let me sleep late no matter how hard I try. And that is SO disappointing.

Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds. Remind me to tell you why sometime. It's a really good story.

Last movie you saw in the theater? Enchanted.

What is your favorite TV show? LOST

What did you eat for Breakfast? flaxseed muffins

What is your middle name? Lee

What food do you dislike? eggplant

What is your favorite CD at the moment? Jared Anderson

What kind of car do you drive? A mini-van named Minnie-the-Van

Favorite sandwich? Not a big fan of the sandwich, but I do like toasted whole wheat bread with avacado, mayo, tomato, farmers cheese, and bean sprouts.

What characteristics do you despise? arrogance

Favorite item of clothing? Jeans and fleece and flip flops

If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? Italy

What color is your bathroom? blue and white

Favorite brand of clothing? Eddie Bauer

Where would you retire? Evergreen, Colorado

Most memorable birthday? I think my 13th

Favorite sport to watch? Arkansas Razorback football

When is your birthday? May 29

Are you a morning or a night person? I think I'm both actually.

What is your shoe size? 7

What did you want to be when you were little? I really don’t remember.

What are you today? Wife and mom.

What is your favorite candy? hot tamales

Your favorite flower? I like lily of the valley

What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? April 7--my friend Jan is coming for dinner!

What are you listening to right now? quiet

What was the last thing you ate? Arroz con pollo at 3Margaritas!

Do you wish on stars? no, but that's a nice idea

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? apple green

What is your pet peeve? oh, I have so many. I really hate stepping in something wet when I'm wearing socks.

Last person you spoke to on the phone? My brother-in-law

Favorite soft drink? Dr. Pepper

Favorite restaurant? I have a few...Carrabba's, 3Margaritas, Chipotle, and Il Vicino

Hair Color? Brown (and badly in need of some fresh highlights)

Favorite day of the year? 4th of July

What was your favorite toy as a child? I really liked my "My friend Mandy" doll

Summer or winter? Summer!!!

Hugs or kisses? I like both

Chocolate or vanilla? vanilla

When was the last time you cried? tonight at dinner when I heard a sweet story (you should know I cry easily)

What is under your bed? Creative Memories photo boxes full of photos

Who is the friend you’ve had the longest? I don't know...probably my sister

What did you do last night? Visited with my in-laws

Favorite smell? cinnamon

What are you afraid of? snakes, bridges, heights

How many keys on your key ring? 4-5

Favorite day of the week? Sundays!

How many states have you lived in? Three--Arkansas, Texas, and Colorado

Do you make friends easily? Yep

How many words did spell check have to correct? Surely you know by now that I never use spellcheck.

I'm in need of some assistance...

**UPDATE** Thanks for your comments and for your email responses. You guys were great to send me the lyrics, and while I still haven't been able to find the song to download (it's not on iTunes!?!), at least I know which cd it's on and I know where to buy it! Special thanks to Jenn who found this YouTube video for me! Enjoy!

I've looked all over the world wide web for this song...

I know some of the words, I know the tune, and I think it was written by Charlie Hall, but I just can't find it. Anywhere. I'd like to buy the cd or just download this song, but I need some help. Anyone?? I don't know the song title. I've tried searching every possible combination I can think of! Help!

Single-minded, whole-hearted
One thing I ask
That I could gaze upon your beauty O Lord
That I would seek Your holy face
That I would know you in an intimate way
And follow after you all of my days
'Cause all of life comes down to just one thing
and that's to know you O Jesus and
to make you known.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Where to Start???

First, we had a wonderful Easter, despite the snow. This is our fifth Easter in Colorado, and this is the fifth time it has snowed on Easter weekend. I loved that we sang "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus" in church yesterday morning, especially about the blood washing us white as snow. It was quite fitting. Thankfully, the snow had melted by the afternoon and today we're supposed to reach about 60 degrees!

Our day yesterday was lovely. One of my favorite things about Easter Sunday at our church is the bells. During the somber Lenten season, we refrain from using the celebratory word, Alleluia, in our services. On Easter Sunday, however, we say and sing lots of Alleluias! Everyone brings bells to church and each time we say or sing the word, everyone rings their bells wildly. It is a beautiful, beautiful sound to hear! I love it so much, and yesterday was no exception.

We came home from church and had a nice lunch together--just the five of us. I think this is the first Easter we've lived here that we haven't joined friends for Easter lunch. It was different, but good. Also good was the two-hour nap I got to take! I love naps.

John and Abbey had a fun birthday on Saturday. We talked her out of McDonald's for lunch and went to Noodles & Company instead. And then next door to Coldstone Creamery. Did I mention it was 30 degrees and snowing? Who eats ice cream when it's snowing? I'm pretty sure they picked Noodles and Coldstone for their birthday meal last year too...what can I say, we're creatures of habit!

Abbey is having her birthday party later this week. I tried to have it before Easter and we couldn't work it out, and I didn't want to schedule it during Easter weekend, so we're going to do some celebrating with her little friends one day this week, which should be extra fun because her grandparents will be here! John's parents should arrive this evening to spend the week with us. YAY!

I'm usually running around like mad before company comes trying to clean. I *thought* about cleaning over the weekend, but honestly, I was just too wiped from last week's busy-ness. My house is actually in pretty good shape (thanks to having Bunco last week!) so all I have left to do today is a couple loads of laundry and vacuum! SUCH a good feeling!

As I was cleaning bathrooms this morning, I asked Will to go take a couple of boxes out to the trash. When he opened the front door, Jack-the-Beagle somehow escaped, and when Will ran after him, Jack bolted. Poor Will had on his socks and was chasing Jack down the street. Jack took off for an open field behind our house and Will came home bawling and extremely worried that we'd lost Jack forever. Oh yeah, Jack wasn't wearing his collar--Yikes!, so I was more than a little worried too. I loaded everyone into the van and drove off in search of Jack. We drove to a nearby park that connects to the big field where he'd last been, and couldn't find any sign of him. The kids were all crying (broke my heart) and asking Jesus to help us find him. They cried even harder when they saw a guy walking his beagle. After about 30 minutes of searching, we came home and drove around our neighborhood. As we were nearing home, I pulled over and told the kids to go look behind some houses (they back up to a field). They spotted Jack right away and we got his collar on and made it home...much to everyone's relief. Whew! I hope we don't have to live through that again. That was crazy. The kids were thankful that Jesus answered their prayers, and they've been lovin' on Jack all morning.

We're leaving in a few minutes to go run some errands...library, Blockbuster, carwash, and we're stopping at Petsmart. I think Jack needs a special treat, don't you??

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Birthday Boy and the Birthday Girl!

We've had a terrific time celebrating John and Abbey today!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Good Friday has been a good Friday. We've had a long, lazy day at home and I've actually taken two naps. Two. That might give you some indication of the crazy-busy week I've had. Thankfully, I feel rested and ready for the weekend.

Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions for appetizers. I had Bunco last night and I tried a couple of new recipes. You absolutely must try Jenn's corn salsa sometime. It was delicious and was a huge hit, as was the pico de gallo from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I also made Carrie's M&M Dream Bars and everyone loved them...especially my children!

I seem to be on a new recipe kick because I made Leah's Southwestern Pizza for dinner tonight, and it was awesome! I think it's a new family favorite, and I will soon be adding it to my recipe blog!

John took the kids to see Horton Hears a Who last night and they thought it was great. It was a fun way to kick off the beginning of spring break! (And a good way for them to spend a couple of hours while my Bunco friends were here!)

Tomorrow is a big day at our house. It's John's birthday, and it's Abbey's birthday too! I don't have a baby big girl is going to be SIX!!! She's requested cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and we told her we'd let her choose a restaurant for a birthday lunch or dinner. She wants all of us to have lunch at McDonald's (*gag*) and have macaroni and cheese for dinner. I'm trying really hard to change her mind about Mickey D's, but so far the only alternative she'll consider is Carl's Jr. Poor John...I bet he's wishing he had been given the choice!

One of our birthday traditions is to pull out the birthday kid's "first year album" and look through it together. When Abbey woke up this morning, that was one of the first things out of her mouth.

Another tradition at our house is a visit from the Easter bunny. He always visits our home on the evening of Good Friday. I like it much better this way because the kids get to eat their candy and play with their stuff all day Saturday, making it a lot a lot easier to keep the focus on Jesus on Easter morning! So, in addition to birthday stuff tomorrow, we'll have Easter goodies too! Should be a full and fun-packed morning.

Even though our weekend feels really full, it's about more than candy and birthdays and bunnies and gifts. It's about Jesus' love for me and for you...Love that sacrificed all so that we might live fully and freely. I am so incredibly thankful for His gift.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh so busy...

You know how you feel a few days before Christmas when you look at your to-do list, then you look at the calendar and wonder how in the world you can possibly get it all done?

That's how I'm feeling. This week is SO full. Abbey's Daisy field trip to the fire station. Sarah's 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Will's science fair project. Bunco. Yearbook deadlines. John and Abbey's birthday on Saturday. And Easter. Throw all of that in with the normal stuff that happens in a week and it's feeling just a little crazy around here.

I didn't get a pic from Sarah's basketball tournament this afternoon, but her team did great, and more importantly, they had fun!

I'm taking things one day at a time. And really, things should drastically slow down around here on Friday. The kids are out of school on Friday and John is off too, and next week is spring break! YAY! I am so looking forward to a clear calendar!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm a snob...

I am a pretty frugal person. But when it comes to shampoo, I am a snob. It is probably the biggest thing that I regularly splurge on. I'm partial to Biolage but occasionally I'll buy a liter of Paul Mitchell just to mix things up a bit.

Our budget is squeaky tight each month, and after reading Moriah's discovery that L'oreal is owned by Lancome and her rave reviews of L'oreal Vive Pro shampoo, I decided to give it a try. I ran to Walmart tonight to get a few things I needed for tomorrow and I picked up this...

I also happened to have a $1 off coupon which means that I spent $2.47 on this bottle of shampoo. I *always* use a coupon when I buy Biolage too (at Ulta!), but with coupon, a one-liter bottle costs about $18. Hmmmm...big savings. Very big indeed.

I'm going to give it a go in the morning, and truthfully, I have some trepidation. I've been using Biolage for about 15 years! Remind me to tell you what I think after I've used it for about a week.

I'm curious though. What kind of shampoo do YOU use? Are you frugal or do you splurge?

Snow Day...

Well, we didn't get the 5-10 inches of snow that we were supposed to get. But we did get a snow day, so I'm not complaining.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Snowy Sunday

It's been snowing off and on here since last night. So lovely. Especially in the middle of March. Honestly, I love the snow, but I don't love it so much in March and April and May. We're supposed to get 5-10 inches tonight. I'd love for tomorrow to be a snow day...but so far this year we've only had two, so I'm afraid that's just some wishful thinking on my part. We'll see! I do love how pretty snow makes everything look...

Just for fun, I think I'm going to start counting how many days it snows from now until the end of May. Or maybe not. That actually might be more discouraging than fun. So never mind.

My crop on Friday was great even though I didn't complete one single page. Zero. Zip. Nothing. Nada. I did enjoy catching up with my friends over some chips and guacamole. And I did help one friend make a couple of paper boxes, so the evening wasn't entirely unproductive.

Our weekend has been slow and lazy--just the way I like it. Yesterday I tackled a painting project I've been putting off for a long time. I painted the tile around our fireplace. I have never liked it, and last year when we painted the fireplace wall red, the generic tile seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. It's bugged me ever since, and I finally decided to paint it. Eventually we'll re-tile it, but until then, this makes it look so much better!

(That wall is really not as bright as it looks in that photo--yikes! Oh, and if you're thinking, "what a weird looking wall", yep, it is very weird indeed, and that's another story for another post.)

I have two more movie recommendations for you! I got Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium for the kids, and it was really good. I thought the previews made it look so silly, but my friend said it was worth renting. So we did, and we all loved it. John and I also watched August Rush. We can't seem to watch an entire movie in one night anymore, so we started it on Thursday and finished it last night. It was SO good. (I *heart* Keri Russell. I've loved her ever since her Felicity days, and Waitress is one of my all-time favorite movies.) Anyway, August Rush was so sweet, and happy, and sad, and actually a very clean movie. I cried through most of it, and cried so hard at the end that my eyes were still swollen this morning when I was getting ready for church. I hate it when my eyes are puffy.

I was thrilled this morning when I walked into church and overheard my friend saying that her husband was preaching. He did a great job, and today was one of those Sundays that church was so meaningful to me. The music, the message, the waving of the palms and singing "Hosanna"--everything about this morning was good!

The rest of the day was good too...lunch at Wendy's, a trip to the library, more snow, working on Will's science project, white chicken chili for dinner, America's Funniest Videos, and now everyone, except me because of that weird not-liking-chocolate-thing, is eating brownies and praying for a snow day tomorrow!

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow...don't forget to wear your green!

(Artwork by Sarah)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mom's Night Out...

I love Fridays. I love them even better when I have something fun planned. Like tonight...

I'm going to a friend's house to crop.

I can't even tell you the last time I worked on my own albums. I think it was last January (07) when I went to a retreat in Denver and got snowed in! Anyway, I'm looking forward to it. I'm very much in need of a mom's night out!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Appetizers, anyone?

I am hosting Bunco next week, and I am having a hard time coming up with a menu. For some reason, I am totally uninspired these days.

We usually have appetizers and dessert. Anyone have any good recipe suggestions...especially for appetizers? I prefer not to have to serve stuff hot because we break mid-way thru to eat.

I'm open to anything and everything, so if you have a favorite recipe you want to share, please pass it my way. I would be most grateful!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"The day that Jesus came to town"

We try to have family devotions on Wednesday nights. I wish I could tell you that we faithfully sit down as a family every Wednesday to look at God's word together, but we don't. We do our best but, we've gotten a little off track lately. John reminded me as I was cleaning the kitchen that tonight was Wednesday and that he was prepared to lead our devo time. I love it when he does that.

After everyone finished up homework and got on pjs, we sat down in the den. John started asking the kids about this coming Sunday and it's significance. For the last 4 years, we've gathered outside our church on Palm Sunday and walked inside waving our palm branches while singing "Hosanna". It's one of my favorite Sundays of the church year, and my kids love it too. Mostly they love waving their branches and walking in with their friends, I think.

Anyway, John was asking them if they knew what this Sunday was, and we were giving them lots of clues, but they were all coming up blank. Will finally had an "aha" moment and shouted out..."I know, it's the Sunday that Jesus came to town!"

I laughed out loud because it sounded like Jesus was Wyatt Earp or something, riding into town with his own brand of justice. Hmmm....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


We broke out the shorts this afternoon because our temps climbed into the 60s!!!! Woohoo! Never mind that there is a chance of snow in the forecast for the next three days. I'll take sunshine and warm temperatures whenever I can get them!

Abbey has been playing outside for hours, and Will and Sarah came home and played outside too. I hope we have many more days like this!

Mom Stuff

A few months ago, some moms from my church started getting together every couple of weeks to visit and to pray. Nothing formal really, just some much needed mom time. I thought about going, but came up with a million excuses why I shouldn' kids are older...I'd probaby be the oldest mom there...I have enough stuff on my plate right now...I like having a few mornings each week at home...etc, etc, etc. My friend, J, has been persistent in inviting me though, and I finally said "Okay, I'll come next time".

Yesterday was their get together, and I got up yesterday intending to go. John and I had a few minutes before the kids got up to talk over coffee/chai, and I confessed that I was already (in the span of a few minutes) feeling the pull to back out. I thought of about 6-8 things I could be doing at home, and I ran through my mental list of reasons NOT to go. Honestly, though, I don't like to break my word. If I say I'm going to do something, then I'm going to do it if it kills me. So, I told John I was going, because despite the self-talk, I knew that I needed to be around some other women.

I was so glad I went. There ended up being seven of us, and guess what? I wasn't even the oldest mom there! Most of them do have children much, much younger than mine, but as I sat and listened to them, I realized part of why I was supposed to be there yesterday.

When Abbey was a baby, I had quite a few friends who had children older than mine. We joined a small group shortly after we moved here, and the four other couples in our group had kids in high school and college while I was still toting a diaper bag filled with Cheerios and sippy cups everywhere I went! I can't tell you how many times they told me "it's just a passes so quickly". I knew that in my head, but what I really needed was some empathy in the moment. I even had one friend who told me so many times to just "suck it up, Mer, you have a two year old...we've all been there, and we've all survived", and honestly, her lack of grace and compassion made me so angry that I finally stopped sharing anything with her. I needed a friend who could "hear" me, and who could be present with me in my state of exhaustion. Someone who would encourage me, but not belittle what I was feeling.

Even though I've moved past the infancy/toddler stage that most of those other moms are currently in, I'm not TOO far removed from it, and I realized that I can offer them my ear, my understanding, my empathy, and occasionally my help. I have a chance to offer to them what I desperately needed someone to offer to me in those difficult years with small children. Babies and toddlers are HARD work. So much of that season in my own life felt like mere survival. Only in the last couple of years have I really felt like I had somewhat of a handle on meals and laundry and housework and spiritual training.

I've been struggling a lot lately with some self-worth issues. God has been speaking into those areas and revealing some truth to me. He's calling me to believe what He says about me is true. I heard God tell me yesterday as I was driving to meet those other moms that I needed them, and that they needed me. Like I do all too often, I kinda shrugged it off because reallywhocouldpossiblyneed me? But isn't that a beautiful thing about the body of Christ? We all really do need each other.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I was able to get away on Saturday for my personal retreat.

I reserved the prayer room in the castle at Glen Eyrie, one of my favorite places in Colorado Springs. I've spent some time in the prayer room there before, but I was pleasantly surprised on Saturday when I walked in. They've expanded and refurbished the room, and it was wonderful.

I reserved it for 5 hours, and the time passed much too quickly. I spent some time praying, some time reading, and I also went back and read through some of my prayer journal. I love looking back and seeing how God has answered some specifics things I've prayed for...some things I'd even forgotten that I'd asked. The room was so comfortable that I even fell asleep for a little while. Very refreshing!!!

I stopped in the Glen Eyrie bookstore as I was leaving, and I was excited to see two of John's Navpress Bible studies on display. I wanted to take a photo to show him, but I chickened out. It's a small place, and there were several others in the bookstore too.

I left and got some lunch from Chipotle (yum-O!) and took it to Garden of the Gods, where I ate while soaking up the beauty around me. I've gotta tell you, I never take the beauty that I'm surrounded by for granted! It is stunning.

It was a really good way to end a really good day. God spoke into some things I've been struggling with lately...and reminded me of some things that I needed to be reminded of. I'm grateful for the time to get away, and for a beautiful, quiet, restful place to spend the day.

waaa waaa waaa!

I broke my favorite mug on Saturday. I was getting ready to go somewhere, and I brought my chai into the bathroom with me while I got ready. Somehow my hairdryer cord got wrapped around the mug and I accidentally pulled it off the counter. It hit the tile floor and instantly broke into 4 pieces.

I cried. I cried a lot actually.

Silly, maybe, but I loved that mug. I looked forward to drinking my chai from it every single day. I swear it tasted better out of that mug than any other one in my house.

I'm still a little blue about it, and I know I'll be sad all over again in the morning.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Another one of those posts

I don't think I can make it through a week without a random, all-over-the-place post. That's exactly how I'm feeling this week--scattered all-over-the-place.

Where to begin?

Well, it's the sixth day of March, and as my son told me this morning, it has snowed here 50% of this month. Three of the last six days have been snowy and COLD. I am very anxious for the arrival of spring. I'll likely be waiting until the end of May. Sigh.

I've been busy this week. Not crazy-busy like I was the week before the flu hit our house, but good-busy. I'm almost finished delivering Girl Scout cookies! Woohoo! I'm working on the yearbook at the kids' school. It's a big job, but I enjoy it for the most part. I'm also deactivating as a Creative Memories consultant so I've been busy filling existing orders, and finishing up some paperwork, and evaluating my inventory. I loved being a consultant, but I just couldn't keep up with all the new product, and somewhere along the way, my hobby became so intertwined with my business that I lost my love for scrapbooking. I'm hoping to rediscover the joy now that the pressure is off!

The kids don't have school again tomorrow. I say "again" because this is the 4th week in a row that we've had a 4-day week. That makes Thursday nights feel sorta like Fridays! I love that. I told John this morning that I am so thankful I can be at home with our kids because we have so many days off from school here! I know it's hard for my friends' who work to make arrangements for their kids.

Speaking of school, we only have 2 more weeks until Spring Break! I also need to get in party planning mode seeing as how Abbey and John both have an upcoming birthday. And then there's Easter. March is a happenin' month around here!!!

I'm not usually one to recommend movies because everyone is different, and I'd hate to tell you that a movie is wonderful only to find out you hated it or were offended by it. BUT, I'm breaking my own rule to tell you about one of my favorite movies. I watched it for the umpteenth time last Saturday night. It's called Strictly Ballroom. It's an older, independent film and I'd call it a dramedy. It's very funny and romantic, and really is one of my all-time favorites. Click on the link above for more info! There. I did it. I recommended a movie. If you watch it and hate it, please don't tell me!

Oh, I loved the idea you guys passed on for Family Day! Especially the ones about letting the kids choose. I hope to sit down with them soon and let them each pick an activity. Thank you for sharing your brilliance with me!

LOST is on tonight. It's crazy how much I look forward to that show. I still need to watch last week's episode. I'm going to try to fit that in later today. Not that I'll be caught up or anything. I'll probably be even more confused!

I'm running out of things to say and I really want to make some of this before the kids get home from school.

Let me share one more thing! I was so blessed by this post that my friend Julie wrote. Julie is the first internet-turned-real-life friend I ever made. She flew out here a couple of years ago to attend a Captivating conference with me, and another friend named Julie. Everything she writes is brilliant, but this post really struck a chord with me. Read it and be blessed.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Are you guys aware of Freecycle? I always describe it as being similar to Craigslist, only better, because everything is 100% free! You may remember back in November that I found our dog, Jack, this way. It's really pretty cool, and sometimes you can find fabulous stuff.

Stuff like this--my latest Freecycle find!

It's a brand new, Starbucks French press.

Now honestly, I'm not the coffee connessiour in our house and and when I responded to the offer, I wasn't entirely sure what a French press was. This is more of what I had in mind.

But, I'm happy with it nonetheless. And am hoping to try it out tonight when J is home to share some coffee with me. :)

After I dropped the kids off this morning, I drove to the lady's house to pick it up. It was snowing and was a big mess. Her neighborhood streets weren't plowed, were very hilly, and a couple of times I didn't think Minnie-the-van was going to make it. It looked like this outside...and normally, if it wasn't snowing, you'd be able to see mountains in the background. Today, they were covered with snow clouds.

Since it was 18 degrees and so dreary and cold, I decided I needed to make a Starbucks run on the way home. When I saw the drive-thru line wrapped around the building, I decided to park and go inside. So glad I did because I was able to peruse the merchandise shelf, and noticed the exact same French press I'd just picked up for free sporting a retail price of $39.99.

I think I scored!

Check out Freecycle sometime.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Prayers in the pick-up line

Even though our school district provides transportation to and from school, John and I have chosen to drive our kids every day. I actually really love this part of my day. I love being able to pray with them on the way to school each morning, asking God to watch over and care for them, or to help them do well on their test or presentation or project, and I love it when they climb in the van after school bursting with stories of the day. Seriously, those are high points of each day for me.

Yesterday as I was sitting in the pick-up line, waiting for the bell to ring, and my children to emerge from the set of double doors, I felt like I was extraordinarily aware of how many opportunities I have to pray for other kids as well.

I watched one of Sarah's friends make her way to the end of the sidewalk to wait for her mom. This little girl is beautiful, inside and out. And just seeing her standing there in the sun, smiling and happy brought praise to my lips. "E" was diagnosed with leukemia in first grade, and she continued to battle it during her second grade year as well. She's a fourth-grader in complete remission now, and is living proof of the Lord's healing power. And so I thanked Him for her life, and for her family, and for the joy that she spreads to all who know her.

Next, I noticed a boy in Will's grade. He's not a kid I particularly enjoy being around, and he's tried to stir things up with my son more times than I care to think about. I also happen to know that his parents are going through a nasty divorce right now, and that has to be affecting him in some pretty significant ways. And so I prayed for him, and for his family.

My heart nearly broke when I saw another little friend of Sarah's. Her parents are divorced also, and they share custody of "N" and her little sister. Yesterday must have been her mom's day to have her because she spotted her mom walking up the sidewalk, ran full-force into her open arms, and they spent the better part of a minute standing there locked in embrace. I prayed for her mom and asked God to give her the strength to share her children with their father (and by the way, they seem to do a beautiful job of this). And prayed for the little girls too because as well-adjusted as they seem, there are probably many things they do not understand about their situation.

And then my daughter's class walked out, and about 5 little girls flung their arms around their teachers's waist and hugged her. She hugged them right back, and the joy that I felt in that moment was intense. That teacher LOVES those children, and they love her right back. So, I stopped and thanked God for Mrs. P, and Mrs. G, and Mr. T, and Mrs. B, and Mrs. P, and for all the many teachers at our kids school. We are incredibly blessed.

I prayed for Sarah as she ran to the van. That kid greets me every single afternoon with a smile from ear-to-ear. She loves filling me in on her day, and I love listening to her. Abbey was the first to spot Will, and I prayed silently for him as he made his way over to the van too. He's such a great kid, and I am feeling a little sad that he will be heading to middle school next year. I'm praying like crazy that he'll continue to make good choices and that God will send a good little friend his way (his two best buds are going to a different middle school).

Everyone piled into the van, and we headed home, but I still had the faces of a couple of those kids' in my mind. I can't say that I've ever thought to pray in the pick-up line before, but I guaranteee you I will be very aware of the opportunity to do so in the future.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Meme that will not die!

His Doorkeeper tagged me awhile ago for the 7 Random Things About Me meme. I've done a couple of variations of this which you can read about here. I considered sitting this one out, but I needed something to post today, so here ya go!

1. I cannot peel potatoes without having a full-blown asthma attack. I can eat them. I can even eat potato skins. I just cannot peel them without needing my inahaler. This means that I've had to be really strategic and creative with my meal prep over the years. Thankfully, Sarah has learned how to peel potatoes for me, and she loves helping me in the kitchen!

2. I haven't had a drop of artificially sweetened anything since October 2005.

3. I sometimes drink Dr. Pepper but it has to be ice cold and poured over ice. If it's room temperature, forget it.

4. I cannot go to bed without my kitchen being clean. That means all dishes put away, countertops wiped down, the floor swept, and no clutter in sight. I just don't like starting the next day with things in disarray. I've been married 17.5 years and I can count on two hands the times I've left my kitchen a mess.

5. I don't like bananas. At all. But I will eat banana bread, and I probably make these muffins once a week.

6. I get very, very sick when I'm pregnant. With my last pregnancy, I lost 9 pounds in the first trimester. I coudn't keep anything in my stomach. Not to worry though, I gained that 9 pounds (and then some) back in the second/third trimesters. And I still have some residual Abbey on my hips/thighs.

7. I've visited 24 of the 50 United States.

Create your own unique map by clicking here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Re-thinking Family Day

At our house, Sunday is "Family Day". We instituted this several years ago because John and I simply needed Sunday to look different from every other day of our week. If we're not careful, our Sundays tend to fill up with activity, and we believe that in order for our family to function well, we really need to have a day that is completely our own.

A typical Sunday for us includes going to church, a family trip to the library, and eating dinner together while watching America's Funniest Videos.

Our Sundays don't include playdates, birthday parties, ballgames, or other activities that splinter our family. We've also learned that every so often we need to break our own rules. Rigidity is not always a good thing!

Lately though, we haven't been very intentional about the "family" part of family day. It's great that we're all home together, but it's not unusual for each of us to be off doing our own thing. We're all together, but not really together in the sense that we're doing something as a family. John called me on this last week when I was whining about not wanting to go to the library with everyone, and as I've thought about it, he's really right. Family day is great, and sometimes it IS about just all being home together, but it's also a prime time to be doing something together. Like hiking. Or biking. Or working in the yard. Or on a puzzle. Or playing Yahtzee or Scattergories or A-Z or Uno or Cadoo.

So, I've been re-thinking our Sundays. I want to be intentional about planning things we can do together that we all enjoy. Really, this is SO much easier when it's spring or summer and we can be outside! Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and snowy, so maybe we'll pop some popcorn and make hot cocoa and watch a movie together. Or go sledding. Or bake some chocolate chip cookies. I need to do some more thinking and see what I can come up with! I don't want it to be a forced thing, and I still want there to be time for each of us to be off doing our own thing, but I'd love to have one activity that we can focus on doing together in the course of the day.

Any of you have a great suggestion for Family Day?