For Fun

And for your Friday enjoyment:
This photo was taken last April when Jared won a trip to Orlando with Best Buy.  We of course had to do Universal and what would Universal be without a trip to see Jaws!  Thought this might make someone laugh. 
Happy Friday!

Thankful Thursday #18


Today I am thankful for:

167. movement inside a growing belly
168. birthdays
169. chips and salsa
170. yellow cake with chocolate frosting
171. fresca margaritas
172. LOFT gift cards
173. surprise presents
174. Thursdays
175. prayers
176. Mother in Laws
177. cowboy boots

My Birthday

Since it is my blog and I can do with it what I want, I am writing a birthday post for myself.  It's my perogative.  Thank you Bobby Brown for those inspiring words. 


My day was better than any other day.  Really.  I awoke to birthday kisses and hugs from the Things and coffee from Husband Jared.  A surprise of delectable pastries from Merridees from the Bible Study Babes and lunch at Pucketts with my homegirls.  I just felt like I was in highschool again calling my grown up friends "homegirls".  It's my perogative.  You know you can hear the music playing in your head right now. 

Then home for the Things soccer training, a surprise birthday gift and more coffee.  Oh how I love coffee.  Husband Jared was home early from work.  Mother in law Jeanine was bringing Chuys for dinner and a homemade cake.  Sister Natalie and Uncle Jeff were coming over and I got to feel Niece Autumn kick and move.  What a day.  Not to mention all the cards, presents and phone calls, just an added bonus.  I felt so loved and so special. 

The Things sang happy birthday at the top of their lungs and they had to help me blow out the candles.  I am one blessed Mama.  Thank you.

Thankful Thursday #17

Today, on February 18th, I am thankful for:

156. Snow days
157. Date night
158. Praying with Husband Jared
159.Creme Brulee
160. Travel Guide Books
161. Forgiveness
162. Blogs that inspire
163. Snail mail
164. Early birthday packages
165. Clean journal pages
166. Anticipation

Valentines Day

For a made up, commercial driven holiday I sure do love it.  I love everything about it.  The cards.  The mushy words and feelings it conjures.  The chocolate.  Oh how I love the chocolate.  I love frosting.  I love the sugar cookies the Things made with me.  I love the family lunch we had to celebrate the day.  I love that my family helped out at our favorite donut shop that morning after church.  I love the sermon that we heard that morning.  I love how God uses the broken hearted to teach us. 

Alright enough about what I love.  Let me show you what the rest of my family loves.  Per our tradition, I printed everyone's name on a sheet of paper and placed them on the table.  At lunch each person wrote two things they loved about everyone in the family on the designated paper for said person.  We encouraged the Things to be specific and thoughtful.  And they were.  Take a look.













I love to love.  I love to hear those three sweet words out of the mouths of babes.  And of course I love to hear those three sweet words out of the mouth of my babe. 


Speaking of the love of my life.  He took me on a date.  We had a quiet dinner at Red Pony.  He ate rock shrimp and I ate steak.  Sound backwards?  Not really if you know my husband.  We talked and shared dessert.  Chocolate.  Need I say more.  Oh yes, I must.  And strawberries.  And creme brulee.  Oh the creme brulee.  I would eat it everyday if I could.  But I can't because I am in training.  And well, I wouldn't be able to zip up my pants if I did that.  And that wouldn't be very good either.

Date night ended with a game of cribbage.  I won.  I say that out of sheer pride, I know its wrong but I'm only human.  And it doesn't happen often, that I win at cribbage I mean.  I love to beat Husband Jared at cribbage, or any game for that matter.  I don't like to lose.  Loser usually has to do the dishes. 

I also love you all.  All eight of you that read this blog of mine. 

I love words.  I love writing.  I love freedom.  I love history.  I love to read.  I love unplanned family trips.  I love to run.  I love music.  All genres.  Except maybe heavy metal.  No offense to anyone.  I love butter.  I love to cook.  I love buttermilk pancakes.  I love, oh well, I love a lot of things.

 Maybe I should do an "I love" list and have everyone contribute.  Ten things you love everyday to start your day?  Hmm.  I might think about that. 

The Main Floor

I have been promising a picture post of the downstairs, or main level of our townhome for quite sometime.  Well I finally remembered this morning while in the middle of my deep cleaning and figured snapping a few photographs was a welcome relief.  So, in no particular order here is more of our home.  Enjoy.

The front door and entry way

Window looking out into common area

Wall words, mine and Thing 3's project, it is 1 Corinthians 13:13
Look it up, it's good!

Dining "area", my work area, just keepin' it real people
And lovely roses, an early Valentine's surprise from Husband Jared, beat the rush and the price hike, that's how we roll.

Kitchen, my favorite place

My favorite cookbook right now, waiting to be opened. 

Powder room, the Girl Things really don't like when I call it that, so I think I will keep on keepin' on.

And now the master bedroom, yes Polo thinks this is his bed too.  And I know the photo is crooked, that unfortunately is also how we roll around here.  Take it or leave it. By the way, this is the view from the teeny tiny hall from the kitchen into the MBR.

And once inside the MBR this is our new lingerie chest, old school tv and my necklace holders.  See those doors?  Yes, those there, they lead right into the kitchen.  Close to coffee in the AM, thank you Jesus.

This is our bathroom, look closely and  you can see me in my PJ's. 

Had to include the spa tub, it is my new BFF. Truly.

Last but not least, Husband's office, oops, I mean the toilet closet.  I just had to.  If you know us, you understand why.

And that folks will wrap up our tour for this morning.  No tips necessary, unless they involve decorating or rearringing, than those are welcome.  Or better yet, why don't you just come over and we'll have coffee and you can critique all you want. 
Thank you, thank you very much!

I'm Gonna Getcha Mama!

Thing 4 opened the door the other day and said, "Are you ready Mama?"
"Ready for what?" I asked, rather innocently I might add.

Ok, not really.  He actually opened the door to show me his slushy, wet snow ball and then I said I needed to take a picture and he continued to pose for me until we got it just right.  Above are the results.  I hope they make you smile on this Friday morning.  I know I am.

Party in CALI!

It has been a few weeks since our trip to California and I realized I have yet to post about it.  The trip started off with a jolt!  A jolt right off our scheduled, planned and paid for flights. 

We arrived at the airport early, traveling with 4 Things causes one to throw caution to the wind and allow an hour and a half for check in time.  Anyhow, all flights in and out of Ontario, CA, cancelled!  What?  Excuse me while I recessitate myself.  I do believe at this time I lost all color in my face and husband Jared was quite concerned that I would not make it.  After his travel savvy ways kicked in he managed to reschedule us and we were on a flight to Chicago...In 3 hours!  Tootsies here we come!

I realize now I should have snapped a few photos of the six of us, sitting in Tootsies, the bar, doing homework and listening to live country music.  Only in Music city!  Oh how I love Nashville.

The Things fared well.  They even managed to score pink lemonades and fried treats from Daddy while we waited and watched the show. 

On board we nervously awaited news that Midway was open and we were going to land despite the forcast for ice storms.  We landed.  We boarded another plane to LAX and arrived safely.  Albeit late and tired and grumpy and hungry.  But we landed nonetheless and the Southern Cal tour began.  Griswold style, no less.

Here we are, my poor brother waiting anxiously, circling the chaos they call LAX for us and there is a competitor's plane at our gate.  They were not mindful of the 4 tired, hungry, restless Things on board.  No they took their sweet time and 45 minutes after landing we were allowed to deplane.  Ugh. 

I must mention that Thing 2 and Thing 4 were invited by the sweetest flight attendant to serve peanuts to the passengers on the first leg of our adventure.  That was a treat!  Here they are.  You must excuse the quality of the photo, Thing 1 was so embarassed by her camera toting Mama that this was the best I could snap.
Now that I have whet your whistle with our travel tales, I will add more to this post tomorrow. 
The girls night, the rain and Lake Jaques, all to come.

Thankful Thursday #16



Today I am thankful for:

145. Nieces that smile
146. Sipping coffee in the afternoon with a friend
147. New adventures
148. Drum sets
149. Patience, or not!
150. Music
151. Carpooling
152. Curled up dog, sleeping on his bed
153. Blankets
154. Giggles from Things 
155. Hot chocolate with lots of whip cream

Photographs of Nothing and Everything


Here are a few photos I wanted to share.  Ponder on these a while...



Oridnary Night Time

I was just inspired.  Brought to tears and inspired.  Another blog I read faithfully because well, this woman is Godly.  She is grounded and something in her writing always seems to take root in my soul.  It pricks where pricking is needed.  It reminds me who I was created to be and by whom I was created.  It is special. 

She wrote of her bedtime ritual with her children.  Every night, 365 nights a year.  And immediately I thought of all the times, every night, when I rush my children into their rooms, say prayers, pull the covers up and scratch backs.  Turn out the light and whisper "I love you" to each of the Things.  Sometimes they ask me to stay and lay and scratch some more.  To snuggle and make them not afraid.  And honestly I have said no before.  No, we have to get sleep.  No, Mama is tired and needs to do such and such.  Whether it be the dishes calling, the novel started, or my pillow beckoning me.  What am I missing out on?

My Things.  This precious time unable to be recaptured.  For in the near future they may not want their Mama to stay.  To cuddle, to scratch or even to pull the covers up.  I don't want to miss this.

 It is in the ordinary routine that the relationship is strengthened.  The security of knowing their needs will be met.  Both physically and spiritually.  In heart and mind. I have committed to this before and failed.  Consistency will last a few days and then I will tire once again.  Only this time when I do and I feel weak and tempted to turn out the lights without another story I will think of my Father.  Does He ever tire?  He doesn't say no to me when I ask for comfort or dreams to dream.  He always fills that Father shaped hole in my heart.  Always.

And for now I will try to be in the ordinary, the nightly traditions in this house.  The stories, prayers, dream telling and sharing and snuggles and laughs and tickles and scratching and whispers that come in the night hours.

I guess I will have to start tomorrow night though.  Tonight is date night with Husband Jared and the Things will be at their Grandparents.  Tonight they will have the night time to snuggle and love the Things.

Heavy

Life can be messy.  I am messy.  Sure I like order and organization and plans and the such but on the inside I am messy.  Very messy.  And today my spirit feels heavy.  Not in a depressing I need medicine sort of way.  Just in a processing, dealing sort of way.  Where else could I share this?  I tried journaling in my devotional but the words wouldn't transfer from head to pen.  Sometimes I find it easier to sit here at the computer knowing that my readership includes only about 6 people and they may not even read this post.  Yet it feels as though I am pouring out the heaviness and ridding myself of it.  Please do not worry.  (MOM)

Last night at our small group we were reading John 2.  What a heavy chapter.  We go from  miracle to table turning in the temple.  Mind you the first chapter of John speaks of the disciples and their obedience and wilingness to follow Jesus, The Messiah.  What pricked my heart were the last words in John 2:24-25, "But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men.  He did not need man's testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man."  I had it underlined in my Bible previously but I had never felt those words like I did last night. 

Enter disclaimer, I am no expert on Scripture.  I am learning and fumbling like a new believer.  These are only my thoughts I share and what the Word has spoken to me, how I understand it.  The view from here, if you will.

Anyhow, He knows man.  Jesus used discernment.  He knew some of those same people that believed only after seeing the miracles would be some of the very ones that would be shouting "crucify him".  Enter me.  Am I one that entrusts myself to man?  Are the world's offerings where my loyalty lies?  I, nor will any human, ever carry the divine knowledge as God in the flesh did, but we are told that we can have strength through Him.  He can help us in our discernement.  In our struggles. 

Another thought.  If He knows man, which scripture repeatedly tells us He does.  Even the hairs on my head are numbered.  Why would I ever try to hide from Him?  Why do I carry heaviness in my heart when He is waiting with open arms?  When He suffered unthinkably on the cross for me?  When He already knows.

And that is what's on my mind.  A while back I read a post from another blogger.  She spoke of times when her heart was heavy and she felt distant from the Lord.  In order to reconnect she would set out some time for herself in her room.  Deliberately.  She would close her eyes and imagine Jesus' journey to the cross.  Crown of thorns pushed into his head.  The lashing.  The blood.  The heaviness of the wood, the heat beating down on Him.  Every time He would stumble.  Every foul word shouted at Him.  And then the nails.  In each hand.  On His feet.  The agony.  The sacrifice.  His mother.  Tears shed.  Blood of Lamb spilled. 

A practice that no doubt brings you to your knees.  Worship.  Preparation for the season ahead.  Heaviness lifted and heart full. 

Thankful Thursday #15

134. Going out to lunch with friends
135. Baking with Thing 2
136. Singing with Thing 1
137. Reading with Thing 3
138. Playing legos with Thing 4
139. Learning how to parent a teenager
140. My devotional, "Jesus Calling"
141. Blogs
142. Photographs that help me remember
143. A clean car 
144. Youth group on Wednesday nights

Universal Orlando and The Boys Weekend

My boys spent a few days away from our homestead back in January.  Jared took Thing 4 to Orlando for the 3v3 National tournament.  It ended up being mostly a Father-Son weekend.  They shared a condo with 3 other Dads and their sons.  Needless to say us Moms stocked them up with waters, gatorades and endless snacks, some more than others thinking that their men wouldn't be capable of fending for themselves.  Are you kidding me?  My "men" for sure were looking forward to the lack of "something green" on their plates every night and the absence of "Mom rules".  What a treat!

Their flight departed on Friday morning and they did not return until Tuesday afternoon.  Two days missed of school, soccer games played, roller coasters conquered and some serious fun  had.  I am so happy that Thing 4 and Jared were able to share the weekend together!  Here are some photos from their adventures.

Cousins

These are all the grandchildren on my Mother's side, including the grown ones.

These are my cousins. 
 The offspring of my Mother's sisters and brother. Oh yeah and my four Things. 

We have many cousins.  We love them all.  We miss them terribly.  Everytime I see them another boy has turned into a man and another little girl, whose diapers I changed, has become a woman. 

 Except my Things.  They will forever be babies, no growing up here.  Salty discharge falling from my eyes.

My heart can not stand it.

I love cousins! 

For Thing 1


While 13 seems "old" when you're 8, to this Mom it is a mere stepping stone.  A blink of an eye and the beginning of a new stage in this Mother Daughter relationship. 

Thing 1, I am so honored that God chose me to be your mother.  I can not tell you how I look forward to watching His plans unfold in your life.  I pray you always keep an eternal perspective and look upward during times of trial.  And there will be trials, but you are strong, He made you after all. 

You are full of love and emboldened in His likeness.  Your emotions are big and you live them outloud, unafraid of the world around you.  Yet, timid to newness and the yet unexplored.  Keep dreaming big and step boldly on the path He chooses for you.  You are destined for more than this world has to offer.  Resist the temptation and be different. 

Shine.  Shine for Him.  Shine.

I love you Thing 1, Happy Birthday Munchkin!

Thing 1's Birthday Weekend!

This girl turned 13 yesterday, Happy Birthday my first born!

Her birthday celebration started off with a snow day on Friday, soccer tournament cancelled on Saturday, no church on Sunday, dinner at Cheesecake Factory that night, another snow day on her actual birthday and a birthday dinner and homemade strawberry cake last night.  Does it get any better than that?


At Cheesecake she chose Oreo Mudslide and they wrote her name on the plate and sang to her.  I am not sure if she was more excited about the dessert or the fact that they spelled her name correctly on the plate. 


When she woke on the  morning of her birthday she opened presents.  All she has talked about since Christmas was a leopard print snuggie, Thing 4 and I found one a while back and she wore it all day yesterday.


After a quick game of snow soccer and then a movie and game day indoors we had pizza and salad for dinner and this yummy cake which the other Things helped decorate.


They did an excellent job, Thing 1 was most impressed!
And then Thing 1 did this, but she didn't tell me what she wished for.

I would say it was a weekend full of celebrating!