April 2011 archive

41 things at 41

Today I turn 41. (eekkk!) The girls actually slept in this morning until 7:15. I stayed in bed til 9:00, thanks in part to hubby taking the girls upstairs to leave me alone. Parker could hardly contain herself to give me her present…a beautiful butterfly necklace.

Alex got me a book entitled, Why a Daughter Needs a Mother. I am told she almost had a melt-down in Target because she couldn’t find this book! She got Why a Daughter needs a Father for Daddy for his birthday. I guess she thinks we need to know what we are here for (haha). She also gave me a necklace with an Eiffel Tower charm, because we want to go to Paris when she turns 16. But she needs to learn French. I really only know about 3 phrases in French and that will not get us far in Paris! Sadly, I flunked French in High School.

Hubby got me a DSLR, even though I told him not to spend that kind of money on a camera. He never listens to me!

Since I am a “list person”, I made a 41 things list about me at 41: (in case you wanted to know)

  • 6 Movies I will Stop and Watch if its on TV: Bourne Identity (any of the 3), The Color Purple, Interview with a Vampire, Gone with the Wind, Juno, and Remember the Titans.
  • 5 Home Spring Projects I Want to Get Done before the Snow Starts to Fly: A new front screen door (the old one got ripped off by the wind), back patio repair, backyard living space, repaint the exterior of the house, & finish the girls’ re-purposed headboards.
  • My 5 Secrets of Adulthood: (Now that I am really an adult) Wash your face every night (don’t be lazy), get a good night sleep, eat good food, don’t tolerate friends who use you or are drama queens, & you’re never too old to try something new.
  • 1 Personal Commandment: Don’t ever say “yes” because you’ll feel guilty if you say “no”. No is a good word.
  • 2 Things I am Obessed With Right Now: French Food at Home on the Cooking Channel. The Host has inspired me to bake a beef wellington (or Boeuf en Croute), and writing on this blog…once upon a time I wanted to be a writer.
  • My Dream Job: A travel writer. No surprise there. I would love to RV for a living and write about it. Of course, I would get paid too. “My dream is to live on the road,” said Alex one day when we were talking about it.
  • 2 of My Greatest Fears: That one of my kids will be harmed or killed in a freak accident. (I think I have talked about this before.) And I don’t want to die heartbroken.
  • 2 Books I am Reading Right Now: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and The Chocolate Diaries for blogging for books.
  • 2 Plans for the Summer: Our family reunion trip to Ft. Worth, TX in June, and coming up with ideas for our “Stay-at-Home-Camp”. (More on that later.)
  • 1 More To-Do List: Started my 1,000 Gifts List.
  • 2 Things Colorado Doesn’t Have Enough of And why I miss Missouri sometimes: rainy days and big fluffy cloud sky.
  • 4 Foods I am Craving Right Now: Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie), guacamole with warm chips, hummus with pita chips and Dr. Pepper…yes, I would eat them all at the same time!
  • 4 Things I Wish I had More of: Patience, Laughter, Love, Inner-peace.
  • 3 of My Favorite Verses: Proverbs 4:23, Psalm 118:24, and Proverbs 15:4

So that is 41 things…I challenge you to make a list all about you right now. Too often we spend a lot of time thinking about the future and not enough time enjoying right-here-right-now. What’s on your mind? What is it people may not know about you? What’s going on in your life at this very minute? Let me know. I don’t hate comments.

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Somedays I feel like an air traffic controller…

…except I don’t get to nap on the job.

Yesterday was one of those days. A day so busy and scheduled that if I was not careful it would have all gone down in flames!

It started with getting to Alex’s school early to set up her display for the Science Fair, then drop Parker off at Daycare, drive in rush-hour traffic to the office, put out fires, work until 3pm, drive back to school to drop off snacks for Brownies, get reprimanded by a 9-year-old Brownie that I was late with snacks (to be fair, I told the troop leader I would be late), drive over to the vet to pick up Bailey (hubby dropped her off that morning, thanks baby), take one very happy dog home, go back out to put gas in the van, back to daycare to pick up Parker, back to school to pick up Alex from Brownies, drive straight home to get a quick dinner, then back out the door to the  ice rink for skate practice, have Alex work on homework in van, Alex skates until 7:30 with team, drive home, prepare for exhaustion melt-down from Alex…right on schedule, then to bed. Whew!

Thankful for busyness, even if it is crazy.

* * * Some Easter JOY below. * * *

We had to run to the store for vinegar...I had to bribe the girls with promises of donuts!

Put reinforcement hole stickers on the eggs before dying to get cute polka-dot-circles...

...like this!

An Easter Story.

My mom (2nd from left) and her sisters.

My grandmother was a humble woman. She and my grandfather lived modestly. Simple.

They lived in a small town in rural Missouri. She was a homemaker, raising five children. He was a milkman and a U.S. Navy veteran. Later, when their kids were grown, he was a school bus driver. In this small town, everybody knew everybody. Family was your most important asset and cousins were your closest friends. Sunday was an all day affair with church services in the morning, family gathered for supper in the afternoon, followed by evening church services.

They pinched their pennies wherever possible. They saved what they could. They didn’t have money to waste on the purchase of frivolous luxuries, such as, fancy Easter dresses brought from a Sears catalog for their daughters. Instead my grandmother, Ruth, would most likely have hand-sown the dresses for her daughters.

Except one year.

It was the early 1960s.  Ruth had saved enough extra change to buy her 4 daughters catalog dresses. She decided to hide the dresses at the home of her sister-and-brother-in-law, Pauline and Bink, to keep the girls from peeking and spoiling the surprise.

Ironically, that would be the least of her worries that Easter.

One spring day, just before Easter, the whole family was having a get-together with food and fellowship. The children, playing upstairs of my great-grandmother’s home, spotted smoke billowing from a house up the hill.

It was Pauline and Bink’s house that was on fire!

The Uncle’s rushed up the hill and attempted to put the fire out. It was too late and their house burned to the ground…along with the frilly dresses.

I can just imagine my heart-broken Grandmother watching the fire. Everything her sister and brother-in-law owned was in ashes. The pennies she pinched for a year to afford to buy something special for her daughters, gone.

Now, my mother will tell you her mom was more concerned about her family and their lose rather than the dresses. She had to have felt defeated. I know I would have. But that was who she was. Humble.

That’s it. There is no happy ending. No one replaced the dresses. No one took up a collection to rebuild Pauline and Bink’s house.  They picked themselves up and carried on. They relied on family and the Lord to carry them through.

No one was hurt or, worse, lost their life in the fire. And isn’t that the most important gift of all?

The house, the possessions, the frilly dresses are just things. Okay, to see everything you own reduced to ashes is undoubtedly devastating. But all those things can be replaced. Life cannot.

So, this Easter don’t forget the “reason”. LIFE. Take joy in it. Celebrate it.

~ Wishing you a Happy Easter.

Happy Monday

Okay, so someone ripped the wall hooks off Parker’s bedroom wall…her newly painted wall…damaged the wall! Parker wouldn’t fess up. She blamed it on Alex (who wasn’t even home at the time). So we sat down at the table for lunch and talked. I asked her, “What would Jesus say if I asked Him who ripped the hooks off the wall?”

Oh, yes, I went there.

Lucky for me the camera was sitting right there on the table–I caught this look.

I know she was thinking, “Oh, man. Jesus knows everything! I am so busted.”

She fessed up and I didn’t even need to get the interrogation lamps out. Thank you Jesus.

Easy Science Fair Project

“Where does the water go when a plant is watered? With this experiment, children can discover for themselves how essential the functions of roots and stems are to plant growth. As the colored water is absorbed, students will be able to see how the water is absorbed into the plant and the petals of the carnation change color.” Steve Spangler Science

Alex and a friend are going to participate in the Science Fair this year. Alex really enjoys science and I think this is a good experience for her to try out. The girls are showing how plants feed off water. They are using white carnations and food coloring to demonstrate the science behind the theory.

These pictures above are of our “side” project. For her actual project, Alex used 1 color of food coloring and 3 different variables (cold tap water, tap water with sugar, and tap water with salt). But we had lots of flowers left over so we went a little crazy coloring the flowers.

What you need:

  • glasses filled with water
  • carnations (other white flowers may work, though we did not try)
  • food coloring

Fill glasses with water. Add 30 or more drops of food coloring. The more drops the better in this case. I would suggest a lot more than 30 drop judging from the results we got from her project. Wait and watch. Every hour Alex checked on and wrote down her findings of the flowers. You can see in the photos the colored water traveled through the veins of the flowers. This effect can be subtle, depending on the color. These pictures were taken at six hours.

In the Moment Photography | Spring Snow

Ah, spring is here. And Springtime in Colorado means snow. Not much. It melted by noon. But I rushed outside to take in a few pictures this morning before that happened. It was so quiet. A bird chirped in the background. Fresh snow blanketing spring blooms on the plum trees. We have 2 types of plum trees in our backyard. The one that yields pink flowers is still too young to produce descend sized plums. The other blooms white flowers and is an overachiever in the plum department. But the fruit does make good jelly and provides shade for the swing set.

The "young" plum tree

The "shady" plum tree

The secret to success (accordng to Steve Jobs)

Think Steve Jobs (co-creator of Apple computers, along with Steve Wozniak) and you think S-U-C-C-E-S-S. He began with nothing and created a brand that has become a leader in computer innovation. Undeniably he knows a thing or two about running a mega-successful company. I stumbled across Steve Jobs’ 12 rules of success a few days ago. {drum roll, please…}

1. Do what you love to do. Find your true passion. Do what you love to do a make a difference! The only way to do great work is to love what you do.

(more…)

My greatest fear?

My greatest fear…is that one of my children will die from a freak accident. There. I said it. I don’t fear the boogey man snatching one of them in the middle of the night…it’s the freak accident that freaks me out! Like, say, one of them being run over by a backing up car.

And that is why, every morning, when I need to back the mini van out of the garage I am sure to tell everyone to stay in the house (or on the porch) so I know exactly where they are.

Except this morning.

This morning I didn’t say it. And this morning I almost backed over my baby!

I was in the garage packing the van. She should have been inside putting on her jacket. We have a one-car garage that is so tight I can’t even open my van door all the way. I can only open it about a quarter of the way and then squeeze into the front seat. And so that is why after I squeezed in to the front seat I didn’t see her in the garage. I backed out of the garage and there she was…standing against the wall with her jacket in her hand.

There was my baby just standing there. How did I not see her? She stands just as tall as the side mirror. How did the side mirror not knock her down? How did I (we) advert a tragedy today?

Divine intervention.

I know she (I) was protected today. Watched out for. Guarded.

This could have been a really bad Monday. But it wasn’t. After I stressed to my baby, very very loudly, the importance of not doing that sort of thing…ever again, I held her tight. Tighter than I have ever held her. Tears in my eyes. Please don’t do that again.

My commute was shaky and tearful but thankful. I prayed. I cried. I thanked God for looking after my baby. For being there when I didn’t even know I needed Him.

Good sportswoman-like conduct.

6 girls. 12 blades. 1 heart.

Last night was Alex’s first competition with her Synchronized Skate Team. She was very excited, never nervous. I don’t know who she gets that from! The team skated to a Toy Story medley and they were dressed kind of like Jessie, the cowgirl. Anyway. Hubby was very nervous. He has watched practices and wasn’t sure how it would shake down. But when the music started the girls turned it on. Really. Amazing job.

That is Alex waiting to go on the ice. I ghosted out the other girls on the team…don’t know how the parents would feel about their child’s face appearing on the web. Not that it really matters because my simple point and shoot camera is pathetic.

Proud synchro mom here…Seriously, tears in my eyes. The footwork wasn’t perfect. Their steps were out of sync at times but no one got confused on where to go. No one fell on the ice. They communicated on the ice. They looked beautiful. They kept it together. Most importantly, they worked as a team. They supported the older, more experienced synchro team after their performance. Just as the older girls supported them. And that is what it is all about. No snarky figure skaters here. Support and encouragement all the way. And they were happy with 2nd place. Because they have worked hard. They deserved it. True sportswoman-like conduct.

Me doing my best to entertain the 4 year old Parker. She can’t find her patience…I asked her. She said she lost it. She doesn’t know where it is. {eye roll}