Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The adoption paperwork process will do that to you!

So, a year ago, before we began the process to adopt, the following words/phrases were just regular words that I didn't think much about and would have just looked at you blankly if you mentioned them. But now?

13 Words/Phrases that now make me cringe:

1. Notarize

2. Dossier

3. Letter Date must match signature Date

4. FedEx

5. Fingerprinted

6. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS)

7. FBI clearance

8. Certified copy

9. Unclassifiable fingerprints

10. Court date

11. Court closure due to rainy season

12. Average wait time - "but this is just an average meaning some families have waited more time and some less to get their referral"

13. Expiration of adoption documents

But still, we are so thankful to be on this journey!

Find more Thankful Thursday & Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life with the Three Stooges

Life with my three kids is often hilarious! There is just something about the combination of three different kids and the stuff they come up with to do and their interactions with each other.

Like today, they decided it would be funny to use 2 of our portable phones that are on the same phone line but have the ability to call each other. So, for literally 45 minutes they were thoroughly entertained calling each other and my husband and I.

Some of them were upstairs and they'd call downstairs, then they'd switch and one would come down and another would go upstairs. They traded off who talked to who, making comments like, "Your voice sounds funny! How was your day? What are you doing? Okay, now let me talk to Mommy."

And yes, those 3 potato heads they created do remind me of how different my 3 kids are personality-wise, but how well they come together!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Making more of my daughter's clothes

We live in a climate where it is warm enough to wear summer clothes through October and often into November, even. And not only is it warm enough for summer clothes, but summer clothes are a necessity, really. The typical "back-to-school" clothes stores feature (often long pants and long-sleeves), just don't work for us until after Thanksgiving. So, I've used this to my advantage and buy our version of back-to-school clothes in late June and July when the stores put their summer stuff on sale.

This year I've had no problem scoring some on-sale khaki shorts and knit collar shirts that are the staples of my boys' wardrobes. But my daughter, is a different issue.

She's off to kindergarten in the fall and as much as it pains me to say it, I've pretty much decided I will not be sending her to elementary school in a smocked dress. She wore them several days each week in preschool, and will still wear them to church, but in the 2 years my son has been in elementary school, I've yet to see a girl come out or go in wearing a smocked dress, and perhaps I should not subject my daughter to sticking out like a sore thumb, although a sweetly-dressed sore-thumb she'd be.

However, I refuse to dress her like she's Hannah Montana, or 18, because well, she's not. And, now that she's out of the toddler sizes so many of the stores I used to get her non-smocked clothes at just do not have cute things in her size. And even if I find a skirt I like the pattern, it is usually way shorter than I'm comfortable with my daughter wearing!

So, I've decided I'll either have to pony up the money for things off (which is not always more expensive than the regular stores, it's just they rarely have 30-50% off sales) or make the custom styles I like myself.

This weekend I used this tutorial and recycled some soft-knit t-shirts of mine that were stained/worn in some places but still had large portions of usable material and made her this skirt:

Now I am uncrafty, so the fact that I could complete the skirt at all is saying a lot about the low level of difficulty, but when the tutorial refers to the fact that you can finish the skirt in less than 60 minutes, you might want to triple or quadruple that estimate if you are a beginner seamstress, like me, and have to refer to your sewing machine manual to even load the bobbin!

But, I did get so comfortable and have so much fun making the ruffles, that I went on to embellish this t-shirt with ruffles to go with the skirt. It was a plain white Old Navy $5 shirt to begin with, but to use my daughter's descriptive words was "not fancy". Adding the ruffles really
was easy and quick and I love how it turned out! I really want to make one for myself, now!

And because creating cute things for my little girl to wear is more fun than say, mopping my floor or scrubbing off the mystery gunk that is dripping down my white kitchen cabinets, I went on to also make this little hair clip to go with the outfit. I just cut a circle out of the extra pieces of knit t-shirt, pulled it in the center and twisted a tiny bit and sewed it with needle and thread, then added the button and sewed the whole thing to an alligator clip. Again, very easy! And you can absolutely trust me on the easy-part!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

You can always go downtown.

It's time for Not Me! Monday (a blog carnival created by MckMama; you can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing - but really have!).

Around here: (Hint: If you get confused, just remove the words in my post that are in all caps and you'll know the truth!):

This weekend we did NOT let our children gallivant around downtown in their swimsuits and goggles!

My 3 year old did NOT think that wall was made of Legos! Sure looks like it, though!

But the real destination downtown was NOT this fountain, that cycles from this (and my daughter is NOT running through the fountain with her doll):
To this:

To this:

And that kid in the green floral swimsuit bent over with his head completely in the fountain spray?
NOT my 3 year old!

****No dollies were harmed during the making of this post -- "Jennifer" is fully water-proof! It is actually very cool how well she dries out and my daughter loves having a baby to take in the bathtub, pool, and yes, even running through fountains with her! Here's a link if you'd like to get one for a little girl in your life:Corolle Tidoo Suce Pouce in Pajamas - 12" Doll****

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten Eggs, Your Nose on TV, and a Dog Bath

I recently made some hard-boiled eggs. My 3 year old loves them, but for some reason calls them "rotten eggs". I have no idea why, but it plays out in him cheering, "Yay! We get rotten eggs for lunch!"


I took all 3 of my kids to an ENT doctor appointment where my daughter needed her ears checked after one year without tubes and my 3 year old was getting checked for potentially enlarged adenoids. At his 3 year old check-up the pediatrician was worried about the fact that my toddler still drools quite a bit. Apparently age 3 is when drooling becomes rather abnormal. Anyway, the ENT decided he needed to use his flexible camera tube to look inside my son's nose to determine if his adenoids were enlarged and potentially causing him to breathe more through his mouth therefore causing his mouth to always be opened thus the drooling. So, he looks at my toddler and says, "Let's go into the room next door and see your nose on TV!"

Well, my 4 year old daughter and 7 year old son needed to hear no more. They were delighted with the idea of seeing their little brother's nose on TV and quickly became worked up into a frenzy that should never grace the inside of a doctor's office. As we walked through the hall to the next room my daughter's gleeful shouts to her little brother of, "COME ON! LET'S GO SEE YOUR NOSE ON TV!!!!!" could be heard for miles!

The answer to the adenoids question was yes, they are larger than normal, so we'll likely have them removed in the next month or so. Thankfully it is a very minor out-patient surgery with minimal recovery time and we are very comfortable/familiar with the doctor doing the surgery as he put tubes in my daughter's ears twice. And my pediatrician said if the adenoids are enlarged it can cause sleep apnea and may be causing my 3 year old to not sleep well at night, not that he wakes us up at night (because to us it seems like he sleeps well) but he wakes his body up enough all night long that he may never get really restful sleep, causing the crankiness/impatience we often see in the mornings. Anyway, the pediatrician told me after the surgery, I'd have a new child! And I felt a little guilty for thinking it, but man, I was a bit excited about the idea of getting a new child in the place of my 3 year old! Not that he doesn't have tons of wonderful, love-able qualities -- I definitely don't want those to go away, but I will give up some of his less desirable quirks!


As a rainy morning activity today my kids and I decided to bathe the dog in the bathtub. She really needed it and the kids were truly excited about helping. My oldest even volunteered to stand in the bathtub with her so he could really scrub!

But, in reality, their "help" consisted of eagerly gathering in the bathroom as I ran the water and got the dog in the tub, but then as she got wet and sudsy and began to shake off, they ran squealing out of the bathroom. Then it became a game, they'd come in until the next shake off and then run giggling out of the bathroom, leaving me, a wet, soapy, dog-haired covered mess, to tend to all the actual work of bathing.

So now I've got 1 clean dog
and 3 children who cannot be trusted!

Happy Friday y'all!

Find more Friday Fragments, Finer Things Friday, and Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Not To Say to People Who are Adopting

My husband and I began the process of adoption last fall, we have completed all the paperwork and have been on the wait list a little over 2 months for a girl age 0-30 months from Ethiopia.

As family and friends and other acquaintances have learned of our adoption plans, we've received quite a range of responses. Thankfully, mostly they have been positive or at least followed the If-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say-don't-say-anything-at-all rule (Oh the beauty of that magical 13 word rule!) .

I'm really not a picky person, looking to start an argument. I am a peacemaker by nature. In my entire life I've sent back my meal at a restaurant exactly 0 times! It is rare that I have a problem with someone or cause a stink, seriously!

But, there have been some comments and questions that were hard to hear, especially recently from some of my family members. I'm all about asking hard questions if they are well-thought through (prayed about, even!) and helpful not hurtful.

Very few of the negatives have been helpful though, except maybe the person who said, "Wow! That's a life-long commitment." Because really before she said that we thought the whole adoption thing was just temporary, like rent-a-kid -- NOT!

So, I'm compiling a list (I'm sure it will be growing but for tonight here's what I'm thinking of):

What not to say to people who are adopting a child:
"Have you really thought out this decision?"

Why you should not ask this question:
Um, well, could I point you to the large binder of notarized documents it took us 6 months to complete, the checks written for large sums of money, the doctor visits, the home study done with questions covering all areas of personal topics, the 3 trips to the Dept. of Homeland Security, the 2 months on the wait list, the stack of books we've read, the people we've talked to in the adoption community, the seminars we've gone to, the training we've done, the sleepless nights spent wrestling with God over the decision before we made it, the hours upon hours we've talked as a couple about every aspect of this adoption. Let's just say, the decision to adopt this child was infinitely more thought out than the decisions to have all three of our biological children combined!

"But you already have your own kids." or "Don't you want real kids?" or "Don't you want your own kids?"

Why you should not ask this question/make this comment:
I assure you adopted kids are real, live children and I believe caring for kids day in and day out, loving them, & providing for them makes them your "own kids" whether they share your biological genes or not.

"But what about that woman who sent back the son she'd adopted from Russia?"

Why you should not ask this question:
Yes, it is a true story, but it is not THE STORY of adoption. The press likes to report on negative stories more than positive. I wish for the one story of the woman sending her son back to Russia that they aired, they would have also shown the stories of the thousands of happy adoptions because those are definitely there to showcase, as well. It is actually very, very rare to have a disrupted adoption and the number of disrupted biological families is astronomical -- the number of CPS kids in my own county is a testament to that. How about if those kids in CPS custody, removed from their biological parents were on TV every day for 2 weeks, the story of how their parents made bad choices, failed them, how the "system" needs to change to better protect them? Now that would be a productive use of the news media!

What you should ask instead:
"What led you to this decision?"
Usually people adopting have great stories to tell. You'll be amazed and if you're truly concerned the couple hasn't thought through the decision enough, well, their answer to this question ought to address your concern.

"Have you been able to find some support networks you can tap into once your adopted child is home?"
All parents in the process of bringing a child home either through birth or adoption ought to have some support networks in place. Parenting is hard! But, this is all the more true for adoptive parents who may face tougher issues with attachment/bonding, cultural issues, grief & loss, past trauma the child has experienced, etc.

and my favorite question you could ask:
"How can I help?"
You could be a part of the support network for a friend or family member going through adoption or fostering a child. For foster parents, you can go through training to be certified as a respite caregiver and then you could give the foster parents a break while you babysit for a few hours or overnight (Did you know foster parents are not allowed to use regular babysitters so they often find it hard to get a break at all and they need it the most as they're often dealing with kids with significant issues?). For adoptive parents, if they are having trouble financing their adoption, you could offer to help with fund-raisers. And you can always support them with prayer, your friendship, and your unconditional love of their new child regardless of how he or she came into their family!

Find more
Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen, Alphabe-Thursday "W"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Great Chapter Books

Are you looking for some great chapter books to read to your kids or for your kids to read to themselves if they're old enough?

We love the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne. Not only do they keep kids interested, but the stories transport kids through time where they are exposed to true aspects of history and science.

My 7 year old just finished reading this one we checked out from the library and afterward we had the best conversation about Mozart and classical music -- even lead to us listening to some Mozart music together!

If you'd like to start at the beginning of the series:

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Is it possible to be loved too much?

Perhaps if you are a blanket.

Meet "Blankie" one of 2 that my daughter has slept with every night since she was a baby (and carried with her everywhere from about age one and a half to three)!

"Blankie" is for bedtime only now, and good thing because Blankie?

You've seen better days!

In your glory days you were a bright pink waffle weave blanket!

But maybe for a blankie these are the glory days when you've become the height of extreme softness by countless trips through the wash and are cuddled every night by a little girl who will except no substitutes for her beloved "Blankie!"

Who knows, maybe some scrap of you will survive to go off with her to college!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.
Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Livin' Large!

It's time for Not Me! Monday (a blog carnival created by MckMama; you can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing - but really have!).

Around here: (Hint: If you get confused, just remove the words in my post that are in all caps and you'll know the truth!)
  • We did NOT pick 16 pounds of blueberries on Saturday (doubling our total from last year)!
  • This is NOT me showing off my nearly full bucket!

  • My children do NOT absolutely love blueberry picking for about 30 minutes and then begin getting a little sweaty and whiney.
  • And when that happened and one of my kids asked when we could go home I did NOT reply with, "When your bucket is full."
  • A cherry cola icee is NOT the perfect ending to a morning of blueberry picking!

  • We did NOT eat the best blueberry pancakes for dinner Saturday night!
  • Also this weekend we did NOT take our biannual family trip to the movie theater and see Toy Story 3. Did NOT love it in a big way!
  • When my husband went to get drinks and popcorn at the movie theater concessions (did I mention we only go twice a year, so it's all-out when we go?!) he did NOT return with drinks the movie theater called size "small" but required me to hold with 2 hands! My 3 year old did NOT proceed to drink nearly all of his during the movie and yet somehow manage to make it to the last 4 minutes of the movie before loudly announcing (for all the theater to hear) that he needed to go potty!
  • He did NOT go at the movie theater and then have to go again about 10 minutes later! No idea how his little body held all that liquid or why my husband (who was sitting by the 3 year old in the movie) let him drink the whole thing!
Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blueberries, bowls, books, and blogs

This weekend we are planning to go do one of my most favorite activities!

Blueberry Picking!

The kids and I have been talking for days about all the yummy blueberry things we are going to make with our freshly-picked berries.

Oh, the happy!

I've already been coaching my kids that they have to fill up their buckets so we'll come home with enough blueberries to enjoy now and freeze some for blueberry cobbler in the middle of winter (or cooked over the gas-stove in the aftermath of a hurricane when the freezer thaws out without the electricity, either way it's super yummy)!

This weekend we'll also be doing this. Feel free to steal the idea if you are looking for a way to help your kids make Father's Day extra-special for your husband.


Want to know a sign you may have a bigger than average family?

You run out of bowls and spoons part-way through each day!

I know it's bad when I contemplate eating my late-night bowl of Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal out of a small mixing bowl!


I know I've shared on this blog that I've recently converted from a regular bookstore person to a half-price books person. Well, I just discovered this awesome summer reading program at the Half Price Books! A $3 store credit for each week your child reads at least 15 minutes per day! My kids love reading and read hours each day, so it will be fun to use the credit to buy some books we can't find at our library.


And speaking of books, my daughter and I have just discovered the best new series of books, The Elephant and Piggie Books. They are great for early readers with simple sentences like, "There is a bird on my head?!" and my 4 year old daughter delights in the fact that she can read them to me with very minimal help! But the best part is the stories are so cute and funny! Most easy reading books lack in story, but these are a gem! I'm thankful our librarian just stocked several at our local library! Here are some favorites we've read so far!


We're wrapping up week 3 of summer and so far it is going great! I'm so glad I didn't sign the kids up for more day camps! They are really playing so well together these days! Last summer I felt like it took a few weeks for them to adjust to being around each other all day every day again but once they did they were the best of friends. I prepared myself for the first few weeks of summer to be squabble-filled again this summer, but it has been a joy with long stretches of time they can play together without me having to intervene!


I'm not really a person who loves change, so I can't believe I'm thinking this. But, I'm contemplating a blog design change. I've noticed more and more bloggers getting away from the busy backgrounds and into simpler, cleaner-looking pages. And now my background design and page/font colors are beginning to get to me; I'm longing for some clean, crisp, white space. I'm striving to simplify and declutter my home, so why not my blog, too? This blog is about all the chaos but that doesn't mean it has to look like chaos! So, if you come by one day and only see white with black writing, you'll know what has happened, I finally snapped and made the time to wade through the html code to change this thing. And if you see anything broken along the way, please let me know that, too, because my computer skills are lacking and I've just learned that sometimes graphics and formatting look fine for some internet browsers but look terrible or can't be read in other browsers. I really just ought to leave well-enough alone!


I love this post from Holy Experience so much, read it at least 3 times! And usually I don't care for music on blogs, but her music? Is beautiful and so peaceful -- definitely turn up your speaker volume!


Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When the Father's Day cards don't fit

I can't tell you how many times I've stood there in the greeting card aisle, opening one Father's Day card after another and none of them seemed fit to send to my dad.

And inevitably a lump would begin to form in my throat as I imagined what could have been, what it would have been like to have a father like all the cards seem to describe -- one who protected me, was always there for me, modeled for me a life of integrity, created a loving family environment for me to grow up in, was someone I could look up to -- but that's not the dad I got in this earthly life, anyway.

But, the good news is, I do have a father who is all those things and so much more!

God adopted me as His child and exchanged my ugly, broken, earthly family legacy for His perfect one.

In case there's anyone else who feels the Father's Day cards don't fit, I'd like to share 13 Bible verses:

Ephesians 1:5
"He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will,"

Revelation 21:7
"The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son."

Galatians 3:26
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.

Ephesians 2:19
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Galatians 4:5-7
To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Romans 9:26
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

Romans 9:8
This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Romans 8:14-19
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ...

John 1:12
But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God,

John 1:13
Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Matthew 5:45
So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Proverbs 14:26
In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and His children will have a refuge.

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

10 Steps To Get Your Kids to Eat A New Food

How to get your children to eat something new (my tested-in-my-own-real-life-with-100%-success method):
  1. Fix your children their usual lunch and have them sit down and begin eating it.
  2. Fix the new food item for yourself.
  3. Sit down at the table with your kids eating their lunch with your plate of the yummy new food that you do not intend to share.
  4. Do not offer them any (this is key!)
  5. Begin eating without saying anything.
  6. It will take about 11 seconds before one of your beloved children will inquire, "Mommy, what are you eating?"
  7. Answer them matter of factly, still do not offer them any.
  8. And wait for them to say, "I want some!" Because they will.
  9. Then reluctantly give them some from your own plate (I did not have to fake the reluctant part because I really didn't want to share!).
  10. Be amazed as they suddenly love homemade hummus, greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola, or grits (the 3 things I've recently unintentionally converted my kids into loving with this method)!
Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

At the end of the rainbow

A sweltering Sunday afternoon

Watching my children play in the sprinkler

Discovering what's really at the end of the rainbow.

Joy on a Monday

It's time for Not Me! Monday (a blog carnival created by MckMama; you can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing - but really have!).

Around here: (Hint: If you get confused, just remove the words in my post that are in all caps and you'll know the truth!)

My 3 year old is NOT completely enamored with his shadow, delighting in pointing it out whenever it appears! I do NOT wonder why we as adults have lost the ability to find joy in our shadows.
My daughter does NOT occasionally exhibit some unusual fashion sense. It's not every day you see somebody sporting a strawberry shortcake hat, Wonder Woman cape, princess dress, and two different dress-up shoes (all while carrying a baby carrier, no less)! But at least she still lets me pick out her clothes most days!

Happy Monday! I'm keeping it short so I can rest up for a swim meet night tonight. I get to spend 4 hours being "team mom" for 34 seven and eight year old boys. Jealous? How about if I add on the guarantee of hearing arm farts for 98% of those 4 hours (the other 2% of the time the boys are swimming)?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Glad it's not my house, or is it?

My kids called me over recently, couldn't wait to show me something in my daughter's room. "Look! Look! Look what we did to the dollhouse," my 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter said through fits of laughter! "We made it all crazy!"

"Yes, yes you did!" I exclaimed as they pointed out each and every thing they did to create all the madness!

But as I starred at that dollhouse all I could think was that sometimes my real house feels like that. Oh, the upheaval and mess that children can create so quickly! "Wasn't this all clean just yesterday?" I'll often ask my husband and he'll validate that indeed the destruction occurred in just 24 hours time!

I really relate to the girl on the dollhouse roof, standing on the chimney. Because, y'all the poor thing is just trying to get away from the chaos! And a little peace, even if you have to stand on the chimney to get it, is a finer thing!

The mess is a small price to pay for the loads of fun they had working together to create it, right?

Well, fun or no fun, I bet that dollhouse mama didn't take her children to the pool until they cleaned up their mess, either!

Of course, that dollhouse mama has worse troubles than the mess in her house, did you notice the giant baby in the attic?!!!

Find more Finer Things Friday and Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friendship in Numbers

I look around the table at my 4 friends,

girls I've known for around 9 years,

Since before any of us had a child.

And now between the 5 of us, we have 15 children, with 2 more on the way!

If I squint I can see us in our former, pre-kid lives back in year 2001.

We were working, career-oriented Jesus-loving young women navigating the first few years of marriage.

And I marvel at how much we've grown up!

Throughout our near decade of friendship we've weathered

job losses,

buying 1st houses,


regular births,



bottle feeding,

sleepless nights,

decisions about returning to work or staying at home,

cancer diagnosis,



countless birthday parties,


children who walk very early,

children who walk late,

easy-going kids,

strong-willed kids,

happy babies,

fussy babies,

the death of a father,

and then another father,

a hurricane,

ER trips with our children,

the sickness of a mother,

the hospitalization of a child,

potty training.

As each of these things has happened in one or two or all of our lives, the experience has been shared by us all.

We've exchanged countless emails, casseroles, recipes, stories, childcare, advice, prayers.

We are close enough to pick up each other's babies when they fuss and make ourselves at home in each other's kitchens.

We are busy and don't get to see one another as often as we used to (when there were zero or just a handful of kids among us!), but when we get together we pick up right where we left off.

And our conversations on this particular night range from very serious to very silly.

We relish the dinner we did not cook and won't clean up from, the fact that our husbands are at home bathing our kids and putting them to bed, the meal without any spilled milk or time-outs, that we actually get to eat while it is still hot!!

We laugh loud and often, we talk so long the restaurant staff begins to stack the chairs.

And so we head outside and carry on the conversation a bit longer there, too!

What a blessing this friendship is; there is something infinitely beautiful about "doing life" with others!

Find more Thankful Thursday and Things I love Thursday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Perfect Reading Spot

Notice anything strange about my daughter's new favorite reading spot?

She climbs up on the counter without the aid of a chair or stool, the little monkey, and this is where I find her, happily reading on the kitchen counter!

Find more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Telling Her the Truth

I still remember the spring she pointed outside and cried out with anguish and tears in her eyes, “Mommy, look!!!!”

I peered out our dining room window expecting to see the gorgeous pink azaleas we’d been admiring for a few weeks, every breakfast and lunch we’d comment on their beauty, my 3 year old girl and I.

But that morning brought an unhappy surprise,
they were no longer pink, bright, glorious flowers,

but brown, wilted, and drooping!

I knew they would die but hadn’t given it much thought.

I didn’t anticipate my daughter’s emotional reaction.

In hindsight, I should have, she has a sweet, sensitive nature.

I should have warned her, prepared her somehow.

I wished for a world where the flowers were always blooming and beautiful

A world for my daughter where there was no loss,

No pain,

No death

No ugliness

But it is not to be

Because my little girl lives on earth right now,

In a fallen world.

And so I took a deep breath

And told her the truth.

Flowers die

This will happen every year.

And we are sad to see them go

but thankful for the time we had to enjoy them.

And, “Look!” I exclaimed happily to her as I pointed out the back window,

“While those flowers were dying in the front yard, new, different flowers were blooming in the backyard!”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Summer is

a good excuse to relax,

a cool blue hat to keep the sun off your face,

wearing flip-flops everyday,

countless trips to the pool,

sticky Popsicle hands,

swimsuits drying on the patio,

fresh fruit served with every meal,

grocery shopping with 3 kids in tow,

no homework,

no lunchboxes to pack,

afternoons spent reading chapter books aloud,

making pasta salad and yogurt smoothies,

pushing bedtime a little later to allow for family game nights,

enjoying uninterrupted time together,

wishing any of my babies were still small enough to fit in that baby float!

Check out more Blue Monday and Making Your Home Sing Monday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm just sayin'!

You wanna know how to have your family appreciate a bit more what you do around the house?

Don't do your kids' wash for 8 days.

And when you finally get around to doing it?

Oh, they'll notice!

My 3 year old literally
cheered as I put clean jammies in his drawer this morning!

Cheered, y'all!

As in he literally said, "Yay! Clean jammies!!!"

The old way, when I did wash once or twice a week and nobody ever ran out of clean clothes?

Well, there was never any cheering.

I'm just sayin'.

And there are only so many times that I can assist my 4 year old daughter in getting a dead roly-poly into a baggie before I have to ask,
"Why do you want to save dead bugs in a Ziploc bag? What is your plan?"

Not that there's anything wrong with having dead bugs you save in a Ziploc as long as there is a plan to go with the dead bugs.

I'm just sayin'.

And in answer to a question she popped on me as we were getting ready to go somewhere:

"No, we don't take anything with us when we die."

"No, not even our bones."

"You know, I really don't know if we'll be squishy in heaven."

"I'm sure God has that all worked out. Don't worry about it."

I'm just sayin'


Dear Neighbors' Cats,
I'm not sure if you know, but this is not your house and not your backyard. I realize our dog is elderly and not much of a threat to you, but really, you mock her by roaming around our front and backyards all day, climbing our swing set, sleeping on our roof. And just what exactly is it about our yard and house that make it so much better than your own? We don't feed you, yet still you come. And just how many of you are there, anyway? We lost count somewhere around 4 or 5. It's not that we aren't animal lovers, because we are. Maybe if you didn't poop in our garden and shed fur on our patio furniture we could be friends.
I'm just sayin'.

Disney from Ruffles and Stuff, I am in awe of your craftiness. I want to be like you. In fact I think I'm going to have to hit the craft store this very weekend for some nylon chiffon!

And Adopt a 'DoCute Girls Hairstyles, I just recently learned of you and oh my word at the adorableness you create out of your daughters' hair. I am inspired, challenged, and tickled pink to have some fun new things to try with my little girl's hair. And your adoption story? Had me in tears! How handsome is your little guy?!!!

I'm just sayin'.

If you want to use your craftiness, or uncraftiness in my case, for an amazingly good cause, check out what Kristin from We are THAT Family is doing. I dare you to look at the pictures of those adorable little girls in Africa in their new dresses and not want to run right out to your fabric store and help provide that for tons more needy little girls. I'll definitely be stocking up during my fabric store run this weekend and sending some supplies Kristin's way (you don't have to make a dress if you don't want, but can just send supplies). I had a goal to sew a dress for my daughter this summer, but reading Kristin's post I started thinking, "My daughter has tons of dresses, my time would be better spent making a dress for a little girl who may not have one at all."

I'm just sayin'.

And if you've made it to the end of this and still have no idea what "I'm just sayin' " means, then check out this explanation. I think it's a Southern thing. It is a magical phrase, indeed!

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


1. I just went a record 8 days without doing my kids' wash. Tonight we had to put my toddler to bed in pajama shorts but a regular t-shirt, and convincing him that could pass as jammies was a challenge!

2. Sometimes when my kids are talking to me I just pretend to listen, nodding occasionally and saying, "Mm-hm" or "Wow!"

3. My oldest turned 7 in February and I still need to schedule his 7 year old check-up with the pediatrician!

4. I've been known to let my kids eat food off the floor.

5. And occasionally I forget to brush their teeth.

6. A few weeks ago I went through the "10 Items or Less" lane at the grocery store with 14 items!

7. I totally rationalized the rule breaking in my mind with, "There are only 2 other lanes opened and several people in line with completely full carts and I have to pick up my son from swim team in 10 minutes!" and I may have even tried to stack my items on the conveyor in such a way so that it appeared I had fewer things!

8. I began embellishing these flip flops
weeks ago with a tulle flower, finished 1 flip flop but ran out of tulle and now 4 weeks later? Still, just 1 flip flop done!

9. There wasn't enough homemade chocolate ice cream left-over for us all to have some for dessert tonight, so my husband and I will secretly polish it off while the kids are in bed!

10. During the school year, some days I would set my alarm for 2:40pm because I was afraid otherwise I'd forget to pick up my oldest from elementary school!

11. On Memorial Day while we were at the beach I encouraged my kids to go pee-pee in the ocean because I didn't want to walk them the long walk to the porta potty and because I have a phobia of porta potties and have been known to "hold it" myself for longer than humanly possible just to avoid using one. My encouragement led to a scene where my 4 year old daughter went running towards the water yelling at the top of her lungs, "I'm going to go potty in the ocean!"

12. I've restarted the dryer 2 times while writing this post, not because the clothes are not dry, because they are, but just because I don't feel like getting them out!

13. When my 3rd child was about 8 months old I accidentally sent him off to the church nursery without a diaper on! Completely dressed in church clothes, but just no diaper underneath! To this day I'm not sure how that happened. I was so thankful a few weeks later when he got promoted to an older baby class so I wouldn't have to face the same nursery worker any more!

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen,
FollowMeFridaysThe Girl Creative

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Summer Plan

This week's Works for Me Wednesday is the "Mom, I'm Bored-Summer Edition".

I try not to over-schedule my kids for the summer because the school year tends to be busy. They will do a week of VBS at our church and they are each doing a week of day camp, my oldest to basketball camp and my younger 2 to gymnastics camp. My oldest does swim team for the 1st half of the summer and my younger two swim lessons. I'm also letting my daughter take once a week gymnastics lessons over the summer because she's been begging me to get her in gymnastics but with taking dance during the school year it is just too busy to add another activity. But, other than those, no other scheduled activities! And yes, that has meant saying "no" to friends who want me to sign one of my kids up for whatever camp their kid is doing!

We will have several days of no activities where my kids can stay in their pajamas all day and enjoy playing at home with their siblings.

We've already been to the library and with how fast my 7 year old is reading through books, we'll likely be going often! It is nice that my 4 year old can read by herself this summer, too, so that is a great quiet-time activity for my two non-nappers when their little brother is napping in the afternoons!

And when we feel like it or get bored, we'll do many of the things from the summer fun list we came up with last year.

Also this summer as a family once or twice a week we are doing The Radical Experiment family devotional series. If you want to check it out click here and then scroll towards the bottom and you will find the "Family Worship Guide Archive".

Find tons of great summer ideas at Works for Me Wednesday.