Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Thanks Tank #126

Every week I take time to appreciate my blessings. Each Thursday I make a list. This is my Thursday Thanks Tank. The list looks different from week to week -sometimes I write lists on paper, sometimes I make a mental list throughout my day, and sometimes I . No matter how I write it out, my Thursday Thanks Tanks are a glimpse into my thankful heart.

I had a lot on my mind today. It was a busy day- but then, I seem to have more busy days than slow days.

My husband got home from work and suggested that I ride my bike.

I took this picture (with the camera on my phone):

Tonight, I am thankful for the rainbow I saw on my bike ride. I am thankful that I didn't hesitate to go on the ride. I spent time thinking and praying. It was just what I needed. I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for solitude. I am thankful for time outside. I am thankful for nature. I am thankful for little things that make a big difference. I am thankful that God knows what I need even when I don't.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Science Experiment Birthdays

My oldest turned 9 last week. He didn't request a big party. He wanted to invite a few friends over for a party at home. At first, it sounded nice and easy to me. Then, I wondered, "How am I going to make my 9 year old's birthday fun?" I wanted it to be different than a simple play date with friends. My husband (he's awesome) thought it would be easy to entertain the boys.

With boys, all you have to do is think messy.

The boys made: Homemade Snot, Crazy Putty, Volcanoes, and Coke Explosions.

Homemade Snot

Crazy Putty

Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcanoes

The kids had fun with the experiments. 3 nine year olds, a 6 year old and a 5 year old were completely captivated by the activities. (My two year old daughter was still napping during the snot and crazy putty experiments.)

The coke explosions were everyone's favorite. They "worked for me" because they were easy and cheap and exciting.

Diet Coke Explosions
Diet Coke (you can use regular but diet coke works best)

We did the project 3 ways.

Coke Explosion 1) For each person, use one small bottle of diet coke. Poke a hole in the lid and in 1 mento candy. Then, put string through the candy and tie a knot at the bottom of the string. Pour a little bit of coke out. Then, pull the string through the lid such that the candy is pulled up and does not touch the coke. Put the lid back on the coke and when ready, drop the mento into the coke. The coke shoots up and out of the hole in the top of the lid.

Coke Explosion 2)
For this project, use one 2 liter diet coke and about 10 mentos. Tape about 10 mentos together. Quickly push (or slam) them into the 2 liter (without the lid on).

Coke Explosion 3)
For this project, use one 2 liter diet coke and about 10 mentos. Tape the 10 mentos together and tie a string through the tape. Pour a little bit of the coke out. Poke a hole through the lid and put the lid on the coke without letting the mentos touch the coke. Drop the mentos in the coke. The coke shoots out through the hole in the lid.

The kids will dance in the coke rain before you have a chance to stop them.

Be sure to check out other Works-for-Me Wednesday posts at Kristen's We Are That Family blog

Friday, April 23, 2010

Full Friday

I missed posting my Thanks Tank yesterday. This is a very full week at our house. We are celebrating.

My third son turned 5 on Wednesday. My oldest turns 9 today. My heart is full of thankfulness for my boys. On their birthday's I make sure to get a picture with them.

Here's me with my proud 5 year old:

Notice how he smiles so big he closes his eyes? I love that.

Here's me with my happy 9 year old. I almost forgot to take this picture. It was right before he walked out the door to go to school.

We are celebrating my 9 year old today. I cannot believe I have been a mom for 9 years. Wow, time flies!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fantastic Five

We had a fantastic day celebrating a five year old.



A Pinata:



One Very Happy Five Year Old:

When his friends left he said, "I had a good birthday didn't I?"

He said, "Everything about today was GREAT."

When I asked him what made him feel special, he said, "Because I'm FIVE."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Dose of Perspective at McDonalds

Years ago a mentor of mine emphasized a motto about perspective. He said "Perspective is reality". He said it and meant that each person's perspective is their reality.

I had a little lesson in perspective today.

I consider myself a handicap aware person. I am conscious of those that are handicap and I often notice when handicap amenities are not what they should be. My dad suffered a stroke almost 7 years ago. He has paralysis on his left side of his body. His journey through stroke recovery and survival has had a tremendous affect on me. That said, I get really frustrated when I see people use handicap parking places when they don't need them. It irritates me. I usually give the people the "evil eye" and grumble to myself about how people can be so inconsiderate.

Today, in between soccer games, we took the kids to McDonalds. I was driving and my dad was in the passenger seat. Naturally we parked in the handicap spot. His handicap tag was in clear view hanging from my rear-view mirror.

After we ate, we let the kids play. One of us needed to run to the house to pick up cleats and a uniform for the next boys' game. I volunteered to make the quick trip.

I walked briskly out to my car. As I got in, I looked up to see a group standing on the sidewalk giving me the evil eye. I wanted to explain. I felt like saying- 'hey, my dad's inside'. It was crazy. From their perspective, I was abusing the handicap parking tag sign. I drove away, slightly amused at the judgement I received. When I came back I again, I parked in the handicap parking place. That would be the easiest place for my dad to get back in the car. Sure enough, there were different people around but they gave me the same looks of disapproval.

Maybe I imagined it. Maybe, I didn't. Either way, it was a nice reminder that I don't have the perspective of other people. I often make quick judgments based on the limited knowledge I have.

My perspective is my reality. I cannot account for what I don't know. But, I can be more willing to accept that I don't know the full story.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Thanks Tank #125

Every week I take time to appreciate my blessings. Each Thursday I make a list. This is my Thursday Thanks Tank. The list looks different from week to week -a large list, a small list, a list including photos, explanations of my thankful thoughts or a few simple words for each blessing. No matter how I write it out, my Thursday Thanks Tanks are a glimpse into my thankful heart.

Today, I am especially thankful for my parents. I am thankful for their safe travels. I am thankful for their willingness to travel, especially since traveling isn't easy on them. I am thankful for the smiles and the excitement of my kids. I am thankful for the love they show me and my family.

Here's a sweet picture of my daughter with my parents. The took the airport shuttle to local a hotel. This picture was taken when we got there to pick them up. I think it's precious.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

True Story Tuesday: Excuses, Excuses

I'm linking up with Once Upon A Miracle just to tell you what's going on at my house. I'm taking a little liberty with the True Story carnival. I'm supposed to tell you a "something hilarious, amazing, outrageous, miraculous, and (mostly) true" that has happened to me.

Well, it is "amazing, outrageous, miraculous, and (mostly) true" that I haven't lost my mind this last month.


For the last month (and much, much more), I have been focused on this:

It was a huge success. We raised $6000 for our school. (Yep, this PTO President has been walking around with a big cheesy smile on her face.)

Back to my story (excuse)-

I need to avoid the internet today because, the truth is, my house has been neglected for the last month (or more).

This is more or less what my kids' rooms look like.
(By the way, don't google "messy house" unless you want to see some disgusting pictures.)

My house has been neglected and I am getting ready for company. My sweet parents are coming for a visit. They will be here in two days. They are coming from the other side of the country -about 3000 miles or something close to that.

The truth- When I coordinate an event for the school, I end up with a neglected house. I have more to do than can be done. If you visited my house in the last week or so and didn't think it was that bad, it simply means I played a successful game of "stuff it and move it" so none of my junk was visible in the living room and kitchen. My house was neglected. My kids weren't
(whew, right?).

What matters- 1) The PTO earned a lot of money for the school. 2) I cannot wait to see my parents.

True Story Tuesday loyal bloggers, thanks for letting me play along. I wanted to blog but all I could think about is my house, the mess, the PTO event, and my company coming.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Super Proud

My Kindergartener's homework assignment this week: "Homework this week will be to write about the job of someone in the family. It could be grandma or grandpa or some other family member. Be sure that you don't help with spelling. Instead help your child listen for the sounds in the words as they write."

My son wrote about his uncle John.

I am a super proud momma and a super proud sister-in-law. My brother-in-law is a pilot in the Air Force. I appreciate his dedication to his job.

It was also perfect that my little man wanted to write about Uncle John this week. Today is his birthday.

Happy Birthday Uncle John!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thursday Thanks Tank #124

My list is short this week but what I am thankful for is huge:

1. Outdoor Safety Fair: I am thankful for the many, many people that are helping put together the Outdoor Safety Fair at our school. It is sponsored by the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). At the fair, we are raffling off 15 baskets that were created by the classrooms. I am the PTO President and my husband is the Coordinator for the event. I have to say, I am very thankful for my husband and his willingness to be a part of the safety fair. If it wasn't for him, I'd be certifiably insane right now. I have been consumed with organizing the basket raffle and and safety fair for weeks. It would not be possible without all of the volunteers we have.

2. Sarah's surgery was successful: My niece, Sarah, had a swallow test this week. The test showed that she is swallowing liquids completely normal. The surgery to repair the laryngeal cleft was completely successful. They will begin the gradual process of putting less thickener in her drinks. If all goes well in a few months, then she should be able to drink completely normal drinks. She will also be able to have things like soup, fruit, and ice cream. Ice cream!! They are looking forward to a fun summer with popsicles and ice cream.

3. Easter is not over: "Easter is not over" has been running through my mind all day. Yes, we had a nice Easter celebration. I am feeling inspired to continue to celebrate. Not only is death not the end, the resurrection is not a one day celebration. (I want to write more about this... maybe sometime after the big safey fair.)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
1 Peter 1:3

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What-in-the-World Wednesday

Monday my husband picked up a book at the library that was reserved for my 8 year old son.

Tuesday morning at breakfast, my son, beaming with excitement, thanks me for asking Daddy to get the book.

Tuesday morning before school, my son opens the book and starts reading.

Tuesday afternoon on the short drive home from school, my son finishes the 278 page book.

Tuesday afternoon, my son willingly waits for me to get the camera because he is so excited about finishing his book.

He read a 278 page book in one day at school.

I asked him if he got any school work done at school.

His teacher's only complaint about my son during conferences was that he reads so much that she has to remind him not to read during class time.

I drilled him with questions.

He said that he just read during one recess. (That's the deal I had to make with him a few weeks back when he was reading Narnia: "Play at least 1 recess.")

He said that he got to read when his class was working on spelling because he did the work the day before.

He said that he read in all of his "spare time".

He said that he is not allowed to read during lunch.

He said that he still paid attention during "sharing time" because he can read and listen.

I asked him if his teacher had to ask him to stop reading.

His answer?

He had a substitute.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Go Vote

Voting is a privilege and responsibility. We need to take it seriously. We should vote every time we get the chance. The more you do it, the more habit forming it becomes.

Because I am such a good friend, I am going to help you hone your voting skills.

Who am I kidding?

I want your vote.

Will you go vote for my cousin, Christine?

She is featured as a top 5 Etsy find on Linda B's Jewelry Designs blog. The item that gets the most votes will determine which artist gets interviewed on the blog for a "solo blog feature".

1. Go here: Top 5 Etsy Finds Vote

2. Vote for #2, the floral skirt. To vote, just enter a comment saying you like the skirt best.

Check out the other items. They are all excellent. Just, leave a comment for the floral skirt.

Let your (my) voice be heard. You will feel good about voting (for the skirt).

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Wilted Flowers: A reflection of myself

It shouldn't have happened.

I bought some tulips last week. They were white. They were beautiful. They added life to my house. I felt refreshed when I looked at them. My house grew into a chaotic mess all week and the flowers were a focal point for me. When I looked at them, I felt peace. They were beauty in the middle of ugliness.

I kept them on the table most of the week. They went from the table to the counter and back to the table again before and after each meal.

The flowers made me smile.

And then, I moved them. I put them on the window sill in the kitchen.

I left them there, slowly dying.

Tonight I looked up and thought, "That shouldn't have happened. I should have thrown them out days ago."

The flowers are a picture of death. The beauty is gone. I look at them and realize I am too consumed with my busy schedule to throw out old flowers.







I hear the words loudly. I realize that even in the midst of Lent and looking forward to Easter, I have been self-centered.

The dead flowers are meaningful again. They remind me of Christ's death. They remind me of myself.

It's shouldn't have happened. I am so glad it did.

There's no beauty in death.

On Easter, I will celebrate life.

There is beauty in resurrection.

Tonight, I am struck by the sadness of death. Tonight, I anticipate a new beginning.

Tomorrow, I will replace the dead, lifeless flowers with a living plant.

I will focus on the beauty of life.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Our April Fool's Day Dinner

My 8 year old has been talking about April Fool's Day for weeks. He's been dreaming about playing pranks. First thing this morning, he put crackers in my freezer.

I decided that it would be fun to play along.

Tonight was pizza night at our house.

The trick pizza:
sugar cookie, cream cheese/sugar mixture spread and fruit and chocolate toppings

The trick drink:

My husband showing the kids the pizza choices:

Revealing the pizza joke:

One by one the kids discovered their red kool-aid wasn't kool-aid.

My 4 year old got upset when he found jello stuck in his straw. It took a few minutes to get him to understand that he was going to get another drink.

My daughter was really confused by the drink she couldn't drink.

She figured it out.

The kids loved the April Fool's Day dinner. They all agreed that the Jello drink was the best joke of the day.

While finishing his dinner, my 8 year old said, "Momma, after dinner I'm gonna give you a great big hug."

I had fantastic time laughing with my kids. And, the hug was better than the dessert.

This post is linked to Ann Kroeker's Food on Friday Blog Carnival. Head over there to check out other food related posts.