Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday Thanks Tank #166

I am sitting on my back patio listening to the crickets chirp. I am in a reclining chair, wrapped up in a quilt my mother-in-law made. The night is peaceful. I can hear the clattering of dishes. My husband volunteered to do the dishes tonight. I surprised him with a new recipe for dinner. We had BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches. They were pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. I found the recipe while surfing on Pinterest. The chicken is cooked in the crockpot. I simply love crockpot dishes that turn out well. The recipe didn't suggest to shred the chicken for sandwiches. A commenter made that recommendation so I went with it. Anyway, maybe I'll pass that recipe on. It was simple and tasty.

I had the best kind of day. It wasn't the kind that will be remembered for years to come. It was an ordinary day full of beautiful moments.

Coffee brought to my bedside.
Laughter when I was so tired I fumbled around trying to make the kids lunches.
A good run.
A great swim.
Sweet conversations with my 3 year old.
Giving away packing paper to someone who is moving.
Time to complete a surprise dessert.
Playing at the park.
Tickling with giggles in return.
A beautiful afternoon for watching soccer practice.
My husband getting an errand done for me on his way home.
Dinner with the family.
A very messy chocolate kiss from a 6 year old.
Hugs from my boys.
Putting neosporin on a bad scrape and wiping away the tears.
Reading the latest issue of Southern Living in a relaxing spot on a peaceful night.

It has been a nice day. I am thankful for every bit of my ordinary life.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Funny

I tried imagine that boy as one of my sons... and then my husband...

Oh my stars!

On second thought, maybe I won't learn to knit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Thanks Tank #165

Each Thursday I try to make a list of my thankful thoughts. Sometimes I jot it down on paper, sometimes I share that list here, and other times I just highlight one or two things that I am thankful for. This is my Thursday Thanks Tank.

1. The Gym: I joined a gym this week. I'm thrilled. They have a kids room. My daughter loves going. I mean, it's hard to get her to leave. I am thankful for my new gym membership.
2. Halloween individual sized candies: Ironic that I said that after I mentioned the gym? Probably a little bit telling. But, I love the little sized candies. They are perfect for lunch box treats and momma treats.
3. Quick homemade meals: We had Mr. Food's Sloppy Joes tonight. It's one of my kids' favorite recipes. It's quick and tasty.
4. Craig's List: I mentioned a few weeks ago that we scored our patio furniture off of Craig's List. This week, we sold our nursery furniture on Craig's List. I wasn't the least bit sad, either.
5. The Library: I love the library system where I live. There are so many branches and they are all connected. I've been to two of the branches more than once and I like them both for different reasons.
6. A Good Book: If you want a short based on a true story read, I'd recommend, "In the Sea There are Crocodiles" by Fabio Geda. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished it. It's a story about an Afghanistan boy, beginning when he's 10. The boy went through so much... it's made me think about how many people in the world are struggling to survive. Not to mention, it's made me imagine a boy the age of my son going through what he went through. It's a short but powerful book.
7. Soccer: It's challenging to get everyone where they need to be at the right time... but we are having a lot of fun this season.

I imagine I could share more thankful thoughts if I weren't so tired at the moment.

Take time to be thankful- you will be better off for it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Economic Crisis Hits Home

I have some neighbors that I haven't met yet. Well, I have lots of them. But, there are these neighbors that live near me that I'd sort of like to meet. They intrigue me.

Their yard is in shambles. It's a mess. It looks awful. The grass is not mowed. There is a trailer in the front yard. The kids draw all over the utility box. The place is trashed. Their latest addition is a ceramic owl that has been placed on top of the utility box.

The rest of the yards in the neighborhood look nice.

I've been wondering- How do you let your yard go like that?

Another neighbor told me this week that the neighbors in that house are "good people." It's a sad situation. They are trying to make their house look bad. They are not paying their house payment any more and they figure that if the house looks awful, it will take longer for the bank to want to take it over.

I cannot imagine deciding to go that route. I wonder if it will work and I wonder how bad the place will get.

And then I think, these people are hurting. I hope I can be a friend to them.
I hope I can let go of my disdain. I hope when I meet them I can see them for who they are and not what they are struggling with. Their baggage does not define them.

Forget the statistics, the for sale signs, the posted foreclosure notices on empty houses, this is where the economy crisis is real. This is evidence of pain.

I hope I can be a good neighbor.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Independence and Grace that Never Fails

Every day my 6 year old reads to me. It's part of his homework. We usually do this after dinner and often right before bed. Tonight, he read to me in his room. My 8 year old and my 3 year old were playing. My 10 year old was reading. We were settling in for the night.

At some point, my 8 year old decided to do something else. My 3 year old grabbed an opportunity to try something without asking.

She decided to to shave like Daddy.

That razor that was by the sink this morning- the one that I thought my husband was taking with him on his trip- was right there for her to use.

Suddenly in the middle of helping my son sound out words, I heard the cry that makes a mom jump up and run.

"Moooommaaa! Momma!"

She was walking down the hall. Fear was dripping from her eyes. Blood covered her chin and was all over her hands.

I grabbed her, wet some tissue and began to clean her up. She had "shaved" her bottom lip. She bled and bled. The cut wasn't too deep. It was just deep enough to bleed a lot. It was also in a sensitive spot.

I comforted her. I talked to her about what she did. I gave her my love.

I was thinking over the incident when I remembered - grace.

She tried something without asking. She knew she wasn't allowed to touch the razor. She saw an opportunity and she took it.

She asserted her independence.
And then she felt pain.

She didn't hide. She didn't hesitate. She did not wonder what I would do.
She came to me.
She knew I would be there for her.

I wonder what keeps me from acting like my child? I go my way- this way and that- until I hurt. I entertain myself endlessly with the computer, books, chores and what-not, and then I wonder how long I will stay on the island.

I need child-like dependence, in spite of immaturity.

I need to remember that grace is not a one time gift.
God's love is unconditional- thousands of years ago, yesterday- and right now.

I can come to him, messy with the effects of wasted time, a lack of discipline, or limited faith. I can always come to him.

God's love never fails.

Lamentations 3:22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cinderella (TTT164)

Yesterday, my oldest son walked home from school, only to quickly realize that he forgot a notebook. He walked back to school but came home empty handed. On the way to his classroom he passed by the library where all of the teachers were meeting. He remembered that the last time he returned to school to retrieve something, he was told he was not supposed to come into the classroom without an adult. So, bless him, he followed the rules and did not go to his classroom. Being the sweet, kind-hearted mom that I am, I did not grumble out-loud when I loaded up all of the kids to drive over to the school (walking with all four would have quadrupled the time it took).

My son got his homework notebook and we returned home.

The oldest boy sat at a desk upstairs (because the other kids are too loud for him to concentrate).
The middle boy sat at a kid size table.
The youngest boy sat at the kitchen table.

"Momma, I need your help."
"Momma, can you come here?"
"Um, Momma..."
"Momma. Momma. Momma"

I was running back and forth and darting into the kitchen, as well, because we had to eat dinner early. Soccer game at 6 p.m.

Can you picture it?

Don't get me wrong- I like helping my kids.
It can just be tiring sometimes.

I cannot stop thinking about Cinderella.

A few months ago, I found this fairy-tale blog ( with pictures and reviews of luxury dining and vacation spots. I immediately got lost daydreaming.

I found the blog because I stumbled across a link to one of the giveaways. Boy, does Cinderella do giveaways! Unbelievably huge giveaways. I began to enter the giveaways. Giveaway after giveaway.

"Even miracles take a little time." The Fairy Godmother

On Saturday, I won.

I won a $300 giftcard to the spa of my choice.

"Why, it's like a dream. A wonderful dream come true." Cinderella

My husband is going out of town soon. Given the homework 3 ring circus, the soccer practice and games, the meals, the refereeing (at home, not at the games), the housework, the menial stuff that exhausts me, using part of the gift card when he returns sounds heavenly.

I am going to feel like a princess.

Thank you, Cinderella. Your generosity is unbelievable.

Friends, I'm going to go schedule myself an appointment.
Do yourself a favor, follow Cinderella: Cinderella11pm

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Each Thursday I try to make a list of my thankful thoughts. Sometimes I jot it down on paper, sometimes I share that list here, and other times I just highlight one or two things that I am thankful for.
I am still in shock so overwhelmed with gratitude over winning this spa gift card, this is my Thursday Thanks Tank this week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Crumbs - fragments from a slice of my life

If you leave a helmet in the sun, it will melt. This is not something my kids experienced when we lived in the great rainy NW. The upside, the kids are really good about putting up their helmets now.

We went to a hot air balloon festival on Sunday. I could claim that I wanted to take the family because I thought the kids would love it. I love hot air balloons. I took around 150 pictures and I cannot stop looking at them.

My kids have a lot more homework at their new school. It's great. I think it will help the oldest develop discipline. My second is excited about having extra work. My third son is already benefiting from the daily individual attention with reading and writing. What I cannot figure out is how to help 3 kids with homework and make dinner at the same time!

My Craig's List surfing hobby netted me a patio table and six chairs this week. I got them for 1/5 of the cost they were new at Pottery Barn. I love eating outside with my family. I really love that I got a great deal. It only adds fuel to my desire to be more thrifty.

I've been thinking about going to the Nevada Art Museum. I'm looking forward to going. But, I also know that nothing can compare to creative exhibits in my own home. I ate breakfast with a 3 headed monster this morning. He was created before school by my six year old. Luckily, he didn't eat me.

If you follow a four mile bike ride with an omelet and a latte, is it okay to still feel good about the health benefits of the ride? Just wondering. The combo is a nice way to start the day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Time is Passing

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “
- President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Nourishment for this mother's heart (TTT163)

As we start our walk, I reach my hand out. Her hand grabs mine. It feels small inside my hand. But the touch, the hands holding on to each other, grabs my heart and makes it swell. She's three. She won't be small long. I marvel at the simple, beautiful feeling of her hand in mind. I eagerly pick her up when she requests it. I treasure the connection we have. I adore the way she looks at me when we are going somewhere together.

He runs to me. He a six year old full of energy and excitement. He seizes my hand and swings my arm. His enthusiasm makes me smile. He squeezes my hand. One squeeze, Two Squeezes, Three Squeezes, and then Four. He says, "Do you know what I said?" I smile knowingly and say, "No, what?" He says, "I said, 'I love you most.'" So, I squeeze his hands back, four squeezes. Sometimes I'm saying "I love you, too" but other times, I kid, "I love you more." We are addicted to this game.

He grabs my hand and pulls just me just a bit. "Hey, Momma, can I show you something?" He takes me and shares a discovery or shows off an accomplishment. Other times, he quietly takes my hand and then begins to talk, "Momma,..." It's as if when he has my hand, he knows he touches me deeply. He knows he has harnessed my attention. I listen. I savor the moment. I know that at 8, he won't want to hold my hand in public much longer.

I walk up to him and touch him gently as he is reading. Depending on how he is sitting or laying, I rub my hand over his hand or gently on his back. He looks up, smiles slightly and says, "What?" I say, "Oh, I just want to tell you I love you." At 10, he will hug enthusiastically when I ask for a hug. He enjoys my affection but I usually instigate most of it. That's okay. His expressions tell me everything. I don't stop reaching out to him.

~ ~ ~ ~

Moments like these, fill my mothering heart with joy.
I am thankful.

This is my Thursday Thanks Tank.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Has it really been 8 years?

Where does time go?

On Friday we celebrated my second son's birthday. He turned 8.

Each year on his birthday I am amazed by his growth and strength.

He was born 5 weeks premature. He was taken straight to the NICU. That is where I held him for the first time after my surprise c-section. He endured a year of physical therapy, twice a week for 6 months and then once a week for six months. I used to worry that he'd be weak.

He's an active kid
- that loves soccer

- who rides his bike every chance he gets

- and loves to play

He requested chili for his birthday dinner so that's what we had, even though the temperature reached into the mid nineties. He does not like to get messy. To that end, he prefers not to touch his food. He will eat chicken, if is it cut off the bone and corn if it is cut off the cob. He hates hot dogs. His new favorite candy is Sprees. His favorite veggies right now are snap peas. His favorite fruits are blueberries and strawberries. He eats all of the time. The boy must be growing because he requests seconds and thirds at most meals.

He doesn't get angry much.

He is a tenderhearted boy that puts others above himself. He is the first of my kids to yield when there is an argument. He likes to make others happy. I have to tell him that sometimes, "you can't please everyone so you have to please yourself." On his birthday, he got a gift bag of goodies from his teacher. His younger brother and sister were jealous. I had to stop him from giving everything to them. Every time he opened a birthday gift, he shared the excitement by saying to his siblings, "we will have so much fun with this" and "You and I can..." He is so unselfish; I love giving him gifts.

His biggest challenges right now are his sensitive nature and his health. He is sensitive. He cries easily, especially if you are stern or strict with him. He is also worrier. He faces daily challenges with his peanut allergy (though he has a wonderful attitude about it) and his asthma. He also has a surgery scheduled for Nov. 2. I'd love your prayers for him leading up to Nov. 2. He knows about the surgery but I know when it gets close, his worry could consume him (and maybe me, if I am not careful). I'd love you to pray for that day and his healing, too.

My son is a joy to me. I am extremely thankful for him - and for his love of all things Alabama.

If you are wondering from the pictures- yes, he really does where his Alabama jersey all the time.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: A Milestone

My 10 year old cut the grass for the first time today.

I am a little excited about this.