Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reflection

I am not one for making new year's resolutions, but I do enjoy how the new year gives me the opportunity to pause and consider various aspects of my life...things worth celebrating, things to work on changing, things I'm not so proud of.

Lately I've noticed that I am very "short" with the girls. I have very little patience and just seem to be upset with them a lot (and with Mike too!). As I was considering this, I realized how little I've been taking care of myself lately. I use to go out 3-4 times a month with friends before we moved...in the past 7 months, I've been out with zero friends. Mike and I use to go out before we moved...and since we've moved, we've been out once and that was to do our Christmas shopping. Mike and I had been taking an annual get-a-way...our last get-a-way was August 2007 and we had to come home early from that because Mike's grandpa passed away. The girls and I use to spend lots of time outside during the day and now that I'm working and it's winter, our time outside is limited...and nature replenishes me. And the only time I've had any time to myself was Christmas shopping...hardly relaxing and yet brief periods of solitude is also something that replenishes me.

So this next year I am hoping to begin taking better care of myself, because in doing so I know I will be more a reflection of the mom and wife I want to be...and they'll probably enjoy being around me again too!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One Day

I woke up thinking what a difference one day makes. The temperature has risen a couple of degrees in the forecast, so it looks like it might just be rain and not freezing rain that we will be traveling in. Yeah! My antibiotics are kicking in, so I actually got a decent night's sleep and woke up feeling halfway decent. I also woke up to the laughter of my girls in the other room...that is a beautiful way to wake up! I think they are excited about pajama day at school and the fact we are leaving for Christmas in Michigan as soon as school gets out today. Mike and I are both off today, so I'll be able to finish packing while he loads up the suburban...it will be amazing if we get everything to fit!

Can I also say that for the first time in 7 1/2 years I actually got to be home sick alone. One of the challenging things that I found about being at home with my girls the past several years is that when I was sick, they were still here to take care of. It was so nice to just be sick and rest...all alone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Joyous Time of Year

Oh this joyous time of year hasn't been so joyous the past few days. I am extremely stressed/worried about the traveling weather they are prediciting the next couple of days, I am exhausted from all the prep work from getting ready for Christmas and to travel...by the way, there is still not a thing in a suitcase! And now I am home today with strep throat! I have been miserable the past few days...sleeping awful, hardly eating. I actually made fudge and didn't feel like eating it because I've felt so horrible!

The thing I love about traveling for the holidays though is that I just leave the world behind...no chores or errands or things I should be doing...I get to just be in the moment when we escape town and head North for a few days...and I love that!

And for some reason my blog is doing weird stuff with the pictures in the post below...not sure what's going on our how to fix it...hopefully you can see them ok!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Comes Early






Since we are planning to travel to Michigan for Christmas, and since we can't fit a stage in the suburban, we decided to give the girls their christmas present today! Didn't Mike do a great job with it? Now can someone please take the freezing rain out of the forecast for Wedensday...it would make traveling much more enjoyable!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Governor's Ribbon Cutting

Today was the Governor's Ribbon Cutting for the new Crime lab. Hopefully life will slow back down to it's normal pace for us now! We're in the middle of our 1st winter storm...should be interesting what snow/ice comes our way over night. Click here to see the news story on the crime lab.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Gift

So 30 minutes after my last entry of "A Crazy Week", I received the gift of extra time! Sarah woke up with a fever, very sore throat and a headache. While I am very sorry that she is sick and I'm taking her to the doctor here in just a bit to make sure it's not strep throat...I am so thankful for the gift of time that I have home with her today and tomorrow!

A Crazy Week

I'm glad this week isn't a typical week...it's been crazy. The Governor's ribbon cutting at the new lab is on Monday...so Mike has been working crazy hours and now that they officially moved evidence into the lab...an employee has to be there at all times with the contractors. Guess who that is? :) I'm also trying to get out Christmas cards, finish up Christmas shopping, the girls had their annual Christmas party to celebrate Jesus' birthday last Saturday with their friends and this Saturday we're having Mike's work Christmas party here. I won't even tell you the last time it was since I mopped floors (it's embarrassing!)...I have so much to do to get ready! Both the girls have had total complete meltdowns this week...do you think they're feeling the tension of the craziness?!?!

But work has been fun lately...yesterday I got to help make gingerbread cookies most of the day, today is Santa's workshop where they are making lots of crafts...next week they are going to the theatre to see a movie...and there's a pajama day watching Polar Express coming up too. How much fun is that?! :) And I get paid...wow, how lucky is that? :) I love being in Kindergarten! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Love Lives On...

In Loving Memory of Linda and Heather Baker.
Sometimes I'm still surprised that after 12 years the pain of their loss can still hurt so much. Yet in the silence I can still hear their laughter ringing in my ear, I can still remember laughing with them until my sides hurt. Their love will always live on because their love touched my life. I just wish my girls had had a chance to laugh and love with them too!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Memories

So my Thanksgiving day starts with Mike rolling over and saying "I'm thankful for you today...you're the best part of my life!". Wow, how can my day get better than that? :)

All day long Morgan kept saying "I love Thanksgiving Day...it's my favorite." She loved helping make the food and the "fancy" table (she liked the wine glasses), but more than that I think she was trying to say she enjoyed relaxing and just being together as family. Wow!

And then when we went Ice Skating in the afternoon, Sarah just kept giggling and trying to "catch me" on the ice. Both Morgan and Sarah quickly found their "ice skating legs" again and we all had fun flying across the ice!

Thanksgiving is not a time of the year, but an attitude of the heart.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Favorite Time of the Week

I was about to get on my blog and write about how my favorite time of the week is Sunday evenings when the girls and I curl up on the couch and watch Extreme Home Makeover together. It's just become a sweet time that we share. (Mike disappears to the basement for football...I don't think he appreciates my tears with each show!). And while that is still one of the highlights of my week, there is something that is even more special...and that's those few moments I get to put my kids to bed each night...to listen to them pray with a heart of gratitude, thankful to a creator who's given us so much, thankful to Jesus who loves us so much. Yes, I could easily listen to those genuine, sweet prayers everyday for the rest of my life! Oh how I pray that they will understand Him who is Truth more deeply with each passing year and that they will never cease to be grateful for all that they have been given.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keys!!!

Yesterday, Mike was given the keys to the new crime lab and today they are suppose to complete the final walk-thru with the contractor!!! Now life gets a bit crazy for a few weeks as the patrol now gets the lab up & running and ready for the Governor's Ribbon cutting on Dec 15th. It's very exciting and Mike's going to take the girls and I to the new lab to tour hopefully sometime this next week.

It also means that life will be a bit busier here at home, as Mike will be working longer hours temporarily. And yet today I paused and was thankful that he has been able to work from home these past few months. What fun it was to have him here this summer when the girls were here and we were moving in and he could spend his lunch helping on projects, and how much I cherished the time that him and I had after the girls went back to school - biking over lunch and have uninterrupted conversations, and then when I started back to work...he's been home to give an extra hand in the morning, to get dinner started, to start a load of laundry during the day, to run to the bank over lunch...all these little things helped so much in my transition back to work. And I have been so thankful for the gift we've had of him working from home these past few months. And yet with that said, I think both Mike and I are glad that we get to settle into our new/old routine of him going to work each day!

Have I mentioned lately that I am so proud of Mike, not just 'cuz of what he does, but because of who he is at his core...strong, dependable, honest, at peace. I'm still in awe that I get to spend my life enjoying his company, loving him, falling into his arms at the end of a long day. My heart is filled with gratitude and more.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cute Stuff and Perspective

The girls are always come up with the cutest things. Sometimes I wish I wrote more of them down, but at least I'm taking the time to remember a few here and there. Here's the latest...
  • Morgan asked me if I knew what BSF meant. "No, not really". She informed me it meant "Best Sisters Forever" and she hung the sign on the door (a huge improvement over the Do Not Enter sign she previously had on her door! :))
  • Sarah apparently has a Kangaroo in her mouth! She really has a canker (sp?) sore, but she keeps calling it a "kangaroo". It's so darn cute!
Most days I feel like I'm adjusting well to this new life...in a new community, in a new stage of life, in a new job, etc., etc. But then there's days like yesterday when I wonder if I'll make it through the day. Last night we went to church and during worship the tears just started flowing and I just let them flow for the entire 30 minutes. I was then able to refocus my thoughts from my present circumstances and those things that are making me sad (lack of nearby friendships, not enough time in my day, yelling at my kids too much) to those things which are eternal and lasting. Perspective...it's what I needed last night.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

I got this email a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was the right perspective as we approach today. So while I'm hoping the best Republicans win, here is....

Top 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

ISN'T IT GREAT TO KNOW WHO IS STILL IN CONTROL?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

100 Channels

Today we got satellite TV. So, what's the big deal? Well the most channels we have ever had in 14 years of marriage is 5. Yes, just five! We've used the antenna that came with our TV, until today. It's been kinda fun really...and saved us literally 1000's of dollars. But with the whole switch over to digital...we just can't get used to watching pixelated TV thru our antenna/converter box. Mike is excited about getting Monday Night Football now, the girls are thrilled that we have Disney in our house and I can't wait to watch some of my favorites on HGTV. I'm sure we'll watch a bit too much TV for awhile, but I'm hopeful that we'll still shut the TV off from time to time and keep enjoying all the other fun things we love to do!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ride 'Em Cowgirls!

Here are the girls giggling at the front door waiting for daddy to answer so they can yell "Trick or Treat!". It was a beautiful evening for Trick or Treating! No coats required! We had no school today, so it was a nice, relaxing day and we got our pumpkins carved just in time! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Only $1.95

Yes, our gas is really down to $1.95/gallon. This past July when we moved here, it was running $3.89/gallon...it's like buy one gallon get one free...in less than 4 months! I never thought I'd see gas under $2 a gallon again. I'm glad I was wrong!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quotable Quotes

Here are a few quotes I found online tonight...
  • Reach for the stars because mom and dad will catch you.
  • Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.
  • The laughter of a child is the light of the home.
  • Together is wonderful place to be.
  • Faith makes things possible - not easy.
  • Scatter Kindness.
  • Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
  • Write your worries in the sand, carve your blessings in stone.
  • Be yourself - everyone else is taken.
And my favorite tonight...
  • Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life.
I'm trying to find quotes for my walls...it's so hard to choose!

Gram's Touch of Love


My mom once again painted in the girl's rooms. She didn't do the entire room mural this time...I think she's afraid we might move again (smile, smile), but she did add something to each of the girl's room to make them special. She is so talented!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This n That

My friend just sent me a link to http://www.thecutestblogontheblock.com/ -- It was fun to add this fall background to my blog! :)

My parents are here visiting! It has been great to see them again. They just got here yesterday and will be here for the next week. I am so thankful they take the time to come visit every April and October...it's become a tradition that brings comfort and joy to us! You should have heard how excited the girls were!!

Unfortunately, I just came down with my 1st cold...I wonder how often I'll get sick now that I'm working in the school!?!

The girls got back their school pictures...how disappointing it is that the pictures fail to capture the joy of their smiles, the fun of their laughter, and their giggles that fill their our hearts!

This week has also brought great sadness, as Morgan's teacher, who was due in March with her 1st child, just lost her baby this past week. It's still hard to understand tragedy in this life. It still makes my heart ache and spills out into tears.

Lastly, on a lighter note, I still love Jill Savage's blog. She's running a "marriage wild side" contest this month and I think it's been fun and funny to read the stories! Check them out if you get a chance: http://www.jillsavage.org/2008/10/living-on-wild-sideoctober-contest.html

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lovin' the Internet

I LOVE THE INTERNET! It's hard to believe that 15-20 years ago or so the Internet was a new concept...because I use it everyday...to easily check weather, check my bank account, keep up with my friends on their blogs. I really don't know the last day that went by that I didn't use the Internet. It is one of the most useful and fun resources that I use all the time. Like last night, it's 9:30 and I'm putting my last load of laundry in the dryer...only to discover blue ink all over everything! Apparently Sarah found a broken ink pen and put it in her pocket. So, I check the Internet...hairspray I find gets out ink...and sure enough it did work to get out the ink in our really important clothes...I was amazed. And today we got rid of the last of our moving boxes...I put them on craigslist.com and 3 hours later they are picked up and gone! Earlier this week I searched for games and crafts for the girl's fall party. The Internet has brought such convenience to my life. I know it's kinda silly, but today I have thought about it often and how thankful I am for the access I have to the Internet. :)

VICTORY!! Today we had a garage sale and tonight we actually pulled BOTH of our vehicles AND our boat into our garage! :) That is a great feeling! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mike's in the Spotlight

The other night I'm on my way home and Mike calls... "I won't be here when you get home 'cuz I have a meeting now.", "ok, have fun." "I'm not excited about it, they're interviewing for a news story". Like I said, have fun! :) Neither him nor I like the "spotlight" and avoid it as much as we can, we just have the personalities that enjoy the "behind the scenes, get stuff done" kinda life! But every now and then we're pushed out of our comfort zones! :) With that said, here is the online video of the news story. http://www.kspr.com/news/local/30668404.html

And oh yah, we got $4.68 for our 1st 36 lbs of hulled walnuts and last night we got $15.08 for the next 116 lbs. We should have one more trip, by the looks of what still needs to fall off the tree. They girls are spending their money at Sarah's school book fair tonight.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall in the Ozarks

I keep thinking I need to blog...give an update on the girls...like how awesome of a year they are both having in school, how they were both star students last week in their classes, how I just read 2 really great books, "The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks and "The Shack" by Wm. P. Young (these are both books I'd like to read again and I'd love to discuss both of these books with someone)...how my new job is going...how wonderful it was to come home from work this week and find Mike folding the 5 loads of laundry I hadn't been able to find time to fold (I can probably count on 1 hand the # of times he's actually folded laundry...It's just one of those things I usually do). But to be honest, I've been a bit tired and overwhelmed working full time and trying to figure out how to get everything else done...finding that new routine...so I haven't' felt much like blogging!

Fall has arrived here in the Ozarks! Today we are going to pick up a bunch more walnuts in our yard (our neighborhood use to be a walnut farm...just imagine how many walnuts are falling right now!) and then go and sell them...the girls have high hopes of making money...we'll be lucky if we even get $2 for them! Oh well, it's been a fun thing to do in the evenings this past week. After that we are heading to downtown Republic to Pumpkin Daze, which is the biggest event our town hosts each year.

Oh yah, I love the fresh, crisp air this time of year brings...I find myself breathing deeply when I walk out the door...it's a great feeling!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Life

Ok, I may be repeating myself a lot lately in my blog, but as I tell my girls often, "my heart is just full". It will be good to start my job on Monday and not have all this extra time for dwelling!

I keep telling myself...life will just keep getting better. The sweet moments will just keep coming. Even though everything has been changing, and it's made me very sad at times, I continue forward with hope. I really do look forward to discovering the next chapter of my life here on Earth. But today, I just keep asking myself, "Does life really get better than.... cuddling for an extra hour in the morning because, hey, why not?, sitting at the park with your best friends watching your kids play, having tea parties at a table and chair much too small for me, taking naps in the afternoon, reading story after story in our fort made from blankets, and taking the dollies for walks in the park?" Because right now at this moment, sometimes it's hard to imagine life being better than that. I am so thankful to Mike, to God, that I've had these precious years with my girls. I wouldn't trade them for anything! They went by much too quickly, but I'm thankful I did my best to treasure the times when I could!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Perfect Job

Sometimes I feel like I'm living a dream. Last week when I was going back thru my huge employment folder, I came across a questionarie...and one of the questions was "If you knew you'd die in 6 months, what would you do differently?" You know, other than write a few more letters to my girls and a few others...there's nothing I would change. My life is full of all that important to me and I really feel like I'm living this wonderful dream called my life.

When I heard the Principal tell me the story today of how this position opened up for me... I couldn't help but know it was an answer to my prayers... a perfect job created for me. I've been hired to be a Title I Reading Assistant working with 27 different kindergartners in 4 different classrooms, helping them "catch-up" with the other kiddos. How wonderful that I get to be in investing in young lives...and then even how more wonderful that I get to be here with my own kids, enjoying their lives, when they are at home. Their school hours are my hours. It's perfect. I begin on Monday. I could have started tomorrow, but I needed a few days to finish up a few things!

So why do I find myself in tears now? I think this is the final step in ending this season of my life and a huge step into the new season that has begun for us. I think in a way I'm just grieving the final end of that season and I know soon I'll be celebrating this new season, but first I need a few more tears. I did the same thing when we signed the papers for our new home...left there crying, grieving the final end of our time in Jeff City. And now, two months later, I am enjoying our beautiful new home in this wonderful community of Republic.

Oh yeah, one more thing, last night the girls built a fort and had a "club" which they asked me to be a part of...we had to tell secrets/dreams, share a scary story (about wolves, witches and poison), and then do "homework". It was cute...and fun to be curled up under the pool table laughing with the girls! :) Yes, life is good.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Garden at the Edge of Beyond

I just finished reading the book "The Garden at the Edge of Beyond" by Michael Phillips. It's a fiction story of a man who dies and arrives at the Garden at the Edge of Beyond. What I liked about this book is that it caused me to pause and consider some of the deeper issues of life...of purpose, of God's will, of a journey that only begins here on Earth, how he pointed out "It is towards childhood that we are all growing." It was a short, quick read, and yet it's words will long be pondered as I consider this gift of my life that I have been given.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Amazed...and Loved

So today's been a rough day...I've been crying off and on...missing friends, tired of 'starting over' once again, the whole job thing I wrote about earlier...so tonight at PTO I am practically in tears...for no reason...crazy, I know. As I'm leaving the PTO I think, I really need to hear the song "Who am I?" by Casting Crowns. Last year this song really spoke to my heart...I listened to it over and over until the girls had it memorized! Then I lost the CD. It's been a long time since I've heard this song, and as I'm pulling into our neighborhood...this song comes on the radio! Yes, I was once again amazed...blown away that the God of the Universe would care enough about me to reach down to me at that moment in time and love me thru this song...oh, what deep love I once again experienced. Yes, despite all my current tears, frustrations...they are all temporary...fleeting, in the light of eternity, in the light of His love. So Who am I? This song captures it so well.

Who am I? That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I? That the bright and morning star
Would choose to light the way,
For my ever wondering heart.

Not because of who I am, But because of what you've done.
Not because of what I've done, But because of who you are.

Chorus: I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord you catch me when I'm falling,
And you told me who I am.
I am yours. I am yours.

Who am I? That the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again
Who am I? That the voice that calm the sea,
Would call out through the rain,
And calm the storm in me.

Not because of who I am, But because what of you've done.
Not because of what I've done, But because of who you are.

Chorus:I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord you catch me when I'm falling,
And you told me who I am.
I am yours.

Whom shall I fear?Whom shall I fear?'
Cuz I am yours. I am yours.

Jobs, Careers and Aaahhh!!

I'm in the middle of filling out 3 job applications...and I'm just getting extremely frustrated by the entire process! I have spent over 1 1/2 hours on just one application! It's ridiculous the questions they ask...I mean who really cares what I made 12 years ago at a job? Besides, it's depressing me to look it up and discover that I made more money 12 years ago than what they are offering to pay for the current jobs I'm applying for! And none of these jobs are jobs that I just dreamed about as a child or even a young adult...oh when I grow up I just want to be Driver Exam Monitor! And yet these positions offer me the opportunity to keep my focus on my kids and continue to enjoy these years with them, while allowing me to earn a little bit of money while they are at school. And yet my heart screams...I want both a job that I love and to keep my focus at home. And so I just find myself in a puddle of tears at the moment...having so much experience and so many gifts, and yet not being able to figure out where to best invest my time. Oh Lord, I need some direction and some wisdom!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Camping

We finally got away camping...2 nights of sleeping outdoors and 2 days spent on the water. Does life get much better than that? I know a lot of people don't like camping...but it replenishes me...there's just something about being in nature that feels energizing, something about it that makes me celebrate the Creator and feel closer to the presence of our God. And I love that my girls love to be outside...that they build houses for the bugs they find, laugh hysterically as they sail across the water on the tube, they delight in a star filled sky and enjoy finding the big dipper. Simple, wonderful moments.

And then our neighbors had a BBQ today and what an enjoyable afternoon we had just relaxing in their backyard, developing new friendships. Yes, simple wonderful moments is what this weekend was filled with.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Remember When

I just love these pictures of the girls in their daddy's hand.

Morgan,
8 days old
(6-27-01)




Sarah,
10 days old
(2-21-03)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New Chapter

Yes, a new chapter has begun for us! Our girls are now both in school full time! And just like any good book, I'm filled with expectation as to what the next chapter holds. It's a great story that I'm so glad to be living! Here are a few pictures from this morning. It was so hard to choose just a few!

Our big Kindergartner! Sarah did not want us to take her to school on her 1st day, she wanted to ride the bus with her sister.
I think Morgan would have gladly let us take her on this first day at a new school, but she was brave and eager to help her little sister on the bus. Yes, she really is in 2nd grade already!



The girls are in different school buildings and will be until High School, as there are only 2 grades per building, but they do ride the same bus to school.

Aren't they so cute giggling? It's what I needed to hear this morning!
We had a rainy first day and unseasonably cold weather, I think it will stay in the 70s today...which for August in Missouri, is cold! But aren't they cute walking to the bus stop with their umbrellas?

p.s. Yes, I did cry after the bus pulled away!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Honor and Privilege

Usually I use these words when I talk about being patriotic, what an honor and a privilege it is to be an American. But lately I have been thinking about what an honor and a privilege it is to be a mom and to live life so deeply!

After 7 years of being home with my girls every day, that's all about to change this Wednesday. It's kinda surreal...a season of my life is really coming to an end and yet I know another new season is beginning. How can both girls really be in school full time already? How did this day arrive so quickly? I am so thankful I've had these 7 years with them. So thankful I was able to be at home during this time. My role as a mom is constantly changing, each season no less important than the previous, and yet each season I know ultimately brings me to the point where I work myself out of a job...to a time when I get to see them become beautiful adults with full lives and then I get to share a friendship with them.

Yes, being a mom lets me live life deeply, and so even though I find myself tearful this week, I am thankful that those tears mean I get to love so fully!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Best Friend

Here are a couple of photos from our Anniversary yesterday. It's fun now that the girls can take pictures.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Half My Life

So, Mike and I started dating when I was 17, and this year I am 34 ...so that makes half my life I've spent with him! Today we celebrate 14 years of marriage! It's great to married to your best friend! I have never even wondered about our love for each other...it's there, it's constant...even thru the challenges of this move. And yet this last week, I was once again struck with the thought, we don't just love each other...we are still in love with each other. That has been a thought that just keeps bringing a smile to my face! :)

We've always taken time for the 2 of us on our anniversary, but this year we decided to celebrate our day with the girls by going to Celebration City in Branson. This is the first time the girls have been to a real amusement park, so we are all looking forward to the day. And next week after the girls start school, we're going to take a day for just the 2 of us! :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Letting Go

So, I'm always telling my girls...be brave, you don't know if you'll like it until you try it. Well I had the opportunity to model this value for them. So the other night at the pool, I find myself climbing the stairs, holding on with a death grip as I reach the top, thinking "what in the world am I doing? I'm going to die or seriously injure myself"...and in the next breath reminding myself..."I can do this, I will be ok!" Then I get to the end of the rail and I have to take those last few steps without holding onto anything..."Can I climb back down the stairs?" No...I must LET GO...I must let go of control (literally)...so I look up, the girls are watching, Mike is ready with the camera, so I did it...I let go, walked, jumped and fell and fell and fell and fell...then splash off the high dive into the pool! Water went up my nose, I could scarecly breathe...I swam to the ladder...and I felt victory, and relief (I was indeed alive!). I had let go. I had tried something new. So then I get back to Mike and he tells me "You have to do it again...I missed the picture!" "WHAT?!?!" Yes, all he got was the splash...so here's my "letting go" splash! I have no plans to do it again, but then again, perhaps I will again to remind myself the value of letting go sometimes!
By the way, Sarah also let go of the wall the same night and decided she was ready to try swimming without anyone hanging onto her. She's doing awesome! Also, notice Morgan's missing tooth! :) Here was our parting shot from another beautiful day spent at Stockton Lake today.

Friday, August 1, 2008

This n That

We filled up our car for $3.36/gallon yesterday! It's pretty sad when I think that's a good deal!

After 7 weeks of me thinking, "Surely, Morgan's tooth will fall out today"...it finally fell out last night! Seriously, this tooth hung lower than all her others and last week had turned grey! So glad to see it gone! :) She has a cute grin now. The tooth fairy brought her a $1.

Today I had a job interview. If I could write the prefect job description, this would be it. It was at a Child Advocacy Center and I would have LOVED this position. The interview went well, but the only problem is that it is full time...8-5 and some overtime. I had to step back an evalute, what is important to me in this phase of my life...is it important for me to pursue my career full time, or is it more important for me to still be here when the girls get home from school...to help them process their days, to enjoy their company, to spend the hours I can with them while they are still here to spend time with. How do I want to spend my life? When Sarah graduates HS, I will be 47...that still gives me a good 20+ years to have a career! This is the only chance I have to be a mom. I know a lot of great moms who work full time, but for me today the decision was easy, I cannot work full time and miss out on these years, I'd have too many regrets. So now the job search continues for something part-time. But can I brag...out of 137 applicants, they did choose me to be interviewed! That in itself was an honor! :)

Yesterday the girls and I baked and cooked in the kitchen for several hours. It was so much fun. I love that we now have "bar area" where they can sit on one side and I can be on the other...it's nice that I have my space to work and they have their space to work. They had so much fun, they want to do it again today, so I'm off to bake a Chocolate Zucchini Cake...it's become one of our summertime favorites! :) If you want to stop over, I'll share a piece with you! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Laughter and Singing

Those are the two sweetest sounds in the whole world to me...the sound of my children signing and laughing. They have had so much fun creating projects from all our moving trash. They made these puppets and put on this puppet show...it was "The Dancing Girl with the Singing Snail". They were having some technical difficulties...enjoy the show! :) Note: Click on the arrow button to watch the video.
video

Here are some pictures I've been taking since we moved in. We've been busy painting! Here's pics of their secret hiding spot under the stairs, as well as their new rooms...Sarah's is Green and Pink Flower Garden room and Morgan's is the Turquoise & Dark Pink Hawaiian room.

We're also doing the summer reading program at the local library, which is a bug theme, so for lunch one day, they made bug snacks...caterpillars on logs (grapes on celery) and ants in your pants (bread, pb, raisins). I was hoping I could trick them into eating the celery, but they didn't fall for it! Oh well. Lastly, Mike has been working from home and attending several construction meetings. Here's a view from the new lab he'll be working at.

Monday, July 21, 2008

1st Day of Summer

In many ways, yesterday felt like the first day of summer. I know, it's the middle of July, but finally, we were able to go boating at the lake! It was so relaxing and replenishing...and the girls are loving tubing this year. It was great to relax, laugh, swim, play, and soak up some sunshine as a family. I think we all needed the break away from boxes and painting. It was also fun to hear the girls talk about the memories they had boating with their cousins, Ryan, Aidan and Steve last summer in Michigan. I love their "remember when" stories! Well, I'm off to paint Morgan's room...the color is beach sparkle to go with her new Hawaiian room! :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Only 85 more

Ok, I counted boxes...we only have about 85 more to unpack! Does anyone know where we got all this stuff? Today I got to clean green paint out of Sarah's tan carpet...I still don't know how she spilled the gallon of paint...the lid is still on it! She must of dropped it just right and it squirted out the side. And the situation gave me an opportunity to once again consider grace and the role it plays in my life.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

The girls were just watching part of Mary Poppins, so that song is going thru my head. I love that song! :)

Some unexpected surprises this week...
  • we have front row seats to a weekly rock concert, as a local band practices in their garage behind our house frequently. Mike says they are pretty good. Don't ask me, I can barely keep a beat clapping!
  • Mike got his promotion this week!
  • We've had a date night every night this week!!! We went to church this past Sunday and they were having Vacation Bible School every evening this week and the girls wanted to go. They've had a lot of fun...and we've enjoyed running errands and furniture shopping with just the 2 of us!
  • we put our moving boxes on craigslist.com and they were picked up in 1.5 hours! Well at least the ones we got unpacked so far!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Furniture Shopping

We've been looking for new couches. We went to the JC Penney's homestore and the girls found this "farting chair". Seriously, every time you sit on it, it sounds like you are sitting on whoopee cushion. It's quite hilarious. But now every store we go in they are excitedly (and loudly) looking for another "farting chair". We had to go back to JC Penney's and the girls ran to the chair "the farting chair!" they yelled as they plopped down on it...as 3 sales associates began laughing hysterically. It was a hilarious, embarrassing moment. So I did what any good mom would do, I told Mike I was going to look at curtains and I walked away! (poor Mike!) So then as I'm looking around the curtains a sales lady asks, "So are you the one who has the girls with the chair?" "Yes, yes, I am!". It has been the funniest thing all week! Words don't really capture it, but oh, for the memories! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bed Sweet Bed

After 3 weeks we were all finally able to sleep in our own beds last night!! So even though our new house doesn't quite feel like home sweet home yet, it was great last night to be in my bed sweet bed! :)

I received an email from a family who are missionaries in Ecuador (I met them when they were foster parents when I was a caseworker in Columbia). Debbie was reflecting on the transitions happening in their lives with both their ministry and their own kids growing up. I was moved to tears by what she wrote, because I felt the truth of it, and wanted to share it. She wrote:
Yes, life is full of transition. Yet I pray that you and I remember and respond to this - No matter where we are today, whether it is in a place of great joy or overwhelming pain, God knows where we are. His hand is there to guide, His strength to sustain, His presence inescapable.
Isn't it great how God uses others to encourage us? It was what I needed to hear this morning.

I am planning to mail out our new contact info to everyone soon. We just got our internet hooked back up today. Today I am thankful for the morning walk I had with Morgan, that Sarah wants to have cuddle time with me every day, for fuzzy socks from my mom, for crushed ice, for Mike's smile, and of course for a place to call home once again!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Where will we sleep 2nite?

We're heading to Springfield in a couple of hours and we have no clue where we'll sleep tonight. We will know by noon today if we can close on our new house at 3pm today and the latest we'll close is 3pm next Tuesday. For someone who likes prediction and planning in their life...these past few weeks have been extremely difficult for me. But this time of transition is soon coming to end and I am thankful for that. I wish I was someone who could live in the moment, go with the flow, embrace the adventure of the unknown...but I'm not. Perhaps Mike and Sarah will continue to teach Morgan and I about living in the moment as we go thru life, so we can have a bit more balance! However, I also know that I will always have a "bent" towards those things that are predictable and that I can plan, because that is who I am, and there's strengths in that, as well. But for today I will do my best to live in the moment and enjoy the adventure of not knowing where I'll sleep tonight! :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Home & Friends

Home is the nicest word there is. Laura Ingalls Wilder
That is a quote that I use to have on my wall of sayings, and was one of Morgan's favorite's sayings. In this transition of not really having a home...this quote has found more and more meaning for me. Home is a beautiful place. We still have no close date for our new home, so we continue to be in limbo. We are back in Jeff City staying with good friends for a few days. The girls had a slumber party up in their friends rooms last night, it was so cute listening to them giggle in there!

During our trip to Michigan I had the opportunity to connect with a few people I haven't seen in awhile. While our time together was short, I was reminded of what made each one of them special to me over the years. The core of who they are shown thru and made me appreciate once again the depth they have added to my life over the years. I have been blessed with some beautiful relationships during this journey called life!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Update from Michigan

Some things in life go smoothly...others do not. The purchase of our new home is one of those things has not gone smoothly. The house we are buying is a foreclosure...and there is a debate going on as to who actually owns the house at the moment. Therefore, until the title company can resolve this, we are in limbo. I think everything feels more intense because yesterday we successfully sold our previous home...so in a sense, we are a homeless family (ha, ha!). We are thankful everything did go smoothly on the sale of our house, just anxious to move into our new one.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Full House

The girls are still sleeping, and as I enjoy this quiet morning before the day is filled with squeals, laughter, and bouncing off the wall girls, I couldn't help but think about how full my house is. It's quite strange really, since the movers took most all our "stuff" to storage yesterday. But yet, it is full of all that is important to me. I am a wife and a mom. I have precious friendships with friends and family. How lucky am I? It's not really all our stuff that makes life...it is those around us that make life. And I have the memories. These walls are filled with memories. And besides friendships, it's probably what I will miss the most...the memories this house reminds me of. Lots of firsts here...first steps, first days of preschool, then school, first lost tooth, first pets. And yet our next house will be full of great memories as well. So as the unknown future stretches before me, I encounter a strange peace...God's spirit reminding me that I am never alone. He is always with me and He's surrounded me with many others to share life with. And He will continue to do the same. If not lucky, well then, I am certainly blessed!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not Homeless

Well we finally got word from the bank and we will not be homeless! Here's a picture of our new home in Republic, MO. :) It's on 1 1/2 acres in a neighborhood with good schools. We don't have a close date yet, but we'll definitely be there by July 16th. And this Aquatic Center is only 2 miles from our new home...I think we'll spend lots of time there this summer! The movers are loading the truck today. We're camping out a few days here then heading to Michigan for awhile. Oh yah, Morgan was upset when the moving truck arrived, she told the neighbor "I was hoping they wouldn't come!".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

One More Goodbye

Today has been an awful day. I won't go into all the details...but let's just say it started with a flood in the basement and most of my scrapbook materials waterlogged. But this evening was the saddest when we had just one more unexpected goodbye. Sarah's hamster died. She literally sobbed uncontrollably for 1 1/2 hours until she was almost asleep. We all cried. We buried him in the backyard and made a cross for him. It's hard to say goodbye to your first pet. And then all the emotions of the move on top of it. It was a difficult evening.

I think the movers are coming Monday. We placed an offer on a house and hope to hear back tomorrow. Life is crazy, chaotic and I'm exhausted. But I continue to be thankful that I have Mike and the girls to share this journey with!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dance Recital


"In Dance there are no mistakes, only unexpected solos."

Alright, before we head to Springfield for the next 3 days to find our new home, here's a couple videos of their dance recital last night. For some reason our camera kept stopping at 1 minute...so it's just 1 minute of each of them. Sarah is the 3rd from the left. She's the cowgirl dancing to Happy Trails.

video

Morgan comes out in the 2nd group, then there is a girl in the front and Morgan is just slightly behind her to the side. She is the princess dancing a Valse from Sleeping Beauty.
video

Friday, June 6, 2008

Just 2 Weeks

Wow...I hardly know where to begin. Maybe because I don't even know how I feel. Relief, Joy, Grief, Tension, Fear, Overwhelmed. I did sleep until the alarm went off this morning, which is the first time in weeks I slept thru the night...yeah! Well 2 weeks from today (June 20th) we will be out of our current home. (We should have a signed contract by the end of the day, right now it's just verbal). So finally after months, actually years, of waiting for this time...it's here. We're really leaving. We are going to Springfield Sat, Sun & Monday...to find our new home. And then we'll be figuring out all the details. Morgan's birthday is June 19th and she is having the hardest time with this move, so I feel really bad about all this chaos surrounding her birthday. We leave on the 20th for Michigan. Mike has a class and we're all going. It's only 10 minutes from my sister and an hour from my parents, so that should be fun. So if all works out we'll be able to close on a house in Springfield on the 30th when we return to Missouri. But meanwhile, what do I do with the pet hamster? He might be taking a road trip! :)

I also must say how much I appreciate my husband. He is so calm and steady and reassuring. He said all the right things yesterday. I couldn't imagine anyone more wonderful than him to share life with and for that alone I feel so blessed!

The girls dance recital is tonight. That should be a fun diversion from all this chaos!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Deeper Thoughts

Even as I sit to write this, I'm not sure what I'm going to be writing about. I just have a lot of thoughts in my head that I need to sort out! :)

First, in my quiet time this week, I once again came across this prayer, which I love:
"Lord, Speak in my words today, think in my thoughts and work in my deeds. And seeing that it is your gracious will to make use of even such weak human instruments in the fulfillment of your mighty purpose for the world, let my life today be the channel thru which some little portion of your divine love and pity may reach the lives that are nearest my own." - John Baillie
People are often asking me about the move, if I'm excited about it. It's been a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, I truly believe that this is the right thing for our family. In the big picture, things will work themselves out, we will move on, we will live a great life. And this is a great opportunity for Mike and he's very excited about it. In some ways, I even feel like Esther in the bible who is being called "for such a time as this". And yet in the short-term immediate future, I am having trouble trusting. Almost every morning I wake up and pray "Lord, you know I want to trust you, but Lord you also know my doubts. As I come honestly before you, please help me find a way to trust you in the hear and now with our house selling and buying." And if I'm really honest, the reason I'm having trouble trusting was because 10 years ago I prayed for Justice at a trial...something to me that seemed like an obvious, easy request for God to grant. And yet at the trial, justice was not granted. My prayers were not answered. I have worked thru so many issues with the trial...grief, anger, grace, forgiveness,...and yet this issue of trust still lingers 10 years later! And while I believe one day I will ultimately understand and I can trust Him for long-term, as "His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts" and yet his heart for me is love, yet it still makes trusting for short-term things hard. Our house might not sell this summer. I might have to grieve that things are all neat and tidy and Sarah's Kindergarten year begins with uncertainty. And yet I know we'll get thru it, I know life will be great, one day we might even laugh about this time (although I find it doubtful at the moment). All I know to do right now is be honest before God and to fill my head with His truth. Here are some verses I'm leaning on.
"Cast all your cares on him 'cause he cares for you." 1 Pet 5:7
"So do not worry, saying "what shall we eat?" or "what shall we drink?" or "when will our house sell?". Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Matt 6:31-2
"Trust in the Lord... lean not on your own understanding... acknowledge him... he will make your paths straight." Prov 3:5-6

Friday, May 30, 2008

House Hunting

Today I spent 3 hours (again) cleaning our house for people to come and look at it. The girls are actually a big help these days...dishes, mirrors, vacuuming...it was so nice (and they even had good attitudes!). We still haven't found anything yet in Springfield, but my mom found one that might be a possibility...check it out! Since I had been crying about this whole process 30 minutes before this email came today...it was good to get it and smile again! Thanks, mom!
I just showed this picture to the girls..."look at the house Grandma found for us"...they were so excited...they thought I was serious! Now that is hilarious! :) Morgan wants to know how much it cost...I told her, I'm sure we could afford it! :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Wow, I love my digital camera, really I do...but we took 80 pictures in one weekend...sometimes I'm shocked at how many pictures we take with our digital camera. Oh well, more to share with you!

Well school is out and summer is here. Here are a couple of photos of Morgan's last day of 1st grade. Her best friend is Sammy -- she's in the orange/blue.


We also tried out our new "trail-gators" this weekend...a bar that pulls the girl's bike behind ours. We had fun pedaling on the Katy Trail.

On Sunday we got to share in Karen's wedding (she is a friend of ours who works with Mike.) It was a windy, but beautiful day. The girls had fun dancing. Here they are dancing with Darian (their babysitter, whom also works with Mike).
And today Sarah had an Adenoidectomy (her Adenoids taken out). She is doing great...I keep having to remind myself she actually had surgery this morning! She hasn't complained at all and she hasn't needed any medicine. She's had lots of fun playing with her sister on this first day of summer! Isn't that awesome?! :)
(sorry if the text doesn't line up with the photos...I can't figure out how to get it to line up every time correctly!)