Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rockets and Springtime

In honor of space shuttle Discovery's last lift off today and the hope of Spring that is just around the corner, I present this poem.

Back when I was in school, guessing Jr. High - but could be before or after that, I had to memorize a poem.  I don't know who wrote it and I'm certain I don't remember all the words - but all these years later, this is what I do remember. and I still think it's beautiful. and I'm glad a teacher made me memorize it.

Fueled -
by a million man-made wings of fire,
the rocket tore a tunnel through the sky.
and everyone cheered.

Fueled -
only by a thought from God,
the seedling pushed its way
through the thickness of black.
and no one even clapped.

I'm also changing my blog background to something 'springy' because here in the Ozarks, some buds are decorating the trees and some bright green leaves are pushing their way thru the dead leaves in my flower beds, and my heart is longing for the fullness of Spring.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Daughter Grows

Tonight I am celebrating the growth I see in Morgan. Academic growth, specifically.

Three years ago, I was worried. You see, she has a summer birthday and when we sent her to school, we knew she was young, but we also saw her as smart and capable. Kindergarten was fine. Then came first grade. Oh my. The tears. The struggles. I questioned if we had done the right thing. Perhaps we should have waited another year to send her to school.  I even blogged about some of her math struggles.  You can read about it here or here.   Tonight, she came home and out of the 23 in her class she was the 4th one to pass her multiplication timed tests!!!  She is so proud. And so am I.  She's most excited that tomorrow she just gets to 'sit there' while others continue to take their tests.

And then there's reading. I have read to her since the moment she opened her eyes in this world. Then she would spend hours just picking up books and reading them the way toddlers, preschoolers and young readers do.  Then she had to 'learn to read' and that was when she began hating to read! She wanted nothing to do with reading. She stopped loving to read and my heart was breaking. How can my daughter NOT love reading?!?! It was a gift I tried so hard to instill in her.  But no, reading our 'required minutes' for school became a struggle. Major struggle. 1st grade. 2nd grade. 3rd grade. and now she's in 4th grade. I've seen small growth through the years, but tonight when I yelled into them, 'you girls need to get into bed and start reading', I almost got tears in my eyes when she yelled back, "I LOVE READING!!!"  I guess sometimes the gifts we give our children just take awhile to bloom. I think I will need to remember that many times over the coming years.

And then there's standardized testing.  For the first time this last month, her scores actually reflect what her teachers have known her capable of and see often in the classroom.  She still has test anxiety. But she is overcoming.

I am so thankful for the beautiful teachers - Ms. Thye, Mrs. Estes, Mrs. Casella and Mrs. Long who have invested in her, encouraged her, believed in her and helped her get to this point. For all those seeds they planted and tools they gave her, my heart is filled with gratitude.

And as long as I'm writing about Morgan. This weekend is going to be another 'letting go' time for me. She is going, by herself, with her girl scout troop to St. Louis. She's never travelled that far without us, or been away for that long, by herself. I know she's ready and so excited about it.  But, it doesn't make it any easier for my heart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Just this a selfish dream of my own, or do I feel it so strongly, because it is a dream God has placed in my soul?!


So most of our married life we only had 'rabbit ears' on our tv. It was a choice both to not let tv overtake our life, as well as spending our money on other things instead. When the switch over happened to digital tv, our converter box wasn't working well, so just over 2 years ago, we got dish network. We loved it - all the channels, the DVR, it was fun. But our bill had 'grown' to $52 a month...ridiculous, for something I dont' feel is really all that healthy and doesn't really promote family time.  Oh don't get me wrong, we certainly enjoy family movie nights, I love watching Cake Boss with the girls and I love them watching morning cartoons so I can snuggle in bed longer. Mike enjoys ESPN and channel surfing. But really, over $600 a year, for tv?!

Well Mike's co-worker, Jason, built these digital tv antennas - so last week, Mike and I spent one evening making one for us!! It only cost us $15, we get 10 channels AND they come in REALLY good - the basics: fox, abc, nbc, cbs and pbs. plus a few others. We're also paying for netflix ($8/mo), which we can stream movies thru our bluray and wii. Saving us over $500 a year.  And don't worry, this lovely antenna does not stay in our living room - it's safely tucked away in the attic!!

If you want to try it...just search "digital tv antenna" @! I was surprised at how easy it was to make!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Memories

1992. My 18th Birthday.
Our First Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Banquet - Church Youth Group

Summer 2010. Still friends all these years later.
and both still happily in love.

And if you could see my finger...I'm still wearing the amythest ring Mike gave me that very first valentine's birthday!! This birthday will include: volunteering, lunch with a friend, girl's school valentine parties and dinner out with Mike and the girls. Glad for birthdays and a chance to celebrate this amazing journey called life!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sarah is 8!!

A few random things I wanted to capture about Sarah's birthday.

I put these quotes on facebook, but I wanted to write them here to 'capture' them in time.
  • Sarah's goodnite quote: "Good night momma - this is the last time I'll see you until I'm 8!!" (which will be in 3.5 hours! or when she wakes up in 10.5 hours! Her excitement has been giggling out of her all day!! :))
  • Quote #2: "I can't wait to wake up in the morning!! 'cuz there will be balloons and streamers in my doorway!!! eeeee!!!" ~ Gotta love traditions!!
  • Sarah's Morning Quote (with a smile as wide as the ocean): "I've been waiting all year for this day!!" Love birthdays that let us pause and celebrate life's journey!!
She had her first sleepover for her 8th birthday. I only let her invite 8 friends - it was so hard for her to chose just 8!! Here are a few pictures to help me capture the moments.

Sleepover Breakfast

The balloons and streamers
 in her doorway.

Gotta love all the pink packages
at girl's birthday parties.

Ice-skating birthday cake,
with love, from Darian.

Celebrations are meant to be shared!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Early Birthday Present

So, I'm the kinda gal who likes to actually get her presents on her birthday. I like the waiting, I like the surprise. It's fun. BUT, this year, I got my birthday present early...really early. Like 3 weeks early!! And it's been so much fun!!! Yes, Mike got me an iphone for my birthday!! I still can't believe it!!

We were still the family that had pay-as-you go phones. We bought a 1000 minutes at a time and they would last around 9 months - pretty good deal for only $100. So taking the leap to actually get a smartphone was a HUGE deal.

You see, it's something that I know we didn't need - we could easily live the rest of our lives and be happy without a smartphone.  But it became something I really wanted.  The convenience. The accessibility. The fun. I'm excited that we'll actually have coverage when we travel now, because with our old plan, we never had coverage when we traveled.  I'm looking forward to having access to maps, geocaching, restaurant and hotel locators when we travel this summer to the Grand Canyon.  It has a camera, music, weather, news, a bible - all at my finger tips. Mike is already addicted to 'angry birds' and I love having access to my email and facebook when I have a break subbing at school.  The girls have been fun with 'simon says' (you know the old push the correct color in the correct order game) and checkers and netflix videos. I've been amazed at all this little phone can do!! It really is incredible, the technology of it all.  and I'm so thankful we found a way to work it into our budget!!

Mike still has 400 minutes or so to use up on his pay-as-you go phone, then we're actually considering dumping our home phone and just going to cell phones. A lot of people are making that switch - I don't know why it's so hard for us to do. Will our grandkids even know what 'land lines' for your phone are? I noticed on a form the other day, it didn't even have a place for a 'home phone' any more - it only has a place for a 'cell phone'. Times are definitely changing...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekend Memories

Okay, so we cheated. We did get on the computer this weekend.  But you see, Mike found this old floppy disk that had these letters I had typed on it to him when we were dating, and he found a way to convert them into a word document, so we got to read these fun old letters!  The last letter I wrote on there was five days after he had proposed to me (Jan 13, 1994).

Well the funniest part, was a p.s. on one letter that said "p.s. I'm almost 20!!!" It made me laugh out load as I told him not to worry, I wouldn't be putting no "p.s. I'm almost 37!!!" in any letters to him this year! To which he responded (and is my favorite quote of the weekend) "p.s. You're almost 37 and still hot as ever!!" Oh, for the compliments I don't deserve, but sure make me smile!! :)

Another favorite memory of the weekend was going for a walk at 10pm at night, as the giant snowflakes fell down all around us. Oh the peacefulness of the earth blanketed in white, walking hand in hand with the one I love more than life itself, laughing at our crazy beagle, desperately searching for something to sniff on the snow covered road, and trying to catch snowflakes on our tongues. Simple moments of togetherness.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Taking Time for Us

This weekend will soon tv, no computer, no phone...and NO KIDS!! It's our annual Valentine weekend getaway (a week early!!). And though we've had fun the past 4 snow days at home, I'm REALLY glad my girls will be away this weekend!!

The way Valentine's Day falls this year on the calender, next weekend is going to be for celebrating Sarah's 8th birthday, picking up over 1600 boxes of girl scout cookies and getting them to my troop and delivering ours. It's also getting closer and closer to Darian's due date, so the sooner we 'escape' the better chance we have of being able to still getaway! 

We're trying to save money for both a newer car and our summer vacation to the Grand Canyon, so Mike and I decided to do a staycation this weekend.  There's lots we often want to do in our own town and don't take the time or spend the money to do, so we thought we'd try a staycation and see how it goes!  The whole point is togetherness...taking time for us, spending uninterrupted time together, for investing in our marriage,  for remembering why we fell in love 20 years ago...and I can't wait!!

But first, the reality of cleaning up the house that seems to have exploded from the past four snow days of being at home!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Dayz!!

Nine inches of snow. Frigid temps. Blowing snow.  Biggest storm we've seen  in several years. I love it! The world slows down. The earth is blanketed in a peaceful quietness. Inside my home I am safe and warm as a truly remarkable thing called electricity kicks on my furnace and this gift called 'heat' pours through the vents in my house.

The days are filled with the sound of happiness. I say 'yes' more often to my kids requests. We stay in our pjs too long. We work on valentines day cards. Which are looking super cute by the way!! We finally get a chance to make snow ice cream. Mike's bringing home some whole chocolate milk to make some more snow ice-cream tonight. Friends come over to play. Playing wii. Playing Apples to Apples Jr.. Playing make-believe. Being creative. They stay for lunch. They head outside. Build snow mountains. Now, silence fills the house as the girls are snuggled in their beds reading, an afternoon break to replenish.  Extra time to spend on the computer and watch a couple of extra movies.

All this joy, and then I get the text...we get to do it all again tomorrow!! I love these days with my kids. Thank you snow for your arrival and the gift of time you've given to me!!