Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Butterfly Kisses and Well Loved Ducks

We got home late from church tonight and I wanted to rush getting the girls to bed.  But both of them stopped me in hurry and made me pause and appreciate the moment.

I went to tell Morgan goodnight and there snuggled up next to her were her "Crackers" and Cracker's Friend, "Pretzel". Crackers was her beloved childhood duck. He's had 3 beaks and has needed several stitches thru the years. She usually doesn't sleep with them anymore, at almost 10, she's well past that stage of needing them to sleep.  But tonight, there they were - all 3 of them on her pillow.  I just had to kiss them all goodnight.  And I said to her, "one day all three of you are going to move out and I'm sure gonna miss you all!" We then added 3 more books of the bible to her we are trying to memorize them all in order for a zone 4/5 challenge from Church and said good night prayers.

Then I went to Sarah's room, had a brief chit-chat moment, followed by her bedtime prayers.  She then reached up and gave me 'butterfly kisses' and then I opened my eyes and looked at her and she had one of her giant Sarah smiles on her face.  Goodness, these years are sweet! I know they won't last forever, so I have to pause and enjoy them now. 

I also secretly hope that one day, they will share butterfly kisses with their kiddos, who will in return, turn around and give them back to me!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Glimpses of Heaven

When the girls were younger, they would come and curl up in my bed every morning. I loved that waking-up-slowly time with them.  Now they are older, they tend to wake each other up, play together, find some cartoons to watch - and somehow without warning - those sweet morning times with me ended.  Yet, this morning, it happened again. And I just HAD to pause and write it down.

Just before the twilight gives way to the morning brightness, Sarah tumbles into my room and climbs into my bed. I lay here, feeling the warmth of my sweet daughter snuggling next to me. Her hair a tousled mess, it looks like the fairies danced in her hair again last night. Involuntarily, my hand reaches up and touches her face – so soft, so tender, I simply receive the gift as it is – a glimpse of heaven here on earth. I turn her eyes towards mine – those big, brown eyes – the windows to her soul – and I look deep into them and I whisper, “I love you. Every day. For the rest of my life.” And she whispers back, “I love you too,” as her lips curl into the sweetest smile. Then, as my arms reach around her, hugging her tight, my soul whispers a silent thanks to God, treasuring once again, this undeserved gift of motherhood.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everyday Update

As darkness gave way to twilight and a dozen birds sang to me through an open window this morning - I breathed in deeply this beautiful thing called, "Spring". I whispered prayers to the God of the universe, thankful He cares enough to listen to the smallness of my heart.  I then decided to 'pen' Mike's Gram an email this morning, as she was on my mind. (And might I add, that when I'm in my 90s, I sure hope I am still computer savvy enough to get emails!)  I gave her an update on our everyday-ness. I thought I would put it on my blog too, 'a snapshot' of our life at this moment.

Mike: Has a big inspection at work this week - they have it every 5 years. He says its not a big deal. but it is. Does he ever think anything is a big deal? He is so laid back, I love that about him. This week he was teaching Morgan all about how the inside of how a car works. I wonder where he learned that?!

Morgan: Doing awesome in school. Loves art class this year. and reading. and math. Just started learning to play recorder in music class. She has one more week of volleyball. They haven't had a winning season on the court, but she has had a winning season in her soul - learning something new, gaining confidence, learning about teamwork. She is excited about her 10th birthday this summer and our trip to the Grand Canyon to celebrate it.

Sarah: She just won her first Spring soccer game last night. It was a joy to see her growth since last fall - from being less passive on the field, to being more active in the game. She, too, is doing well in school. She seems to enjoy all the special things they learn at school. Last night at the dinner table she was telling us all about how mountains and valleys are made. She was fascinated by owls last month.

Me: Substitute teaching when I can. This week has been slow, but I've been enjoying being outside, soaking in spring and letting the quietness replenish my soul. My latest writing project is called "1000 gifts" and I'm trying to pause and write 1000 things I'm thankful for in 2011. In nine weeks, I'm up to 363 of them. For me, it's about developing a heart of gratitude for all the little things in life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Perfume of Heaven

Last week, I read these words, "babies are the perfume of heaven" - Ann Voskamp.  And after holding a 5 day old baby yesterday, I have to agree.  We are so excited that baby Henry is here and that we get to share this journey with him, Darian and Beau. And I must say, it's pretty sweet seeing my own girls big enough to hold this bundle of sweetness. DOB: 3-16-11

The girls made this artwork for Henry, last month, while hanging out with Darian and Beau.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day Mystery Dinner

So, I've been a TINY bit excited about tonight's dinner! I even made menus! I adapted this idea from this post I read for a Valentine's Day Mystery Dinner at Gourmet-Mom-On-The-Go.  But, we go out for a birthday dinner on Valentine's Day, and this idea was too cute to NOT do, so I changed it to fit St. Patrick's Day.

Here's what the front of the menu says:

Welcome to St. Patty’s Diner - - Where you will experience a four-course dining experience filled with mystery, silliness and giggles galore.

Follow the directions and choose your items for each course. You will need to fill out both forms the same – one for you to keep and one for Chef O’Malley.

Our apologies, Chef O’Malley doesn’t speak English very well, so you will have to translate the menu yourself. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Here's the items on the menu. They only read/see the item not in ( ). It's a Mystery, they don't know what they will be served until it comes.
  • St. Patty's Golden Nuggets (chicken nuggets)
  • Green Logs (green beans)
  • Lucky Puddle (ranch dip - turned green)
  • Leprechaun Clouds (green mashed potatos)
  • Bouncy Balls (green grapes)
  • Leprechaun Gold (lemon jello squares)
  • Irish Hay Mover (fork)
  • Leprechaun Shovel (spoon)
  • O’Saw (knife)
  • Leprechaun Sheet (napkin)
  • Leprechaun Pillow (roll)
  • Lucky Squares (butter)
  • Lucky Raindrops (green juice)
  • Rainbow (sprinkles for icecream)
  • Irish Snow (mint ice cream)
Needless to say, it was SO much fun.  My parents were here with us, so it made it even more fun.  Sitting around the table for an hour, laughing together - it was great! At the end the girls said, 'next time mom, you have to let us invite a friend, so they can know how crazy you are!' :)  Top that off with a day wandering around the zoo, a trip to get Andy's Frozen Custard, and being visited by leprechauns who turned the milk green, left green glitter and green mm's everywhere,and um, who even used our toilet. Well, it's been a great day!  I sure have LOVED St. Patrick's day these past few years - a great excuse to break from routine and enjoy some silliness!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy 40th Anniversary!!!

Today my parents celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary! 40 years of's a long time!! In fact, I think Sarah's words to my mom (handing her their wedding album) were something like, "Here are the 40 year old pictures, they're really old...just so you know!" :) Here's to wishing them the happiest years yet to come...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

We Did It!!!

Goodbye 1997 Suburban with 199,000 miles!

Hello 2007 Toyota Sequoia! Welcome to the family!
And the best part....We have been making a car payment to ourselves for the past several years and so we paid cash for this car! If you would have asked me even 10 years ago I would have said we would have NEVER be able to pay cash for a car - but guess what, through my years of staying home with the girls and part-time jobs - we saved - and we did it!!!  Does this car have everything we wanted? No! But it will still be a great car for our family (even the white is growing on me! :))!! Plus, it's ours - not the banks - no stress about payments, so we get to enjoy it even more!! First trip...Grand Canyon this summer, here we come!!!

This is the girl's favorite part of the new vehicle, the built in DVD player! ...if only we could figure out how to work it (think remote needs batteries). The vehicle comes with a full warranty for one year, so one way or the other, we'll get it working! :)

In The Trenches Update:
We had to travel to Columbia to get this vehicle, so we decided to stay overnight, being Mike's birthday on Monday and all.  Besides, it gave us the chance to eat some Shakespeare's pizza and visit with some good friends!!  Well, I love listening to the girls conversations when they wake up in the morning.  First conversation - about the new Sequoia (too cute!). Next conversation: Morgan says to Sarah, "I will have my doctorate degree in 16 years - you will have yours in 18 years." To which Sarah responds, "I don't want to do anything when I grow up!" I told you she's in this extremely lazy phase AND she lives in the moment, so she really doesn't think beyond the present time. Morgan's response, "Well you'll at least have to get your bachelor's degree!"  It will be fun to see what careers they decide on one day,  but for now, I'm thankful for whispered conversations in hotel beds next to mine!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In the Trenches of Parenting

So, my super sweet daughter, Sarah, who has the nicknames of Sugar Bear and Sweetheart because they fit her so perfect - has been a major challenge lately.  She has been going through some huge testing of boundaries that we set - being openly defiant, refusing to do things asked of her.  I think she has left screaming and crying in the morning at least 4 days this week.  And really, it's over stupid stuff.  Like this morning -Mike is taking the girls to Pancakes with Pop at the school and then we have to leave for her ice skating lessons. Then we are traveling after that.  She wanted to wear a skirt. The rule is, no skirts skating - you have to wear blue jeans.  You would have thought the dog died with the sobbing fit she threw!  We finally set the timer - if she wanted to go - she had to have her new outfit on (and it's one of her favorite outfits normally) - or she wasn't going.  Thankfully she finally got ready.  But seriously it was a 30 minute ordeal. 

Normally I don't make a big deal of my kids outfits (seriously you should see some of the things I let them wear to school) - but sometimes it's not a choice.  But really it's not just this - it's been EVERYTHING lately.  No she won't take a shower. No she won't eat her dinner. No she won't take 5 min and pick up some things in her room. No she won't respond kindly to her sister.  S.t.u.b.b.o.r.n. she has been!

I keep reminding myself it's just a phase.  But it's been going on for over a month now! Ugh. I'm getting tired. Had to pull out one of my favorite parenting books again, "Boundaries with Kids" by Cloud & Townsend. And be strengthened by reading this:
  • Part of the heat of parenting is tolerating and enduring your child's hatred of your boundaries. You and your child each have a different job here: The kid's job is to test your resolve, so she can learn about reality. Your job is to withstand the test, including anger, pouting, tantrums, and much more.
  • You are like an oak tree that the child runs her head into over and over again, until she realizes that the tree is stronger than she is, and she walks around it next time. 
And of course, you have to read that in context of the whole book.  It's not about dictatorship and always being right. But boundaries like eating healthy, keeping clean, being responsible for your things, being kind - are just a few of the things I am responsible for teaching her.  And it takes boundaries to do that.  I want her to like me, I don't want her to cry in the mornings. I hate it. It starts my day terrible. Yet I am not in the role of her 'friend' - I hope that when she is grown, we will share a great friendship, but for now, I am in the role of her mom. And that means following thru with boundaries and consequences, however painful it feels to me.

And at least the great thing about Sarah is that she lives in the moment, so I'm hoping by the time they got to Pancakes with Pop, they are having a great time! I'm sure she's forgot all about her outfit by now!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No. 200

Wow, I began blogging three years ago!! This is my 200th blog entry!! For everyone who has ever paused to read my words, I thank you!!  So, I've been thinking about 'why' I blog...

1- I began my blog to keep in touch with family and friends. Our closest family is over 650 miles away. And with the few moves we've had, we have cherished friendships everywhere. It's a fun way to 'keep in touch'!

2- I LOVE to write! Here's a place I can!

3 - I hope one day my girls will appreciate the gift of my words and enjoy the stories I put in here about them. They give me so many sweet moments on this journey to cherish!

4 - We are never promised tomorrow. In the unlikely event something happens to me, my girls have a 'piece' of my heart here in these words.

5 - added bonus: From time to time someone will pause and send me an email or note, telling me they appreciated some words I shared. And I find myself honored, and encouraged, and smiling. I also find myself pondering the mystery of how God uses my words to speak something to someone else.

So again, if you're reading this - I THANK YOU for taking the time to do so!!

p.s. I'm so excited about today.  My good friend Lori and I have birthdays just 2 days apart - and we are finally able to get together today to celebrate each other and our friendship! We're both driving four hours (round trip) to enjoy lunch, get a pedicure (my last pedicure was with her three years ago before we moved), and hopefully get in a quick walk at the state park on this beautiful 60-degree, spring-like day! Looking forward to laughing, chatting, and just spending some time together!