Monday, February 28, 2011

Could Coffee Get Any Cuter?!

My mom has a knack for finding the most fun little gifts.

These are so darling, I fell in love with them instantly! She dropped them off this week the day after we had been up all hours of the night thanks to an ER run with my daughter (more on that later) and I was super exhausted and had a lot to do to prepare for the Girls Retreat.  The names of the flavors are adorable - Group Therapy, Queen of Caffeine, and Blah Blah Blend - and sound delicious!

I'm waiting to try one until I have my prayer group girls over.  Because that is my group therapy.  :)

But for now they are sitting on my counter making me smile.

Cute coffee.  What more could a grown up girl ask for?

Spring Is Springing!

The last few weeks have definitely been filled with beautiful weather around here.  The sun has been warm, the breeze has been cool, and the air has been fresh. There are brilliant trees with blooms of yellow and pink, and we are starting to get the first whiffs of orange blossoms in the air, so it is certain that spring is springing!

I am naturally drawn to warm tones such as reds, oranges, browns, golds, and greens, but springtime makes me appreciate neutrals and cooler tones.  As with all seasons, I appreciate the change and promise of something new.  And spring makes me want to get rid of excess and organize spaces and just add touches of freshness to this home we share.

Welcome, spring! 

I look forward to seeing what you bring to our life and our home.

First signs of spring in our home - the bright and sparkly Valentine's tree has been replaced with some simple neutrals and signs of nature and life.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Craziness and a New Love of Mine

Well, it is sufficient to say it has been a bit of a crazy week or two!  There is so much I have been wanting to blog about, but I just haven't had the time or the brain capacity to do so.  Know what I mean?

I knew you would.  And I'm about to leave in a few minutes to take a group of girls from our youth group to camp for a Girls Retreat.  I can't wait!  But once again, no time to blog.  Camp awaits!

So I thought I would take five minutes to share just one thing with you.  And that is a new love in my life...

We met this week, and I'm pretty sure it is going to be a long term relationship.  We are in the blissful new stage where you just can't get enough of each other.  It's wonderful.  Quite frankly, I'm just nuts about my new love!

I told you my brain capacity was waning.

We'll catch up more later!  Have a great weekend!! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


With little kids around, you never know what conversations you might have.  Here are a few I've had over the past few weeks...

On Perspective

Me (to Jimmy): Babe, for a Valentine's Day gift my parents gave us some money to go out on a date night. We should be able to go somewhere pretty nice with it!  I'm excited!

Madi (to us): Oh, wow, you guys should go to Taco Bell!!

On Hygiene 

Trevor (to me while he was getting dressed one morning): Can I keep these underwear on?

Me: No, you need to put on a new pair.

Trevor: But why???

Me: Because clean underwear is always a good thing.

Trevor (with furrowed brow): Hmmm...

On Semantics

Madi (after school one day to Jimmy and me): Did you know Lincoln is on a penny?

Us: Yeah, that's right.

Madi: And there are statues of him and George Washington in Russia.

Us: Where?

Madi: In Russia.

Us: Where?

Madi: Russia!!

Jimmy:  Russia?  Do you mean Washington D.C.? (Because they sound so much alike...?)

Madi: Hmm, maybe it's in another state...

Jimmy: Are you talking about Mount Rushmore?

Madi Yeah, that's it!!  I saw it on a movie at school!

On Misunderstandings

Trevor (to me during prayer group): Mom, Jacob pushed me.

Me: Don't be a tattletale.

(Repeat similar conversation several times.)

Trevor: Mom, Jacob called me a tattletale.  I'm a tattletale!  (Bursts into tears.)

Me (who had told him not to be a tattletale at least five times at this point):  Trevor, do you know what a tattletale is?

Trevor (crying): Someone who is bad to their mother?!?!

(At which point I explain to him what a tattletale is feeling like an idiot that I never considered the fact that he may not fully understand what one was when I told him over and over not to be one.  And then told him again not to be one.  Unless it's an emergency.)

On Jokes

Madi: Why did the chicken cross the park?

Me: I don't know, why?

Madi: To get to the other slide!

Madi: What did the pig say to the other pig on Valentine's Day?

Me: I don't know, what?

Madi: Happy "Valenswine's" Day!!

Madi: What did the the peanut butter say to the jelly when he told it a secret?

Me: What?

Madi: Don't spread it!!

Me: Are you learning these in kindergarten?  Or from your GG? (Because my grandma has her fair share of joke books, that is one thing I know...)

On Reptiles

Madi (to Jimmy and me): I want a flamillion.

Us:  A what?

Madi: A flamillion.

Us: What is a flamillion?

Madi (looking shocked we don't know): A pet. That changes colors.

Us: Ohhh, a chameleon!

Madi: Yeah, I want one of those!

All I know is this...Jimmy and I will not be going to Taco Bell, and as far as the "flamillion" goes, I think Madi better just dream on...


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Letters

Dear Jimmy, 

I am so sorry you got this nasty sickness stuff.  It has hit you pretty hard and I feel bad for you.  I hope you get to feeling better soon, babe!!  Cause we have lots to do this week and weekend, and one of these nights I want to go on another date, just us!  I have a few more things to do, and then I will come in so we can watch the commentary on that election episode of the West Wing.  I think we are getting older and nerdier. And I love it.

See you soon,


P.S. That grilled cheese I made you tonight?  Two pieces of cheese, can I get a witness?!

Dear Trevor,

Our date day enjoying the magic of Disney in the sunshine, just the two of us, made my year!  How fun are you?!  We are definitely going to have to do that again!  I just can't tell you how much I am enjoying this year with you!!  This one on one time is completely precious to me.  I love hanging out with you, I love the quirky things you do like smell my neck.  You do that a lot lately when you hug me - put your nose on my neck and just take a big old sniff.  When I asked you why you do that so much you replied, "Because it's beautiful."  Interesting. I remember loving the way my mom smelled when I was little.  It's things like those we try to memorize....the sights, the sounds, the scents of home and the people we love.

Just so you know, I love to smell your neck too.

Taking it all in and enjoying each day with you,


Dear Madi,

You have no school tomorrow!!  You are so excited about it - and so am I!  I love getting a full extra day in the week with you!  We are going to spend our Monday together.  We are going to breathe in the fresh air and soak in the sunshine and make some memories.  We are going to enjoy life, because it is a gift from God!!  You are a gift from God!  I just can't tell you enough what blessings you and Trevor and Daddy are to my heart.  Only a God of love could allow me to enjoy such gifts.  Let's remember how good He is to us and make Him smile with all we say and do.

Speaking of smiles, I never tire of seeing yours with that dimple.  That was one of the first things I noticed about you when you were born.

You make me smile,


Dear God,

You are worthy of praise, just because.  You are creative and loving and beyond my understanding yet so close to my heart.  And I just wanted to thank You and give You honor and glory and tell You how very, very much I love You.

Your Daughter,


I Had The Best Day With You, Today

"It's the age of princesses and pirate ships, and the seven dwarfs..."

Taylor Swift, The Best Day

Friday, I went on a date with a very handsome guy.  He had dark, thick hair and chocolate brown eyes and stood about 40 inches tall. We spent the entire day having fun in the sun!  He held my hand and gave me lots, or should I say wots, of hugs and kisses.  We even ended our date snuggling watching some spectacular fireworks.

We had the best day.

From our adventures on Tom Sawyer Island to sharing the picnic lunch I had packed to meeting new characters and participating in pirate shows to taking in the magic and just enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, it was one of the best dates I have ever been on.

Thank you Trevor, for sharing this special day with me!    
It was a date I will never forget.  

"And I didn't know if you knew, so I'm taking this chance to say that I had the best day with you today."

Taylor Swift, The Best Day

I'm Walking On Sunshine!

Sunshine.  Blue skies.  Bare feet.  Sidewalk chalk.  Back porch play.  Front stoop sitting.  Hula hooping.  Playing in the park.  Throwing balls.  Lunches outside.  Roller blading.  Walks around the neighborhood.

All these glorious things and more are why I haven't been near a computer much this week!  With an entire week of sunshine and temperatures between 70 and 80, it has been very hard to stay inside!  And I have been loving every minute!

Yesterday afternoon I even changed into a bathing suit and shorts and put on some sunscreen.  I have lived here for three years and it is still hilarious to me that when you go out and play in February, you can come back inside with a tan!  I see sunshine on my family's cheeks and I love it!  These fresh air days are so invigorating.

I truly don't think there was one cloud in the sky yesterday.

When it came time to eat lunch my kids set up a little Buzz Lightyear table on the back porch, setting it with paper plates and plasticware, and had themselves a little picnic in the breeze!  I was so glad we had nothing on our agenda but to simply enjoy the weather and each other.

Not every day can be sunshine and breezes and pure perfection in the outdoors.  But when it is, I say soak it up and celebrate it!  What a week it has been, compliments of the Creator!  We give Him praise!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wild About You!!

As you know by now, I love Valentine's Day!  And I feel bad because a lot of people out there don't, but I do!  I don't think it's about consumerism and materialism or only taking one day out of the year to show love.  I mean, I guess it could be about those things, but only if you let it, just like anything else.  I think it's a fun holiday with love and affection at the heart of it.  I think like other holidays, it inspires creativity and celebrations centered around the people we hold dear.

We got to start our Valentine's Day by going to a special tea at Madi's school.  I wasn't feeling too hot, but there was no way I was going to miss this!!  The kindergartners had been working so hard on 4 songs to sing to their parents and grandparents and I couldn't help but tear up as I watched my daughter sing at her first school program, standing tall and focused and carefully doing each and every motion right.  I loved how she caught our eye between each song and smiled just enough for us to see that dimple crinkle.

After they sang, the students got to have some snacks and spend a few minutes with their special guests.  It was a lovely morning.

When the tea was over I went home and rested a bit.  Then I got to work in the kitchen.  Madi had requested some homemade chocolate chip cookies, and I wanted to make some as gifts for my family anyway.  Then I did some more baking for our Valentine's dinner.  Many times on special holidays and birthdays I do a big breakfast.  It's fun, festive, a great start to the day, and very inexpensive to prepare.  Any leftovers can be used for breakfasts for the week.  My kids love it!  But with school and Madi's tea, a Valentine's Breakfast would have been rushed.

So we had a Valentine's Breakfast For Dinner instead!  I gave Madi this coupon when she got home from school...

And got to work preparing a "Wild About You!!" Valentine's Breakfast For Dinner!  It fit our budget far better than all four of us going to a restaurant, it was nice to stay in since I was still under the weather, and it was a sweet time as a family!  These are the plates and napkins I found at Target a few weeks ago that inspired my little theme...

I picked up a few matching decorations the other day...

I figured if we were at a restaurant the kids would get crayons and an activity booklet, so I left a plain piece of cardstock, some stickers that matched the paper products, and crayons at each of their places...I had no idea how exciting they would think this was!  They set to work on this right away!

Everyone got little treats at their place - just small gifts, but little things that said I love you....and each person got their own box of homemade chocolate chip cookies!

I made ton of food - homemade banana bread (that sunk in the middle because I took it out too early and had to put it back in, but oh well!); cinnamon rolls since we do those on birthdays and special occasions; animal and heart shaped pancakes; blueberry muffins made from a fat free Krusteaz mix; eggs and bacon; strawberry and vanilla dipped strawberries with sprinkles; and orange juice.  You can eat a lot of breakfast food on a little budget!  And as I said, you will be set for breakfasts for the week thanks to leftovers!

I made everyone a place card and after we ate we used the inside to write reasons why we were "wild about" each person.  Some of the kids' answers were funny and cute, in their sincere way!

My parents had dropped off a few treats earlier, including the Charlie Brown Valentine Special. My kids are crazy about the Charlie Brown holiday specials, and we watched this together before we tucked them into dreamland.  I loved hearing those belly laughs as they watched it!  We ended the day with lots of laughter, actually!

It was a good Valentine's Day for our little family. Thank you, God! And today I'm feeling much better, which is a praise too.  I hope you had a good day today. And I hope your Valentine's Day held something special and sweet, some demonstration of love, whether large or small.  Because you are loved, that I know!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Is For Abstract

Twice this week, Madi has given me a paper plate with some scribbling on it and said in complete and total seriousness, "Here mom, I made you an abstract."

An abstract.

Oh, thanks five year old, should I get you a cup of coffee, some art history books, and a pair of dark rimmed glasses to go with that?

What in the world is going on in kindergarten these days?  I better catch up with the times or I am going to be a totally of date by second grade!!

Sunday Letters

Dear Madi,

Well, its been an exciting week for you!  Another jewel in your Sparks crown, rehearsals at school for the Loved Ones Tea, a reading award from your teacher.  Evidently you and two boys in your class got this little certificate for being a superstar reader, and I am super proud of you!  Keep it up!  We had the best time, just the two of us, on the afternoon you brought home that award.  The sun was shining brightly, the air was fresh and cool, your little brother was taking a nap, so you and I spent some time together on the back porch.  I got to hear a little more in depth about what goes on in your classroom, about all the classroom jobs and how this week you are the messenger which is really cool, but your favorite job is the butterfly mover.

I love glimpses into your life like those!  I love your intelligence and humor and positive outlook.  I love watching you enjoy life.  I love enjoying life with you.

You looked absolutely beautiful all dressed up for a date with your Daddy last night!  It was fun practicing line dances with you this week.  Oh, how we laughed.  But it was so neat seeing you so excited to share a special evening with him.  Your Daddy loves you so much, and is completely devoted to you and Trevor and Mommy.  I get tears in my eyes as I type those words, because I know in this world that is a rare gift.  I am thankful you got to dance with your Daddy, and even more thankful your Daddy and I have the joy of raising you and your brother together.

Thank you for all the little gifts you are always bringing me!  This week someone taught you how to make snowflakes out of coffee filters and you've given a bunch of those!  But almost every day you hand me a homemade gift, and your giving heart brings so much joy to my days.

I love you always and forever, no matter what,


P.S. You are so into word searches these days and brought in one of your word search books for Share Day on Friday.  Can I just tell you how cute I thought that was?  Makin' your GG (great grandma) proud!

Dear Trevor,

You did it!! You made so many good choices you filled up your chart!  I owe you a Doughnut Date!!  You are excited about that! Once I get to feeling better we are going to get us some doughnuts and have a "Mommy Son Date" as you call them.  And let me say, I know I will have the best looking date in the doughnut shop!

I love the feeling of your little hands on my face.  The past two days of having a fever I have felt those little hands on my forehead and cheeks "checking my temperature" and wish I could just memorize the way they feel.  You are so precious.

We have had some fun times this week together during the day - going to the park, playing your little air hockey game, trying to beat the hard level of the Rapunzel computer game, having lunch out with Grammie, going to the bookstore.  As hard as it was for Mommy to send Madi off to school this year, I have been loving this time one on one with you!  I am very thankful to God that He is giving us this time together.  Of any investment I could be making during this season of life, I think time with you and your sister is the very best one!  I just adore being your mom!

Sometimes we tell each other secrets.  This afternoon, I whispered in your ear, "Will you be my Valentine?"

Your answer: "Yes, I will.  Yours...and Daddy's too, okay?"



Love (One of) Your Valentine(s),


Dear Jimmy,

Thank you for putting the kids to bed and tucking me under a mound of covers and bringing me Kleenex after Kleenex and getting the kids ready by yourself and taking them to church and all the other things you have done since I haven't felt good.  I love you for that, and so much more.

Friday night was so fun! I love still "dating" you every once in awhile!  Yes, there are bills to pay (somehow) and kids to take care of and work to accomplish and long lists of daily responsibilities...but there are also still times for romance and fun and memories to make with just us, and I am thankful that has always been a part of our relationship!  Let's go on another date soon!  My treat! ;)

I love being married to you!!

Love (One of) Your Valentine(s),


P.S. Thank you for taking Madi to the dance.  She will remember that always.  Thank you that we all feel safe in your arms, and for holding them out to us.  I love you.

Dear Nose,

You can stop running anytime now. Just sayin'.



Life As I Know It, From My Green Chair

Friday I was talking to a friend on the phone and our conversation led to my headaches.  She suffers from headaches also, and asked if I thought I had a sinus infection or something. I told her I had considered it, but I have had lots of sinus infections through the years and am always symptomatic with sinus drainage, etc.  and I had none of that.  I would soon eat those words...but we'll get back to that.

Friday evening was absolutely wonderful!!  We had one of those evenings where I felt "young again" - footloose and fancy free for a few hours, like when my husband and I were first married!  My parents picked up the kids in time to take them to dinner, but over an hour and a half before we were leaving soooo (are you other moms out there ready for this)

I know.  Craaazzy stuff right there.

I actually soaked in a hot bath and put hot rollers in my hair (of course I sort of had to do that because of my broken flat iron, but still) and didn't rush doing my makeup.  I was ready with time to spare and felt calm and relaxed for a night out with my husband and friends.  I know, sounds like a dream!!

I wore denim and lace which is simply the perfect combination sometimes, don't you think?!  Contrast.  I love that.

My date was looking mighty handsome, I must say!!

We left a quiet, empty house and had the most fabulous night out with our sweet friends - and talked about our kids the whole time, of course! Well, not the whole time.  But a lot of the time, because that's just what you do!  Because while footloose and fancy free is fantastic for an evening, you wouldn't trade it in a million years for all the chaos and real stuff of life with those kids! Oh, we laughed and talked and shared stories and that salad I told you about was perfectly fresh and delicious and the steak we shared was cooked just how we like it.

We didn't even get home until almost midnight. Call the cops people, something crazy is going on!  I love date nights!  We slept in and I woke up with my nose running like a faucet.  Not a drippy faucet, like a faucet someone turned on too hard and broke the handle so they can't stop it from pouring.

So much for not being symptomatic.

I was not going to let it ruin my day though because we had plans for the evening.  So I made my (looong) Walmart run at the end of which I called my husband and told him that yes, I was still alive this place is just a total madhouse and by the way, I think I have a fever.

And I did.

But I had to get my daughter ready for something very special - her first Daddy/Daughter dance!!  She was going with her Daddy and her very best friend and her Daddy, and had been anticipating this for weeks!  She wore the dress my mom got her to be a flower girl back in December, but we got her some new accessories.  I mean, what girl doesn't like new accessories?!  And I also picked this up at Walmart.

I saw it and immediately remembered thinking it was the best stuff ever when I was a little girl, and feeling so grown up using it.  Well, let's just say history is repeating itself.  This bottle has been well used in the past two days!  Madi loves it! Did any of you use Love's Baby Soft years ago?  The fragrance takes me right back to childhood in the 80's!

I was able to get Madi ready and see them off.  They looked so beautiful and spiffy!  I loved how I caught my daughter looking at her reflection in our glass's fun to feel like a princess every once in awhile!

Then my friend and her son stayed at our house while we waited for the gang to come back from the dance. I had been looking forward to some girl time with Nanette, and felt so bad because I know I wasn't fun company!  I ate chicken broth and sat in the recliner and by the time they left my fever was over 101 and I was miserable.

However...I am happy to report that our dance attendees did the Cha Cha Slide, the Cupid Shuffle, and the Chicken Dance!  The girls came back beaming and I think a huge memory was made.  There is nothing like the love between a Daddy and a little girl.

My awesome husband tucked everyone including me in, and I went to bed shivering under a layer of blankets with a fever near 102.  I know it broke sometime in the night because I woke up with my hair and pillowcase soaking, but it was back in the morning and started climbing again this afternoon until I attacked it with Ibuprofen.  And I have been rapidly making my way through a giant box of Kleenex.

So sadly I missed church and my kids came home excited with all sorts of Valentine's crafts from their classes and my son said he had one "teeny, tiny wittle probwem" but other than he was good and that it was a great morning.  Hmm...wonder what that means?!

I am hoping I feel lots better tomorrow.  I don't want to be sick on Valentine's Day. I love holidays.  And last year, two days before Valentine's Day I had my first "routine" mammogram (starting young because my mom had premenopausal breast cancer) and it turned into diagnostic mammograms, an ultrasound, and a biopsy all on the same day.  So last Valentine's Day/Weekend I was sore and waiting, though calm thanks to God's lavish grace.  I was hoping this year would be uneventful and healthy.  And maybe it will be.  If not, we'll adapt, just like last year.  Plans can wait.  If there's anything God has been teaching me the past few years, it's that our plans don't always work out how we think they will, and sometimes He works through mysteries and confusion and unraveling plans and unexpected challenges as we in our brokenness become more dependent on Him.

So that's life as I know it on this Sunday evening.  I hope that wherever you sit as you read this post, God's love and grace is a part of your heart, no matter what life as you know it currently is.  Because He is there, and just like my daughter did with my husband last night, you can twirl around in His arms through the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Much Love This Night Before Valentine's Day,