Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12/28 fire update

*finally heard he was ok at 3 am, home at 8:30 am, safe, fed, my heart reassured, back out on the fireground tonight again cuz he can't stay away from it.  Whew. 

So glad our friend Troy is going to be okay.  Scary night for everyone and I'm glad it's over.

(please come home to me)

It's one am and I am sitting curled on my couch with my laptop saying things to myself like

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee


this is it! it's too scary!  do some other job!


clicking refresh on the different facebook statuses of my friends whose husbands are also out tonight

fighting fire and

making their wives crazy with worry.

A long, long time ago, I visited Daniel at the FD and they got called out while I was there.  The address was on my way home, so I drove by the fire.  There was a gray haze and the lights flashing made everything look ominous and eerie and even though at that time I was well accustomed to the fire service, I drove home out.  There's something about seeing the stuff your man is walking into and your mind wickedly replaying those awful scenes from Ladder 49 (that I never should have watched). . . and after that night I told myself that I would never do that ever again.

Tonight. . . broke my promise to myself and oh I am getting sorrier by the minute.  We returned our Christmas movies and Cambria begged to see Daddy.  I called him and he said to stop by; we did and he came out to the van to chat with me and the kids.   The alarm went off while we were there and I was like, oh, whatever, it's probably totally nothing and they get to see their cool dad be the engine driver and what kid doesn't dig that.

So we followed,  at a subdued distance, Cambria informing me that when she grew up, her daddy {read: husband} would be a fighterfire and she would live right here in this area.

I started getting a bad feeling when they all just kept going.  So often alarms get cancelled, everyone turns around and goes home, and it's just cool lights and wasted fuel.  I like wasted fuel.

When I saw an orange glow coming out of one of the industrial buildings and the cops blocking the road I regretted my decision to follow.  Lights flashing and gray haze and the weird odor of burning destruction and we turned around and came home.  Stupid me.

And my guy goes in there.  Oh please, be smart, be safe, don't let anyone be in there, just let the building burn, please be okay. . .

I put my babies to bed and hope to hear that everything is okay.  I wait for a response to my texts.  One of our friends is now in the hospital from burns.  I am going c.r.a.z.y.  After two hours, I get a garbled text from Daniel saying that he is ok and it's a  BigveryBad fire.  

Um, I knew that. . . please, please, come home to me.

I think that I'm so thankful I kissed him goodbye and I think that why on earth was he talking about life insurance and I think that I wish he'd get just a little bit hurt so he wouldn't be out there anymore and I'd know that he's okay and then I berate myself for thinking that.  I think that I couldn't be a military wife and I think that I couldn't handle my husband being a cop and I think that he'll be so tired and crabby when he comes home and I eat four magic cookie bars and berate myself for that, too.

This will all be funny in the morning, right?  He will have his big story to tell and I will be limp and groggy with relief and we will make some strong coffee for me and some cappuccino for him and we will just chill out and continue our Christmas vacation.

Please come home to me.

Monday, December 26, 2011

more sugar? (orange pecan fudge)

Oh like you need more sugar right now.

I know.

But I like using my blog for a recipe dump. . . that way someone as disorganized as myself can always find that elusive favorite recipe without pulling the refrigerator away from the wall and fishing behind it.

This is (surprise) my mom's fudge recipe and it doesn't quite feel like Christmas without it. 

Orange Pecan Fudge

6 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 7 oz. containers marshmallow creme
grated peel from one orange
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups toasted pecan pieces

3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 1/3 cup evaporated milk

Butter a 9 x 13 pan.

Have first group of ingredients assembled in large bowl ready to pour quickly. *Tip:  I always pour the chocolate chips into the bowl and then carefully scoop the marshmallow creme into a well in the chips so that when I'm ready to dump, I don't have to scrape any sticky residue off of the sides of the bowl. 

Mix together second group of ingredients and bring to a gentle boil on medium heat.  Boil for four to five minutes.  Remove from heat, add chocolate chip mixture and stir briskly until chips are melted.

Working quickly, pour fudge mixture into the buttered pan and quickly spread out. 

Let cool and cut into pieces.

Friday, December 16, 2011

five dozen whoopie pies

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

one jpeg that won't format

two plumbing problems (think bathroom)

three gingerbread houses

four trips to classes


oh. .  forget the numbering. . . (it wasn't rhyming anyway)

Cambria somersaulted off the couch. *into the Christmas tree*  *ornaments flying*

Jacob told me today that when he grew up he would live in our town because he wanted his children to be near their grandparents.  .  . *long pause* {brown eyes} "plus then I would be close to you."  awwwww. . .

Eli charmed all the helpers at Fareway. . . so much that they forgot to load the milk I paid for.

I had lunch with a girl friend and it's always a good day when you can have girl talk, queso, and lime in your Coke all in the same hour.

We missed out on our sappy Friday night Christmas movie because of bad attitudes and disobedience. I went to put the kids to bed and discovered Cambria's room a whirlwind of wrapping  paper, ribbon, scissors, tape, gift tags and crumpled tissue.  *add twenty minutes to bedtime routine*

I read two chapters in Rachel Jancovic's Loving the Little Years and was challenged that order and organization come from my attitude, not from what is actually happening.  She words it much better than I do. (If you have littles, pop her book in your Amazon cart asap.  I am loving it.)

And since its two minutes away from twelve o'clock (my nod to the Twelve Days of Christmas song)  I'd better wrap this up and go finish my FIVE DOZEN WHOOPIE PIES.

*** My mom has been making these every year for as long as I can remember.  She ties each little cake up with a birthday candle and red yarn . . .birthday cakes for Jesus.*** 

Here's the recipes I used tonight.  (No one answered the phone at the home front so I had to look to Google.  sniff sniff)

I used this recipe for the cakes and this one for the creme filling.  And wow, are those little babies good.  I had one since the Slim Fast I was going to have for a fourth meal wouldn't work since I didn't have any milk to mix it with. You know how it is.

Sweet dreams!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

perfect christmas tree photo shoot (not)

Here is Eli. . . laughing at the crazy family he's joined. . .

And here's an attempt at getting a photo with the fam and our Christmas tree. . .

and also the smallest e.v.e.r. . .

and not from a romantic tree farm, but from Menards

two balsam firs left, propped in the balsam fir corner. . .

(what, people?  it's only December third!!!)

we took one. . .

and then we managed to get every head in the picture. . .

then we had to keep trying for a better one. . .

with the camera battery light flashing (story of my life)

and Jacob and Cambria were both trying to stand on the same chair

and Jacob fell off.  You can see him in the lower left had corner.

He's crying.

And this last one. . . well. . . this is why we get other people to take pictures for us.

But I can't help but thank God for the joy that He's brought this year. . .

so thankful. . .

my heart is so full. . .

tonight we eat our annual  Christmas tree enchiladas. . .

kids go to bed happily relatively peacefully

Daniel's having fun at his gym night. .

I put lights on the tree and cuddle Eli and turn Michael Buble up. . .

sitting here writing and eating peppermint patties (I think they're fat free)

and I just praise God.

So many empty places in my heart that He's filled.

Thankful for my crazy little family. . . each one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

my observations of some people

Some people just can't do ten minute ab workouts.

Some people do side planks that only lift them 1/2 inch off of the carpet and then they are left to fall, panting to the ground.

Some people ironically find the ten minute ab workout link while searching for appetizer recipes that involve cream cheese and bacon.

Some people buy jeans they don't even like just because the tag reads the pre baby years size. . . and they fit. . . is there a way for these people to wear the size tag on the outside?

Some people get exhausted but never actually raise that heart rate in a fat - burnin way.  {Their heart rate gets raised. . . just not in an exercise way.  More in a can't-believe-their-daughter-just markered-on-the-knees-of-each-of-her-five-pairs-of-jeans way.}

Some people keep postponing their Christmas pictures because they keep envisioning losing twenty pounds overnight.

Some people have friends that are such amazing cooks and baby-meal bringers that they weigh more than when they left the hospital with their little punkin. {Blame the friends. Blame the friends.}

Just some observations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

(not) bridging the gap: life after loss

It was a quandary to me as I searched books and articles and blogs and stories of others who lost children why the grief road seemed to stop if they had another child. 

Another book would would be written.  Mourning into Dancing. {or some other beautiful thought}

The focus would change.  My baby is safe in heaven, I'm moving on.

The whole blog would move. Thanks for reading our story; we're so thankful for your support and love.  Visit us over *here* as our life goes on.

I wondered:  did another child fill that immense gap so completely that the need to spill the grief out just. . . ended?

did they just want to set the pain aside for awhile and focus on the joy?

how did they go on?

did they still go lie on the ground in a frozen cemetery and weep?

were birthdays still

did they hesitate on sharing the number of children when asked?  did they sometimes say three and sometimes say four?

did they fight the urge to sign every name in a little row at the end of letters?  Or did they, like me, just give up and start signing cards "The Smith's", avoiding the glaring omission of one name from the happy roster?

Why did the story always seem to stop when another child was born?

I won't do it, I vowed.  If we had another child, I had a strong desire to keep writing, to keep spilling out whatever the emotions were, for the sole purpose of letting someone following me on the grief road know what could be ahead.

If it suddenly turned all roses, well then so be it, jump on the baby wagon, my grieving sister, and have another child!

If it was terror and worse than before, well, honesty is helpful and at least I would be honest.

I will keep writing.  I will keep telling the story.  I will keep spilling it out.  And I won't move to another blog!

So now it is my turn.  I have a beautiful son after a horrible tragedy.  I think I understand why some others choose to stop telling the story. . .

. . .I want to cherish every single moment in a way I wouldn't have ever understood before burying one of my children.  And that means that moments are so precious;  sitting at a computer staring at the ceiling composing my life story just doesn't seem like the best use of the time God has given.

. . .of course I'm just busy and sleep deprived (notice how I've worked that into every post lately) and that plays into the lack of public sharing, be it online or in the church or community.

. . .then there is the utter lack of words to describe the juxtaposition of emotion going on in my heart.

But I still have that same burning desire and need, to keep telling the story.  It's not as smooth and not well written and not agonized over like some of the other things I've written.  Just doing some heart dumping here.

So tonight. . . this is for the mammas reading who ache for the little person they lost. 

I lost my little man, too.  My arms are full, but they still ache.

I weep holding Eli.  I weep for how short my time with him may be.  I weep because there are no guarantees. 

I smile to the happy world who rejoices that God has brought joy into our aching family, and I smile into my son's blue eyes, and I try to squash the nagging fear that our time with him is not promised.

I have moments of absolutely irrational fear.  Eli's first little cold last week turned me into a post-partum basket case.  I thought breastfeeding kept newborns from getting sick!  I ranted to the kids' nurse.  She laughed at me and pointed out that he could be much sicker, and I knew she was right, but that night I could feel panic set in as I go the kids ready for bed.

Another mom whose son died from SIDS said it well:  when your child dies while peacefully sleeping, your confidence as a parent is shattered.  So true.  If you can't protect your child from death while everything is fine, then how on earth are you going to protect him if something is wrong?

At eight-thirty I heard a knock on the door and I went to answer it, somehow not surprised to see Deeann standing there, coming to chill out with me and chase my fear away with girl talk and distraction.  Wow, did God know what He was doing when He sent her into my life.  She looked at my sniffling Eli, who, in my mind had a combination of RSV, bronchitis, pneumonia and whooping cough, and pointed out that he was breathing pretty well.  It's true, he was, but fear makes you irrational and irrational I was. 

The kids talk about Gabe now more than ever.  It seems to me that Eli brings memories of Gabe back to their minds more clearly.  They have even more questions (I thought we'd answered them all. . . but no!) and their own fears and worries.

JD: Mom, I just wanna know why I don't cry much about Gabe.  (I explain that emotions manifest themselves in more ways than tears.)

Cambria: Mommy, I was just wondering. . . are we gonna get Gabe presents for his birthday since he isn't here to open them?  Could we get them anyway and we open them?  I choke away the tears and tell her that we'll totally get Gabe presents for his birthday. . . images of a two year old and chocolate cake and little fire trucks flood my mind and I leave the room so that my sorrow won't make my little girl think something was wrong with her idea.

JD, carefully tucking a bear that he's loved for years into his bed:  Hey, Mom, I named this bear Gabe.  And I kinda act like it's Gabe. *lovingly pats bear*  Once again, I'm caught off guard and turn away to hide the tears.  I've learned that the children will shut their feelings away from me if they think that I'll be sad, and I walk a careful line trying to allow them to see my true heart and being a safe place for their own emotion.

Then there is this super ultra protectiveness over Eli.  It freaks us all out a little, I think, to see him sleeping.  Jacob has asked more than once. . . mom. . . is he dead?  It's his reality.  I hate that death is so real to him, but I can't change it and so I choose the privilege of showing my children the reality of this fragile gift of life that we hold so briefly in our hands. 

They've seen death, bitter and cruel and far too soon. 

Now they get to see life, fresh, and new and so full of promise.

That's what it's like, dear mamma of a baby you can't hold anymore.

There's not a careful bridge between the horror and loss and the beauty and joy.  They just kinda intertwine and pop  in and out of each other at odd random times and sometimes the sorrow for the baby you lost is just gut wrenching and sometimes the fear that you'll lose the ones you have is debilitating.  But then you're surprised by the exploding joy you feel rubbing your nose against that fuzzy bit of hair and you're overwhelmed by the assurance that God is still so very good.

And you're super sleep deprived, so you end the post and go to bed.  ZzzZZzzzzZZZzzzzzzzz

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rock Star Granola Bars

I've been meaning to post these granola bars . . they are so good, but they're always gone before I can take a picture. I like to name stuff, too, so here's your  rhyme and reason for why these should be called Rock Star Granola Bars. . .  it does rhyme. . . and Granola Bars just sounds boring.

Tonight I took the camera out the minute I finished the recipe.

I changed a recipe from Taste of Home. . . you can see the original recipe here. These are chewy, not too sweet, and sooo adaptable.  I've made them without chocolate many times, and I'm sure they are much healthier that way. Wink wink.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup oil
1 lb. mini marshmallows
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
dash vanilla

Melt butter, oil, and marshmallows.  Add honey, pb and vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients:

5 cups old fashioned oats
4 cups rice crispies
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup raisins
1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed
1 cup coconut

Mix together; with buttered fingertips,  press into greased jelly roll pan.

When slightly cooled, press mini chocolate chips onto the tops.  Lately I've been melting butterscotch and chocolate chips together and drizzling that on top.  I assure you that either way, they are delish.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Autumn Eatin'

Pumpkin Pancakes. . .

Caramel Corn. . .

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls {with cream cheese frosting}

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. . .

Pumpkin Pie. . .


It is hard to think about saying goodbye to baby pounds with all of this yummy stuff going on!

*. . .do not think about the leftover pumpkin cinnamon rolls on the top shelf in the fridge. . .*

If there is one thing I enjoy as much as eating great food, it's planning menus of great food!  I haven't posted menus here in about but I make one out pretty much every week.

Menu planning was new to me three years ago. . . but since then the idea has steadily grown on me and I can't imagine life without it. It is so amazing to have good healthy meals planned;  it saves me so much stinkin' time and energy.

(and I don't have much time *or* energy to spare right now)

(have I mentioned being sleep deprived?)

My family likes different meals and I like cooking them, so we usually have a pretty varied meal schedule with old standbys thrown in here and there.  I usually plan one "breakfast for dinner" night and we religiously eat pizza on Friday, so I only have to come up with five dinner ideas. 

I usually make sure I have ingredients for one weeknight dessert (in case I forget someone's Cubbie treats for unexpected company) and one dessert on Sunday.  Other than that I don't buy stuff for desserts because, miraculously, sugar has a way of showing up in our diet  How is that??

Breakfast meals are pretty much the same;  I rotate the kids favorite hot cereals, baked oatmeal, fresh fruit and toast for weekdays.  Saturday mornings are for pancakes, Sundays are flavored yogurts. (The kids pick out yogurts for each family member every week. It's the highlight of the grocery shopping trip.)

Lunches are super simple and very light.  We don't eat breakfast super early so no one is ever very hungry at lunch anyway.  I don't usually plan anything for lunches. . . leftovers are fine, pb&j, soup and crackers or even raw veggies and dip.

For meal planning inspiration I have about four websites that I always visit.

Kraft Foods is sure to have great, easy ideas.  The recipes are always a hit, but I usually only pick one meal from their site because it tends to be expensive and not super healthy.

You can be sure to find economical food over at the Five Dollar Dinner Mom.  I don't often follow her recipes, but I use her ideas a LOT.

It is definitely hard to beat Taste of Home for amazing, economical, yummy recipes.  I learned to cook using their magazines;  I think the first meal I made for Daniel and his fam was from Taste of Home.  (Ha ha. . . it worked.  He married me. )

My new favorite is definitely Pinterest.  The inspiration is limitless and it compiles the best of the food bloggers in one easy place.

Here's what we're eating over here during the next few days:

Saturday:   Roasted Vegetable Minestrone & 7-Up Biscuits {just been dying to try these}

Sunday:   The Blue Plate Special,  {hot roast beef on white bread topped with mashed potatoes and gravy. . . oh yum. oh comfort food.  oh waistline.} Green Beans,  Seven Layer Salad, and something pumpkin for dessert.   

Monday:  Birthday Party for my mother-in-law.  I'm making this yummy stuff.

Tuesday:  Shredded Beef Sandwiches, Red Cabbage Apple Slaw & Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:  Baked Potatoes, Orange Roughy & Green Salad

Thursday:  Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Bake (the kids and I loooove rice.  We'd eat it all the time, but Daniel isn't a fan.  We schedule the rice around his days at MFD. Ha ha.)

Friday:  Taco Pizza & Green Salad

Speaking of pumpkin stuff. . . you know. . . all roads lead to the newest little pumpkin around here. . .

Oh, squishiness!  Love our little Eli David!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


"When you are like. . . one. . . you can play basketball with me."

Friday, October 28, 2011

glitter glue & gourds

Glitter glue + gourds & pumpkins from my friend Becky. . . so autumn!! 

(and can i just say it feels good to be sleep deprived & typing with one hand again?)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

eli {pt. 2}

The kids went to Deeann's until my mom and dad could get them and we headed up to the hospital (a forty minute drive). 

We googled name meanings on the way and narrowed our list down. . . both of us had been planning on two more days of baby preparation.  You can do a lot in two days and . . . we felt a little rushed and harried. 

I was trying to be relaxed, even though I wasn't, and so I requested a smoothie from the McDonald's drive through before we got to the hospital. As I sat there, breathing through my contractions and sipping my smoothie, Daniel started snickering and suggested that I finish my drink before we got to labor and delivery:  "They'll never admit you if you walk in slurping that. No one ever believes you're in labor anyway, and your smoothie won't help!"

I thought he had a good point, so I stood in the hospital lobby and gave myself a brain freeze before facing the daunting task of convincing the triage nurses that I was indeed about to have a baby.

And once again, I didn't exhibit enough classic labor symptoms to be admitted, so we hung out on the floor and walked the halls, burned our baby playlist from itunes, chatted about names, with me growing crosser and crosser as my labor progressed.  Anyone who has had a baby knows that you can be okay one minute and when that next contraction starts, you can turn into a grumpy bear.  My fear has always been that I'll swear.  That didn't happen, but according to my husband, I was really rude.

We were walking around the corner of the nurses station and Daniel didn't know that I was laboring and he pointed to this little fuzzy orange hat placed on the statue of a child.  "Look, isn't that cute?"  Apparently I growled:  "I don't wanna look at that punkin hat."  He loves to tell that and point out that all of the nurses heard me, too.

I had such different emotions this time.

I didn't want any pain. I was scared and stressed. I think the past months have just been so painful and so stressful that facing the prospect of known pain was discouraging and scary to me.

After four hours and my doctor's insistence, I was admitted and finally had a beautiful warm room and a hot shower and music and soft lights. . . all of those cool delivery room things that I love about our hospital;  I was in transition and didn't really know it and since everyone else thought my labor was going to take awhile, I requested asked for  begged for an epidural. 

Another thing Daniel loves teasing me about:  I didn't realize that the anesthesiologist was on call and had to drive to the hospital. . . I guess I just thought he was taking his sweet time in a doctor's lounge or something and I said at one point "Where is Mr. Epidural?!?!"  Daniel insists I said that just as he walked into the room.  I don't know.  I'd like to think he didn't hear that.

I'd never had an epidural before, but it wasn't a big deal at all;  however, just as he finished, and advised me that I would be feeling warm tingling in my toes, I told my nurse. . . "Ummm. . . I have to push."

And I did and squeezed Daniel's hand about in half and the room filled up in a minute and the epidural was pretty pointless and my doctor was looking at me and saying, "you push and I will lay him right up on your stomach!"

Pain, pain, pain, a year and a half of hopeless, wrenching pain, ache ache ache, so much loss.  I was so, so scared.  Daniel was turned away with his head against the wall, crying out to God. 

And more pain, now.

All this pain

I wonder if I'll ever find my way

I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth

Could all that's lost ever be found

Could a garden come up from this ground at all?

And suddenly there were tiny cries.  And Eli.  And he was in my arms and we were looking at his perfect little body  and Daniel was weeping.  Oh, Jesus, thank You, thank You, thank You.  I couldn't believe he was alive.  I sobbed.  He was warm.  He was perfect.  He was ours.

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us.

His cries were different than Gabe's and I was thankful for that and instantly aware that Eli was his own little person. I can't even describe the way my heart exploded with love for the little person God had given us in the midst of so much grief and so much darkness.

All around

Hope is springing up from this old ground

Out of chaos life is being found

In You. . .

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us.

. . .You make me new, You are making me new. . .making me new. . .
(Beautiful Things, Michael Gungor Band, playing while Eli was born)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

shining moments (eli pt.1)

***I am not a fan of pt.1, pt.2, pt.3 blog posts, but the way my life is going right now it's that or nothing!  So pt. 1 of Eli. . . .

I want to capture all of these shining moments. . .

so much beauty and so many tears. . .

laughter that these walls haven't heard for so, so long;

deeper grief over the little man who completes our family circle. . . yet isn't here to share all of this joy.

more questions from our kids.


my heart thudding to a stop as I peek at my precious Eli, sleeping, my hand reaching out. . . and tears and limp relief to feel that warmth, that tiny beating pulse. Thank You, God. God, let him live.

Jacob, holding a pacifier up to his chest: "Hey, Mom, if I hold the fass-i-pier right *here* Eli seems to like it a lot better!"

Cambria: "So was he crying when he came out of your belly button?"

When I knew we had to leave for the hospital. . . I wasn't ready. . . wasn't prepared for the emotions. I hadn't been to Gabe's grave to tell my baby that he would still be my baby, that I wouldn't forget him. I'd planned to go on Friday; the irony of October 15 as Eli's induction date and the cemetery cleanup day wasn't lost on me. How strange and twisted life can be.

My heart - breaking to take away the little special things that mark one son's life here;

The same heart - singing to welcome the precious unborn son inside of me.

But it was Thursday.

I hadn't even packed the kids yet.

I was in the middle of painting a verse above Eli's bed.

And in the middle of chicken enchiladas.

And (using my friend Pam's Cricut) putting a huge READ sign in the upstairs hallway. I had the R up.

I hadn't colored my hair yet (pre-labor ritual for me) or packed myself, or burned our baby #4 playlist.

But sometimes babies don't wait for all of the checks to be marked in the boxes.

I called Daniel, and he came home to me distractedly tying up the loose ends of my multitasking.

"Why in the world are you making *chicken enchiladas* when you've called me home so that we can go to the hospital?!"

Well, I don't know, I guess it was all out on the counter and I didn't want it to spoil?   Side note: We ate them four days later. Worst enchiladas EVER.   I'm not sure how I ruined them in my distraction, but I did.

We left.

We stopped at our little man's grave.  

I stood there, looking at his tiny grave, at his beautiful name, Gabriel James, remembering his tiny first cries and the joy he brought to our lives. I would never forget him; yet as soon as I left I knew that my grief road would branch. . . Gabe would be a big brother.   He wouldn't be the baby.

I wept for how cruel and wrong the picture seemed.  I wept for the little man I would never hold again. . . here.

The kids left tiny pumpkins.

I blew kisses to him. 

Took a deep breath. . .

then we drove away.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eli David

He's here, our little number 4! Eli David, born early this morning at 1:36 am. . . 8lb, 5 oz, oh so beautiful, so perfect. Thank You, Jesus.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

roman shade out of mini blinds (nesting pt. 2)

My friend Rebecca made a roman shade out of her kitchen blinds over a year ago and I still can't believe I waited this long to try it out myself.

So easy.

You need existing blinds.

About two yards of fabric.

And some sort of glue.

I used a glue gun.

Very simply, you cut out all of the blinds except for the "bones" of your roman shade.  I left  6 blinds. . . they were about twelve inches apart.

Then cut your fabric so that it overlaps the stretched out blinds about two inches all the way around. 

I ironed my fabric so it would have nice creases where I wanted to fold it.

Then I laid everything out on the dining room table and started gluing.  I did the "bones" and edges first, then the bottom, and glued the top at the very last when it was actually hanging on the window.  **Note:  beware of gluing the cords.  You want those to move freely.

The detailed directions on Apartment Therapy's site absolutely forbid hot glue.  Call me a rebel, but hot glue works just fine.  But maybe that's because I use my grandpa's super duper industrial florist's glue gun which is a step above most cheapie versions.

The hardest part is carefully cutting a hole for the blind cords.  I cut a tiny, tiny slit.

This took me about an hour. . . it is seriously one of the easiest projects I have ever done.  My total cost was $15 and that was because I bought heavy canvas fabric just because I liked the pattern on it.  $2-$3 per yard cotton should work just as well.

Detailed directions at The Little Green Notebook.  Or google "roman shades out of mini blinds" and see what you find.

Jacob's room is next, but I'm looking for some atlas / world map fabric first. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nesting Pt. 1

So if you talked to my husband he would tell you that I am nesting.

I think that may be too kind of a term.

Nesting at our house sounds a little more like Angry Birds than soft cheeping and layering of layette pieces.

Ever read P.D. Eastman's The Best Nest? I texted my sister in law the other day that I was becoming the mean mamma bird in the book. . . she sends the papa bird all over the place frantically trying to find the perfect spot for her baby and is really quite crabby in the process. I always thought she was mean. And then, this week, I was reflecting on my nesting and this thought popped into my head. . .. I nest like. . . . . oh my goodness, I nest like the mamma in P.D. Eastman's book!

Anyway, my husband promised me two days at home and that he would do all in his power to cross off all items on my honey-do / baby-get-ready / nesting list.  My absolute favorite item on this list is not baby related at all, but I am in love with it.   Daniel doesn't want anyone to know that he made it because he fails to see the beauty in reclaimed trash and doesn't want his name or carpentry skills attached to something that took him two minutes to make and two minutes to hang. But, drumroll, I have a pallet shelf rack now!

Did I say that I love it?

Now I think I need some words in the space between the pallet shelf and the alphabet board (from Loren. . . the giver of perfect gifts).

I keep mulling over ideas for a short phrase that would just fit.

Grab a Kleenex, blow your nose and keep studying. not kind enough

Study to show thyself approved too King James-y {Jacob was reading something in the unfamiliar-to-him King James Version the other day: "Mom, is this supposed to be Godlier or something?!"}

Readers are leaders ummm. . . no.

Oh well, I'll think of something. Suggestions welcome!

Nesting Part 2 tomorrow. . . check back for instructions for a DIY roman shade out of existing blinds.   I love this allllmost as much as the pallet shelf.   But not quite.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

purple books & pay for mommies

The real reason for this little post is so that I don't forget how crazy my conversations with my kids can be. 

In the space of fifteen minutes we can cover everything from sex to buffalo to why stay-at-home moms don't draw a paycheck.  Whew.  I can barely keep up with all of the rabbit trails.


To doctor appointment.

*pass buffalo ranch*

Cambria:  We can't get a buffalo because we don't have enough room for it.

JD:  Well, I would like to be a buffalo. Or a snake.  Did you know that snakes have like 150 bones in their spines?

Both children agree that they'd like to be snakes.

Brief silence. 

Cambria:  Are Pastor Jake and Loren married?

(Well, they are expecting their third child, have wedding pictures hanging in their living room and both wear rings on their left hands. . . I wasn't at the wedding, but I'm pretty sure they're married. . .)

So begins a brief explanation of wedding rings.

Do rings on the fourth finger of your left hand ALWAYS mean you're married?

Well, no.

JD:  So say, if you saw a like. . . almost fifteen year old with a ring on their left hand they are probably not married, they just are wanting to look nice.

Umm, yes.

Mull over this information.

JD:  Well, you always know people are married if they have kids or if they're pragg-nent.

Ooh, choices.  I could let this one go.  I opt for a teachable moment.

Well, actually, you don't have to be married to have kids or get pregnant.  Remember what we learned in the purple books?  It takes sex to have babies and not everyone who does that is married.  It's God's plan to save sex for being married and everything works better that way, but people do have children without being married.    *whew.*

JD:  What's sex?

Ohhh, I thought we covered this in the infamous purple books (so dubbed by my family. . . I'm not sure these books are actually purple, but if you heard someone groan, oh, no, Mom got the purple books out again, you definitely knew what was being discussed).

Remember. . . what we read about the other day. . .?

Oh, yes yes yes.

*cross fingers that this won't be discussed at AWANA tonight*

Thirty seconds of silence.

JD:  God can see me right now.  He can see my thumb.  He can even see my math and my pencil.  And he knows what I will be when I grow up even though I keep changing my mind!

Me:  That's why it's a good idea to ask God for help when you're deciding what you want to do or be, since He already knows.

Cambria:  Well, I know what I want to be when I grow up.  A girl.

JD:  huh?!

Cambria:  I mean, a wife.

JD:  Well, that isn't a job.

Me:  Yes, being a mom and wife is a job, Jacob.

JD:  It doesn't pay money!

Good point, my son.

Cambria:  I could mow our lawn for the dad!  (by dad, she means husband)

Jacob:  You don't get paid for mowing your own lawn.

Cambria:  the future un-paid stay at home momma

(reading Huckleberry Finn on my e-reader out of sheer determination to have dibs on the device)
Jacob:  future. . . um. . . something.  I think it will involve making money.
This is me with my kids frantically trying to think up correct answers to their questions!

And car trips. . . home of the wildest conversations!

Oh, they crack me up!

Monday, September 19, 2011

homeschool humble pie

Once upon a time I said something glib along the lines of : yes, I am going to homeschool my kids, but it isn't going to consume our lives and I will not be one of those homeschoolers who can only talk about homeschool curriculum.

Why do I have to be humbled and proven so wrong for those rash youthful statements?

Teaching is consuming my life.

All I can talk about are books, libraries and curricula.

I wake up, get one cup of coffee flowing through my bloodstream, make breakfast, direct chores, and morph our dining room into a classroom.

We sit at the table, do devotions, and then start the books up.

A Kleenex box is still part of the decor.

We study, minutes (for me) flying by until lunch. 

Extra stuff in the afternoons, be it laundry for the millions many overnight guests we've had lately, cooking, errands, extra classes or just finishing up what we didn't accomplish before lunch.  Sometimes we don't finish until four.  So much for the lofty ideas of accomplishing it all in three hours.

By evening, after supper, dishes, visists to Daniel,  phone calls that have been put on hold all day, I am fried.  My brain feels about as big as say, a pin.  Which reminds me of Pinterest, which is the real reason I haven't blogged, but. . .  anyway.  I literally fall into bed at night.

I only have two kids to teach.

One is in preschool (talk about pressure) and one is in first grade.

This is only going to get more complicated.  But still, I love it;  I love the light bulb moments;  I love pouring into their lives.

I don't like eye rolls, sighs, tears, grumbling, or this comment on the way to science class:  "Hey Mom, I don't want to make you feel bad, but when I go to real classes like my art classes, they explain things way better."

But other moments make it so worth it. 

Note to me this morning: 
FoR u!

I <3 u

Thank you FoR clening My room so Much <3!



Or Cambria's thrill over learning to tell time and write her middle name and read the words YAY and ZOO today.

It is an exhausting, beautiful privilege to be with them. 

It is easy to forget how much children need love and time from their parents. 

After being with the kids all day, I am ready for a break from them and they sure act like they want a break from me.  (That's what the pool and trampoline and bikes are for.) 

Today after school, errands, and choir, Cambria was helping me make granola bars.  Jacob came in and asked to help.  I told him there wasn't anything for him to do, and that the granola bars were mostly done.  I suggested told him to go jump on the trampoline.  He was back after two minutes, asking to help again.  I agreed to let him stir something and he climbed on a chair with a happy sigh. " Really, Mom, I just wanted to be with somebody." 

I look at his little boy face and realize the gift  I've been given;  he wanted to be with somebody.  The somebody is me.  It's my joy;  it's my job.

Thanks, God.

*The only thing perfect about the last few weeks of school are the pictures I took on the first day.  The kids are unbelievably cute.  But, true to the humbling nature of my life, those photos aren't on my SD card anymore for some odd reason.  Hopefully they are safely uploaded onto Daniel's laptop, but since he is at work:  picture-less post.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

{eight years}

Eight years together.  .  .

It's good. 

I think of the wild joy and beauty of first love and first kisses and first homes and the way his face looked when I walked down the aisle to spend the rest of my life with him.

I think of the crazy-high expectations of new brides and the sheer inadequacy of humans to meet each others every need. 

I think of the glitter {from our car - thanks groomsmen} we tracked everywhere on our honeymoon.

I think of the desire for our love to be perfect . . . for our marriage to be strong.

I remember red roses and a white veil and how much all of that rice hurt my face and my big strong man carrying me out of the church.

I remember my heart feeling like it would burst wide open with joy.

Fast forward eight years. . .

A lot of life has lost the glitter.

The rose colored glasses are definitely put away.

You know each other.

For some, maybe, that's bad.

For us, its so good.

No glitter, just reality. 

It's you and me, just liked I dreamed.

Reality is:

four days away to be together.

still loving kicking hotel room doors shut and hanging out the I'm too comfortable to be disturbed, please come back later sign. (Gotta love how different hotels phrase "Don't bother us.")

the freedom and security that comes from years together. . .  I don't feel like I have to stay at Best Buy and agonize over the second laptop decision.  I can leave.  He's still happy.  I can also come back an hour later and he still hasn't moved. 

that we both love watching nerdy financial corruption documentaries together. 

when he says you're beautiful . . . and  I'm one month away from having our fourth child.

staying together when life isn't glitter and roses.

I think of how easy it can be to want to throw in the proverbial towel and give up on the commitments that we made and I'm thankful that we haven't.

The reward of being with someone who knows everything about you and still chooses to love is incredible, unique, fantastic.  {thrilling}

So glad I married the love of my life!

I love you, Daniel!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's a Small (healing) World

Cambria:  "Mom, I think I will call you servant".   {What??????}

JD, listening to Kristian Stanfill sing oh my God, You will not delay, my Helper and Strength, always: "Mom, why is he saying 'oh my God'?  I thought that was bad." 

Cambria:  "We could name our baby boy Jericho, if that's okay with you, Mom."  Mmmm, not okay.

JD, upon pulling out a loose tooth:  "It is so much nicer to eat now.  I couldn't even eat pancakes with that tooth."

Cambria, thrilled that her beloved Jess is engaged:  "Daddy, Paul gave Jess a ring and she's gonna marry him and then after that they're gonna have a baby!"   Ever feel like people rush engaged couples to the next step?  Meet Cambria. 

At a recent meal conversation, I asked the kids to think of where in the whole wide world they would like going the most.

Cambria (without hesitation):  "To a hospital."


adds explanation:  "To have our baby."

Jacob:  "If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go try out that new dentist's office that's over diagonal from Fareway and across from BP.  Cuz I just love getting my teeth cleaned."

Both kids munch on lunch, then realize I didn't say anything.  "Where would you like to go, Mom?" 

"Mmmmm. . . I would go to an island with tons of sand and blue water with Daddy and send you guys to Grandpa and Grandma's." I was not prepared for the instant crushed and downfallen countenances.  I couldn't help laughing.  I guess they thought I'd say McDonald's or maybe the library. 

I think that their world is so large because they experience so much and both travel frequently but I forget that for a child, the world is pretty small. 

A small world is Mommy when you wake up


cream of wheat for breakfast

Daddy mowing the yard

taming a caterpillar and naming it Celery

losing Celery

finding Celery

losing Celery


flooding the bathtub and bathroom  (me yelling me saying no baths, only showers from now on)

being eaten alive by chiggers and then covered with Calamine lotion

camping and cousins



art lessons

cap guns  {10,000+ caps shot in the last two weeks on our street}

67 cent floor length dress from the Salvation Army {princess in peach satin}

Adventures in Odyssey

ice cream cones

shots and bandaids for the school year

singing in the dark at bedtime

Their world is small and there's some stability and it's becoming secure again and I am so so so  thankful for that.

I think of a snowy cold day in Minneapolis, back when both of us were just existing and our kids physical needs were met, but not much more. I was riding back to our hotel with dear friends Luke and Anne, scrunched in the backseat and appreciating the distraction of friends from the endless sea of grief.   They asked how the kids were and I can still feel how much my heart hurt, looking out the window at the skyscrapers and lights. . .

I don't know.  I'm so afraid they're going to be so scarred, guys.  Scarred and scared. 

I haven't forgotten their words and they gave me hope. . .

Jacob and Cambria did not lose their son.  That particular grief isn't theirs.

Children are resilient.

Time soothes faster for children.

Their grief (though real) wasn't the same as ours.

I think of that conversation so often, when I wonder if my kids' hearts ache like mine and when I long to shield them from the cruelty of life.

I think of it when Cambria looks at pictures of her new cousin and then asks to look at Gabe's.  She cries.  I cry.  We get Kleenex.  Jacob cuddles in and we watch the images slide by, so much love, so much sweetness, such a short little life.  The slideshow loops and the kids know it and as we come to the end, Jacob says "Mom, I wish it wasn't the last picture, and I don't know why I don't cry.  Why don't I cry?"

Oh, my little man. . . it's okay that you don't cry, it's okay if you do.  It's okay that you wonder.  It's okay to wish there were a ton more pictures.

I think their grief isn't the same as mine when I hear Cambria point out to little friends "Oh, yes, that's the picture of our baby.  He died."  Those are the facts.  She has accepted the reality.  He existed, we loved him; he died, but he's still her brother and worthy of being acknowledged.  Sometimes children get it right.

I think they heal faster when I hear them shrieking with laughter as they jump on the trampoline with friends:  an awful new game where they play dead.  I cringe and then I remind myself that normal children, including mine, play dead, and that's okay.  They heal faster.

The funny, crazy things my kids say and the hilarious things they do remind me that God heals and time heals and stability heals and home heals.  A small world heals.

My children heal.

And I am so thankful.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When the Dave Ramsey Van Died

So did you want to hear the story of my Dave Ramsey van's kapow kachunk the end?

You don't?

Oh, well, sorry, I need to vent it.

That lemonade cake, a few posts back proved to be really destructive.  I wasn't even sure I had time to make it for Daniel's party and I had his favorite, root beer floats all ready.  But what is a birthday party without cake?  I berated myself, and off to Fareway I ran with about an hour and a half to spare.

Exiting the store with my one little sack of ingredients, I put the key in the ignition, turned, and. . . . . sputter. . . nothing.

That has never happened to my faithful, steady van.  It runs and runs.  I have sworn that we would drive it to our children's high school graduations because God wants the humiliating exterior of that van to refine my character. 

I put in a call to Daniel, who luckily was home and available (of course, since we were having his birthday party)  "Surprise, babe, for your thirtieth, I present you with a broken vehicle!!"  I ground my teeth, hating the way this was turning out. 

He quickly (and I might say, correctly) diagnosed the problem as the fuel pump, which he emphatically said he was not replacing and since he didn't have time to deal with the van, just gave us a ride home.

Not having time to deal with the van is a gross understatement.  I am not sure I know anyone busier or more booked than my man.  Or maybe that's just because I know him really well.  But at any rate, after a week and an apologetic call to the manager of the grocery store, plus numerous comments from friends (is your van at Fareway??  Still??), Daniel enlisted me to help him tow our affable bumbling van to our our mechanic.

I thought  my job would be driving the van.

No, apparently my husband didn't think I was capable.

"You can tow me," he said with absolute confidence.

"I have never done that before."

"Oh, you'll do fine.  I really think you can do this."

Unbeknownst to us, we were about to commit a crime with an impressive fine attached to it, which might explain the angry glares, gestures and honking we received, but I get ahead of myself.

With everything properly attached, cell phones set to speakerphone on mode, I climb into Daniel's truck with one last plea:  "Can't any of your guy friends do this?"

Apparently not, and on we went.

"I'll just coach you," my husband says through the phone.  "Turn wide when you leave Fareway and just go slow."

I go slow.  I turn wide.  This creates a sling shot effect and isn't recommended by veteran tow-ers.

Frantic screeching from my calm man.  "Don't turn wide -- JERK-BONK-- that was a bad idea!!  My bad!  Don't ever turn wide again!!"


More coaching.  "Never brake."

Uh huh.  Except if there is a car in front of you, probably brake then, wouldn't you say??

Approaching big hill, which we must descend, with multiple curves.  I put my foot down, quite literally, and refuse to tow down the hill.  "Can't you coast?"

My man thinks this is an excellent plan, and unhooks our towing paraphernalia.  "I still need you to be right in front of me.   You lead me through the 4-way at the bottom, okay?"

So I inch ahead of him,  trying to see if he can coast through the normally deserted 4-way at the bottom of the hill.  Uh oh, approaching SUV at the intersection. 

"Can I go? Can I go?" screeching from the speakerphone

I'm trying to judge who will make it to the 4-way first.  If I get there first I can hog the intersection, right?  "Just a sec, I don't know."

"I need to know!"

Yes, I make it.  Yes (so sorry, silver Toyota SUV, I am not normally like this) I hog the intersection.  The van coasts safely on through.

Jacob:  "Mom, I have prayed several times already."

Uh huh, you and me both, pal.

The end of the story is that I did a great job and glowed under the praise of my man as he bragged on my mad towing skills until dinner with friends one night where we were informed that this story could have had a $600 fine attached to it. 

This has since been confirmed to be quite illegal and I share this story here hoping no one will report me to proper authorities but instead just tuck this lesson away for future reference. 

So my van died, and the search is on for a replacement.  The longer and more cheerfully I wait, the nicer the replacement gets.  I'm planning on cheerfully waiting until we drive a 2012 Chevy Suburban off the lot. 

Hee hee hee.

Friday, July 29, 2011

so is He there when hearts stop beating?

Mom, can God see into our house?

(doubting Thomas Jacob Daniel)

Through curtains?


Through walls?

Deep thought, wrinkled forehead, trying to come up with a place God can't reach. . .

Through really, really gross, green, dark water?

And the privilege of reminding him that God sees in the uttermost parts of the sea is mine.

He sees.

He knows.

What does He see when our hearts break?

Two thousand years ago, Martha, grieving the sudden death of her brother, cries out to Jesus. . .

Why didn't You come?

You could have healed.

You are big enough to stop this.

You are God, we believe that!

We even know he'll rise again!

But why didn't You come?

And Mary, the one who chose the better part, seconds Martha's cries. . .

Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

John says that Jesus was troubled and deeply moved in His spirit, standing in the middle of the street where the sisters had stopped Him. . .

He asks them where their brother is, and they lead an ever-present, all-seeing, all-knowing God to a cemetery.

And He weeps.

I wonder, like many others before me, why He wept.

Does He weep for mammas down through the ages who rail at the Heavens why weren't You there?

Did He weep because our earth is so needy and so hurting and because He knew the Road to our Redemption was full of pain and loss for Him?

Did He weep for brave Stephen who chose stones over survival and forgiveness over understandable vindication?

Did He weep for His mother, who would watch her Son die?

Did He weep because they didn't understand the complete irony of taking God to see a grave?  

Did He weep because they don't understand that He was there?

Does He still weep because I don't want to believe that He was there?

Tonight I tell my son precious words that I stored in my heart as a child:

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Where can I flee from Your presence?

If I go up to the Heavens, You are there.

life is beautiful, You are there

If I make my bed in hell, You are there.

life has crushed me, and You are still there

If I take the wings of the morning

when my heart is strong

or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea

when I am sinking

even there Your Hand will guide me, Your right Hand will hold me fast.

But do I believe that He can see into my house?

I've cried too, Jesus, why weren't You there?

And isn't that actually so much easier to cry out than the alternative?

Because what if He did see that little bed, what if He did hear my little man's heart stop beating, what if He was there?

Then I am faced with believing exactly what I say I believe, that He is there.

And crying why weren't You there is really denying that He is God, and pretending that God is surprised and caught off guard by small white caskets ignores the reason He came.

My heart shrinks from thinking about these things.

It's deep, and it's hard, and it hurts.

But the longer my heart knows the pain of death, the more I rejoice that He came to free us from this aching loss.

The more it hurts, the deeper I see the need for redemption.

And then I have to say. . .

I am so grateful, Jesus, that You see me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bringing Home Bees

So I'm reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  It's a fascinating read, scathingly critical of American parenting and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book considering the fact that my parenting was insulted on every other page.

I read aloud a line to Daniel:  If a Chinese child brought home a B, there would be a hair pulling explosion.  But then, you just don't bring home a B.

Jacob overhears. I bet I could bring home a *bee* without getting stung.

Hee hee hee. . . I can just hear Amy Chua. . . see, these American children. . . they just don't get it.

In the midst of craziness and stress and life, I choose tonight to just remember some funny stuff from the summer. . .

Me:  Plan A didn't work.  On to plan B.

JD:  There's always plan C, plan D, plan E, plan F, and plan G!

We ran into a dear lady who babysat each of my three little people at one time or another today;  her name is Roberta.  As we walked away, Cambria mused:  I foah-get.  Is her name Root-beard?

Me:  Jacob, you would love this picture dictionary. It has the word for each picture in five different languages.

This is exactly the sort of thing he thrives on and he relaxes with the book.

I glance back at him, proud of my little man's intelligence.  I stop, a little shocked to see him wide eyed, taking in a full page spread of naked bodies. (Of course, with each part explained in five different languages.)

Eh, well, maybe let's not start with that page?  Why on earth is this in the picture dictionary?  To hurdle poor unsuspecting parents into the birds and bees chat?

I sit, squinting at my laptop, trying to check the correct boxes and order the correct workbooks for the upcoming school year.  Jacob, no, I cannot help you right now.  Do not interrupt.

Jacob, crestfallen:  Mom, this is one of the times when you do not make my life fun.

Cambria:  After the jobs, can we dance?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lemonade Cake

So this lovely photo has been floating around Pinterest and Google Images. . .


and after finding the recipe involved a lot more time than I had,
I went here
and then adapted it {Hayley-style}
until we came up with this:

Oh, my, delish.

My cakes never turn out, so I gotta admit I was really excited.

Lemonade Cake

1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
just over 1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup lemonade drink mix (I used Countrytime)
1/2 cup water
1 cup sour cream
2 t. vanilla
grated lemon zest

Mix together, pour into greased and sugared bundt / tub pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Cool on wire rack and turn out onto cake plate.  Cool for about 15-20 minutes and then frost while still slightly warm.

1/2 can cream cheese frosting
grated lemon zest
Stir lemon zest into frosting.  Using a spoon, frost only the top. The frosting will drizzle down the sides on it's own.
Top with more lemon zest.

We filled the center with blueberries . . .  Super yum!

Monday, July 11, 2011

real me

the real me is not the one who is kind and beautiful when i have time to prepare myself to be;

the real me is the ugly snarl that escapes my mouth when Daniel does or says something i don't like.

please don't call me 'mom'  (of course i didn't hear that he was talking to JD)

i hate the budget  (wow, just wow)

thanks for slamming the door in my face (do you really think he did?)

quit looking through my texts without telling me. leave my phone alone. (feel the love)

the real me is not the girl who gives hugs and hands kleenex and comforts during the tragedies that have happened this month;

the real me is what comes out

beating heart

shaking hands

angry thoughts

dark looks

when i am at my weakest point, tried by people and circumstances that continually frustrate me.

the real me is what is inside my heart, not what i carefully choose to let out of my heart.

i wanna think that i can control myself, and in a way, i can, if i control my heart. 

but when things happen out of my control,

when people are human and fail,

when people are mean and hurt,

when people are unthinking  and jab a deep knife deeper

that little heart squeeze that happens reveals whats really inside, and it's not pretty.

i am humbled that God still loves me, that He still gives so much grace to my weak little ugly broken heart, that He doesn't give up, that He shows me my sin, that He gives

new days

and new weeks

and new months

and new years.

thankful. . .

that He loves the real me enough to die

that He loves the real me enough to use the broken pieces of my life

that He loves the real me enough to reveal my pride and weakness

that He loves the real me enough to give me eternity and hope and a future.

He's kinda amazing like that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

june is. . .

Starbucks and Eat Pray Love with Mommy

Ballet Lessons {attempted twirl}

June is. . .learning to overcome fake shyness

June is Watermelon Pineapple Tropical Sno.
No, I didn't choose the flavors.
Yes, he loved his choice.
Yes, that is an awful lot of  red dye #40.

June is floating in the pool.
June is hundreds of dollars in pool chemicals.
June is said pool filter's bearing going out and pool motor threatening neighborhood peace.
June is $269 new filter on it's way. (shipping $12 just in case you wanted to know)
June is Daniel musing over the cost of ripping out said pool and buying a family pass to aquatic center.

June is Miss Kamie time.
{Not staged, both sound asleep}
Place: Mom and Dad's  -   Time: midnight

Also real time, unstaged, 12:00am, Cambria feeding lettuce to her pet bunny.
It lives at Mom and Dad's.  They threaten to send it home with us each time.
How can we deprive the child of this sweet pet?
Yes, we do feel guilty.
No, Daniel won't relent on his no-pets-until-acreage-policy.
Yes, it is pathetic to watch the pet-deprived child carry a snail around for an hour.

June is waking JD up by reading the Seuss-esque I am Not Going to Get Up Today
and then bringing the kids breakfast in bed.

Oh, the intrigue and grown up aura of eating in bed.
{Before you say what an unselfish mom I am, please note that this very easy
idea resulted in my kids staying happily in their rooms with books and strawberries
until 10 am. Signed,  unselfishmom   Selfish Mom}

 Father's Day idea inspired a month in advance by Clubhouse Jr.
(my kids love that magazine)
DAD pizza bagels.

So where are the photos of me?

Well the little people who take pictures of me snap shots like this:

and worse,


Since I must live in the kitchen, I stayed there for my own snap shot of. . . myself.

Happy June!