The Last Week in Pictures


Tuesday: My youngest turned 10! How did that happen!


Wednesday: Major windstorm knocked down this beautiful evergreen in our front yard. Thanking God that it only fell on our garage but damage was minimal!


Wednesday, continued: Can you believe the tree missed Dave’s car by mere inches?


Thursday: Dave home from China with a cold and a story of a Chinese pharmacy adventure.


Friday: Rehearsal for first musical! Hairspray! And did I mention this girl turned 16 two weeks ago?


Saturday:  My niece’s wedding!  A full day of visiting with family – including my two sisters from out of town.  It doesn’t happen often, but it’s so wonderful to have us all in the same place!


Sunday: Hairspray!! Even after missing a few rehearsals because of the windstorm, the kids did an amazing job!

Monday: Tree being removed from the garage roof.

Monday:  The tree getting removed.

Tuesday: Snow day! Deer looking for food.

Tuesday:  Snow storm and another day off of school!  Deer looking for food in the backyard.





Sweet, sweet summer

Well, summer is in full swing here! I love the laid-back schedule and feeling that we can do anything we want, whenever we want! (Full disclosure-very soon the lack of routine will leave me crying. But for now it’s all good!)

Memorial Day weekend we decided to give away our kids’ fort to our neighbor. I didn’t realize how sad they would be – or how sad I would be about it! Just another reminder that they are growing up too fast! But it was a good way to start out the summer because I now find myself more likely to be enjoying the present- to be in the moment- with the kids. More likely to say, “sure!”, with actual anticipation when they suggest an activity.

Here’s a picture I took of them years ago in the fort. It’s one of my all-time favorite pictures of them!


And here’s a picture I took of them the day we gave it away.  Oh, my goodness!!


There are all too many reminders these days that our time is limited with all three kids at home. I want to thrive this summer- not just survive!

Here are a few things I’m trying this summer to keep myself sane and able to fully enjoy the kids:

Get them to help more with cleaning.

Don’t neglect my first-thing in the morning time of prayer.

Get in the pool with the kids, often.

Say yes to time with friends without feeling guilty.

Do something creative every few days (write, practice hand-lettering, scrapbook, work on redecorating our living room).

Do one extra organizing or cleaning task every day. I’m pretty good at doing maintenance chores around the house like cooking, dishes, laundry- but then I tend to let everything else go. I’m challenging myself to do one extra thing each day so I feel like I’m making progress! So far so good, but we’ll see how long it lasts!!

How’s your summer going so far?  How do you thrive during the summer?

December 2014!

Christmas is two days away!

Today we are finishing up our preparations… wrapping the last of the gifts, making the last of the cookies (peanut butter balls), and all that good stuff.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this month:

We’ve had a rough December in terms of busy-ness and sicknesses, so we’re also doing a lot of resting, too!  This weekend we took it easy and pretty much watched Christmas movies all weekend.

It was a good weekend – probably because I had zero expectations of it.

Unlike last weekend.  One of our advent activities was to pick out a child to sponsor through ICCM.  We’ve been wanting to do this for a while and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate Christ’s birth.  It didn’t go at all like I’d planned.  (ooh – those expectations we have in our heads are so sneaky!)  I guess I thought it would be a truly meaningful family moment – and it was anything but.  We still did it, but the kids were being silly and totally not taking it seriously.  It made me angry and one of them was in time-out before it was over.

And today the littlest had a doctor’s appointment – diagnosis cold with a side of ear infection.  Not exactly how I’d expected to spend today.  But more snuggling and resting is okay, too.

In the midst of all this I thought of the Christmas devotion I’d done at MOPS a couple of years ago.  And realized I needed to hear it again.

Maybe you do, too.  Here’s the good part:

 Are you trying for the perfect Christmas? And don’t get me wrong – I get caught up in it, too! But God keeps reminding me that the only perfection I’ll find on Earth – the only perfection that you’ll find – is in Jesus. He was, and still is, the perfect gift and the reason we celebrate!

Jesus was referred to in the Bible as “Immanuel”, which means “God with us”. God gave us His son as a gift – the gift of His presence in human form. He is present (no pun intended) with us at all times.

Jesus, the Messiah, was born in a dirty stable when people were expecting a King with all the trappings.

But God is more concerned about what people need rather than what they expect. And He is not afraid to come into the mess of our lives – our dirty stables.

Despite your efforts to create the perfect Christmas, what kind of messes do you have in your life?

The good news is that God’s perfect gift is still available to you. Immanuel – God with us. Isn’t it amazing? The God of the universe is willing to give up the majesty of heaven to be with us in our dirty stable. And he is big enough to deal with whatever mess we’ve made – but not too big to care about it!!

So what do you need this Christmas? Instead of chasing after the perfect Christmas, I challenge you to chase after the “perfect gift” – Jesus. He is, in fact, regardless of his birth in a dirty stable, all the things that Isaiah prophesied.

Do you need guidance on how to get out of your mess? Well, Jesus is the wonderful counselor.

Do you need peace to get through? Jesus is the Prince of Peace

Do you need the impossible to happen? Jesus is the mighty God.

Do you need hope? Well, Jesus is also the Savior and light of this world. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

All you need to do is not miss it.

(here’s the original post, if you want to read all of it)

Merry Christmas, friends!  Praying for all of us that we don’t miss Jesus this Christmas.  



Top 10 Ways to Identify the Mom Whose Kids Have Lice at School

These are in no particular order.

And they may or may not be, uh, from personal experience.

  1. Look for the mom who is itching her head.  (Fact: 90% of moms treating kids with lice actually get lice from their licey-headed kiddos.)  And even if she’s not itching from lice, she’s itching just from thinking about them.  And if you see her, you might just notice SHE is looking around for people itching their heads because she’s trying to figure out where in the world her kid picked up lice.
  2. Despite all her children being school-aged, the mom is appearing as exhausted and emotional as a mom with a newborn.  That’s because she’s up doing laundry till all hours of the night.  She might just start crying if you ask her how she’s doing.  Because this is more overwhelming and stressful than you might even imagine.
  3. She’s the mom you run into at CVS with a ginormous sized laundry detergent and one hand behind her back.  (that hand’s holding the RID)  And despite the fact that anyone can get lice – they have nothing to do with cleanliness – she will feel like she’d rather run out of the store like a crazy woman before she lets you see that RID.
  4. If you could check her internet history, you’d see ninety-eleven searches related to lice.  Things like “how to eliminate lice”, “how long can lice hold their breath under water?”, “how long can you have lice and not know it?”, “when can my kids go back to school after having lice?”, and “what’s the best way to tell the parent of your child’s friend that your child has lice?”.  Really there’s no easy way out of that last one – just straightforward humbling honesty. 
  5. She might be the one mumbling crazy things like, “I wonder how much it costs to have a pet monkey?” and then “Nope, that’s crazy – it’ll get lice, too.”
  6. Her house is in disarray because all she has been doing is laundry, changing sheets, vacuuming floors and furniture, and spending hours (literally hours) combing out her kids’ hair.  (Especially lucky for her if the lice-habitats are girls with long-ish hair.)
  7. Her credit card bill will show (large) charges at places with funny-sounding names like “Naughty Nits”.  And charges for laundry detergent and RID (see #2 above).  And charges for Robi Combs. And tea-tree oil shampoo.  And rosemary leave-in conditioner.  And maybe extra mayonnaise, olive oil, and tea-tree oil.  And anything else she thinks might, one: eliminate these crappy bugs from her home, and two: prevent this from EVER, EVER, happening again.  EVER.
  8. She is wearing her hair up.  All the time now.  (and trying to get her girls to do it also.)  Again, in order to prevent the contraction and spread of the dreaded lice.
  9. You might see her multiple times in a two week period cruising the fast-food drive-thru lane.  Because as you might imagine, there is not a lot of time to make dinner in between two 2-hour hair comb-outs per night.
  10. And last, but not least, she’s the mom who is anywhere and everywhere (and with anyone who will listen) sharing crazy facts about lice, lice elimination, and lice prevention.  Because even though she felt embarrassed and horrified and alone when she found out her kid had lice, she has since discovered several of her friends’ kids have had lice.  And she figures that if moms actually started talking about it, the next mom who discovers unwanted guests on her kids’ hair won’t feel so alone.

Stay tuned for my next post.

August Happenings

aaah, August has been a bit of a whirlwind.  Here’s some snapshots of the month.

ImageA trip to an amusement park.



My trip to Dallas.



My son’s 9th birthday (again, all about legos and star wars!).



New haircuts and two missing teeth – just in time to start Kindergarten next week!



And witnessing God protecting us from this.  We’ve known this tree had to come down for about a year and a half now, but we thought it would take a strong storm to topple it.  This happened in the space of about 20 minutes on Monday when I took the kids to drop off our books at the library – and we didn’t even go in – we just dropped them in the book return!  And there was no storm – no wind – just a light rain.  Thanking God for his protection.  The tree will be cut down in the next few days and I am quite sad about it.  It provides us so much shade in the summer!

And these photos don’t even include the excitement over my husband being in the hospital for three days!  Thank you to some of you who noticed my prayer request and contacted me to make sure everything was ok.  He is home from the hospital and doing fine now.  It was a combination of things – a new medicine and him not consistently taking some of his regular meds – that made him quite sick.  But he is stable right now and has an appointment with a specialist next week.  Thanks again for your prayers.

Next week will be quite a transition week for us – my oldest will be starting middle school (in the public school system), my son will have a new teacher for 4th grade, and my youngest will be starting kindergarten.  So I will be at home, alone.  It has been 11 1/2 years that I have had a preschooler at home, so this will be quite a change.  I am equal parts excited and sad.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1


:The Bridal Shower:

So Sunday was Emily’s bridal shower and it was lovely.

I will warn you… this post is photo-heavy!!

My mom, my sister, and I with the guest of honor!

My mom’s house all decorated and ready for the party…

I was in charge of decorations and some of the food.  Most of my ideas came from Pinterest (can you tell by the tissue paper pom-poms in the picture above?).  Below I will show you some highlights and where to find instructions / inspiration if you’d like to get more information.

I got the instructions for the tissue paper pom-poms here.  They are really quite simple and don’t take long to make.  And they make such a big visual impact!

Emily loves lacy stuff, so I wanted to make a doily table runner for her.  I made this one out of doilies I got at thrift shops, church rummage sales, estate sales, and a couple I just bought at JoAnn Fabrics.  They are cheaper and more unique if you buy old ones… however, they are really not easy to find at thrift shops.  You’ll have more luck at estate sales and rummage sales.  I think it turned out beautifully…

My inspiration came from here.  I pieced the doilies together first, using a bit of fabric glue to anchor them together.  Then I tacked them together with a needle and thread.  I may have to make another for myself!

My sister has a Silhouette machine and made those cute little lanterns.  The possibilities with that thing – might need one of those, too!!

Next I rolled up the plastic silverware in napkins and tied with ribbon to look like flowers.  Not sure I was exactly successful in making it look like a bouquet, but it did look nice!

I got the inspiration for this from here.

I think my favorite thing about the decorations was this photo display I made for the bride-to-be.

I used an old window frame, ribbon, some scrapbooking materials, and black and white photos, and I love how it turned out.  I love the rustic look of the frame (which honestly, I didn’t really do anything to it except clean it thoroughly) combined with the soft look of the ribbon and photos.  My inspiration came from here.  It’s so versatile, too – once the “honeymoon stage” is over, she can change it up with different photos or use it for something else entirely!  There are about a bazillion ideas for using old windows on Pinterest, for sure!

And I couldn’t leave out a little bit of the chocolate fountain and goodies for dipping!  Emily is a big fan of chocolate – so the fountain worked out wonderfully and everyone loved it.  It’s such a novelty and really added a little something special.  (thanks to my friend for letting me borrow it!)

(My 5-year-old was especially enthralled with it, even though I’d told her repeatedly not to stick her fingers in it.  LOL.  But she really went to town on the marshmallows – she must have eaten half a bag by herself.  Fortunately there were no resulting tummy aches or temper tantrums.)

I wanted the guests to be able to share some marriage advice with Emily, but I wanted to do it in an unusual way that could become a keepsake.  This idea I did not get from Pinterest, but I did find it online here.  The exploding box…

This is so sweet – I love to hear other people’s marriage advice!  And after the shower I realized there were some empty “pages” so Emily can add some photos in there as well.

A couple of other ideas I got from Pinterest were writing the menu on the glass of a picture frame – I used scrapbook paper that coordinated with some of the other projects for the background, and the frame Emily could keep as a gift – and the fruit kabobs that looked so wonderful on the food buffet!

I tried to make the food table and the food be kinda classy – but I couldn’t talk my mom out of tuna macaroni salad (which is a classic at my family’s gatherings).  LOL.  I did draw the line at getting out the potato chips.  I did get asked a couple of times for my fruit dip recipe – so I’ll share that with you as well.  It’s real difficult (can you hear my sarcasm?)  It’s a small container of marshmallow fluff mixed (well) with 8 oz. of cream cheese.  Yes, that’s it.  And it’s so good, no one ever believes me when I tell them what’s in it!

A few more photos of the festivities…

The guest of honor trying not to break ribbons.

The cake…

And I’ll leave you with one last photo of the bride-to-be, the groom-to-be, and my mom…

Welcome to the family, Emily!!