Thursday, March 31, 2011

When I Get Mad ...

Sometimes I get mad.  It usually happens when I am over-whelmed, over-stretched, over-needed and over-spent.  The perfect storm of mothering overload!  When all those things happen at once, my little brain says, "All done" and I find myself with my jaw clenched, my eyes closed and my mouth fighting all the garbly-gook that wants to come pouring out.  Sound familiar?  Well, this happened recently ...

... on our trip home from our weekend in Denver.  We had enjoyed a wonderful couple of days with Brett's parents ... all except the stomach flu that hit the kids.  There is absolutely nothing worse than sick kids ... except maybe sick kids in someone else's home.  Ewww....

After our departure on Monday morning (and amidst our desperate hopes that we hadn't left any hidden bugs to infect our Gramps and Grammy with any extra "love") we stopped off at a convenience store for a couple of Big Gulp cups ... just in case.  Sure enough, about an hour into our drive, little Ashley moaned from her seat, "My belly doesn't feel good..."  With my lightening reflexes, I spun around in my seat and shoved a Big Gulp cup under her chin.  Just in time!  Meanwhile, we were speeding down the interstate at 75 mph and the kids were listening to a book on tape and Lydia was playing with her sock.  Just a regular Monday drive! :)

Brett pulled off at the first exit.  I jumped out and dumped out the yuckies.  In the middle of an apparent wind tunnel.  My scarf was whipping around and I was trying not to get any of the aforementioned yuckies on me.  As I climbed back into the car, Ashley whimpered that she got some on her shirt.  I jumped out again, back into the tornado, to open the side door to help her with her nasty shirt.  After I had carefully peeled the shirt over her head, I wadded it up so that all the yuckies were tucked inside and handed it across the seat to Norah.

"Can you please put this in the bag right behind you?"

Norah shrunk away from my hand as if I was holding a dead rat instead of a shirt.  She wrinkled her nose and shook her head.  The wind blew up my back.


I blew around the back of the van to open the back gate.  As the door swung up, a jacket, caught by a gust of wind, blew around the side of the van toward an open field.  Two birthday packages fell out the back into the rocks and the attached birthday card blew under the van behind the tire.  Perfect.

I stuffed the stinking, slimy, nasty shirt into the bag, scooped up the presents and shoved them back into the van and then ran off for the fly-away coat.  After stuffing that back into the van, I crawled down on my hands and knees to fish out the pink card.  Once everything was back in the van, I gave the back gate a tug and then ran around to my seat.  Then I closed my eyes, clenched my jaw and managed keep all but one of those garbly-gook words contained.  I was so mad.

Mad at flu bugs.
Mad at the prospect of being with four kids in a van for the next several hours.
Mad at the possibility of many such stops to dump yuckies.
Mad at kids who don't want to touch nasty, throw-up shirts any more than I do.
Mad at the wind.

Brett reached over and squeezed my hand.  He had just been on his way out to help when I slammed the door shut.  I knew that he was thankful for my help.  I knew that Ashley was thankful to not be covered in yuckies.  I knew that Norah was thankful I didn't make her take the shirt.

I slowly felt myself deflate.  A deep breath and a neck roll and I was all better.

Gratefully, God helped me by empowering me with a little self-control.  It could have been so much worse!  I could have really let loose and let everybody know how mad I was.  I could have held on to my anger and stewed for a few more mile-markers.  I could have said or done things that I would have regretted later.  I could have pulled a Liddy.

Lately, when my little two-year old is really mad she lets us know.  She recently had a similarly frustrating experience.  She only got two Smartie Sweet-Tart Hearts and she wanted more.  Yep ... she was mad.  And she threw her usual tantrum:

She screamed.
She howled.
She spit.
She cried.
She blew her runny-nose boogers all over her face.
She pulled down her pants and undies.

It wasn't a pretty sight!

Yeah, I'm glad that I've grown up a bit and I'm a little more self-controlled than my Lydia.  Because nobody wants to see Mommy act like that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time-Warp Wednesday

This week's post for Time-Warp Wednesday is not nearly as gross, unpleasant, nasty, stinky or heebie-jeebie-ish as last week's .... but it's still dirty.  Sorry ... :)

We have been dancing through spring the past couple of weeks.  Days of intense Colorado sunshine and delightful toastyness followed by gale-force winds and little frozen raindrops pelting the windows.  Green grass sprouting up here and there and little daffodils from my very own garden on the kitchen table ... and frosty windshields and frozen hands wishing for gloves.  With each warm day, I'm fooled into thinking that we are finally out of the wintery-ness of March ... and then surprise! we have another chilly day and I'm looking for my warm socks and pulling out the tea kettle again.  ...sigh...  We'll get there eventually!

In hopes of wooing Lady Spring to make her official (and permanent) appearance, I thought I would share a couple of pictures of Ashley from four springs ago.  I remember this day vividly ...

We had finally found ourselves with an authentic spring day and we seized the moment!  I remember I was in the backyard weeding the flower bed (which now hosts the daffodils from above) and pulling out all the dead growth from the previous year.  The kids (just the three of them at the time) were playing with a few random kitchen items that we kept in a bin by the back door.  They had filled several pots with dirt and Ashley had a cupcake pan that she was carefully filling with rocks, dirt and twigs.  Then the bigger kids asked for a bucket to get more dirt from the un-grassy area around the shed.

"Uh ... sure," I said, "Just be careful."

I was pulling weeds, the kids were digging in the dirt ... everyone was happy.

Then the kids asked for some water.

"Hmmm ... uhhhh ... okay," I said tentatively, "Just a little."

Famous last words.

You know as well as I do that dirt + water + kids = MESS ... and that is exactly what we got.

A gritty, dirty, slimy, slippery, delightful, wonderful, happy mess!

Notice that her socks are soaked ... and black.

That's not her eyebrow ... that's mud.

I love these snapshots!  I love not only that Ashley is having a splendid time with mud literally up to her elbows and caked to her feet ... but that I relaxed enough to celebrate her muddy exploration and capture it.

I am not a mom who easily allows this sort of messiness.  I do not do play-doh.  I shy away from painting.  And I cringe at the words:  science experiments.  All I typically see in those activities is the clean-up involved at the end of the fun.

Yes ... we can get the play-doh out. ~ "Now I'll have to sweep the floor and wipe down the entire table and seats ... and the kids."

Yes ... we can paint. ~ "Now I'll have to hose down the kitchen and the kids ... how did you get paint in your armpit?"

Yes ... we can make the baking soda & vinegar volcano. ~ "Outside only ... and you'll have to strip down before you go back in."

So ... as you can see, this springtime experience was quite astounding for me!

Something about the magic of their laughter, their squeals of pure delight and their utter joy in squishing that cold, gritty mud between their fingers (and toes) overpowered my desire for them to be clean and unsoiled.

Of course, after all this mucky, grimy fun we had to clean up.  But strangely enough, I don't really remember that job.  I know that the shirt and pants came clean (Lydia was wearing them just the other day) and I know that Ashley didn't sport that third eyebrow for long.  So it must not have been as painful as I feared.  The socks, however ... they went straight to the trash!

Here's hoping for more snapshots of my kids getting to be kids ... and not worrying so much about the work.  But, I'm going to need your help with this one, God ...

You know how I feel about glitter. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wanted: A Good Read

Just a brief warning ... I end up on my soapbox for a portion of this post ... proceed with caution. :)

I am a professed bookworm.  Growing up, I spent 98% of my life with my nose in a book.  Just ask my mom.  And as it turns out, it's apparently genetic!

On any given afternoon, Aaron and Norah will be plopped somewhere reading, too.  And even Ashley and Lydia enjoy to "read" their books during our down-times in the afternoon.  I truly do love to see my kids snuggled down into the couch and absorbed in a book.  The challenge lately has been finding worthwhile books for them to get absorbed into.

Last week, Aaron approached me with a question.  He wanted to read "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", but he knew that I had already vetoed the book last fall.

"Really?", I thought, "Didn't we already discuss this?"

Here's the recap:  Aaron came home with the first book of the series and wanted to read it.  I wasn't too thrilled, but I truly had no basis for my feelings except for a quick flip through the pages:  cartoons, a few references to words we don't use in our house and some bathroom humor.  Still, I wanted to be able to give him an actual reason so we logged on to Facts on Fiction* ... there in black and white was all the reasons we wouldn't be reading the book.  The number one reason was the multiple references to bullying.  "Sorry, Buddy."  He said, "Okay" and returned the book to the school library.

Fast forward several months and here he was again with a different book in the same series.  But he had a good plan this time.

"Mom, would you be willing to read the book and then you can decide if it's okay for me to read?"

Hmmmm ... that sounds kind of like something I would propose.  Smarty-pants kid. :)

"Sure.  I'll read the book and then we'll make a decision based on the facts.  And you'll be okay with the verdict, right?"


So ... over the weekend I read the second book in the series: "Rodrick Rules".  I would have read the first ... but they were all checked out from the library.  Yet more proof if this book's popularity.

In the second paragraph of the book, the main character calls his brother a "jerk".  That actually was enough for me, but a deal is a deal and so I lumbered on.

About half-way through the book, I felt I had plenty of proof to write off the entire series, the movies and any video games that might be out there.  But ... I had promised to read the whole thing before passing a judgement.  Perhaps in the end of the book there would be something positive, something redeeming, something worth reading.


By the end of the book, I had a list a mile long of all the aspects of the book that were inappropriate and unpleasant.  ...sigh...  Now I had to tell my kids that the book was a "no-go".  I hate this part of being a mom ... disappointing my kids.

And that's when I started to talk myself out of saying "no".  As I laid in bed that night, I had a few thoughts run through my head:

"Is it really that big of a deal?"
"It's just a book, right?"
"Their friends are reading it ..."
"We could talk about it together."

The next morning at church, I was still mulling over the book and my pending decision when I had a little epiphany ... involving the drummer on-stage.  Let me explain:

In the book, Rodrick is the main character's brother and he plays the drums.  A lot.  In fact, that is the only thing he does.  At one point the mom asks Rodrick to give drum lessons to his younger brother, Greg.  The story that ensues involves the older brother belittling the younger brother until Greg finally gets fed up and goes downstairs to play video games instead.  The impression left of me of this brother was someone completely and utterly lacking in character.  As I told Brett, he suffered from role-model-ship-less-ness.  (Nope ... that's not a real word, but you get the picture.)  Actually ... the entire cast suffered from role-model-ship-less-ness.  Mom, Dad ... even Grandma!  And that's what finally nailed the coffin in this book for me:  would I want my kids to look up to any of these characters in the book and say, "I want to be like him!"?  No way!

In contrast, I could honestly say that the drummer on stage (the catalyst for this 5 second revelation) is someone who I would choose to invite to have a positive impact on my kids.  This sudden insight strengthened my conviction that what we let our kids read does matter!  They are little sponges and they absorb everything they see, read and hear.  By rationalizing the impact that this book could possibly have on my kids, I was inviting them to absorb pages and pages of bad behavior, rudeness, disrespect, dishonesty and disloyalty.  Yuck.

I was also setting myself up to deal with all that garbage coming back out of my kids!  That saying, "Garbage in ... garbage out" is true, I'm afraid.  Did I really want to see or hear any of the lousy behavior portrayed in these books in my home?  Not one bit.

I felt empowered in my decision and I felt empowered as I stepped out as an advocate for my kids ... protecting them from something seemingly benign that could actually act as a poison in their minds and hearts.

Later that afternoon, Aaron, Norah and I plopped down on the couch to talk about the book.  Aaron's first words were, "It's a no, isn't it?"  Sorry, Buddy.

By the time I had finished listing all the examples of lying, cheating, manipulating, bullying, shirking, sneaking, deceiving and faithlessness-ing (another of my special words), both the kids were shaking their heads.

"Yuck," said Norah, "Don't say anymore."

Another Smarty-pants kid! :)

Aaron was certainly more disappointed and he even teared up a bit.  I know that he feels a little pressure from friends who like the books and we all know that peer pressure is hard.  But, then he made a couple of comments about how Jesus wouldn't like the book much either, and I felt like he had come to terms with the facts.

In the end, I left the decision up to them.  I told them that I hoped that they would choose to read something different, but that it was up to them.  Here's hoping they make the wise choice.

There are a few book series that we have really enjoyed:  Geronimo Stilton, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Junie B. Jones, Chronicles of Narnia, The Magic Tree House and we are reading through the second Harry Potter book together.

So ... my question to you all is:

What do your 3rd and 4th grade kids enjoy reading?
What would you recommend?

Summer is coming and I need my kids to be happily snuggled on the couch with a good book for part of that time.  I want something that will interest them and entertain them ... while at the same time filling their minds with characters and situations that are going to build them up and challenge them to be strong in their role-model-ship-ness! :)


* I wrote another post last fall about several websites that I use to check out shows, video games and books before my kids get hooked ... hope they help you, too!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting to Know You ...

I wrote this post last Friday ... just to clear up any time-reference confusion!  Be sure to check out "What's for Dinner?" and "Trekking Thru the Bible" ... new additions this week!

You all know those messages you get with your email where you are supposed to share your favorite color, what you last ate, what you would hate to be locked in a room with, who you last talked to on the phone and your most recent "oops, I forgot" moment.  You know the ones ...

In reality, that really doesn't tell you much about anybody ... except now you would know that I love the color green, that I last ate a piece of Toblerone with Ashley during "school", that I would hate to be locked in a room with yesterday's dishes (a quote from Brett's mom), that I last talked to Brett on the phone and that my last "oops, I forgot" moment was this morning's VBS meeting and not printing the agenda before leaving the house.

But you still don't know much about me!

As part of my nomination by Thy Word (Thanks, Jill!) for:

I'm supposed to share seven things about me.  So here you go ... get ready to know more that you wanted to know! :)

1.  I am currently sporting flaming pinky-red fingernails.  Seeing as I never have my nails painted, I have been catching these little red spots out of the corner of my eyes and flinching!  "What was that?!?"  As part of our spa day at MOPS this past week, we spent a little time pampering ourselves.  What fun to take some time just for me!  I actually like having my nails painted, but what with all the dishes to wash, the noses to wipe, the stains to scrub ... my nail color never lasts longer that a day.  This particular polish was toted as "professional" so maybe it'll stay on longer.  Anybody have a wager? ...

2.  I am a whiz at vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms and dish washing, but when it comes dusting and getting the laundry out of the dryer ... I'm a bit slow.  Actually, in the case of dusting ... I'm so slow, the dust accumulates to a startling thickness before I finally get around to it.  Then, when I finally tackle the job, it's not so much dusting as it is shoveling.  And as for the laundry ... I'm grateful for my four little laundry elves that help me to get 'r done.

3.  Some of my favorite sounds are:  my children singing (a singing child is a happy child), the washing machine/dryer/dishwasher churning and thumping (work that I'm not doing with my own two hands), Daddy coming in the door (that's a no brainer), my Petey singing to me in the kitchen (serenading me as I clean, cook and clean again), my children laughing (it's always better than squabbling ... even if it's raucous, loud, crazy laughter) ... and the silence at the end of the day (not so much sound ... as the lack thereof).

4.  Some of my favorite shows are ... cancelled.  I'm not sure what that says about me, but I'd like to think that I have such an amazing taste in entertainment that I'm on a whole other level of comedic ingenuity ... something that the average joe just doesn't get.  Or something like that.  I miss "Ed" and their $10 bets, I miss "Arrested Development" and Buster's social awkwardness, and I miss "Seinfeld" and Jerry's really bad acting.  Fortunately we have been able to fall back on "The Office" and Michael's uncomfortable management skills, "Psych" and Sean & Gus's fabulous references to obscure 90's trivia and "30 Rock" and Liz's relentless search for a man to fill the shoes of Astronaut Mike Dexter.  After a long day ... I'm grateful for a good laugh, snuggled up with my honey.

5.  There are a number of things that drive me nutty about being a mom:  random socks abandoned haphazardly around the house and unclaimed by anyone who lives here; the never-ending chain of fixing meals, cleaning up meals, fixing meals and cleaning up meals again; children who forget how to stay in their beds and make repeated appearances at the top of the stairs long after mommy has clocked out; relentless requests to plug into computers, video games, TV's and iPods; and living in a large enough house ... but always finding my kids just within two inches of me.  And trying to get closer.  All at the same time.  On top of each other.

6.  There are many more things that make my heart happy about being a mom:  surprise hugs and "I love you's" from my 9-year old boy, watching the light-bulb come on in my kids' minds and seeing their excitement about something new they can do/see/know, snuggling on the couch to watch a silly show together and catching their contagious laughter, watching my kids develop a sense of humor and their joy in making someone else laugh, watching them get to know Jesus and fall in love with Him and hanging out as a family and enjoying the closeness of our large family ... elbow to elbow and cheek to cheek.

7.  I truly enjoy blogging.  If only to have a chance to put to words all the thoughts that bop around in my head on a daily basis.  Much of what you read above is what I write about here at Snapshots ... celebrating life's little moments.  I love having a place to chronicle the mundane and the special, the simple and the complicated, the matters of the heart and the matters of the funny-bone ... and to share these thoughts and ponderings with whomever wants to stop by for a bit.  And if I successfully point you back to the Giver of all those little moments ... then I consider it a good post!

So now you know a bit more about me!  Hope it wasn't too scary! :)

Come back and visit again ...


In order to completely accept this award it is asked that one:

1. Thank and link back to the person that has given you this award.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Award 10-15 blogs you feel deserve this award as well.

4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food For Thought

A few weeks ago I shared with you several cole slaw recipes ... and received some rave reviews!  Thanks! In the spirit of warm weather hopefulness :) I thought I would share with you a few more summer-time favorites!

Lots of veggies.  Not a lot of cooking.  
And the fresh taste of summer.  Dig in!

Pasta Salad
(This recipe is one of those "a little of this & a little of that" meals ... never the same twice!)

16 oz pasta of your choice
Veggies of your choice, chopped into bite-sized pieces:
Tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, green onions, avocados, zucchini, broccoli, etc.
Meats & Cheese of your choice:
Chopped kielbasa, cubed ham, cubed chicken, cubed cheddar, shredded mozzarella, crumbled feta, crumbled blue cheese, etc.
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Garlic clove, minced

For this particular pasta salad, I used:  rigatoni pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion and shredded mozzarella.  Prepare the pasta according the package instructions.  When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.  Let the pasta sit in a colander over the sink to drain well.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add your chopped veggies, meats and cheeses.  Drizzle with about 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of vinegar.  Add a generous shake of Italian seasoning and the clove of garlic.  Give this a good stir - it will be very loose and soupy.  Add the pasta and toss well to coat.  I like to let the salad refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.  If the pasta seems a bit dry when it's time to serve, just add a splash more oil and vinegar.

Simple splendidness ...

Tuna Noodle Salad
(This recipe is one my mom makes regularly during the summer.  And one of my favorites!)

16 oz pasta of your choice (We used bow-tie pasta this time.)
1 package of tuna (I like the tuna in the pouch ... more fresh tasting.)
1/2 cup cubed cheddar cheese
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream

Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions.  During the last 5 minutes, pop in the peas and let them cook with the pasta.  When finished, drain and rinse with cold water. Let the pasta & peas sit in the colander in the sink and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the tuna, cheese, onions and cucumbers.  Add the mayo, sour cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix this well.  It should seem overly creamy so that it will also be able to coat the noodles well.

Add the noodles and mix well.  I let the salad sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.  Even my kids like this salad ... they don't even notice the tuna! :)

Creamy deliciousness ...

Tomato & Olive Tapanade

(I served this at a get together ... and brought home an empty bowl.)

2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup olives, sliced
1/4 cup blue cheese
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Crusty bread

Toss the veggies and cheese together in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a splash of vinegar.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste and stir well.  Let this mixture sit on the counter for about an hour to get to room temperature.  Stir once more before serving.

I sliced the crusty baguette into 1/2 inch slices and used it as a delicious vehicle for consuming all the tomatoey, olivey, blue cheesey goodness. :)

Flavorful bites ...

Roasted Asparagus
(This isn't so much a recipe as it is brief instructions on how to eat an entire pound of asparagus all by yourself!)

1 lb fresh asparagus
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Crushed pepper

Break off the woody ends of each asparagus by gently bending each stalk.  The asparagus will snap off right where the texture goes from tough to tender.  Rinse the asparagus in the sink and let it drain for a few minutes.  Give them a good shake before spreading them out on a cookie sheet.

Make sure the asparagus are in a single layer for even roasting.  (They cook quickly enough that you can do additional batches, in necessary.)  Drizzle the stalks with a little olive oil and then toss the stalks around with your hands to get them evenly coated.  Next sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the entire pan.

Now, pop them in the oven set to broil.  Leave the oven door open a crack so that you can keep an eye on them.  After about 3-4 minutes, slide them out and move them around a little with a set of tongs to allow them a chance to be roasted on all sides.  Pop them back in for about 3-4 minutes.  

You are looking for the asparagus to be a bright green color with little flecks of black from the roasting ... but not mushy.  I like my asparagus to still be a little crispy when I bit into it.  Something like this:

A plate full of spring!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wordsworth, I Am Not

Today for a little something different, I am choosing #4 from Mama Kat's writing prompts and trying my hand at a little poetry.  Don't get too excited ... there's a reason why I write essays. :)

Here goes!

Hello, Spring, so glad you've come!
Only the warm sunshine is enough to make me want to
Poke my little head out and have a look around.
Everywhere my little daffodil eyes look, I see green.

.. and ...

Heaven answered our need for a Savior,
Opened wide His arms to die on a cross,
Poured out His life so that we can live.
Easter is a celebration of spring ... eternal.

Two wonderful reasons I love Spring! :)

The hope of picnics, park dates, evening walks and toasty sunshine on my face with every fresh little green bud that pushes its way through the dead, drab brownness of winter past.

The hope of peace, faith and love through the powerful and miraculous resurrection of our Lord, Savior and Friend ... a bright light of redemption shining in the dark dullness of our hard world.

I hope for a little hope for you today ...

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time-Warp Wednesday

Today's Time-Warp is a mix of past and present, sweet and ewww, precious and yucky, memories to keep ... and one I'd like to erase from my brain!

Let's start with the sweet memory, shall we?

Awwww ... so adorable!  This is my little Lydia when she was about six months old.  My little peaches-n-cream baby girl.

I love her dark wispy hair (my only baby to have dark hair ... or to even look like they have any hair at this age!).

I love her rubber-band wrists and her pudgy little arms (I just want to nibble on them!)

I love her little angel-kiss birthmark right there between her eyebrows (you'd be amazed at how bright that little mark can get when she gets to screaming!)

I love her little grin (I think she look like she's just about ready to say something profound.)

I love her all wrapped up in her boppy, her lovey, her favorite, snuggly blanket.

This is definitely one of my favorite snapshots of my Weeda.  So sweet and so precious.

Now onto the ewwwww....

Today I took this same little girl (now a spunky, sassy, silly two year old) to the doctor.  She wasn't really sick, but she'd had a runny nose for about 2 1/2 weeks and yesterday it had seemed a little worse.  On top of that, she had started to smell.  Badly.  At first (several days ago) I had noticed this unpleasant aroma when Lydia would be snuggled on my lap.  Pee-you.  My solution:  wash that girl!  Unfortunately it didn't seem to help much.  Then on Sunday, Brett noticed it and he asked, "Do you think it's her breath?  Baby halitosis?"  Our solution:  brush her teeth!  Nope, that didn't seem to help either.

Maybe she's just a stinker ... and not in the "go sit in the corner" sort of way.  Maybe she has developed some stronger than usual baby b.o.  Not a pleasant thought seeing as we are years away from actual puberty!  Do they sell baby deodorant?

Finally, yesterday she was sitting on my lap and sneezed.  And I caught a whiff of this unpleasant smell full in the face.  It's safe to say that it reeked.  Hence our trip to the doctor this morning.

Upon sitting down in the examining room, the nurse asked a few typical questions:  fever?  duration?  complaints?  appetite?  No.  Too long.  No.  Yes.

Next the doctor came in.  She asked the same questions.  She pulled out her otoscope (known in our house as the "eye and nose looker").  Then she asked a different one ... to Lydia:  "What did you put up your nose, Sweetie?"  What?!?

Sure enough, there was something stuffed up in her little nose!  My poor baby!  With a little head and hand holding (translate: full-body restraint), the doctor got a hold of the foreign object and slowly and gently removed it from her right nostril.   (insert Mommy gagging here ...)

What was it?!  A nasty, slimey, disgusting, putrid wad of ...

boppy, lovey, blanket.  Ewww...

At some point, that silly girl had pulled off some boppy-bits.  And stuffed them up her nose.  And then did it again.

We are assured that the smell will go away in about 24 hours and the runny nose should dry up in the next day or two.  And you can be sure that her boppy, lovey, blanket has been safely stored up in the closet ... out of reach of her hands (and nose).

So ... I'm glad that I have this sweet and precious little snapshot to treasure of my baby and her beloved boppy.

And hopefully that other image won't last nearly as long. :)  ...shudder....


We enjoyed another KEBL night last night ... it had been a while!  Check out the fun we had during our family Bible time!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'd Like to Buy a Vowel

Growing up we watched Wheel of Fortune.  A lot.  And then we would recreate the game outside on our gigantic chalkboard.  My mom would draw us the "Big Money!" wheel and then we would play our own hyped-up version of Hang-Man and win lots of "money"!  Fun memories of summer time with my brother and sister ... trying to guess the word that would complete the mystery phrase.

These days, Brett and I are playing a similar game ... only it's a little more challenging.  Our sweet Lydia has begun talking (sorta) and we are currently spending the majority of our days trying to guess the mystery words in her 2 year-old vocabulary.  She says a lot ... she just isn't using any words that sound like English. :)  Fortunately, she is also using charades, so that helps.  A little bit.  She also resorts to yelling her mumbo-dogface words, but that really doesn't help much at all.  Nope, not a bit.

Here are a few of her favorite phrases ... let's see how much "money"* you could win today!

*"money" = pat on the back :)

"Moh", accompanied with one finger pressed against her lips.

Answer:  "Milk" ... okay, that was an easy one.  Especially if she has her sippy cup in her hand, too.

"I to", accompanied most often with jumping and a raised voice.

Answer:  "I want that, too" ... or better translated, "I WANT THAT ... SO GIVE IT TO ME!"

"Mi", accompanied with a gorilla like motion and repeated incessantly.

Answer:  "Mine."  Actually, "Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine ...", reminiscent of the seagulls from "Finding Nemo".  But not as funny ... especially when what she wants is ... well, mine.

"Dow Peas", accompanied by flapping hands.

Answer:  "May I get down please."  Yes, she finally will say this consistently.  Whew!

"I", accompanied by bossy hands and feet.

Answer:  "I want to do it."  Without one iota of help ... even if that means her undies are on backwards and are giving her a wedgie and her head is stuck in her hoodie.  "I!"

"Vee", accompanied by big smiles and clapping hands.

Answer:  "Whee!"  Most often shouted whenever a playground comes into view or she sees a swimsuit being packed ... that must mean we are going to go sliding and/or splashing!  

"Tah", accompanied by grabbing hands and great desperation in her little voice.

Answer:  "Snack, please."  She has amazing hearing ... she can hear a goldfish cracker package being opened across the house.  With the first crinkle of the packaging, she is high-tailing it to the kitchen yelling, "Tah!  Tah!"

And our hands-down, favorite Lydia-ism ...

"I dumb", accompanied by a pouty lip and sometimes an insistent foot-stomping.

Answer:  "I'm done" ... going potty, eating breakfast, playing outside, sitting in time out, being nice, or listening to you.  Just try and hear that come out of her mouth and not giggle ... it's impossible, I tell you!   The only thing funnier is when she comes up to me with all seriousness in her sweet little face and says, "Dumb Mama."  Nope ... just finishing my coffee. :)

So ... how did you do?

In reality, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the many sounds, words and phrases that Lydia throws at me on a daily basis ... and I can honestly say that I haven't been much of a winner lately.  When she's really on a roll and is either mad or excited and starts garbly-gooking her way through an entire conversation, I sometimes find myself holding my head ... and wondering if Pat Sajak has any vowels ... or consonants ... or even words that I could buy!

Come on!  Big money, big money ... no whammy!  
I could really use some words!! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Keep the Main Thing ... the Main Thing

Our Borders store here in town is one of the 200 closing across the nation.  Bummer ... I hate to see the big banners "Store Closing!", "Everything Must Go!", "Nothing Held Back!" draped across the front of the building.  And soon the store will be one big empty space waiting to be filled ... so sad.

Now I can't claim to have ever been a big spender at Borders ... but I was a frequent browser.  Of course, that means I just might have contributed to their current problem!  Oops!  Anyway, I have always enjoyed strolling through the stacks of books, scoping out potential new reads, looking for fresh titles from my favorite authors and doing all of that with a cafĂ© au lait in my hand!

After we read the news of the store's closing, my husband and I talked a bit about how's and why's of it's current dilemma.  Keeping in mind that neither of us are economists :) we came up with one possible element in their business plan that might have led to their financial problems:  over-diversification.

Our shopping ... er, make that browsing experiences at Borders revealed that you could buy just about anything there.  If you were looking for a book, perfect.  If you were shopping for a newly released DVD, no problem.  If you were looking for a CD by an old favorite, bingo.  If you were shopping for stationary, pens or journals, head to the front.  If you were looking for an aloe plant, head back to the kid's department.  What?  An aloe plant?  Yep ... right back there between the puzzles and the easy reader books.  Like I said, over-diversifaction.

It would appear that in their attempt to provide a little bit of everything, they lost themselves in too many things:  books, movies, music, coffee and shrubbery!

In the same way, I want to be careful about not over-diversifying myself here at Snapshots.  And that's easier said than done.

As I begin the process of networking with other bloggers, visiting other sites and discovering the vastness and variety of the blogosphere, it is easy to get caught up in the hundreds (or possibly thousands) of topics, themes and interests out there.  Oftentimes I find myself reading a new-found blog and thinking, "Oh ... that's a good idea!" or "Hmmm ... maybe I should try something like that."  While there is the potential for this practice of "seeing what's out there" to enrich my writing, sharing and posting ... there is also the risk of my blog being transformed into a site that has too much to say in too many ways!  I want to steer clear of the temptation to try to appeal to a wider audience at the cost of losing my purpose in writing here at Snapshots.

In light of that, I have recently started to re-evaluate my purposes in blogging.  Why did I start?  What is my purpose?  What is my focus?  What is my motivation to keep at it?

My desire, more than anything, is to capture and celebrate the little moments of life ... and share that with whoever wants to sit for a moment and celebrate it with me.  Along those same lines, I hope to direct my readers' attention back to God ... the Giver of all these celebratory moments!  I think that if I can keep my eyes focused on these two main points, the rest of the "stuff" will just either fall away or fall into place.

Here's to keeping the main thing, the main thing ... and not going down the same road as Borders!  I hope to be around and writing for a good long time - sharing encouraging stories, passing on helpful Mommy-tips & tricks and salivating over delicious menu ideas.  That's what makes my blog, well ... my blog!

Thanks for reading today ... and coming back tomorrow!

Although ... I do think I'll have to stop by and pick up that aloe plant.  I think it might come in handy this summer, what with all the skinned knees that we typically end up with once we're running around in shorts!


Be sure to pop over to the sidebar and check out "What's for Dinner" and "Trekking Thru the Bible".  I'm back from our Spring Break and ready to get back to our "normal" life ... whatever that is!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Summer Fun ... In the Sun!

Today wraps up a fun week of Vacation Memories ... I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.  What fun for me to spend a little time reminiscing and remembering back to "when they were littler".

For today, I have some snapshots from our most recent "big" family vacation.  Last summer, we spent a week in the Denver area with Brett's folks and then five days down in Colorado Springs, being tourists and seeing long lost friends.  It was a wonderful mix of being spoiled by Gramps & Grammy and branching out for some fabulous family time ... with some ol' college buddy fun, thrown in for good measure!

Here are my favorite memories from that week:

Our final day with Gramps & Grammy ... all trying to hold still.
Our aspiring "Tony Hawkes" ... plural.
Our favorite part of the hotel.
Santa's Workshop ... loads of fun pics!
Top Five Six Memories of This Vacation:

  1. Our time with Brett's folks.  It was wonderful to have an extended amount of time with them ... and we certainly packed it in!  One highlight from that week was visiting the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver.  We went to the planetarium ("How am I moving?!?" ~Norah), investigated the dinosaurs ("They're HUGE!" ~Ashley), took pictures in front of the huge walrus display (By far my favorite pic of Lydia!) and saw our first real Egyptian mummy ("Gross." ~Aaron).  An awesome day!
  2. Embassy Suites.  Need I say more?  Where else can you feed a family of six a hearty breakfast every morning and not break the bank?!?  We also loved splashing in the pool, multiple times ... and soaking in the hot tub.  It was almost like being at home since we could put the kids to bed in the back room and still watch a movie in the "living room" ... instead of going to bed at 8:30 with the munchkins.  Finally ... our kids L-O-V-E-D the elevator.  We took every opportunity (sometimes multiple opportunities) to ride up and down and up again ... all while looking out the glass window as we raised high above the indoor shrubbery.  That was worth the price of admission!
  3. Visiting the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  Unfortunately, the rock formations were similar enough to those seen on our Arches trip, that the kids started grumbling about 10 minutes into our ONE hike of the day.  We grumbled and mumbled our way around the 1/4 mile loop and got back into the van amid choruses of, "That was so cool!"  Really?  I must have misread their clues! :)  After driving through the rest of the park, we made plans to stop at the last formation ... only to pass it and pass out of the park.  Oops.  Okay ... I guess we're done.  Fortunately our final destination for our picnic lunch also ended up being a vacation highlight.
  4. The skate park.  We stumbled upon a park/playground/skate park for lunch.  Boo-yeah!  The best of all worlds!  Lydia got to swing, the kids got to scooter and I got to sit in the grass.  I love the videos and snapshots I got of the kids on their razor scooters.  They were "zooming", "cruising" and "catching air" ... all at a very slow speed.  I'm quite certain that in Aaron's mind, he was Shaun White ... especially listening to his sound effects and the roar of the crowd.  The girls were more cautious ... but still doing some big "tricks"!
  5. Seeing friends from college.  We enjoyed three different evenings with three different friends and their families.  We loved the chance to catch up and visit ... and watch our kids enjoy one another.  What a blessing to have friends who are close to our hearts ... even if they live across the state!
  6. Santa's Workshop.  We took a trip to the North Pole and enjoyed a day of amusement park rides which were just the right size for our family.  We spun, we zoomed, we circled high into the air ... and we spun some more.  And then a little more spinning.  And then this spinning.  I learned that our kids just might have fun at an amusement park (better start saving my pennies for Disneyland...) and that I really shouldn't spin so much.  The look of pure joy on the kids' faces as they rode around the carousel, chugged along on the train, crested at the top of the ferris wheel and spun on the Tilt-A-Whirl ... made more a beautiful day!  And a fantastic end to a fun vacation ...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Arches, Red Dirt & Wind ... Oh, My!

Two years ago, we took a little trip see Arches National Park.  We ran away for the last portion of the kids' Spring Break ... mainly because Mommy needed something to break up the "everyone's home" week ... and the kids needed something to look forward to.  In just two short days, we really packed it in!

Day 1 - Fresh and ready to explore

Still Day 1 - A little less fresh and ready to stop exploring
Top Five Memories of this Vacation:

  1. The anticipation of all that we will see and discover.  We arrived at the park just about lunch time and our first stop was the Visitor Center.  We looked at the maps, we watched the video, we touched all the "touch me" exhibits and tried not to touch the "please don't touch" exhibits.  We were complete psyched for the park!  As we drove to our first stop, the kids in the back with the map pointed out all the landmarks ... so fun to travel with kids who are perpetual learners!
  2. Holding on to our lunches and keeping our ears from freezing.  The sun was deceivingly not warm that day.  But we didn't discover that until we had dragged our lunch and the kids out into the open picnic area.  Brrrrr .... Brett remembers huddling with the kids, trying to get them to eat something and bribing them with "getting moving and getting back into the van."  I remember thinking, "Uh-oh ... not a great start."
  3. The final hike of the day.  We did get moving and enjoyed seeing lots of amazing rock formations (up close and from the van).  For the last trek, we saved the best:  Landscape Arch.  The second picture above is our crew headed out:  Aaron was practicing his Bionicle moves, Norah was hoping from rock to rock, Ashley was shuffling along holding my hand and Lydia was probably wondering if she would ever be freed up from her papoose.  Two seconds after this snapshot, Norah biffed it.  Total yard-sale ... and the fun was over.  She tore a little hole in her pants, a little hole in her knee and a HUGE hole in her pride.  She cried, sniffed, moaned and whined all the way to the arch.  And back.  At one point she actually wailed, "I don't even want to go to the hotel ... I just want to go home."  Which was exactly something I could be quoted as saying when I was younger.  My mom has vivid memories of me crying, "I just want to have my clothes in my dresser ..." about two days into a Yosemite trip.  What goes around, comes around!
  4. Eating wood-fired pizza at Zaz.  The dinner is buffet-style which meant that Aaron and Norah ate their weight in pizza.  Zaz did not make a buck on us that night.
  5. The hotel room.  Our room had three queen beds and a refrigerator that sounded like Darth Vader.  The bed situation was cool (where else can a family of six sleep comfortably?) and the fridge got unplugged. All-in-all ... a win!

Sorry ... one more ...

      6.  Dinosaur footprints.  On the way home after another day of driving the Canyonlands, we stopped off to see (and sit in) some actual dinosaur footprints.  This after veering off the highway onto a rutted and severely pot-holed dirt road.  More than once Brett & I looked at each other both wondering, "Will the tires stay on ... or will we be stranded out here in the middle of nowhere?"  They stayed on ... and we have pictures of our kids sitting in Allosaurus prints ... how cool is that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our Little Olympians

Today's walk down Vacation-Memory Lane takes us to Park City, Utah.  We traveled west (for several hours ...) to visit this ski resort town and the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. What a wonderful week full of many terrific memories!

Hanging out at the Alpine Slide.

Ashley with the Olympic Torch.

Top Five Seven Nine (sorry) Memories of this Vacation:
  1. Nana came along for the ride.  What a brave woman to travel in a van with three crazy monkeys!  But, we rewarded her with her own room at the condo and lots of time loving on her grand-babies.  She and I even got a lunch out for just us girls ... I think it all balanced out.
  2. Staying at an amazing resort condo complete with pool, kids play area and ... a valet.  Imagine my horror when he offered to take our bags up to our room!  We looked like the Clampetts driving up:  car-top carrier packed to the gills, travel bags open and throwing up all over the van floor and boxes and bags of snacks spilling out on the driveway.  I don't know how we could have paid him enough for the countless number of trips it took to empty our van.
  3. Taking the trolley ride.  We rode up Main Street and the browsed the kid-safe stores, took pictures with the statues, visited the ski museum (and locked the kids up in the old jail) and scoped out the stores Nana and I wanted to visit later.
  4. Playing day, after day, after day in the pool.  And hanging out in the hot tub at night.  The kids barely dried out all week!
  5. Watching movies at night, just the three of us ... and a bat!  We still laugh about running around, screaming and trying to remember if we should turn the lights on or off!
  6. Ashley learning to crawl.  She started scooting on Monday and by Thursday was able to get to all her siblings toys ... whether they wanted her to, or not!
  7. Visiting the Olympic venues ... and lots of fun snapshots of the kids in bobsleds, on skeleton sleds and carrying the torch.
  8. Aaron spinning on the park swing.  And the puking in the van.  Maybe not one of the best parts of the week ... but without a doubt, one of the most memorable.  Brett had been spinning the two bigger kids in a tire swing.  A lot.  After loading up in the van and stopping by the grocery, I came back out to the parking lot to find Daddy cleaning up a yucky little boy who had lost his cookies just as I closed the van door to go shopping.  Good timing on my part.
  9. Zooming down the Alpine Slide.  Actually, that part was fun.  It was the going up on the ski lift with Nana and two little kids that was memorable.  My mom and I both have issues with heights and apparently the kids don't.  They kept leaning out over the edge of their seats to see the ground passing by 100 feet under their little tootsies.  And Nana and I gripped their little parts and repeatedly asked them to "sit back".  It wasn't until we were back down the hill and Brett was taking Aaron back up that I realized something.  That nifty little bar above your head flips down so that it presses against your lap like a seat belt.  Preventing you (our your beloved babies) from falling to their premature deaths.  That would have been helpful to know. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our First (and Only) Trip to the Beach!

Today I thought I would highlight our first trip ever to the beach with our kids.  We had a Kellum family reunion on Edisto Island in North Carolina.  It was a treat to see family, soak in the sun and wiggle out toes in the sand.  But there was more, so much more, that went on that week.

Aaron and Norah enjoying the beach.

Family snapshot on the pier.

Top Five Memories of this Vacation:
  1. The plane trip out beginning with an ER visit at 4 am with Norah and a potential ear infection.  No infection, but that didn't stop her from throwing up several times in my lap on the plane or being puny for the first four days of the trip.  Awesome.
  2. Seeing our kids the first time they stepped onto the beach.  At first they were a little tentative ... and then they were enthusiastically digging, dumping and driving their little trucks around.  Aaron was very much into construction vehicles at the time and he LOVED pushing the sand around in the giant sandbox that was the beach!
  3. Norah's fixation with the beach shower.  She loved to play in the sand and then tippy-toe up the boardwalk to the showers and rinse her little tootsies ... and then head back to the beach ... and back to the shower.  So funny.
  4. Watching our kids enjoy playing with their cousins.  We don't see the Kellum kids much, so when we do ... it's precious memory making time.  I loved watching Aaron and Jacob hanging out on the beach and scootering around the condo's driveway.  Norah enjoyed playing with the big girl cousins and being a real-live baby.
  5. Expecting number three.  Unbeknownst to us, little Ashley went on that trip, too.  We came to realize I was pregnant on that trip (the 3rd family reunion to be pregnant at ... what a tradition!).