Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Snapshots of the Heart

So often, the month of February drowns in a sea of pinks and reds, Valentines and sugared sweets.  The store shelves are fully stocked with conversation hearts (text me?) and heart-covered party supplies.  The kids are excited about constructing their Valentine boxes and bringing icing-slathered treats to their school parties.  The hours are filled with choosing just the right box of Valentines (hours!) and then the real work begins to find just the right card for each and every person in our lives ... not too girly and nothing mushy!

And there's not one thing wrong with any of that!

But ... as I have been thinking about this month, I am more concerned with the character traits I see growing in their hearts of my children than the characters they choose to be on their little folded Valentines.

For this past month, I have using Bob Hostetler's "31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids" as an easy (and yet challenging) way to pray for strong character in my little people.  And since it has been such an encouraging and meaningful part of my day, I thought I would invite you to join me!

For each day of February, I will follow this same list and highlight virtues we all want to see in our kids' hearts ... and a few snapshots of how they are (or are not) being played out under our own roof.

And most likely we'll find a good challenge for us to grow a little, too!

Come back tomorrow as we jump in to ...

31 Virtues Cards

Monday, January 30, 2012

Eternal Pizza

Is there anything quite as powerful as a smell to nudge us along on a little walk down memory lane?

A few days ago, I stepped through the doors of my kids' elementary school and got a blast from the past.  Wafting down the hall from the cafeteria was the aroma of pizza.  Not Domino's.  Not Pizza Hut.  Not Papa John's.

Pizza a la cafeteria.

From when I was in elementary school.

Thirty years ago.

How could it be that the pizza being served to the students that day was the same from thirty years ago?  (Not the same-same pizza, but you get the idea.)

Was it the smell of the bread?  The same white dough pressed out into rectangular crusts?

Was it the smell of the sauce?  The same tomato sauce poured from the ten pound can?

Was it the smell of the cheese?  The same mozzarella, bought in bulk and sprinkled haphazardly?

Whatever it was ... it was the same.

This astonishing aroma would lead me to believe that somewhere in the back of the cafeteria there is a cookbook that has been passed down from cafeteria manager to cafeteria manager.  Decades of meals used again and again to feed the masses.

"Sloppy Joe's for 100"

"Tuna Casserole for a Crowd"

"Chili and Cinnamon Rolls - Serves 8 Dozen"

"Rectangular Pizza for the Throng"

How is it that this pizza lunch hasn't changed?

I chuckled about this eternal pizza as I made my way to the cafeteria to see my kids.  A pizza that has been around yesterday, today, and apparently, tomorrow.  And maybe that's okay, seeing as it was my favorite school lunch and my boy will spend his own hard-earned money when Pizza Day rolls around.  If it's not broke, I guess there's no reason to change it!

But as great as that pizza is (in my memory, at least), it's still just that.  Pizza.  And it's not really eternal - it just seems like it!

In reality there is only One Who can truly claim to be eternal.

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

And He's better than pizza any day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Plus One

Upon opening a new jar of peanut butter this week, this is what greeted me:

This duo makes me smile, too.

Anything make you smile this week?

Can you capture it in just six words?

Share it in the comments!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Storm Warning!

There's a new storm brewing
At the foot of the stairs.
We should head to high ground,
Or be caught unawares.

It started with whining,
And moved on to moaning
The winds of change blew in,
The air's filled with groaning!

There's a thud!
Then a thump!
And a shout!
And a bump!

And a wail!
Then a cry!
And a sniffle,
And sigh...

Oh, the tempests of toddlers!

Whirlwinds spinning out of control.
Tornados and tempers; we rock and we roll.

A twister of tantrums and troubles and tears,
All of this howling is hard on my ears!

Emotional hurricanes leave only puddles.
Tropical Storm Weeda, in need of some cuddles.

As I remember how Jesus calmed the storm with His voice, 
I can only pray that He will speak to our hearts when 
we're being tossed about in our own stormy seas.
Be we 3 or 37 years old. :)
Prompt #2 ~ Write a poem inspired by the word "storm".  
Which we might have considered as Lydia's middle name.  
At least when it comes to not having MnM's for breakfast.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Time-Warp Wednesday ~ Headphones

Last Fall, Aaron scored a newish MP3 player at a yard sale for three bucks.  Boo-yeah!  With a little internet research on Daddy's part, it was quickly stocked with all Aaron's favorite tunes.  And he was quickly tuned out of any and all family discussions.

He could just listen to the music on the iPod, but
that wouldn't be as cool.

Just a few weeks ago, Norah saved enough of her own money to buy an iPod shuffle.  It's blue and contains several hours of her favorite music:  High School Musical, select songs from Les Mis and Gypsy Kings.  That girl's got eclectic taste.

Now if only her ear buds actually fit
her tiny little ears.

Many moons ago, I was also the owner of my own little music box.  It was literally a box and it played cassette tapes.  It was pink, it sucked AA batteries dry and I loved it.  With my large, black headphones on my head and my walkman clipped to my elastic waist band, I was groovin' and looking pretty cool.  See?

My mom and I on Christmas morning.
I have the "I'm too rad" slouch going on.

I think the beads were just there to accent my awesomeness.  Along with the pink slippers.  And the black sports watch.

Awe. Some.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

She Made It!

Our sweet Lydia is a late bloomer.  Much like Leo.

Last summer Brett and I made the commitment that if Lydia didn't start talking more by the Fall, we would look into checking in with a speech therapist.  Then the big kids went to school, Lydia was required to communicate her own needs for herself and now she won't stop talking!

Here are a few choice Weeda-isms to make your day:

When she is frustrated about a situation ... maybe her socks aren't on straight or her milk has escaped her cup ... she is known to declare, "That not awesome!"  She even adds a little pouty lip so you know just how not awesome it is.

"Dat match" is her favorite pronouncement.  As she goes about her day discovering similarities among other people's shoes, vans and scraggly baby dolls, she is quick to a announce, "dat match".  She's always on the look-out for more.

Recently I gave all the girls manicures and pedicures.  As you can imagine, in spite of my attempts to keep Lydia in one place, she's a wiggly one and before her polish had a chance to dry entirely, she ended up with a few smudges.  After finishing Norah's nails, I was admiring her long fingers and lovely  shaped, hot pink nails.  "Your nails are so pretty, Norah."  Lydia marched right up to me, shoved her little smeared thumbs in my face and declared in her grumpiest voice, "Dis not pretty.  Dis a mess."  She added a pouty lip for emphasis.

A few days ago we were running errands in the van when we saw a few people out walking their dogs.  She asked what they were doing.  (She has no reference of Gimli going for walks because he's a couch potato.)  I explained that they were out getting some exercise and that their dog needed a walk, too.  A few more blocks down the road and we spotted a gentleman walking along along the sidewalk.  From the back of the van I heard, "Oh no!  He lost his doggie!"  Hmmm ... not exactly.

In these post-Christmas days, we have been enjoying the many gifts that we received.  If you can imagine, a few of the items that Lydia opened that morning were so quickly unwrapped that I missed out on some of her gifts.  As a result, I have had to ask her a few times where a pair of socks or a head band came from.  Her response is, "I got dis Happy to You".  Ahhh ... this was in your stocking.  Got it.

Lydia is a super-duper helper with Baby S.  She spends much of the day reading to her, showing her how to play with her toys and "helping" her roll over.  Unfortunately, sometimes Baby S doesn't want to be read to, already knows how to chew on her teething ring and really, really doesn't want to roll over.  As you can imagine, this results in a few verbal protests from Baby S.  Lydia's response to her fussing is to immediately run for the paci.  As I explain to her that sometimes the baby needs some space and that sometimes she wants to talk, too, Lydia will inform me, "But BabyMantha crying really fast!"  Yes.  Yes, she is.  Let's give her some breathing room, okay?

Our Lydia has fallen head over heels in love with Diego.  Or as she likes to refer to him, "Eggo".  Whenever we are discussing what to watch for a few minutes, she insists on watching "Eggo, Eggo, Eggo", much to the despair of her older siblings.  I keep waiting to hear "Leggo my Eggo" ... but I don't think it's going to happen.

Our girl has also developed at three-syllable "No".  It goes a little something like, "Nooo-oooo-whah!" and is mainly used in response to a request for her to do something.  It's really great.  Of course, she does obey a lot of the time and I love that her response to my thanking her for obedience is an enthusiastic "Yelcome, Mommy!"

Lydia likes to use middle names when she is trying to get someone's attention.  Of course, that means that everybody has Ashley's middle name.  "Aaron Mae ... peas pass the bue berries.  Tank chew."

The season of independence has dawned in Lydia's life.  She is quite indignant whenever we attempt to help her with anything.  When we make the mistake of, say, pouring her milk or zipping up her sweatshirt, she will declare, "I do it myself!"  She will then demand that we go back in time in order to allow her to do the task from the beginning.  This is exhausting, but she is learning how to do a lot of jobs herself.  And helping her mommy grown in patience.

As you can see, Lydia has bloomed into quite a talker.

Now we're working on eating neatly ... and that's a whole new area of growth.

And a whole new challenge.

And a whole other need for prayer!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

You know ... the usual trifecta of parenting!  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bag O' Glass

I currently have a bag of glass sitting on my dining room table.

Which, of course, brings to mind this memorable Dan Aykroyd skit from SNL.

This bag of glass is as a result of one of my wall hangings leaping from its hook on the wall and plummeting to the tile floor below.  In the hustle and bustle of making dinner I managed to sweep up the broken pieces and dispose of them, but the cross-stitch, frame and remaining jagged shards were quickly slipped into a bag and deposited on the table until I could take care of it.

I haven't gotten to it yet.

This same dining room table is also currently a fort.  Every spare blanket in the house has been rubber-banded to the chairs creating a super-cool hide-out filled with books, pillows, stuffed animals (no Chainsaw Teddy Bears, of course) and a treasure trove of odds and ends.  Our dining room table has been a fort for over a week, even though it was scheduled for demolition days ago.  I know that once I get the blankets off, there will be a good 45 minutes of toy and book relocation and time has been tight.

So I just haven't tackled it yet.

I walked into the kitchen just a bit ago and noticed that there is a sizable collection of crumbs, dog hair, grass clippings and crunchiness along the baseboard under the dishwasher.  My eyes followed the baseboard around the rest of the kitchen floor and I shuddered to imagine the amount of nastiness that needs to be swept up. I know that it would just take me a minute, but quite honestly I don't feel like I have that minute to spare.

I'll have to clean that later.

I have a load of odds and ends sitting in the dryer.  It's been there for two days.  I tossed in the load of towels and napkins and completely forgot about them.  That is until I was looking for the napkins for dinner, which meant I resorted to pulling out some left-over Christmas ones.  Perfect.  I will take care of that load of laundry soon.  But only because the kids are running out of pants that fit!

I guess I'll get to it eventually.

We got our new couch four days ago.  On the very first afternoon it was here, I noticed that the chaise end of the couch sits in the sun for about an hour every day from around 2:00 to 3:00.  I told myself, "I'm going to park myself on that end of the couch, close my eyes and melt.  If only for 20 minutes.  It would totally recharge me."  I have yet to take advantage of that sunny spot.

I haven't squeezed that in yet.

As a mom, you now how it goes.  The tyranny of the urgent.  When the day starts at 6:21 and zooms along until bedtime, you face that pesky list of "gotta-do's" (feed kids, grocery shop, drive kids to school, keep up with little people) while many of those "someday I'll" projects get shuffled to the side.

There's a little girl that is wandering around the house right now looking for someone to play with.  She is eager for her sister to wake up so they can be silly together, but in order for our baby sissy to be silly and not cranky, she needs to sleep a little longer.  Even though I would love to sit here a bit longer and maybe toodle around Pinterest, I think I'll take advantage of this "just you and me" time and cuddle with my Ashley.

My one-on-one time with LeLe (like the sunshine warming the end of the couch) is fleeting.  As for the household chores, they'll still be there.  Guaranteed.

“Show me, LORD, my life’s end 
   and the number of my days; 
   let me know how fleeting my life is." (Psalm 39:4)

.... so that I'll be quick to enjoy the things that really matter.

I wrote this post last Friday afternoon ... I am happy to report that I did get to hang over the cushion of the chaise couch in the sunshine and play a game of Fluxx with Ashley.  I think she let me win.

This weekend the fort was dismantled with some help from Daddy and the bag of glass has been disposed of.  As for the crumbs ... they're still there.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five Plus One

We got a little* something new this week.

Six hineys fit; movie watchers welcome!

*ginormous, cushy, non-swallowing, roomy, purty, movie-ready

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rise and Shine!

7:27 am

"Okay, everybody!  Head to the table, please.  Let's get this party started!"

... groans and general grumpiness resounds ...

"Come on ... let's get this day started right.  Lydia, will you please fetch us our books?  Thanks.  Hey, Aaron, off the iPod."

"I was just checking the temperature."

"Dude, it's cold.  C'mon.  Join us."

"Mom, Norah's in my seat."

"Scoot, scoot.  Find your face and have a seat.  We need to get hopping.  It's a school day."

7:32 am

"Alright.  What's today's date?"

"It's the 19th."

"Nuh-uh.  It's the 18th."

"Yes, too.  Look at the calendar."

"I did.  You look at the calendar."

...scraping of seats and scuffles as kids scramble for the calendar ...

"Hey now, back to your seats.  It's the 19th."

"Told you."


"I don't like it when you say, 'Told you.'  It sounds bossy."

"Can you say you're sorry?"

"Sorry ..."

... grouch, grouch ...

"Like you mean it?"


"I forgive you."

... grumble, mumble ...

"Okay, can we get going?"

7:35 am

"Let's see.  The title for today's devotional is 'I Am Still Here'.  We read in Psalm 27:8, "When You said, 'Seek My face,' My heart said to You, 'Your face, LORD, I will seek.'"

"Mom, she's touching me with her feet.  And her feet are cold."

"Put your feet down, Sweetie.  Sit up big.  Back to the verse, Whose face are we to seek? ... Hey, where are you going?"

"I just need to put this in my backpack."

"Nope.  Sorry.  I want your attention for just a few more minutes.  In your seat, please.  Okey dokey, Whose face are we supposed to seek?"


"Right.  Here's some more that the author had to say ..."

7:40 am

"So Who is always watching over us and waiting for us to turn to Him?"


"Yep ... hey now, sit up and stop fiddling with that.  I just want to read two quick verses:  Philippians 4:7 and Jeremiah 29:13.  They are some of my favorites."

"Mom, you say that every morning."

"It's because it's true!  Now sit tight for just a minute more.  Uhm .. where are you going?"

"I go potty really bad."

"Okay, quick, quick.  The rest of you ..."

"I'm sooo hungry, Mommy."

knock, knock ...

"Just a minute that's Baby S.  Stay put for just a second."

7:47 am

"Okay.  Settle down again, here we go.  Remember that Jesus is always with you.  Always."


"Honey, I know you love Baby S, but you have to give her some space.  To breathe."

"Yes, Mommy."

"Let's pray really quick and then you can get your breakfast.  C'mon.  Pull yourselves together."

"I pray first."

"Go for it, Weeda."

"Dear Jesus, thank You day.  Amen."


... mass exodus for the refrigerator ...

"Can I make myself an egg?"

Some days I wonder if I'm getting through, if it really matters at all.  I know in my heart that this time is worthwhile, I just wish it wasn't so busy.  And bustling.  And bouncy.  And brisk.

On these mornings, I have to remember that even if my efforts seem fruitless, God's promises still ring true:

10 As the rain and the snow 
   come down from heaven, 
and do not return to it 
   without watering the earth 
and making it bud and flourish, 
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: 
   It will not return to me empty, 
but will accomplish what I desire 
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Although my brood appears more concerned with the temperature and the calendar and being right, God is planting His Word in their little hearts.  And my job is to keep watering until they bud and flourish!

(Just in case you are wondering, the devotional we use in the morning is the kid's version of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I can't recommend it highly enough.  I learn a little something every morning, too.)
Prompt #4 ~ Describe the scene at breakfast.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time-Warp ~ Favorite Family Portrait. Ever.

Growing up, we sat through a variety of family portraits.  We have several snapshots of just us kids, sitting on plush carpet fluff, smiling and posing with perfectly curled hair.  We have the typical montage of school pictures with the typical backdrops.  And the typical terrible hair-dos.  Then there's the one of us three in white and turquoise with the tightly pegged pants and the tightly permed hair.  It's tight.

We have an Old Time portrait from when I was in middle school ... a little pioneer family sitting round the Christmas tree.  It looks authentic: sepia-toned, dresses and hats from that era and a jug of Jack Daniels on my lap (turned so the label didn't show, of course!).

Then we have the portrait sitting from during my senior year.  My dad's parents were out for a visit and to commemorate having us all in the same place, we had a series of pictures taken.  There are several of just us three kids in a variety of poses.  I imagine that there were also several of just the adults and a few other combinations, but of the group, the only one that I truly remember is this one.

Isn't that awesome?

This picture was the beginning of a long-standing joke regarding my brother's ability to be utterly photogenic.  At the drop of the hat.  Meanwhile, the rest of us are apparently oblivious to the camera man.  Or asleep.

Not only do I love this photo, but I love that it's the one that our family chose to print and frame.  In fact, this lovely snapshot hangs in the stairwell of my brother's house.  I think I need to dig up my copy ... it's one of the most photoshop-free photos of our family.  Authentically Nadel. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No Photoshop Here

I recently watched this video regarding the wonders (and deceitfulness) of Photoshop in the media.  It's worth a quick watch ...

Here is the Link on YouTube.

I don't know about you, but after I stopped laughing, I felt a little better about me!  Next time I see the lovely ladies on the covers of the magazines at the checkout line, maybe it won't depress me.

"Maybe she's born with it.   Nah.  I'm pretty sure it's Photoshop."

I will admit that I've been tempted to polish up some my snapshots.  Of the kids.  Just to have a decent picture of my brood.  One where they're all looking.  At the camera.  With their tongues in their mouths.

Last Friday, in honor of the Bronco game on Saturday, the kids dressed in blue and orange in support of their favorite team.  Aaron borrowed a jersey from his cousin while the girls hodge-podged together Halloween shirts and short-sleeved blue shirts.

Just before they headed out the door, I pulled out the camera for a quick picture.  Last September we had captured a fun picture for a similar Spirit Day and it turned out so well ...

Look how cute they are!

I wanted another.

I guess I got greedy.

First, I forgot to flip on the flash.  Hmm ... a little blurry and a little dark.  And we're missing #4.

Okay.  There she is.  Let go of her head, please.  I guess three out of four smiles isn't so bad.

Let's try an action shot.

Do something football-ish.

Okay ... one kid with a faux-football, one cheerleader, one forehead and one ... whatever Norah is doing.

There.  Now we have a real football.  That's a little better.  Norah's still silly.  Ashley is buried there in the back.  And Lydia?  She's the candy-caned blur in the front.  Look here, Weeda.  At the camera.

Oh, for pete's sake!

I guess we'll go with the blurry first one.  Or take a class in Photoshop.  But I don't think even the wonders of AdobĂ© can make this crew look ready for the cover of Sports Illustrated!

Gratefully, even if they are total goofballs on the outside, I know that in the inside they are tender-hearted, compassionate, generous and loving.  And since God is more concerned with their hearts than their snapshot antics, I will be too!

7 The LORD does not look at the things people look at [or their silly eyes or their goofy faces or their crazy poses]. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Need of Some Tweaking

I'm a creature of habit.  Quite obsessively so.  I have habits to keep my habits habitually habited.

Yeah.  I'm one of those.

Here's an example so we're all on the same page:

When it's bedtime, I ...

put my yellow cup on the end table down by the couch so I'll have it when I work-out in the morning (if I manage to get up early enough),

go upstairs and turn on the heating pad at the foot of my bed (I despise cold tootsies),

move the decorative pillows off the bed,

turn on my bedside lamp,

remove my jewelry, glasses and deposit my cell phone next to my "treasure box" as Ashley calls it,

head to the bathroom to floss, brush and Listerine (in that order),

while burning away the flesh in my mouth from the above, retrieve vitamins for Brett and I,

quick potty break,


read for a bit minutes,

and then lights out.

If I do something a little out of order, I feel a bit funky.  If I miss something altogether, I feel twitchy.

For my readers who like to shake things up and have a different plan each day, this probably sounds horribly boring and tedious.  For me, it's the source of my sanity.

I have been the same way with my kids.

We have a nap-time routine, a meal-time routine, a bath-time routine and a bed-time routine.  And I've always liked having the comfort of tradition and structure to our days.

Knowing this about me, you can imagine how challenging it has been in the recent months as we have faced a few, new family schedules.  Schedules that threaten to shake up the "we've always done it this way" groove that I live in.  (Let the twitching begin!)

Norah and Ashley have moved up a level in gymnastics and we have a new weekly schedule of practices.  Now we are scheduled to be at Kidzplex five afternoons a week with classes starting at 4:15.  This new plan means that we won't be leisurely walking up to school to pick up kids (ever again) but instead snagging them from the crosswalk and zooming to the gym, snacking as we drive, only to arrive  with just enough time to change clothes and make sure pony tails are secure.

Lydia has begun to haphazardly nap.  Every now and then, she rolls, romps and reads instead of sleeping.  I still require her to stay in her bed but I have to be prepared for a potentially cranky little three-year old for the afternoon.  This almost always guarantees an easy bedtime (she's utterly exhausted by 7:30) but it also almost guarantees a clingy kid when it comes time for me to make dinner.  I am flirting with the possibility of someday being nap-free and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.  What if I still need a nap?!

Aaron has started a class two afternoons a week at the rock climbing gym.  Gratefully it is at the same time as Norah's practices on Tuesdays and Thursday (shifted just enough to allow time to drop both off and pick both up with 15 minutes of each other) and the two gyms are just five minutes away from each other.  He has needed something just for him, but I was hesitant to jump into another team sport.  I can't imagine fitting in weekend games or the need to fundraise.  Shudder ... It is an ideal situation for him and us ... but it is still shaking up our norm.

As we headed into this new schedule, I initially had it in my head that we would fit these new activities into our current routine.  It didn't take long, however, for this plan to derail.  Not at all.  In fact, on day one it became obvious to me that life was in need of some tweaking.

Last Tuesday, we finished school, we cartwheeled, we belayed and we all made it home for dinner.  That night as we sat around the kitchen table, the conversation turned to what the big kids needed to do before bedtime.  Finish dinner, work on math, read for school and take showers.  All in forty-five minutes.  Hmmm ...

As you can imagine, that time evaporated rather quickly.  As our traditional bedtime neared, the big kids were still needing to read for their classes.  We made the decision to pass on our family book time and let them read alone.  After twenty minutes I would tuck them in and sing and pray with them.  As they headed off on their own, I settled in for a few minutes of me-time.

But I didn't enjoy it.

This wasn't how we ended our day, doing our own thing and scattered around the house.

No ...
We pile on the couch.
We share our "bests" and "leasts" of the day.
We pray together.
We predict together what will happen next in the chapter book I read aloud.
Then it's off to bed for back rubs and lullabies.
That's how I want to usher my kids off to dream land.

When the timer beeped, alerting us that our twenty minutes were up, I called Norah down to Aaron's room.

And I tweaked.

"We're going to try something a little different.  I'm glad you got your homework done, but now I need my time with you.  What were the bests and leasts of your day?"

In the glow of Aaron's bed-side lamp, we talked, we prayed, we read and we sang.  And we started a new routine.

A new routine that will once again do its job of carving out our time together; making sure that we can fit in all the "have-to-stuff" with the "want-to-stuff"; preserving that sacred time to be piled on Aaron's bed and sharing about our day.  That's the purpose of a routine away ... making sure there is time for everything we want to do.

1 There is a time for everything, 
   and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

A time to get your homework done ... and a time to snuggle with your mom.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five Plus One

Apparently this has been a week about my Aaron-Boy.  Here's a soaring snapshot of a lofty, new experience:

(Insert picture of my boy, strapped into a harness, half-way up a wall with a ginormous smile on his face.  The picture I intended to take yesterday, but the camera was at home and my hands were full of three little girls.  Maybe next week.)

Aaron belaying; scaling walls, not furniture.

A bonus this week ... apparently it's not just Aaron's legs that are growing!

Hey Bigfoot!  Outta my shoes, Buddy!

What's your Five Plus One for the week?
Share it in the comments.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are You Still Hungry?!

Some nights, both Aaron and Norah come to the table absolutely and utterly ravenous.  And then dinner goes a little something like this ...

How Can You Still Be Hungry?

My dear, sweet child,
You ate it all.
With all that you've eaten,
I guess you'll be tall.

We started with burgers,
And moved onto chips,
Threw in a few veggies,
And a couple of dips.

And now you say,
"I'm still hungry"?

Well, you also ...

Had a glass of milk,
The real stuff,
Not the drink called Silk,

Munched a couple berries,
Dug out a handful
Of frozen cherries,

Then a dish of peas,
And a quesadilla
Piled high with cheese,

A bowl of "Life",
With a banana,
Sliced with a knife,

A piece of cold pizza,
The one with the veggies
And a whole lotta meatsa,

A PBJ sandwich,
All this food makes
Makes my right eye twitch,

For dessert, a "log" with "ants",
It's time to buy
You longer pants!


Prompt #1 ~ Write a poem inspired by the last conversation you had with your child.  In this case, our nightly conversation.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Time-Warp Wednesday ~ One Inch

I know a little boy.

He used to be just this big:

On the first day back from Christmas break last Wednesday, he asked me to measure him.

"Mom.  I had like five people ask me today if I'd grown over break.  Did I?"

"Uhm.  I don't know.  We measured you just a month ago.  We can check.
Oh.  My.  Golly.  No way!"


"Are you spoofing me?  Get your feet against the wall, Buddy."

"Ha, ha!  They are.  They are."

"Oh, brother.  Yeah ... you grew an inch.  An entire inch!"


"Yeah.  Cool.  Now I know where all the groceries have been going."

The next day as he trudged across the school lawn, back pack loaded on his shoulders, I could tell where he had grown.  His bright white ankle socks shining in the morning sunlight gave evidence that it's his legs that grew that inch.

My prayer for Aaron today ~

May he be like the prophet Samuel ... 

And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature 
and in favor with the LORD and with people. 
(1 Samuel 2:26)

And may he not eat us out of house and home.  

And may we find pants in his drawer that will fit him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012



I finished my infinity scarf.


I mean, it's finished ... just don't look too closely at it.  Especially that back part that I intend to hide under my crazy curls or stuff in the collar of my coat.  And that missed stitch there in the middle ... the lone loop that sticks out and says, "Oops!" ... just look away.  And the way that the left-hand side is a bit wobbly?  Well, let's just say that it lends itself towards adding a handmade touch.

The truth of the matter, is that I didn't follow a pattern and I didn't really have a plan.  I looked at a similar scarf that my sister had and I thought to myself, "I could do that."  Without any actual directions or blueprint, I just started knitting.  I cast on twenty-some odd loops (see how specific I am?) and began.  

Knit across.  Purl across.  Knit again.  Purl again.  Knitting.  Purling.

As the length of the scarf began to drape across my lap, I found myself at the end of the first skein of scarlet yarn.  I held up the fabric and bit my lip.  Hmmm ... how long does it actually need to be?  I draped it across my shoulders and decided it wasn't yet long enough.  I knotted on the next ball of yarn and continued.

Knit across.  Purl across.  Knit again.  Purl again.  Knitting.  Purling.

Finally, as I stood up, the scarf cascaded down past my hips.  I imagined the ends knitted together and guessed that there would be enough there to twist and loop back over my head.  With excitement, I cast off the scarf.  It was finished.

That's when I ran into some trouble.  It wasn't until I had knitted my way off the needles that I began to consider how I was going to knit the two ends together.  What exactly was my plan?

After contemplating the two ends of this scarlet scarf, I finally resorted to doing a little research.  A quick Google search for "infinity scarf how-to" led me to a few unfortunate revelations.

1)  This type of scarf is typically created on a set of circular needles.

2)  I shouldn't have cast off the scarf.

3)  I should have consulted a pattern before I invested several nights in this pile of red yarn.

4)  I was in a spot of trouble.

Poor Brett sat next to me as I grumbled and mumbled.

"All that work ... and now I'm stuck.  Grrrr...."

Eventually, I hodge-podged a solution to my un-infinitied infinity scarf.  By de-casting-off the end of my scarf and attempting to catch all the original loops, I managed to re-cast both ends together, alternating loops from the top end and from the bottom end and then the top and then the bottom.  Essentially it was a loopy, droopy mess, but I persevered.  When I had all forty-something loops stuffed onto one knitting needle, I proceeded to complete the final process of casting off.

When the scarf was finally free from the needles, the seam actually didn't look to shabby.  And as it turned out, it is in fact long enough to loop over my head a second time.  And it's warm.  Oh my, is it warm.

As I fumbled and mumbled my way through this masterpiece-wannabe, I was filled with gratitude that while I might create things on a wing and a prayer, God doesn't it.

The God of the universe Who knitted me together had a plan.  

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)

He saw me as His finished masterpiece long before I was made.  He didn't "oops" and "woops" His way through His creation of me.  He set His hands to work and I am who He intended me to be.  I am made with a plan and a purpose.

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

And you are, too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Good Gifts

As our little elves began distributing the gifts from under the tree on Christmas morning, it became increasingly clear that our kids made quite the haul!  As they sat buried under boxes and bags and ribbons, it was fun to see the anticipation on their faces ... "What could be in there?!?!" ... and the subsequent joy after the flurry of unwrapping ... "Just what I wanted!!"  It was almost impossible to keep them focused on the process of unwrapping when there was so much they wanted to start playing with.

Now, a few weeks after the Present Palooza, it has been fun to see what gifts have sifted to the surface.

For Aaron, we have been more than a little surprised to find that he suffers from an intense addiction to Extreme Dot-to-Dot-ism.  He spent the better part of New Year's Eve day connecting the dots from 1 to 1,400 and discovering T-Rexes and wooly mammoths in the midst of a sea of what looks like an ant farm.  Such fun to see him latch on to something that isn't plugged in.

Norah has bounced back and forth between tending to her doll with her new American Girl "Feel-Better" kit and her pink, sporty watch.  When she's not helping Mia and her broken leg around on the little silver crutches, she is timing herself.  How fast can she tie her shoe?  8.25 seconds. Can you beat that?

Ashley is the most flighty in trying to focus on her favorite gifts.  While she loves her Toy Story Trash Truck Lego Set, she is most fanatical about her spoforkife.

What is that you ask?

Why, it's this little jobbie:

from REI

Each of the kids got one in their stocking and they have been used for every meal since!  I don't mind as it has cut down on my dishwashing ... at least in the utensil department.

Lydia is deeply in love with her Puppy Pursuit Game ... and I have been deeply in love with sending her off to hide and seek her little puppies.  And getting a few moments to breathe.  And brush my teeth.  Actually Norah is an expert puppy-hider and and both Ashley and Lydia excel in puppy sleuthing.  Where could little Bandit be?  Maybe he's under the stool in the bathroom or on top of the dryer.  Better go look ... and let Mommy finish going potty. :)

All four kids are enjoying toasty little tootsies in their woolen slippers from Greece via Auntie Steph:

As for me ... I have enjoyed the scrumptious box of goodies from my Mom and Sis.  Part of me wants to save them for something special.  The other part of me wants to savor and sample it all.  And the last little bit of me wants to scarf it all down.  Save?  Savor?  Scarf?  I'm leaning toward the savor ... but that cashewella is begging to be eaten.  With a spoon.

And my sparkly blue sashay scarf from my mother-in-law ... the one that garners me compliments wherever I go.  And my lemon hand scrub from my brother and sis-in-law ... a spa moment in a jar.  And my new jeans that fit ... and fit. :)

We were each the recipients of such delightful and thoughtful gifts.  Gifts that were given with each of us in mind and that is what makes those little packages under the tree so precious.  In this way, we, as givers, have the opportunity to imitate God in our giving. We may never be able to give quite like Him, but with our hearts in the right place, we can experience the joy that comes with giving a gift from the heart!  And delight in the joy of the recipient, too!

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Five Plus One Friday

Welcome to a new Friday feature!

I have come to the conclusion that while I love sharing recipes on Food For Thought Fridays, those posts are A LOT of work.  So ... in an attempt to ease some of the aforementioned stress in writing and a curiosity to try something new, I introduce to you Five Plus One.

(Of course it's entirely possible that this new challenge will consume more of my brain energy than sharing a simple recipe or two!)

This is inspired by "Six Word Memoirs" ~ One life. Six words. What’s yours?™

Can I capture in just six words the essence of the week?  Today?  One particular moment?  We'll see!

This week's Five Plus One ...

Navigating our family's new routine.  Turbulent!

Share your mini-memoir in the comments!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Resolve ... Ah! Who Am I Kidding?!

I am a less than victorious resolution keeper.  Like a majority of the population, year after year I make the same vows:  lose weight, get closer to God, learn to clog.  What?  Just me on that last one?  Oh.

Well this year, I have made a list of resolutions I have no hope of keeping.  I figure if I go into 2012 with this honest perspective (read:  low expectations), I won't be disappointed!

Thank you to Liz of a belle, a bean and a chicago dog for her inspiration!

Here are my 12 Goals of 2012 (that won't happen):

1)  Not smiling in my sleep when a night-time visitor chooses Daddy's side of the bed over mine.

2)  Drinking my coffee black.  Aack.  Blech.  Where's.  My.  Tourani.  Syrup?

3)  Dusting my house on a regular basis.  Even in preparation for company coming to visit, this is the last (and typically not accomplished) chore on my list.  I appreciate that our family and friends refrain from writing their names in the accumulation.

4)  Not turning tail and running to my stash of dark chocolate every time my little hoodlums begin to challenge the laws of the land.  There is power in that square (or two) of chocolatey goodness, I tell you.

5)  Maintaining clean windows, inside or out.  The inside ones are almost always smeared with fingers, noses and tongues (both the kids and the dog are guilty here) and the outside ones have that lovely privacy film.  If I clean them, the kids (and dog) test the inside cleanliness with their grimy mitts and if I clean the outside ones, it inevitably rains.  And then Utah blows into town.  What's the point?

6)  Keeping up with all the mementos and "oh, I can't throw that away" treasures, maintaining an organized email inbox or staying ahead of the school papers.  help...

7)  Not obsessing about how I perceive people to regard me.  (Physically, emotionally, spiritually, personally, mentally, comically, grammatically, hygienically, creatively, fashionably, organizationally, etc.)

8)  Keeping my dresser top clear.  Currently it is the home to:  2 unopened packages of plastic darts, 1 package of dart tips, 14 pair-less socks, a cut-out wood block of my name (from my Uncle Jim, 4 million years ago), a few Squirt and Nehi bottles (an inside family joke about my petiteness), a stack of mementos (see #6), dress up beads, 2 bracelets from Noah's Ark Water Park from this summer's vacation, 1 empty zip-lock bag, 1 pillowcase that needs mending, 1 t-shirt to turn into a pillow, "Goodnight Moon" awaiting the bookbinder fairy, a sewing kit, 1 pair of capris to mend, 1 penny, 1 broken girly necklace, the face off of someone's Dollar Store watch, a jewelry box, a handful of ribbons, a gnome figurine from my Nana and a dusty blue vase.

9)  Avoiding a daily trip to Kidzplex for gymnastics.  If you are calling Monday through Friday from between 3:45 and 4:45, please leave a message at the beep.  Beeeep.

10)  Mastering a backside air-to-fakie with a rusty trombone on my new Shaun White snowboard Wii game.  But, I'm willing to put in the hard work and extra practice time to try to do so.

11)  Getting up with the kids before Brett on a weekend morning.  We both know this is an impossibility.

12)  Inadvertently exhausting the height, depth, length or width of God's love.  (Ephesians 3:16-19)  Amen.

And you?  What do you know you won't do this year?

It's liberating to start 2012 with fresh and realistic expectations!

Prompt #5 ~ Resolutions for 2012

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time-Warp Wednesday ~ 365 days ago

For this Time-Warp Wednesday, I scrolled through my iPhoto files in search of some snapshots of the kids ... a few pictures to see how much they've grown in the year.  Here are some wonderful snapshots from almost exactly one year ago ...

Aaron now wears awesome glasses and can lay his head on my shoulder while standing side-by-side, but he has the same stunning smile and brilliant sense of humor.  He made the "Math Wall of Fame" at school and has proudly mastered his multiplication table.  He's his Mommy's little book worm and can most often be found with his nose buried deep in a novel.  What a terrific kid!

Norah grew four inches and gained ten pounds.  She is now modeling some rainbow bling in her little ears and is missing a few extra teeth.   But she's still cartwheeling and practicing her splits ... her flexibility continues!  She is graduating up to the competitive level at gymnastics and she can barely contain her excitement.  She continues to be my super-helper and I love that I can count on Norah to help around the house and with the little people who live here.

Little Ashley isn't so little anymore.  While she is still petite in stature, her heart is ginormous as evidenced by her generous spirit and her servant's heart.  She is loving Kindergarten and surprises even herself with the words she can read.  She happily counts to 100 upon request ... by one's, five's or ten's and she loves gym class and singing in music class.  But she's still our tender-hearted, thumb-sucking, snuggle-bug!  

Lovely Lydia is growing right before our eyes.  This year she graduated from Potty Boot Camp, discovered her fins in her first swim class and became Mommy's little helper with Baby S.  She has grown into quite the conversationalist and she loves to fill us in on all that is happening in her little world ... which is quite a lot!  She is still our dinner time entertainment and she continues to mimic everything she sees her sibling do.  Sometimes that's a joy (washing hands and cleaning up) and sometimes ... not so much (zerberting at the table and yelling, "Stop it!").  Her smile still brightens my day!

So yeah ... it's been a busy year!  But a rich, delightful, satisfying and significant year.

Here's to another 365 days to grown and learn and 
become who God has planned, in advance, for us to be!