Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tap, Tap, Tap.... Is This Thing On?

So I'll have to admit that it's been a while.  SO long in fact that there's not just a little irony in my last post.  You know... the one in January of 2012 saying my New Years Resolution was to blog more?

I'll try to just, ahem, skirt right past that one. 

Shortly after that post our house went on the market (nail biter) we sold it fourteen days later (yeah!) and then moved in with my in-laws for what we thought would be a few months (more like eighteen).  As much as I wanted to blog all of the highs and lows along the way, I was holding onto the rollercoaster of emotions for dear life. We looked at house upon house upon house upon house.  We watched countless hours of HGTV and I got intimately neurotically familiar with the search features and capabilities of all of the local real estate websites.  I was hopeful one minute (making spreadsheets, planning colors, calculating payments) and in the pit of despair the next.  We were a week away from settlement on one house I was CONVINCED was our dream house when the carpet was ripped out from underneath us and we dazedly walked away.  For months after that I tried to figure out how we could get that house back and was feeling the need to "help God out" in regards to the logistics.  Kevin and I often look back and shake our heads at those moments as our "wandering in the desert" days because when God moves on something big like a house or a job or marriage He is CLEAR.  And we had forgotten that.

To the ire of my husband, I'll save the whole story for another time.  There really is a lot more to tell. (He hates it when I don't tell a story in full, but "ITS MY BLOG NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH!")

Hey... when you're surrounded by a 4 and 6 year old you start to act like one!

Lets just say things have been very BUSY since we bought this place.  We moved in almost 6 months ago, I switched jobs 2 months ago and I'm trying to figure out how this blog thing might actually fit into my new schedule.  I'm noting that several of my blogging friends have given it up eons ago and may not return and I'm not  sure I really have an audience anymore.  Or anything that interesting to say for that matter.

But, that resolution for 2012 is still haunting me.  The "keep better family records" one.  I look back at the records I have made and cherish them.  I look at the void of records I kept for the past two years and marvel at how much my children changed (Liam was 2.5 when we moved and Natalie was 4) and think its a crime I didn't take more pictures or write more down! 

So we'll see... No new resolutions though.  Because that might set me up for failure.

Okay, so I've promised a game of Skip Bo to a sweet 6 year old who knows how to melt my heart by wrapping her limbs around me like a spider monkey when I've got to go do something and crooning in a squealing voice "I just want to snuggle with you, MAMA!".  I also promised I'd get off the computer so a chocolate faced boy dressed in a Spiderman costume can play and brush up on his hacking skillz.  So I'm going to share a highlight of the last two years in pictures... the ones I did take, at least.
Here are the kids right before we moved.  Feb 2012
Natalie's Jazz Dance Recital - March 2012
We went bowling, hon!

And cooked a lot.

I got braces on the bottom for the second time and got them off.

We camped several times.

And played a lot outside.

Liam got a two wheeler.  Natalie got her training wheel off!

My husband became a lumberjack.  And I LOVE it!

We ate and ate and ate.

And took trips to the park.
We visited Nana and Papa in Kansas City.
And played dress-up.
Natalie turned 5 and started kindergarten.
Natalie: 5  Liam: 3

We celebrated 10 years of marriage.  Getting old!
And we did more dressup!
My fantastic father turned 60!
Natalie graduated from kindergarten.  Sniff!  Sniff!
Celebrating age 4 (Liam) Chuck E Cheese style.
Now we're on to preschool!

Natalie turned 6 and started 1st grade. 
Natalie adores her 1st grade teacher.
And my marvelous mom turned 60 too. 
Love her!
Alright... lets see if I can keep this thing rollin, ya'll.  Right now I have a 6 year old on my lap and a 4 year old standing in the doorway sworn to silence so he can play Caillou in 5 minutes.  It's hard to work in the spare time to keep good notes, but I'm hoping they'll be glad I did someday.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Belated Dreams

To all of my adoring fans (all, grandma and my mother) I offer a sincere apology.  I have lots of excuses.  And I would love to make lots of promises, but Ive learned I can only promise today.  Because tomorrow?  I might be swamped in a ton of other things I said yes to.  Ahh... sounds like resoution number one.

1. Stop saying YES.  I really only say yes to myself.  But I do it because I enjoy lots of things.  And I WANT to do them.  Its just the doing them *all* part that is getting me in trouble. eBay, working nearly full time, staying organized at home, being creative in the kitchen, reading, scrapbooking, blogging.  Well... you get the picture. 

2. Keep better family records.  I've done a shoddy job of documenting our life this year (via scrapbooks and blog) and that bothers me, particularly because my memory for the details is pretty bad.  Call it dememtia, call it mommy brain, I dont know.. its a crying shame that I might forget that Liam says abagato for "elevator" and says "thank you door!" when an automatic door opens for us at the grocery store or that he is potty training pretty specatcularly after Nana potty training boot camp in Kansas City over Christmas.  Or that I might forget Natalie's shocking correct answer to 10 + 10 the other day or her excitement about school or her ability to do some chores around the house unaided.  I mean, to think that I might forget that both kids are playing in the next room and I can hear that Natalie is "Strawberry Shortcake" and Liam is "Honey Pie Pony"! ('re never gonna live that one down kid!)

3. Work on contentment.  I've struggled with this one forever.  It started out with "if only I was popular" and has morphed into "if only I had this" or "if only I was more this way".  Its true women struggle with this all the time, but if you think about it, life is too short to wish for something else.  I have a quote on my desk that says this:

If you're always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you're in?

So true.

I would love to be content with what I have accomplished, with what my house looks like, with how I spend my time, with where God has brought me.  Its no secret now that we're looking to sell our house and I see my daughter following in my footsteps when I hear her say "I dont want this house anymore.  I want a new house."  YIKES.  How do I curb this before she lives a life of discontentment?

I'm reading a book right now called 1000 Gifts.  Its actually arrived in the mail today and I blasted through the first two chapters in no time flat.  And I really dont have the time or desire to just sit down and read.  But this was good.  I need to remember what's really important in life.  That the kind of things we have, the job we work at, the things we create or the experiences we have (i.e. lamenting I never got to see more of the world) is irrelevant.  Its WHO we impact and the relationships we develop and the time we spend following Jesus and seeking Him that's so important.  So in the moment I'm cuddling my daughter, that nagging feeling that the dishes need put away is irrelevant.  It *will* get done.  I just need to stop and cherish the moment.

Okay, so in response to resolution #2, I'm posting a couple of pictures. I know its terrible that I am only offering two pictures when its been eons since I've posted any, but I'll see what else I can come up with.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Is it Thanksgiving already??   The leaves have pretty much fallen, the dreary weather has set in, Thanksgiving dinner is upon us and my waist is expanding at the thought of it. 

Seriously... I've gained 5 lbs since the half marathon and my self discipline (in all areas) is out the door!  Cookies?  I'll have 3.  Pecan pie bars?  I'll have one today, three tomorrow and then polish the last one off the next day.  Running?  I'm too tired.  Time with the Lord?  Ummm....

I keep making resolutions, but really life is a day to day, moment to moment roller coaster and I can't look much farther than that.  Hence the tardiness in blogging.  Meh.

I just got back from the library with two self help books on organizing my house and losing weight.  I'm trying not to get too "big picture" about either one of those things because then I tend to lose sight of the little victories along the way.

But what is this post about anyway?

Thankfulness... right.

I AM thankful.  Thankful for the little girl who is calling me to watch Veggietales in the next room.  Thankful for the little boy who has halted all desire to potty train and wakes up each morning at o dark thrity to tell me that his diaper is indeed poopy.  Thankful for the husband who encourages me when I'm moody about my lack of success in all of my many goals.  Thankful for a house to call our own.  Thankful for the pantries that are busting with food (that is probably going to be off limits next week).

I AM thankful.  And its in the quietness of that moment that I remember what life is really all about.

Now.... I can take a deep breath and enjoy the moment, with my 4 year old and some God-fearing veggies.

2011 Fall 
(you dont want to know how many we had to take to get anything remotely this good)

I AM thankful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back... Sort of

I know its been awhile.  My lack of blogging hasn't been for lack of wanting to... and then it has been a bit.  I've been monumentally busy.  I find I *love* and hate "busy" all at once.  I like accomplishing stuff, but I walk a fine line of "super mom excellence" and "basket case meltdown" when I pile too much stuff on.  Theres been a lot of basket case meltdown recently.  I just can't seem to juggle all the balls I've thrown in the air and all of them are getting dropped - like a hot potato.

I just got off a whirlwind trip to New Mexico for work followed by a trip to Pittsburgh for my grandfathers goodbye (he passed away in September).  I guess the free moments I *have* had I didnt feel like I had much to say of interest...

i.e.  got up early, ran, havent read my Bible in a while, went to work, broke up numerous fights between my kids, watched my husband make dinner while I listed some stuff on ebay, didnt really play with my kids at all today will do better tomorrow, stayed up too late, laundry pile is going to eat me but I dont have time for it, the house is a wreck but it will have to wait, rinse, repeat

um...yeah... supermom I aint!

I've been rejuvinated though, and am in the process of developing a mission statement for my life to help me weed out the crap I pile on so I can focus on what really matters.  I got the idea from this e-book:  This woman seems to really have a lot of balance in her life that I find attractive.  Granted she doesnt work out of the home, but I know she stays busy with homeschooling and such, so she's got my attention.

So yeah, this post doesnt have cute pictures of the kids (I havent really taken any) or anecdotes about Liam and the potty (we've seen a LOT of public restrooms these days), but I'm re-evaulating.  I may have to go to NM again next week, but stay tuned.  God's stirring up something in my heart regarding crazy schedules, family, career goals, cooking and more and I would like to share the journey as things unfold.

This is a small thing, but I heard this song on the radio just now and really stopped to think about how much the words rang true for me as a parent.   If you can get past the "wings" part (I know.. I'm thinking Bette Middler here) it's my deepest desire for my kids.  I pray this for them all the time...

It's only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold

So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do

But most of all I'll want to know
You're walking in the truth

And If I never told you
I want you to know

As I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way

May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories


It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I've Gotta Remember This

It's about 9:45 pm here and the kids have been tucked in for a good hour and fifteen minutes.  All the sudden I here a faint  "POOPIE!" coming from upstairs. 

He's STILL awake?!!?

Trudging up the stairs I walk in his room and he starts laughing excitedly (that I responded) and says "Poopie, Mama!".  Flipping on the light I see the sight before me.  He's sitting in his bed with his pants off and his diaper unsecured to his bum.  I ask... did you take off your diaper?  His smile gets somber and he says "NO" very decidedly.  True enough, the diaper is still technically on although the tape has been unlatched from either side.  He's stayed JUST within the rules (and he knows it). 

Me: Do you HAVE poopie?
Liam: No.  Gas. (We just taught him this one recently)  Poopie oah bobby ("Poopie on the potty"), Mama.
Me: You want to go potty?
Liam: Yes (laughing excitedly that he was getting what he wanted)

We proceed in the bathroom (he runs... clearly not tired!) and he plants himself down on the little potty and says satisfactorily, "OK!  Read A Books, Mama!"  And proceeds to hand me one by one all of the books in the bathroom for me to read aloud.

After about 25 minutes on the potty we have a little pee, a glowingly happy boy and a tired Mama.  He is quite an energizer bunny and never ceases to make me laugh.  Though it does pain me to know he'll be up at the crack-o-dawn tomorrow morning ready to hit the ground running again!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My First Piece of "Old"

I'm not a very good decorator.  You'd realize I don't have a cohesive "style" if you walked in my house.  I have a little bit of La Z Boy, a little bit of Roomstore and a little bit of Ikea.  And I'm not really in love with any of it.  In the past year I've been combing through catalogs to circle/cut out/dog ear pages of things that I really love so I can try to replicate it in future purchases I make.  Its always hard taking the first step because I usually look at something I like and say "yeah... I really like that, but it doesnt go with ANYTHING I have at home right now". 

But hey... I guess I have a hodge podge already, so what the heck!

So the style I like is a mix of "old and new".  Its Ballard Design-esque (when they're not being all frou frou).  This was my first purchase of something I really liked but didnt think would "go" in my kitchen.  I picked it up at Goodwill for cheap and while it's not in perfect shape, I really like it.  My plan is to get rid of all of the boring stuff I have and accumulate some fun pieces like this vintage pyrex.  Now I've just got to find some good thrifting haunts to make that happen!

School News

Natalie requested "rainbow cake" for her birthday celebration at school.  Nevermind that it was the DAY after we returned from camping and I had a pile of laundry a million miles high and several sold items on eBay I needed to ship.  Rainbow cupcakes were the priority. 

I got the idea from this blog.  Highly, highly recommend EVERY ONE of her recipies.  I've tried several and that girl has a good palate.

They were a hit at school.  I was glad because I felt all this pressure from the previous parent to "have the right birthday treat".  (It was all self-induced, of course.)

In other news... remember that kid Noah at school?  Well, Natalie came home on her third day and told me she'd kissed him.  Lord have mercy... this was NOT what I was prepared for.  Well, maybe I shouldnt have been THAT surprised.  She likes to act out Sleeping Beauty here at home and loves dressing up as a princess and likes acting out all of the various prince/princess roles with us.  But kissing a boy??!?!  I stressed.  I called his mother.  I emailed the teachers.  I pulled the princess movies off of the shelf at home.  Maybe an overreaction?  I dunno.  Perhaps.   Especially after I found out the kiss may have been a quick peck on the chest rather than on the lips. 

Regardless, I dont think my reaction really hurt anything.  I have noticed her talking more about getting married, asking when, who, etc.  And not really interested in watching other kinds of movies.  So, for now the princess books and movies have "gone to play at another little girls house". 

And boys have cooties.  Lots of them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Have A Problem

I can't fit this weekends yard sale finds in my office.

Hahaha... Its official!  I'm addicted to the whole resale adventure on eBay and Craigslist.  I started doing it out of curiosity and now I'm really gung-ho about doing it to save for vacation.  So far I've banked about $700 (and I'm getting more efficient).  Not bad for something I just started about 10 weeks ago.  I have to admit, though, that certain things have suffered as a result: 
  • cooking (why cook when you could be listing items on eBay!?!?!)
  • ironing (we'll just wear the knit stuff for now)
  • blogging (I haven't take a picture of my son in over a month, but I've got picture of plenty of toys, coats, bikes and baby gear!)
  • sleep (I've adopted the mantra "I'll sleep when I'm dead")
  • scrapbooking/other hobbies 
I suppose it DOES take time and everyone I talk to about it gets this perplexed look on their face and wonders aloud "how I have time for all that?".  I guess we make time for what we want to make time for.  It certainly is something I'm interested in for now. I mean, its just SO exciting to see my bids increase on an auction or have someone email me about something I have on craigslist.  I mean I bought a stroller at a yardsale recently for $20 and sold it within a couple days for $75. 

As my grandmother says "You can't beat that with a stick!!"

I recently have been selling more baby items on craigslist.  Having gotten rid of my own things fairly recently I knew what things were hot.  I was selling a Bumbo baby seat on Craigstlist and had arranged to meet an interested buyer at a local grocery store parking lot.  When we met, he got out of the car with his wife to inspect the seat and I asked how old their little one was.  He said... "oh we dont have kids, we have a business!" 


Then he and his wife proceed to try to talk me down because "they had just sold one of these on eBay last week for such and such amount and weren't going to make enough profit on this one".

Not my problem, buddy.

I politely informed them that I sold on ebay also and I was firm on the price.  They left empty handed. 

Its highly annoying when someone waits until they're face to face with you to try to talk you down.


Well, the next Saturday I started out at an upscale neighborhood yardsale promptly at 7am.  Who should roll in behind me but Mr. Bumbo himself.  He and I played cat and mouse throughout that entire community sale.  He'd run to one sale and beat me out of a stroller I wanted.  I'd run to the next and save a whole bunch of things I wanted and ask if I could go to the one across the street and come right back.  Seriously one of the most stressful experiences of my life!  I was trying to avoid "buying it all" because of the hype, but was having to make quick decisions and couldnt look anything up to double check prices.  All in all I was extremely happy with what I came home with (I packed Kevin's car to the brim!). 

I did overhear Mr. Bumbo telling one deflated homeowner that "he didnt have kids he had a business" after just wheedling him down to $10 for 3 carseats.  I couldn't BELIEVE he hadn't learned his lesson and felt pretty sorry for the guy who'd just been duped.  Ah well.. I guess no one twisted the guys arm to MAKE him sell his carseats.  Its just got to be a rotten feeling.

So, yes, something I laugh at.  I hope I dont have to contend with Mr. Bumbo at any sales in the near future, but figure I haven't seen the last of him.

The Order of Things

I'm an arbitrary putter-offer of particular "milestones" for my kids.  Here's a list of the milestones that I've come up with on the fly.  Some make sense... some just are, well... arbitrary!

6 = the age you have to be to chew gum
8 = the age you have to be for us to even consider pierced ears
10 = the age you have to be to learn how to use a knife in the kitchen (and thereby cook me dinner!)
10 = the age you'll be when you can have soda on a more regular basis than "on airplanes only"
14 = the age you have to be to start wearing some makeup
25 = the age you have to be to get married

I find that things keep getting added to the list.  Did you have any "rules" like that growing up?

1st Day of School

My baby *sniff* started school this month.  Okay, its just preschool, but it just made her seem all grown up.  I'm sure when Liam starts it will be old hat.  Poor kid!

I got to go along for her gradual entry day.  It was just four days after her fourth birthday!  We left Liam with Grandma and Natalie picked a "special" place for lunch.  Natalie picked Arby's. 

Curly fries = special!

I took this picture right before she looked at me with her big brown eyes and told me: "I love you forever, Mom".

I was just kind of speechless and stammered out a "I'll love you forever too, Natalie".  Seriously... my newly minted 4 year old was already blowing me out of the water with how old she seemed.  This is the sort of stuff that just makes you beam inside as a parent.  Kind of amazing and surreal when it happens...

She really didn't "need" me there during class.  She's so social (even though she likes to pretend she's shy at the outset).  She quickly made friends with a little guy named Noah and spent a good amount of time playing princess and knight with him during free-play time.  I found myself cringing when she'd run around in the princess dress and say "I need to find a prince so I can get married!"  Oh dear...  maybe one too many Disney movies??? 

First day of school!

Roll call (It was cute watching them learn how to raise their hand and say "here!")

Learning the songs!

Storytime (she had two kids arguing over who was going to sit next to her)

the end of class (she was ready to go back!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

There's a Four Year Old in the House!

Natalie's birthday falls on my company's annual Six Flags picnic.  I debated a bit about having an actual party for her, but then I decided that Six Flags was PLENTY of celebration and I was going to heed the warning from a friend that throwing a party for 4 year olds was a lot more work than perhaps it was worth.


So Six Flags it was and it did not disappoint.  Natalie, fortuntely, was tall enough to ride the 42" rides this year.  We talked importantly about how she was able to ride those rides because she'd eaten her vegetables and gotten taller and that Liam would have to eat more vegetables for next year.  I think it worked because she's all excited about the really "BIG" rollercoasters that she'll be able to grow into provided she continues to down those green beans.  I'm just hoping we can branch out from the canned variety at some point.

We took Liam with us to Six Flags (something we were a little fearful of) but it worked out rather well.  He's tall and fortunately had a good time on several things his height.  And of course there was plenty of food.  So, he was in his element!  I dont have any pictures from the day, but we had a blast and closed the park!  The most fun was had at the water park.  I think its genetic, because water parks happen to be my favorite too!

The next day, Sunday, we went to church and then we celebrated Natalie's birthday at home with our immediate family. Liam didnt even make the pictures because he was doing some hardcore napping to play catch-up from the previous day!   Here's a few pics from the festivities:

Notice the cake in the background (strawberry cake with white/pink icing)- Natalie and I picked it out and decorated it ourselves.  She was ecstatic with it (nevermind the pink border falling off the side of the cake!) 
The pink suitcase (it has princesses on the front of it) was certainly the star of the show. She had requested it months prior and I searched high and low for one in my resale adventures. God totally dropped one in my lap the Sunday before her birthday for a rock bottom price of $2. I know she doesnt care that it was used and it was in great shape! I just LOVE it that God cares about the little things in life that matter to us and is continually doing things to build my faith.

Baby Emma - thanks Mommo & Poppo!

Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  You know they market these to the parents, really.  My fourth birthday I had a Strawberry Shortcake birthday cake.  Oh the memories!!

No birthday is complete without a princess card!

She was rather insistent that we have a #4 on the cake though. Too cute!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Marylander Born and Bred

Well, its official. She can stay.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What Happens When You Have An Older Sister

Natalie:    Mommy you saved me from the dragon! (as she jumps into my lap)
Me:          Ha ha ha!  But what you dont know is that I'm the dragon (I start to nibble on her head)
Natalie:    No I want Liam to be the dragon!
Liam:        No!
Natalie:    Yes!
Liam:        NO!
Me:           Liam, you dont want to be the dragon?
Liam:        NO!
Me:          What do you want to be, Liam?
Liam:        (without a pause) Rehreh
Me:          You want to be Cinderella?
Liam:        YEAH!

Oh dear.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


A friend called today and asked me how I was and I told her that I'd fallen into a black hole.  This summer has been, in a word... C..R..A..Z..Y.  And I wish that were the good kind.

I worked 50 hours a week for the entire thing and Kevin coordinated an entire office move and all of the hullabaloo that transpired afterward.  He lived at the office (literally) in one pair of underwear for 4 days straight.  And then another pair for another two days.

Fun times.

We are beyond the point of "I need a vacation".

Last week when I finally got back to my normal work schedule (thank you LORD!) it was like I was waking up after having been in a coma.  I had PILES and CLUTTER and my bathrooms hadnt been cleaned in 2 months!! (Okay, I may have cleaned a toilet once in there and wiped down the sink, but the shower?  Ick...)

So I know I know.. a lot of excuses, but seriously, if you wondered if I fell of the face of the earth... well... I did.

I've been so so remiss in taking pictures of my kids this summer.  I *finally* took some a few days ago while we were outside getting eaten alive by mosquitos enjoying an evening stroll.  Well, for Natalie it was an evening skate.

Last week, in the process of slowing down, I was noticing how much the kids (namely Liam) had changed over the summer.  Three months is a long time for a 2 year old and he seemed to be so much more pleasant on errands and able to understand and communicate so much more readily.  How had this happened right under my nose?  In fact... both kids seem to be working on their expressiveness.

I'm loving the trout pout in the middle.  And the "I just got picked for the Price is Right!" face next to it.  Seriously... what a ham!

Liams "funny" face.  "Sad" and "mad" are pretty amusing too.

In the middle of "CHEESE!"

On a rather exciting note, Liam has started potty training in full force! And his dad and I are doing quite the jig at the thought of no more diapers!!! I'm using Pull-ups for now, but I've already resolved that the box of actual diapers I have will be my last. Ahhh... that feels SO good to say that.

So because things aren't quite chaotic enough in my life, I've recently gotten interested in buying/reselling kids toys on ebay and craigslist.  Here's what got me started...

Bought for $3. Sold for $89.99.

You can't tell me that's not addicting.

Well, so not everything is that ridiculously great of a profit and its been a little bit of trial and error.  But, its been a fun way to bank up a little extra cash toward a vacation at some point or just a night out with my husband.  Hey... and if it gives me another reason to yardsale (did I need another one?!?) then its worth it!