Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Serious Snowball

It's the perfect kind of snow. It packs well but doesn't stick to the street. A little girl and boy can play in it for a long, long time without getting (too) cold. No wind. No slick streets. No school cancellation. And.... it makes huuuuuggge snowballs!!!


Tipped off by Chrissy, (because anyone who knows Luke very well knows that our little boy thinks he's the next big thing in breakdancing), I downloaded the kids' heads in this funky dance. I know you've probably seen the dancing elves... this is the same thing, but with some COOL. Then, I found the rap name generator on (yes, this is a real site), and it created our breakdancers' names. Here we have Lukey Chill, Kami H Jammy Swoop, and E Cakes, a.k.a. Tiny Mix. Nikki W.: I need the low down on these names... are they legit?

Other rappers in our family:
Jammy Tommy T
Sista Dirty Annie H
Slick Judy Sugar
Jimmy J Cool
Phat Kiki Funk
Tasty Baby Hallie Face
Lady Lauren Kool
Maggie S Mystique a.k.a. Easy Kiss
Immortal Scotty Thug
Special CH a.k.a Sista Carolyn Cakes
Ok, I'll stop now.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Different and Daring New Look

Hi friends! Thanks for checking on me! Have you ever gone out and bought a new dress for a special occasion and loved it. And then when you got home and tried it on, it really didn't flatter you the way you thought. And by the time the special occasion was upon you, you weren't sure if you liked the dress at all? Well if that hasn't happened to you, then you are definitely not living in my world. It happens to me a lot for some reason... buyer's remorse, questionable taste, or some weird kind of guilt... I don't know what it is. It happens to me in small matters (like this family blog) and big matters (my kitchen granite). But I must say after all the difficulty of getting this new look together, it is bright and different and represents our family pretty well. I thank Jessica at Cuppycake Designs for her time and patience in designing this. God bless her! I will be tweaking it over the weeks to come! Got to figure out how to get that sponge (it looks like butter or cheese too) off of the bottom of my posts!!! Postscript: The sponge is gone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Today, Kim and I went to listen to Joe White of Kanakuk camps speak about "Motherhood and the Incredible Worth of a Child." When I worked at Kanakuk 16+ years ago, I worked at the Kamp where Joe was. I watched him work with children on a daily basis, and back then his own four children were still pretty young. I remember Cooper being a towheaded little linebacker. Now, Joe has 8 grandkids and has been fighting two kinds of cancer. He was always an amazing man, but there is no doubt the last 16 years of experiences have transformed him into a tender yet tough, raw yet refined man who stands bullishly on the Word of God. 100+ women listened to him today, most of us in tears. A lot of the time when he spoke, he spoke with his eyes closed. Almost long enough to be awkward... like "Joe, are you there," but you could really see that it was almost as if he were walking with God at that very moment. I want to record some of his words. Like my sister remarked, "I wish I could hear him every week." Yep, it was energizing. Confirmation that even through the grinding days of parenthood when I think to myself "I am the WORST mother in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD", (and I have been thinking that a lot lately) I AM doing something right. And it is precious. Motherhood is precious in God's sight. Here are some of his nuggets:

*Be encouraging, not exasperating.

*Catch your kids in the act of doing something good, and tell them about it.

*Ask more questions than you give advice.

*Ask open ended questions with no strings attached.

*Kids often clam up when they are getting too much advice.

*Be firm, don't be frustrated.

*Don't give em to 3, just give em to 1.

*You will at some point not be popular. In fact, your kids may fire you. But in the end, you will be their best friend. It may take a lot of time, but stay strong in what you are teaching them.

*When you feel that your kids don't like you, remember that God didn't call you to be your kids' friend, He called you to be their parent.

*Follow through, don't be a flip flop.

*Fill the cup gently.

*As much as you can, lay down with your kids at night and just be beside them. Talk a little, but listen the most.

*It seems so small but means so much: take time to ask your kids "how can I pray for you?" If they don't answer, that's ok. But they know you are praying for them.

*If you memorize scripture with your kids, the benefits are immeasurable.

*Don't memorize scripture, treasure it.

*Pick your favorite scripture and let God hug you.

*Psalm 91 is God's Hallmark card to you.

*At the end of every day, hug your child and tell them, "I love you and I'm proud to be your mom." Let that be the last thing they hear before they go to sleep.

*It's all about the relationship. It's not about the straight A's or the clean room or the basketball team. It's about the relationship.

*Lead without fear.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January Babies

Inspired by Kami, (but not quite as hip as her - maybe too old to pull off a "shout out") I decided to post pictures of our birthday party for Kiki, Hallie and Tom. So glad I had my camera to capture the moment. And here's one more pic posted solely for its adorable quotient. Love the blue shirts on Lauren and Ellie, who don't have birthdays until April and September, respectively.

The Return of the CAMERA

It is back. I cannot tell you how glad I am to have it home again. I do have to say, though, I learned a few things in the absence of my camera.

1) The value of journaling. In the past, I didn't post unless I had a picture to share. It has been cathartic to just write. Ironic I never have, since I do love writing so, but writing has been nice.

2) In the absence of my camera, I have had to try harder to draw a picture with my words. It has renewed my interest in being a better writer.

3) In thinking about journaling, I looked back at some of the labels and realized that while I have accumulated several posts about our kiddos, a nice amount about Granny, several about ORU and plenty vacation posts, I had not one single post about Tom. Sure, I've mentioned him, but I have yet to share my thankfulness for this man in my life... what a great husband and father is. Maybe it's because deep down I know he's not the sharing type. He'd probably rather have the hair plucked from his chest or try on 5 shades of lipstick than bear his soul to the internet (of all things). But I do feel that a very important character from our lives is rather absent here on our family blog... soon to be titled "Having a Ball," and I want to try to put more emphasis on the man who is really the center of our lives. And since today is his birthday, it really is a perfect day to bring him up. Happy Birthday Tommy!

4) You don't know what got 'til it's gone. Ha! I always enjoyed my camera and valued it as one of my favorite earthly possessions, but I haven't really taken the time to properly learn how to take pictures. I ridiculously thought that if I bought the same camera as my favorite photographer, then I could take pictures like her. Ha! I'm going to have to work harder, read books, maybe take a class with my sister. Practice practice practice taking pictures. You are going to see nicer pictures on this blog.

5) I've always "excused" this blog to myself because it is a way to keep track of my family. It documents our daily activities and helps us remember the days that fly of the calendar. I think I felt guilty spending my time doing something for myself. But, I'm going to OK it. This blog can be for me too! Thus, the new and improved blog look coming soon!

6) Finally, I had improperly diagnosed my camera's problem. I have to retract my earlier statement about the camera (although the timing still seems awfully weird) and say that the problem was a "loose connection." Great that means the plastic pin is still destined to break?!? Here's hoping NOT.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Na Na Na Na

Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye!

Oh, did I really give this post such an obvious title? And let on that I am secretly (or not so secretly) jumping up and down that our venture into guinea pig care is now O-V-E-R? Well, it all began very sweetly. We all were intrigued with these creatures (Edward -pictured- and his buddy Marvin). They were so cuddly and had a place of honor in Ellie's room. But then, they got demoted, because they kept waking her up at night wanting FOOD more FOOD. Poor critters, I think that's the only brain cell they have... one that tells them "I need food." The demotion landed them in the kids' bathroom. Still, not bad living if you're a guinea pig. We can handle it. After all, these are God's handiwork. Made. for. us. to. care. for. But they sure poop a lot. And stink. Oh, they stink. Let's see how they fare in the garage. Surely they can survive out there. They do: those hardy little fellas. But I deal daily with guinea-pig-guilt. Strangely, no one else seems to care, much less feel guilt. Why, when I have 299 other things to think about, am I agonizing over these nervous, little, wide-eyed, animals? Well, my parents raised what seems like hundreds of animals during my childhood. Can I not handle a dog and two guinea pigs? Well, it seems like God is saying, "Let me help you out with this one." Or maybe Marvin and Edward were desperately praying to be rescued. Or maybe it was the prayers of the family who wanted a new guinea pig to replace another one that had recently died. Whatever it was, when the call came... out of the blue... the answer was, "yes, Marvin and Edward would love a new home." And since the Princess of Hearts had recently read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, (thanks, Chere) she could see the value of being loved... by someone new. Her exact words were, "It's time for Marvin and Edward to go." And on Saturday, they went with a new family, a family who seems intent on loving them. I breathed a sigh of relief, and then Ellie asked, "When can I get a crab?"

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Confession (or 2)

Ok, I admit it....
I HAVE been taking some pictures. Although I've been whining like a lost puppy about how bad I miss my camera, I must tell the truth. There's another camera. A little Casio that fits in my purse, walletlike. It is a fine camera. It takes nice pictures. I don't know why I didn't tell you about it to begin with. I'm sorry.

Also, since I'm in the confessional mode, I must tell you that I'm looking at changing my blog site, a-g-a-i-n. I've been checking out some different designs, so enjoy the dots while you can. Changes are being cooked up! I'm so excited! It's kind of like getting a new car! A whole new look is on the way to my blog.

And another thing, speaking of new cars, I got one. Today. Today! Or more accurately, shall I say, Tommy went and bought me one. I told him it was one of the very nicest thing anyone has every given me! After 8 years with the Green Bomb, Big Black Beauty is now living in our garage. The car is not new, but new to us, (Luke's age) and I have to admit, quite an upgrade. The best perk Green Weenie had was power windows, power steering and a decent heater. Oh yeah, and tinted windows. Woo-Woo. Although I am having a quite a struggle with new-car guilt (am I the only one?), I am going to do my best to enjoy the keyless entry (a great thing to have with kids), outdoor temperature display, (it is sometimes nice to know that yes, it really is 23 degrees outside,) and my very favorite: heated seats!!! (So nice when you get frozen bones like I do) And I am going to try not to think how bad the gas mileage really is.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mommas Love Their Babies

I love being a mom. I mean, I really, really do. It is the best thing I have ever done in my whole life. The hardest thing. The most humbling thing. The most maddening thing. At times, I literally feel like banging my head against a wall. It can be a gut-twisting, eye-squinshing, heart-squeezing experience that tests my patience to levels I heretofore have never known. I realize that to make it through, I absolutely MUST rely on a higher power. I CANNOT DO IT OF MY OWN STRENGTH.

But at the end of the day, being a mom is sweetest, most funnest thing ever <
(I know, not proper English there. It was just for emphasis). I've been thinking lately about how it's really a blast to be a mom. And to be able to introduce my kids to new things. Teach them about their surroundings. Help them look at life through the right lens. Give them tools for living. Pray for them. And hopefully, make them proud that I am their mom. (though I probably embarrass them - I have a weird habit of singing and dancing when their friends come over.)

When you really, really think about it... being a mom is an amazing privilege. Being able to significantly shape the very life of 3 human beings. Wo, that's heavy. And that's a lot of pressure. But again, I remind myself that He (the God of Heaven and Earth) will give me wisdom and strength if I will just simply ask. He will give it to me. I hang onto that truth. And hopefully he will also give me ESP during those teenage years. (I am totally serious about that.)

These three paragraphs were just a veiled apology for what I am about to say next: I am posting about Luke. Again. I just can't help it. I tried not to post about this incident. It happened a few days ago. It is really not that big a deal. It is not like I am thinking that he is some whiz-kid. Four year olds say stuff like this all the time. They are all so inquisitive. But to me, this moment is fantastic, and I don't want to forget it. Because not only can I hear the words I am about to post, but I can see the burning wonder in his eyes. I can remember how he licked his lips as he asked this question, something he always does when he is thinking about adult stuff. So now that I've built it up so big, I will share it. I call it "Perplexed."

We are in the car. I guess he has a lot of time to think in the car. He is strapped in. He has nowhere to go. So, he thinks.

"Mom, the road that we are driving on is flat, right?"


"Well, when you go in outerspace and you look at the world, it is round, right?"


Long pause.

(incredulous) "WELL, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?"

This Tickles My Funny Bone

Take a look!!! - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Funny Feeling

Post Note: See the finished clipboards HERE

My camera is broken. It happened on Christmas Day about 4:00. No longer did my prized possession operate as it should. Just like that. I didn't drop it. I didn't spill anything on it. And miraculously, none of my children did anything destructive to it. Inside the camera, a little plastic pin, being moved up and down a little too much in too short a period of time, snapped. I found it annoyingly interesting that on one particular website, 5 other people posted that their Canon Rebels did the EXACT SAME THING on THE EXACT SAME DAY! Huh. In-ter-es-ting. But fruitless in terms of getting a quick fix or convincing Canon to recognize this as a documented problem with the camera. I can just envision the camera manual... a section called "Christmas Day and Other Holiday Troubleshooting" with a note that "taking too many pictures could (and eventually will) result in the collapse a major camera element that will cost $150+ to repair! Take precautions to lower your camera shots to 2 shots per moment." (instead of my usual 32 spm.) Grrr.

Now, as my camera sits sadly on a shelf in a camera repair shop, a funny feeling sits down in my stomach. You know that vague feeling you get sometimes that something is out of place, weird...unsettled.... kind of like you've lost your last set of car keys, or your watch, or even worse, your cell phone? That's how I feel. So, I realized something about myself through this painful separation from my camera.... (just halfway kidding).

I realized that like eating and sleeping, releasing my creative energy is right up there for me on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Does that sound ridiculous? Well, it's true, Maslow identified creativity as a valid need! I realized that not being able to snap pictures has taken an avenue of creativity away that usually satisfies me. Instead, I am journaling a lot more, and clipboards. I have been decorating the clipboards! Clipboards in the morning and clipboards in night. When I get my camera back, I will take a picture of one and show you the clipboards I have been making for the kids' teachers for Teacher Appreciation in February. 3 down, 67 to go. Just kidding... I will be relying on other people for help with those. But taking a pic of my clipboards will be a like a Double Shot Coffee Drink from Starbucks... a nice double jolt of creativity. That buzz should last me a good couple of days, and help me get rid of that funny, funky feeling down deep in my gut.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Duke of Rough and Tough Has a Girlfriend

Let me just start by saying that I am sorry for all the Luke posts lately. I don't mean to focus on him any more than our other wonderful kids, but he is just at that age that everything he says and does is so darn funny. I could write 10 posts a day about him right now. But, ok, I'll limit myself to one a day.

Today, when I picked him up from school, he offered singsongily, "I have a girlfriend; her name is Emma." Kami, Ellie and I hadn't heard as much about Emma as we had Elly and Abby. So, we asked the obvious question... "Luke... we thought Elly and Abby were your girlfriends..?...?"

He quickly replied, "No I cracked up with them."

So, how do you learn to crack up (break up) with a girl when you are only 4 years old? We all cracked up when he said it, and I have a feeling he may be a real heart cracker when he grows up! ;)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Vote 2008

Ok, folks... I know bringing up politics is dangerous territory. Everybody has an Opinion (yes, with a capital O). Let me make it clear... I am not ready to walk into the polling booth. In fact, I had barely heard of this man until the Iowa caucuses. But I must say that I Admire what Huckabee says here about evolution and creationism.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hamburgers Don't Taste Good During Overtime

It's just the latest truth I've learned as the wife of a college basketball coach. Snacking has never been a way for me to soothe myself during basketball games (although it carries me through about every other challenge in my life). Food is just not appealing as I watch those guys go to battle on the court. It's kind of like eating while watching a loved one have surgery. Not good. But with the game hundreds of miles away from me, I ordered a nice, juicy, mushroom and swiss burger. I had heard Louie's makes great burgers! And as fate would have it.... when that burger was served, I simultaneously discovered that the Golden Eagles were in OVERTIME. So as the kiddos crammed down their grilled cheeses and pizzas and the Smiths enjoyed their fare of choice, my burger and fries just sat there real lonely. I cut it into fourths, I sprayed a big pond of ketchup on my plate. But it didn't help. I just couldn't take one single bite. I watched the tickers on the 29 TVs in the restaurant. Couldn't find the score anywhere! Finally, I called my dad. "Dad, what happened in the game? I know we were in overtime?! Is it over?" Tick Tick Tick............................ "We won by 9!" Dad reported. I felt like screaming. It probably would've been fine to scream. It was so loud there no one would have noticed. I went back and sat down at the table. And ate the whole darn burger. I learned something else: burgers taste absolutely delicious after a sweet win.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Now With More Gusto

Those of you who have read this blog know that I always talk about the gusto with which Luke approaches life.

I just loved his gusto-filled comment today: "I'd like to dip the world in ketchup and take a bite."

I know... you're thinking I misunderstood him. Surely, he said he'd like to dip his fries in ketchup. That's what kids LOVE to do. Dip their fries.

I do have one ear that squeaks more than it should, but No, I didn't misunderstand him. Because it all started with his discussion of the massive and varied list of ketchup-worthy items. Mac and cheese. Waffles. Olives. Mommy. Our House. The World.

Coming soon: Luke's Breakdancing Chronicles

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It's The End of the Year As We Know It

We celebrated with our 2 year "tradition" of going bowling. The kids loved it (Luke bowled a strike! and surprise! I bowled TWO strikes!) Goodbye 2007! And welcome 2008!