Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where in the World Are Kami, Ellie and Luke?

Could this tiny little place with not a stoplight to speak of be any more peaceful and beautiful?

I felt like I was in a snowglobe with no snow, lots of raw dirt, and a big dome of sky that never ended. Kerry sees this scene everyday, but it is fabulous to me. Gritty, fresh and nostalgic.

Look like they were made to go together! Though the pic looks like they are lovebirds, they really just like pickin' corn in the fields together. This is the end of one of those enormous 110 foot long blades that help harness the power of wind on the wind farms. More pics of the windfarms later.

To Ellie, this was heaven. Ridin' horses first thing in the morning with a real rodeo star and a free lasso. Yahoo.
Larry could have been my favorite part of the trip. I really want a Bassett Hound. He couldn't look more pitiful.
Getting ready to fly with Rodney the pilot who kindly extended his long day for us.
Rodney's plane.Where in the world are we?
Thomas, Oklahoma!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Would YOU take the challenge?

For Kami and Lizzie's 10th Birthday, we had their party at an amazing ropes course. Thank goodness they had an indoor facility as well as outdoor since it was 105 degrees outside. I thought we might pass out in the parking lot walking into the party. But once we got inside the air conditioned building, the girls had a fantastic time.

The first half of the day, the girls played games that challenged them as well as built teamwork and unity. Since these girls will all be attending the same school next year, it was perfect timing. They got to know each other (they come from 2 different schools), and by dinnertime were acting like old pals.

After dinner, cake and presents, they got harnessed up and took on the high ropes. It was pretty cool to see them brave the 16 different elements, and also, several of them overcame serious nerves to finish the course. They finished by riding the zipline down.... and then some of them climbed the gargantuan rock wall as a second finale. How their little legs held up is a mystery to me.

But afterwards with shaky legs and sweaty faces, we drove home feeling tired, exhilirated and proud. And for Kami and Lizzie, one year older.

Just one problem: I don't think we'll be able to top this party! It was just too much fun. Thanks Chere, for helping me put this together. And one more thing, just in case you're wondering.... here are my feelings on my daughter turning (unbelievable) TEN.

Harnessed up and ready to go...
Look at that monstrous thing behind the girls... THAT is what they climbed!Tom took the challenge! He went up first to encourage the girls and help guide them through.Kami on one of the shakier elements... Lizzie concentrating on the tightropeKami near the top of the rock wall!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Easily Inspired

You people....

You know what you do?
Do you know what you do to me?

You inspire me.

Yes, you.

You may have heard of "easily influenced,"
but I am easily inspired.

I am inspired by
who is as organized as the president's secretary
and is always doing cool projects around her house

by Lori
who specializes in simple living
and has a friend in every zip code

by Linda
who runs like an Olympian after her dreams

by Chrissy
who has a heart of gold

by Chere'
who I really think has ESP
and is one of those truly gifted individuals
my special friend

by Laura (I call her Dr. Laura)
who has a way of fixing the unfixable
just like a kindergarten teacher fixes a boo-boo

by Kim
who is stable when I am not
(which seems to happen quite often)

who is passionate about a lot of things
and ignites that passion in others

by Julie
who is a lover of nature
and takes darn good
pictures of it too

by Nicole
my soul sista
who has faith in the face of basketball

by Kelly
photography is unequaled in my book
and the sweetness! oh, the sweetness

whose gentle determination to be a good parent
rubs off on anyone around her (you are amazing)

by Ronda
who soaks up the wonderful world around her

by Carolyn
who reads her Bible fiercely
and Judy
who operates sacrificially
who writes amazingly
and by Ida
well, you know my Granny.

She is a walking inspiration.

But I'm serious, did you know how deeply you inspire me?
Erin, Dawn, Tom and Jim?
Carrie and Kerry?
Paula and Kim?
Karla and Jeana?
Angie and Risa?
Jessie and Starla?

Maybe you didn't know it.

Maybe I just never said it.

But YOU are why
I am taking pictures passionately
feeding my kids salmon twice weekly
looking to further my education quickly
trying to read through my Bible before I am 40

and spending our money wisely (Ok, not always)

YOU are why
I am trying to live by FAITH
and not by sight
I am trying to not live in my own power
but by His might

YOU are the reason
I have a turtle tank
am visiting a bat cave

am making 3 quilts;
am reading 3 books

have an idea for a book

write in a journal
and try harder to consider the feelings of others

Because I know YOU
I try to make the best of every situation
and look smashing doing it!
I try to pay more attention to others
and less to myself!
I try to be more like YOU

Because of YOU
I have the confidence to know that these things are possible

Except one...try as I might...
I can't really be very funny!!
I just don't think it's in the cards for me.

next time I am around you,

and I get kind of quiet, don't forget...

I am being inspired!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Survivor: Sibiling Style

Years ago, when my friend Chrissy and I were young, little just-married things, we just prayed together one night that God would bless our families. That we would have children who would love each other and grow to be close. It was kind of an off-handed, naive prayer, after all, neither of us even had children or had any kind of concept of the play-date and switching child magic that you learn when you grow a toddler.

Well, He was in the midst of the two of us as we came together in his name that night... because here's what happened, unorchestrated by human timing.

Kami was born
Lauren was born 6 weeks later.

Lindsey was born
Ellie was born 3 months later.

Seth was born
Luke was born 8 months later.

They are truly our psuedo family. As Lindsey said tonight, "it's like you're our cousins or even... our brothers and sisters! That's how it feels when we're with you." Compliment taken.

The kids always have fun when they get together, but tonight will go down in the favorite memories file, I think. As I fixed dinner, Kami and Lauren thought up a big sister challenge, a la Survivor (notice that neither Kami or Lauren get wet anywhere in this challenge.) I was inside, focusing on grilled cheeses, when I heard this loud and happy screeching. And here's what I found:

Yes, what you see is Lindsey and Ellie willingly letting their little brothers drench them with water. It was all part of a challenge to see which brother and sister team could get one person clean, dressed and ready first.

Step 1: Get hair wet with freezing cold water from the hose.

Step 2: Wash hair.

Step 3: Get dressed behind makeshift towel curtains. Thank goodness we live in a cul-de-sac. Step 4: Brush Hair. (or make an attempt to brush the hose-washed unconditioned mess).

Now, switch! It's the boys' turn. They thought it was great fun.

Challenge completed + Bonus for mom: No baths tonight!

Craft Junkie

Since I'm having technical difficulties with the last craft project I posted about, I was feeling the need for another quick crafthit. This one turned out to be cheap (especially if you are a reformed scrapbooker like me), easy and cute. And a lot like the clipboards I did a few months ago. To get the project ready, I bought some .88 cent Stenopads at Big Lots, and then just rummaged through some of my old scrapbooking paper.

I cut coordinating pieces of the different papers 6 inches wide in different size strips, making sure to have one 6 by 9 inch piece that would provide a background. I glued that on first and then let the kids be creative with the strips. They used old letter stickers and some lonely embellishments to add the final touches.

The only secret is to keep the glue (Elmer's works just fine) very thin and spread out. I just used my finger to thin it out evenly over the first piece that went down on the stenoboard cover... that way, the paper wouldn't buckle or pucker. WE do not like buckling and puckering around here, at least when it comes to crafts!

This craft project for kids worked well for me and my kiddos and my kiddo's friends, and you can find lots more Works for Me tips over on Rocks in My Dryer.

Friday, July 18, 2008

You Have the Right Number

I like numbers. So, when we got a new phone number several years ago, I didn't settle for the random phone number they generated. I flatly lied and told them my mom had Alzheimer's and that I'd like an "easy to remember" phone number. (Sorry mom!) As it always goes when we open our mouths and tell a "harmless" fib, that untruth has come back to haunt me for years. It has come back to haunt me (and my family) in the form of THE WRONG NUMBER. Our number is listed incorrectly in the phone book and other places as a doctor's office, and somehow it is tied up with the local hospital too. So, we get calls ALL THE TIME for Dr. M, for Warren Clinic, for Pediatric Cardiology, X-ray, and many other medical-related places. These calls frequently come at 7:59 in the morning as people are anxious to get their calls in early!

Yon can imagine that I've tried a whole different array of approaches.

*I answer normally "Hello?!" but when they say "I have the wrong number" I just hang up. Don't even speak.

*I answer in an annoyed voice "HELLO." So, they hang up without speaking.

*I answer and kindly offer the doctor's office real phone number. (this actually does happen occasionally)

*I tell them what a loser the phone book people are for not getting this right.

*I refuse to answer the phone.

But it wasn't until this week that I actually took this matter to God. I realized it is an area I was frustrated in, and according to Battlefield of the Mind (the book I am currently reading) when we experience negative thoughts, we can know for sure that this is not from God!

Ok, so I thought, how is God going to "solve" this problem for me? Well, he didn't fix the problem, he fixed me. He said to me... these people are calling a medical establishment because they need help. They have anxities about their health and real health issues.

Pray for them.

Ok. That was easy. Why didn't I think of that, like SEVEN years ago?

So, now I am feeling much better about those wrong numbers and actually hoping the phone will ring wrongly. (It hasn't in 5 days!) When it does, I intend to say a prayer for that person! But what can my friend who gets assaulted by tons of WRONG NUMBER calls from a very popular pizza establishment do? Pray for their eating habits? Ha! Let me know when you figure that one out, mom of 4!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

I have been checking out the very cool blog Rocks in My Dryer for a long time now, and there was this great great post just the other day. Love it! Check it out! But the thing that is really fun about her site is her Works For Me Wednesday feature, in which lots of bloggin' moms post their best tips and tricks. I can scan through her site and pick up new ideas every Wednesday. So, after months of just reading, I am actually going to take the plunge and try it out. Here goes:

What works for me is Seriously, folks, this is an AWESOME site. I just joined a few weeks ago, and it has been a smashing success so far. The mission of this non-profit group is for people to reuse what could be refuse. That is, instead of sending something to the landfill, to use message boards to find someone who needs it.

Case in point: My sister had a very large freestanding swinging chair that she wanted to part with when she moved. Goodwill would not take it. What to do? I said, give me some time. I posted an OFFER on Freecycle and within minutes, I had about 30 emails, and in 2 hours, it was gone - picked up from her curb. More importantly than that, it went to a lady who has a disabled son, who just so happens to love feeling motion of a swing. Wow!

Then, I found out one of my cousins was moving in her first apartment, but had nothing to eat breakfast on. No kitchen table or chairs. I posted a WANTED message, and the next day, my husband went and picked up a round table with 2 leaves and 6 chairs that was in great condition. It's was an 80's set, but Kristen doesn't care! She just wanted somewhere to eat her Cheerios.

We also gave away a garden bench, a child's table and chairs and a TV armoire. And, I picked up a big tub of Legos from someone who didn't want them anymore! Woo Hoo! I'm going to post a new message today: WANTED - skateboard (for my little skater dude!) We'll see what happens So far, this site is working for me!!! So, browse on over to her WFMW post, and you will see me as #101!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Anything To Get The Focus Off That Last Post

I have been mortified all day. I confessed my embarrassing moments on the World Wide Web, and now I am cringing. So, moving's something kind of funny....6 grown women dressed in the fashions of our teenage years. We had a ball with it, looking through old pics and cracking up at some of the old 80's styles like.... (remember any of these?)

shoulder pads
HUGE hair
tulip rings
Laura Ashley dresses
puffy sleeves
Acid Dyed Jeans
Banana Clips
Jelly Shoes
Sailor Dresses
Friendship Pin Bracelets
Neon color clothes
Big Plastic Earrings
The Madonna Look
Worry Doll Hairclips
Layered shirts
We laughed and reminisced for a long time. But it all had a purpose. We are using a study called Secret Keeper Girls with our daughters this summer to try to teach them a little about how to be the girls God made them to be, and this was Date #5. After poking fun at old fashions, I spent some time with the girls talking about fashion and how fashion is not bad, it's fun! However, girls must pay attention to how they are presenting themselves through what they wear. It gave me the chance to talk with them about wearing clothes that present the right message of who they are. And just because other people are wearing it, doesn't mean it's OK for you! I am so glad I got the opportunity to speak to the girls about this, and doing this along with other moms and daughters helps them feel like they are not the only ones! Plus, I got the chance to don one of my favorite 80's fashions: the drop-waisted floral dress with shoulder pads embellished with large bows. Too bad I couldn't get the big hair going. I tried, but my hair just isn't quite the same as it was back in the good ole eighties.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Panty Power

Why such a silly title?

I am trying my darndest to laugh at myself. I lecture my kids all the time on being easygoing and laid back and learning to laugh when something unexpected/embarrassing/upsetting happens to them publicly. Not to let anyone see them crumble. To take it lightly.

That's what I'm trying to do.

Otherwise, I could have named this post something different, like

"Whyyyyyy Meeeeeeeeeee?"
"I Will Never Step Foot in That Place Again"
"They Will Never Let Me Back in That Place Again"
"Everyone Thinks I'm Weird"
"I'm a Loser"
"I Have Got Some Serious Underwear Issues"

But before I tell you today's incident, I feel I must back up a couple months and share a most embarrassing moment in May. I took the time to get ready and got dressed into an exquisite black dress with a silken underlay, topped off with a sheer organza. Not dressing like this really often, I felt quite graceful as I walked Luke into his classroom, chatted with moms, ran an errand at Petco and made a big shopping trip to Walmart. About 15 minutes after I arrived at Wal-Mart, a young woman with a nosering stopped me and said, "Ma'am, I know I don't know you but..... (long pause) your dress is tucked up into your underwear in back." I will go no further, to spare you from the depth of my horror as I retraced my steps and exactly who all had seen my lovely big bottom hanging out.

But, I reasoned, this was just a one time thing. Everybody makes mistakes. I will be A LOT more careful.

So, tonight, I went to a Biblical Discipline Coffee Talk at Fellowship Bible. This is a church we've been visiting for awhile, and I thought I'd go maybe learn something and try to meet a few new people, make a couple new friends. It's not real easy when everyone seems to already know each other, but I thought, I'm not going to get anywhere unless I make the effort. So, I went. And sat in the first row. And walked around and got a water and got some Hershey's kisses and took a phone call in the hallway and then left early, right in front of the room of 50. Only to find out that my new brown pants have three inch rip right down my left bun, exposing my whiter than white grannish panties. (I have NO idea how it got there!) I guess the only blessing in the deal was that I wasn't wearing something garish or even nothing at all! Imagine the bare bun hanging out of the ripped pants. Oh, what a nightmare.

But I am laughing. Can't you hear me?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

I make it my goal to be content but not satisfied.
Ummm... let me say that again.
I try to be content in my circumstances....
but I find myself unsatisfied.
Hmmm... now I'm really digging myself a hole.
That does NOT sound good.
But let me explain. Stick with me here.

Content: In my mind, being content means being thankful for where I am, at peace with my life's circumstances, and humbled by the blessings given to me and mine. It comes from down deep, a feeling of assurance, a secure knowledge that I am living in His will.

Satisfied: For me, satisfaction means feeling complete in this world, being fulfilled by one's surroundings and experiencing a worldly kind of pleasure, like when a big juicy burger and a glass of Pepsi hits just the right spot. Mmmmmm. Burp.

So, I repeat...
I make it my goal to be content but not satisifed.
Now looking at it, I can see I fudged a little.

I DO want to be content in my circumstances. I pray to be at peace with exactly where God has put me atthisdayinthiscitywiththesepeopleatthisverymoment. I think it is something only He can deliver. Contentment.

Now.... do I make is my GOAL to be unsatified?
Heck no, but God has a funny little way of KEEPING me unsatisfied.

I mean, not so much with the burgers, cause I eat a lot of those, but with things like say, my house. We spent a lot of money updating the kitchen, and it is fine. But for reasons I won't get into (orange granite), I am not SATISFIED. The cabinents are chipping; they need to be repainted. We are living with plaid hand-me-down couches. Not SATISFIED. The garage is too small and my husband is too busy and there are hundreds of legos scattered througout the house and the girl in the mirror looks a bit different than before and the grass in the backyard is totally gone and our dog throws up too much and my jeans don't fit the way they used to and my car gets terrible gas mileage.... and.... now that I think about it that juicy hamburger gave me some serious heartburn!!!

You can see I'm not SATISFIED.

BUT listen, it's Ok with me to not be satisfied because I know myself.... and if I had
a perfect kitchen
and new couches
and an enormous playroom for all the legos
and a 5 car garage with built-in organizers
and a stay-at-home husband
and a killer body
and a backyard with astroturf
and a "Best in Show" dog who never threw up green stuff
and a car that got 55 miles to the gallon
and so on and so forth..... then I WOULD be SATISFIED.

And, I would not be seeking God.

And for me, that could be dangerous. For you, maybe not so much. And I'm not implying that if you have these things you are somehow out of God's perfect and pleasing will. It's just for me, at this time in my life, it's almost (notice I said almost) humorous how no earthly thing can bring me complete satisfaction. Even relationships can disappoint. Even the most basic things on earth will never be able to totally satify. Thank the Lord. Because in the end, there is one thing that will truly complete us and bring us contentment: God Himself.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I Don't Have a Problem with Ten

I Like 10.
I Don't Have a Problem with Ten.
Sure, it's double digits,
but you still have baby teeth
and you ask for a hug every night when you go to bed.
Ten isn't so bad.
I mean, YES you are a decade old, born in the 90's,
but Ten, it's not all it's chalked up to be!
I can still remember how you looked on your first day of kindergarten.
and wasn't it just a couple years ago you were learning cursive?
You're just one year removed from Elementary School, baby!
10 is fine.
I'm fine with 10.
Really, I am.
It's those other numbers that scare me.
Like 2. Two years from Middle School.
Now that's making me a little uncomfortable.
And 4. Four years from being a freshman.
Wow, that's fierce. I do NOT like that number.
Then there is 6. I do not like 6 at all.
Thats' six years from driving.
No kidding.
But the worst number, the meanest number of all
is 8. That is two less than 10 and a short eight years
until you leave us for better things.
Maybe by then 8 won't be such a scary number
a number that already brings tears to my eyes.
But for now I'm liking 10.
I don't have a problem with ten.
Ten is a fabulous number.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A DECADE with Kami

Today we celebrated Kam's bday. Wow, can 10 years go F-A-S-T. More thoughts on that later. For now, here is the front of her birthday invitation. She and her great friend Lizzie are having a party together, and the invitation just turned out too cute, to see how they have grown throughout the years. I couldn't resist posting it. Click on it to get a better look at their little faces.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Do I Make You Proud?

Does anyone remember Taylor Hicks? No, not Taylor Swift, the cute blonde who the girls listen to constantly, but Taylor Hicks, the guy with the gray hair and funny dance moves who won American Idol a few seasons ago? Well, I happen to love one song he sings.... actually I think he sang it the night he won the competition. It is called "Do I Make You Proud?" and as I sing it in my head you should be thanking your lucky stars I haven't figured out how to post voice recordings on this blog o' mine. But it's very catchy and powerful and, well, it is kind of the theme of this July 4th blog posting. Ready? Sing along now...
Proud, proud, proud and thankful to live here in America.
Who could not be proud of a granny like this? It cracks me up when my kids tell others about her. It's like they're bragging.... I've got a grandma I... she's 97 years old!!!! (emphasis on 97). And Blake sure is proud to be sleeping under that quilt tonight.
We were all very proud of Lauren as she jumped off the diving board tonight!!!
We are proud to have a new coach on staff and Luke is way proud of Coach K's daughter, Khloe. (if you know what I mean).

We are proud to have such an awesome family. The whole family is proud of our newest member, Jace. And look at Grandpa Rex's face. Ain't he proud.
Luke is a lego king right now. He is very proud of building a lego helicopter "all by myself" at Granny's house today. Lauren was his personal assistant.

And folks, I am proud of myself today. I for the first time in my life (why am i such a slooooooow learner?) captured some decent nighttime shots. I've taken years of fireworks pictures that look like a wimpy sparkler went off in the sky. But with 5 minutes left in the firework show, it came to me like I'd been struck by lightning or hit by an exploding firework. I (kind of) figured it out. And this picture of the moon? I can't believe I got it. I am proud. I'd like to end this post with something about how mostly proud of everyone else I am, but tonight, my friends, I'm going to go to bed feeling proud of one special lady. Me. :)