Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Small Whimper

Are you familiar with the scripture found in John 11:35? No? Well, I shall quote it for you-- "Jesus wept."

It's a nice, little verse. Straight and to the point. All meaning is clear. And today I figured out why He wept. I'm just super smart like that. Do you wanna know why Jesus was sad? Well, you have to read between the lines and really focus all your spiritual energy to see it. But, because I'm a giver, I'll tell you the reason....

He did a quick tally and realized there were only 64 more days until the end of the school year. 64 days. That includes weekends and holidays, people. Can you see why he wept? Big, salty tears. Not that I can relate or anything.

I'll say it again. 64 days. That is such a teeny, tiny number.

Lisa wept.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Be Strong And Of Good Courage

The distance from which I watch you seems to grow farther the older you become. But no matter the vantage point, I see you. I watch you grow. I notice your choices. And I love you more and more.I sat in the audience on Saturday night and watched you sing. I heard your captivating words, "Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid. Be wise." I said a silent prayer that those words would seep into your skin and wrap themselves around every thought that guides you. Please be strong. Please have courage. And please be wise.

A mother longs for nothing more than to raise children who become good, righteous adults. Ones that are strong and know, more importantly, where that strength comes from. This desire guides all that we do. It's the reason we exist. It's what gives us a determination to keep trying.

I watch you each day as you relay all that you have witnessed and heard on the bus and in the school hallways. The world you live in is so very different than the one I knew at your age. Innocence is not an option. Your strength and courage is all you've got. So, I pray for you. That you will look deep within yourself and see all that I see. That you will be wise in the choices you make.

I try to teach you. Some lessons you seem intent on fighting, but I too must be strong and have good courage. For I am trying to steer you in the right direction. Even when you can't foresee that this is where you should be heading. I can see. And so, I continue to gently direct you back on course.

My hopes for you are endless. But the greatest of them lies within the words of your song. "Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid." Remember these words. Let them be printed on your heart. And always, always look to Him offers the eternal reward. Hear the words He whispers and your course will forever remain true. Show your courage. Stand tall with your strength. And always Remember Who You Are.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Simple Question

The other day, Addie the 7 yr. old, posed this question:

"Mom, does the tooth fairy have any kids?"

Me: "I have no idea (while wondering to myself, 'Who thinks of this kind of stuff'). What do you think?"

After a moment of contemplation, she responded, "I don't think she does, because she has to work all night."

Well said.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break-Texas Style

Last Friday, we drove to San Antonio to spend all of our disposable income and enjoy the last days of spring break.

This is the start of our day at Sea World. We have yet to walk 428 miles or see a 7 yr. old fall to the pavement and scream, "I need a stroller!"
Penguins seem just the right size for Addie. But, I doubt they eat as much bacon as she does.

My all-time favorite--Shamu. Best. Show. Ever.

Guess what? Mommy Shamu had a Baby Shamu in January. She gave birth to her 350 ton baby after a 17 month pregnancy. Can you imagine?!

We waited in line forever for this ride. Big inner tube. River rapids of water. We made bets on who would end up straight in the line of the waterfall. Wanna know who lost?

Todd and Kellie were so wet, they were dripping. Makell walked the rest of the park with her legs spread wide so her pants would dry. I giggled the entire way. Not a hair on my head was touched.

End of the day with souvenirs and cotton candy. Perfect ending.

On Saturday we drove downtown to the Alamo. The temperature had dropped to 49 degrees. We learned all about the famous Texas battle while our teeth chattered.

Every now and then, it's magical to just get away from your normal life and spend time together. When I'm not surrounded by my to-do list, I seem to 'see' my kids in a different light. I watch them more closely. They are more vivid. I offer more patience and they seem to smile more. Are there melt downs and sibling fighting? Absolutely. But we all seem to handle them in stride.
Some day, I'll look back and long for moments where we can all sit side-by-side on a bench. Until then, I shall savor each mile traveled and each dollar spent in our efforts to carve out family time. So long Sea World and the Alamo, thanks for the memories!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


This girl has a high tolerance for pain.
When she cries, I know it's bad. Real bad.
She and I spent the day in the Emergency Room.She has had severe abdominal pain for over 36 hours. She hasn't eaten in 24.
I thought appendicitis. I was wrong.
All tests are normal.
She was extremely dehydrated and had very low blood sugar.
She has been poked, tested and re-hydrated.
For now, she sleeps.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Did They Manage?

Tonight, my kids are doing this:And what am I doing? Vacuuming. In the very room where they sit. And guess what? I'm good with it. When they play, they're quiet. And they sit still. I feel like I've tricked the system. They think they are being allowed to play, when in reality, I'm using it to find my sanity. I freely admit that I use technology as a handy parental tool. There. I said it. I'm out in the open. My parenting skills are so stellar that I have to rely on Nintendo to find peace.

Whatever did the pioneers do without gameboys? What did they have to threaten a teenager with? "I'll take away your phone" can strike a good amount of fear. The pioneers had no leverage. What privilege can you lose when there isn't much to choose from? Do you think pioneer children rolled their eyes or said, "that's totally not fair!"? Probably not. They were too busy doing actual work and being obedient to parental requests.

And they probably had parents who knew what they were doing. Huh. That's a thought. But then again, pioneer parents didn't have their pioneer children home ALL DAY during Spring Break. Enough said.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We're Official

It's a big deal when the Rodeo rolls into Houston. BIG. Cowboy boots and a serious amount of sequins big. This year, we all dove in and spent the day downtown. We saw so many animals, I almost thought we were on a farm. Almost. All the ladies with tiaras attached to their cowboy hats seemed to snap me back to Texas.

We had been on the scene less that 92 seconds when Addie threw her first tantrum. Exhibit A:
I'm pretty sure that as I snapped this picture, Keagan was thinking, "Um. I'm new here, so could you tell me where exactly you can buy a big cowboy boot broach and matching cowboy boot earrings? Technically I'm from Hawaii, and I ain't never seen anything like that."

Addie waiting on the rails for the Muttin' Bustin' to start. My sister tried to get her to enter the race. My city girls had no earthly idea how to bust a muttin until the gate flew open. All their eyes starred in horror as each sheep bolted through the door with a 4 yr. old clinging for life on its back. They stood speechless. They looked at me, then back to the muttin' bustin', then back to me. It was a real cultural experience. We consider ourselves enriched.

What's a rodeo without crazy fun rides? I don't know who loved them more, the babies or my girls. Todd's coworker, Mary, had a bundle of left over ride tickets and offered them to us. I suggested that she be the one to take the tickets and the kids to the rodeo. She merely offered parting words, "I'll pray for you."

Addie exclaimed that this slide was the best part of her day. I'm thinking about having Todd build one in the backyard. He's so handy with tools and all.

Petting Zoo. These goats quickly realized that Addie had food pellets in her hands. They almost climbed on top of her to get at it. We also saw a baby kangaroo and Riley grabbed the llama's hair. Good times.

This picture does not bring enough emotion to what it represents. This has been one of my life-long dreams. I'm not kidding. Pictured here are all deep fried: pickles, oreos, snickers bar and twinkie. Oh. My. Sweet. Heaven. As I laid it all on the table, all my surroundings disappeared and the world grew quiet. It was just me and my fried treats. We each took bites and voted on our favorite. Hands down, my favorite deep fried snickers has now seeped into my veins. I'm a new person.

A Texas Long Horn is seriously the biggest creature I have ever seen. Do you think those horns get heavy?

Sam at the Tractor Exhibit. I reminded her that her dad used to drive one of these at her age. She simply rolled her eyes. I don't know if she doesn't actually believe that Todd could drive a tractor, or if her eyes are so accustomed to rolling that they just do it every 4.3 minutes.

Dirty feet at the end of the day. A good indicator why half the people at the rodeo were wearing cowboy boots.
Giddy up. A good rodeo day. We feel just a bit more like official Texans. Next up--sequined western wear.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seasons Change

In days past, Sunday afternoons were not relaxing. They were spent entertaining, chasing, and corralling 3 young girls. I would watch those families in church who had older children with envious eyes. I dreamed of the day when my kids would be old enough to come home and entertain themselves, clean up after themselves and even feed themselves.

I looked around today and realized that I am here:
Some sleeping, some playing a Nintendo, me reading the newspaper. Seasons have changed.

In my days of wishing away the time until they were older, I always thought that once I arrived where I am now, it would feel momentous. I thought this time would arrive with grand splendor. But yet, as I look around, I realize that this season has emerged as all the others do--as daily life on a slow trickle upward.

Life is just that...life. It evolves and changes and tries my patience. And somehow, without my knowing, I arrive into a season of life that I thought would never come. And guess what? This season is the same as all the others that I have passed through. There are pros and there are cons. Having the freedom now to leisurely read the Sunday paper is hands down a bonus compared with the constant care required by babies and toddlers. But on the flip side, I have listened to constant sibling fighting today. I have had an attitude battle with a teenager and I've had a 7 year old sit in time out and kick the wall. Compared to that, feeding and holding a baby that smells oh-so-sweet, seems downright heavenly.

Maybe seasons don't really change at all. Maybe we simply evolve to fit the different rhythms of our life. We grow and change, and so do our kids. And life continues to move. Some days it's a snails pace, and others pass so quickly I want to reach out and hold onto it. At least for today, I'm in a season where naps are an option. And that's a pretty good place to be.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scrumptious Rolled Into A Bun

Because I am so good and kind, I'm going to give you a recipe. I experimented with my bread maker and I combined a couple of different recipes I have to come up with this:I call them my Laundry Day Cinnamon Rolls. Why? Because I let them raise on my dryer while it was churning out loads of clothes. I made the dough in my bread maker. Easy peesy. Oh, and my rolls are made with half whole wheat flour and half white flour. If your family isn't used to wheat, then all white is the way to go. Enjoy.

Laundry Day Cinnamon Rolls
(In The Bread Maker)

1 small box of INSTANT vanilla pudding
1 c. milk
1/2 c. milk
2 T. butter, melted
1 egg
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
3 1/2 c. flour
1 pkg. yeast

1 stick of butter
2 c. brown sugar
3 t. cinnamon

Whisk HALF the box of pudding with 1 c. cold milk. Let stand for 5 minutes, until pudding sets.
Add: 1/2 c. milk, melted butter, egg, sugar and salt. Mix to combine.
Pour into your bread machine.
Add flour on top. Make a small indentation in the flour and pour in the yeast.

Set your bread machine on the 'dough' setting and start.
The pudding makes this mixture really thick, my bread machine had a hard time in the initial mixing. I used a fork and pushed around the edges until it was completely formed into dough. Depending on your machine, you may need to add a little more flour. My dough was still sticking to the sides, so I sprinkled on enough flour for the dough to form into a ball.

Once dough is finished, remove and roll out into a large rectangle. (I spray my counter top with cooking spray as well as my rolling pin so that I don't add more flour to the dough).

Slightly melt/soften the stick of butter. Use a pastry brush to spread over the entire surface of your dough. Sprinkle on the brown sugar. Sprinkle on the cinnamon. Gently spread/smooth the brown sugar with your hand to make sure it evenly coats all of the dough. Roll up very tightly. Cut into 1-2 inch sections (depending on how thick you like your rolls).

Place on greased cookie sheets. Cover with towels and place cookie sheets on top of your running dryer to raise (about an hour) until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully and take them out when they just START to turn golden brown. Do not over bake!

Cool slightly and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Combine until smooth:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 stick butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
3 c. powdered sugar
1 T. milk

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I remember when my girls were little, how they would react when Todd arrived home. They would run to him and scream with excitement. I always felt the pangs of jealousy when this would happen. They never screamed or ran to me when I showed up. Simply because I was always there. Always a constant. No need to get excited over something that never changed.

These days, I have found my own cheering section. When I walk through the door at my mom's house, little feet run to me and scream with glee. These are the faces that greet me:

It's amazing what those smiles can do for a person. I'll even admit that they're better than a cupcake topped with frosting. I feel like my self esteem jumps a notch every time they scream because they are excited to see me. And my added bonus, they cry big tears when I leave. That, my friends, can really fill your love bucket.

I've realized over the last year, that I take more time to sit, watch and soak in all that these babies do. I find that I can't remember sitting and soaking in my own girls when they were this age. Why, I wonder? Did I not take the time to let each stage take hold in my memories? Or, was I simply just too tired to have the energy to take a mental picture of each milestone? I think my answer might be hidden in the day-to-dayness of surviving life when your kids are little.

I have come to accept where I am at this moment. I'm settled with the fact that my kids get excited, even now, when Todd arrives. Yet, no one shouts joy when they arrive home from school and find me where I always am--here. I remain the one, true thing that doesn't change. I don't leave, and show back up hours later (even though I want to). I am the constant. I am here. Without fanfare, or cheers, or applause. I remain steady, because of my love for them:

Motherhood has an endless list of challenges. But one of the hardest is not being recognized. No one seems to see what we do. No one expresses appreciation for the work we silently accomplish day after day. No one squeals when we walk through the door. But yet, we have the greater prize. We are the constant. The foundation. We remain here, ever present. Not for ourselves, but for these people we are bound to with love.

Maybe one of our biggest hills to climb, is to find a way to keep on being exactly what they need....their constant. Days and years will pass, and I will look back and I won't be able to remember their stages or what they were like at each age. But I won't forget that I was there. With them. Right where I will always be.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Childhood Friends

Do you have a friend you've known almost all your life? I do. And she came to visit this last weekend. While she was here, I decided something. Childhood friends are like cupcakes. Wanna know why? Because they are simply delicious.

Raquel and I have known each other since forever. Our moms were best friends. Whenever I was mad at mine, I would walk down the street and complain to hers. Whenever I ate steak at her house, it always tasted sweeter than when I ate it at mine. One Christmas, we even got matching doll strollers. Our lives have always been mingled one with the other. Her family and mine.

When I was in high school, her mom was called home to heaven. I'm fairly certain that she was standing ready when my dad arrived. The two of them are surely working and waiting for the rest of us to get there.

The funny thing about childhood friends, is that they know you well. Your good parts AND your ugly parts. They accept you as a whole. Flaws, mistakes and all. Childhood friends can speak to your soul when they bring you presents like this:
And childhood friends bury their hands in modge podge to teach us all how to make fancy clipboards.

Childhood friends are a rare treasure. Being together brings a comfort of days past. A comfort in the knowledge of shared history and memories. Childhood friends are family. And that is definitely delicious.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Is There An Interpreter In The House?

Conversation in the car:
Sam: "The other night I had a dream that I was raised by a family of skunks."
Me: "Seriously?"
Sam: "You were killed by a wolf."
Me: "Uh. What's that supposed to mean?"
Sam: "I have no idea, but it was pretty interesting."

Wait. Just wait. Hold on to your thoughts and revelations. Here is written conversation I found in Makell's room. Todd put her and Addie in a time out and they decided to write notes back and forth. Here's a glimpse:

Addie: "Kellie, do you like dad?"
Kellie: "I don't know, but I do love him."
Addie: "Do you love mom?"
Kellie: "Yes I do love her because she did not send us to our room."
Addie: "Do you wish that dad was dead?"
Kellie: "No, I just do not like him right now."

So, if we take a step back and look closely here, we'll find that everything boils down to the fact that our kids want us dead. Or eaten by wolves. Should I take that personally?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Secrets I Keep

There are certain things in my life that I just don't tell people. Little, white secrets I keep all to myself. I never voice them for fear that they would make me look weird. But let's be honest, not only do I look weird, I am weird. I can't let out all my secrets at once. But, I can give a few of my favorites:
  • Whenever I have to pull my van trunk door closed, I always imagine I'm giving a spin to the giant Price As Right number wheel.
  • As I walk through the house, if I see a stain, smear, smudge on the wall, I lick my fingers and wipe it off. It's my secret cleaning tool. I figure that if I don't take care of it right then, I'll forget about it. So, I use my spit. I lived in my last house for 12 years. I bet I licked that baby clean.
  • Todd has an obsession with lights and water. He constantly turns off the lights in a room that I will return to within minutes. It. drives. me. crazy. If anyone leaves the water running on the faucet, or runs the dishwasher when its not stacked to maximum capacity, he almost comes unglued. Knowing all of this about him gives me an advantage. Some days, when I'm really irritated with him, once he leaves for work I turn on ALL the lights and endlessly run the water. It makes me happy inside.
  • I think that colored socks are warmer than white socks. When my feet are really cold, I put on my socks with bright, red hearts on them. My feet are instantly warmed.
  • Odd numbers are creepy. Even numbers bring me peace.
That's enough for today. I can only reveal so many secrets at once. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was weird.