Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jingle All The Way

Here's to a happy new year!

(But, of course it will be happy. It's an EVEN year. Duh.)


Monday, December 23, 2013


She had told me she was singing a solo. A few days before the concert, she had mentioned it. Kind of an, 'Oh, by the way...' moment. The all-girls acapella group she's a part of was performing that night. So I knew that at some point, we would see her take the stage.

I really brushed it off to the side as normal. Because this girl singing, is rather typical. She has a voice that I could listen to for hours. So her mention of a solo didn't strike me as unusual. It's just what she does. Well, it's actually what her soul was created to do.

But, that night, the night of the concert, I was unprepared to hear her. From looking at the program, I knew her group was next. So logically, I watched for her to enter the stage. But no one came.

Instead, through the dark of the auditorium, from behind our seats, she broke the silence with her voice. I couldn't see her, but I could hear her. And the moment she started to sing, I knew it was her. No lights from the stage, no written acknowledgement on the program. Just her voice. I felt her. And I knew she was mine.

That moment of clarity has stayed with me for days.
It felt powerful. And it felt like home.

And I'm reminded of the reason we celebrate this month. Of the truth that rests as the foundation of all that we do. That beneath the lists, the stress, the buying and the rushing, there is joy that already surrounds us. There is peace when we take the time to hear.

And we have a Savior who knows our name. He sees us when we take the stage and also when we stand in the dark and raise our voice. At all times and at all cost, He hears us. Rather powerful and a whole lot like home.

In these last few days, the calm before the storm, I hope you take the time to Hear. Because joy is there. It may be buried deep, but it's there.

Listen to it.
And welcome home.


Friday, December 20, 2013

A Generous Mother

What does a mother do on the last day before Christmas break?

She puts Rudolph antlers and a nose on her teenager's car. While she's in school.

Just thinking about her embarrassment, freak-out gives my insides warm fuzzies.

Merry Christmas to me.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Miracle(s)

Child #2 agreed to take a picture.

Without fighting me.

Or being bribed.

I simply asked that she stand by her sister while we were at an ice skating rink.

She stepped in closer and smiled.

Just like that.

I nearly choked and dropped my phone.


Child #1's choir group toured the local elementary schools today. Lots of festive singing (I warned Child #3 that she was headed her way). She was required to wear festive clothing to match all that singing.

No words, right?

And it gets even better.

She made the sweater. Darn straight.

I've used hot glue for many things. But never to attach ornaments and tinsel onto a sweater in the shape of a Christmas Tree.

I told her that I really can't decide if this is a proud parental moment.

Want her to come sing at your house?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Let's Discuss

Can we just stop the world for a second and discuss some pressing matters?

Pinterest. Oh, how I love me some Pinterest.
But, here's some truth--it's not real. Not really. Looking at Pinterest is like reading a book. You get to be transported to a lovely place with pretty people and perfect crafts. It's more of a fairyland. A really, super awesome and addicting one.

So, here are my pressing matters. I am in dire straights looking for answers:

1. Will someone please explain this new craze of Maternity Pictures. I mean, they're everywhere. Pregnant ladies standing in wheat fields. Couples cradling a chubby belly. These pictures are definitely not taken with an iphone. No selfies here. That means professional photographers are involved. I'm crazy confused. Seriously. Does anyone out there remember feeling like a rock star when they were pregnant? Rockin' enough to stand in a wheat field and hire a photographer?

2. Tattoos. This one is super-dee-duper confusing to me. I know that people get them. But why are you posting them on crafty Pinterest? Because, let's just be honest. Some of those tattoos, like the life-sized octopus, just make you look like a moron. I mean, really. Who, in their right mind, inks the entire cast of Peter Pan on their shoulder blade? For. Reals. And we aren't even going to discuss the fact that tattoos are kinda like putting permanent scratches on a Porsche. Well, in my case, it'd be more of an old Buick.

3. This last one is hard for me to even talk about. I'm having heart palpitations just thinking about it. Here goes.....Edible glitter. I just saw a picture of it this morning on The Pin. Holy Canoly. Let's take a moment and gather our sanity. Because, you've seen real glitter, right? Nasty stuff. Hate it. It sticks to everything. Everything! So, for the love of all that's holy, why would you ingest it into your body? Just thinking about it almost makes me vomit.

And last, but not least, I give you this. Just because it's so freaking awesome:
Our great friends were at the same choir concert as we were last night. After it was over, Child #2 tried to avoid us at all costs. Until The Bill Man grabbed her into a hug. And wouldn't let go. She kicked. And wiggled. And moaned. He held tight and smiled the whole time. Then The Dad joined in and they squeezed her even tighter. I can't even describe the joy this brought me. I nearly passed out from my glee. I'm a mother who finds great delight in the suffering of her children.

Maybe I'll post it on Pinterest.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Mouse Trap

Her project for Physics was to create a car out of a mouse trap. In order to earn a descent grade, the car had to travel 5 feet. 5 mini-feet? 5 milliliters? I really can't remember. 5 somethings. My genius is showing, isn't it?

It was determined that she and her friend wanted to make "sleighs" out of the mouse traps. So, of course, because I have so much free-time, I was tasked with hunting down all needed supplies. Well, that's not totally true. She went to Lowe's and bought some metal-ly stuff. Hardware? Is that the right word?

The first car she made last Thursday was super cute. I totally approved from a crafty point-of-view. But it traveled....nowhere. Wouldn't move at all. Her and her friend readjusted a few things, shortened some string-thingy. And it moved....backwards.

So, last night they were on a mission. And as the hours ticked by, they got more frazzled. They both made car #2 with no success.

By this time, the rest of the family huddled around the table gawking like paparazzi. It's was like the ship was sinking and we wanted to watch it go down. The 11 year old threw question after question their way and I had to turn my head so they wouldn't see me laughing. I just couldn't shut it down. It was too awesome to watch.

Once she started building car #3 at 10:00 pm, she announced, "Did you know they just came out with a study that says school is bad for your health....{pause}...I'm totally serious."

And because I can see she is starting to wilt and give up, I step in. I remind her of the discussion we had just days ago. "Listen. You have to get it together. Because my job as your mother is to make sure you don't live with me forever. Got it? You have to get good grades and you have to finish high school. Because if you don't, you'll be with me to the end of your days and I'll make us wear matching sweaters."

Score. Game on.
Car #3.... moves. 5 somethings. 5 milimeters? 5 furlongs?

I'm thinking of becoming a motivational speaker.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Too Tired To Be Stealthy

Christmas time, when I was around 15 or 16 years old, both my brothers came to me one night and said, "Hey, we have to show you something." So, I remained cool and neutral and followed them downstairs into the basement.

They led me to a hallway closet that was locked. The oldest brother took about 2.4 seconds to jiggle and jimmy the door and it opened right up. Inside sat all our Christmas presents. All of them. We got our very first family computer that year. And there it was, in all it's glory. Front and center in the "locked" closet.

The super stealthy older brother also showed me the cowboy boots he would be receiving. He told me he had been wearing them to school for over a week. He put them back into the closet each night. His genius stunned me silent.

I had never even had the notion to go looking for presents. It just never occurred to me as something you could do. I was the perfect child. The envy of all parents everywhere. Truth be told, I still am. Just the other day I told my mom she was "lovely" before I asked her to buy me some candy.

But now I'm the parent, trying to hide the Christmas presents. And guess what? I don't even bother with a locked closet. I'm just too tired.

This is my closet. The one that's always open. I've convinced myself that the blanket makes the presents invisible. M'kay? Just yesterday I realized that I've been meaning to tell my kids "Not to go into my closet". But I keep forgetting. I just might be the most amazing Santa's Helper ever.

If you need a place to store your own presents, my closet still has some room.
And I've got a few more blankets.

Friday, December 13, 2013

When She Teaches Me Truth

I'm sitting at the computer starring at the screen. I've somehow convinced my brain that if I stare long enough, I'll come up with a fantastic plan. One that will magically give me more time. Or how to clone myself. I feel as if I'm running 10 days behind regular life. At this rate, I should be ready for Christmas by mid-January. And I'm contemplating throwing the to-do list away and painting my bathroom instead. I'm such a deep thinker.

With my thoughts racing and the TV buzzing in the background, I notice Daughter #2 round the corner and sit at the piano. I'm sitting still as a statue at the computer, so she doesn't notice me. If she did, she would flee in a nano second. She isn't one to perform in front of anyone. Nor does she really like having lengthy discussions (consisting of more than 12 words) with any blood related relative. So, I remain silent and just turn my head to watch her.

And she plays. And quietly sings along. Her attention soley focused on her moment of joyful living. And I am transfixed. Solid focus. On her. And suddenly, life becomes so very clear. This girl of mine is showing me what truth really looks like. And what it sounds like. As I watch her, this moment feels golden and magical, precious and real. Lists and errands float away on the wind.

She then turns her head and sees me. She smiles quickly and is off the bench and out of the room. But I am left, still at the computer. The place where I was trying to hold the world and slow down time just minutes ago.

And now, I smile too. The world still feels heavy in my arms and the list is still a mile long, but my focus has moved it's angle. The rushing, the stress and the doing don't feel so bold and central anymore. Life feels a bit more beautiful with her voice echoing in my head.

Be still.
Just for a moment.

And listen.

And watch.

May we have the eyes to see the magic right before us.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Signs Of The Season

I think there should be a national ban on 'Telling-Your-Mom-What-You-Really-Want-For-Christmas' after December 10th. For serious. Because Teenager #1 just blurted out, "I want sweaters. Lots of sweaters." Ah, what?

This comes as shocking news to a Santa who is nearing the end of gift buying. There are 13 days left, people. No new items are allowed to be added to the list. Nor are you allowed to change your mind about something you loved-loved-loved 2 weeks ago. Nada. No more talking.

From here on out, I'm telling my kids, "You better just cross your fingers and hope you get lucky. Oh, and being really nice to me will earn you extra presents." I'm the kind of parent that tries to buy their love.


After I made the gingerbread men, it was determined that they needed personalities before we ate them. I thought it was morbid, The Husband cheered them on. Some have bows and bow ties. Some have tap shoes, others are wearing overalls. One is a Mormon missionary (it felt a little strange to eat him).  There is also a hairy Chubakka and the final decorated cookie is, and I quote, "filled with bullet holes from being shot".

Ah, warm fuzzy family moments.


Teenager #2 sat down to eat the Christmas cookies I had just brought home from the store. As she is dunking them in milk, she says, "I just looovvvveeee Christmas."

To which I replied, "Well, for mothers it's a rather stressful holiday."

She stopped eating and just starred at me.
And finally snorted and asked, "Why?"

Ah, yes, why indeed.

I think I'll ponder that one today. And for the next 13 days hereafter.
Oh, and probably in January too when I get my credit card statement.

Tis the season to be merry.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

FMS (For My Sister)-Christmas Edition

I caught my sister taking pictures of my mantel the other night. So, this is me, trying to catch her before she sends it out into Facebook-land...

Years ago, I read an interview with J.K. Rowling. She said she is constantly asked where her magical Harry Potter ideas come from. She continues to find that question strange. Because ideas are just simply...ideas. You can't buy them at a store. They just are. There in your mind. And she took the creations she could see in her head and wrote them down. Magic transformed.

I believe we each have our own J.K. Rowling way of thinking. Everyone has their own individual way they see the world. We all create. It just takes on different forms. Ideas just simply come. And we translate that into something beautiful. Whether it's at work, in your yard, in your relationships, when you parent your children or in your home. We each possess our own kind of magic.

I decorate. Over the years, I've come to realize it's my passion. My own Harry Potter gift. It's when I feel most alive.

It pretty much feels like an insignificant talent. Sure, it's pretty. But it certainly doesn't change the world. Most of the time, my family are the only people who even notice. When you think about it like that, it doesn't feel magical at all. All too often, it feels like a waste of time.

But, maybe all gifts aren't meant to be spread worldwide. Maybe their purpose is to help us see the best parts of us. The parts that only we can offer. The ideas that only we can see. That definitely feels like magic transformed. The kind that is soul deep. Whether it's noticed by one or a million. That's time well spent.

Let's celebrate our gifts. Especially this month. The gifts that no one can really see. The ideas that make us feel most alive. Whether or not we think they're worth it. Because they are. When we use the best parts of us, magic moves. It offers more than words can give. In your home, in a classroom, at your job, in the food you make or in your life. Listen to your ideas and celebrate your gifts.

And decorate a mantel with flare :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thoughts About Scars

I woke up this morning thinking about scars. At 5:00 am. Weird, right? Because I have a hole in my head. Literally and figuratively. Well, not a hole, exactly. More like a large divet. A head valley? It's from all the cutting and stitching and stretching and nastiness of my skin cancer removal. And now that scar has had time to settle in and get cozy.

There are times when it aches. And it's red and looks rather ugly. I'm guessing this is all rather normal for a scar. To be honest, I hope I don't ever have a repeat.

But, for some reason, in the dark hours of this morning, my small, minuscule scar brought me thoughts of larger, more important scars. Those that are in His hands, His wrists and His feet. And I wonder if Christ's scars feel like red, ugly, aching holes. Just like the one in my head.

This time of year seems to focus on the Savior's birth. We love the nativity and the star and the wise men bearing gifts. But what of The Man? The one with scars to prove He saved us all?

Maybe our actions reflect His scars. Do we honor them? Or do we set them aside for another day? Scars are permanent. His most of all. What if we could live our lives to make them worth it? That feels like a monumental promise.

"Men are that they might have joy". Christ's words, not mine. Joy. That's all He wants for us. He doesn't say that 'Men are to make lists'. He doesn't mention that 'Men are to rush and stress and hurry'. Just joy. Three little letters. One simple word that can change our souls.

There still is work to be done. Daily life keeps on ticking. Stress is inevitable. But, underneath it all, His scars remain. For me. For you. For everyone I see scattering through the mall. He rescued all of us.

I think we would do well to remember.
The scars that changed the world.
And maybe, just maybe, the real and true meaning of this season can bring peaceful calm and glorious bright.

Let's think about scars together.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The November Wrap

Yes, I'm aware we're well into December. But, I'm running behind. By the time I pull out my Christmas decor, it will probably be Valentines.

Lessons from the 'Give Thanks' month. In no particular order:

1. My brain is full. That has been my biggest light bulb moment. I can't fit one more thing in. Not one more task, not one more thing to do, not one more 'what-do-you-get-a-teenager-for-christmas-when-they-just-want-money'. Not. One. More. Thing.

2. Speaking of full....my Kindle currently has 320 books loaded on it. This fascinates me. Every time I download, I expect a window to pop up that reads, "You need to get a life. Seriously." When does a Kindle fill up? It's like a challenge now. To see how many books I can put on there. I'll keep you posted.

3. One of the sweetest sounds in my life comes from this girl:
Every once-in-a-blue-moon (translation: twice a year), she randomly calls me "momma". She is my only child to ever call me that. She has to actually be near me and like me at the same time. I'm pretty sure that's why it is such a rare occurrence. She called me momma last Friday. Around 4:45 pm. I'm holding on to that.

4. Speaking of Child #2...The other night she told her Dad, "Barnes and Noble is a stupid store. All it has is books!"


5. Recovery from a road trip requires cleaning out the car. It's amazing what can happen in that tiny space when your family lives in it for days.

So, I'm vacuuming. Every little crevice. And I notice a black box tucked way under the seat. I pull it out and discover it's a take-out box. When I notice the restaurant name, it dawns on me that this food is from Child #1's Homecoming extravaganza. In case you're wondering, that was 39 days ago.

39. Days.

6. Speaking of Child #1...
She made the school musical.

She changed the direction of her life at the end of last year for this very thing. Audition week was a bit grueling. I gave advice and prayed. A lot.

The day the cast list was posted, her joy became a palpable thing. It filled the house. It filled all of us. I wanted to bottle that joy right up and save it.

7. Child #3 stayed home from school for 2 days with strep. She used her free time to make a PowerPoint presentation for me. Of all the things she wants for her birthday and Christmas. It was rather lengthy. And for added fun, she texts me every other day (while we're in the same room together) to remind me of all the items on her list.

I'm thinking of making my own PowerPoint.
It will be short. Just 2 wish list items.

Let me know if you want a copy.


Monday, December 2, 2013

The Week That Flew

There are 2 kinds of holidays. The constant on-the-go kind, and the do-nothing-lay-around kind. Our Thanksgiving was the constant going kind. In a good way. I wish there was a magical way to mix the two. The end of this holiday brings bone deep exhaustion.

My entire family was together. That's a rare occurrence. There is something quite fantastic about watching cousins being with cousins. Family laughter feels richer. Even the food tastes better when you're with one another. Especially when you spend it at an indoor water park :)

And for the first time in 11 years, Our Baby/Child #3/The Favorite...

 Had her birthday on Thanksgiving Day. The exact same day she was born.

Time moves so incredibly fast.

And today, when I'm finally getting my feet firmly planted again, I look around and notice that all the universe has already decorated for Christmas. I can't even find the time, or the will, to lift my autumn wreath off my front door. A Christmas tree feels like a far away endeavor.

So, I think, just for the day, I'm going to pretend it's May. Boring, ordinary May. And I'll just work on the laundry and maybe buy some groceries.

Anyone else want to pretend with me?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How We Spend A Sunday Afternoon

We take some twins. (Our favorite pair).

And we let them reign free.

You can't buy this kind of awesomeness.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Truth Found On The Interstate

Isn't this the most beautiful graffiti you've ever seen? I'm a huge fan.

As you near downtown, this bridge just stumbles into view. It's unassuming and very worn by time. But I love it. Through all the mundane and drab that surrounds these 2 words, the message jumps out with bold clarity.

And if you think about it, someone had to hang over the top ledge to paint it. Upside down. On the train tracks. And they even took the time to outline each letter. Just to make sure we drivers got the message loud and clear.

I do. Do you?

If so, here's my question: What kind of a Someone are you?
That's a lot to consider. All from a graffiti message.

To be honest, I think I spend most of my time being a lot of different Someones. Someone's driver, Someone's mom, Someone's cook, Someone's maid, Someone's I-forgot-a-poster-for-school-and-I-need-it-in-the-next-30 seconds-errand runner.
That's a lot of Someones.

But underneath it all, the hats we wear, the jobs we do, the demands made by others of our time, what is your real Someone? In the deepest part of you, what do you want to Be?

If we can figure that out, our truest self, our truest Someone, it just might make all the other stuff a little easier to bear. It just might make all the work of Being a little lighter to live. Not always, but most of the time.

Let's do it together.
Find our true Someone.

And then....

Let's Be.

Even when it's hard, even when doubt creeps in.

Don't lose sight of the bridge.

Be Someone.

The one that you were made to Be.

Monday, November 18, 2013

My #3

If you have ever been in one of my organizing classes, you've heard me explain that I'm only good at 4 things. Truly. Only 4. Here they are:

1. Decorating and Organizing.
2. Making Desserts.
3. Being a freakin' awesome Aunt.
4. Having stunning eyelashes.

So, here's the drill when either of the twins are at my house.....they get whatever they want. End of story. No arguing. Whatever. They. Want.

While at my house the other day, Keagan ate chips, gum, popsicles, granola bars, various items of candy. Did I make her eat anything healthy? No. I'm the Awesome Aunt (AA for short), remember?

She also dragged out crayons, paper, stickers, scissors and some pens. Oh, and she pulled all the games out of the game cabinet too. I could have cared less. I'm the AA. When you're only good at 4 things in life, you gotta live large. Go big or go home.

Does any of this awesomeness roll over into my parenting? Uh, that would be an obvious no. Being a good parent isn't on my list. I used to try really hard to make that #5, but it's never worked out. I cut my losses early with that one.

It's all about being an aunt.
With fantastic eyelashes.

I hope it's enough to get me into heaven.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hang Your Blessings

Normally, I'm not a "Count Your Blessings" kind of girl. I'm more of a "Let's Discuss All The Stuff That Is Irritating Me To No End" kind of person. But every now and then (or really, never) I gather up enough energy to be positive. It usually only lasts for 38 minutes. That's about all I can handle.

We are not even going to talk about how bad the lighting is in this picture. 
We're just going to call it "antiqued". 

So, here's how you can be positive too. Just like me. For your own 38 minutes.

Visit this amazing blog and download any version of the "Thankful For" cards.

Gather your family together with love....Or, you can be like me and yell at your family to turn off the TV and force them to all sit down at the table....then fill in your cards. Again, you can copy cat my family and all your kids will just stare at you with big eyes because they can't think of one solitary thing they're grateful for. (Just a tip: This may require more 'mother yelling' to actually get your teenagers to participate. M'kay?)

String up your blessings on the window above the sink. Just so everyone has to look at them every time they wash their hands. It's a slightly beautiful visual, right?

The Husband is grateful for potato chips.

I'm thankful for sugar and my Kindle (no shocker there).

Teenager #1 loves her bed and 'You People'. (Apparently that's code speak for Family. Who knew?)

Teenager #2 is thankful for herself. That's it. She couldn't think of another single darn thing to be grateful for. Insert some mother yelling...She also has gratitude for her phone. Sheesh.

Child #3, a.k.a The Favorite is super-dee-duper thankful for her mom and dad and the earth. Note to Children #1 and #2: She is getting way more Christmas presents than you. Amen.

Count your blessings this week.
And hang them up for all the world (or just your family) to see.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Day Of All Days

Let's start with some basic facts:

I don't drink.
I don't smoke.
I don't do drugs.

Are we clear?

Because there is a day.
Once a year.
Where I wish, truly wish, I didn't live by all those rules.

Family Picture Day.

That's the day I want to:

And smoke.
And do drugs.

All at the same time.

For reals.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Why We Do What We Do

After you've been parenting for a while, let's say, like, 4 hours or so, you realize you're exhausted. And then 4 hours after that you start to wonder when you'll ever be un-exhausted again. 4 days after that, you come to the conclusion that you need to settle down deep into the tiredness and just try to hold on for the long haul.

And maybe, 10 or 14 or 17 years later, it's late at night and you sit with a child who is struggling in school, who can't find missing homework and another child has strep throat and wont. stop. talking. All while the final child is baking her 2nd cake from scratch because the 1st one fell apart and she has to leave in 90 minutes for a friends party.

It's at that moment, at 7:42 pm, that the exhaustion will just never end. And you can't decide which part is harder...the mental or the physical. Or maybe they're both equal means to the end. Do you hear what I'm saying? Yes. Yes, I know you do.

And so, I'm reminded of something I read recently:

We are the trainers. The ones to guide them to sharp eyes. To teach them to stand and stand tall. To overcome and face all that exists outside these walls. And in all the ways that matter, we are their defenders. Their cheerleaders. Their protectors. Every day. In every way. Through the laughter and even through the exhaustion. We continue.

Not because we have to.

Because this kind of love is fierce. Solid and bone deep.
And it gives us the will to parent on. Through every exhausted 7:42 pm.

May we be reminded of why we do what we do.
And the futures that we hold.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FMS (For My Sister)- Take 3

This is the method to my madness: I have to take it all down before I build it all back up.

And I mean ALL of it. It's like my brain needs everything gathered into one place before it can decide the next step. I need a clean slate. Everywhere. All the shelves, all the bookcases and the mantel.

It all comes down.
I wipe it clean.
And build a new version from scratch.

And then my writer's brain kicks in and realizes that decorating and life are a whole lot similar.

Sometimes we need to dismantle it all.
To get back to the basics.
To clear the clutter so we can See. Really See.
And we let our soul still, and wipe our soul clean.
Then we begin again. 
Building with the same ingredients.
To create a better version of our truth.

Maybe this week is the perfect, ordinary moment to find that better version. And decorate a mantel or two along the way.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rest Easy

I walked into the kitchen last night and found this:
And I starred at her, with her pencil still in her hand and her paper nearby, and wondered how writing could possibly be so exhausting. Who knew that the counter top was a comfy place to rest?

And I was reminded of another time I found her, 5 or so years ago. When I went into her room to wake her for school:
I really can't puzzle this one out. Let's collectively wonder about this, shall we?

On a lighter note, I risked asking the 2 oldest what they want for Christmas. This is a question I rarely ever ask. It's just not wise. Here's what I got:

Child #2: Fake nails.

Child #1: A Camaro.

I may just take a rest on the counter today, myself.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Year Coming

It's that time of the year. The time where a mother feverishly hunts for 'the dress', then has it altered (because modest is hottest!), and then the zipper breaks 2 days before the dance, so the mother hunts down 'the perfect matching colored zipper' and has it replaced. It's my super favorite time of year. For sure.

But then the day comes, and all her friends gather together, and I take a step back to enjoy the view. And I can see just a glimpse of who they really are. For they are good, and kind, and funny, and strong. They are beauty. Inside and out. Especially the one in the green emerald dress with a newly replaced zipper.

Homecoming at it's finest.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Today I'm Wondering

I have a lot I should be doing/planning/preparing/thinking about today. But, I'm not. I'm wondering about completely insignificant things instead. I'm kindof a grand champion of avoiding your to-do list. I could probably teach a class. I think after I complete my wondering, I might spray paint a chair turquoise. For serious.

1. Leggings. Can we please wonder about leggings together? And not little girl, cute leggings. Grown women leggings. Patterned leggings. I see them everywhere. At what point did it become acceptable to use leggings as a substitute for pants? After the age of 5? Honestly, I need your thoughts. This issue plagues my mind. If you didn't already know, I'm a rather deep thinker.

2. After 3 weeks of enduring stitches and bandages and goopey antiobiotic cream on my scalp, I was finally able to dye the gray out of my hair. You're relieved, I just know it. And I finally feel like myself again. Which makes me wonder...Is my real self fake? Does my real self cost $7.99 (with a coupon!) at Walmart? This is another one of those deep thinking moments. It might take me a while. Oh, and in case you want to matchy-matchy hair with me, Loreal Preference #6. M'kay?

3. I'm wondering about a good name for a cow. I know, tough stuff, right? This super creative blogger that I follow has a new cow painting. She wants to name her.
I married a pretty boy who grew up on a dairy farm. I feel like I should be able to channel his inner farm boy and figure out the perfect name. If you must know, I've been wondering about this for over an hour. Time well spent.

If you've ever wanted to know how to use milk paint, check out her blog. She is the queen of the stuff. And I have decided a name for her (if you care that much, you'll have to look in her comments). It's the one name The Husband used with a cow (because she let the kids ride on her back) in all is glory milking days. The fact that there are people out there that would hang pictures of bovine in their home, will probably send him over the edge. It's a rather hysterical thing.

I hope you take time to wonder today too.
And avoid a whole bunch of your to-do list.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It Was Just A 16 oz. Drink

Last night.


She drank a Dr. Pepper.

And then it all came tumbling down.

She pranced around in a friend's tutu. Like, for hours. And then I caught her with her ear buds up her nose. Yes, her nose. This was her explanation: "I read on Pinterest that you can put them in your nose and then open your mouth and it will act like a speaker." She thinks it was false advertising, because it didn't work. Duh.

To block it all out, The Favorite and I laid on the carpet doing homework. Which evolved into a spit bubble blowing contest. Her giggles drowned out all the other surrounding crazy. It felt monumental. Until the tutu and her owner descended. And the whirlwind picked right back up.

{sigh again...}

Friday, October 18, 2013

Random From The Week...Just Because

Do you remember how I told you my babies (I mean, my sister's babies) had a birthday? They're 5 and I still can't believe it. And at some point I should probably stop calling them 'The Babies'. Right? I'm thinking sometime around the age of 25 I'll call them something else.

We now eat breakfast on the kitchen floor. Because, you know, it's so hard to make it all the way over to the table.

And we also sleep in the orthodontist chair. Because staying awake at 8:00 am is just too much to ask of anyone.

The #1 and #2 now perform in the same choir. Much to my delight. This was one of those moments where you pause as a parent and ask yourself how time sped by so quickly. Truly.

I'm the kind of mother that sends her 17 year old messages like this during her school day. She has declared she wants it made into a t-shirt.

And I've become obsessed with trying to look at my now stitch-less head. I have to look in the mirror, using another mirror. It looks like teacup rats chewed tiny holes along my scalp. The absurdity of this fascination should alarm me. And yet, it doesn't.

I hope you enjoy all the random fascination you can this weekend.
And maybe an odd compliment, or two.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Think My Brain Is Broken

I'm driving down the freeway. And driving some more. Because I'm going to get my stitches out of my head. And it's far away. Aaallllll the way down where The Husband works. So while I'm driving, I'm thinking. About lots of stuff. The first of which, is this stupid long drive in this stupid long traffic. And The Husband has to endure it every day. Twice. I should buy him some kind of trophy.

I don't know about your city, but in Houston, there are large, digital signs posted here and there. They're used to display important messages about traffic, accidents, weather alerts, that type of thing.

But on this particular morning, the digital billboards display a warning of a "Missing Elderly Person". So, because I'm me, I start thinking about what would happen if a mother went missing. Like, she just walked out her door and disappeared. Would the digital boards alert us to look for her?

Can't you just picture it? "Missing Exhausted Mother, last seen giving her final cash to her teenagers. Call the police if you locate her." And can't you just picture the reaction of all the other mothers who read that sign? "If she can make it out, so can I."

Do you see what I'm saying? There is something wrong with my brain. I'm dreaming of missing mothers everywhere and how delightful that would be. Who on earth would cook dinner?

And then.

Oh, and then.

This arrives in the mail:
And I look through it's pages. And I look at every picture. Over and over again.
And in my mind, I declare this, Candy Porn.
This kind of publication should not be allowed. It's just not right.

If I ever decide to go missing, I'm stocking up on this stuff before I head out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

For My Sister-Take 2

The mantel had a do-over. The last one stayed put for 2 weeks. Sometimes it all stays in place a little longer than that, but not usually. And if you're wondering why I'm even posting pictures of my mantel decor, and for my sister, no less, you can read why here.

And I made this. It's huge. You should make one too. You can download the print from this talented blog. I printed mine at Costco. It's 20x30. To be honest, I'm not very skilled at calculating measurements. I just wanted big. So, I clicked the box for the biggest print. Um, yah, it's super large. I framed it with yard sticks. In hindsight, I coulda used those to realize what a 20x30 candy print actually looks like.

Monday, October 14, 2013


This family's favorite joy turns 5 today.
Happy Birthday sweet girls.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Way, Way Back To See

It's 5:30 am and they are on their way out the door. They are wearing matching choir shirts, and they're still a little groggy from a 4:45 am wake-up alarm. But as they rush to gather their things, I think to myself, "I want to hold this moment." And so I do. Much to their annoyance.

Now that they both attend the same school, they get mistaken for one another. And when Child #1 walked into Child #2's classroom, everyone thought they were twins. Even the teacher. You can imagine how much the Junior loved being labeled the same as a Freshman. Super warm fuzzies.

The teachers at the elementary school have told me that they continually call Child #3 by #2's name. They claim that the 3rd looks exactly like the 2nd did at this age.
But, here's what's funny...I don't see it. The similarity. They seem so individual to me. So very not alike. Maybe I'm too close to see how they look the same. Maybe my view is too concentrated and narrow.

Do you ever take the time to step back? Way back? To get a broader view of who your children really are? So often, we're so close, so in the details, the turmoil, the struggles, that we can't really, truly See. It might be a little wise to stand at a different angle and try to look with different eyes.

That might be one of the great parenting secrets. To close down the every day, ordinary view of our children. Maybe we will see them more clearly if we adjust our stance and eliminate our laser focus. At least every once in a while. Because, standing right there, right in front of you, is beauty. Goodness and joy and love in it's purest form. Right there. You see it every day, but most days we don't really See at all.

So let's take a step back. Even at 5:30 am in a rush to get out the door. Look at them. And See them. Tomorrow they can go back to being demanding and irritating. But not today. Today we will take a view from the way, way back. And hold the moment. It just might change tomorrow's view as well.