Friday, January 29, 2010

A Contrast Between Inside and Out

Outside......

snow is softly falling, a blue haze is quietly forming, a stillness is gently settling

Inside......

dishes are filling the sink, children are loudly talking, the minutes until bedtime are ticking

dinner is finally done cooking, mouths are busy chewing, two sweet voices asking, "dessert, please?"
Outside.....

icicles are precariously hanging, the snow beneath my feet is crunching, hands are now freezing!
Inside......

children are bathing, dinosaurs and ponies are playing, hopefully no splashing!

a bedroom needs a good cleaning, books are ready for reading, and sheets are ready for snuggling

Outside.....

the air is crisply chilling, in the distance a dog is barking, a sense of peace is calmly filling

Inside.....
the fire is warmly glowing, a baby is sweetly cooing, chubby hands are always discovering

Inside LIFE is fully LIVING!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

Do the weathermen/women in your city get really, really excited when a storm is approaching? They do in here in our city. They start talking really fast and waving their arms around, and use phrases like, "winter ice storm of 2010", "catastrophic power outages", and "locked and loaded to the jet stream." It really makes me giggle. But, in spite of all their weather induced hyperactivity, they are right. Today we've seen freezing rain, sleet, and snow. All of these things equal a snow day at home. Woo hoo!

Now to the point of my blog post......what to do on this lovely day at home?

Read? check
Laundry? check
Movie? check
Play games? check
Build a zoo with wooden blocks? check

And BAKE! I always go into super baking mode when snowed in for the day. After looking through my Southern Living cookbook, I decided to make this.....

Chocolate Pound Cake. Sounds good right? I thought so. After gathering my ingredients, I called for my two helpers. And all started off well.
My smiling assistants stirred, mixed, cracked, poured, and measured happily. All the while wondering what this delightful concoction would taste like when finished.

Lucas supervised the whole event from his baby papasan chair (which he is obviously getting too big for). Yes, his shirt reads "The Godfather." Mike's nickname is The Don, which is a story for another blog...Ok, back to baking.


Licking the beaters was a sweet reward for all their hard work.


The batter looked yummy and chocolatey and ready to pour into a pan.

And after an hour and fifteen minutes, I have to say that I was really proud of the final product. Oh and the smell....so divine. My whole home was perfumed by its sweet aroma. I even resisted the urge to dive right in, and let the cake cool completely before running a knife around the edges to loosen it up. Then came the only dreaded moment. I had to flip the cake over and hope it came out in one beautiful piece.
*Insert drumroll here* Annnndddd......

Disaster. Here's the final product. About half of it looked normal. The other half looked like a dinosaur decided to chomp on it for awhile. If you had been in my house when I dumped it over, you would have heard a loud, "Noooooo!" escape my lips. Mike came in to see what I was yelling about, and when he saw the sadness that was my cake, he said, "I'm sorry." Then the two of us started laughing.
It may have looked terrible, but....

it still tasted delicious.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CSI: Barbie

Today I'm introducing a new weekly series here on my blog. I've titled it CSI: Barbie. Now that my girls are completely obsessed with playing Barbies, we often find them strewn about the house in strange and comical positions. Mike and I began making up the scenarios that might have led to these poor dolls' demise. It's become such a fun passtime, that I thought I'd let you in on our shenanigans. Just imagine the intro music to CSI: Miami as Mike and I waltz up, slowly remove our sunglasses, and bend down to investigate the scene before us.

Here is victim #1: Aladdin
He was discovered Sunday afternoon on the floor of our bathroom. Arms removed, cape thrown to the side.

After a thorough investigation, it was determined that he suffered a fall from his magic carpet. In a jealous fit of rage, the Genie pushed him off. Turns out Genie was also in love with Princess Jasmine.
Poor guy. He never saw it coming.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy, Happy Joy, Joy


Thank you for your suggestions as to yesterday's sewing post. I think starting with beanbags is a good idea. And they can be toys for Lucas when I'm done. In addition, I started working on crosstitching some very simple dishtowels two summers ago, so I'm going to pull those out and make myself finish at least one. I am motivated! Especially now that I've proclaimed it on my blog, I have all of you people to hold me accountable.
Well, tonight was an interesting night full of the craziness parenting can bring, but I wouldn't have it any other way right now. And I posted the above picture because this weekend my boy will officially be six months old. Half. A. Year. I cannot believe that our first year with him is halfway over! It seems like he's both been here forever and yet was just born yesterday. He truly is one of the happiest babies I've ever been around. His smile is infectious, as is his bubbly baby laugh. Hejust brings so much joy into our lives.
Ok, I'm off to go relax with the rest of my family now on this cozy Friday night. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

So I Wish I Could Sew

I come from long line of women who know how to sew. And by sew, I mean more than just reattaching a loose button. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress. She made many of her own clothes, as well as clothes for my mom and my aunt and for me too. She also made a ton of Barbie clothes for me, my favorite being a beautiful wedding dress that numerous Barbies wore to wed Ken. She made my Christmas stocking, several quilted bags that I took to many a sleepover. My grandmother made my wedding veil and all of my bridesmaid dresses and flowergirl dresses. She made several blankets when my daughters were born. And my most cherished handmade item from her is the quilt that she presented to me on my wedding day. I am one of her eight granddaughters, and she made a quilt for each of us to have upon getting married. What a special thing!

My mom also knows how to sew. I think almost every Easter dress I wore as a child was made by her. She is good at needlepoint and made several Christmas ornaments, dishtowels, and framed pieces. My favorite thing she did is a needlepoint ABC's. Each letter is accompanied by a picture. The colors are bright and cheerful and it spent many years hanging in my room when I was little. My mom also made a doll for me that I LOVED. I named her Angela and she came just about everywhere with me.

Now, you may be wondering, "What do you sew, Emily?" The answer is simply: nothing. I so regret that I never took the time to learn from my grandmother. I've been thinking about that lately, and although I don't expect to ever make elaborate clothes for anyone, I do want to make an effort to create something handmade. Something special. Something thoughtful. Whether it will be needlework, knitting, or sewing, I want to make creating a special handmade item a goal for 2010.

So what should I start with? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Glad Game

Today my girls and I went to the libaray. We checked out a stack of books and we also picked up one of my favorite childhood movies, Pollyanna (Oh Haley Mills, how I love you and your cute English accent). I remember watching that movie over and over. So when we came home, I put Lucas down for a nap and my girls and I snuggled up together while we watched our afternoon movie. They lasted about forty five minutes, and I realized I was a little bit older than five when I was in my repeditive Pollyanna viewing phase. Ah, I guess we'll try again in a few years....Oh well.

Even though the movie wasn't such a big hit with my girls, we did try out a new game inspired by Pollyanna: The Glad Game. If you remember in the movie, Pollyanna always tries to think of something to be glad about.

What a good idea! And what a great thing to teach our children.

In the middle of a day when I feel extra tired and my patience is running thin, be glad that I have the opportunity to be at home with my children. When finances are tight, be glad that we have a stocked pantry and several closets full of clean clothes to wear. When a sunny day turns gray and cold (like today), be glad that we have a stack of library books and a good movie to keep us busy.

And the list goes on.....

What are you glad about today?

"This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be GLAD in it!" Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Disco Dancing

Just thought I'd share another great Hannah drawing with you. She worked really hard on the above picture and when I asked her to describe it to me she said, "This is me, Leah and a grown up Lucas dancing at a party under a disco ball." We do in fact engage in a lot of dancing around here. Mostly silly dancing with lots of striking poses invovled. But we do not have a disco ball here, nor have we taken our girls on a tour of the local clubs, so I was wondering where she go the disco ball idea. Finally she said she saw one on an episode of Imagination Movers. What a memory! Other things I love about this picture are: 1. Lucas' jeans, 2. The fact that Hannah and Leah are still dressing alike while they are out dancing and 3. That everyone is "raising the roof."

Yep, this one is a keeper. I love it! And just so you can get a mental image of our awesome dancing abilities......

Do you think there are some openings on Broadway?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Questions & Answers


My mind is blank for a good blog topic today, so I'll gratefully do a little Q & A via Little Things Are Big....

Where is...
Your cell phone? In my purse. It probably needs to be charged.
Your hair? On my head??
Your mother? At her home just a few miles away.
Your father? I'm sure he's home too. Probably about to watch the news.

What is...
Your favorite food? This is such a hard question because I love all kinds of food. We had pizza from Hideaway Friday night and I was reminded just how much I do love a good ATW on hand tossed crust.
Your dream last night? I didn't have time to dream because we were up at 3:30 am with a sick baby boy.
Your favorite drink? Classic Coca-Cola
Your dream/goal? To be the best wife, parent, daughter, friend I can be.
What room are you in? Living Room
Your hobby? Reading, writing, cooking
Your fear? Not spending enough time doing things that really matter
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Not sure where, but as long as I'm with my family, I'll be good.
Where were you last night? At home with my husband and parents. I fixed dinner for everyone, then we all watched the documentary "Man on Wire". It was really good!
Something you aren’t? A sister (I'm an only child)
Muffins? Lemon poppyseed
Wish list item? We really need a new car (our old one is on its last legs)
Where did you grow up? Graham, TX (birth to age ten) Oklahoma City (age ten to now!)
Last thing you did? Folded my third load of laundry for the night
What are you wearing? a pink "Girlie Show" t-shirt and grey pajama pants
Your TV? Watching Jeff Bridges accept a Golden Globe award
Your pets? Ellie is on the ottoman staring me down. Tundra is on the chair next to me curled up in ball asleep
Your friends? Everywhere!
Your life? Wonderful
Your mood? Happy and tired
Missing someone? Sure
Vehicle? 2007 Nissan Pathfinder and 2000 Ford Focus
Something you’re not wearing? Mittens
Your favorite store? Food: Red Rock Canyon Grill/ In General: Target
Your favorite color? Blue
When was the last time you laughed? I laugh a lot! My husband and kids keep me giggling the most though
Last time you cried? This morning when I was up with my sick baby
Your best friend? Mikey G.
One place that you go over and over? New York
One person who emails me regularly? Jacquelyn
Favorite place to eat? My parents' house

Friday, January 15, 2010

Heaven Is The Face

It seems like over the last few months I've known way too many people who are hurting: a marriage in trouble, a critically sick baby, a heartbreaking miscarriage, unforgiveness ripping apart a family....and now the entire country of Haiti. I have been so saddened by the images I've seen on the television and from the reports I've read on the internet. Saddened and yet amazed at the swift outpouring of generosity as well. I've been pondering what small part I can play in the relief effort and right now the only thing....the best thing....I can do is pray. Pray for the families looking for loved ones, pray for people who have lost so much, pray for peace, healing, and comfort.

I was reminded the other day of the new Steven Curtis Chapman song, "Heaven Is The Face." Chapman wrote the song after the tragic loss of his youngest daughter not too long ago. First off, the song always makes me cry. But it also gives me incredible encouragement. Even though things can be hard here on earth, we have an incredible hope for our future. My favorite lines in the song go something like this, "In my mind's eye, I can see a place, where your glory fills every empty space, all the cancer is gone, every mouth is fed, and there's no one left in the orphans' bed."

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

Even when I don't understand, I take hope in the fact that I don't see the big picture. But my Heavenly Father does.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mama School

One of the many goals I have for our family this year includes incorporating some "school" into our weekly routine. I have felt lately that I need to be better about spending more deliberate, focused time working with the girls. I decided to make this a very broad and flexible goal: nothing structured or too scheduled. Instead, I want to have a "minutemen" type of mentality so that when we find ourselves at home with a few free hours, I can quickly pull out something and make it a fun time of learning together.

With that in mind, today was the first day of "Mama School." I decided to take advantage of the down time we had while Lucas was napping this afternoon. So, I pulled out some workbooks that I'd recently received from my sister in law, and worked on some simple adding, lowercase letter tracing, and rhyming word matching. We also worked on reviewing our address and phone number. Finally we finished up by reading some books together. Total, we spent about an hour working quietly, and it felt good to have seized the moment to spend quality time with them. The tv and leapsters were off, nobody was fighting or screaming, and at one point Hannah looked up with her big brown eyes open wide and said, "I love Mama School!"

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lucas Video & Update

video

Our boy is really coming into his own. He laughs, giggles, grabs everything, and loves to snuggle. Lately he is really interested in anything that has buttons. This means that the tv remote, the telephone, and our car keys really make his little eyes open wide and his little hands start reaching out. He can sit up unassisted for about 5 seconds. And he has tried rice cereal mixed with applesauce, but is not sure what to think of it yet. I've also had to put away most of my 3-6 month clothes and start pulling out the 6-9 month outfits!

Lord, thank you for such a wonderful blessing. Help me raise this little boy to be a strong, confident, happy young man.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Things That Happened Yesterday

Ice on our driveway....or ice skating rink

Yesterday was one of those days. It was busy, eventful, and exhausting. First of all, Hannah woke up running a fever and complaining that her throat was sore. I made doctor's appointment and Mike came home early so I wouldn't have to drag all three kids to our pediatrician's office. One throat swab later, it was official that Hannah had strep throat. Strep is one of those illnesses that plagued me as a child and even still as an adult. In fact, I'm surprised I still have my tonsils after having it so often. I'm afraid my girl is going down that same road. We came home, made her nice and comfy on our couch, and let her pick out a movie to watch. Leah is so sweet when Hannah is sick. When we came home from seeing the doctor yesterday, she immediately said, "I will pray for you Hannah." And she did! I love those tender moments.

Later, we had a crazy streak of cold weather sweep through the Oklahoma plains. An "arctic blast" as our weatherman called it. The winds increased significantly and some precipitation started falling which quickly turned to ice. The gusts of freezing cold wind and ice started a "galloping" effect on our power lines and soon transformers were exploding all over the city. Our power went out around 9:00 just as we were getting our kiddos to sleep. After lighting a few candles, we stood outside in our pitch black neighborhood and watched the blue flashes of light as each tranformer blew.

After an hour without power we started wondering if we should pack up and go to my parents' house since this was to be one of the coldest nights in our state's history. Our friend Jacquelyn was here with us, and when she decided to head home for the nightshe discovered that her car doors were literally frozen shut and our driveway was like an ice rink. We decided not to go anywhere, and she ended up staying the nightwith us. We were joking that all of us were going to have to snuggle up together to keep each other warm when thankfully our power came back on.

So between sick kids, crazy weather and getting to bed pretty late, yesterday proved to be full of the unexpected.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First Job Stories

In February of 1993, I turned sixteen years old. In May of that same year, I got my first job as a cashier at Hobby Lobby. I ended up working there for three straight years, and had many funny, memorable and somewhat crazy experiences working there. I made plenty of mistakes, made some new friends, learned to manage my money, and gained some self-confidence. Here are a few stories from my time there.

1. When someone gave us a check, one question we cashiers had to ask was, "Is all the information correct?" One time the phone was ringing right as someone was handing me their filled-out check. I procedeed to answer the phone and say into the receiver, "Is everything correct?" There was a long pause on the other line, then a woman said, "Yes, everything is fine, but is this Hobby Lobby?"

2. One time the police showed up and quickly headed to the back of the store. Turns out there was a flasher back there and he had exposed himself to someone. Right there in the basket aisle. I remember being really grossed out when they brought him handcuffed to the front of the store where I was.

3. Christmas time was crazy at Hobby Lobby. We started stocking our shelves with Christmas items in July. All throughout the Christmas season the lines were long, people were more impatient, and we were open later hours than usual. We had one whole aisle devoted to Christmas ribbon. At night, after we closed and the registers were shut down, we would all have to help clean up. We used to draw straws to see who had to clean up that ribbon aisle because it was always a disaster. And no one wanted to have to painfully roll each and every ribbon back up, knowing it would just be trashed again the next day.

4. When answering the telephone, our required greeting was, "Thank you for calling Hobby Lobby, where may I direct your call?" One particulary dead night, a bunch of us cashiers were standing around talking about how hungry we all were and what sounded good for dinner. I mentioned that I was craving spaghetti and garlic bread. Then the phone rang, and I answered with, "Thank you for calling Hobby Lobby, where may I direct your bread?"

5. We had several nights after we closed where a kid with a desperate looking mom or dad would knock on the locked doors while waving a school assignment around saying thing like, "We only need Modge Podge to finish this project that's due tomorrow!!" Or, "We just need a few more styrofoam balls to complete my son's solar system model!!! Please!!!" Oh it was so sad. I still can see those looks of panic on their faces.....

And I'll always remember the eclectic bunch of people I worked with over the years. Some were high school girls like me, some had families they were supporting, some were working a second job to pay off debt, and some were exotic dancers on the weekends. I learned so much about people and about treating everyone with respect-- no matter what their life was like. I learned how to deal with grouchy customers and also how to stand up for myself. It was a good first job.

What was your first job? What things did you learn?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jump-a-roo

My parents bought a jump-a-roo for Lucas this Christmas, and my little guy LOVES it! He is at just the right age to start using it. When you place him in the monkey seat, he starts smiling and squealing and reaching for all the little toys.


He loves it so much that he jumps, and he jumps, and he jumps, and then he.....
sleeps.
I love this boy!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Menu Shock

Last Thurdsay night, Mike and I met up with our friends, Reed and Nikki, at a local restaurant called Cheever's Cafe for dinner. Cheever's is a little bit over our normal price range for eating out. Most meals average around $17.00 or more. But for several reasons we decided to eat there anyway.
1. It was New Year's Eve
2. We've heard excellent things about the food
3. It was the end of a decade
4. We were celebrating ten years of friendship with Reed and Nikki
5. We had a Cheever's gift card for $125. Reed and Nikki also had a gift card for $75.
For all of the reasons listed above, we felt like we could easily splurge on an expensive dinner out. What we didn't know is that Cheever's does a pre-fixed menu on New Year's Eve. We didn't know this until after we had all been seated and were handed the printed piece of paper with the night's food selections listed course by course....for $65 a person. There was a moment of deliberation, but we all decided to stay and celebrate. How often do you get to enjoy a fabulous four course meal? So we ate and drank and laughed and talked the night away. Then we got the bill. It was $280. I dont' think I've ever seen a meal receipt for that much in my life. So we decided we'd do it again ten years from now. That's only saving $14 a year per couple for the next ten years-- no biggie! =)

Nikki and I before dinner

Reed, Nikki and I after dinner. Each of us is expressing our reaction to the amount of money we spent on food.
Cheever's, we'll see ya again in 2020!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Full Moon, Full Heart


video

Do you have those moments when all of a sudden, everything just seems right with the world? Where you take a deep breath and sigh and feel extra content? I had one of those moments on New Year's Eve. We were driving to meet our friends for dinner, and as we turned out of our neighborhood, we were greeted with a perfect view of a golden full moon. The night was clear and cold, the air crisp, and patches of snow were still on the ground. "Wild Horses" by the Sundays popped up on our i-pod, and as I watched the full moon dip precariously toward the horizon, I felt a wonderful sense of peace. I really couldn't ask for more. I married my best friend, I have three awesome children, a close relationship with my parents, good friends to ring in the new year with....I just couldn't ask for more. So I ended 2009 watching a full moon with a very full heart.