Saturday, March 27, 2010

Checking In

We have been home for three days now, and tomorrow we are packing up again and heading south to the Lone Star State for two days and one night at Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas, TX. We normally don't travel very much, but it just happened that our two vacations this year ended up in the same month. So once again, I'm packing a suitcase, making sure I have everything (including a swimsuit...yikes!) and loading up the car one more time. This time we are driving. And we are caravaning with two other couples and their kids. We are dropping Lucas off with my parents and only taking the girls on this trip. We didn't think our Boy would enjoy the water slides too much. It will be our first time to be away from him overnight. It makes me a little sad, but I know he will be fine and our girls are going to have a blast.

So until Tuesday, it will be quiet again here on my blog. But I have lots to write about when I get back. Including (in no particular order):

* photos/stories from our East Coast Vacation
* photos/stories from our Great Wolf Lodge Vacation
* two book reviews
* a yummy recipe
* a Lucas update
* CSI: Barbie

And much more! Woo hoo! Stay tuned......

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vacation Update

Tomorrow is our last full day here on the east coast. We have been having a wonderful time. Here are some highlights:

* Beautiful weather
* The girls spending at least eight hours a day playing with their cousins in the backyard
* Late night chats with my sisters-in-law
* Good food
* A trip to New York City
* Lots of snuggling a certain happy baby boy
* A big family photo (17 of us in all!)
* Laughing and sharing stories/memories around the dinner table

Tomorrow our plans include all the girls getting manicures and pedicures followed by a date night to see Alice in Wonderland. Fun!

We have taken tons of pictures, so when we get home I'll sort through them and post plenty.

I hope you are having a great week too!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We're Going On a Trip

We are soon heading to the great state of New Jersey. The Garden State. The home of the Mob, the cast of Jersey Shore, and Mike's family! Mike's parents (Gram and DooDad) and Grandmother (Grandma Velda) all live in Elizabeth, while Mike's brother and his family live in Cranford. Way out on Long Island is where Mike's sister and her family live. Also currently in Elizabeth is Mike's Uncle James who just recently moved to the area from Tennessee. So...let's see, that is a grand total of thirteen people who are waiting to see our girls and meet our sweet Mr. Lucas! We are all so excited. My mind has been buzzing with all the things I need to do before we leave on Friday. Today I focused on getting our laundry done so that we can actually pack clean clothes (still have two loads left to fold after I'm done with this post). Tomorrow I plan on running errands in the morning, then packing in the afternoon/evening. Sometimes I think getting ready to leave on a vacation is the hardest part!

While we are there, Mike will be filming/directing a promotional video for his parents' non profit organization, New York City Relief. This summer, Mike's dad, will be riding his Harley from the East Coast to the West Coast in an effort to raise money to continue to feed the homeless. Mike got a new camera for the occasion, and he has been having fun testing it out. I know he will do a great job.

Mike using Lucas as a test subject for his new camera.

Also while we are there, we plan on taking our girls into New York City for a day. They have been to New Jersey twice before, but they have never been old enough to make the trek into New York City. We have a lot of fun things planned, so I'll be sure and document our day.

I guess I better head out and finish up those two loads of clothes. But before I do, I also want to make a few plugs for my fabulous sisters in law. I am so grateful for both of these wonderful women, and I am really looking forward to spending time with them while we are visiting this weekend.

My sister in law, Tracy, has started a new podcast called "Tracy Talks 2 U." As a mother of four beautiful kids, Tracy has lots of advice on parenting, saving money, and crafty, creative ideas. You can check out her podcast here:

My other lovely sister in law, Rachel, recently started a blog of her own. Rachel is a gifted writer and photographer, so I'm looking forward to what she has in store there. Check her blog out at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Open Hands

"To give unselfishly,
To love the least of these,
Jesus, I'm learning how to live with open hands."
Lyrics by Matt Papa
Today I went to a funeral for the pastor of the church I grew up at. He had been suffering from cancer for a while now, and over the weekend he "finished the race" peacefully with his family at his side. It was a lovely service; a celebration, rather, of this man's life and the impact he had on his friends, family and church body. Something that was said during the service today really rang true to me and resonated deep into my bones. It was said that one of Dr. McKinney's life philosophies was to simply live with open hands.
All of a sudden something clicked in me, "That's it! I want that life philosophy too!" It is an idea that has been stirring in me for some time, but it has just never been given a specific name. To be known not by how much success I have or how much money I make, but rather with how much I gave and how much I loved others. This is something that I want carved in my tombstone and said about me when I'm gone. That I gave unselfishly. And that I loved the least of these.
Currently, I'm seeing this attitude first hand. I'm in a Bible study with some women who absolutely humble me with their ability to life out this "open handed" philosophy. They truly give their time, money, things, and talents freely and without expecting anything in return. I am so honored to be a part of a group of wonderful wives and mothers. I think this is how God intended "church" to be: a group of believers who happily meet each others' needs and the needs of the community around them.
This thought has been heavy on my heart tonight, so I thought I'd share.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Husband: A Hero On His 34th Birthday

Beware the Ides of March! Today is my husband's 34th birthday and let me just say, we had quite a night. We decided to take the whole family to Bricktown (downtown OKC for those of you readers who are not local). After eating at one of Mike's favorite restaurants, we jumped on the interstate to head back home. Shortly thereafter a woman driving a small sedan swerved into our lane. We also swerved, thankful that she did not hit us, but as we watched her pass our vehicle, she continued to swerve back and forth into various lanes of traffic.

"I think she's drunk," Mike stated calmly. We followed her for a few moments letting that thought sink in. But when she made a wild swerve off the road missing a cement wall by mere inches, Mike snapped into action and said, "Call 911." Mike ended up talking to a 911 dispatcher while we followed the inebriated woman for several miles. She was swerving constantly and driving very erratically. At one point we followed her off of the interstate and watched her drive her car up over a curb, stop briefly, then lurch forward back onto the street again. Eventually we pulled up behind her at red light which she then immediately drove straight through and started driving on the wrong side of the road. When the light turned green we caught up to her as she finally pulled her car into a grocery store parking lot.

The whole time Mike was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher giving updates at to what direction we were going and what streets we were passing. Mike walked up to the woman in the car and I heard him ask her to please turn off the engine and to give him her keys (later Mike told me she reeked of alcohol and was slurring her words). She reluctantly did just as three police officers arrived on the scene. After giving our statement, we left to go home in a daze.

I'm so proud of my husband for not just ignoring this woman, but stepping up to the plate. By doing so he got one very drunk driver off the street before injured herself or anyone else. And for that reason, I think Mike is a hero on his 34th birthday. It's definitely a birthday we'll never forget!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CSI: Barbie

When I opened the door to the linen closet a few days ago, I did not expect to see the lower torso of Prince Charming sticking out. There is no telling how long he had been stuck in the closet with his head buried between a pillow and a quilt. It appears that he was playing hide and seek, but unfortunately hid his head a little too well, and as a terrible consequence he suffocated. At least he went out surrounded by softness.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Holding The Sunset

A few days ago, Leah came up to me holding some crayons in her hand. She unfolded her fingers carefully and stated, "Mom, these are the colors of the sunset!"

I looked down and surprisingly, she had actually picked out the colors found in many a beautiful Oklahoma sunset. It made me realize that she is really paying attention to things. This can be good (like recognizing the colors of a sunset) or bad (like repeating me saying, "What is wrong with you, Lady?!" while I'm driving). We've probably all heard the expression, "Children are like sponges-- they soak everything up." And it is so true. They are always watching, always observing, always questioning.

Leah holding the sunset in her sweet little hand was a great reminder to always be aware of the way I speak to and treat other people. She is watching me, just like she is watching the sky.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Longer Days

Are the days growing longer where you live? They are here, and I look forward to the increased sun every year. I love it for many reasons. More time to play outside, more sunshine pouring in the windows, and lifted spirits, to name a few. But the main reason I love it is that these longer days simply remind me that "season follows season." They always have and they always will. Spring is almost here, followed by summer. These changes are happening just as God designed them. What a comforting thought. I'm so glad I serve such a steadfast, faithful, Father. A Father who knows just when to usher in a new season in his perfect, unfailing time.

What are you looking forward to this Spring?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Family Day at the OKC Art Museum

This past week I've had a hard time sitting down to blog. It seemed like every time I had a few spare moments, a child would wake up crying, or I would discover my camera battery was dead, or I was just so tired that I opted for an earlier bed time. Tonight, however, I finally carved out some time and so here I am.

One of the highlights of over the last week for us was a trip to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. It was Family Day, so there were lots of activites for the kids. We'd never been able to make it before, so we were determined to go this time around. And we were not disappointed.

The girls literally skipped down the sidewalk to the museum because they were so excited.

The first thing you see when you enter is this amazing sculpture by Dale Chihuly. The girls stood in awe for a few moments. Hannah said, "It looks like a beautiful Christmas tree."
Once inside, we headed for the children's art classroom. There were two options: creating sculptures out of junk (which involved glue guns) or making modern mobiles (which invovled scissors and good old Elmer's glue). We opted for the mobiles. Here's Hannah happily working.
Leah ended up just wanting to make snowflakes out of the construction paper. To each his own. She was just happy to create.
Lucas just enjoyed being amongst all the action. That boy is one of the happiest babies I know.
After a brief story time session, we then headed to the museum's featured exhibit: Jason Peters' Anti.Gravity.Material.Light. His work features large sculptures created out of ordinary materials such as buckets, chairs, mirrors, etc. Each piece looked like it took an incredible amount of time and planning. I thought the sculptures were visually stunning. The girls were pretty amazed too.

I thought this piece involving chairs was interesting.
We tried to go upstairs to see some of the other wonderful works on display, but at that point, the girls were starting to wear out. And they were dying to get their faces painted. We ended up waiting in line for half an hour since there was only one frazzled face painter and about fifty kids waiting on her. It was worth it, though.
Leah showing off the fairy she so patiently waited for.
I love it when our days just fall into a great rhythm. Even the weather was just about perfect.