Friday, September 30, 2011

Teriffic Kid

This morning Leah received an award at school.  She was named this week's Teriffic Kid for displaying  good character.  Her teacher said, "Leah can always be counted on to do the right thing, even if it is not the easiest thing to do."  She got to go up on stage in front of the whole school to recieve her certificate.  Mike, PaPa, Lucas and I were all there to cheer her on. 

The kids looking on.  I, of course, stood at the back of the gym with my phone that has no zoom lens, therefore, you get the above photo.

Me and my Terrific Kid after the assembly.  We already knew she was teriffic, but it is nice for others to notice as well. :)
P.S.  I think it looks like I have no legs in this photo.  Like a ghost, I am floating along with my skirt grazing the floor.  I laughed when looked more carefully at this picture, but it was the only one we took, so I used it anyway.  Ha!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Colors In My Garden

The calendar says it is officially fall now, but most things here in Oklahoma don't start changing colors until later in the season. I worked in my front flowerbed this morning while Lucas rode his tricycle in the driveway. As I was pulling weeds and trimming up bushes, I surveyed the colors around me, and I determined that there are still quite a bit of summer colors left.

Like the bright green of my sweet potato vine.  This stuff loves the hot summer heat, and it grew like crazy this year!  It was a nice contrast to the darker green bushes growing behind it.

I forget the name of this flowering plant.  Anyone know what it is?  After my mom died, a wonderful friend of mine came to my house and worked in my flowerbed for hours.  She selflessly gave up her entire day to totally transform my garden from a neglected mess to something beautiful.  She planted several of these flowering bushes and I love them.  They have grown like wildfire, and I love the pretty two-toned pink flowers as well.  They look so graceful swaying in the breeze.
I love the pop of color in this beautiful periwinkle blue.  Or maybe it's purple?  This salvia bush grows bigger each summer (I planted it years ago).  It also attracts bees, so I can't get too close to it.  At least I'm doing my part to help pollinate the planet.

And of course, I have my fuscia crepe myrtle, its soft flowers fall to the ground like hot pink confetti.  This is another plant that loves the hot, dry summers in Oklahoma.
But then, I looked up at the tree in our front yard.  And low and behold, the leaves are changing from green to brown ever so slowly.  They are looking "crispy" and starting to fall to the ground. 
And finally, I looked at our once green grass and saw flowers that I do not care to see-- white clover.  In other words, weeds!  Pesky, annoying, hard-to-get-rid-of weeds.  Although my girls think we've hit the flower jack-pot and bring me bouquets of these lovely things all day long.  Looks like some weed killer will be applied this fall to avoid having this stuff return in the spring.  Our grass goes "dormant" in the winter and turns brown.  I wish we lived in an area where the grass stayed green all year long. *sigh*

What colors are showing up where you live?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Keep Out!

This morning I saw Hannah and Leah hovering over a piece of paper, working hard on something.  Later, I saw this sign on the door of their room.  Up until today, they didn't mind having their little brother in their room.  But lately, he has been driving his cars through their doll house leaving it looking like a tornado blew through.  They apparently have reached their patience limit, and have decided Bubba needs to stay out.  Poor Lucas.  He has finally reached the "pesky little brother" phase.  From what I hear he might be in this phase for awhile too!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This Face

Lucas Gabriel
Sometimes I just stare at this little face and am overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I am so thankful that I get to be this sweet boy's mom.  I love seeing this face when he wakes up in the morning, his hair sticking up in all directions and a huge smile peeking out from behind his pacifier.  "Hi Mama," he says, "I take a good nap!" (He thinks sleeping all night is a "nap").  I love seeing this face after eating his favorite thing-- a chocolate chip cookie.  There is usually more chocolate on his face than in his tummy.  This face is even cute when it is scrunched up in a scowl.  Like when I have to change his diaper (something he hates at the moment).  He looks at me and says, "No!"  I have to fight hard not to laugh just because his face is so funny.  I love to smooch this face and press my cheek up to his when I give him a hug.  Nope, I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing this face.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Process of Grief

Mom with Hannah
Summer 2005

Today has been a difficult day.  It just has.  My dad and I have decided that it is time to start going through my mom's clothes.  I tried to do this job earlier in the summer, but it was just too painful, so I stopped knowing that I could always come back and finish the job at a later time.  I don't know which will be more painful though-- a closet full of mom's clothes or a closet that is completely empty and void.  I know that we can't hang on to her clothes forever, and that she would be happy to donate most of them (I've taken out a few things to keep).  I went over to my parents' house this morning to do a quick sort of what was left.  I went alone (never a good idea) and instead found myself holding articles of her clothing, breathing in their scent because they still smell like her.  I sat on her closet floor and cried.  I know that getting rid of things doesn't mean I am getting rid of her memory, but at times it certainly feels that way. 

After realizing what a huge task the closet will be, I decided I'd better leave it to another day when I can have some help with me.  I have my aunt and my good friends to help me be objective and decisive while also giving me room to mourn and take my time when needed.  Grief is certainly a crazy up and down process.  

Before I left, I decided to open up Mom's hope chest.  I haven't touched it yet because I know that it contains Mom's most treasured possessions.  Things like anniverary cards, letters, a quilt made by my grandmother, a few of my mom's childhood toys.  I opened it up and picked up a green journal on the top.  The first entry was dated February 1978.  It was addressed to "My Little Emily".  Page after page, my mom had written little notes about what I was doing and saying at different stages.  And most importantly she wrote out how much she loved me and how much she enjoyed being my mom.  I will share with you all some of the journal entries here one day.  They are so special to me. Once again I sat with tears streaming down my face as I read each one.  

I recently read that the more you avoid grief, the tighter it sticks to you.  I had been going along here lately trying my best not to think of things.  Trying to stay busy.  And in the process, Grief had been clinging to me for dear life.  Today I was able to slow down, allow myself to feel the pain, cry, sob and then stand up, wipe my eyes, take a deep breath and continue forward.  One step at a time. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Tundra

My Sweet Tundra
I think I could smooch her little face off.  For the last twelve years, she has been my little cuddlebug.  I can't imagine sleeping in my bed without her sleeping at my feet or by my side.
And she has totally perfected the Sunday afternoon nap.
Trust me.

*photo by Mike Galloway

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Glorious End

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
Psalm 19:1

Friday, September 23, 2011

Late Afternoon

After the girls came home from school, we spent the rest of our day outside.  It was a balmy, golden late afternoon.  The perfect kind for playing and acting silly. 
Evidence of playing in the dirt.  The best kind of "toy".

Apparently Rainbow Dash played in the dirt too.
Someone was caught trying to turn on the water to the garden hose!

Our crepe myrtle is still blooming bright pink flowers. 
Hannah and I trying to decide where to take a photo.

Hello from me!

"Play cars, Mama!"
That was my cue to put my phone away and get back to the business of playing. 

Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 22, 1996

Mike and me in South Dakota
July 2011
Fifteen years ago today, back in 1996, Mike and I had our very first date.  Mike and I had met on Labor Day of that year and had been getting to know each other in the context of a big group of friends.  We'd sit with that group at dinner in our University's cafeteria each evening, but then always eventually find ourselves alone on a park bench underneath the large trees on the beautiful campus grounds, just talking and talking and talking.  That's one thing I remember about our relationship-- having a conversation was just very natural and easy.  After several weeks of hanging out like this, Mike finally worked up the nerve to ask me out on an official date, and of course, I said yes.

September 22, 1996 was a Sunday.  The plan was for Mike to pick me up that afternoon at my parents' house in Oklahoma City.  We were going to go to Lake Hefner to fly a kite, then go to Chili's for dinner.  On the way to the lake, we stopped by Wal-Mart to buy a kite, but couldn't find a single one in the store.  So we had to go with  Plan B-- just go to the lake and talk.  It was there, sitting on the shore of the lake as the late afternoon sun hovered low on the horizon, that we began to share our hearts.  We talked about our families, our hopes for the future, our careers, our passions.  We talked about bands we liked or didn't like, concerts we'd been to or hoped to go to.  We talked about our hobbies, interests, and our personality quirks.  I just remember that when it was time to go to dinner, I felt like a already really knew this person, but yet there was a whole lot more I wanted to know. 

Before we headed to the restaurant, Mike asked if I would like to stop by his Granny's house to meet her.  At the time, Mike's grandmother also lived in Oklahoma City, and I thought it would be fun to swing by.  I remember walking into the living room of her beautiful home and she greeted me like I was already part of the family.  She had a precious smile, and I loved her instantly.  We sat and chatted with her for a bit, then I noticed an old framed family photograph hanging on her wall.  Mike walked with me over to it and watched me gaze at the picture of Mike's parents, his brother and cute little baby Mike (Mike's sister wasn't born yet in this particular pic!).  It was the first time I saw that Mike was adopted.  He casually mentioned, "You can see that I look a little different."  My reply was simply, "Yep."  And that was it.  I think he was relieved to get that out in the open, and that it wasn't a big deal at all. 

Dinner that night proceeded just like our day at the lake-- easy, free-flowing conversation.  It really was a wonderful evening.  Later, we followed each other back to our small college town about 45 minutes away from the big city.  And from this point on, we were a couple.  Fifteen years later, I still enjoy going out on dates with Mike, and I don't think that will ever change.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

School Pictures

School picture day is tomorrow.  It is supposed to rain.  Isn't that always the case?  Oh well.  I remember school picture days in elementary school.  I would practice my smile in the mirror that morning.  Not too cheesy, but not too serious.  Should I show my teeth or keep my lips together?  Hair in front of my shoulders or behind them?  Will my mom let me wear lip gloss?  These were the pressing questions on my mind.

Then came junior high and the questions continued.  Will my bangs be tall enough?  Should I curl them under or backwards and tease them up even more?  Will I have food stuck in my braces?  I hope I don't have any pimples that look too obvious!  Oh the drama!

Growing up my mom had a school bus shaped picture frame that hung on the wall with twelve cut-outs just the right size for a school photo.  As each year passed, a new picture would take its place in the bus.  Eventually, all twelve were full and it was kind of neat to see my progression from a little kindergartener to a senior in high school.  My girls are just in first grade.  I can't imagine what their school pictures will look like throughout the years!  I just hope the years don't go by too fast. 

Tonight as I was combing their hair after their bath, I had them each practice their smile for tomorrow.  Both Hannah and Leah flashed a perfectly sweet smile showing off their baby teeth for what might be the last time (surely by 2nd grade the front two will be gone?).  Their smiles still melt my heart and make me so proud to be their mom.
This isn't a school photo, but I thought I'd throw it in here just for fun.  It's their soccer pic from last fall.  They both look so little even just one year ago!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

May I Recommend

A few years ago, I picked up The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones for my girls as an Easter gift.  I had read about it on a blog, and thought it sounded creative and different than other picture and story Bibles out there.  It has turned out to be one of our favorite books, Bible or otherwise! 

Before I go any further, I should state that this is a paraphrased version of the Bible, and is not meant to replace the Bible in any way.  Instead, I see it as a tool or reference to come alongside the Bible and help explain things in a different way. 

Now, back to my recommendation.....The Jesus Storybook Bible emphasizes the point that the Bible is one big story-- a love story about a Hero who comes to rescue his people. And in the center of the story hinges on the birth of a baby.  Everything before his birth and everything after all join together to tell His redeeming story.  Each story from beginning to end points to Jesus. 

Every time I sit down and read out of this book, I end up just as enthralled as the girls do.  And I find myself saying, "Ok, I'll read just one more chapter."  It has brought tears to my eyes and has made me look at certain Bible characters in a new light. 

So if you're thinking of buying a birthday present for a preschooler or perhaps you're starting your holiday shopping early-- consider picking this book up.  And get one for yourself as well!

Monday, September 19, 2011

One Of My Favorite Stories

My mom and dad during their dating years
(Not sure on the date, but it should be either '68 or '69)

I always loved it when my parents would tell me stories about when they were little, or when they were dating, or even stories of when they were first married.  The stories were fascinating to me, and sometimes they were just really funny!  My favorite funny story took place when my parents were dating.  My mom and dad met while they were both attending The University of Oklahoma in Norman.  My dad was a junior and my mom was a sophomore at the time, and they were both your typical poor college students.  My dad had this very tight budget in mind when he planned a date for a warm fall afternoon.  He stopped by a grocery store and picked up a nice cold watermelon, then planned to meet my mom in a nearby park to enjoy a  picnic together.  My dad cut the watermelon into thick slices and my mom ate a few until she was full and didn't want anymore.  But you see, my dad had (and to be honest still has) seriously deep-rooted feelings about not wasting anything.  It kills him to see leftover food go to waste.  So, he kept on eating slices of watermelon and continued to offer more slices to my mom.  Not wanting to appear impolite or ungrateful, my mom ate slice after slice of watermelon even though  she was way past the "comfortably full" point.  Finally, she had just eaten too much and had to run to a nearby trashcan where she proceeded to throw up all of the watermelon she had forced down a few minutes earlier.  I'm sure she wasn't laughing at the time, but looking back on it years later, they would smile as they recounted the "infamous watermelon date."  Thankfully, my mom looked past that dreadful afternoon and eventually married my dad. And I'm pretty glad she did! 

Do you have any funny/embarrassing date stories you'd like to share?

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Hannah and Leah working hard on their class portrait project

Late this afternoon my girls were bored.  Tired of all their usual toys and games, they started to drift very close to the seriously whiney zone.  But then, they came up with a collaborative idea.  They decided to draw pictures of each student in their first grade class (they are in the same class this year!) and then tape them all together to surprise everyone tomorrow!  They grabbed a stack of paper and got right to work.  They were careful to get everyone's hair color and eye color correct, as well as any other distinguishing features like glasses or a missing front tooth, and labeled each one with the student's name. It took them quite awhile to create a portrait of each classmate plus their teacher, Mrs. Harris, but they got it done.  It kept them busy and occupied (Lucas was napping which helped), and the best thing is that they created this piece together.  No fighting or arguing.  Now that's my kind of project!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I recently met up with some friends for breakfast at a delicious French bistro/bakery called La Baguette.  The food was incredible, but even more incredible is how our little group has multiplied!  When we all met, hardly any of us had any kids yet.  Now the count is up to eleven!  With one more due next week!  I love walking in this season of life with good friends-- this season of growing families!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sometimes You Have To Laugh At Yourself

I've decided that at the end of a long, stressful day, the best way to relax and shake off your frustrations is to have a good laugh.  A belly jiggling, snort inducing, teary eyed laugh.  What better way to do this than to simply laugh at yourself (or your spouse or child in this case).  Have you ever played with the app Photo Booth?  We had ourselves a good cleansing laugh the other night using the different face altering applications.  We even brought Lucas in on the fun.  Take a look at some of our best faces of the night.  Feel free to laugh out loud.
Crazy Balloon Faced Emily
Tiny-eyed Angry Mike
Pinch-faced Lucas
Or you could also call him Alienboy

Are you laughing yet?  Good!  I hope some of your stress is melting away in the process.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Came To Visit

Fall came to visit us today!  Our temperatures dropped significantly.  In fact, you could even say it was downright chilly!  No shorts or tank tops today.  And in addition-- it rained!!  Our parched ground sure needed it too.  Although, it wasn't a downpour, it was something, and we were all grateful.  I spent the day at home, never leaving the house at all.  I tackled four loads of laundry and spent a lot of time playing with Lucas.  I had the windows open letting in the cool, rain-soaked air, and I had a pumpkin spice candle burning.  My friend even stopped by with a delicious Starbucks Cafe Mocha for me.  Fall decided to swoop in and save the day for sure.
My coffee and candle
My cute little playmate for the day.  His favorite toy at the moment is his "neigh."  He rides it around all over the house.  After I take his picture, he says, "I see Lukey!"  He loves to ham it up for the camera and then giggle at his photo.

I hope you had a wonderful Fall-like day wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peter Pan

Tonight my dad took Hannah and Leah and I out for a treat.  We went to see the National Traveling Tour of Peter Pan!  They were both so excited; Leah wanted to wear her fanciest dress for the occasion.  We arrived and got settled, and then the lights dimmed, the orchestra began playing and the girls' faces were completely transfixed on the stage.  When Cathy Rigby flew out over the audience sprinkling sparkly fairy dust along the way, Leah's jaw nearly hit the floor.  "How can he do that?"  She asked.  Then a few minutes later she asked, "Is that a girl dressed up like Peter Pan?'  And then a series of, "Why is a girl dressed like a boy?" questions followed.  But eventually, she was ok with it and enjoyed the whole experience.  They both did.  I was amazed at Cathy Rigby's agility after 19 seasons with this show.  She is pretty amazing for being a few years shy of age 60!  Wow!
Me and my girls on the steps of the Oklahoma City Civic Center
Hannah and Leah posing as pirates after the show.  A random older gentlemen offered to jump into the photo as Captian Hook.  I thought that was kind of funny!

It was fun visiting Neverland, but I'm glad I got to come home to sleep in my own bed tonight. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This picture of my mom was one of my favorites.  It's a school picture from her days working as an elementary school librarian.  I think she has a beautiful smile, and her eyes look bright and happy. 

I'm just missing her a whole bunch today.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Rough And Tumble Boy

Yesterday Lucas got his first shiner.  He was chasing after a ball in the driveway, but when he leaned down to pick it up, he leaned too far forward causing the ball to roll under his tummy and his face to plant firmly on the concrete.  He cried for a bit, but now he acts like it isn't even there.  What a trooper he is!

Back in the spring of 2009, after having two girls, I was shocked to find out we were expecting a boy! A boy!  I couldn't believe it!  Straight away my mind began to race.

But we don't have any trains or legos or cars or light sabers! 

But we are overflowing in a sea of pink clothes and blanket and bows!

But aren't boys just hyper and crazy all of the time?

But won't he pee on me everytime I change his diaper?


I really was excited to know a boy was on the way, but I was nervous too.  We were headed into the unknown. 

Then, a few months (and a few too many pounds) later, I looked into my newborn baby boy's eyes, and I fell head over heels in love.  All my fears about boys just vanished into thin air.  He was perfectly created by God just for us, and my heart was so full and happy it could burst wide open.

So as we've been getting to know this little boy of ours during the two years he's been in our family, we have discovered that raising boys is just as amazing as raising girls (and for the record, I think our girls are simply awesome!).  Yes, he likes to wrestle, kick a ball for hours, karate chop things, and make car noises all the time, but he also loves to snuggle in my lap and read a book.  Or help me make cookies.  Or take a walk with me. Or pat my face and say, "Love you, Mama." He has a rough and tumble side, but he also has a soft and gentle side too.  And I think that is a perfect combination if you ask me. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Decade Ago

Today ten years have passed since September 11, 2001.  Ten years!  An entire decade.  Have you heard the expression that the years pass quickly while the days are slow?  I find that to be so true.  Sometimes the hours in a day tick by at a snails pace, but in the blink of an eye a year has passed!  It seems like just yesterday I heard about the horrific events of that fateful day, and now I am looking back at it ten years later.

Ten years ago today I was just a few weeks into teaching my third year at Piedmont Middle School.  It was Spirit Week.  Ya know those weeks where every day has a different theme for dressing up?  We would usually have days like "pajama day" or "crazy hair day" or "school colors day".  September 11, 2001 was "camo day".  Camo--as in camouflage.  I had borrowed a pair of camo pants from a friend and wore my old gray "Army" t-shirt that I had picked up from Army Surplus several years back (while I was shopping for combat boots....hey, it was the early nineties and grunge was king!).  

The day began like any other with the sounds of lockers slamming and awkward pre-adolescent giggles and loud chatter.  After an uneventful first hour class, I went to stand by my classroom door during the five minute passing period when my friend (who taught directly across the hall from me) came over and said her husband had called to tell her that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers.  She had no other details and I simply imagined a small aircraft, perhaps off course, colliding with the building and causing some moderate damage. A little concerned, I went into my second hour class, and again nothing out of the ordinary occurred.  Then halfway through this class my phone rang.  It was Mike.  He filled me in on the gravity of the situation and said to turn on a television.  I didn't have one in my room at the time, so after that class ended I ran down to the teachers' lounge, found a TV, and just couldn't believe what I was watching.  I stood transfixed until the bell rang signaling the start of my third hour class.

By this time, the teachers and even some students had figured out something was wrong.  I was being asked questions that I had no answers for.  I barely knew what was going on either.  Then I remembered that Mike's dad was leaving for a month long trip to Ethiopia very soon, and he was leaving from the Newark airport.  Was his flight today?  Was he in the air? I couldn't remember.  I quickly gave my students an assignment from their grammar book and went to my desk, quietly dialing my in-laws phone number.  The line was busy.  I tried again.  Busy.  The phone lines were completely overloaded.  My call would have to wait.

At lunch, my fellow teachers and I were able to finally watch the news and were completely horrified by the images of chaos and panic and terror we were witnessing.  It was unbelievable.  Eventually, school was let out early, and I raced home to see Mike, try to get in touch with our east coast family members, and to watch the events unfolding on TV.  We finally talked to Mike's dad late that afternoon.  His flight to Ethiopia was scheduled to leave on September 12, 2001.  One day later.  We are so thankful he wasn't in the air during the craziness of 9/11.  His trip was postponed for several days, but eventually he did make it to Africa as he had originally planned.

In the years since 9/11, so many things have happened.  We don't live in the same house or work at the same jobs as we did then.  We have three children, and my mom is no longer with us.  In the blink of an eye so much can change!  For the people inside the World Trade Center Buildings, or the Pentagon, or on that fateful flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania....their lives were over in the blink of an eye.  Thinking back to September 11, 2001 has helped me to remember how precious life is.  How we're not guaranteed tomorrow.  And to make our today count. 

So where were you ten years ago?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Good-bye Slide

Even though the weather is still pretty warm here, we decided that we're not going to get a whole lot more use out of our beloved water slide.  So we recently blew it up for it's last hoorah for summer 2011.  It was a good run.  The kids enjoyed it, especially during our many days of unbearably hot summer days.  It provided a much needed break from indoor play, and a chance get out any wiggles or pent up energy.  Lucas gave it a good long farewell look before we took it down.  We'll see it again next summer.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mike's Favorite Movie Night (so far)

It's Friday night.  Time for family movie night!  Popcorn!  Candy!  A pallet on the floor!  Mike was excited all day for tonight's movie night.  Leah picked it.  It all began in a galaxy far, far away......

That's right.  We are starting the Star Wars trilogy!  I'm not a huge fan, but Mike and his brother both love the original three movies, and we thought it was time to introduce the magic and wonder to the girls and Lucas.

So good night and may the force be with you!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Tonight I had my first "tearing at the heartstrings" parenting moment.  I was tucking my girls into bed when Leah spoke up in a concerned voice, "Mom, I need to talk to you."  She continued to tell me about how she doesn't feel like anyone likes her at school.  She said "Sierra and Lucy are friends, and don't include me.  On the playground, no one comes up to me to give me a hug.  It makes me sad." 

Instantly I envisioned myself going up to her school and telling all the little girls how wonderful Leah is and how it would be their loss not to have her as a friend.  But then, the rational side of my brain took over, knowing there was a teaching moment in this situation.

"Leah,"  I said, "You are a great friend.  You are kind and funny and generous.  I'm sorry you feel this way, but you hold your head up high and continue to be friendly.  And you are so lucky to have Hannah as your best friend!"  She took this in, but started crying and saying she didn't want to go to school anymore.  I hugged her and wished I had a magic answer.  She eventually calmed down and went to sleep. I walked away and said a prayer for her, and I am trusting God to take care of her little heart, to hold it in His hands and protect it.

I've heard it said that when you become a parent, it is like having your heart live outside of your chest (Thanks Maria for that quote!).  It is so true.  I want to shield Leah from any hurt or pain, but I know that I can't do that.  And I also recognize that in Leah's little six year old mind that the situation might not be as bad as she perceives it to be.  But still....I just want the world to agree with me in thinking she is such a wonderful, beautiful, tender-hearted soul. 

Because she is truly amazing!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lucas Gabriel

I love this photo.  I sneakily took it while he was watching cartoons this afternoon.  Although at the last minute he turned to see me with the camera, put his finger to his lips, and said, "Shhhh!"  Silly boy.  I love his outfit too-- GI Joe shirt, diaper, and his sister's tennis shoes.  He is one stylish two year old.  Here is what he is up to these days....
1.  He talks all the time.  In the car, at home, everywhere.  He can speak in sentences and is quite funny!
2.  He has several new names for thins.  For example:  strawberries = "strawbees", bandaide = "boo boo banaide", hold me =  "holdy!", horses = "neighs", and sunglasses = "eyes".  There is nothing cuter than hearing a sleepy little boy saying, "Holdy, Mama." 
3.  Over the summer he transitioned from two naps a day to one long nap.  He usually sleeps 2.5 to 3 hours each afternoon, and wakes up with a smile on his face.
4.  We are also phasing out his beloved pacifier, and it is actually going very well!  He only uses it when sleeping.  So when he wakes up in the morning or from a nap, he takes it out, places it on his pillow, and says, "Night Night, Paci!" 
5.  He has no interest in potty training, so we're not going to push it.  The girls potty trained about two months before their 3rd birthday, so it's still a bit early.  He has made some progress though because now he will at least try to sit on the toilet.  This summer if I tried to sit his little hiney on the toilet he would scream bloody murder. Baby steps.....
6.  He still is obsessed with balls of all kinds, but especially soccer balls.  He has also developed a new obsession with all things horse related, including cowboys and the Lone Ranger.  This weekend we got him a wooden stick pony which he rides around while shouting, "Hi Ho Silver!" 

He is such a bundle of smiles and joy.  I love watching him grow up!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We Are A Family

We are a family that loves nature.  And walks, and fresh air, and green growing things.

We are a family that swings from tree branches.  

A family that smiles at the sun.
We are a family that plays.  That runs and jumps and hops. 
And helps.
We are a family that stops and listens and watches.

And wonders about the unseen animals around them.
We are a family of tree-gazers.  We imagine what they have seen in their years.
We are a family who takes it all in. 

*All photos taken at Martin Nature Center in Oklahoma City.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day On The Farm

Before I begin my blog about our lovely Labor Day at the farm, I should mention that 15 years ago on Labor Day 1996, I officially met my husband, Mike!  Later in the month (September 22nd to be exact) we went on our first date, and a little less than three years later we were married!  I cannot believe I've know Mike for nearly half of my life!

Now on to today....Today the great people of the state of Oklahoma rejoiced in one accord because the high temperature today was only 79 degrees!  After the hottest summer in state history, with temps soaring over 100 degrees for 60 + days, we finally got a reprieve!  It was gorgeous today.  Simply gorgeous.  And to celebrate, we decided to head outdoors-- to my family's ranch to be exact.  My dad's two younger brothers still run a large ranching operation in the southwest part of the state, and they promised us a day of hay bale jumping, four-wheel riding, cow feeding, and cookout eating. 
Just a snippet of the property my dad's family owns.  We rode four-wheelers all over the open prairie.  One time, when I was about ten, I was riding a four-wheeler with two of my cousins when we drove straight through a large, wet pile of manure.  Of course it completely sprayed us!  So gross!  Thankfully, that did not happen today.  We had nothing but open sky and open land.
"Lucas, can I take your picture?" 
"No!"  And off he ran....
Hannah riding Zipper, the horse.  She was very proud of herself.

Lucas riding in the back of my uncle's pickup while snuggling with PaPa and giving
Mike the stare down.
Watching my uncle Darryl feed some of his cattle.

They wasted no time when it came to eating the hay.

Sometimes it turned into a feeding frenzy!
The kids had a blast!

My dad, me and my uncle Dewayne

What did you do today?  I hope you spent it enjoying time with your family and friends!