Monday, October 31, 2011


Leah (pirate), Hannah (cheerleader), Their good friend Summer (Rapunzel), and Lucas (Batman) were all hyped up and ready to go tonight! We hit up our entire neighborhood and returned with a ridiculous amount of candy. Hope you had a fun and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mom's Birthday

October 30, 1948 was a wonderful day.  It was the day my beautiful mom was born.  Just one year after her sister was born, Barbara June made her debut into this world.  She was destined to live a live of gentleness and compassion.  From birth her parents and siblings described her as a "sweet girl" and she truly was sweet her entire life.
My mom. I see so much of Hannah in her face.

My mom grew up as an "army brat" and moved many, many times throughout her childhood including places like Germany and Okinawa.  Moving so much made her very close to her five siblings.  My mom was quiet, loved to read, played paper dolls with her sister, Lindell, helped take care of her four younger brothers, and was smart enough to skip the third grade, going straight into fourth!

My mom celebrating an earlier birthday with her sister, brother and friends.
My mom is on the front row in the center, her sister is in the back row on the far left and her brother Paul is the only boy in the picture!

Many years and many birthdays later, my mom met my dad while attending college in Norman, Oklahoma.  They fell in love and married in February of 1970.  Seven years later, after battling and beating cancer, I was born.  She always said I was the best gift she ever received.  I think being born to the parents God gave me was an incredible gift to me.   

My mom and me
Easter Sunday

For the next 34 years, my mother loved, cared for, disciplined, and encouraged me.  She spent quality time with me, she taught me, she played with me, and she read to me.  She worked hard, didn't complain, and always managed to smile her beautiful smile.  During my teenage years, she waited up for me after I had been out with my friends.  She listened to me and we laughed together.  She gave advice, but didn't nag.  We played games together, shopped together and could talk for hours about anything and everything.  

Me and mom during my college years.

A special moment at my wedding.
My mom and I just three years ago at her 60th birthday party.

And then in 2004 and again in 2009, my mom became a Grandma!  She was so thrilled to step into that role. She was with me at all of my children's births. She held them each so tenderly and loved them as deeply as I did.  She enjoyed being a part of their lives, even making each child a special book in which she wrote love letters to them. My kids adored their Grandma.  Leah always called my mom her "best buddy."  

 Grandma and PaPa at the girls' Pre-K Christmas presentation
Grandma holding Lucas just days after his birth.

So today, on my mom's birthday, as much as I wish I could celebrate with her and give her a gift, I instead accept the gift.  The gift of the many memories I have with her.  The gift of the loving example she set for me.  And the gift of her incredible legacy I can pass on to my own children.

So thank you, Mom.  For being a gift to me.
When we see each other in heaven one day, we can celebrate again.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oreo Balls

Have you ever had these delicious concoctions? No? Well, go to your nearest grocery store today, purchase these ingredients, and make them today. At the first taste of these sweet treats the clouds will part, a holy light will fill the room and you will hear choirs of angels singing. Well, maybe not, but you will say to yourself, "Dang, these are good!". Here's the recipe.

Take one entire package of Oreo cookies and place them in small batches in a food processor or blender, grinding them into a powder. Place the Oreo dust into a large bowl.

Next add 8 ounces of softened cream cheese and mix well. The end result will resemble black play-dough. Roll into walnut sized balls, place on a cookie sheet and put them into the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour. IMPORTANT: Don't skip this step. One hour of chilling is minimum. You want to have firm balls. [insert ball joke here....sorry].

Finally, melt 3/4 package of white almond bark in a saucepan. Use a toothpick to dip the balls into the melted almond bark and place back on the cookie sheet. The bark will harden in about fifteen minutes.

If you are feeling fancy, melt some chocolate almond bark, place it in a baggie, snip a tiny bit off the end and drizzle some across the Oreo balls. Or dip some in the chocolate mixture first and drizzle with the white almond bark. Go crazy! You can do it!

*Vegan friends: I know Oreos are vegan, and I know you can buy vegan cream cheese. But what about almond bark? Is there a vegan substitute? I am curious.

Let me know if you give these bad boys a try!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Harvest Party

Today was the girls' Harvest Party at school. Or you could also call it a Fall Party. And maybe even a Halloween Party. Whatever you want to call it, it was fun. They kids ate snacks, went gourd bowling, and made a Bracelet. I am so glad I get to be a part of these memories for them!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Puke Bucket

Yesterday I bought new toothbrushes for the girls. Today I stripped their beds, washed their sheets, and put them back on. So of course that means someone would get sick today. It's a law of nature!

Tonight just after we tucked the girls in, Leah started screaming that she threw up. And man did she ever. It was all over her clean sheets soaking down to the mattress pad. It was on her nightgown, in her hair and dripping down the side of her bed onto the carpet. She truly had an Exorcist experience.

Mike and I quickly jumped into action; we make a pretty good team in a crisis. I gave Leah a bath while he stripped the bed and cleaned up the carpet. Then he got the girls settled in the living room watching the Halloween Charlie Brown special, while I put new sheets on the bed. Leah is resting comfortably with the puke bucket in hand.

Phew! It is a lot of work, and gross work at that, but I will gladly take care of my sweet girl. I hate it when my kids are sick.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hat Day

It was hat day today, and I just thought Hannah looked cute. She is wearing one of my hats that I wore a lot during the mid to late 90's. It reminds me of the hat Bridget Fonda wore in the movie Singles. I loved that movie (Favorite quote-"I just happened to be nowhere near your neighborhood.") I so wanted to be in that movie.

Anyway...funny where you can go with inspiration from one simple photo.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Camera Shy

Lately Lucas has decided to be a little camera shy. Whenever I ask to take his picture, he turns his face from me and says "No!"

But when I sneak a peek at that cute face, his lips are still turned up in a little smile. Maybe he is just being ornery instead of shy. Either way I still love that boy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

What We Did:: Tenkiller 2011

Last week the girls were out of school for Fall Break, so Wednesday night we packed our van and headed east for our fourth annual Lake Tenkiller Trip!  We look forward to this trip all year knowing that we get to relax, be silly, and have fun!  Here are a few facts about what we did this year:

* We sat on the back porch every morning sipping coffee, enjoying the warmth from the chiminea, talking about anything and everything, and watching our kids play outside.
* We went down to the water to skip rocks and explore.
* We saw lots of deer.
* Every afternoon during nap time, the adults played some serious games of Boggle.
* We ate and ate and ate.....
* We found an awesome park and played for hours-- swings, teeter-totter, merry-go-round.
* We played hide and seek at the park and had SO MUCH FUN!  The trees provided the perfect hiding spots.  I don't think I have run that hard in a very long time.  
* We had our first annual family dance off (We danced to the eighties classic "You Spin Me Right Round" by Dead or Alive. Our costumes included lots of make-up, a hot pink prom dress, an eye patch, and side ponytails. It was awesome).
* We took a night ride in the Mule (ATV) and watched a storm roll in over the lake.

Due to the large amounts of fun being had, I didn't get to take a lot of pictures.  But here are a few to document that we were there.

Lucas stopping long enough for me to snap a photo

My family
Nikki and I
My new favorite photo of Hannah and Leah

We are already looking forward to our next trip!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We Are Back

We just returned from a gloriously relaxing and calm week at the lake. We reconnected as a family. We spent time with friends. We enjoyed a slow-paced, disconnected-from-the-world, reveling in the beauty of nature kind of trip.

Now I need to unpack and get us all ready to jump back into the busy reality of the coming week. *deep sigh*

I will post more about our week tomorrow. Hope you had a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hannah Art

Hannah drew this adorable cat today and was so pleased with herself! We thought it was great too. She said she discovered how to make animals look "cute". She said you give them big eyes and a small mouth. I think it is so neat how she came to that conclusion all on her own.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Field Trip

The girls' first grade class went on a field trip today to Orr Family Farm and Pumpkin Patch. I am so grateful that I was able to go as a chaperone. We went on a hayride, saw animals in the petting zoo, went down a "super slide" and picked out pumpkins of course. What did you do today?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday Night In T Town

I love live music. Always have. I spent most of my high school and college years going to shows. My friends and I were always planning when and where and how far away the next one would be. I collected a lot of band shirts along the way as well as a lot of memories.

Since having kids we haven't been able to go to too many shows anymore. The late nights, loud music and sometimes smokey venues do not lend themselves to the six and under crowd. Even still we've managed to make it to a few. And yesterday was one of those days!

I have been wanting to see David Crowder for years, and he just happened to be doing a farewell tour that passed through Tulsa yesterday! And he was playing with Gungor and John Mark McMillan-- both of which are fantastic!

Luckily Tulsa (known as T Town around these parts) is just a quick hour and a half drive north of OKC. We headed out with some good friends at 3:00, leaving my kids in my dad's capable hands. We chatted about all kinds of things on the way up, including a lively debate on the actual lyrics of Def Leopard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (who knew they crooned the word "saccharine" in there?!). We were there in no time.

We had time to find a fun place for dinner downtown at El Guapo's (you must say this name in a heavy Latin accent; it's a requirement). We ate our dinner on the rooftop while admiring Tulsa's ecclectic architecture and the warm fall evening.

Eventually we headed to the famous Cain's Ballroom for the show. It has been awhile since I stood for four and a half hours, but man it was worth it. Live music is so energizing and inspiring and moving and just plain fun. It was nearly 2:00 in the morning when we arrived home, and I have been dragging today, but that Sunday night in T Town will go down among the best.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Watching Them Play

I love watching my kids play when they don't realize that I am watching them. I caught this scene with my phone's camera as I sat on the front porch this afternoon. They were all engrossed in some made-up scenario. I love watching them have fun together. It makes my heart so happy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A New Place To Shop

Look what opened up in Oklahoma City this week! A Whole Foods! Holla!
We drove by it tonight, but opted not to go in with all three kids because it was crazy crowded. The police were even there directing traffic. I can't wait to go and really check it out soon. Do you have a Whole Foods in your area? If so, do you shop there? What are your favorite things to buy? I'm curious.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Blanket

I have a unique blanket that warms me up. It is soft, comfortable, furry, and feline. Check it out. I took this photo the other day as I was resting up while feeling sick. She (Tundra) nearly takes up my entire lap!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunset At The Lake

While Hannah and Leah were at a church event this evening, Mike and I took Lucas to the playground at Lake Hefner. The sun was setting and there was a slight chill to the air. I shivered and wished I had brought a jacket. The sounds of kids playing filled our ears as many other families were at the park enjoying the nice night too. Lucas ran around like a wild man jumping from one piece of equipment to another, laughing and smiling the whole time. I watched the golden sun melt below the watery horizon and took a deep breath of the early autumn air, trying to burn a mental picture the moment in my brain.

We ran into one of our girls' friends from school and chatted with her mom for awhile. The light eventually turned dark enough for us to head home and wait for my dad to bring Hannah and Leah back to us, making our family complete.

The only damper on the evening was when Lucas came running up to us with something in his hands. "Look!" he exclaimed.

It was goose poop.

Even still, it was a wonderfully mellow evening.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The School Pics Are In

And I think they turned out so sweet! Their first grade smiles are forever frozen in time. Gosh I love them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Short And Sweet

I have been fighting off a chest cold these last few days. Congestion, coughing, sinus pressure, coughing, scratchy throat, and did I mention coughing? Anyway, I woke up today (after a rough night of sleep) with barely any voice left. So today I took it easy. With all three kids at school, I relished my quiet house, read, folded a little laundry, took a nap, and drank a few mugs of hot tea. And I am hoping that tomorrow I will feel refreshed and maybe even have my voice back!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekend End

Looking back over this weekend, we took the kids to the movies, celebrated the girl's recent character awards at their favorite restaurant, hosted a small football watching party, cooked a ton of food, went to church, played outside in the rain that we so desperately needed, and had many moments of snuggling, laughing, and being silly. Yep. It was a good weekend. What have you been up to?

Hannah and me waiting for our movie to begin. We saw Cars 2.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Like Father, Like Daughter

Today was the annual Red River Rivalry between The University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas. My dad came over to watch the game with us. It's pretty obvious who we root for. Boomer Sooner! Hope you are having a good Saturday too!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another Terrific Kid

This week we celebrated with Hannah as she received an award for having compassion. We sure love our girls!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Simple Reminders

I was talking to my mom's sister the other day and she described how she had recently been at the grocery store the other day to buy a package of tea.  While there the thought suddenly hit her that she was picking up this particular brand and flavor of tea because it's the kind my mom recommended and always purchased.  My aunt said in a matter of seconds she went from feeling just fine to feeling like she wanted to sit down in the middle of the store aisle and have a good cry.  All because of a box of tea! 

I totally understand this though.  Grief comes in waves.  Sometimes those waves are big and tall and come crashing down on you, pulling you under, making it hard to catch your breath.  Grief crashed down on me like this last week, and I felt comepletely wiped out by it.  At other times, Grief washes over you more subtly.  Like looking at a box of tea and remembering my mom using the same brand.  Or opening my cookbook and seeing recipe after recipe written in her nice neat handwriting.  Or putting on a sweater that she picked out just for me.

Today I experienced one of these sublte moments.  I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies (like I do just about every other day....we love our chocolate chip cookies over here).  Mike was busily working away in our home office, and I thought he'd appreciate a little afternoon snack.  I poured a glass of milk, grabbed a napkin and a fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie, then finally went to my cabinet and grabbed a small tray to place all the items on.  It was the tray that caught me off guard.  My mom had given it to me a few years ago.  It is a small metal tray with a Norman Rockwell print on it.  It is well used; you can see the knife marks in the center of the tray.  Growing up, my mom would serve me my after school snack on this tray every day.  Apple slices, cheese and crackers, and of course chocolate chip cookies too.  I stared at it imagining her lovingly preparing something simple for me to munch on and it actually brought me a lot of comfort.  My heart felt the twinge of sadness that grief brings, but I was also able to smile and not be totally pulled under the water. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CSI: Barbie

It was an average, ordinary day.  I walked into my daughters' room with a pile of laundry to put away.  The girls were at school, their brother was quietly napping, and nothing seemed out of place--at first.  I glanced at their dresser and my eyes scanned down the drawers until something caught my eye.  It was tan and sticking out from behind the bottom right side of the dresser closest to Leah's bed. 
I squatted down and was surprised to spy this....
Turns out Ken took a little tumble off the dresser and landed flat on his back. 
He was found wearing only a swimsuit.  Poor guy.  He had his whole life before him.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ellie Belly

This little girl is usually overlooked in our house. She isn't cute and fat and social like her feline sister, Tundra. She's skinny and plain black. No white spots or interesting markings. But what she doesn't have in looks, she make up big time in personality. She is gentle and sweet. There's not a mean bone in her body. And she absolutely loves our kids. She snuggles up with one of the girls every night. I just thought I would give a little shout out to our wonderful little gal.

Monday, October 3, 2011

House Exploring

Have I ever mentioned that I love to walk through older homes?  It's a little pass time of mine that I don't get to indulge very often any more since I don't want to drag my three children around on the weekends to different open houses.  But before we had children Mike and I would sometimes spend a Sunday afternoon choosing a neat neighborhood and wandering through the different homes for sale.  I love to see the character and charm of older homes, but I also love to imagine myself living there.  Where would I put the couch?  Would this room make a good office/study?  Where could I plant a garden in the back yard?  Can I picture myself baking cookies in the kitchen?  Even back in college, my friend Kim and I had a weekend tradition of touring open houses. Our tradition included a trip to 7-11 beforehand to stock up on candy which we would munch on as we drove around. 

So this past Saturday, when my aunt and uncle called to see if we wanted to stop by and tour a home they have been renovating for the past year, I said YES!  My aunt and uncle own lots of rental property and also buy homes to renovate and resell.  I've been hearing stories about this particular home, though and I was anxious to check it out.  Built in the 1920's, it looked like a very basic, but cute two bedroom, one bath home in an older neighborhood.  My aunt and uncle purchased the home, and they went to start working on it right away.  They knew the home had a basement, which is something pretty unusual for Oklahoma.  But when they went down to check it out, they were met with a wall of stuff.  Literally.  The previous owner (who had passed away) was a serious hoarder.  The basement was piled high from floor to ceiling!  With a little help from my cousins, they began clearing it out, and much to their surprise they discovered not one basement room, but five plus a small bathroom!  The house has over 1600 square feet of basement space!  This is nearly unheard of here.  Even more unusual were the "treasures" they pulled out of the basement:  screen printing supplies, medical supplies (including expensive culturing equipment), wood trim, printmaking supplies, scrap metal, and even a kiln!  We couldn't wait to check it out for ourselves. I took a thousand pictures, but I'll spare you that many.  I've narrowed them down for your viewing pleasure.

From the outside, it is plain, but charming.  The front porch is large and I could imagine some patio furniture fitting nicely.  A few flowers for curb appeal and it is really in great shape!

You come in the front door into a spacious living room.  The ceiling is called a "Pullman ceiling" because it resembles the inside of a Pullman train car.  My aunt and uncle refinished the beautiful hardwood floors, cleaned up the fireplace, and kept the original light fixtures. 
Every doorknob looks likes this beautiful crystal.  I love the vintage charm!
This is the main floor bathroom, and the larger of the two. Most of the tile work is original too.  I love black and white.
Here's a view of the largest basement room.  It is enormous.  The floors are stained concrete, the fireplace is in working order, and there is PLENTY of space for a media room or play room or game room or all of the above.  Behind me is a small bar with a granite countertop too.  And leading into this large room is a small landing with wood floors that would be a quaint sitting area.
This is out of order, but it's an up close look at the fireplace detail in the main floor living area.
Need to print a few posters of Billy Idol?  Well here you go!  This, along with many, many, many more were discovered in the basement.  They are now all in the detached garage, and we had fun looking through them.  Billy was my favorite.
Another basement find was this gas stove.  My aunt cleaned it up and is considering incorporating it into the kitchen somehow.  The kitchen is still a work in progress, but you can see the nice new tile they have installed throughout the kitchen and eat-in breakfast area.  They have added pretty new countertops, updated appliances, tile back splash as well as a fresh coat of paint. 

Throughout our tour I found myself wondering if we could live in this unique home.  It would work, but we're not in the market to move at this time.  For today anyway...:)

Do you like to walk through homes too?  Please tell me someone else likes my strange obsession.