Monday, April 30, 2012


I mentioned in a post last week that Leah is really into making cupcakes lately.  Her dream right now is to one day open a bakery with her sister and produce all sorts of tasty treats.  Over this weekend, Leah decided that she wanted to make cupcakes to take to her class to say, "Thank you for being my friend this year."  She recruited Hannah who happily agreed to the idea.  I thought it was so sweet that I couldn't not help them hatch their thoughtful plan.  So yesterday afternoon we went about making strawberry cupcakes with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting.  The girls took charge of everything.  I simply provided the supplies and the supervision. And the aprons. More than anything, they loved decorating the cupcakes with a brightly colored array of sprinkles.  They looked great.

The finished cupcakes
Busy at work

This afternoon Lucas and I were working in the front flowerbed planting some new annuals I just picked up today when Leah and Hannah came skipping down the sidewalk after school.  I asked them, "How did the cupcakes go over?"  They were all smiles as they told me the story of how their teacher had them come to the front of the room to explain why they brought the cupcakes, and how the whole class cheered when they passed them out.  It was nothing short of a major hit.  They were thrilled.

I sure love these girls and their tender, thoughtful hearts!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Art Fest Pics

As promised, here are a few pictures I snapped with my camera phone from our visit to the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts last night.
 We have been going to the Festival of the Arts every April for years.  Way before my kids were born.  In fact, the first one I remember going to was in seventh grade.  That would be 22 years? Wow! Even I hadn't realized how long ago that was! Now it is an event my kids look forward to as well.  
Here are my three little people eagerly walking toward the festivities.
 Walking through the sculpture garden.
 Is my food here yet???
Now as every seasoned Arts Festival goer knows, the event is partly about the art and partly about the food.  The food is so good. There are your typical "fair foods" like cotton candy, roasted corn on the cob, and Indian Tacos.  But the majority of foods are more upscale.  There are even many vegetarian and vegan options which is nice.  And of course, the mandatory dessert is the Strawberries Newport.  It is a delightful concoction of puff pastry, sweet cream, fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  A must have.
I went with a fairly unsophisticated, but very yummy taco salad.  I was going to take a picture of our famous Strawberry dessert, but we devoured it in a matter of seconds.  Next year.
 After dinner, we strolled through the art tents. The girls were fascinated with the paintings this year.  I heard many statements like, "Did someone really paint that?!" There were lots of live demonstrations, and we paused to watch a woodworking event.  Live music permeated the air and we got in some good people watching too.  Finally, we headed over to the nearby Myriad Botanical Gardens.  There were several more outdoor stages with music drifting out over the crowds. The sun was setting and it was a simply beautiful night.
 We stopped to take it in and the kids instantly took off their shoes and began rolling down the hill in front of us.  A few other kids joined in and we watched them giggle in pure delight.
 Our last stop for the night was to check out the brand new Children's Garden.  It was amazing.  First you come to this large mosaic structure with colorfully changing lights and water fountains spraying intermittently from both below and above.  The evening was warm, and we indulged our kids a moment to run through the water.  It didn't take long before all three were soaking wet from head to toe.  They loved it!  
After the water experience, we played at the funky new modern playground adjacent to the "cool off zone" .  The kids were nearly dry by the time we left, way after the sun had gone down and way past their bedtimes. It was a quiet ride home, and we all went to bed happy and content.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Happenings

Blogging from my phone tonight. I know...lame-o. But my laptop is being finicky again. Boo.

So here is a quick run down of my day today.
-- Took the girls to school
-- Dropped Lucas off at my neighbor's house.
-- Attended the funeral of a dear family friend (my mom's brother's wife's mother. did you follow that?) it was a beautiful service.
--Picked Lucas up and fixed lunch for us both.
--Played "superhero school" with Lucas (a new favorite game), read books, and put him down for a nap.
--Cleaned up the kitchen, folded laundry, and read while he napped.
--Girls got home at 4:00 and we all played outside.
-- Went to the Festival of the Arts in downtown OKC and had a great family night out.

I will post pictures tomorrow if my computer cooperates. Hope you had a great Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


My favorite color:  robin's egg blue

My kids and I like to play a game we made up called "the favorite game".  We simply go around and ask each other, "What is your favorite (fill in the blank)?" Or sometimes we switch it up and ask for a person's "least favorite (fill in the blank)."  It's a go to game for waiting in restaurants, long rides in the car, etc.  That along with other classics like "I Spy" and "20 Questions."  It is interesting how my answers to most of the favorite questions rarely ever change.  I guess I've come to an age where I know what I like. Favorite color: Robin's egg blue.  Favorite movie: The Shawshank Redemption.  Favorite fruit: pineapple. Favorite sound: the wind blowing through trees. Favorite dessert: blueberry walnut cake. Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird. Favorite smell: freshly baked bread. Favorite season: summer. Least favorite vegetable: asparagus. These are just the facts, people!

My kids' answers, however, vary from day to day.  Leah went on a long stretch where yellow was her favorite color.  Now, she has switched to purple and she's sticking to it (for now).  Hannah's favorite book was Little Bear but then she discovered books by Robert Munsch and now she's totally into Moira's Birthday and The Paperbag Princess.  Their favorite things are still in the development phase.  They are learning and exploring and changing, so their answers will change too.  They are slowly defining what they like and don't like, and I find it so very fascinating to watch them in this process.

So, let's play the favorite game!  In the comments, tell me some of your favorites.  Here's the list I used above:

Favorite color:
Favorite movie:
Favorite fruit:
Favorite sound:
Favorite dessert:
Favorite book:
Favorite smell:
Favorite season:
Least favorite vegetable:

*Feel free to add some more!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Lately I am.....
:: Enjoying the beautiful spring weather we have had this week.  It has been glorious and we have been outside a lot.

 ::Trying to eat healthier.  I made this vegan dish today at lunch.  I followed my friend Maria's recipe which you can find here. I didn't use asparagus, and added spinach instead.  It was delicious!
 ::Watching this girl fall in love with reading. This is what she does everyday as soon as she gets home from school. 
 ::Reading the second book of The Hunger Games trilogy.  I really enjoyed the first book and finally saw the movie last weekend.  I'm about a quarter of the way through this one and I am turning the pages as fast as I can.
::Listening to "My Room in the Trees" by The Innocence Mission.  I love anything this band puts out, but I am particularly loving this latest album.  Makes me want to drop whatever I'm doing and just close my eyes and soak each note in. 

What have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thai Slaw Salad Recipe

Tonight I made one of our all time favorite salads to go along with our meal, so I thought I'd share the recipe here.  First I must admit that the recipe came from Rachael Ray.  When she first started on Food Network many years ago, I started watching her show.  This was one of the first recipes I saw her make and thought it looked good, tried it out, loved it, and have been making it ever since.  I haven't had as much success with many of her other recipes, but this one has stood the test of time and it is perfect for the warmer spring and summer months ahead. Not only does it taste yummy, but it is healthy too. And it is vegan! Double bonus! It doesn't have any mayonnaise or other creamy mixture, so it can stand up to the heat of an outdoor cookout or picnic.  
You start by dumping a preshredded coleslaw (or plain cabbage) mix into a large mixing bowl.  Yes, you could shred your own cabbage, but I am lazy and like it already done for me.  Plus I like the combination of both green and red cabbage as well as some sliced carrots too.  You can throw away the coleslaw salad.dressing packet cause you won't need it! Add to the cabbage mix a diced red pepper, a bit of diced cucumber, and three or four diced green onions.  You can also add a few chopped leaves of fresh basil if you have any.  I didn't, but I have in the past and it adds an additional depth of flavor.  Oh and a handful of toasted sesame seeds could be added here too.  Again, I didn't have any on hand, but feel free to toss some in.  Now on to the dressing.

In my opinion, the dressing totally makes this salad. To make it, you will need soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, vegetable oil, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and a clove of garlic.
I add all the dressing ingredients into a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid, then shake the heck out of it to combine. Gets my aggression out.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and give it a good stir.  Here's the final product.  You can serve it right away, but I think it is much better if made ahead and allowed to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.  I think it gets better the longer it all "mingles" together.  It is a perfect side dish for burgers or hot dogs or sandwiches.  You can always pair down the red pepper flake if you are not a big fan of heat, but I like it with a little kick.  I hope you are able to give it a try this summer!

Thai Slaw Salad
1 package coleslaw mix
1/4 cucumber, peeled and diced 
1 small red pepper, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
10 basil leaves, torn (optional)
handful of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sesame oil

Monday, April 23, 2012

In My Garden

This afternoon, Lucas and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent a lot of our time outside. So many things are blooming right now, and the world is so green and vibrant, how could we not be outside?
 Lucas and I sitting on the front porch counting butterflies.  We have a ton flitting around our garden these days.  Maybe mating season?
 My princess lilies are blooming.  I think they have such dainty, delicate flowers. My friend Teresa came and planted several princess lilies in my front flowerbed the day before my mom's funeral. She also weeded and added mulch and planted some flowerpots too.  What a blessing it was.
My first roses are in full bloom too.  My sweet friend, LeAnn, brought me this plant after my mom passed away.  My mom loved this soft pink color, and it reminds me of how beautiful she was.

I love how my garden reminds me of so many things:  new life, growth, friendships, and even my mom.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Tonight I was able to grant one of Leah's greatest wishes.  At the school's spring carnival, for a mere two tickets, she could get her hair spray painted in different colors.  All week she has been talking  about how she can't wait to get her hair sprayed.  For some reason, in her mind, this one thing would elevate her to a new level of coolness, and she couldn't wait.
 Skipping down the sidewalk toward the elementary school
Look at this girl.  She was smiling the whole time.  
She requested pink, blue, green and purple stripes.  In her post spray excitement I forgot to snap a photo of the finished product.  Let's just say her bath water tonight was a nice muddy shade of purpleish grey.  

It's the little things in life that really thrill a seven year old!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Field Trip

Hannah, Leah and their friends at the Science Museum

The school year is starting to wind down here.  Due to a very mild winter, we are getting out of school on May 18th!  That's less than one month, people!  We had our first grade play last week, a field trip this week, spring carnival tomorrow night, and awards assembly coming up at the beginning of next month.  It is going to fly by. Before we know it we will be playing in the hot sun, swimming, and enjoying summer vacation.

Today was the first grade field trip to the Oklahoma Science Museum.  I thought taking 120 first graders from our school alone would make the museum pretty crowded.  Add to that about three other schools that also brought 100 plus kids and the place was absolutely packed.  My neighbor volunteered to watch Lucas for me, so I was at least able to just focus on the five girls assigned to me in my group.  I can't imagine if I had a two year old to chase as well.  We still had a lot of fun in spite of the crowds though. I like watching my girls laugh and play with their friends.  It warms my heart.

Being on a field trip also reminded me of my teaching days.  Field trip days absolutely wore me out.  But I've decided that being chaperone on a field trip is equally as exhausting!  I was ready for bed a few hours ago.  With that in mind.....

Good night!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Power Of The Tongue

Over the past few weeks, I have been studying the book of James.  What a practical, yet "no holds barred" book!  A couple of days ago, I was reading in chapter 3 about the problem of the tongue.  James compares the tongue to a bit in a horse's mouth, a ship's rudder, and a spark that can set a forest on fire! Now that's a lot of power!  It is amazing that such a small part of our body can cause so much damage.  Harsh words, gossip, and slander can lead to family members not speaking to each other, a split in a church congregation, and even the dissolution of a marriage or friendship.  The words we say are so very important.  

I have always read this section and paused to consider how my negative words are affecting those around me. I focus on whether I am griping, complaining, gossiping, etc.  But recently, as I was reading the notes that go along with my Bible study, I paused when I read this quote:

"Not only must we control our tongue negatively so that we do not say things we ought not to say, we must also control our tongues positively so that we say things we should say!"

It made me wonder how many times I have thought to say something positive, encouraging or complimentary, but have chosen to remain silent!  Now that put a new spin on this passage from James for me.  Now I am going to look not only to control my tongue in the negative, but also in the positive.  I am praying that God will give me the confidence to speak up when I feel that urge to do so.  Like telling the cashier at Target that I like her haircut, or encouraging my friend by telling her what a good mother she is, or remembering to praise my child when he or she does something good.  

I love it when a passage of scripture I've read many times has an entirely new meaning and application to my life.  God's Word truly is "living and active"! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Right Now

Right now life is all around me, happening too fast, and I want to remember the details.

Right now, Leah:
* You are reading like crazy. Your teacher thinks it is because you got glasses, but you have really taken off and you read all the time.  You love American Girl books and we are planning on reading the Little House on the Prairie books this summer.
* You are obsessed with baking cupcakes and want to open your own bakery one day with Hannah.  You draw pictures of your cupcake ideas, you talk to me about what to name your bakery (among the contenders are "Bananas and Bees Bakery" and "Cupcake Crusaders"), and you love to watch Cupcake Wars on Sunday night. 
* You play so well with your brother.  You happily and cheerfully go outside and kick the ball to him countless times and you are always up for a game of "tag you're it."  The relationship between you guys makes my heart swell in gratitude.
* You want to take tap dancing lessons.  At least this week.  Last week it was gymnastics, and the week before it was cheerleading.  Whatever you decide on, I know you will work at it with all your heart.  You are an "all in" kind of girl.  

Right now, Hannah:
* You are thoughtful and inquisitive. You love to have conversations with me about life and friendships and family.  Sometimes when I am talking with you, I forget that you are only seven, and feel like I am talking to someone much older.  You are wise for your years.
* You love a good mystery and can figure things out very quickly.  You have this amazing way of putting pieces together and coming up with a solution.  You are good at math and science and have a desire to figure things out.  I sometimes think I can see the wheels turning in your head.
* You love to draw.  And you are good at it! Your favorite thing to do right now is make your own comic strips.  You not only draw them well and with amazing expression, but you write the comics too.  They are really good! 
* You want to take piano lessons in the fall.  I know you will work hard, and I know you will get frustrated (you are a bit impatient like me), but I know you will succeed.  You also love to run.  When you run, it is graceful and agile and fast.  I think I see track in your future.  At least, if you want to, that is. I love watching you become your own amazing little person.

Right now, Lucas:
* You love to read books.  A favorite of yours is Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin.  We read together every single day, and recently you have started using your finger to point to the words and say some of them along with me.  I hope to foster a love of books within your heart.
* You are so silly! Yesterday you told me to take my ponytail out because it was "too dangerous."  Today when you were calling for me you said, "Mom! Mom! Emily!!"  And you are a master of funny faces.  You have so much expression!
* You still love to kick a ball.  Preferably a soccer ball, but any ball will do.  You have a natural ability (and the coordination) to drop kick the ball, dribble, and kick while running.  It is amazing! And you would do it all day if I let you.
* You can count to ten, sing your ABC's, and you know your shapes and colors.  You love Spiderman and Star Wars, and your face absolutely lights up when Daddy comes home from work.  And you love to have family hugs.  I hope you know how special you are!

Right now I wouldn't change a thing about any of you because you are exactly who God made you to be. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Party On!

This past Saturday was my friend Maryana's birthday.  To celebrate, my friends and I conspired with her husband, Alex, to throw her a surprise party.  Who doesn't like surprises?!  The plans were set.  The cake was made.  The decorations were up.  And then.....tornadoes were decided to rip through our state.  After more than a week of planning and scheming, our party plans were nearly thwarted by bad weather.  We each kept an eye on our weathermen (and their sparkly ties) all day and decided the worst of the it was going to happen over night on Saturday and early into Sunday.  So with a taunting, evil laugh toward the sky (not really) we decided to party on, dude!

And guess what?  The surprise went off without a hitch.  Maryana's husband kept it a secret until they ended up at our friend's doorstep where we all yelled, "Surprise!" We had a great night too.  The kids played in the backyard with their time equally divided between a playground set and the our friends' two sweet dogs.  The adults mingled both inside and on the back patio.  We grilled fajitas and ate until we were stuffed.  And we finished off the evening with cake.  Blueberry walnut cake with lemon filling to be exact, my favorite! Maryana had loved it back in February when it was my birthday, so I whipped one up for her special day too.

The only downside to the whole evening was the wind.  It was wicked windy, and we are used to wind around here.  It seems to constantly blow, but not like this.  We occasionally had to chase patio furniture that wanted to take off running, and it was a challenge keeping the grill going. In spite of the wind, the night was a big success.  And we all made it home before the rain and thunder and hail began to fall.  Thankfully, Oklahoma City was spared from any tornadoes, but a smaller town about two hours from us (Woodward, OK) was hit pretty hard.  There was extensive damage and five people lost their lives.  I am praying for that community as they start to rebuild.

Here are a few pics from our evening.
My cake prep station.
Believe me when I say it is so good.

A glimpse of the overcast sky.
You can see by the patio furniture covers just how windy it was! They were all puffed up like gigantic cushions all night.
Lucas and his best buddy, Marlee.  
Marlee is just three days younger than my boy.
The ladies:  Nikki, Maryana, Me, Beth

The birthday girl blowing out her candles.
And just for fun, here is one of our local meteorologists wearing his famous sparkly tie. 
Not the best picture, but I think you get the idea.

Our seven day forecast is showing a stretch sunshine and seventy degree weather, so the storms are behind us. For now.  You never know with springtime in Oklahoma!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Still Here

Well, we haven't blown away yet! In fact, we completely slept through the storm that blew through in the middle of the night last night including the tornado sirens that went off around 2:00 am. Needless to say we installed a weather notification app on our phones today. More tornado-producing storms are supposed to come the state around 3:00 this morning. Hopefully we won't sleep through it again!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Storm Prep

Hannah and Leah playing in the rain today after school
(yes there is a large hole in our backyard.  a tree died and we have yet to replace it. just fyi.)

Living in Tornado Alley all of my life, I have learned what to do when severe weather hits.  It has been ingrained deep into my psyche.  Go to the downstairs most central location in your home away from any windows.  For most people that would be a closet or bathroom.  The best thing to do is get into a storm shelter or basement, but not everyone has one. At this time I will answer a common question I get asked. "Why do people in Oklahoma not have basements?"  I will tell you.  It's because of the soil which is really more like clay instead of dirt.  For whatever reason (I'm no engineer) it is not conducive for basements.  Anyway, we have our storm safety plan firmly in place.  If a tornado is en route to our area, we get in the kids' bathroom (no exterior walls and no windows).  I put the kids' bicycle helmets on their heads for extra protection, put them in the bathtub and cover them with pillows. Mike and I sit on the floor next to the tub covered in pillows as well, and the cats come in too, but just wander around meowing and looking nervous.  A weather radio is handy as well as flashlights in the event of a power outage.

So why am I telling you all of this?  Well, Oklahoma is under a severe weather watch all weekend.  The sky is dark and the clouds are churning.  Large hail is predicted and yes, even tornado outbreaks.  Local events are being canceled due to potential bad weather, and everyone is on high alert.  The city is even discontinuing their weekly tornado siren test at noon tomorrow so that there is no confusion.  If we hear the sirens tomorrow, it's the real deal.  Most people, in spite of all the precautions I mentioned earlier, go outside and watch storms roll in.  If you've lived here for any length of time, you know what to look for when things get serious.  Either that or you will hear our weathermen's voices reaching a fever pitch on TV.  One of our local meteorologists always wears this hideous sparkly red tie on bad weather days.  It is like the poor tie got in a fight with a bedazzler, and the tie lost.  But you know when he breaks out that tie, bad weather is imminent.

I guess this weekend could prove to be quite exciting! Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Activities

I had been dreading Easter this year.  I think I was dreading the memory of last year. Last year my mom was in the hospital.  It was pouring down rain.  We ate lunch at Luby's instead of a home cooked meal.  And it was the last day Hannah and Leah saw my mom alive.  Last year was such a downer that I was anticipating a lot of sadness this year.

But I prayed about it, and determined to make the day as special and laid back as possible.  The day started with a special Easter brunch with our small church family.  If I haven't said this on here before, we attend a small home church.  We gather every Sunday morning at our friends' home with about twenty other people.  This morning, we had a small gathering since many of our group members were out of town.  Those who were here shared a lovely meal of fruit parfaits, breakfast casserole, pumpkin bread, and donuts. After a simple, yet meaningful Easter service, we went outside and Mike took family photos for everyone. Once ours have been edited, I will post a few.  They turned out really well!
Lucas in his super snazzy Easter tie.  I thought he looked so handsome.
After church we came home and relaxed while Lucas took his nap.  When he woke up, we headed outside to do some egg hunting.  We hid the eggs at least five different times, but it never got old.  The kids ran around gathering eggs as if their lives depended on it!  It was fun to watch them.
Leah zeroing in on a "hidden" egg.

That night I made a nice dinner complete with pecan pie for dessert.  My dad came over and we enjoyed a little more time together.  The kids ended up watching The Adventures of Tin Tin while I cleaned up the kitchen, and after a bath they were conked out in their beds in no time.  The day was just what we wanted.  It was focused on Christ, our family and our friends; being thankful for what we have.  
And we have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bugz Review

Before I get started on the musical review, let me just say I have been experiencing technical difficulties here and haven't been able to post for the last two days.  I know this isn't going to cause a shift in the space time continuum by any means, but in case you thought I had dropped off the face of the earth, I can assure you that I am here and ready to type again.  Thanks to Mike for helping my computer recognize the wireless router so that I can connect to the good old interweb. :)  Still working on my Blogger phone app though.  Anyone know what to do when it says I can't publish a post because of an "insufficient storage quota"? Hmmmm.....

Anyway, yesterday I got to attend not one, but two terrific performances of Deer Creek Elementary's first grade school program called "Bugz!"  The plot was basically this:  a variety of bugs were going to attend a picnic together when all of a sudden the stink bug comes to the party giving off his unpleasant smell.  What to do??  Well, the bugs decide that being nice is better than being mean, so they cover him with flowers to mask his foul odor and he is welcomed back to the picnic.  All is right with the world again.  In between the gripping plot line, I got to hear songs about ladybugs, picnicking, army ants, fireflies and accepting change.  I give it two thumbs up!  Leah and Hannah both did a great job saying their lines as well as singing the songs and performing the hand motions to go along with it.  The whole thing only lasted thirty minutes, but it was well done and they were extremely proud of themselves.  Mike and my dad were able to attend the evening show and brought the girls flowers for their hard work.  
 Waiting for the evening performance to begin
 My beautiful butterflies after the afternoon show
Hannah happy and relieved that the day was over!

I hope that they look back on the photos and video we took yesterday and see a small glimpse into their childhood at age seven:  eagerness, innocence and beauty.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Getting Ready

Today we have been getting ready for tomorrow's Easter celebration:  Egg dyeing, pie making, Easter doughnut buying, basket assembling, candy eating, bread is going to be a good day!

Late night egg dyeing
My first homemade pumpkin pie. Well, the crust is store bought, but the rest is made from scratch. This counts right?  Pie crust making is something I still want to perfect.
Egg shaped donuts and pumpkin bread for a special Easter breakfast in the morning.

I hope you and your family have a very blessed Easter together.  
He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Home

Fact:  I was born in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Fact:  I lived in a wonderful small town in north central Texas for the first ten years of my life.
Truth: In spite of these facts, I consider myself an Okie, through and through.

You see, my family's roots run deep in Oklahoma.  On my dad's side, many generations lived, worked, farmed, and raised families in a small town in the southwest part of the state near the Wichita Mountains.  My mom's parents were both raised in the state capitol of Oklahoma City.  They met downtown at a dance in the early 1930's.  Both of my parents, their parents, and their parents' parents have lived their lives here, loving the land, the people, and the slower paced culture this state provides.  My great grandparents chose to stay here during the Dust Bowl when many others left for California.  You have to be tough (or stubborn) to stay during a tough time like that.  I think their independent, stick to your guns attitude is quite admirable, and I'm proud to be a part of that lineage.

When we lived in Texas, we came to Oklahoma for every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Summer Vacation. We would cheer when we crossed the Red River and saw the "Welcome to Oklahoma" sign.  I think I knew even then that I was going home.  That's not to say I wasn't sad when me moved from Texas to Oklahoma City when I was ten years old.  I was nervous to move to a new home, a new school, etc.  But I was also a little bit excited to be living so near the family that I loved to visit.  Soon after I started fifth grade, I settled in to life in the Sooner State.  And twenty five years later I can honestly say this is my home.  No matter where I live in the future, Oklahoma will always be my home.

Do you have a place that you will always call home?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bunny Cake

Check out our dessert this evening! My friend Beth made this cute bunny cake for our church small group tonight. A few of us decided to watch other people cut off pieces of cake and depending on the part taken, we tried to decide what that said about their personality.

For example, one of our friends took the bunny ear. We determined this must mean she is a good listener. Another person took the bunny's foot, so we thought she must like to serve others. Mike went straight for the heart area, and he does wear his emotions on his sleeve, so that fit. Lastly, we watched our friend Reed take the bunny tail. Hmmmm.....what do you say about someone who takes the rear end. I'm not sure, but we had a few laughs about it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A New Game

Lucas and I created a new game yesterday. It is the real life version of Angry Birds, a game he likes to play on my phone when he is allowed to.

Here's what we did: First we used our wooden blocks to build some tall towers/buildings. Then we located three small stuffed birds from the girls' stuffed animal bucket. Finally we stood back, took aim, and threw the birds into the blocks, knocking them over.

The whole thing is pretty simple, really, but a lot of fun. We played all day today and I heard several exclamations of, "Yes!!" and "I did it!!" as Lucas successfully toppled the block towers.

Who needs the video game version when you can have the real thing?!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Red Rock Canyon

This past Sunday we decided to get out of town for a day.  For the past two weeks, Mike has been under an intense deadline at work and has logged about sixty hours of work per week.  We have not seen much of him and have been in serious need of a family day (thankfully his deadline came and went and things are back to normal now!).  We decided Red Rock Canyon was the perfect place to spend some quality time together in the great outdoors.  Our good friends, The Reutlingers, came with us and my dad tagged along as well.

Red Rock Canyon State Park is located about an hour's drive straight west of Oklahoma City.  It's an easy and quick place to get to and yet feel like you are far away from everything.  It is a perfect place for camping, hiking the trails, and of course, exploring the natural world.

My dad, Mike and Reed took the "big kids" (ages five and up) to the top of the canyon to explore.  It was a little too treacherous for the two year olds, so Nikki and I walked the base of the canyon with them.  You can see why the name "Red Rock Canyon" fits the area.  In Oklahoma, red dirt is everywhere.
We climbed over fallen trees, crunched through the leaves, and even found a few natural caves to explore.
I thought this old tree trunk was an interesting shape.  Like a roaring river had rushed through and carved out a perfect wave like shape.
In the middle of the canyon, surrounded by steep red walls on either side, was a perfect area to play and set up our food for a picnic.  The grass is green here and the skies were bright blue.  It made for a beautiful day.  It was a little warm, though.  90 degrees in fact!  That's a record for the first of April!

Hannah and Leah doing some climbing. 

PaPa pushing Lucas on the swing.
Daddy was tickling him too. Does Lucas look happy or what?
We found a little playground near our picnic site which kept the kids busy while we prepared the food.  Of course, after we got a good fire going, we realized none of us brought a utensil for turning or flipping the burgers and hot dogs on the grill.  We couldn't use our bare hands, so we had to put our heads together and come up with a solution.  Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and we were able to make a spatula out of sticks and duct tape.  It worked too!  I guess you really can fix anything with duct tape.  

Nikki and Me
After lunch, we all went for a hike to the top of the canyon wall.  This trail was at a gentle slope and perfect for everyone to walk on. It was really hot by this point, but we made it.  A little sweat never hurt anyone. And the view from the top was worth the effort. 

The six kids standing victorious at the top of the canyon.

We ended our trip by finding a shady spot under a tree, spreading out the quilt, and watching the kids run and play for awhile.  The adults chatted while the kids had hula hoop contests, played freeze tag, kicked the soccer ball around, and practiced their cartwheels in the large grassy field nearby.  Eventually, the kids wanted to have rely races, so the adults joined in.  Our competitive natures kicked in and we ended up racing each other.  I cannot remember the last time I ran at an all out sprint, but after a few races I was so tired. And I was SO sore the next day! We had fun, though, and laughed pretty hard during the process.

Sometimes a day with no schedule, no technology, and no work obligations is exactly what is needed.  Instead we filled the day with family, friends and fresh air.