Thursday, May 31, 2012

Heavy Heart

Tonight my heart is heavy for a friend of mine, and so I thought I would share a bit of her story in hopes that you all could help me lift her up in prayer.

I met my friend Jan at church twelve years ago this summer. She was actually my boss as I worked in the Mother's Day Out program over the course of several summers. Jan is funny and kind. She is also organized and can get a job done quickly and effectively. As I got to know Jan over the years, I was also introduced to her three lovely children--Hollee, Laurann, and David. For the past several years, her daughter Laurann has been battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma (the same type of cancer my mom had at nearly the same age). After eight rounds of chemotherapy, as well as many other treatments, Laurann has been given only months to live. She is 22. Mike and I went to visit Jan and Laurann last week. Hospice has been called in because the tumor in Laurann's chest is causing her quite a bit of pain.
As a mother, my heart is breaking for my friend. I simply cannot imagine watching my daughter suffer. Thankfully, Jan has an incredible faith that is giving her the strength to care for her in these final days of her life. Would you please join me in praying for my sweet friend? And for her daughter too? I know they are both battling fear and exhaustion.I am praying specifically that these last weeks will be peaceful and full of especially precious moments together.

Thanks, friends.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trip to Graham: Day 3 and A Trip Down Memory Lane

Before I tell you about our third day in Graham, I thought I would take you on a slight detour down memory lane.  Yesterday I mentioned my "oldest" friend, Shauna.  I thought you might like to see a little bit of our history together.  And as a bonus, you will see a wide variety of clothing styles in the process! 
Shauna and me in the Brazos River
First lemonade stand!
The morning of my 10th birthday
February 1987
(I am holding Lucky, my very favorite cat ever)
Dance Recital
The day before I moved to Oklahoma
Reading Partners!
Firemen's Park
Trip to Colorado
Summer 1988
(Love my french rolled jeans and awful bangs)

And there are many, many more photos I could have shared! Now you can see a little bit of the history behind the friendship.  
On to day three....

On our last day in Graham, I wanted to take my kids to Firemen's Park.  This park might be the single most vivid place in my memory.  I spent countless hours playing at this shady place.  I played on the playground equipment, took walks, fed the ducks at the pond, crossed the "swinging bridge", slid down the clown slide, and climbed the "picture tree".  Today the playground equipment has been updated, the clown slide is no longer there, but many things are still the same.  The trees are even bigger and shadier, the swinging bridge is still swinging away and our picture tree was ready to climb.  We had such a great morning there.
At Firemen's Park 
 Lucas feeding the ducks
The Picture Tree
 My children obviously need more tree climbing experience.  Look at the terror on their faces. Really, we were not that high up.
About to cross the swinging bridge
 Me, Shauna, and Shauna's mom Janice
Hooray for family!

After a few hours at the park, we met up with Shauna's dad for lunch, then we hit the road and headed back to Oklahoma City.  It was a quiet ride home...

even for Spiderman.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Trip To Graham: Days 1 & 2

When I came into this world, my parents lived in a small town in north central Texas called Graham.  Graham is a little town with a population of about 8,500 people.  My dad's job in the oil and gas industry brought them to Graham in the early 1970's.  It was the place where my memory begins. It is where I took my first steps, made my first friend, started school and rode my bike through the neighborhood.  It is the town where I spent my innocent childhood years, and I hold those years so dear to my heart.  It was a good place to grow up.

In 1987, my dad's job moved us back up to Oklahoma City.  For my parents, they were excited to go home.  For me, I thought my life was over.  Everything I knew was in Graham.  I have never been one to accept change easily, so I was not looking forward to starting a new school, making new friends, etc.  Thankfully, I survived that critical transition and even grew to love my life in the Sooner State.  But when I think about those early years of my life, I think of Graham, and I wanted my children to go back one day to see all the special places that are a part of my history.

This past Saturday morning we packed up and headed south for the four hour drive down the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.  We pulled into town about 3:00 in the afternoon, checked into our hotel, then went directly to visit my friend Shauna and her mom, Janice.  Shauna is my oldest friend.  And I don't mean old as in age (she's actually a year younger than me), but I mean old as in I've known her longer than I've known any other friend. She and I don't even remember meeting, but our moms were friends and say that I was three and she was two. Shauna's family lived across the street from me in Graham, and we spent nearly all of our time together. Even after I moved to Oklahoma, for years we spent a few weeks each summer together.  It was great getting to visit with her in the same house we played dolls and Barbies in as little girls.  We all went to dinner together, then we went back to the hotel for some swimming before turning in for the night.

After breakfast the next morning, we decided to go for a little drive out to Possum Kingdom Lake.  The drive is quite scenic, and we found a sandy beach to pull over and let the kids get their feet wet in the water. Next on the to do list was a trip back into town for a famous vanilla cream coke at Dairy King (not Dairy Queen). It is a must!  We spent some time walking around the Library and Shawnee Park before meeting up with our friends for lunch.
 The girls at Possum Kingdom Lake
Hannah at Shawnee Park

For the afternoon, we decided to walk around the town square which features cobblestone streets and lots of cute shops centered around the Young County Courthouse, pausing to take a few obligatory pictures in front of the gazebo on the courthouse lawn.  
 Leah and Hannah at the gazebo
Silly girls

We then caught an afternoon movie at The National theater downtown.  The theater was in operation when I was very little (I saw my first movie, Mary Poppins, there when I was four), but shortly after it closed down.  For the remainder of my years living in Graham, it was closed, but later was renovated and reopened.  The kids enjoyed seeing a movie in such an "old" theater.  Our evening ended with more swimming and visiting with friends.  We collapsed into our beds that night, exhausted but happy.

The National Theater

PS) I had planned to blog during my trip, but internet service was a bit sketchy and we were so busy that I figured no one would mind if I took a few days off. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's Your Decade?

Tomorrow our good friend Reed is turning 40.  In honor of his big day, his wife, Nikki, has planned for him an 80's themed birthday party tomorrow night.  You see, Reed considers the 80's "his decade."  During this decade, he was a big fan of Michael Jackson, so the party is a tribute to all things Michael.  All the party attendees are supposed to come with some sort of Michael Jackson costume reference.  I know there will be plenty of "generic 1980's girls" with side ponytails and blue eyeshadow and legwarmers (me probably being one of them).  But I also know some people are dressing up as Blanket, Macaulay Culkin, and a Thriller zombie.  I think the birthday boy might be dressed as Michael himself, glittery glove included.  There will be a moonwalking contest and kareoke and perhaps a "best costume" presentation.  I love the 80's so I am really looking forward to it!

This whole things got me thinking, what would I claim as "my decade"?  Would it be the decade of my childhood?  The era whose songs I innocently danced to in my bedroom?  The years where I tried to imitate whatever the cool teenage girls were wearing?  Where I giggled at slumber parties until the wee mornign hours?  Or is "my decade" the one in which I was a teenager and into my early twenties?  Those were really the years that I "grew up".  The years where I chose my own strange fashions and decided to rebel against whatever was "cool" or "normal".  The years where I blasted the music I loved in my car as loud as I wanted.  The years where I dated and got my heart broken and started making plans for my future?

If I go with my childhood years, I would have to choose the 80's.  
(Man, I love The Wedding Singer!)

 If I choose my teenage years, I would have to say the 90's were it.
(Hello, Grunge)

I guess I'll just take the easy way out and say both!  It's interesting to think now what this decade will mean to my kids who are in their own years of growing up and figuring out who they are.  What songs and styles and pop culture will they remember?

What about you?  What would you say is "your decade"?

PS-- I will definitely post pictures from our 80's party tomorrow night! They may not be up until Saturday, but I think they will be good!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I have been known to have some very strange dreams.  Very strange.  They are usually colorful and vivid, so I remember them pretty well.  I have a few reoccurring dreams, and I have even been known to sleepwalk!  I thought I would share with you some of my all time favorite weird dreams.

The Walking Stick Dream:  When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, I dreamed that a large stick was walking around town.  Not only did this stick have skinny stick arms and legs, but a very mean face.  He had amassed a small stick army that was marching behind him in perfect unison.  As they walked, the stick army grew in numbers. As the big, mean stick and his minions came marching down the street, people were running and screaming in fear.  I asked someone why people were so afraid of a silly stick, and I was told that if he touched a human, the human would turn to stone forever.  I panicked and started screaming and running too.  No matter which street I turned down, there was the mean stick and his army slowly marching toward me.  That's the end.  Sort of a scary one, really.

The Snake Wrangling Dream: A few years ago, I dreamed that my parents, Mike, Hannah and Leah, and I were all eating in a restaurant totally made of glass.  You could not only see out the huge glass windows, but also the ceiling was glass and the floor too.  Outside you could see all kinds of wild animals walking around- tigers, bears, alligators, peacocks, etc.  As we were enjoying our dinner, we looked down and were surprised to see a large boa constrictor snaking its way around the floor. It was yellow and white and looked like the snake Britney Spears infamously wore wrapped around her shoulders at some music awards show a few years ago. My mom and my kids and even Mike jumped on the table in fear.  But my dad turned into Crocodile Dundee and jumped on the snake's back and somehow hypnotized it into submission and led it out the door to the applause of everyone in the restaurant.

The Asparagus Dream: (*Disclaimer:  I hate asparagus!)  I think I was in junior high when I dreamed that my mom and I were driving down a highway when a sudden rainstorm came upon us.  It was raining so hard that we could barely see out of the windshield because the wipers couldn't keep up with the downpour.  We pulled over to the side of the road and the wind picked up.  Suddenly, it became clear to us that a tornado was fast approaching, so we did the logical thing and went to hide in what we thought was a large cornfield off in the near distance.  As we got closer to the field, we realized that it was not corn, but giant stalks of asparagus growing out of the ground.  At this point the wind picked up significantly, so we crouched down beneath the stalks.  As the tornado passed over us, we were tossed and rolled around among the slimy, drippy, smelly asparagus.  When it was over, I was covered in asparagus goo.

So what about you?  Have any strange dreams lately?

Moon photo from here

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Few New Things

We have been working on a few new pieces to hang on the wall in our hallway, and this weekend we finally got them hung! I love the way they turned out too.  The framed ABC's are really special to me because my mom did all the intricate needlepoint while she was pregnant with me.  They proudly hung in my nursery when I was a baby and even into my toddler years a bit.  Eventually, they ended up in the attic where last summer I rescued them.  We spray painted the old avocado green frame with a crisp coat of white, and the ABC's were ready to hang.  

The silhouette's on either side were done by an amazing artist last summer in South Dakota. Mike carefully cut them off the original paper and framed them with a simple gray background.  The one on the left is Leah an the one on the right is Hannah.  (Sorry the photo quality is not that great). Hung all together, I really like the whimsical, innocent vibe they have brought to the hallway that leads to our children's bedrooms.

And I love that I was able to bring something specifically made by my mom into our home as well.  When I walk down the hall, I glance at it and see a little bit of her in our home.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Teaching Days

My Sixth Grade Team
L to R: Ms. Howell (Science), Mrs. Shockey (Reading), Mrs. Galloway (Language Arts), Mrs. Swinford (Math), and Ms. Wichert (Social Studies)

Tonight I had the privilege of attending a retirement reception for one of the amazing teachers I worked with during my eight years at Piedmont Middle School.  It was so nice to honor a woman who has dedicated several decades to lovingly teaching children.  She not only inspired her kids, but she inspired her coworkers as well.  I saw what real dedication and "going above and beyond" looks like.  She truly loved and cared about each student's success.  It was neat to see so many teachers, administrators and former students come out and celebrate her retirement this evening.

It was also fun for me to get together with my old sixth grade "crew."  As any teacher knows, one of the only ways you survive being "in the trenches" is by having a team that you trust and respect, a team that works well together.  This was true from day one with us.  I was so blessed to have a terrific teaching team around me.  We spent literally hundreds of days together, through thick and thin.  I can remember countless lunch breaks where we sat together laughing (and sometimes crying) over the joys and trials of teaching.  Sixth graders can be both challenging and hilarious.  We lesson planned together, took field trips together, wrote grants together, and discussed discipline together.  Not only that, but we were also able to be there for each other on a personal level.  Through dating stress, births of children, divorce, battles with our own children, moving, etc.:  we were all shoulders to cry on.  There is something very comforting in working with people you respect and love.

It almost made me want to go back to work. Almost.  For now, I am very content to stay home and teach my three favorite students ever. :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Summer, Summer, Summer Time

photo taken in Loveland, Colorado 
Summer 2011

Today was our first full day of summer break.  Even though the calendar won't say it is officially summer until later next month, it sure felt like summer here today.  We woke up to a bright blue sky and temperatures heading upward quickly.  The wind was already out of control, but we are used to that here.  Still, it felt like a wild wind that appeared to blow from all directions at once.  

Our kids (plus our overnight guest) woke up this morning ready to hit the ground running.  While they played, I made some homemade whole wheat waffles which everyone scarfed down quickly.  After all the kids (and us) were dressed and ready, we went to Martin Nature Center for some outdoor fun.  Even though the wind was out in full force, it had a coolness to it that was definitely welcome.  As we walked through the tree lined paths there was a constant roar of leaves rustling.  It was actually quite peaceful.  We stopped at the bridge and watched turtles, geese and fish all swimming through the muddy water below.  At one point a very large snapping turtle poked his head up as if to say hello.  There were even baby goslings swimming near their parents which the kids all loved.

Eventually, we had to head back to our house to meet up with our overnight guest's parents.  After she left, we ate some lunch then had a little quiet time.  The girls had stayed up until 11:00 the night before (lots of giggling and talking!), so they were tired.  While Lucas napped, they played quietly in their room.  During our down time, I was able to get in a little work time on my flowerbed which was needed!  How do weeds and grass so sneakily appear?!

Our first full day of summer ended with a little dinner and swimming at our friends' house.  The water was pretty chilly, and I couldn't bring myself to get in.  But the kids jumped right in, and Mike joined them too.  He was brave, where I have issues jumping into a cold pool (I'm definitely a wade in slowly, not jump in quickly kind of girl!).  After a warm bath back at home, our kids crashed hard tonight, exhausted from the fullness of the day.

How did you spend your Saturday?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last Day of First Grade

Today was the girls' last day of school.  The last day of first grade!  People always talk about how fast time flies with children, and now I understand that.  It feels like we just started school last week.  How is it possible that a whole year (really just nine months) of life has happened so quickly!?  The girls were so excited when they burst through the door this afternoon.  We tore off the last page of our summer countdown calendar and then all had a little dance party complete with cheering and fist pumping. Then they headed outside for a celebratory jump on the trampoline.  To do something special on this first night of summer break, the girls invited a friend over for a sleepover. As soon as she arrived at our house, the three of them have been busy in their room, totally engrossed in play.  They are being really nice to let Lucas in on the playtime as well.  The plan is to order pizza, watch a movie and then in the morning take a walk at Martin Nature Center.  Should be fun. 
Leah and Hannah, I am so proud of you.  You worked hard and did your best this year.  You were good friends to your classmates, and you learned a lot.  I love you, my sweet second graders!!

 Outside of our house this morning before school  
The girls have started suggesting poses when I take pictures.  This morning, Hannah said, "Take a picture of us smelling the flowers, Mom.  That will be cute!"
So here she is doing just that! 
 Leah's "stop and smell the flowers" pose. :)

In unrelated news....
While the girls watch their movie tonight, I will have the TV in our bedroom tuned in to watch Game 3 of the NBA playoffs between the OKC Thunder and LA Lakers.  Who knew having a professional basketball team in our city would turn me into such a big fan?!  Go Thunder! Beat LA!

Oh yeah, and THUNDER UP!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Cowboy

This boy recently got himself his first pair of cowboy boots.  They were handed down from some friends, and he loves them.  He wears them all the time, even with his pajamas as evidenced in this picture.  Now he has boots, a holster, six shooter, and a stick pony.  All we're lacking is a cowboy hat and he is set!

I think he might be the cutest little cowboy ever.  But I'm a little biased. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trampoline Time

Our new trampoline has been getting a lot of good use.  Just about every day after school the kids go out and jump.  And then after dinner they go jump again.  Last night we turned on the sprinklers outside and the trampoline became a water park as they jumped in the water's spray.  Tonight they pretended to be a family of lions and the trampoline was their home.  I could see them crawling around and growling as they played.  It has been a great investment and we are looking forward to getting a lot more use out of it in the years to come.  I will say....I got on and tried it out the other day, and I'm not up for a lot of jumping anymore!  I must be getting old.  And what did we do before those safety net things?  I jumped at my neighbor's house all the time when I was little and it's a miracle we didn't break our necks! 
 My three precious "lions".
Silly Faces!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


My Tuesday morning Bible Study leader said something a few weeks ago that I have been thinking about ever since.  It was a simple statement, but it was one of those statements that just really hit home for me. At the time we were studying 1st and 2nd Peter which are two handbooks on how to endure during suffering and trials. She said, "We need to stop demanding explanations from God and rely on his promises instead."  

In just about every area of our lives, we demand explanations from others.
From our kids: "Why did you do that?  What were you thinking?"
From our employees: "Why were you late?"
From our parents: "Why do I have that curfew?"
From our spouse: "Will you tell me why you are incapable of placing dishes in the dishwasher?"

So why should it be any different when it comes to God.  We certainly feel like we are entitled to an answer to our "whys".

Why did I lose my job?
Why did you let my child be born with a disability?
Why did my husband leave me?
Why did my mom die so young?
Why did you allow her to suffer?
Why did you take my children's grandmother away from them?

I have been right there shaking my fists and asking those last three questions over this last year.  And I have learned that demanding explanations is not what ultimately brings me peace or resolution or comfort.  Instead it does the opposite and breeds contempt, anger and frustration.

So what do we need to do then?  Stand on his promises instead.  God's promises are a sure foundation.  A pillow to rest your head on.  A rock to cling to in the midst of a storm. They are unmovable, unshakable, and eternal.  This year, in the midst of losing my mom, I have decided not to demand a why.  Instead I choose to trust that.....

He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5)
He will uphold me by his righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
He will work all things together for good. (Romans 8:28)
He has given me everything I need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)
His name is a strong, safe tower to cling to. (Proverbs 18:10)
He collects every tear that I cry. (Psalm 56:8)
He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3)
His ways are higher than my ways, and his thoughts higher than my thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR ME. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I hope this encourages someone who is struggling with answers that are not clear  Sometimes God reveals the answers to our questions here on earth.  But many times, we won't ever know. And in those moments our faith is defined.

I hope you find comfort in his promises as well!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

I had a simply lovely Mother's Day yesterday.  It was laid back, relaxing, and full of special memories both newly made and those from years past.  My day began with Mike and the kids giving me my present.  In his ever-thoughtful way, Mike had remembered that I have been asking to see the video footage he took of Lucas' birth (nearly three years ago).  Soon after Lucas was born, the i-phone came out and we stopped using our old video camera, opting for the video on our phones instead.  He had taken the footage, edited it down and had it ready to play on the television in the living room.  Not only did I finally get to see those precious moments right after my sweet boy was born, but there was some surprise footage of my mom holding my newly born baby too.  It was so nice to see her moving and talking and smiling.  It brought tears to my eyes, and seeing that was a bigger gift to me than any physical thing Mike could have bought me.  

After watching the video, we got ready for church and headed out the door.  After church, the guys had a special brunch planned for the ladies.  Mike had spearheaded the operation.  He and the five other guys in our small home church had all prepared a wonderful spread for the women to celebrate Mother's Day.  They set up a table outside complete with tablecloth and flowers.  They served us fruity pink punch in glasses each marked with our special nicknames.  The ladies sat outside and enjoyed the gorgeous weather while the kids each brought us our food:  quiche, stuffed french toast, and chocolate dipped strawberries.  The guys even did all the kitchen clean-up too.  It was such a wonderful treat.
 My cup-o-punch amidst the lovely table set up just for us.  "Pea" is a version of sweet pea.  Mike has called me that since we first got married.  Awwww......
 Me and the three little people who made me a mother.

We came home later in the afternoon and took it easy for a few hours until my dad stopped by.  He read the funnies with the kids and watched them do tricks on the trampoline until it was time to go eat dinner.  Lucas had just woken up from a three hour nap, so he was wired and ready to go!
Lucas at the restaurant.  
"I'm awake!!!!"

Our day ended just as easy as it began.  Mike took care of all the bedtime responsibilities (and there are a lot when bathing and pajama-ing three kids), and I was able to sit and relax for awhile.  Once the kids were in bed we settled in for a little tv watching/reading time, then went to bed.  It was just the perfect kind of day I was hoping for.

Mom and me
Of course, I missed my own mom very much.  And I thought about her a lot yesterday.  But I was able to look back and remember the good mom she was to me without the pain stabbing me in the gut.  The lump in my throat was still there, but I could actually smile and have a thankful heart.  And I am so thankful for the example she left for me to follow.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I miss you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

We're Weird Sometimes

A typical evening in the Galloway house

Here's a glimpse into our evening:  We were in that awkward time that falls between dinner and bedtime.  The girls were busy playing in their room, and Lucas had begged for Mommy and Daddy to come hang out in his room.  While he happily ran around, chatting and playing, Mike and I decided to do the logical thing and have an ugly face contest.  The rules were simple.  Each of us had to take a photo making the most ridiculous, ugly face we could manage.  Then we were going to text each other the results and have a good laugh about it.  So here I am working on my crazy face while Mike decided to just take a picture of him squishing my head. Even though he "cheated" it was still funny.  Sometimes we're weird, but I love my weird family!

Friday, May 11, 2012


 Yesterday morning was the girls' first grade awards presentation.  They were excited.  I love seeing my girls feel proud of their accomplishments.  And I appreciate that their school makes sure every single child receives an award.  No one is left out.  Both of our girls got awards for reading, math, and "golden attendance" (missing 4 or less days of school all year).  These awards were really nice, but I knew that they were going to receive them. Still, I was proud none the less.  Then the school's PE teacher came up on stage and talked about the different physical fitness tests she had been giving the kids, and began to read out the names of the first grade record holders in each event.  Leah now holds the record for the fastest quarter mile run and Hannah now holds the award for the most pull-ups!  They beat out both boys and girls to achieve those records!  Who knew we had two little athletes? They were especially proud of those accomplishments and now their names are on the "Wall of Fame" until someone beats their records.
I am so proud of my girls and how hard they worked during their first grade year!  
And I look forward to watching them learn and grow for the rest of their lives. :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad and his three biggest fans.
We went to my aunt Lindell's house this evening to celebrate and have some cake!

Today we celebrated my dad's birthday.  I can't stress enough how much I love and appreciate my dad.  This year has been a hard year for us as a family.  He has had to learn to live alone after 41 years of marriage to my mom.  It hasn't been easy, but he has handled it with strength, courage and grace.  He is such a wonderful, gentle, and fun PaPa to my kids and a great role model of hard work and a kind, generous soul.  We think you are the bees knees, Dad!!

In honor of my Dad, here are a few fun facts that you may or may not know about him:
* He tells the best stories.  Some of our favorites over the years have been the RIP story (about his favorite horse growing up) and all of his wonderful bird dog stories.  He really needs to write a book about growing up on the farm.
* He is on his way to becoming a master level bridge player.  Currently he plays bridge at a local club a few nights a week, and plays in many tournaments as well.  Whenever he delves into a new hobby, he aims to be very successful at it.  In the past he has also played in many chess tournaments as well.  He is not easy to beat at that game either.  Believe me, I know!
* He ran the Boston Marathon.  That alone is pretty amazing, but he ran many other marathons as well.  His best marathon time was 2:55:07.  For. Real.
* He is one of the smartest people I know.  His degree is in mathematics, and he was an engineer for over thirty years.  But he is not just smart in one area.  He knows a lot about history, politics, current events, and even poetry.  He also challenges himself to commit to memory different things.  One time he memorized all of the presidents and vice presidents in order.  He also has committed to memory many poems and can recite them still today (especially Robert Burns and Robert Frost)!
* He is generous.  Not just with his resources, but with his time.  He is always willing to help me out whether it is babysitting my kids or helping me plant new flowers in my garden.  He doesn't complain, and is there when you need him.
* He never met a vegetable he didn't like. Most of the meals he makes at home are strictly vegetarian.  He especially likes turnip greens and gets them every time we go to Luby's for dinner (one of his favorite places due to the vegetable selection).  He also has a baking claim to fame-- whole wheat cinnamon rolls.  They are the best and they are a mandatory item on the breakfast table every Christmas.

What a gift to have him as my dad.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Picture and a Memory

I have been going through a lot of photos lately.  Sometimes I find one and can't really even remember when or where the picture was taken.  I'll look at it and struggle to remember anything about the day of the week or the weather or anything specific about that particular photograph.  Then there are other pictures where I can actually remember all the details.  It is as I can close my eyes and almost feel that day again.  That happened to me this weekend when I came across this picture.  Here's what I remember: My mom and I were at  Orr Family Farm.  My cousin's little boy was celebrating his birthday there, so we took the girls to enjoy the festivities. It was 2007 and my girls were two and a half.  It was a brutally hot June afternoon.  I remember they had pony rides for the kids.  Leah hopped right on while Hannah cried and clung to my mom.  This picture was taken on the train ride around the farm property.  My cousin Deborah snapped it before we took off.  I remember the train slowly snaked its way around the farm, moving fast enough to feel a welcome breeze, but slow enough that we could take a deep breath and enjoy the day.  The girls' thick brown hair would gently fly up and tickle my chin.  I remember feeling very content.  I remember feeling grateful for my mom's help.  

Funny what you can remember by looking at a simple photo. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saying No to Good and Yes to Great

After my kids go to bed at night, I see the two or three hours before my own bedtime as a chance to catch up around the house.  By nature, I am a busy person and tend to be moving constantly.  So when I am faced with what to do with those precious hours all to myself, I tend to think crazy cleaning and organizing type of thoughts.  For example, I might think it is the perfect time to:
* Fold the five loads of laundry that have piled up in baskets along the wall in my bedroom.
* Scrape the dried toothpaste from my kids' bathroom sink and wipe their greasy hand prints from the mirror.
* Organize my closet or the pantry or that one kitchen drawer full of scissors and paper and pencils and ketchup packets and other miscellaneous stuff.
* Finally mop the kitchen floor because only God knows when it was cleaned last.  And there have been a few spills since then....
* Start a project like going through pictures or recipes.
* Clean out our minivan, being prepared to face a mountain of crushed goldfish under Lucas' car seat.

I have to admit, I have been thinking about checking any number of these things off my to-do list tonight.  It feels so great to have something accomplished.  But, tonight I am battling those darn springtime allergies and am feeling just a bit tired. A bit off my normal game.  And I didn't sleep well last night, so I feel sleepy as well.  And I really just want to crawl in bed and read awhile to relax.  So tonight I am saying no to the good things that I could do and saying yes to the greatest thing I could give myself tonight-- and that is REST.
Because when I am rested, I am a better wife, mother and friend.  I feel like I can handle the daily stresses I face and not feel overwhelmed.

My kitchen drawer can certainly wait another day, and the kids will just spit more toothpaste in the sink tomorrow morning.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What We Did

Today we...
 went swimming because it was 97 degrees today!
And we....
got a trampoline in our backyard!  Mike spent the whole afternoon setting it up and after our swim, the kids came home and wasted no time breaking it in.  

Needless to say, we are exhausted tonight!  
Here's to more jumping tomorrow!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,
One year has passed since I last saw your face or heard your voice.  Never before have we ever gone so long without talking.  In fact, we used to talk multiple times a day!  We never did run out of things to talk about, did we?  From parenting questions, to deep spiritual debates to what we ate for lunch, we always kept each other up to date.  Since I haven't been able to pick up the phone and call you this year, or meet for lunch, or go on vacations, I thought I would take the time to fill you in on what you missed.

This year Hannah and Leah started reading!  They are both enjoying books and starting to read independently. They still love picture books, but are also starting to love chapter books.  You would be so proud!  I know if you were here, you would have a lot of fun taking them to the library.  We plan to sign up for the summer reading program again this year.  Oh and the new Northwest OKC library is set to open this month!  I know you were excited to have one so close.  Leah tells me everyday that she misses you and wants to know if you can have pets in heaven.  She is sure you know the answer to this now.  

The girls only have eleven days of school left before summer break.  They had an excellent first grade year. They were in the same class and it worked out great.  In fact, we are going to put them together for second grade as well.  They have made a few good friends at school this year and we plan on having some playdates with them this summer.  Dad got the girls American Girl dolls this Christmas and they have had a lot of fun playing with them.  They still love My Little Pony as well as playing "school".  And of course, they would always choose to play outside if they weather is nice.  Hannah is still into drawing and Leah has taken an interest in baking lately.  They miss having their "special day" with you and miss having sleepovers at your house.  They miss playing at your  house and playing at the park with you.  Leah still says you are her "best buddy."   They like to look at pictures of you and remember the fun times we all had together.

Lucas has changed so much in this last year!  He looks more like a little boy and less like a baby.  He chipped his front tooth three days after you passed away.  We say he has a "snaggletooth smile", but it makes him even more endearing.  And when he smiles, the dimple on his left cheek makes him look absolutely angelic.  His speech took off over the last year.  He talks all the time.  He likes to count things and sing his ABCs.  He plays hard, and still loves to kick a soccer ball.  He loves to be outside running and exploring, but he is also will still snuggle up and cuddle.  He loves to read and watch Little Bear, and he loves his PaPa.  He always asks, "Where Papa at?" You would have so much fun with this sweet natured little boy.

Let's see....Mike started a new job in November at Ackerman McQueen Advertising Agency. He has done well there and everyone loves him.  You would be proud of him.  We went to New Jersey this past Christmas to spend time with his family.  Dad came too and we had a good time.  My weeks have a familiar rhythm to them. I take care of the kids, go to Bible Study Fellowship, work out at Body and Soul, spend time with friends, and keep up the "duties at home".  I am reading and keeping up with my blog and I babysit my friend Lindsay's little girl two days a week.  I miss our weekly lunch dates.  I miss having you so nearby, and think about you all the time.

Mom, you are so loved.  I thank God every day that I had 34 wonderful years with you.

Your daughter,