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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Planking is so yesterday.

My daughter, owling.

Don't you wish you had cool kids like mine?


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend Activities

Yesteday, the girls had a tea party. Outside. In their princess dresses. This is one of the few tea parties in which they actually got to have cake. Can you tell?


Today, after picking up the backyard, we rewarded ourselves
with a trick...

And a treat.

(On a sidenote: After side by side comparisons, organic cherries are something I would recommend over the non-organic. It was like eating a whole different type of fruit.)

Have a fantastic weekend!




Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bear Butte

There are two things I've been wanting to do every summer for the last few years.

The first is camping. Hasn't happened yet.

The second is hiking up Bear Butte. We did that today.

A little history on Bear Butte, as told by Wikipedia.

(I could have summarized for you, but I'm not in the mood. So skim when you have time.)

Geographic History:

Bear Butte is not strictly a butte (created primarily by erosion of sedimentary strata), but a laccolith: an intrusive body of igneous rock, uplifting the earlier sedimentary layers, which have since largely eroded away. This is the result of the forcible entry (or intrusion) of magma into cooler crustal rock in the Black Hills area during the Eocene period.

Modern History:

The Cheyenne and Lakota people have maintained a spiritual interest in Bear Butte from their earliest recorded history.

Notable visitors like Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull made pilgrimages to the site. In 1857, a council of many Indian nations gathered at Bear Butte to discuss the growing presence of white settlers in the Black Hills.

Violating a treaty of 1868, George Armstrong Custer led an expedition to the Black Hills region in 1874, and according to custom he camped near Bear Butte. Custer verified the rumors of gold in the Black Hills, and Bear Butte then served as an easily identifiable landmark for the rush of invading prospectors and settlers into the region. Indian reaction to the illegal movements of whites into the area was intense and hostile. Ultimately the government reneged on its treaty obligations regarding the Black Hills and instead embarked on a program to confine all northern Plains tribes to reservations.

Ezra Bovee homesteaded on the southern slopes of the mountain, and by the time of World War II, he and his family were the legal owners of the site. In the spring of 1945, the Northern Cheyenne received permission from Bovee to hold a ceremony at Bear Butte to pray for the end of World War II. The Cheyenne found that the Bovee family welcomed their interest in the mountain, and over the years the Bovees continued to encourage native religious ceremonies.

By the mid-1950s Ezra Bovee was attempting to stir up interest in making Bear Butte a national park. After his death, his family continued the effort. When federal interest in the project waned, the state government in Pierre took action, and Bear Butte became a state park in 1961 and was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

Frank Fools Crow, the Lakota ceremonial chief (d. 1989), made pilgrimages to Bear Butte throughout his lifetime. Fools Crow taught racial harmony not just between whites and Indians, but among all the peoples of the world. He believed the Lakota should never sell the Black Hills. A bust and plaque in front of the education center at Bear Butte State Park honor Fools Crow’s efforts.

In 2011, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included Bear Butte on its list of the 11 Most Endangered Places.

So it's not just some random hill we decided to climb. OK. History lesson is over.

Now for the pictures.

The Crew


A Picture of the White Rocks at the Base of our Trail.


The Crew Looking at Some Prayer Cloths Left by Others.
There are also prayer ties left by worshippers. They are filled with tobacco.


Just Showing You How Steep the Grade was on our Trail.
I want you to be impressed.


Here is a view of the White Rocks from about half way up.


My Indian Princess, Giving Me Heart Palpitations.

The view of the White Rocks from our Ending Point.
We didn't make it to the top. Can you imagine what these would look like from there?


A tree with many Prayer Cloths.


The View from Here.


Another View from Here.


My Littlest Girl.
It looks like she could fall off the edge of the cliff at any moment.
But she was really very safe.


My Indian Princess Found a Heart Rock.
The rock that makes up the Butte is very fractured.


There were signs posted of all the animals we might see.
Snakes, birds, marmots, raccoon, etc.
This is what we actually saw. As we left the park.
Along with a sign that said something like,
"The Buffalo are wild. Please do not get out of the car."
Which I snorted at.
Until My Littlest Girl asked if we could get out and pet them.

Thank you to Debbie and Lowell for sharing your time and knowledge with us today. We could have done it without you, but it wouldn't have been near as fun.











Therapy

One of our favorite travelling quotes.

Me to my husband, "I'm going crazy!"
My Littlest Girl, "Mom, I want to go with you!"
Me to my Littlest Girl, "Don't worry, honey, you're driving."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"And if I Leave Quietly, I'll Get my Summer Bonus"

My daughter's beloved baby needed washing.
It was filthy.

I put it in the washing machine some time in the afternoon, but forgot about the laundry until after dinner.

I realized my mistake at bedtime.

My Littlest Girl asked for baby.
I told her it was in the washing machine.
It wasn't dry yet.

She didn't care.
She wanted her baby.

I went down and got it for her.

It was damp, but acceptable in the eyes of my daughter.
She looked at me with appreciation.

And then I knew.



Nobody puts Baby in the dryer.



At least not at bedtime.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Suggestions

I just checked Netflix to see if they have The Adjustment Bureau. They do. On DVD. I don't have the DVD plan. Just the streaming plan. Don't get me started.

Anyway, The Adjustment Bureau is NOT available for streaming. Here is a list of suggested alternatives:

All the Pretty Horses-
With dreams of steady ranch work and a better life, John (Matt Damon) and Lacey (Henry Thomas) travel on horseback across the Rio Grande into Mexico, where they stumble upon a loose-cannon youngster named Jimmy (Lucas Black) and a hacienda needing cowboys. Everything seems perfect until John meets a beautiful woman (Penélope Cruz), and Jimmy makes a terrible choice. Billy Bob Thornton directs this drama based on Cormac McCarthy's novel.
The Bourne Identity-
Wounded to the brink of death and suffering from amnesia, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is rescued at sea by a fisherman. With nothing to go on but a Swiss bank account number, he starts to reconstruct his life, but finds that many people he encounters want him dead. Bourne realizes, though, that he has the combat and mental skills of a world-class spy, but who does he work for? Doug Liman directs this blockbuster reboot of Robert Ludlum's novel.

I see the logic of these. They are all Matt Damon movies. And really. Who doesn't like a little Matt Damon to brighten their day?

But I'm a little confused about the next selections:

The Breakup Artist-
When she discovers that her own boyfriend (Peter Benson) has been using her and stealing her business, professional break-up specialist Britney Brooks (Amanda Crew) -- she'll dump your lover for you, for a fee -- turns the tables and becomes a professional matchmaker instead. But can a jaded, jilted woman really play cupid? This romantic comedy from director Steve Woo also features Ali Liebert and Serinda Swan.
Them-
The inhabitants of a small Southwestern town feel the fallout when radiation from bomb tests creates giant, mutant ants that descend on their community. Facing human extermination, a team of scientists scrambles to figure out how to stop "them." Filled with creepy creatures large and small, this 1954 sci-fi spectacular is one of the most influential horror films of all time -- and also captures America's mood at the dawn of the Atomic Age.

Now, I've read the storyline to The Adjustment Bureau, and I think I understand the basics. I'm trying to figure out how a professional matchmaker and a bunch of mutant ants are in any way related to men trying to control our fate...Oh wait. There it is. My lightbulb has JUST turned on. Of course. A professional matchmaker is trying to control your love life. And some bad decisions by government men created mutant ants, albeit accidentally. These affect people's lives negatively. OF COURSE. Now I understand.

Wowsers. That was a reach.

I think I'd prefer if Netflix minded their own business, and just let me watch The Adjustment Bureau on my computer. Their marketing people/mind readers suck.

Sunday

Oh. My. Goodness!

Does anyone else find the irony in being impatient and short-tempered with their children on Sunday morning?

"Hurry up or we'll never get to church on time!"
"What do you mean you can't find your shoes! I put them by the door for you!"
"Be kind to your sister!"
"Why aren't you obeying Mommy?!"

The Enemy loves to play on Sunday mornings.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Towels

Today I washed another load of towels.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ariel is in the House

If you read my last post, you know I enjoyed a seafood extravaganza last night.

One of the highlights of the night:

All of us had to come to my house so I could change. I went down to the basement to kiss my girls goodnight. They were watching a Little Mermaid movie. I think the second one. When I came down, my guests came down, too.

They said hi to the girls, and I always make sure the girls say hi back.

It looked something like this:

Gaby says "Hi!"
I say, "Girls, say hi to Miss Gaby."
Girls, "Hi, Miss Gaby."

Muriel says, "Hi!"
I say, "Girls, say hi to Miss Muriel."
My Littlest Girl looks at her, looks at the TV, looks back at her and says, "Hi, Miss Ariel!"

They had no idea I was so hooked up in the Princess World.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Proper Fan Installlation

*** Special from the Husband****

I put ceiling fans in two of the upstairs bedrooms recently. They were made in China. The instructions said that I should do certain operations "aslantly,"

Now, I'm not sure what differentiates "aslant" operations from non-aslant operations. I do know that CS Lewis would be pissed if anything were done "non aslantly." So I must figure this out. Does this have to do with body hair and leonine features? I've got the body hair part. The leonine features less so. Or does it have to do with the habit of disappearing and reappearing at crucial moments (which I've also managed to master.)

Perhaps the readers can give insight into Narnain work ethics. I am at a loss.

Yours in all Aslantness,
Brian

$15


Just got back from a feeding frenzy at Red Lobster. I went with two lovely ladies who I play volleyball with.

Two of us had been planning on getting there for the "$15 for 4 courses" special. We hadn't made it. She reminded me that it ends on July 25. So after open gym tonight, we grabbed another person and headed out.

At first, I didn't think I was going to be impressed. Or that full.

Here was the menu:

Soup and Biscuits
Salad and Biscuits
Entree and Biscuits
Dessert-(Donut Bites with frosting. Kind of like a biscuit.)

Did I mention they had biscuits?? Warm, crumbly, cheddar garlic biscuits?

Needless to say, I was full by the time the entree came. So I ate one shrimp, boxed it up, and asked for dessert. Because really. Who puts dessert in a to-go box??

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All Kinds of Cuteness






I just thought you would like to take a look at one of the cutest kids in the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Tuesday...

And all is right with the world.

I worked out this morning.
I played volleyball with some amazing girls.

I saw some tents going up around town.

Yep. It's the end of July.
Rally is coming. Then Rally will end.
And then we can go back to normal.
Again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Clip-Ons


Mema just sent the girls some clip-on earrings. My Indian Princess has been interested for awhile. My Littlest Girl, not as much.

So today, we put a pair on. As I left the bathroom, my Indian Princess was looking in the mirror. She moved her head a little to the left, then a little to the right, as she admired the bejeweled butterflies adorning her ears.

As they watch movies about princesses, and see cartoons about movie stars, their desire to be pretty has increased. And when they ask if they are beautiful, I say, "Yes. You have a beautiful heart, and that is what is important."

Because as much as I adore every little thing about them, they will be rejected at some time in their lives. And without a beautiful heart that only God can give them, they can neither see the love Our Creator has for them, nor can they pass that love on. And all the details within that one sentence could fill pages of journals, sessions of therapy, and years of self-doubt. And how freeing it will be, if they believe that one truth.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Camping

The girls decided they wanted to camp outside the other night.
By themselves. In our treehouse.

So we started a camp fire,


And had some S'mores,


And got the tents set up.


They welcomed me to their shelter,


They showed me around the bedroom,


Then they rocked themselves gently to sleep.


Ok. That part isn't true.
But they did make it until 9:30 pm before they decided they had had enough.
They came in and said they wanted to sleep in their own beds for awhile.
And I decided awhile should be until morning.
No one argued.


I'm excited to find out what they want to do tomorrow. :)






Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let the Sunshine In


A cup of coffee and some Vitamin D.
If that doesn't get you going in the morning, nothing will!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Balance

This is what we eat for dinner,


When this is what we had for lunch.

Happy Eating!!

Redo

I wrote an entry earlier today about a problem my Littlest Girl is having.

And then I had to rethink it.

When I was a child, I was mortified when any of my shortcomings were shared with others. I know my daughter is only 4, but someday she will read what I have written. She may be bothered with it, she may not. I'm not sure.

My goal in sharing our struggles is not to humiliate her, but to put my observations in writing. I tend to let things go when I've written them out. I sometimes get advice on how to help. Both positive things. But at what cost does my clarity of thought trump my daughter's dignity?

So, no funny/honest insights on my kids today. Maybe a little bit of insight for me instead.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Target Practice

School supplies at Target. 20 cents. My inner, ok, completely transparent cheapo personality was throwing stuff in my cart, wondering where I was going to put all the stuff I was getting. I mean, who can pass on 20 cent crayons, glue sticks and liquid glue???? I think I'm going back tomorrow...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Windows


Raw is the reason why I started blogging.
When she quit doing the picture contest, I had to start writing.
She's back, and this week's topic is Windows.
So here's my entry:

It was a beautiful spring day. We were at the photographers waiting for the entire dance class to be photographed. My Littlest Girl was excited to finally be in her costume. The boy in the back was excited about nothing. I'm sure he had other places he would like to be. Rather than with 15 little girls, dressed as roses and violets. But the bright sun after a long winter made it bearable. For a little while.

My Littlest Girl Could Be FV or Vizzini




Sometimes you need to be on the approved list to understand her vocabulary:

1) I had turned on the window air conditioning unit in my girls' bedroom. My Littlest Girl has issues with loud things. She looks at it, she looks at me, and says, "Mom, I'm allergic to fans" in a slightly panicked voice.

2) We were eating salad the other night. It's not her favorite. It was the last thing on her plate, and I reminded her to eat it. She says, "Mom, salad makes me nervous." So I asked her, "What does nervous mean?" She says, "Nervous means I'm mad when I eat it."

This one just cracked me up.

3) Putting the girls to bed is sometimes a prolonged event. Usually because we don't go upstairs to supervise as they are brushing their teeth and getting their jammies on. This particular time, My Littlest Girl was the one causing the majority of the delay tactics. My husband finally said, "J, you are pushing ALL of my buttons!" My Indian Princess, who is sitting on my lap, whispers to me, "Mommy, which button did J push?"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

19

Happy Anniversary, My Dear One.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Benefits

I'm eating a grape popsicle, five minutes before dinner.
Why?
Because I'm the mom.
:)

Friday, July 8, 2011

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program...

I love this lady.
She is funny. And serious. And amazing.
Thanks for writing this stuff.


Dude and Three Ladies

My husband doesn't get grossed out by many things. You know. He's a guy. One thing he does get grossed out by is hair in the shower drain. I'm not sure why. But it creeps him out.

Here's a picture of him.
Notice what's lacking.
(This picture works better if you pretend there are angels singing behind him.)



Here's a picture of us.
Notice what's NOT lacking:


And he still hasn't asked for his own bathroom!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fermentation

So, I made homemade yogurt yesterday.

Why? Would you ask, and rightly so?

Because my husband is allergic to dairy, and I was trying to make some coconut yogurt he could enjoy.

I have come a long way from the kid who filled up her schedule with everything I could so that I wouldn't have to come home and help with dinner. (Sorry, Mom!) Do I like to cook? Not really. Have I learned how to cook? I think so. Am I a cook? No. I can read, so I read recipes and try to follow them to the best of my ability.

Coconut yogurt is made with coconut milk, some probiotics, gelatin, and some heat. That's really all there is to it. Oh. And faith that even though you let the stuff sit out on the counter all night long, it won't kill you if you eat it.

It didn't turn out great. Kinda runny. I think it was the type of coconut milk I used. And if you're interested in the details, comment and I'll tell you about it. For the rest of you, that's probably all you wanted to know. Or not.

I froze it into popsicles, and I froze a small container of it for smoothies. There is a large container of it in the fridge. I'm not really sure how long it will last. Hubby is grateful that I made the effort, I'm not sure he's excited about the actual product.

So I will try again. Cuz I'm stubborn that way. It may not be yogurt, but I will try to find something else he can enjoy now that he is dairy free. And egg free. And meat free.

Salad, anyone?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stuff I've Pulled Off My Camera

Because even though I haven't written anything in over 48 hours, I still have nothing interesting to write. Or at least that I can remember. I really am going to have to start carrying a little notebook around with me. So I can lick my pencil tip and write little tidbits to help me recall what amazing thing just happened so I can write about it later.

ANYWAY,

Here is what has happened in the last 3 days, in picture form:


The girls regaled me with their clothing choices once again. I think they were dressing to go outside. It was 90 degrees. Both are wearing leotards. My Littlest Girl thought pastel flower leggings and a red white and blue skirt would go nicely with her green water shoes. My Indian Princess was channeling my Grandfather circa 1967 with her socks and sandals. At least her socks weren't black. Or argyle. She even has the stoic look down. I think the itinerary for the day was stuck in her waistband. She is a stickler for details.

Getting into the holiday spirit. Because nothing says "Thank You for My Independence" like striped fingernails.

I finally got it together and we had a little 4th of July party at our house this year. One of the great things about our house is it's location. We can see the city fireworks display from our yard. Our girls weren't scared this year for the first time in a long time, which was such a blessing. In fact, they missed most of the show because they were in these:


I'm trying to come up with a good name for them. Tent Condos? Tentplex?

After a lot of sugar and very little sleep, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the park the next day. There was one tantrum before we left, because someone didn't want to get in the Ladybug Tent to get her shoes. Other than that, it was a great time. As you can tell from my Indian Princess' smile.


This morning, I had the pleasure of watching My Littlest Girl dance and sing to "Baby, Baby." I even videoed it, but she was pantsless. Some things you'll just have to imagine for yourself. But I'll tell you this. She's got some moves.




Friday, July 1, 2011

Some Women Are From Mars, Too.

I am having a hard time finding deep thoughts these days.

When some people stress, they feel the need to process it out loud. It relieves them of dealing with things by themselves.

I am the complete opposite. As my family can attest, I tend to clam up and process internally. It allows me to think without external influences. It allows me to think through things thoroughly. To give myself a couple of days to let the emotions wear themselves out is usually very profitable for me and those around me. (Not super productive for a blog, but what can I say?)

I, personally, am not under a huge amount of stress. But I look around me, and people that I love are struggling with jobs, money, and marriages. The Big Stuff. I am watching these beloved people. Watching to see if their faith wavers. If they try and take a shortcut around their responsibilities to our God.

Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.


I just found this verse. It reminds me that if I know what God wants, it will be easier for me to do His will. I know. Profound. Right? I mean, how many of us would take a new job without some kind of training? How many of us have jumped into something completely unprepared? How much longer did it take? How much harder was it to complete?

EVERY time I choose to read and study God's word, I walk away with a peace and a purpose I didn't have before. I walk away with direction. And comfort. And resolve. And clarity. Those are some valuable resources as I view the world. Diluted. Confused. Manipulative. Selfish.

And I watch the people I love trying to maneuver in that environment. Some are a part of it, and some are not in this world. But all are affected by it. And as I watch them trudge through the struggles, I realize this:

I know I can rely on God for my life. Sometimes I just forget to give Him the daily grind.

And that, my friends, causes me unnecessary complications. The good news is, the more I read and study, the more I want to do the will of God. And the more I do the will of God, the less stumbling I will do. And the less stumbling I will do, the more upright I will walk. Free from anxiety. Relativism. Self-absorption. Full of grace. Humility. Clear-mindedness.

It's what I crave. And it's what is promised.