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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Taking It Down

It's December 26th.  The girls are in bed.  I've been cleaning and it's gotten me thinking.

This Christmas was unique.  I'm not sure why, but I didn't feel Christmassy this year.  It may have been the warm weather, the effort of keeping the schedule, the yearly struggle I have with Santa and Jesus.  I don't know.  But it came up quickly and unceremoniously.

I didn't hear the jingle of the sleigh bell this year.  (Polar Express reference.)

To add to my apathy, my Indian Princess developed a respiratory illness two days before Christmas Eve.  I missed Sunday and the Christmas Eve services at church.  And since my husband is the pastor, I missed that time to connect with him and what he was feeling this Christmas.

As her illness progressed, we reluctantly phoned my family and told them we wouldn't be there for our Christmas celebration this week.  There was much crying from my Indian Princess, who like me, finds family time important and something to be cherished.  She understood why we couldn't go, but she wanted to go anyway.  (My parents tell a story of me at her age, defiantly telling them I would walk to Grandma and Grandpa's house if they decided they didn't want to drive down for Christmas.  It was a five hour drive.)

We will Skype that day, but it won't be the same.

And so, because our celebrations are over, I took the tree down tonight.  And I wondered if the whole holiday effort was worth it:

     The girls, once again, received too many presents.

     I, once again, never followed up on doing some act of kindness on Christmas Eve.

     I didn't get cards sent out, Christmas baking done, house cleaning finished...oh wait,
     that never happens anyway.

The girls said they enjoyed it.  And through my Indian Princess' 103 degree fever, I think they did.  But I don't really know.

And so, I took the tree down.  And as I started taking ornaments off the tree, I realized some things.

I didn't put up 90% of the ornaments this year.  The girls put up the ornaments, their dad put up the garland, and I threw up some bows.  (Well, not literally, but you know.)  So when I took down the ornaments, I got to really see what the girls decided to put up.

The garland and the glass balls were bought to match. About 5 years ago.  And I realized this year they match my curtains and wallpaper.  As old and boring as they are, it all fit perfectly in our living room.  The lights on the tree made them sparkle, and through our window, the whole neighborhood could see the beauty of our tree.


Some of the decorations I took down tonight were ones I had never seen.  The handmade ornaments from the 70s and 80s were joined by ones that were made in the past three years, by my little ones.  Some of the ones they made this year I don't think I saw until I took them down.  They were beautiful.  And they fit perfectly with the older ones that have been collected so far.

Some of the ornaments I found were witness to the fun my girls had this season.  A barrette, a used bow, and some shredded toilet paper decorated the tree.  Some would say creative, some would say lazy.  I won't say what I thought.  But each of those "decorations" was a memory for my girls this Christmas, and I won't turn that down.

And so I remembered again tonight.  Christmas is so different as an adult.  And sometimes we do it out of a sense of duty for our kids.  But out of this duty comes memories and traditions for them.  Woven throughout their lives as a security blanket that wraps around them and reminds them of home.  And of who loves them. And of Who loves them.

Because although I may not feel Christmassy, I will sacrifice the time, effort and money for them anyway.  I will do my duty, because these hearts belong to me.  And they are infinitely worth it.  Just as Someone sacrificed much more for me.  And although He may not have felt like doing it, the hearts He saved belong to Him.  And the results are infinitely worth it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Swan Lake

My Indian Princess just informed me part of the plot of Swan Lake.  I was amazed she remembered it so vividly.  I have problems following the plot of any ballet.  I can't imagine my 6 year understanding it so well.  Then she told me, "Yeah.  I know this because I watched Barbie Swan Lake."

Who knew Barbie was so educational?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Pie, Please

I realized tonight, as I was doing a mental recount of the food I have eaten today, that I have a problem.

I have figured out, subconsciously, that if I eat an entire bag of Cheetos, or a whole pie, I can just tell myself, "I ate pie today."

Whereas, if I eat a few Cheetos, a bite of pie, a piece of cinnamon toast, and four jelly beans, I have to say to myself, "I ate Cheetos, pie, cinnamon toast, and jelly beans."

Whatever the calorie count turns out to be, I think I'm going with pie.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Potential Christmas Card Material

So, what do you think? 


 Doesn't this picture capture the essence of who we are??

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Severe Burn

I just burned my tongue on fried bread crumbs.  Ever done that?  Me either.  I won't do it again.  Dang this hurts.

Pecan Frustration

It's frustrating when you go to Missouri, buy a bag of cracked pecans from a guy on the side of the road, drive them 15 hours home, spend 2 nights cracking them for 2 cups of pecans, putting them in homemade granola, just to have a daughter gently say, "I don't care for this."  And said daughter having a cold so I can't risk eating after her.

I know.  My life is hard.

Monday, December 3, 2012

12/3/12

Just had a call from my husband.  The hotel itinerary he printed was the wrong one.  We couldn't find the right one in our emails, so I just called 5 hotels and asked them if they had a reservation for him.  I'm sure I'm not the craziest person they've talked to, but I bet I'm the most idiotic.

My Littlest Girl probably has influenza.  Or at least the flu.  :)  Snot, fever, and aches were on the agenda today.  Guess who is missing her school Christmas program tomorrow night?  Guess who is most upset?

The other night I stayed up waaayy  too late.  At 1:04 a.m, I hear my Littlest Girl yelling, "10!  10!" in her sleep.  Her teachers will be proud she's practicing her math.

If I had more money than sense, I would probably buy a new pair of shoes everyday.  The sad part?  I actually know, to the dollar, when I have more money than sense.  And it's not nearly as high as I had hoped.

I never thought that carpooling would be a way to get to know two families much better than I already did.  The adjustments to schedules alone are worth a spot on my speed dialing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Every List I Make

So, since I'm not Facebooking anymore.  Ahem.  Not commenting on Facebook anymore.  Right now.
I have some random thoughts for you.....

1)  Women's No Show socks fall off my heel and become those toe sock things for me.  When I'm running.  Or when it's snowing outside.  This is because I have ginormous feet.   I'm not ashamed.  I have done nothing wrong.  I just have big feet.

I didn't realize this was the problem until I bought some Men's No Show socks.  They don't fall down.  Or off.  Or whatever.  Hooray!!


2)  My Littlest Girl read the word, "grisly" last night.  Don't ask what she was reading.  It was one of her Dads.  Anyway.  That's a pretty big word for a girl who can't tie her shoes yet.  I'm so proud.


3)  No matter how many lists I make, or how many trips I take, I always forget something.  (Isn't that a Sting song??)


4)  I"m reading a blog about a family that is adopting from Ethiopia.  Almost every adoption story brings me to tears.  I have to shut down my heart just to get through each story.  I don't know why.  Something deep within me responds to these people.  But I am extremely practical about my own adoption stories.


5)  My goals for today are to get laundry finished, bake dessert for church, and mop the floor.  Compared to some women, I am a complete and utter underachiever in the homemaking department.  I try to feel ashamed.  But I'm not there yet.  Not usually.


That's all.  I'll write more later when I have interesting pictures.  Have a great day!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Facebook-My Frenemy

So I'm debating whether to quit Facebook or not.

It's not that I don't like it.  Although the articles about losing all our privacy does freak me out.

It's that I like it too much.  I get to connect daily with people I haven't seen in years.  Or days.  Doesn't really matter.  Being at home these last few years raising my young'uns was amazing.  But a little isolating.  And I live far from my hometown and college.  It's nice to hear from people.  Even their smallest blurbs make me feel close.  And I can keep up with new friends.  Or old volleyball players.  Or people I've never met but who inspire me.

But sometimes I sit down mid-chore.  Look at the clock and it's two hours later.  And I have NO idea what I was doing before I sat down.  My mind has freed itself of any thoughts.  One time, I burned lunch.  Twice. In a 10 minute period because I got distracted.  Once I left the kids' lunchboxes on the counter.  All night.  With their lunch for the next day in them.  I had to throw it all out and start again in the morning. I can't tell you how many times I put the kids to bed, sit at the computer for a minute, look up and it's 11pm.  The dishes, leftover dinner, and floor are all still waiting...

So over Thanksgiving I'm shutting down the computer.  I'm going to decide how addicted I am.  If I can't live without it, I'll probably shut my FB account down.  At least for awhile.  I need balance.  And baby, I don't have that right now.

The good news is that I will probably write on this blog more often.  When my insanity needs an outlet, it doesn't care if it expresses itself on FB or here.  It's good either way.

I checked my FB account, and I guess I've threatened to do this before.  I'm writing about it so you can hold me accountable.  Because I'm irresponsible and apparently have an addictive personality to posts about babies and food and football.

OK.  So here goes nothing-----

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm up to 18!!

I just noticed that I have one more follower following me these days!  Thanks, Leslie!!
Anyway, when I checked to see who the newbie was, I realized I don't know half the people that are following me...Isn't that fabulous!!!
To think that random strangers want to read about my life.  I can't get over it.
Oh.  That, and I think I follow them, too.  I love the graciousness of other bloggers.  They make me happy.  And they give me the possibly false feeling that I am interesting and worth reading.  I really don't know.  But thanks anyway!
If you would like to boost my ego even more, feel free to follow my blog.  You'll get all the newest updates immediately.  (Which amounts to about 2 a month right now.  I know.  I'm on fire!)
If I was really smart, I would somehow post a picture of me.  Then when you follow me, my head would get a little bigger each time.  Until I hit, I don't know, 30 followers.  Then my head would explode.  Could someone work on that for me??  I'm sure someone would like to see my head explode.  Here's a picture you could use.

K.
Thanks.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012

If you remember, we tend to get a little crazy (on Halloween).  Or just all the time.  Depends on the coffee intake for the day.

That being said, we hope you have a great Halloween season.  Because after Halloween comes Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Then birthdays around here.  We spend 6 months celebrating something.  And 6 months recuperating.

Anyway.  Since there's snow on the ground, the girls have started singing Christmas songs.  They even mentioned putting up a little tree.  I quickly rejected that idea.  As I have before.  I will stick to my guns this time though.  Considering it's October...

So, being as I have a cold.  And my husband told me I am writing like a Chinese person writing as someone who uses English as a second language.  I'll go now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sisterhood

If I could bottle-

the conspiratorial giggles,





























the elaborate stories they create,                             
the intimate conversations,


















the enjoyment they get from each other.                                                                                     





I would be able to share-
                                                     
the joy and contentment,

























the trust they have in each other,
the evaporation of outside stress,


















the absolute acceptance.     


I probably wouldn't make a million dollars.
But you can't replace the undeniable bond of sisters.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Start of Autumn

Where I Live...








With the People I Love...








Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

How you know you live in a red state.

We went on a field trip today.  Left at 10, home by 4ish.  I could tell they were tired but they still had a little fire in them.

They started playing the game, "You lose if you say the word, ______."  in the back of the car on the way home.

My Littlest Girl usually loses the game in 5 seconds or less.  But she's getting the hang of it.  Today, my Indian Princess lost a few times.  A few times more than I thought she would.  So she decided to throw the game.

IP, "Whoever says the word purple loses.  LG, what's your favorite color?"
LG, "Pink!"  (She usually says purple.)
IP, not to be outdone, says, "Whoever says the word pink loses.  LG, what's your favorite color?"
LG, "Brown!"
I'm up in the front seat, silently thinking, "Good one, Littlest Girl!"

So Littlest Girl's turn, "Whoever says the word ice cream loses."
My Indian Princess casually says, "Hand gun."
And I ask her to repeat herself, because I don't believe I've EVER used the word hand gun before.
She repeats, "Hand gun."  With a big smile.  Probably because I'm looking at her like she has a third eye, and she knows she's surprised me.
So I ask her how she knows that word.
And she says, "The radio."

Which is interesting because in my car we only listen to Christian radio.
(Not to say that Christianity and guns don't go together.  You should check out our church's ATF parties.)
But this station is more like K-LOVE.  

And then I remember that I live in a state that hunts mountain lions.

And that I'm totally cool with the 2nd Amendment.

So I shrug my shoulders,
and keep driving.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Milestones

Just a few big events going on 'round these parts...

First Day of School.




First Day of Ortho. 

Many more to come.  On all counts.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Countdown to the first day of school: T-2 days

With only two days remaining until school starts for our Indian Princess, we're partying hard core.
Today we went to the Central States Fair.  We had never been before.  The girls had a great time.

We could have spent the whole visit at the mirrors.  
Dang I love when I get to experience something with them for the first time.  
They were giddy. 

Their never ending request for a pet was NOT silenced by the bunny and poultry barn.   
In fact, they are now plotting how to buy a farm so we can have some animals.

Daddy had some wise words today,
"Everyone likes to be scratched behind the ears."
I think the donkey agreed. 

Rides cost a small mortgage payment. 
We gave the girls $5 each and told them they could chose a ride or a snack.
They chose rides.  
And they actually got to ride twice for $5.
The giraffe was just My Littlest Girl's speed. 

 My Indian Princess was ready for something a little more adventurous.

 On our way out, we headed back to the science corner.  
They played with some fun games,
and I was very happy to see them just as entertained there as the carnival part.

My Indian Princess, passed out on the way home.
After bubblegum ice cream at Armadillo's.
That 30 minute ride home has been the catalyst for so many naps.
(Why they don't sleep on 10 hour trips is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.)

All in all, a very successful day.  I'm going to start saving my money now so I can buy them wristbands next year.  Maybe then I won't have to take out a loan for them to ride all the rides.

In the meantime, we're counting down to 1st grade...


Sunday, August 19, 2012

What Not To Wear, Part: I've Lost Count

Before
 Mom's intervention.


After.
You're Welcome.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fire

We had a fire in the fire pit last night.  The girls like to pretend we're camping.  We get out the marshmallows and s'mores are not long to follow.  I love the nights we get to do that.

You see, I'm a bit of a pyromaniac.  Ask my husband.  I've almost burned the house down a few times.  Not intentionally, of course.  I'm not one of those kinds of pyros.

So last night, the girls had gone inside to take their baths.  Hubby was inside helping them.  I was alone.  Staring into the fire.  Mesmerized.  We have an apple tree in our backyard.  I tossed some apples in the fire.  I haven't ever watched apples burn.  They turn shiny.  They glisten.  And then their skin starts to turn black as their internal protective moisture is dried out by the heat.  Soon, they are shriveled and scarred as they succumb.

After the apples, I threw a small stick in the fire.  I like the small sticks.  It doesn't take long for them to burn.  This stick initially glowed and sparked and radiated bright bits of fire.  Then it turned an amazing snowy white color.  The fire had completely transformed it into something beautiful.  And then a weak piece of the branch broke.  And the rest crumbled into ashes.  Indistinguishable from the rest of the fuel that had been used.

As I sat and watched the objects transform from something beautiful, to something completely destroyed, I realized that fire has a lot of power.  And it reminded me a lot of sin.

When we first start sinning, we are usually mesmerized by it's appearance.  Sin is rarely ugly in the beginning.  Satan wins us over with shiny things.  Things that look good.  From the outside, we are transformed into something different then we were.  Something beautiful or radiant or amazing.  At first we don't realize we are being changed.  We look amazing at the same time our very being is being demolished.  We bask in the beauty while our protective essences are being sucked right out of us.

In the end, sin can completely destroy us.  Make us indistinguishable from the other remains of Satan's battle with our God.  Sin will consume us.  Completely.

And then I think about the song, "Refiner's Fire."  The second verse says, "Cleanse me from my sin.  Deep within."

So will sin completely destroy us?  Or will sin refine us to be more holy?

I think it all depends on what our internal protection is.  If we have the Holy Spirit with us, if we are children of God, we can use sin to refine us.  To incinerate the things that grieve God.  And what's left looks more like God, because hopefully, He's all that's left in our lives. Another way to be set apart for the Lord, as Brian Doerksen wrote.

If we don't have God as our protection, we will be consumed by that same sin.  We may live a spectacular looking life, but we are being destroyed from the inside.  And soon we will be no different from the rubble that has burned before us.

If I am going to fall into sin, I want there to be an ultimate purpose.  One that benefits myself and my God.    I don't look forward to the process, but I do look forward to the end result.  I want to be holy, set apart for you, Lord.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gummy Snowmen

We have guests coming in a week.  Ones that are paying to rent our house.  So I have been deep cleaning like I've never done before.  (Flashdance, people.)

One of the things that I resigned myself to doing was taking off the stickers that my Indian Princess placed on our windows at least three years ago.  Back when I let them put stickers on things other than paper.  
Needless to say, these stickers were sun burned on to the windows really well.


This guy had a partner in crime.  I had already scratched him off with a razor blade.  
You can see his remains if you look hard enough.  
This window, by the way, is on our front door.


These butterflies graced our living room windows for at least as long as our snowmen.

Before:

After:
(Yes, that is my awesome scooter in the front yard.  Be jealous.  Very, very jealous.)

I'll miss these tokens of toddlerhood my girls had created.  
But I don't think the nine men that are staying here will be quite as sentimental.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Trail's End Ranch 2012

Horses and Ziplines and Ducks, Oh My!

My Indian Princess and I went to camp this week.  Trail's End Ranch is a bible camp in the mountains of Montana that has a few other activities.

The camp is unique in that although it is designed for 3rd grade and up, younger campers can go as long as they bring their moms (or dads).  This is a spectacular arrangement for a 6 year old who loves all the fun, but is too young to be without Mom overnight.


Her counselor kept her group busy from 9-12, and from 1-5.  I got to eat every meal with her, then take her back to the cabin in the evening and have a slumber party with her and some friends.  I have to tell you, the counselors up there are golden.  Amazing young men and women who love the Lord and love the kids.


The camp is located on a working ranch, so along with the camp counselors and staff, we got to meet the ranch hands and their families.  Once again.  I love ranchers.  They seem to have the important stuff figured out.  They fix things that are broken instead of buying new.  They teach their kids how to work and play hard.  They respect the animals they work with but don't get too worked up over a dead frog.


As I was getting to know the people a little better, my Indian Princess was doing boring things like swimming, crafts, horse back riding, ziplining, big swinging, rock climbing, squirt gunning stuff.  She had hour long meetings where she learned more about Christ. She was also learning how to make decisions on her own.  Primarily, what snacks should she buy at the Snak Shak.  First time she's gotten to do that without Mom's help.  Let's just say the last day she was on a sugar high so long she was buzzing for a solid two hours.

I know she had a good time, because today I asked her if she was glad to be back at home.  With Daddy and The Littlest Girl.  She said, "Not really."  And walked around bored all day.  Asking me to go outside and take a walk with her.  In the 100 degree heat.  Which now feels normal.

Watching her at camp was definitely bittersweet.  It is a good introduction for me on how school will go this fall when she's gone all day for the first time.  I loved to watch her successfully navigate camp on her own.  I gained confidence in letting her go, even for a little while.  And I clung to her when she came back to me, hungry for a big hug and some time to hear about her experiences.  But she didn't miss me as much as I missed her.  And I think that is going to be the norm from now on.  And I think I'm going to be a little more sad from now on as I watch her start the natural process of growing up.

All in all, camp was a great experience.  And one she'll probably never have again, as I am going upstairs to lock her in her room for the next 20 years.  Maybe by then, I'll be ready to let her go.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where In The World Is...?


This is where we spent our anniversary.  
Can anyone guess where we are?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

20

A few pics of my husband and me.  In honor of our 20th anniversary.
I could write a bunch of sentimental stuff.
But it's late.  I'm tired.
And I don't want to embarrass myself.
But make sure you check out the moose we saw in Canada. 
Second picture down.











Sunday, July 8, 2012

Where I Live
























OK.  It's not exactly where I live.  But this is the area in which I live.  
And yes.  That's Dekker.