Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
But it is more specific, too. As I was getting ready to wake the girls, I tiptoed down the hall and realized I was in silence and darkness. No fans blowing white noise, no Christmas cd's blaring, no puppy barking (yet!), and it felt so peaceful. All was right for a moment, and in those few seconds I felt restored.
I realized that even the noises I choose to surround myself can become distracting like noisy, clanging symbols, if I am constantly surrounding myself with those and not making time for the still, peaceful voice of the Holy Spirit.
So I am going to choose time with Him today, in silence, and seeking God and nothing else. I need to hear from Him how I need to change my daily life to allow more time for the silence, so that my heart can be filled with His peace.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Tuesday we surprised the girls by taking them here as a late celebration of Cassidy's 10th birthday. They thought we were taking Daddy out for lunch, having no idea I had packed their bags and loaded the car the night before. When Rusty suggested that the food might be good at Great Wolf, the pure joy on their faces was contagious. It's a good thing, as 45 minutes into our trip we were stopped for an expired inspection sticker. Oops! We were both so surprised we could do nothing but laugh... and vow to get it taken care of as soon as we returned home. Nonetheless, we had a fabulous time and really enjoyed the time together as a family.
A late night game of checkers after playing ourselves out in the water.
The girls loved their own little cabin in our room. What fun!
As we left... loved the big wolf all ready for Christmas. We can't wait to go back!
Our favorite oompa loompa with Nana and Papa. This is one reason we were in such desperate need fo a getway... play rehearsals and 8 performances wear a girl (and her family!) out.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This week has been all about Cassidy's Thanksgiving Day Feast Thirsday, as I am a room mom and have the task of making sure there is enough food, and that it is all peanut free for a little guy who has severe allergies. Lots of phone calls. Lots. And lots of empty words wasted on the gossip that attached itself to those conversations.
We also had the blessing of preparing Samaritan's Purse shoeboxes to go overseas, due today for Chapel, which meant a shopping trip out in the cold last night. This is truly one of my favorite traditions with the girls, and I am so thankful their school participates, so they can share in the joy of giving to others who have so little. However, I would enjoy it more if I planned our time better and I didn't wind up wandering the aisles of Target at 8:30 the night before we needed to bring our gifts to school. Oh well, nothing a diet coke on the way can't cure. What is bedtime during the holidays anyway, right?
All this to say, the busiest time of the year has arrived with a vengeance, and I am feeling it in the chaos of our home. As I talk with other mommies, I hear the same story over and over, we are all so busy. While some of it is temporary and expected (the play), other aspects (obsessing about decorations for the party) are not important in the grand scheme of things, and actually serve as a distraction from the very things we are celebrating.
I don't like the badge of honor that our generation equates to being so busy, and pray that as these days may be full, they are not just filled with empty busy-ness, but with intention and joy.
Lord, please help me to do those things You call me to, and not be afraid to say "no" to those things which fill my time, but not my heart.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Through it all, I know God will hold us all in the palm of His hand, and it will be good. My hope is not in our president, and so I am able to look forward with confidence. Not in the new administration, but in the King of Kings.
As I raced through WalMart this weekend, a Christmas card caught my eye. I bought the box on the spot, if not to send for Christmas greetings, then as a reminder to myself:
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Outside my window...Cool temperatures, drizzly rain, and the most vivid yellow leaves. What a gorgeous fall day to be inside by the warm fire.
I am thinking... of the assorted appointments I need to schedule for the puppy and my girls, of my to do list for the day which keeps growing, and of the pictures which need developing from Cassidy's party on Saturday.
From the learning room... I am working on becoming a better wife, friend, and mommy.
I am thankful for... so much! My heart is overflowing with gratitude this morning, as I sit in my comfortable and warm house, enjoying the fire, while it is chilly and rainy outside. The time this morning in wonderful study of God's Word, and the scriptures he led me to- pure blessing! The gift of my job, and the blessing of working from home. My precious family, and the joy of being a part of it. Rusty finding the hamsters this morning before the girls awakened and realized they were loose. Rusty finding the hamsters before I awakened and realized the were loose!
From the kitchen... turkey tetrazzini, homemade beef and veggie soup, grilled salmon, spaghetti, and Bunco on Friday (which means Daddy cooks for himself and the girls).
I am wearing...khaki shorts, white V-neck tee and warm socks.
I am reading...Cottage Living and Home Companion. The Christmas issues came this week and I am poring over every detail:-)
I am hoping... John McCain is elected.
I am hearing...Christmas music, and Cailin chatting with Sadie about appropriate puppy behavior.
Around the house...I'm planning our holiday schedule, gift lists, budget, and family portrait appointment. Still working on posting the girl's outgrown outfits on Craig's List. Menu planning and goal setting for our family. Planning classroom activities for Cassidy's 4th grade class as a room mom. Enjoying this wonderful season.
A few plans for the rest of the week... Help at the girl scout peanut booth sale...Our weekly typicals: Oasix (Cailin's youth group), gymnastics, and riding... play rehearsal... Friday no school... cheer leading clinic for Cassidy...bunco...VOTING.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
For more Simple Woman's Daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Then I went to awaken the girls. Amidst much sniffling I heard the dreaded words, "I don't feel well. My head hurts. My tummy hurts. My throat hurts." Then they each turned to their respective walls, pulled the covers up to their ears and promptly went back to sleep. Ugh!
I have a crew of installers driving 5 hours to meet me at a job site (over 2 hours from my home) and a client, who is leaving the state Friday, waiting to meet me to close out all outstanding business. There is never a good day to have sick children, but this would be among the worst! I dread having to call clients, even those who have become friends, and ask them to reschedule appointments. I pride myself on attending all installations and being available to answer any questions the crew may have. Yet today that plan was just not working out, and honestly, I was angry. Angry at the fact that I have to work, angry that I have to rearrange my plans and the plans of others, angry that the girls don't feel well, angry that Cailin will miss two important activities, angry at my loss of control of my day.
Then my Dad called, and as always, had gentle words of wisdom for me. He reminded me that I am never in control of my day, God is. He has plans for my day, and they don't involve being angry or upset, or worrying about things going wrong with my job. He doesn't want me to worry at all, in fact, but trust that His ways are good ways, and that every day from Him is a gift. So I am choosing to trust that He will make this a great day, and I am going to appreciate the gift of time with my girls, no matter how it was given.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Outside my window... cooler temperatures and overcast skies. Vivid yellow leaves . A cozy fall day.
From the learning room... teaching myself how to sew... learning about Egyptian pets, as I help Cailin prepare for Egypt Day at school.
From the kitchen this week... pumpkin bread...chicken divan for dinner tonight... menu planning for the rest of the week.
I am wearing... a Spotsy High School baseball shirt with running pants... the 3/4 length sleeves keep me toasty warm!
I am reading... "Summer" by Karen Kingsbury and "The Love Dare"
I am hoping... to accomplish lots of work today and get caught up with a big client's account before she moves this week.... for a peaceful week leading up to Cassidy's birthday party...
I am creating... order out of the chaos of our closets... a bedside organizer for the girls beds... our Thanksgiving menu... Christmas gift lists... ideas for handmade gifts.
I am hearing... Celtic flutes... the flicker of a Woodwick candle... gentle breeze rustling the leaves outside my office window.
Around the house... housebreaking the puppy... hanging pictures... purging excess stuff!
One of my favorite things... the sounds of fall.
Few plans for the rest of the week... girl scouts... last CYT class and Showcase... gymnastics... riding... Cassidy's birthday party... finding a costume for Cailin's Reformation Day celebration at school... helping out at the Fall Festival at church Friday night...traveling two days for business...Juliette Low birthday party that Cailin is chairperson of... menu planning and grocery shopping
A Picture Thought I am Sharing...
They crack me up! Posing with Peanut and Butter in their matching towels (sent as a gift from Aunt Donna).
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The leaves are blowing through the air, and I love the breeze so much that I have the windows open with the fireplace burning to keep me warm! If I weren't chained to the stacks of laundry, begging to be folded, I would be snuggled up with a good book and some hot tea.
I did allow myself a lunch break, though, and finished "Village Diary" while eating the Barefoot Contessa's chicken chili- yum. It always makes me sad to finish a book I enjoy, but that is why I chose a series for fall, to prolong my "visit" to Fairacre. Next up- "Storm in the Village."
I'm enjoying the solitude of an empty house today, as the girls are at play rehearsal and a friends, and Rusty and my Dad are at the Outdoor Superstore in Richmond. I'm not sure the boys will be back today; when I spoke to Rusty he said this place has a restaurant (where they just finished buffalo burgers), a trout pond, an indoor waterfall, a homemade fudge factory, and more. Sounds like Disney for Daddy's! I'm glad they're enjoying the day together, and thankful for the peace and quiet of a completely calm house for a few hours.
I better go enjoy it while it lasts!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Such will be the case tonight as WV takes on Auburn, and our friends the Cruz's' are joining us for some football fun. While the boys are inside shouting at the t.v., I'm looking forward to sitting outside by the fire! Ruth and I can enjoy our chili while the kids roast hot dogs, and the boys can have "man land" to themselves.
On the menu...
Nachos with melted cheddar and jalapenos
2 bean chili
Jalapeno cheddar cornbread (crisped up in my Mama's cast iron skillet- yum!)
Food like this is what makes me a fan of football:-)
Monday, October 20, 2008
This weekend was filled with perfect fall weather, as the temps dropped, and we had a fire burning and frost on the grass in the morning. Love it. Silly me, opted to deep clean the girls play room, however, and enjoyed the weather through the open windows only.
Since I went on laundry folding strike for a few days, I now have 4 baskets of unfolded laundry awaiting my attention, as well as a stack of work that must be done today, since I'm out of my office on appointments tomorrow. In the interest of time, I am re-capping the weekend in bullet points, which is pretty much the way I talk anyway.
- Friday night dinner with Rusty and the girls at Vinnie's, the local Italian restaurant that makes smiley face pizzas for the kids, and is always filled with locals on the way to high school football games. Eating there guarantees seeing a few familiar faces, and yummy leftovers for lunch the next day. Daddy then headed out to his school's game in an adjoining county, which they won, their 6th victory in 5 years. A tough record for this former football coach turned principal husband of mine. The team they beat is tied with the same 5 year track record. Oh, well, a win is a win, and he came home happy.
- Cassidy and I dropped Cailin off at Christian Youth Theater for her Willie Wonka rehearsal, and headed to the fabric store to select fabric. We are making bedside organizers to hold their magazines, journals, and flashlights beside their bed. Cassidy made her own selection, but I got to choose for Cailin (yay!) and opted for a brown zebra print. Love it! Thankfully she does, too.
- Saturday morning Rusty took care of getting Cassidy to riding and Cailin to rehearsal, woohoo! I love my life, and actually enjoy shuttling the girls to their various activities, but it was so nice to have a Saturday morning to myself. I enjoyed a leisurely Bible study, shower, and some chai tea. I then filled two crock pots with the ingredients for fat free veggie soup, for me, and beef stew for everyone else. By the time Rusty returned home with the girls (and a new 50's costume for Cassidy) the soup was simmering, a fire was going in the fireplace, and I was ready to welcome my family home. After lunch, Nana showed up to take the girls on their annual "Nana and Girls Only" trek to the pumpkin patch. Taking advantage of the evening home alone, Rusty and I went on a date to see Fireproof. The message of the movie was great, the popcorn and drinks at $17.50 were not so great!! Am I the only one who thinks that is insane?
- Sunday was filled with church, lunch with friends afterward, a quick nap, and off to deliver Cailin to Junior Cotillion. What a sight to behold... a ballroom filled with nervous 6th, 7th and 8th graders, whispering about who their dance partner might be. So precious, all dressed up and looking suddenly older. Several of the children have known one another since kindergarten, and it struck us mommy's how far we have come. I wish I could have taken pictures, but the mortification would have been her undoing! They started with the foxtrot and introductions, new found dance knowledge she will need to share with her Daddy, since he will be her date for the Holly ball. Fun times, watching my little princess blossom.
- The rest of the weekend was spent wrangling this...
Our newest addition, Sweet Tea Sadie, named in honor of my undying affection for sweet tea, but blessedly only called "Sadie", or more accurately, "NO, Sadie"...
She is a 2 pound, 8 week old shih tzu puppy, chosen to try to fill the gaping hole left in our hearts by the loss of my 14 year old shih tzu Gizmo. I need to write a post dedicated entirely to my precious Gizzy, but it is still too painful, so it will wait.
This little thing is sure to be mentioned many, many times as we navigate the puppy waters I had blissfully forgotten, though, so I thought it was time to introduce her. We have had her for one week, and are falling in love with her spunky little personality.
So the weekend was wonderful, but now I must face reality and tackle that pile of laundry!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Girl math - it's not how much I spend, it's how much I save!
A recent Saturday found me at my parent's annual neighborhood community sale, with my Mom and my 9 year old, who is now my best shopping companion.
Here is a small sampling of what thrilled me to bring home.. pardon the photography, I don't ever to justice to my subjects!
White iron stone platter, with a basketweave edge.
Cute planter which I use to hold utensils in my kitchen
Ironstone dishes, service for 8 including soup tureen, creamer, and gravy boat... $4.00 woohoo!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Occasionally I have broken that vow, as I prayed for bedtime's speedy arrival, or whisked them off to Nana and Papa's before collapsing in solitude, but overall I have honored that desire to relish these days. The dilemma, I've discovered, is that cherishing them doesn't make the time pass by any slower.
So this fall, I am faced with a "baby" who is in middle school, and a part of our church's youth group. Wow! How did that happen?My own memories of slumber parties, Bible study, and camp are still so vivid in my mind, it can't be possible that my own child is now creating her own history of youth group fun times. Yet, it is a fact. Cailin has a full schedule, now, of cookouts and mission trips, sleepovers and fund raisers.
We are on the verge of independence, and although I still have several years with her at home, I recognize that my days of guiding her are inevitably waning. So I examine and question my parenting, hoping that I am still training her up in the way she should go. Praying that she will retain her teachable spirit through adolescence, and learn well the lessons we impress upon her. As I watch her navigate these new waters, I am so proud of who she is becoming. So proud of what matters to her.
This weekend Cailin attended a youth group bonfire and outdoor movie with lots of girl friends, and after she was home, we held a debriefing. (This is my official name for questioning her endlessly about everything that happens to her without me. She adores this, you can imagine!)
Anyway, she told me she had received the greatest compliment ever, and I want to remember it, because it is one of those reminders that (1) she is "getting it", and (2) that God loves to delight our hearts and build us up when He knows we most need it.
The best compliment she could ever receive, her words, was given by the mother of a friend from theater. This Mom told another girl, new to Cailin's school, that she should meet Cailin because she is super nice and a friend to everyone. Wow! When she shared this with me she was literally beaming, and went on and on about how much it meant to her.
I love that an adult said this about Cailin, because my desire is that my girls be known for their character above all else. But even more, I am thrilled that Cailin esteems this as the highest compliment she could receive. Better than accolades for her beauty, athletic ability, popularity or grades, she sees making others feel good as the greatest thing to be.
It is also a gift straight from God, given to encourage Cailin after a summer of unkind things said by a neighbor, that even though untrue, hurt nonetheless. In the face of those trials, many days I was bitter and wanted to insist on apologies and making things fair. But instead I trusted in God's goodness and promise to make all things right, knowing His way would be so much better anyway. So I praise God that He orchestrated this opportunity to encourage Cailin, and reward her loving heart, and I thank Him for every chance to show her His faithfulness. God is so good!
Friday, October 03, 2008
We keep this burning most days.
A nip in the air means I am drinking chai tea. Yum, just holding the warm mug comforts me.
Starting my day with Bible study and no sound other than soft praise music... there is nothing better!
Since I met Rusty 22 years ago, Friday nights in the fall equate high school football... always! What a way to end the day, snuggling by the fire re-hashing the weeks events.
Hope your fall Friday is full of fun!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Let someone hurt both girls, and the mama bear gene causes me to quickly morph from my nice girl demeanor into a raging inferno. I usually contain my anger to the confines of home, where I vent and purge the injustice inflicted on them to Rusty, and noone else ever knows I was upset. I'm good at hiding that anger, and putting on my happy face for the world to see. Typically, sharing my fit with my husband is sufficient to bing me down to a smolder, which drifts away like smoke, soon forgotten, as it should be.
Other times, as is recently the case, the anger continues to simmer just below the surface. Without getting into a long, boring story about a current neighborhood issue, suffice it to say my girls were wronged, in a big way, and the parents of the involved children have poorly mis-handled the situation. We have chosen to sever ties with this family, recognizing the negative influence they are and choosing to shield the girls from it. End of story, right?
I now have this burning desire to let everyone on the street know just what scoundrels these kids are, and that they can't be trusted, and their Eddie Haskell actions are just an act to impress adults, not a true reflection of their hearts. I want their parents to recognize the truth in their children and come begging for forgiveness, even though I know this will never happen.
I know that I need to forgive them instead of harboring anger and resentment, yet I comfort myself by reciting their infractions and why they are not to be forgiven- they are wrong. So today God led me to some verses, and while they stepped on my toes, they also reminded me of my responsibility as His child. I am so thankful that He loves me enough to worry about my heart, and know that even though the people of this world may not change, they really aren't the issue to Him. The issue He is concerned with is me, His child, and how my heart fares in life's circumstances.
So today I am thanking Him for these words, and trusting that with His grace, I will let this anger go, and choose to forget it, filling my mind instead with His Word and the encouragement it brings. He is so good!
II Timothy 2: 23-24 Amplified
But refuse (shut your mind against, have nothing to do with) trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings, for you know that they foster strife and breed quarrels. 24:And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead he must be kindly to everyone and mild tempered (preserving the bond of peace)...
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Friday evening, after being away on business for two, long days, I pulled into my parents driveway around 10:00. Cassidy was waiting up for me in the guest bed with Nana, and when my Mom heard the car, she asked Cassidy, "Is that Mommy?"
Mom said she tucked her legs up tight to her chest, grinned ear to ear, and said, "Oh, I have tickles in my tummy, and I don't know why!" She may not gush "I love you's" to me all day long, but getting butterflies in her tummy when she knows we are to be reunited is good enough for me.
Oh, how I love that girl!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Then, out of the blue, Ashlynn says to Cassidy, "Do you know Mark 12:30-32?"
She then begins to recite the virtues of those "who love the Lord with all their heart, all their strength, and all their might", and as Cassidy joins, in they pretty much get it all right. I am amazed that they even know these verses, let alone desire to share them with one another.
Wow! I sit here speechless...these are 9 year old girls! Sharing God's Word, without prompting from anything other than the Holy Spirit. I pray daily for God to send my girls godly friends, and I think He has definitely answered that prayer.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Just finished this fun little book and had to share... I do love to share, don't I?
A friend and I were talking about how we love the nip of fall in the air~ this was before our temps soared to 101 again~ and how it makes us want to curl up with a good book for the weekend. I told her I was looking for a good series to carry me through the fall, and she suggested I try Big Stone Gap, the first in a series about a small town here in Virginia.
I am all about stories from charming little towns, and she, an English major, told me it was more "character than plot driven". Well, I love quirky little characters, and I guessed that was what she meant, so I happily borrowed her copy and dove right in. Oh, I am so glad I did, because I am hooked, and headed to the library to see if I can find the next in the series.
If you are a fan of Fannie Flagg, and I am, then you will be sure to enjoy this book. It is one of those stories that I was sad to see end, as I had grown attached to the characters, and feel a little lost now without knowing what they are up to.
What are you reading?
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
It seems that I tend to view them one of two ways: through adoring, rose-colored lenses, or through overly critical, tired eyes, that are intolerant of anything less than perfection. I have to remind myself to fairly assess who they are becoming, and compare that with where we want them to be. So when I saw the book, "Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World" last week at Lifeway, I couldn't pass it up, but snatched it up before the girls saw the title and began questioning me.
When I saw the endorsement of John Rosemond, I felt confident I would like it, and after opening it up and highlighting one or thirty passages, I knew this was a resource I would definitely be sharing with friends. I am barely into chapter 3, and just had to stop and process what I have read. The author points out that we need to know where we want our children to be headed, and then to have a long term plan for getting there. If we don't , she points out, we are like Alice in "Alice in Wonderland":
In a conversation with the Cheshire Cat, Alice asked, "Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the cat.
"I don't much care where," said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the cat.
So over the next few days, I'm going to really think about what it is that I want my girls to take with them into their tween years, and what traits we may need to nip in the bud. I want this journey of parenting to be well mapped out, not a random exploration of the wilderness.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
- UGH! Cailin woke up with a fever of 102, so she stayed home, and her sleepover with her best friend was cancelled. The doctor wanted to rule out strep, so we spent some quality time together doodling on the exam table paper covering, and waiting for the "good" news that we only suffered with a virus, and were strep free. Woohoo! After a stop at walmart for Popsicles, tissues, motrin, soup and movies, we were able to snuggle the day away.
- No riding, so Cassidy came home and got ready for a fun night at the Chris Sligh concert that her school hosted (He was an American Idol contestant and now a Christian artist- I didn't know that... but I also live under a rock). Her friend Kait was sleeping over, and I made sure to give her Mom the lowdown on the germ situation in our house. I am germophobic and always feel I need to give others the option to steer clear whenever we are sick. Her Mom is a nurse and much more even keeled than I, and said no problem, thankfully! We had a great time at the concert, and I was so blessed to see the gymnasium filled with kids and teenagers worshiping and praising God together. Truly awesome!
- Nothing. That's right, I said it. Blessedly nothing.
- Church and then a crab feast / cookout with our dear friends Troy and Erika. They are the kind of friends you can always relax and just be yourself with, and your kids can do the same. They have several acres of land, and it is so peaceful, that at the end of the day we drove around their neighborhood looking at houses for sale. They have dirt bikes for their 3 boys, and after riding with daddy, Cailin decided to try it herself on one of the smaller bikes. Oh mercy. I think my sweet little girl has a wild side.
- Our hero, Daddy, spent the day with all of his girls at the outlet mall. What a guy. He even volunteered to take the girls to Claire's, when he heard me tell them I just could.not.do.it this time. Just one more example of why I love him so. I could have spent the entire time at Books-a-million. Oh my. Have you been? It is wonderful. Lots of books, cheap. Need I say more?
- Home to grill salmon and corn on the cob with Nana and Papa. Have I mentioned how much we all love having my parents stay with us while Dad recuperates? In case I haven't, let me state for the record, we LOVE having them here. It will be a sad day around here when they go to their own home. They have been here 4 weeks today, and we have been so blessed to be together and see Dad grow stronger every day. The girls pop downstairs first thing every morning before school, and first thing when they get home. Such a precious time together.
So that was our holiday weekend. Simple, relaxing, and just what we all needed to recover from the first week of school.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
After a month of stress and turmoil, my heart is resting in the peace and calm of this moment. Thank You God for restoring my soul.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
He is better than fine, really, he is amazing. That is the word all the doctors and nurses use when describing him, and we love hearing it!
His surgery was Saturday morning, and they were able to do the triple bypass and correct all the problems, so his heart is as good as new. He was awake and off the ventilator within an hour and a half of the surgery, and by mid afternoon was feeding himself ice chips and talking to us.
He came home yesterday morning (yes- less than 72 hours after open heart surgery!), praise God, and is going to recuperate at our home for a week or so.
I have so much more to say, but life has to get back to some kind of normal and so I am off to work today.
God is SO good and worked so many things for good in this situation, we cannot praise Him enough!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Unfortunately, the first surgery of the day, which began at 7:00, lasted until 6:30 p.m., and the surgeon was in no shape to begin another surgery. So Dad was returned to his room, and re-scheduled for Saturday.
We know that God's timing is perfect and Saturday will be great, it is just hard to be patient.
We are praising God and are so grateful for all the prayers in our behalf.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Friday night when we arrived to pick up Cassidoodle form camp, we were delighted (but NOT surprised) to find that my parents had not been able to resist, and had driven down to be with us when we picked Cassidy up from camp. Forget that it was a nearly 2 hour drive, each way, or that they would see her only for a 15 minute camp show and then make the return drive. They had to be there to see their girl.
My parents are like that. And I'm glad.
We took pictures, kissed our girl a lot, laughed, and then headed home.
Sunday my Mom called to tell me Dad was in the hospital, it looked like maybe he had a heart attack. My perfectly healthy, strong, invincible Dad could not have had a heart attack. It was inconceivable. Unfortunately, he had, and he now has to have a triple bypass tomorrow. I don't have the heart or time to go into detail. The short story is that he is blessed, he is in great health, he has an excellent surgeon, and I know God will bring him through this stronger than ever.
We will all change our habits and go on, in better health than ever. But the fact is that I am a Daddy's girl, and this hurts. Worse than anything else in my life. So, if anyone reads this, I just ask that you pray for my Dad on Thursday at 2:00. Please.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I don't know why I haven't taken pictures...we have done plenty that is memorable. I don't want to forget the precious times we have spent together, so instead of pictures, here is a list to be my visual reminder when I feel like getting sentimental about the summer of 2008. Oh, and I intend to get that camera out right now and start snapping away!
- Vacation Bible School with our friends at the church we recently began attending. Both girls enjoyed it- yay, a hit!
- Lunch out with new friends, and the fun of discovering we live in the same neighborhood.
- Trip to the doctor for Cailin's middle school shots and camp physicals. Maybe not fun, but definitely memorable.
- Visiting Daddy's school for the year's last staff meeting and luncheon so he could show off his girls.
- A visit from our precious "chosen family", the Brammers.
- A trip to the Spy Museum in DC... very cool!
- Movies on the deck with popcorn and home made ice cream.
- Swimming at the lake with Nana and Papa, and lounging on "Palm Island" for hours.
- Swimming with the ducks.
- Sleepovers and chocolate chip pancakes in the morning.
- A week at camp for both girls- such a treat!
- Dinner on the deck when there is a breeze.
- Mornings at the barn cleaning tack and riding ponies.
- Playing webkinz on the computer.
- Seeing the new American Girl movie, Kit Kittredge, the week it came out in the theaters.
- Watching fireworks over the lake at Nana and Papa's, and the added bonus of running into friends to enjoy them with.
- Afternoons at the pool, that turn into dinner at the pool and late bedtimes.
- Mommy and Daddy date nights while the girls enjoy overnights at Nana and Papas.
- The anticipation of vacation to Myrtle Beach coming up! Surely I can manage pictures of that?!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
After hearing Cailin's tales of camp fun Cassidy was more excited than ever to go, but her Daddy and I were prepared to forfeit the entire camp fee if she would stay home with us. A week spent in the hot garage preparing for a yard sale was no match for the zip line, blob, and archery camp offered, however, so off Little Bit went, for her first time away at camp.
I am actually so proud of her for going, and praying she is having a ball! I can't wait to hear all about it Friday when we pick her up, and am counting the minutes until I can kiss that sweet little nose. Here are some pics of my little one as we dropped her off and settled her in.
Cassidy ready to register and check out her cabin. I love this sign post telling the kids where to go for all their fun activities.
Ever faithful friend Piggy, keeping Cassidoodle from missing home too much, I hope. Both girls used my old sheets from college... yes, they have cows on them, and no I have no idea why I was so fascinated with cow memorabilia as a freshman design major. I promise that phase passed quickly, but years later all those accessories are wildly popular with my girls. Of course we had to have a shot of the sisters... I tried to duplicate all the shots we took when we dropped Cailin off at this same camp two weeks ago.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Yes, I felt terribly guilty. Yes, I tried to give my ticket away when I realized I needed to be in two places at once. No, it didn't work out for me to change my plans, so Daddy took lots of pictures to ease my guilt and suffering.
Here is Cailin with her younger, although not littler, sister Cassidy. When Rusty showed up to pick up Cailin's things, they asked him if he was there to pick up "Cay". Apparently there was a bit of a name change last week. Hm.
The biggest draw for camp besides the zip line. This is "The Blob", where counselors bounce and catapault young campers into the air before plunging into the lake. When we saw this beautiful lake we decided the whole family wanted to go to camp!
The moment Cassidy waited the entire week for. I am tearing up again just seeing the love these two share. I think being separated for this week was one of the best things ever for their tender relationship, as they realized just how blessed they are to have one another. I know that since Cailin has been home we have all treasured our time together as a family, even more than usual.
Name tag on her bed, and proof of her week long "identity crisis". Too fun!
Welcome home, sweet girl.
Now I need to get ready to let her little sis head back to the same camp next week. Somehow I don't think it will be any easier the second time.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Rusty originally had it at a cookout last week, and requested that I pick some up at Costco before our company arrived Thursday. I gladly complied, but it was so good we ate it all up before they had even pulled in the driveway! So then I had to figure out how to make more for our Friday night cookout. Easy enough!
Easy Greek Pasta Salad
(I didn't measure anything, just kept adding until it looked good to me.)
Penne pasta, cooked and chilled
Crumbled feta cheese ( Mine was seasoned with garlic and herbs)
Diced red onion
Halved cherry tomatoes, or diced Roma tomatoes
Marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
Pitted whole kalamata olives
Kraft Greek Vinaigrette
Combine pasta with vegetables and cheese, and then toss gently to coat with vinaigrette. I also served some on the table for those who wanted additional dressing.
This was delicious as a side salad, but we added rotisserie chicken and rolls for a fast and light lunch, too.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Since Big Mama seems to face the same dinner issue, she asked for easy summer time recipes, and I immediately thought of my favorite standby. Originally made as kabobs, and great for a summer dinner party on the deck, I simplified it for family nights by simply skewering the peppers and mushrooms and putting everything else directly on the grill in whole pieces. Simple, fast, and delicious!
I 'm also not much for preparing desserts, and in fact only have one real dessert recipe to claim. It seems to be a hit with everyone, however, and has totally redeemed my reputation as a terrible baker. (Of course you don't bake this, but still, after eating this pie people tend to be forgiving of a lot of my faults.) Heath bar pie is my one-hit-wonder dessert.
Tropical Chicken (I just made that up- we actually call it "the chicken I make on kabobs" or something equally unique)
4-6 chicken breasts (I use individually frozen pieces and let them marinade as they thaw)
1 bottle of your favorite zesty Italian dressing
1-2 bermuda onions, in thick slices
1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced
red and yellow peppers, in large cubes
fresh button mushrooms
skewers soaked in water
Marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing. In a separate container marinate the onion, pineapple, mushrooms, and peppers in Italian dressing. I usually do this in the morning, and when it is time for dinner I skewer the mushrooms and peppers while the grill heats up.
Grill and serve with rice and a tossed salad or broccoli. So easy but truly delicious.
Heath Bar Pie
1 large graham cracker pie crust
1 gallon Breyers Heath ice cream, softened
Magic shell ice cream topping
Heath bar pieces (available in the baking aisle pre-crushed, or buy several heath toffee bars and crush into chunks)
Pour a thick layer of magic shell in the bottom of the pie crust and place in freezer until hardened, 5-10 minutes. While this is hardening, in a large mixing bowl mix the softened heath ice cream with more pieces of the heath bar, as much or as little as you like. I like to add a lot. When the magic shell is hardened, pour the ice cream into the pie crust, and drizzle more magic shell on top of the pie. Sprinkle on the rest of the crushed heath pieces and put in freezer to set. This part can be a little messy, so you need to work fast and may not be able to use all the ice cream, depending on the depth of your crust.
When frozen solid, slice and enjoy. Happy summer evenings!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
- Launder guest room linens and re-make the bed
- Clean guest bath and put out fresh towels
- Make menu for weekend and grocery shop
- Prepare treat baskets for the boys beds, to greet them at bedtime
- Borrow ice cream maker for homemade ice cream Friday night
- Purchase white t-shirts and tie-dye kit to make matching tie dye shirts for the kids Saturday
- Go to costco for snacks in bulk sizes and to pick up paper plates so noone is spending time cleaning when there is fun going on outside
- Relax and enjoy the anticipation of fun times withour very dearest friends
Monday, June 23, 2008
Have mercy, can we not even make it to lunch without bickering? Oh well, looks like I just earned some free child labor, which is my new consequence for sisters who aren't exhibiting loving attitudes towards one another. I'll let you know how the afternoon turns out after they make some beds and fold some laundry.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Voila! Here she is with the delicious fruit of her labor. Daddy is thrilled to have dinner at home instead of a restaurant, and I was thrilled that the girls both devoured the meal- oyster sauce and all. Maybe there is hope that we will expand our horizons beyond chicken nuggets for every meal!
A close up - she was so proud I truly thought she was going to dance to the table. Yes, she has streaks of color in her hair, and no, I don't typically allow the girls to dye their hair. However, they have several packets of washable hair color from Justice and I figure summer is the perfect time to use it up. Can you tell I am feeling defensive? The children's pastor at church greeted me today by saying, "Does your daughter have blue and pink streaks in her hair? I knew you were her mother!" To which I wanted to reply, "How? Do the blonde streaks in mine give me away?" He is actually a sweet gentleman and was only trying to make a connection, so I just laughed and listened as he repeated a story she had shared at VBS. I love that girl and her independent style... she is my world changer! Never to be outdone, little sister Cassidy decided she wanted to make dinner on Thursday nights. Daddy embraced the idea of two home cooked meals in one week, so once again, off we went to pick up the ingredients needed. Cassidy spent the morning prior looking through several of my cookbooks and insisted on making something we hadn't made before. Mexican lasagna was the winner, followed with funfetti cupcakes for dessert. I am loving her tie dye shirt from VBS... we are just a colorful family, aren't we? Here is her yummy creation, which will be a tough act to follow. I'm hoping this new passion sticks around until next week so we can get a few more hot meals at home!
Now, if I could only get them this excited about doing the dishes, too.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I grew up outside of town on 2 acres, with a garden in the summer, and sledding down the hill in the winter. My parents were organic before organic was cool, and we had a huge compost pile and a tiller to prove it. They made me eat whole wheat bread when it wasn't available in the grocery store, but could only be found in the health food store. Needing a loaf of bread required a special trip to the shop frequented more often by crunchy, vegetarian patrons than by my meat loving, school teaching, Christian parents. I could not believe the "misfortune" that I had been born to a family that preferred fresh vegetables and foods like pita bread (another rarity from the health food store in the 70's), to Doritos and candy. I thought of instant mac 'n cheese as an exotic delicacy similar to white bread in its allure.
Summer months were spent helping weed the garden and harvesting fresh, red tomatoes and corn, which had a 1 minute shelf life before being placed, still warm from the sun, on our dinner table. Vacations were planned around the garden, and when it would be time to can the green beans; it would never do to be out of town when the green beans were ready for harvest. They had to be picked, canned, and neatly loaded on the shelves in the basement for our winter pantry. Alongside them would go the corn, and beside that were row after row of whole tomatoes to be used for spaghetti sauces and soups until next summer. Many chilly fall afternoons found me in the basement, collecting the vegetables Mom needed for dinner.
I didn't realize then what a treasure my life was. I had a childhood filled with innocence, and was so blessed to have parents who weren't afraid to do things differently than "everyone else". I can assure you that their friends and family were more apt to subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens or Southern Living than Organic Gardening. Yet my parents quietly did their own thing, teaching me by example that living life in the way God guides you is your gift and responsibility as Christians. They gave me a solid foundation on which Rusty and I have built our own family, and are so grateful for. A foundation which apparently also carries with it a great desire to have acreage and grow fresh veggies. So these days I am dreaming of a home with land to grow a garden and where the girls can chase fireflies and gaze at an expanse of darkness, wishing on stars as I did so many summer nights. I am dreaming of a childhood of innocence for them, just like mine.
Friday, June 13, 2008
These are more shots of the gardens we put in the front of the house last year, I am clearly going to be transplanting some of these perennials.
One of two pergolas Rusty built for me last summer. I do love that guy! The first one was for the larger part of the deck, hoping to add some shade, but he didn't want anything growing on it. With very little begging on my part, he agreed to build this smaller one that leads down to the hot tub, giving me free reign to cover it in wisteria.
You can't see them, but there are tons (OK 5-7) of giant bumblebees hovering over this plant at all times. Any ideas on how to get rid of them?
A tomato plant to save us from the salmonella scare. We also grow peppers and zucchini and squash. It is so much fun for the girls to go out and pick the very foods they are eating for dinner. Love it. Wish we had 10 acres in the country.
A hydrangea bloom from the plant Rusty bought me our first summer in this house. He knew I always dreamed of hydrangea plants surrounding my home and wanted to start me on the path to making that a reality. I have since planted two more, but they are still little babies and haven't bloomed yet.
And last but not least, my newest addition and second favorite place to hang out. I found this antique glider and coordinating bolsters while yard saling two weeks ago. Woohoo! There is something so peaceful about gently rocking as the sun sets, that just blesses me all over. I think I have many happy moments to be spent here.