Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best Laid Plans

This week is scheduled tightly, packed with obligations and activities that leave little margin for error. Traveling out of town for work meant that today's agenda was the most critical of all. Papa was to pick the girls up from school, deliver Cailin to girl scouts, and get Cassidy started on homework. I had a turkey tenderloin and sweet potatoes in the crock pot, beginning to simmer, and had arranged for Rusty to take Cailin to theater after dinner.

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

Simple Woman's Daybook

I often enjoy reading the daybooks at The Simple Woman, and today decided to join in.

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

Fall Is In The Air

When I heard that rain showers were expected today, I knew it would be just what we need to bring some of those colorful leaves fluttering through the air. Today has not disappointed! Cooler temperatures, soft rain, and a gentle breeze are making today my favorite kind of fall day.

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

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Around our house, football is king. As a former player and coach, my husband is crazy for college ball, particularly the WV Mountaineers. (WV is our home state). Anytime they're playing, he's watching, and his favorite games are the ones played against friend's teams, so they can heckle each other the entire game.

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!)
Hot dogs
sweet tea
diet coke

Food like this is what makes me a fan of football:-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Happenings

Oh, I love the weekend, especially in the fall. The change in schedule from the weekday busy-ness to the weekend busy-ness somehow rejuvenates me. Even though our weekends tend to still be full, I'm not a fan of routine, so any change in our schedule restores me. Especially if my husband is home and can help out in the chauffeuring -of- children duties.

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!

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thrifting Treasures

What began as a way to get out of the house alone when I was the mommy to two babies, grew into an addicition that has helped me decorate most rooms in my house. I love estate sales and thrift stores for the treasure I find, and I keep a running tab of how much everything would cost if I were paying retail.

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!

One of two Johnson Bros. pheasant dishes I found to hang in the dining room. 50 cents each!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fashion Diva or CEO?

Cailin went upstairs to her room, too tired to go to youth group, and came downstairs dressed in "the perfect outfit" to wear. After describing the process of selecting the top, leggings, and accessories, she explained to her sister and I that she felt better now that her outfit was "corporated".

Monday, October 06, 2008

My Baby Goes to Youth Group?

11 years ago, holding my sweet baby girl, I vowed to treasure each moment of mothering her, and to never wish a day away, no matter how exhausted I was. I knew, even then, that the time with my child would be fleeting, and I wanted to remember every second.

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

Fun Friday In Pictures

I love Fall Fridays. They are filled with so many of my favorite things, and today is no exception. Here is what I have planned...

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.
A little color is starting to show up in the oak trees behind my house.
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!