Friday, May 29, 2015

"All Mixed Up" A to Z Summer Fun

So for the summer of 2015, we are doing "all mixed up" A to Z summer fun.  We aren't going in order and just doing what we feel like on the days we have time.  Like today we are starting with G Day since it's a rainy inside kind of day! We also aren't taking a big trip this year, so this year's list includes some 'bigger' items for weekend-trips and stay-cation fun. Find more ideas here: A to Z Summer Fun

An afternoon with Mrs. Long
Baking Day
Cinema visit
Driving with Dad (take us to an empty parking lot and let us drive); Donuts
Edible Paper (make)
Finding Diamonds @ Diamond Crater State Park
Games! Games! Games!
Helping at Convoy of Hope (July)
Ice Cream (homemade)
Japanese Stroll Garden Relaxing Day
Kayaking @ Lake Springfield (or in Arkansas)
Library Program and/or visit
Movie Day
Neighbors Over
Outing with Henry
Pizza Picnic at the Park with Pop
Quick! Run from the water balloons!
Runway (buy new school clothes and show them off); Rainbow Making
Six Flags with Stolls
Treasure Hunt
Upcycle Craft Day
Venture to the Lake
Water Fun @ Republic Pool
Xmas Day – Celebrate Christmas in July
Yogurt (the frozen kind) and Yoga
Zone Visit (Sky Zone that is!)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I like her growing up!

I often use hashtags like #yearsflyingby #growinguptoofast #timepleaseslowdown #nopausebutton -- I feel this. Every day. I love being a momma. I love these years. I don't want them to end.

And yet I do. Because I like watching my girls grow up. I like seeing them discover this world, to enjoy relationships, and be all who God created them to be.  If they never grew up, I wouldn't get the joy of experiencing all these bittersweet moments of motherhood. 

I just had to pause on this cloudy Saturday morning, while Mike and our girls are watching yet another episode of Star Trek Next Generation, and record one such incident.

Last year, and at the beginning of this year, Morgan use to dread, I mean absolutely dread, going to school on pep assembly days.  She had this paralyzing fear that she would be called to the front of the school and have to participate in the assembly in front of everyone.  (All of us true introverts just said amen!) But for her, it was intense. She would actually beg me to let her stay home from school on pep assembly days.  And I had to remind her how she had begged me in kindergarten to stay home from school on field day because of these same fears, and yet she came home saying it was her best day ever.  Then  I'd send her off with a prayer whispered upward.

Well yesterday, she performed with her color guard team at the pep assembly!! Yes.She.Did. And then, after school she tried out for the high school color guard team which means she will be performing in front of large audiences this coming year if she makes the team!

This 'growing up' of hers makes my heart sing and dance in a hundred shades of happiness. 

I will also add, that a couple of weeks ago the youth had a march madness night - and even on the way to church she was like "I am NOT going to be on a team for games" -- and after she got home... "Guess what mom, our team WON and I actually participated in a relay in front of everyone - it was awesome!!" Growth. It's a beautiful thing.

Spring is here. She is blossoming. Life is beautiful. I love this season we are in.

And if I couldn't be proud enough already...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Everyday Life & The Moon

Mike has taken the girls to an all day boater safety class - which leaves me a glorious day to myself! :) Well this is my 2nd day, since I had yesterday off too. But yesterday I had to make 9 orders in my etsy shop and do laundry, and pay bills.  And today I'm spending a chunk of the day doing taxes. But still it's 'my day'! :) And I'm trying NOT to think about the fact the girls will actually be driving the boat this summer!! gulp.

Yesterday, Morgan was so excited when she came home from school -- she got all the info to choose her classes for HS next year!!  I enjoyed sitting on the couch with her for 45 minutes reviewing it all, listening to her dreams and desires about her future. I am still in denial that she is this old already, but doing my best to embrace it and enjoy the moments it holds. BTW, she's definitely interested in a science field right now and is super excited she gets to take two honors classes next year - she already had her teacher's signatures of approval! She is on the ball!

Sarah is turning 12 in 4 more days. She thinks it's funny to remind me. Because I make a big deal of it - 12?! 12! How is this possible? You can't be 12 yet! :) Seriously, she can't be! She recently finished the Harry Potter Series - she read all 6 books in like 6 weeks. She averaged 80 pages a day (I made her do the math - I think she may have rolled her eyes at me - but I like dorky facts like that!) And for her birthday she can think of nothing she wants.  She still has Christmas money she hasn't spent.  I love how she is just content, happy in the moment, happy with what she has. After two weeks of asking what she wants, she finally came in this morning and told me -- Mom, I finally know what I want, a new hairbrush!! She makes me think extra hard to find a great gift for her! :)

photo source: unknown

And lastly, I've been wanting to write about the moon, ever since it took my breath away earlier this week -- and several other times this week -- it's been beautiful! (And I can appreciate a full moon even more now that I'm no longer subbing! ;) )

I turned the corner, and I gasped, was that the moon rising over the tree tops? How could it possibly look so enormous? Did it really have a pink hue too it, as the equally breathtaking winter sunset was reflecting off it? I wanted to chase it down, I didn't want to go down the hill and watch it disappear.  After I finally emerged on the other side of the valley and the trees, it was still beautiful, but it had risen more, and there it was now - a brilliant white shinning down on this earth, reflecting light for all to see.

In that moment, I had this thought. The moon doesn't make it's own light. It simply relfects the sun's light.  As Christians, isn't this true for us? We don't make our own light, but the more we turn towards the Son, the more we are able to reflect His light (and love and hope) onto this earth. And I was reminded that is what I want, for others to see Him when they look at my life. That is my prayer. My #discovery for this week.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dear Sleep, I miss you!

Dear Sleep, Why have you left me? Where have you gone? I LOVE YOU and I really really wish you'd return to me.  I'm not too fond of my friend Mr. Insomnia.  Hey, I tell you what, it's the weekend, let's get reconnected! What do you say? You in?! Love, me

Seriously, it's been quite a week. Some long days and even longer sleepless nights.  But in the midst of it all, there is this...

Back when I was still bottle feeding Morgan, I still remember what one of the moms in my bible study shared - I don't remember her name, but I remember her words. They went something like this: when my kids get home, I try to take a little bit of the harshness and realities of the world away. I've also heard it said something like this: home should be a safe place to land.  And that is what I've tried to do within the four walls of our make it a home, a place where my girls feel safe, loved unconditionally, and want to be!

Well you know what I've discovered this week? That this home has been a safe place for me to land this week.  At the end of a very long day Wednesday - I dropped girls off at school at 7am and didn't return from work til 6pm - I came home to Mike having made me my Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (since we finally got some more wild rice after Duke decided to steal the last delivery of rice off the front porch and scatter it in the yard!) and Morgan had made her frosted brownies from scratch.

Then last night, I came home to dinner coming out of the oven again, followed by an evening filled with pure silliness and tons of laughter pouring through the rooms of our home. I mostly laid on the couch and did complete a few etsy orders (speaking of which - I got my DBA, tax ID and checking account set up finally this past week for my etsy store - since this has become more than just a hobby and the orders keep coming in! yay!)  I paused in my exhaustion and cherished that which is "home". 

Also, in the message last Sunday, we were challenged to ask others "what's it like on the other side of me?" You know, how do others really see me -- how do I make them feel?  I still want to ask a few friends who I know will be honest with me, but I asked Mike and the girls this week.

Mike informed me that he likes both sides of me! ;) (And I'll keep the rest of his insight private.)  

Morgan said that she likes how I  always look for the positive in things and how even though it's annoying, she likes how I don't let them rot their brain watching TV and make them do other things, and that I give them 'jobs' so that they will be responsible when they grow up! Even though she did say I was 'cheap' and not paying them enough for jobs around the house!  Umm, I confess, it's true.

Sarah said she likes how I care about other people, that I'm loving and she thinks I do a good job providing the right kind of discipline when they need it. (Mike says that means I'm too easy on them -- but we all know he's the softy!)

I don't know how I got these amazing kids, but I'm so glad to be their momma and share this journey with their amazing dad! 

I know they won't always see things so positively, being that we have several teenage years ahead, but for this week, I'll treasure their responses and use them as a confirmation that despite all the times I yell and feel like I screw up as a mom, and find myself crying because I don't know what to do, that maybe, just maybe, I'm doing something right!

And lastly, there are these two who melt my heart...

Friday, January 2, 2015

Discover: My One Word for 2015

My word for 2015 is DISCOVER. Here's some of the random thoughts about this word going through my head after a sleepless night of pondering it last night.  I'm sure it will look different as the year plays out, but here's my starting point.

  • Most importantly I want to discover, or better, REdiscover God.  I want to be awed by the God of the universe - by His majesty, His greatness, His love. I don't want to take my relationship with Him for granted. I want to rediscover this amazing God!
  • I want to discover new ways to connect with my growing girls.  Morgan will be entering HS this year (do you know how hard it is to type those words?!) and Sarah is in MS -- I need to keep my eyes open for ways to stay connected to them while at the same time inspiring their independence. A fine balance to discover. 
  • Mike and I started this last month, but we want to continue to discover new restaurants in Downtown Springfield with a weekly lunch date now that we are both working downtown.
  • I'd like to discover just how strong my body really is and push myself to better health, flexibility and strength. To discover that my body is stronger than I realize. (This may be the hardest!) 
  • I want to discover my position in my new job - it's a position that is being created and evolving and I know it will look a lot different by the end of this year than it looks now. 
  • Here's another REdiscover... I want to rediscover my love for writing. I have barely wrote anything, private or public this past year. 
  • I want to discover a new 'look' for me... to reinvent my wardrobe over the coming year. (Maybe this is the beginning of my mid-life crisis?! ha!) But seriously, do you know how many clothes in my drawers are ones I had 15 years ago?! It's time to discover something new. 
  • Discover new trails, maybe even a new place, new places to replenish my soul. 
"When it comes time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived." Henry David Thoreau #quote #thoreau

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 In Review

A few “Milestones” of 2014…
  • We celebrated our 20th Anniversary in Bar Harbor, Maine. How is this possible?! #yearsflyingby
  • Longest road trip ever! (3800 miles in 17 days – DC, Philly, Boston, Maine & Hershey!)
  • Became a two dog family, Duke became Daisy’s little bro in August. He’s a great personal trainer for Daisy!  
  • Morgan turned 13. 8th grade.  She ran cross country this fall and is currently doing color guard. She plays clarinet.  She makes straight A’s and is taking advanced science and math classes.  She was inducted as a member of National Jr. Honor Society.
  • Sarah started Middle School and she too gets straight A’s. She’s 11 and in 6th grade. She’s been learning to play the flute. She LOVES reading, currently working on the Harry Potter series. 
  • Girls still love swim team during the summer months.
  • Cathy has enjoyed continued success in her etsy shop:  -- she also  published an ebook this past Spring called A to Z Summer Fun on
  • We all volunteer Sundays at church, and once a month, Cathy and the girls do a craft night at a crisis maternity home with the moms. We’ve also supported Casa Adalia in Ecuador, a safe home for girls rescued from slavery.  

We don’t know what 2015 will bring, but we are thankful we don’t journey this lifetime alone. We wish you much joy and happiness in the coming year!

Friday, August 15, 2014


What a summer! What a week! Wish I had captured more of summer in my blog, but obviously (hello, last entry June 17th!), I did not. From celebrating my nephew's graduation, to Morgan becoming a teen, to an amazing swim team season, to our incredible 17 day road trip on the East Coast, to the lazy days of doing crafts and hanging with my girls - it was good.

Road Trip 2014

And this week -- Sarah's half birthday (11 and a half!), Back to School (both girls in Middle School this year!), Our 20th Anniversary, 3 job interviews (what, oh what, do I want to 'do' with my life?!), and family pictures to capture the beauty of this season of our life.

Back to School, 6th & 8th Grade

On Tuesday I broke down sobbing. I mean sobbing for over an hour.  It was a good cry. I need those every now and then.  My heart has been full this week.

25 years ago, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song called "I will be here" - it's been 'our' song through our dating and marriage years.  And recently, well he wrote a new love song for his wife called 'Together' -- and listening to it again moved me to sobbing tears . You can listen here:

You see, there have been some really dark days in our marriage.  Of grieving, and giving each other space to grieve in their own way, two years into our marriage when Mike's mom and sister were murdered.  To my ongoing struggle with depression, which peaked as postpartum after Sarah was born and I would cry in the morning begging him not to leave for work. We've had our spats and disagreements about needs and wants, about intimacy and finances. We've been selfish. We've definitely had our moments in the past 20 years.

But what we know now in our marriage, in our lives, that we get to share with our beautiful daughters, is JOY! Love, happiness, blessings - these words describe this season of our lives.  And I couldn't be more grateful.  How did we get to this place?

I think Steven Curtis Chapman captures it in this song.

And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace
There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together

It's because God has been faithful, because He has shown us mercy and grace, that we have healed, we have worked through our deepest darkest days and our selfishness.  It's because of Him that we are in this beautiful season of joy...together!  

And for all the days yet to come, whether they bring more joy or more pain, we are thankful that we share it...together.
20 Years!! 
Acadia National Park, Maine (20th Anniversary Getaway)

ps -  if you need some encouragement, I have absolutely LOVED Steven Curtis Chapman's newest album, Glorious Unfolding.  His songs are authentic, real, yet full of hope and beauty. You won't be disappointed if you download it. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A to Z Summer *ART* Fun

Finally got our list finalized today for our A to Z Summer *ART* fun. Inspired of course by pinterest! :)

It was a beautiful morning to get started too with acrylic painting outside on the deck!

Our A to Z Summer *ART* Fun:

A Acrylic Painting
B Build Sculptures (clay)
C Cupcake Decorating
D Drawing Outside
E Etching Glass
F Furniture Decorating
G Groovy (tye dye) t-shirts (ombre)
H Homemade Sidewalk Chalk
I Illustrate (Shel Silverstien poems?)
J Jewelry Making
K Kindness Day (make art to give away)
L Look thru the Lens (forced photography)
M Messy Art
N Nature Art
O Origami
P Paper Mache
Q Quote Art
R Recycle Project
S Scrapbooking
T Thread & Needle Creation
U Upcycle Creation (with brown paper bags?)
V Vanish Point Drawings / Village Pottery
W Weaving
X Xplore Calligraphy and Font Making
Y Yummy Art
Z Zany Fun with book folding(?)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Growing Pains (in my momma heart!)

I'm still amazed at how fast these years are flying by.  These sweet, beautiful years, refuse to slow down.  In the last 24 hours, my momma heart has been filled with bittersweet tugs.

Yesterday I found Morgan crying in my bed.  Why? Because she was trying to finish reading The Outsiders, and the words on the page so moved and touched her, she couldn't stop crying to read the words to finish the story.  Oh how I love that words have penetrated her heart in this beautiful way.  

Today was my last lunch with Sarah at her school.  She has 1 and a half days of school left, and she will venture onto Middle School.  The problem with having my girls so close together is how each stage is full, then so quickly over. The days of elementary school are over for us.  And yes, my eyes fill with tears as I type this words.  They've been good years.  Not how I exactly pictured them, but good none the less.  And so very beautiful.

Last night Sarah mowed the entire front lawn by herself.  I'm amazed at how capable she is of these seemingly 'grownup' tasks.

Morgan's introverted self has struggled with middle school friendships this year (oh, how I can relate!). But she has excelled in academics.  The end of the year has brought much joy as we celebrate her being accepted in NJHS, and her teachers recommending her for algebra and advanced science next year.  She works so hard, and it's so nice to see others recognize her efforts.

Sarah's Night at the Museum.

We have 5 summers left with Morgan and 7 with Sarah.  You better believe we will fill them with as much happiness and memories as we can!  Can't wait for our 3500 mile road trip this summer!! (DC, Philly, Boston, Maine, and Hershey!)

Sarah's first 5K! 5.31.14

Swim Team Practice has begun again!
Mike and I get beautiful sunsets to enjoy while they swim! 
Here are a few more of my thoughts on these fleeting years.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dreamin' of Another Website

I'm feeling inspired lately. I want to start a website, two actually. So... I've been praying and thinking and trying to decide if either, or both, should be pursued at this time in my life.  So part of this post is me thinking aloud, and part of this is me writing them down so I don't forget them, in case I want to pick them up at a later date. And I'd love any insight/input from those of you who read my words and inspire me! Thank you and big ((hugs)) in advance!!

A Mom's Toolbox
'cuz kids don't come with manuals

This would be a website with practical tools for parents to use every day in the journey of parenting.  I'd like it to be a place where I can reference my book(s)*, offer printables from my etsy shop, bring over some of my ideas from,and hopefully one day include links to the apps I'd love to create.  I see categories which include resources for young kids, school age, teens, college-age, and marriage too.   I think I could have a lot of fun with the 'toolbox' theme - I like the practicality of it.

A Mosaic Heart
a place to heal when life shatters your heart into a million unrecognizable pieces

I see this as a place to include resources for people who are healing from those really hard places in life. Because when life shatters your heart into a million unrecognizable pieces, it's good to know you are not alone and there are others who have been there, who have struggled, and who are asking really *hard* questions. To be encouraged by others who have found joy after tragedy - those who found a new mosaic heart during the journey of healing.  I have a file of resources I collected on my journey of healing and I'd love to share them and give others hope too!

*On a side note, I actually published my first book (A to Z Summer Fun) at the end of March!! I even got to do a live radio interview about it on KSBJ out of Houston (nation's largest christian radio station) a couple of weeks ago -- I was thrilled when they contacted me out of the blue to share my ideas for families. What an awesome experience (even if my introverted self was super nervous to be on a live station for 40 minutes!).  It was an experience that I will long remember. It felt like a giant hug from God. And I love it when I feel his hugs on earth!