Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You Go Girl!

This video is for all "my girls" out there (just trying to Keep it Real). When I watched this video (must have tissue close by) I was overcome by thankfulness for all the wonderful friends that I have. I have truly been blessed to know some amazing women. So this video goes out to them and all the other strong women out there. Afterall, we couldn't be strong without support from each other

Lots of love!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Let's Make A Deal

I don't know if it's the post Christmas attitude or what, but whatever it is better end soon! Today I feel like I have been negotiating with our governments best negotiator over candy, no naps, not wanting to pick up toys, clothes etc.

Don't get me wrong, this IS an everyday occurance but today her reasoning and excuses are catching me off guard and making me laugh more than normal. I have had people tell me just to spank her, but with her it isn't that easy. I know this is a controversal subject but I totally believe in spankings. However, her behind is immune to them (or at least mine). We have found that the ultimate punishment for Lauren is grounding her or putting the favorite toy of the moment in time out. As for Evan, he's easy, just give him a stern look and it breaks his little heart & he will apologize and try to make amends. If THE LOOK doesn't work a spanking always will (with him).

Many of today's conversations went a little like this one:

Lauren: Hey Mom, let's make a deal. I will obey will tomorrow IFFFF you let me not take a nap AND play with my leapster RIGHT NOW.

Mom: Hey Lauren, I've got a deal for you; You lay down & take your nap or I'll give your leapster away to someone less fortunate. (She knows I'm serious... She has seen me give away more and without a reason).

She went to bed & was successful at resisting sleep but rested for the allotted nap time. So this one was a draw.

Consequently, after todays little verbal matches with my three year old daugter I absolutely agree that people should take classes before becoming a parent. I could definitely benefit from a negotiating without laughing 101 course.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

12 Days Update

Our family had a bit of a late start due to Evan being a bit sick but we are back and making up for lost time. We do know how to count in our household but we are going to be skipping around a bit.

#5. After digging through the attic (this will be a future Tackle-It-Tuesday project) and finding the coats that I had set aside last winter. We made the drop off, the kids are really getting excited about helping others and I am thankful because I have been trying to REALLY build it up for them.

#6. Well each time we pass a bucket we give change... Lauren & Evan love ringing the bell. We usually let them ride the pony at the grocery store but throughout the holidays they have chosen to give their pony-money to others. (My hand is over my heart & I am teary-eyed.... because yes I am THAT proud).

#9. We have been doing quite a bit of "free" babysitting but it hasn't been limited to just the neighborhood and due to many people that I know traveling, no one has needed anyone for the full week.

Internet, Tomorrow we will be passing out dinners and I will keep you posted about the outcome. Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Spirit...

... we are still working on it.

When it comes to helping others, Lauren runs to the front of the line. She LOVES helping and giving things to others. But at Christmas, the one time of the year that we are supposed to give, she only thinks of receiving and what Santa is going to bring her.

We were shopping at the store and purchasing a few last minute Christmas gifts for nieces & nephews. While standing at the register, Lauren asked "Where are MY toys". I responded by telling her that we don't buy Christmas presents for ourselves that we buy for others and give gifts to OTHER people.

She gave it another shot, "Please."

"No Toys, besides you guys haven't exactly behaved while shopping today. Lauren was smashing Evan in the cart and he was being fussy. You guys know that I'm not going to reward that behavior. Why would I want to buy toys?" I explain to her thinking that she knew the rules and couldn't argue with that.

I underestimated her though she turned to me with her cutest face, head tilted slightly, "Well Mom because you LOVE me and I LIKE them."

My first thought was, she's only 3 and knows how to pull my heart strings... I'm screwed. Of course, she did NOT get a toy, but she did get a good laugh from me. Her little wit amuses me to no end.

Flashback Friday

It all started last year, she was only two years old and loved everything princess, doesn't every little girl? So we bought her a Disney princess movie and were excited about... well let's face it... how excited she was at the time. Life was good.

Later that evening, Dad just got home and we were sitting down eating dinner together. It was all quite cozy and then it happened... the sun went down immediately, the lights flickered, and then out of her mouth came THE WORDS... "Dad, you are ruining my life," and then she covered her eyes with her tiny hands and then exasperated, she slammed her head & hands on the table. What was dear old dad doing to RUIN a 2 yr old life, you ask... he simply told her to eat her vegetables. I had to cover my face with my napkin & then step out of the room to hide my laughter. Normally I wouldn't think this attitude was funny but well let's face it... it wasn't directed at me and it was over veggies. Once she actually tasted them she ate all of them but we did have to deal with the drama first. After things cooled down, he came back to the table and my poor bewildered husband asked where his innocent little girl learned such a hate-filled statement.

I hated to deflate our balloon full of happiness but I had to be the bearer of bad news... it was Disney. I'm not knocking Disney, after all they have made some of my all-time favorite movies. But as we both already knew our daughter was in the middle of her "Mimic" stage, she would repeat everything she heard and saw throughout the day. She would take it all in and then apply it within the next few days... it was always easy to tell what those around us were up to just by watching our daughter. She was amazing. So like she did with everything else, she watched the show then played it out. I had to explain to Corey what happened in the movie; Miss Princess wasn't allowed to marry the one she wanted because he wasn't a prince, so she told her dad that he was ruining her life. As I was replaying the movie for him, I was still laughing and enjoying myself a little too much. I explained to him, hey we gotta give her credit she totally used it in the correct context .

We still watch Disney, but we decided to shelf the princess movies for a few years. We aren't ready for the drama, the temper tantrums and ughhhh... the whining. The Princess movies have great moral stories to teach but for now we'll find another way for her to learn them, without the baggage.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Poor Lil Baby Boy

Little Evan,

It hurts my heart to see you like this. The last two days have not been very easy for you, you've had a high fever, chills, runny nose, and a nasty cough. If I could take it away and suffer for you, I would in a heartbeat. In the picture above, you are wanting to eat, you put in a specific order knowing exactly what you wanted for lunch, but when I made it for you, you couldn't eat. You were full after just a few bites... all that darned drainage. You already have a few passions in life and food is at the top of that list. (You get that from me). So when you looked at the food that still remained on your plate with such a sad face, I totally understood. It was as if you were saying goodbye to your best friend that you wouldn't see for a LONG few HOURS, which is FOREVER in two year old time. That expression on your face said it all, but you asked me to please save your food in case you made room in your belly. Afterall, we couldn't abandon a friend like that; your motto, "No food left behind".

As my son, you have changed my view of parenthood in many ways teaching me new things everyday. Once I was listening to a friend griping about her job; how her boss didn't appreciate her and she worked her tail off without any breaks and no thank you's. I wanted to tell her, "well stop accepting a paycheck and you've just defined a SAHM (stay at home mom)". But realized that wouldn't be productive so I just let her vent and it's a good thing because the very next day, after I changed one of your many diapers (you were barely one year old at the time) you turned back to me before running to grab a toy & dash off and said, "Tay too" (a.k.a Thank you). I sat there for a minute feeling stunned and so appreciated. I had NEVER heard a child ever thank someone for changing a diaper... it's a given as your parents, we are SUPPOSED to change them. Well that was just the beginning, you still make me feel very appreciated and I love taking care of you. I couldn't dream of a better job. I thank God for letting me have the opportunity!!!!!

You have changed my life in so many ways, and have shown me love like I've never experienced before. Your sweet tender soul has taught me so much about God and God's love that I am amazed on a daily basis. I thank God everyday for my two beautiful blessings that He has brought into my life and I pray that I am all that He wants me to be for YOU.

You are the sweetest little boy and you melt my heart each and every day.
I am praying that you get better soon little one. I look forward to seeing you bouncing off the walls again soon.

I love you!

Evan all wrapped up in his comforter because of the chills waiting for his lunch to cook

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Are Not Worthy

A few nights ago, the moon was so breathtaking and bright that the night sky was a beautiful blue. The roads were busy with people traveling home from work but I wasn't the only person that pulled over on the side of the road to get a picture. (I had to actually get out of the car because the vibration of the motor was causing the picture to be too blurry... and let me tell you it was... COLD, but worth it).

Later that evening my husband told me that the moon was the closest to the Earth that it has been or ever will be again during our lifetime. So needless to say, I was very pleased to have a picture to remember the moment.

At moments like this, I am so thankful to be able to enjoy all these experiences that God offers us. I feel extremely fortunate and so thankful for his amazing grace. Because let's face it...

(Doing my greatest Mike Meyers' SNL Wayne's World impersonation)...

We are not WORTHY! We are not WORTHY!

Ice Age

I came across this and thought this was a step up from alphabet soup and a great way to encourage the kids to drink more water.


I finally finished changing the template. I have found a site that makes it so easy with only ONE problem... deciding which template you want to use.


I'm so excited...

... and I just can't hide it. I know it doesn't take much, however I have good reason this time.


Kameron from A Wrinkle in Time just opened her new Etsy store and had a grand opening giveawayto kick it off.

So I wanted to say a special thanks to Kameron and to let everyone know about the cute store that she has just opened. Check it out!

The Store:

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Skin I'm In

... is mistreated.

Lots of time spent at the beach & lake (sun damage... worth every memory)
Lots of time running, biking, boating, & motorcycle riding (wind damage... again worth it)

I know I'm terrible. So now I am trying to make up for "the memories" that I've inflicted on my skin. I was very fortunate during my teenage years and had great skin, rarely had a break out... I was sickeningly lucky. But that "luckiness" turned to laziness so NOW I am paying for it. I never developed a good routine nor did I have the knowlegde of what was best for me (Dad, if your reading this you can STOP saying "I told you so... or That's what I was trying to tell you then"... this is about something TOTALLY different).

This is about skin.

Dawn at Dawn's Diversions posted a blog that I really appreciate. Thank you Dawn. Like I said, I need someone to sit down & point blank tell me what to do when it cames to skin care. Afterall, there's 50 bajillion things out there. AND I'm very grateful to find out that the things that are the best ARE NOT the most expensive. YooHoo.

I was thankful to read it's easy and not a long list of different things to use. I don't have the patience to have even a 4-step skin care regime, nor do I want to stand in front of a mirror for a long period of time. So this was perfect.

Since she has already taken the precious time to write down the information that she gathered from Dr. Oz, I would recommend that you go to her blog to view the post. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12 Days of Receiving

I am so looking forward to this contest. I read about this contest last night and it definitely peaked my interest. I realize that I am not helping out my odds by sharing about the contest, however by sharing I am entering in the Lucky #13 contest. If you are interested in seeing what she is doing, check out the link.

My fingers and toes are crossed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Wreath Edible Craft

This is an actual recipe but I would only give it one star out of five. I have to add, I don't like cornflakes and neither do our kids... in any shape or form (even wreaths) so that little fact may have a little to do with us not caring for the taste. HOWEVER as for the craft I would give it FIVE stars. We had so much fun making them. They loved measuring the ingredients and counting the marshmallows and helping me mix everything up. Their favorite part, of course, was eating the skittles & twizzlers that we didn't use. We all had a blast!

1 Stick Butter

30 lg marshmallows

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp green food coloring

4 cups cornflakes

Red Hot Candies (or Skittles or M&Ms)

In a saucepan melt butter and marshmallows, stirring frequently. Add vanilla and food coloring. Pour mixture over cornflakes and stir well. Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper. While cookie wreathes are hot decorate with red hots.

(Moms: If you use Skittles you may need to use two spoonfuls of cornflakes to make bigger more proportional wreaths. I probably don't have to say this, but I'm a worrywart so... Please test the hot cornflakes before you let your kids help form them).

12 Days of Giving


1. Take cups of hot drinks to people holding "Going out of Business" signs at the intersections. -Man, what a crummy job, eh? And you have to be pretty desolate to take it, I would imagine. I always think they look so cold.

2. Purchase and donate a toy to Toys for Tots. We are doing a community toy drive and taking all toys to a few organizations, majority go to the Salvation Army. This is a BIG help.

3. Bag of Food. -At some grocery stores you can opt to purchase groceries or a Turkey/Ham for a family in need. $7 for some groceries or $10 for a Turkey/Ham at Smith's/Kroger's.

4. Deliver Dinner & gift to neighbor. (If you don't know someone who needs it, contact a local church they usually know of a few people who could use the dinner or assistance).

5. Donate coats -A Christian charity in town is collecting coats for kids in need. We have many coats. Don't really need 4 coats per kid.

6. Collect Change to put in the Red Bucket at Wal-Mart. -We're going to scour our house and look for loose change laying around and then take it over and donate it.

7. Food Drive Scavenger Hunt. -We're hosting a little 'Party' for the neighborhood kids. Part of this party is that we are sending them out on a 'Scavenger Hunt' for food items to be donated to the local Food Bank. Food Banks around the nation are completely tapped out. More people than ever are in need of them and they can't keep up with the demand.

8. Buy lunch for someone holding a sign that says 'Please Help'. -Initially we said Homeless Person, but maybe they're not homeless. *shrug* We can buy them lunch. (I keep bags of chips or cereal bars in my console for them... something is better than nothing).

9. Watch a couple of the neighborkids for the week, for free, while they're out on Christmas break so their parents don't have to come up with daycare money.

10. Take cookies to the Fire Department with husband of course (after all he enjoys the firetrucks as much as my son... They NEVER grow out of that).

11. Take flowers to an elderly woman who may be alone for the Holidays.

12. Whatever God lays on our hearts.

While trying to play catch up on reading blogs, I came across this one and had to pass it along. I love the heart behind it. For those of you with kids this is a great time to curb that thought of entitlement and teach them to give and think of others. I realize that many people are on budgets, this is also a great time to get them involved and teach them about sacrifice and let them help you decide what they would like to give up (a night eating out) so that they can help someone else.

If you like the idea, grab the button above, make a list, or blog-lift this one (I kinda did), and pass it along. Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

I realize that this post is old (11/28/2008) but I was waiting to get the pictures from my camera. After all they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I guess I am REALLY trying to save you reading time. :-)

I absolutely love the holidays and decorating for Christmas. This year I had the outdoor lights up a few weeks before Thanksgiving and I was just waiting for the clock to strike midnight so I could flip the switch. I would love to say that I was more patient with the tree, but I can't. I had the big red totes sitting in our living room for a week before I could actually open the lids. And I do mean "could"... you tell a two and three year old no they can't break out the goods after they have seen all the sparkling decorations and twinkling lights. For that matter tell a 33 year old that... getting the "no" through to me in that situation isn't much better.

During that moment, and only during that moment, I understand what happens when a My Little Pony commercial comes on TV (I've banned TV during the holidays... too many commercials)... she goes into tunnel vision, she can't hear me, a fire truck driving through the living room, much less her brother who is lying under her screaming "Geta offa me" in his 2 yr old language because she stopped dead in her tracks when the commercial began ON TOP OF HIM. The great news is that as soon as it ends she regains all of her senses, she can suddenly hear again, see the rest of the world, and feel that she is on top of her thrashing brother who is trying to get loose. (The funny part of that is she can't hold onto him when she is trying... only when she is in the My Little Pony trance can she best him in wrestling). Once I get Lauren off Evan and wipe the drool off her face... I wish I could say that it wasn't that bad, but it is. Now just picture a grown woman going through that with Christmas decorations. I know it's pathetic, but I don't regret any of it, not a single once of drool. :-)


Evan's favorite part of the evening was the hot chocolate
A Perfect End to a Perfect Evening

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Cab Ride

The Cab Ride

So I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'.

'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said.

'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Cowboy

I have seen this a few times but the wisdom in the message touches my heart each time. I hope that you enjoy the video.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The pregnancy epidemic

About six months ago... It's a question that every parent fears. "Where do babies come from?" For me, when the question arose it felt like something out of a horror movie. My heart began to pound like the hooves of a racehorse and my thoughts were racing through my mind... which story should I choose. I thought back (yes, WAY back), to what my mother told me... OH DEAR LORD... no way, that version was entirely too graphic and disgustingly detailed. It sounded like she was reading it from a medical journal. So I went with the stork version. She laughed and didn't believe me, but the distraction worked. I dodged that one... now hopefully it won't come back up for 15 more years.

About three months ago... Corey, Lauren, & I had to go to the dermatologist for our annual skin checkup. Unfortunately we were both blessed with beautiful skin that loves close attention from a doctor and we passed that on to our lovely daughter. Knowing my husband, I scheduled our appointments together so he couldn't sneak out the back door or just find something else that HAD to be done at that specific moment. So Lauren was lucky enough to have front row seating while I had a mole removed from my belly. (I was sad, it was a dark freckle that looked more like a beauty mark, I thought it was cute. AND I'm not fond of being cut but it was potentially a hazard to my health so it had to go).

The following day... I was taking Lauren to the park and in a sing-song extremely excited voice, Lauren exclaimed "Mommy, you're going to have a BABY." Since God has gifted this little girl with the ability of knowing things that she shouldn't KNOW yet, I was amused and ready to hear what she had to say.

Mommy: "Why do you say that Lauren?" (Dreading that her next words would be that my belly was getting big... I gain 5 pounds and she notices).

Lauren: "Because Mommy, I SAW the doctor put the baby in your belly yesterday."

Mommy: "OH So that's how babies get in your belly... well I thought that the doctor was just removing a mole for Mommy."

Lauren: "No Mommy, he took the mole & left you a baby... and it's going to be a girl so that I can have a sister".

Mommy (Totally waving my white flag; she is very strong-willed and doesn't give up easily so I've learned to pick & choose my battles. If I fought them all it would be difficult to hold onto my sanity) : Honey, Daddy is the only man that can give Mommy any babies and I think that he already gave me the ONLY two babies that he had. And I love the babies that he gave me because they are the best. (At this time my fingers & toes are all crossed in hopes that she accepts that and we can move on).

She didn't say anything else & I thought that book was closed.

A month ago... we were all gathered around at my parents home with ALL my siblings & their spouses and my brother. My brother was watching Corey & I with our nieces & nephews and asked us if we were going to have more kids. I said no and left it at that... But Lauren couldn't. She piped in saying, "No, they can't have any more, Daddy has had a vasectomy." At this point, all I can say is THANK GOD I had just swallowed my drink otherwise it would have come flying out of my mouth. Everyone around us erupted in laughter... just hearing the words from a 3 yr old's mouth and knowing that she understands what it means baffled them all... and me. So much for the stork or the magic dermatologist stories.

In all honesty, I can't blame the girl for being curious. She is only three. There are ten, yes you read correctly... 10... little cousins under 4 yrs old. So in her little lifetime, she has always had two to three pregnant aunts & mom at all times. There has not been a time in her life where at least one of the adult females around her were not pregnant. So the curiosity is justified. But then yesterday I looked in the backseat and saw this...

Lauren was sitting in the back seat with her belly all poofed out and she was rubbing it as if she was pregnant (and sucking her thumb... and no I did NOT rub my belly & suck my thumb while I was pregnant. At least not at the same time. Just kidding).

So I asked her what she was doing and she told me that she was "just rubbing her baby" . I couldn't help myself... "well honey I hope you can be patient because you have to wait for 27 more years AND until you are married before your baby will be finished growing. With a sweet smile Lauren just responded, you're so silly Mommy. I laughed & said no I'm SOOOO serious.

Disclaimer: I know that I REALLY need to start carrying a camera because the camera on my phone just really doesn't do "life" justice... but it's better than nothing.

Green Monday on 12/8/08

To be totally honest... I didn't know that there was such a "sale day".

However I am finding some great discounts. I will create links as I find them and add them to this post. Happy shopping.

Green Monday

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Spirit - Giveaway

This isn't the typical blogger's giveaway post.

I am a strong believer in blessing others as you have been blessed.

At Christmas Corey has organized a toy drive in Sapulpa and he collects toys to give to the children & organizations that have kids in need of gifts. Over the last four years, the toy drive has grown each year and other businesses have chosen to get involved and help. It really has been a blessing. This year they are reaching out to even more in the community by accepting toys during the Sapulpa Christmas parade. I realize the economy is really taking a hit but I do hope that people are able to spend a few dollars on a child... it's worth the smile on their face. It's a reminder to them that people do care about them.

I have adopted a family... They don't know it yet. I have known of this family for sometime, and God has really put them on my heart lately. They are foster parents and wonderful parents to their kids. Very loving and helpful people who ALWAYS go out of their way to help others. The mother works with kids all day, then goes to work at two other jobs to make ends meet. She does whatever she has to do to help ALL of her children in such a loving manner. (I don't know when she sleeps).

The organization that has received most of my attention lately has been the Organ Transplant Fund at Believer's Church in Tulsa. It all started when we found out that my dad was going to need a double organ transplant and his insurance wouldn't cover it. Believer's church set up an account to accept contributions to help cover medical costs and we began fundraising. Since then I have learned about so many others in need of financial help due to organ related medical issues... people from the ages of ten months to 55 years old. In the future I have hopes to help out many others through fundraising for this cause.

There are many churches in all of our areas that are trying to help single moms and families that under difficult times. I do hope that all of us are able to put our situations "lifestyles" in perspective and do what we can to help others in need. Keep in mind, many of these churches and organizations accept the donations which are tax deductible to you, then can bless these families in need.