Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Musings

It's been raining all day long.  And I think Fall is really settling in.  At least we have the pumpkins and mum and pumpkin spice candle to make us think it's settling in.  And tomorrow is October 1.

Last night I watched some of the Sister Wives on TLC.  Wow.  Found my new reality show obsession.  Crazy.  More on that later, I'm sure.

And now, I want to mindlessly read all my favorite blogs.

But I can't because I have to re-educate myself on Safeguarding God's Children.  An uncomfortable but very necessary educational program on keeping our children safe in a church environment.  I'm not looking forward to it but am pleased we require it for all youth volunteers at the church.

Happy Fall Colors to you! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Freshman Friend

Lauren came to visit.  As always, it was fab to see her.  As always, I'm so glad we were freshman neighbors in the dorm.

We headed to the country to get ourselves some Fall bounty.

Lauren photographed me and the girls.  Rare time in front of the camera.

Although it wasn't easy

getting everyone on board with the venture,

I'm so glad we did it.

It was a wonderful day

communing with the animals

exploring nature.

Until we meet again, my Davis Dorm friend.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Heart Faces

It's all about chalk at I Heart Faces this week.  Eloise likes to get down and dirty with the colorful stuff.  The world is your canvas, sweetheart, and I think it needs more color.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Las Madres

Let's face it, folks, women make the world turn.  You know it's true.  Without us, flowers wouldn't be on the table, the pumpkin pie wouldn't have whipped cream on top, and little bottoms wouldn't have diaper cream on them.  The laundry wouldn't be ironed and bows wouldn't adorn our little girls' precious heads.  It's the fine points in life that we pull together.

It's the nurturing, the care, the hugs, and the thoughtfulness that women feed the world.  It's the listening ear we offer.  The chocolate chip cookies we bake.

Well, at least in an alternate universe, right?  We might strive for this stereotype, I'm guilty of it, but it's just impossible when I consider all that I have going on in my life.  So this weekend, we had a women's retreat to help us ladies recuperate, rejuvenate, and refuel with the spiritual sustenance to be all things to all people all the time.  (Come on, you know it's true.  And impossible ideal that, well, is....impossible.)

I had a wonderfully full Saturday surrounded by these women.  Some who've walked my road before and had lots of wisdom to offer.  Others who are learning right here with me.  And all who struggle with the harsh realities of life -- uncertainty, loneliness, exhaustion, trials.  And all who look to the Lord to help them in this difficult life.

I knew it'd be a great day when I walked out my door and saw this.

So pretty.  I love the sky.

Thank you ladies for walking with me through life.  It was a nourishing day.  

And no, my daughters don't wear bows and there's never whipped cream on my pumpkin pie (pie from Costco :-).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Call us . . .

. . old fashioned . . .

We go to bed before double digits.

I resist taking any medicines and try to let nature take its course.

We cook and eat at home almost always.  And walk around the block after we eat.

We attend church every week.  Obvi.

I had my first baby at 25.  And want more than 2.

And we are now the proud new owners of two matching "easy to use phones marketed to seniors."  So long, iphone.

What can I say, we're just an old couple.  Aren't the matching phone cute/funny/retro/etc?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting Through (until Dad comes home)

Being a stay at home mom can sometimes be mind numbing.  While it's a complete joy that I wouldn't trade for anything, it can also be a bit boring from time to time.  Every job has it's down falls, right?

I remember working for the Department of Social Services one summer.  It was a long day sitting at a desk with not much I could do and when 4pm rolled around I was toast.  I could only think about what I was doing that night.  That, and I got a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine every 4pm to get me through the last hour.  Or, when I was teaching, I couldn't wait to leave.  I was tired at the end of the day and needed a distraction before I returned the next day.  So if i had the chance, I'd turn on Pittsburgh talk radio and listen to it until I could go (of course only when there were no children in the room).  It was my coping mechanism.

So when I get tired of building towers or reading Dora books or breaking up two tackling girls or following a baby up the stairs or having a tea parties, I grab my camera and start practicing.

This is today's boredom turned into precious memories of my littlest baby.

Who is not so little any more.

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Musings

We're fallin' for Fall around here.  No A/C for over a week.  Wide open windows with a cool breeze.  Fall flavors (what's your favorite Fall food?),  Fall clothes, no Fall colors yet, and Fall schedule (regularity is always nice, isn't? :-).

In other news, Cordelia is taking some steps these days.  Still not walking full time but she'll be there soon.  She also enjoys climbing on chairs and tables and sitting right in the middle so proud of herself. 

Eloise has conquered her fear of the bike.  She is riding with great confidence and looks so grown-up doing it.  Aw.  She's done all grow up, y'all.

Alex is in Fall mode at church.  Lots of early morning and night meetings which means we get to see him from about 3pm-6:30-pm which is super nice.  Church last Sunday was the fullest I've seen it.  Sunday school classes were full, youth were running around the halls, and there were approximately 14 or 15 preschoolers in Eloise's class.  It was very encouraging!

As for me and my bad self, my body hurts.  Really it aches and aches because parenting is a full contact sport, people.  And no, I don't mean hitting, tackling, throwing, I mean hugging, carrying, spotting, playing, walking, standing, lots and lots of lifting.  I'm all worn out.  That, and I'm reading photography forums like mad trying to get some photography skillz.

With that, I'm out.  Gotta rest up for tomorrow.  Happy Fall!

Monday, September 20, 2010

What's for Dinner?

I was speaking with a forensic accountant yesterday and she said, "I don't get nervous testifying in court but the question 'what's for dinner' terrifies me."

How true is that?  Day in, day out 3 meals a day.  I'm always running out of ideas and motivation in the kitchen.  That's why we celebrate when a new Chik-Fil-A with an indoor playground is built.  Come winter, that's going to be our paradise!

But no, we can't eat fast food all the time, we have to get back in the saddle and cook once again.

So I ask, what's for dinner tonight?  What are you planning?  Craving?

We're having BBQ chicken drum sticks, mashed sweet potatoes, and probably some tomatos from the garden and ice cream too.

It's very simple, cheap, quick to cook, and all 4 of us will eat it.  Perfect for a Monday night.

How about you?  What's for dinner?  Help a sister out!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My New Favorite Photo

I've been going through some old photos looking for something specific, but as I've clicked my way through them, I've discovered some old gems.  This is from May.  I unwisely edited the original so I can't redo it.  But that's okay because I love it just the way it is.  It's my new favorite family photo.

Now I have to go to bed. 

Good night.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Margaret Came to Visit

Many moons ago I lived and worked at an incredible place called Wears Valley Ranch.  A Christian home and school for children in crisis situations.

The place is blessed with love, healing, and provision.  The Holy Spirit seems to easily blow in the trees.  It really is a beautiful place.

Not just the land and the animals but mostly the people.  The friendships made there are stronger than most.  I lived every minute with my fellow staffers and together we loved and taught the children.  And today I'm still connected with many of my friends.  Especially my friend Margaret.

Here's Margaret (second from left top row) and Me with our fellow staffers.  (Hello Blast from the Past!)

Here's Margaret and me on Lake Eerie in 2005.

Here's Margaret and me and friends in 2008 at Anna Kathryn's wedding.

But today, 2010, I failed to photograph Margaret and Me.  She was in my home and I didn't even snap one shot!  How I failed to do so, I just don't know.  It might have had something to do with cramming as much conversation into a short time frame, though.

So instead of an  updated photo, I've decided to showcase her work and passion because it's so great.  Margaret works for Canine Companion for Independence.  She helps connect people in need of a canine companion with their well trained dog.  She also volunteers and raises guide dogs for the blind because she's awesome.

I encourage you to check out both of these worthy organizations--Wears Valley Ranch and Canine Companions for Independence.  Who knows, maybe you know someone in need of their services or maybe you have something to advance their causes.  They both change lives forever.  Completely inspiring.

Good Morning 29 years and 1 day

This is how I feel this early morning at 6:30am.  After a fabulous night out for my birthday.  Alex surprised me with the night's activities.  First, we went to see the Capitol Steps a political, musical satire group.  They were hilarious!  Then as we wondered through the enormous Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center we stumbled upon an award ceremony and party of some sort.  It was obvious there were some high profile guests in attendance so we slowed down and knew we could have easily walked right in.  We thought about it, scanned the area, and quickly noticed we were the only white people within sight, we figured we better keep walking.

I said, I bet Stacie from the Housewives of DC is here.  And bam, just like that we see her and her husband walking into the party.  We slowed way down, got some good looks of her and all the fabulous party guests, then went on our way.

From there we decided to hit up another Bravo reality favorite from Top Chef Mike Isabella at Zaytinya.  Food delicious.  It never dissapoints.

And home we went to collapse into bed.  And awake we were at 6:30 to start the day all over again.

Can you spot what Alex got me for my birthday?  
Hint...not the flowers...
Gold star for anyone who knows!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cordelia, The Other Day

We love this little girl.  She's a total cuddle bug and I love photographing her. 

I sat down to do the weekly Fix It Friday at I Heart Faces but found the challenge too difficult.  It involved making an over-exposed sky turn blue and I just don't have the skills for that.  So this week I'm learning from all the Photoshop pros out there.

Instead I practiced my new "sizing for the web" editing skills on this beautiful little thing.  It should make my blog photos fit the screen better and more vibrant.  Here they are.  My little cuddle bug.

(Thanks for all the birthday wishes.  It's been delightful!)

It's My Party

... and I'll cry if I want to!

I have been known to shed a tear or two on my birthday.  I know you can relate to that.  I know I'm not the only one who gets sad on the big day.

I've come to expect sadness on my birthday.  It comes with the territory of getting older, moving frequently, being separated from my friends and extended family.  But today is different.  I don't think I will cry today.

I loved going to school on my birthdays because I got attention all day long.  Cupcakes, birthday songs, special birthday hats, decorated lockers, special traditions, lots of attention in the hallways, the whole nine yards.  Fun fun fun!

But man, after college, birthdays just sink low.  They're boring and lonely.  Your co-workers don't even know you or your birthday or your favorite cake flavors and they just don't care.  The worst is when you have to tell your friends that it's your birthday.  Who is with me on this one?  Who likes telling someone, "oh hey, it's my birthday today...want to do something?"  Puke.

Love is scattered around the country.  And I spend hours on the phone celebrating my birthday.  It's terrible.

Or maybe that's just me.  Maybe I'm the only one that throws a big pity party on my birthday.  Whah! Can you hear me crying?  Whah, whah, whah!!  (Hmm...come to think of it...this might explain some of the drama in this house...)

Anyway, sob stories aside, agree with me or not, this year I'm pleased it's my birthday.  I'm happy, energized (not pregnant), getting full night sleeps, and surrounded by family and friends who love me for me.  And I'm feeling strong and healthy and nurtured.

Year 28 was wonderful.  May year 29 be even fuller.

Happy Birthday to me!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good Morning

Get up and get going because ready or not, here they come.