Sunday, April 13, 2014

Just Write

I recently came across this letter I had written to Makayla and Mason:


"Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart."

makayla and mason ~
life is filled with hardship, struggles, sadness, heartbreak, and pain.
it is also filled with beauty, happiness, magic, miracles, and joy.
 your biggest worries right now in your little lives are trying to put a pair of tights on and struggling with the pain of molars coming through your baby gums.
i hope that as you get older and you begin to experience anything other than the good of this life that you will always be able to find peace within your heart.
how you get there, or whatever it is that helps you get there, is up to you.
 i want you to always be able to remember a feeling of love, appreciate and be thankful for all that you have, and focus on that.
life is good.
very good.
but it's up to you to be able to see and feel that.
mommy, daddy, and everybody else that loves you, are here every second of every day to mold you, guide you, and teach you how to love
...and hopefully one day you'll be able to learn on your own how to find peace amongst the chaos - to be calm in your heart.

love, mommy

*************************************************************

One reason for this blog is to help me focus on the GOOD.
When things get bad or people get mean, I write.
I write about the good.

To keep calm in my heart when there's chaos, 
I turn to this blog.
I write.


As I was reminded in church this morning, everybody has a bad list and everybody has a good list.
How you react to a situation, the negativity or positivity you bring to a moment, determines where your life goes next...
and I refuse to let the negative control who I am or how I live.


I choose to to write about the good and to photograph the beautiful.



By doing so, the bad kinda disappears...
the bad doesn't seem so bad.


I began this blog over three years ago and have written 300+ entries.
Since I started writing about what I love and what brings me JOY, I have begun to see life more beautifully and I find myself appreciating so much more.



Don't get me wrong - 
the people and the situations that I can write on my "bad list" are still there, but the weight of the bad isn't as heavy when I am able to focus and record all of the things on my "good list".



...so back to my letter to Makayla and Mason (and now Mia), my hope for them is that they will always have peace in their hearts and to rejoice in those moments when they feel like they can't.

My advice to them will be to write.
Write down what makes you happy.
Write down all of the goodness that sparkles in your life.
Write down those moments that make you close your eyes, take in a deep breath, and smile.
Write down your blessings.
Write down what you love.
Write down who you love and why.
Just write.


"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
- William Wordsworth

...and that's what I do.
I write about things that matter to me.

I am honest and raw and vulnerable and passionate.

I write about what keeps my heart beating.



Monday, March 31, 2014

MARCHing Through With Pictures

March?
Where did you go?!

Well, let's see...


Super Hero night at the Riverman hockey game!



A little fun play at Ergadoozy!


Celebrating Grandpa's 56th birthday with chocolate covered strawberries!


Bowling...!



Visits to the parks!





Spending Saturdays in the gym practicing volleyball.




Spa night with the girls.
Click on **Arbonne** for more information.



Getting treats delivered to your door.
It's the little things...
Click on **BirchBox** for more information.



Game night!
Click on **Telestrations** for more information.



"May the dreams you hold dearest come true and the kindness you spread keep returning to you."
Wearing green for St. Patrick's Day!



Watching the Lincoln Railers basketball team win the Super Sectionals - Elite 8.



A wedding with Mr. Q and Miss U.
A complete ceremony and reception in Makayla's Pre-K class to help the kids remember that Q and U stick together like glue!



Meetings and gatherings to plan a benefit for this beauty, Lyndie!



Watching the Railers win the Final Four!



Watching the Railers win 2nd in State!


The Railer's homecoming!
A parade of proud players and fans - hundreds and hundreds of cars lining the street and parading with honking horns through town.
I still get chills when I replay it in my mind.


A Pet Death.
I know it was just a fish, but it was one of Makayla's special fish and it was a big deal to her!
Makayla was so heart broken, she felt the need to leave a note for the other fish...





Two weeks worth of swimming lessons!



Love for Lyndie Benefit!
...and, boy, do I have more to share on that!


Volleyball Tournaments...
Makayla can serve the ball like nobody's business!


Life School Musical!
Lincoln Christian Church Kid's choir presenting their Spring musical.


March has come and gone.
Whew!
It was a very busy month for our family and I'm thankful for everything that came along with March, but...
I'm ready to move on to April!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Kid Question


Here's a conversation that took place the other morning while Makayla and I were getting ready in bathroom.


Makayla: (leaning up against the wall with a little bit of fear and shock in her eyes)
 Did you used to be black when you were a little girl?!

Mommy:  No!  Why?!

Makayla:  (pointing...still with the fear and shock in her eyes) 
You have dark skin around your nipples!

***********************************

My kids...there is never a dull moment with them!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

20 Facts, Mia

I did '20 question interviews' with Mason and Makayla and because it's Mia's turn and she can't play along by answering questions, I'm just going to share 20 fun facts about Mia -
my 16 month old baby girl.
My daughter who brings me the extra joy that I never thought possible.
My daughter who has taught me to embrace (and love) the chaos that our family carries.
My daughter who has proven to me that I'm exactly where I need to be and should be in life.
My daughter who.has.my.heart...


She has the cutest head of curls and there's nothing I love more than to watch her beautiful bouncing curls as she toddles around the house.

She loves her paci and if I ever take it out of her mouth when she doesn't want me to, she stares at me with such intensity that she comes close to burning a hole through my skin.

She doesn't say many words (thanks to that paci, i'm sure...or thanks to her brother and sister who do all the talking for her...or thanks to me who knows what she wants when she wants it and just goes through the actions), but her favorite words are kitty and apple.

She loves to kiss.  She loves to pucker up those precious lips, make a fishy face, and kiss away.

She loves to high-five.

The girl could live off of cottage cheese and blueberries.  Those are her favorite foods.  She's not a very good eater, but the bigger the bite she's given, the more likely she is to eat it.  She doesn't seem to be very satisfied with little "safe" bites.

Mia is a very lucky girl to have an older brother and an older sister to take care of her, to watch over her, and to entertain her!

She enjoys setting the table.  Setting the table with 20+ pieces of silverware is her favorite "chore".

She enjoys playing basketball with her brother.  She's pretty accurate in making a basket every time she shoots.

She loves baby dolls.  She's quite the mommy - holding her baby, patting her baby, and kissing her baby.

She loves to applaud people.  She loves to clap for people...whether she's clapping along with a crowd or if she alone thinks someone deserves to be clapped for.

She gets away with a lot more than her older siblings.  If she wants something, she gets it.  If she doesn't want something, she doesn't have to have/take it.  She's my baby.

She loves to play "boo".  She'll peek around the corner and say "boo!" followed by a cute little giggle.

She's quite dramatic.  So much so, that there are times she'll go to the wall, put her arm upon the wall, lean her head against her forearm, and cry...while every few seconds, looking up at me with her big eyes and pouty bottom lip.

She can carry on an entire conversation with someone without using any words.  It's amazing.  She talks with such emotion in her voice and eyes and there's so much conviction in what she's saying. She even talks with her hands!...her petite little hands.

She is so good at going with the flow.  We can go anywhere and do anything and Mia tags along, loving every minute of life.

She get's prettier every day.
I know!  How is that possible?!

Whenever Mason or Mia are upset or crying, Mia immediately finds their blankies and walks over to them with their blankies in tow.  It's precious.  She loves them and she knows what comforts them.

She's learned to ignore us...but can't ignore us without smiling.

She loves her mommy!  She loves her mommy!  She loves her mommy!  There's no one else she wants or needs when I'm in the room and I kinda like that!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

20 Questions, Makayla

An interview with Makayla -
my five year old baby girl.
My daughter who marches to the beat of her own drum...
My daughter who blows me away with her intelligence...
My daughter who loves everyone and everything.
My daughter who has.my.heart....

What is your favorite thing to do with your family? Go to Florida.

What is your favorite color? Skin color.

What is your favorite toy? My baby dolls.

What is your favorite fruit? Bananas and oranges and grapes.

What is your favorite t.v. show? Sponge Bob.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pancakes.

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Cheeseburgers and popcorn.

What are you afraid of? Bears and lions and monsters and ghosts.

What is your favorite game? Guess Who is Who

What is your favorite snack? Graham crackers. 

What is your favorite animal? Zebras and giraffes.

What is your favorite song? This Little Light of Mine.

What is your favorite book? The potty book.

Who is your best friend? Izzak. Mason. Mia.  Mrs. Sharp and Miss Martin.

What's one thing you're really good at doing? Swinging.  Anything.

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play on the swing set.

What is your favorite drink? Orange soda.

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas. Valentine's Day.  Easter.

What makes you happy? Mommy.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  A Veterinarian. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

20 Questions, Mason


An interview with Mason - 
My 3 year old little man.
My son who hates green beans, but will eat them until he thinks the muscles in his arms have had enough...
My son who wants to grow a white beard so he looks like Santa...
My son who likes to put my shoes on and pretend he is a "mother".
My son who has.my.heart...

What is your favorite thing to do with your family? Go bowling.

What is your favorite color? Blue.

What is your favorite toy? My  markers.

What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries.

What is your favorite t.v. show? Team Umizoomi.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pancakes.

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Macaroni and chicken nuggets.

What are you afraid of? The dressed up ice cream cone at Culvers.

What is your favorite game? Bowling.

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks.

What is your favorite animal? Elephants.

What is your favorite song? Oh, Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind.

What is your favorite book? Spiderman.

Who is your best friend? Kaeli.

What's one thing you're really good at doing? Playing basketball.

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play on the swing set.

What is your favorite drink? Soda.

What is your favorite holiday? Fourth of July 

What makes you happy? God.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Langston Hughes



A couple weeks ago, I started to teach Makayla and Mason how to count to 10 in spanish.  
They mastered it quickly.

Here they are counting to TEN in SPANISH.

video

video


This week, I decided I'm going to teach them a poem - a poem that I learned in 5th grade.
5th grade was one of my favorite grades in school, thanks to my teacher, Mr. Hackett...and it was probably one of the most memorable years.
A few of my most memorable moments of 5th grade include: 
I learned the verbs of being,
learned all of the states and capitols,
didn't watch television (not once) for 3 months,
served the students jars of baby food as their snack for a holiday party (they loved me...not),
and recited a poem (or two) in various classrooms.

Bits and pieces of one of the poems I learned has stuck with me throughout the years -

"Mother to Son" 
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor - 
Bare.
But all the time,
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now -
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.


This is the poem that I decided I'm going to work on with the kids.
Silly, I know, but it gives us something to do - something to work on - something to talk about.

So...when I first introduced it tonight, Makayla was mesmerized with my skill in sounding like an African American mother.  She looked at me, confused, and asked me why I was talking like a black person.
I couldn't help but smile.  I was pretty proud that I was pulling off the African American vernacular so well that Makayla could pick up on it!

I recited the poem a few more times before the kids started joining in with me.

Makayla likes to try to repeat parts of it by herself, but gets super confused and begins throwing the word "black" in there a lot.

Mason will always says "Weeeeeeeeell, SON, I'll tell ya!"...then he says "Mom, I can't sing this song."

Oooooh, 
we'll see how far we get with this project. 
 Maybe we can succeed with a 3 year-old and 5 year-old version of "Mother to Son"...but if not, it's okay.  I'll find something else for us to work on!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Letter Q

A Little Tid Bit About Our First President

As we were driving in the car today, we were taking turns shouting out words that started with the letter "Q"(that was the letter Mason worked on at daycare today). 

Mommy: Quiet

Makayla: Cube ("Cu"be)

Mason: My little Q Book.

Makayla: Cutie ("Cu"tie)

Mommy: Quilt

Makayla:  That's what our first president wore when he was a baby.  A quilt! They didn't have clothes and onesies like we do today.  And then, when he was 5, he wore britches.


Mommy:  Who was our first president?

Makayla:  George Washington, George Washington - We honor you today.  George Washington, George Washington - Father of the USA.




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ugh...Winter

For the past 2 months, this is what I've seen every time I look out my window into our backyard.


And while I appreciate (and kinda love) the beauty and deafening silence that comes along with a snowfall, my body is craving spring.

I need to wake up in the morning with my windows open and hear the birds singing and smell the fresh air.  
I need to hear a thunderstorm and see the lightning. 
 I need  to hear crickets and see the lightning bugs.  I need to see the lightning bugs sparkling and lighting up the fields as we drive through the country and I need to see the joy on my kids' faces as they run through the yard to catch the lightning bugs.
  I need to swing at the park...
 and take walks...
 and feel the warm breeze.  
I need to eat popsicles and swim in the backyard.  
I need the smells...the smell of mowed grass and the smell of rain hitting the hot pavement.

I need winter to be over.

But...since we still have a ways to go before all the snow melts, we have to continue enjoying winter and all the snow while it's still here. 

We'll play in it, 
walk in it, 
eat it,
talk about it,
scoop it,
shovel it,
hate it,
love it,
and continue to live in...counting down the days 'til spring.

To help pass the time, we're keeping busy by 
going to birthday parties (lots of birthday parties),
going on dates,
going to Kids Club,
planning summer vacation,
singing in choir,
learning Spanish,
preparing to start volleyball and swim lessons,
and celebrating Valentines Day!

...Here's to 32 more days until spring!




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mason Allen

This is my son.

He says honey grosses him out.


He likes to go to basketball games to watch the flip over girls (aka cheerleaders).



Based upon the following conversation, his sisters are going to be more eager to take care of my personal needs in my old age -
Mommy:  Mason, I'm about ready to poop my pants.  Will you wipe my butt if I poop my pants?
Mason: (with his lip curled, he was looking at me like this conversation wasn't for real) NO!
Mommy:  Why not?
Mason:  Mom, just put a diaper on.
Mommy:  But, you'll still have to wipe my butt...even if I am wearing a diaper.
Mason:  No.  Just go to the bathroom. (totally disgusted in the conversation we were having).
Mommy:  Makayla, would you wipe my butt?
Makayla:  YES!  Your butt smells like roses.
Mason:  Mom, you will have to lay down and I will have to get wipes.  (his poor mind still reeling...)


He loves to sing.

Waking up with a dry pull up in the morning is usually the proudest moment of his day.

He is a giggler. He giggles when he's hiding, he giggles when he's sneaking something, and he giggles when somebody lets him do something that he knows he shouldn't be doing.
I love his giggles.

He loves to cut paper, race cars, and shoot hoops.

I often times have Spiderman, a dinosaur, or Hulk running circles in my house.

Thanks to his sister, he can spend a good amount of time concentrating on painting his nails.

His favorite food  (today) is pizza, oatmeal, and macaroni and cheese.

He think "cigarettes" is a bad word and says it often, looking at me with wide eyes, waiting for me to say something to him.

He has lots and lots of girlfriends, but wants to marry Stephie (one of his babysitters).

I love how he greets Mia every morning - "Good Morning, Baaaay-beeeeeee" - with a smile so big his eyes get lost in his cheeks.

He loves to flex his muscles.

He is an extremely sensitive little boy.  His feelings get hurt and he gets embarrassed.  Very easily.

He is a ball full of energy, makes me laugh with almost every thing that comes out of his mouth, and melts my heart with every smile that comes across his face.

He is my little man!

He is my sunshine!