Monday, January 31, 2011


This girl and I butt heads. A lot.
I'm not sure if we're too much alike... or if she's too much like her daddy.
But there are times I get so frustrated.

So that makes days like today so much sweeter.
Sweet attitude. Respectful talking. Helpful spirit. Compassion.
My heart was so happy this morning when Lawson slipped on the icy sidewalk.
Not that he slipped, but that his big sister turned around and in a sweet, sincere voice said, "Are you okay, Lawson?"

Lawson had to go to bed early tonight. 
So Sophie got to stay up late. (They usually go to bed at the same time, but he just requires more sleep than she does.) 
She was snuggled up on the couch with me, sharing a blanket, engrossed in her newest "Rainbow Fairy" book. Stopping every once in awhile to tell me about the story, to show me an illustration, to ask me what I think is going to happen. 
I love times like that. 

And of course, the standard "I love you's" when I tucked her in. 
Always at least 3. 
And one whisper-hollered down the hall as I walk away. 
Love you, sweet girl. 


Starting Wednesday night I am going to be here...

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. 3 nights in a hotel! 

I will sleep all night.
I will have no one to get ready in the morning but myself.
No little people surrounding me for hours during the day.
No meals to cook.
No lunches to pack.
Just me and one of my favorite friends. 
(and several hundred other people).

I will miss my little people (and Corey) terribly.
Gretchen, especially.
Is that bad?
I've been away from the other two for this long (once) but I haven't been away from her for more than a couple nights.

But you have no idea how much I've been looking forward to this trip.
There is a really awesome conference that we're going to, but that's not what I'm the most excited about.
The hotel.
Getting away.
Spending time with one of my favorite people.
That's what I'm looking forward to the most.

Just hoping that this coming storm cooperates.
Freezing drizzle, 6-8 inches of snow, icy roads and two 15 passenger vans.
Praying for safe travels.
And a clean, cozy hotel room.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


* Finally got all our 2011 Christmas pictures hung up. More and more families are doing the collage card... which takes up more room. But I got everyone to fit. :)

* I love the movie "Ramona and Beezus." Love, love, love it. 

* The red duct tape on the couch finally had to go. Slipcover is now in place. But I'm still trying to decide if I like it. I miss my red plaid. 

* Someone really wanted to help when I was trying to put the slipcover on.

* Someone may or may not have been much help.

* Gretchen had a fever for 4 days this week. She went to daycare for a day and a half. Poor thing was just mellow and snuggly and clingy. We must have read hundreds of books.

* Sophie used to wear these little slippers. I love seeing Gretchie toddle around in them. Sophie wore this little dress, too.

* The kids built this fort in the living room last weekend. They were hiding from a witch.

* I'm pretty sure I was the witch that they were hiding from. Lawson kept asking me if I could laugh really mean.

* This little miss is getting really good at feeding herself.

* It was almost 70* outside yesterday. We were outside for hours. I took 4 pictures. That's it. It's supposed to snow tomorrow and the high for Wednesday is 6*. Gotta love Kansas weather.

* If a 70 pound dog stands on your dishwasher door while trying to lick the dirty dishes, the bottom rack just might fall/get pulled out and go crashing to the floor and roll across the kitchen. You may get lucky and have none of the dishes break, but it will make a really, really loud noise. Just so you know.

*Lawson is playing with his little plastic army men. He made a bridge of Scotch tape that stretches from the tv cabinet to the coffee table and he is having them all "walk" across it.

* Now he is yelling at Sophie for walking through his bridge.

* I've been on the verge of tears off an on for about 2 weeks now. Do you ever feel that way? I'll come really close to losing it and breaking down in tears, but for some reason it's not "a good time" and I have to hold it together. But yet I feel like I would feel better if I could just break down and cry? I think it must be stress-induced.

* Corey's gone this afternoon. Gretchen is asleep. Just sent the two big kids and the dog outside to jump on the trampoline, even though it's 30* out. (The kids are jumping, not the dog. She just has to go out with them.) Today is going to be a quiet time day. Lay in bed and rest or read books. (Quiet time is usually more for Mommy than for them.) Mommy should do productive things like laundry or budget or work on sub plans. But I'm thinking maybe I will watch a movie. Maybe a sad movie that will make me cry.

* We were invited to some friend's house for supper tonight. All 5 of us. We thought they might want to rethink the invitation, but they've assured us that since they are both retired teachers, they remember what it's like to be around kids. There will be lots of lectures on the drive to their house about good manners and friendly attitudes. I have my fingers crossed.  :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011


This just makes me happy. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I ordered some black and white photos of Gretchen last week. (Finally adding her to our photo collage wall in the dining room.) 

Looking through them, I realized again how much I adore this picture. I think it's perfect. 
Her little mouth. Those eyes. Little hands. Sweet little feet. 
I simply adore everything about this little miss. 

Some friends of ours just found out they are having a surprise baby. 
And I couldn't help but think about our surprise baby. 
The best surprise we ever got. 
I truly cannot imagine our lives without her. 
Truly cannot believe that I thought our family might have been complete without her. 
I'm so glad that God knew we needed this sweet little face. 
I'm so glad He chose us for this little miss. 

be the choice.

I was reading this book to Gretchie today... "Just In Case You Ever Wonder" by Max Lucado.

Long, long ago God made a decision -- 
a very important decision... 
one that I'm really glad He made. 
He made the decision to make you.

The same hands that made the stars made you
The same hands that made the canyons made you
The same hands that made the trees and the moon and the sun made you
That's why you are so special. God made you. 

He made you in a very special way. 
He made your eyes so they would twinkle. 
He made your mouth so you could giggle. 
God made you like no one else. 

If you looked all over the world -- in every house -- 
there would be no one else like you... 
no one with your eyes, 
no one with your mouth, 
no one with your laugh. 
You are very, very special. 

And since you are so special, God wanted to put you in just the right home... 
where you would be warm when it's cold, 
where you'd be safe when you're afraid, 
where you'd have fun and learn about heaven. 
After lots of looking, God sent you to me. 
And I'm so glad He did. 

It's such a sweet book.
The first time I saw you...
Your first night with me...
You're bigger now...
Things about God and heaven and how much I love you...
Just in case you ever wonder.

Such a sweet, sweet book.
And it made me think of
Jill and Adam are adopting.
They are adopting from a place called Life Choices in Tennessee.
You can read more about their decision and Life Choices at
Jill's blog.

"Adam and I have been convicted.
If we truly say that we abhor abortion,
then we MUST be willing to give women another option.
If we truly say that we believe in the sanctity of life,
then we MUST be willing to open our hearts, home & family to that life.
If we truly believe that babies have a right to life,
then we MUST provide a life for them."

I love that. 
Jill is very wise. 
She is an amazing wife and mom to her two little girls. 
I know she will be an amazing mom to a little baby born someday down in Tennessee. 

"So how can we value life in a world of choice?
By offering a tangible choice of life to women.
By being the choice of life for her and her unborn child."

They had these t-shirts created...  Life: Be the Choice 

Visit Jill's blog TODAY and leave a comment for a chance to win a free t-shirt!
And while you're at their blog, would you say a little prayer for them... for their family... for a mom and baby down in Tennessee? A mom who is making a brave choice... the choice of life. Life for her baby. Even if it means a life without her. A life with a loving, caring family. A family that will sing and read and pray for this baby. A family that will tell this baby all about God and heaven and just how much they are loved. Just in case they ever wonder. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

this is the stuff.

I don't know how many times I've heard this song.
But I had never really listened to it until today.
A friend posted it on her Facebook and said it was going to be her new theme song.
I think it should be mine, too.

Losing my keys.
Losing my phone.
Getting pulled over.
Getting caught at a train when we're running late.
Only being able to find one baby shoe.
Trying to wrestle a light brite peg out of a dog's mouth.
Rushing to make a cold lunch and then having it get left at home.
Paying late fees on bills.
Not being able to balance the checkbook.
Spilled milk.
Spilled Kool-Aid.
Spilled dog water.
Spilled flour.
Cat vomit.
Never ending laundry.
Messy house.

This is the stuff
That drives me crazy
This is the stuff
That's getting to me lately

In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed

So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations

I've been stressed lately.
Feeling a little crazy.
Letting lots of little things get under my skin.
At school. Home. Life.

This song is just the reminder I needed.
Instead of getting frustrated, I need to remember how blessed I am.
Blessed to have 3 healthy children.
Blessed to have a job.
Blessed to have the opportunity to be an influence on the lives of 19 little people each day.
Blessed to have a wonderful husband. Wonderful family. Wonderful friends.
Blessed to have a house. And enough toys and clothes to make it messy.
Blessed to be sitting in a warm van while I'm waiting on a long, slow train.
Blessed to have money to pay the bills. And the late fees.
So many blessings. So much to be thankful for.

Praying that I can change my perspective.
Look for the blessings amidst the chaos and frustration and mess.

In the middle of my little mess, 
I forget how big I'm blessed. 

I'm going to remember.
I'll try really, really hard to remember.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

not so organized.

I think some of you may have gotten the wrong idea about me. 
I keep getting emails and comments from people about how super organized I am. 
Yeah... not always so much. 
I do love to organize. I love to be organized. I love when things are clean and clutter free and look organized. 
But that's not really how my life looks. 

Do you have one of those friends that always has a clean and organized house? 
She has children. Even small children. 
But for some reason, her house doesn't look like she has children. 
You go to her house and end up just feeling bad about yourself and your messy house?? 
I'm not that friend. I promise.
I took some pictures on our snow day to prove it... 

(The egg carton is empty. I get freaked out when people leave things that should be refrigerated just sitting out.)

 The drop zone when you walk in the back door. Lovely, isn't it? 

The toy room, across from the table/drop zone. It tends to spread. 

 The Hoosier cabinet in the dining room. (Most of this is Corey's cattle stuff. I've gotten in trouble for moving his stuff.)

We eat at the other end of the table, so this end tends to get a bit cluttered.  

3 laundry baskets. Clean, waiting to be folded.  

More clean laundry, mine, mostly folded, just needing to be put away. (Actually, Corey was just telling me the other day how much he loves it when I do this. Or not.) 

I wish I had a picture of my desk at school. You generally can't see the top of it. The kind of place where I know exactly where things are (Most of the time. Still can't find my fall DRA's...) but no one else wants to even attempt to look for things. ("Um... where is your conference schedule??") 

Yes, I love to organize. 
Yes, I love to be organized. 
But generally, my life looks pretty unorganized. 
There is some organization underneath all the chaos, but sometimes you have to look pretty hard. 
Would I love to have a clean, clutter-free, always organized house? Yes. 
But we have 3 small kids and I work full time. And I would rather be lazy and watch TV and relax in the evenings after the kids go to bed.
So my house looks like this a lot of the time. 

A sweet friend used to share this quote: 
If you're coming to see me, come anytime. 
If you're coming to see my house, call first. 

Come anytime. 
I promise you won't feel bad about yourself.  :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

snow day!

Sleeping late... 

Baking cookies... 

Fun surprise for the mailman... 

Sweet, sweet baby... 

Hanging out in the dog kennel... 

1000 craft sticks... (minus a few we used for another project) 

plus a hot glue gun... 

equals some quiet time for Mommy. 

We never get snow days.
Today's ice day was such a fun surprise.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

sophie's country.

I was finally sorting through a stack of school papers tonight and found this story that Sophie had written awhile back...

My contrys name is Sophiealeenalaveena. The main food is cupcakes. The main drinks are sparkle drinks. The main shoes are high heels. The main dresses are sparkle dresses. The main animals are pandas. The contry is only for girls. The main insect is a sparklefly. The contry flag is a sparkleflag. The main langwige is inglish. The capitl is Sparkle.

Now picture lots of drawings of rainbows, cupcakes, butterflies (or maybe it's a sparklefly) and bears.

Love this creative little girl of mine.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Another easy gift idea... (Thank you, again, eighteen25!) 

Although if you do leave this little gift for someone... maybe someone who cleans your house every couple weeks... and maybe you are thankful, just because they help make your life a little easier... and so you leave a little note saying, "You deserve more than chocolate!"

If you do leave them a little note like that, you should make sure to actually pay them that day.
Otherwise it makes you look kind of stupid.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


We're not the kind of good parents who read to our babies when they are tiny.
Pretty sad for a teacher, huh?
But we've been lucky.
All three of our kids have reached a certain point when all of a sudden, they love to be read to.
Sophie was earlier than the others, I think. And she liked long books. Actual stories. And she didn't just want to point to and talk about the pictures. She wanted you to read it.

Lawson loved playing with books for a long time. Throwing them, mainly. I remember thinking that maybe it was because he was a boy. But then one day, he was bringing us book after book. He still loves to be read to. I'm pretty sure he would sit on my lap and read for hours.

Now, someone else has reached that point. She brings us books from her little basket of board books and does her little grunt/head bob that means "pick me up and read this book to me." And then she does her little sign language sign my sister made up years ago that means "do it again." And again and again and again.

Love this picture. This little girl adores her daddy. 

This book is her favorite...

I love this little miss. 
And I love that she loves to read. 
I hope she always does. 


This dog loves the snow! 

The part I don't love about the kids playing out in the snow...