Monday, June 30, 2008

Some Things Meme

I was tagged a couple weeks ago from Stephanie at Adventures in Babywearing.
Thanks for thinking of me, Stephanie - I am honored!
I'm so sorry it took me forever to do this! Anyway, here goes.

What Was I Doing 10 Years Ago?

10 years ago, I was officially married over one year, moved across the country and started a business with Hubby.

We had our first baby - Buddy.

Our life was moving right along.
It was a nice time in our life as newlyweds and not much responsibility.

5 Things On My To-Do List Today:
1. Lay on the beach
2. grocery shop
3. eat
4. play in the ocean
5. read

Snacks I Enjoy:
1. chocolate - any time
2. freshly made iced tea - oh, that's a beverage, but I like it!
3. the bing cherries are awesome right now
4. salsa and chips

Things I Would Do If I Were A Billionaire: I would give as much away to help feed these kids as possible.
I would pay off any debt my extended family has so they could live worry free.

Places I Have Lived: Missouri, Texas, North Carolina

I tag the following, if they want to play along...
In His Image
Princess Papers
Just Another Day in Paradise
Tollesons 4 Him

Surf's Up - Gotta Run! Like I really surf or even know when the surf would be up, but it sure sounds good when you are at the beach!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Playing House

There is something very comforting to me when we first arrive at the beach and I begin to unpack.

Crazy, right? Stay with me for a minute.

We usually rent a condo or a house each summer for a week at the beach. We check in to the rental agency, get our keys and head to our home for the week. We pull up in the drive, grab a couple things, place the key in the door and open to the place we will make our newest set of memories as a family.

Hubby generally carries everything inside. The kids help some by carrying their pillows and special blankets but mostly just complain that everything is too heavy. "Buck up, we say - this is a team effort here guys."

I immediately head into the kitchen start unloading our food and organizing my new space. the kids run to their room and claim their beds. Well, actually they run into every single room screaming with excitement.

What is it with kids that they love to be in a new place so much?

Well, what is it with any of us? Because to be honest I run into all the rooms and out on the deck just bursting in curiosity of what this new place holds.

So, I unpack our clothes, hang those that need to be hung (which is not many at the beach) and place soaps by the sink to wash our hands. Place our flip flops by the door. Shampoo in the tub, towels and TP in the bathrooms. You know, all the niceties of a home.

It is only when all of this "setting up of house" is finished that I can relax.

As I run around placing everything in it's place and tucking away the suitcases, it is as if I am imagining that the home we are renting for the week is our very own. It reminds me in a way of playing house as a kid.

My brothers and I used to use masking tape on the floor to square off our imaginary rooms. We would set up each room like a kitchen or bedroom and play. Pots and pans and play food in the kitchen.

Because on vacation? All food is play food. Nothing counts for calories and you can eat what ever you want! Or so it goes on our vacations. Chips and dip? Bring it on. Chocolate truffle brownies? Come on down!

Clothes and babies in the bedrooms. Except that now my babies are real.

And right now they are needing to be tucked in.

Aw Shucks!

I was so pleasantly surprised to be reading over at Musings of a Mum of 4 today and found that she gave me this award!

It is my first Blog Bling!!! Isn't that exciting? Well, I'm excited to be sure!

I also think for my first award I could not have received a more special and meaningful one.

It is one that was created to honor a little boy named Noah by his mom at Memoirs of A Mommy. He had a heart transplant when he was one month old and just turned a year! Oh, what a blessing and you have to go check his photo out here. He is really just tooooo cute!!! She created the award to honor the donor and raise awareness of organ donors.

Thank you thank you thank you, Rebecca and I want to pass along the love to:

La Vida Dulce

Beachy Mimi


Situationally Single Mom

In His Image

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Last Minute

I am not really sure why I do this, but I always wait until the last minute to do everything.
Apparently, I am not the only one of you to do this! I feel so much better, Jen to know I am not alone.

So, here I am on the day before we leave for our vacation and I am just now making out my to-do list of the things I need to accomplish before we leave. And it is sooooo big.

Okay actually...I am sitting in my pjs and drinking coffee while reading your blogs and news of Madonna possibly seeking to end her marriage to Guy. Shocker. Oh, and did Angie and Brad have their twins? I can't seem to find anything but that they are also adopting another child in addition to their twins and already large brood. Are they crazy or what???? Big hearts, I guess.

Really, people. These things are important! ;)

And does anyone else out there need their house to be clean before they leave? I just like to come home to a clean house. And since we have my mom and brother house-sitting and taking care of things, I like it to look presentable when they are here. Not that it is ever presentable when they come by when we are actually here!

My mom is also watching our dog and he suddenly has come down with a slight case of fleas from the last week when we had a friend watching him. So, now I have to give the dog a bath.

We also have a party tonight. Still need to head to the grocery store and get all the beach stuff from the tippy top shelf in the garage.

Okay, I'm outta here. Happy Saturday, y'all.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Finally Friday Randomness

The big ole' bad mammogram that I was scared to go and get.


Seriously, y'all, if you are afraid of this test - hear my words - Do. Not. Be.

It is not something I want to do every Wednesday morning, but plucking my eyebrows hurts worse.

I am reading The Shack right now. My oh my, it is good. I am not finished, yet. Have any of you already read it? Don't give anything away - just if you have read it.

Schools Out, Scream and Shout!

Today. is. the. last. day. of. school. FIIINNNAAALLLLLY!

Hello summer, we love you.

Two days until I go to the beach.

Blessed wonderful awesomeness of the beach.

I hope to be blogging from there. But may not be if the internet connection is not good.

I have scheduled some posts and am working on some fun guest bloggers, so you won't be lonely while I am gone!

My to do list before I leave is huge! Huge. There is just so much to pack for a beach trip, but so worth it.

I am reviewing an interactive video called TripFlix over here today. Go check that out. I think you will enjoy knowing about this DVD.
TripFlix lets you pick your route and create your own adventures packed with
exciting locations, fun, trivia, interactive activities and even a few dance
Okay, back to the huge to do list now. Happy Friday! Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Girl Who Makes Him Answer, Fantastic!

Okay, so I here I am posting last about the first part of the weekend. You know it was a whopper of a weekend when it takes you 4 days to post about it.

So this is the newest addition to my family. My new sweet Sister In Law.

And because I am not into using photos and real names I will just introduce her as "The One Who Has Caused My Brother to answer "FANTASTIC!" Every Time I Call and Ask How He is Doing."

Aren't they just perfect for each other?

Their story is sweet and because I know so many of you only online, you will appreciate this.

They met through an online dating service called Plenty of Fish. It is a free service and each of them had apparently been through many options in the dating scene.

They met online, arranged a date and never parted. Seriously, they saw each other almost every day after they first met. I think she even had another date lined up later that week and canceled it after she met my brother. Well, he is the sweetest thing ever, so I can understand why.

My brother moved to the big city about 5 years ago with his best friend. They started working for a big retail store there that most of you probably shop at weekly. He works hard. So hard it is ridiculous. Long story short, he and his friend had a falling out and the friend moved away. My brother was alone for a long time. Dating was something he did not have much time for but he did try it here and there. So, the fact that he met her and is now settling into a new married life is even sweeter. We no longer worry about him being lonely and working too much. He has something to come home to!

The girls and I headed out to get mani/pedi's the day before the wedding and out to lunch. Of course we had to do that! No wedding is complete without a gaggle of girls and their french painted fingers and toes! So, we bombarded a little nail shop in their town and about $300 later left filed, painted, waxed and feeling beautiful. I am hoping it was a nice time for the bride.

Here we are out to lunch at Chili's enjoying one of those Chocolate Molten desserts. That is one of my favorite things at Chili's. Really, I could just go and have the chips and salsa and that dessert. Go today and find yourself one if you have not had it. Take a friend and share it so you won't feel so guilty.

So, that's me and my new SIL, daughter, my new gorgeous niece and my other beautiful niece that everyone thinks is my daughter.

At lunch, my new SIL asked me to share the "dirt" on my brother. She wanted to know about his past as a teenager and young man. There is no dirt on my brother. He is truly the nicest and most honorable guy. He was the perfect kid growing up as the middle child. Always the one keeping the peace. Unlike my other brother and I - plenty of dirt and never keeping any peace in that home of ours. So, we just had to talk about his sweetness all day. That and that chocolate cake were just a little too much to handle.

So, here is the new family. Nothing like being a single guy for over 30 years and now having an instant family. Coming up on the teenage years. Oh, I am hoping there is some great love there to get them through those years. Don't you know, I will be praying! God Bless This Family!

Shook and Swayed

This was the scene 2 years ago from our balcony the day after we checked into our beach house. Actually, it got much worse than that, but I was too afraid to go outside to take another photo. Ominous is the best word to describe it.

That night as my entire family slept, I was up watching the TV for the warning to take cover. The entire house shook. I mean - it shook, swayed and moved in ways I never thought a house could move. It scared the daylights out of me.

Did I mention the rest of the family slept right through it?

The TV was announcing tornado warnings in the counties all around us. It never did actually hit where we are more than a severe thunderstorm. The next day, we were laying on the beach in the bright sunshine and much cooler weather. It was divine really.

That same week at the beach I had actually developed a case of shingles and my kids both spiked fevers while we were there. It was a week of much laying around the house actually and not as much time on the beach as we had hoped.

Sometimes, though it is nice to just lie around without a thing to do. Hubby read 3 Janet Evanovich books that the owners kept in the house - that is how little we had to worry about. He secretly loved these books, by the way. But don't tell him I told you so. shhh.

We are headed back to the very same place next week and I am hopeful we will not have similar weather.

It was late August last time which is smack dab in the middle of hurricane season. We are safe from that this year at least. No sign of sickness. We're just prayin' it's all good this year.
Really they are not praying but doing their best Ohm moments to become one with the ocean so they can boogie board like no other. This was last year.

For more great flashback fun, head over to We are THAT Family.

Food Crisis

Yesterday, was a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Compassion International and the Global Food Crisis.

You know, I complain every week after I go buy groceries. I am definitely spending more than I used to and have even joked that because of this new high grocery bill, I am unable to buy more shoes and flowers for my garden. Hubby gives me a budget each week to spend how I choose but groceries are to come out of it. So, the less I spend on food - the more fun stuff I get to buy. I am finding myself spending less money on fun stuff and more on food. And I would not be being honest if I didn't tell you that it bugs me. Now before you go believing my family is living on bologna and dandelions and I am running around in a cute new pair of wedge sandals, you must know that I love to cook healthy and my family eats just fine.

On a very serious and real note, though - Yesterday, caused me to stop and really think about how the cost of food is rising and how completely overwhelming this must feel to so many people around the world.

A couple months ago, our pastor and a team from church went to the Central African Republic. He shares a story of a family that had only a root for a meal one night. Last night, as I prepared dinner for my family and was cleaning a rather large sweet potato, I was reminded of this story. I just stopped and stared at this root vegetable and thought, what if this was it? What if I had to find a way to feed my family of 4 on this vegetable only and what if it was not just for today, but for a couple days.

It is really beyond my comprehension. I had in my hand more than we needed and others have nothing. Why is it so unbalanced? Why can't governments just feed their people? Why even in a country as rich as the US are families struggling to find a good meal?

Since I will most likely not ever understand or even know this side of heaven the answers to those questions, I just have to do what I can to help.

So, I prayed. I prayed as I cooked my family dinner that another family would be be blessed with food to fill their bellies. I prayed that my kids would always appreciate the meals that are set in front of them. In a day and age where parents are making 2 and 3 meals a night just to please their kids palates, I think this prayer is a big one. But I won't even get started on that soapbox.

You can keep praying today and you can donate to help with this global food crisis right here if you want.

And if that isn't possible for you, then clean out your pantry. Look for food that you bought but has been sitting there for months and take it to your local food pantry.

Okay, enough of me telling you what to do - just do what your heart tells you to do.
Now back to our regularly scheduled nonsense on this blog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wrapup - Part 2 - Canoe Trip

Well, I know I am doing this a bit backwards, but I was having a conversation with my friend Julie today and was reminded of the canoe trip this weekend.

Canoeing, kayaking, floating, white water rafting - whatever you want to call it, should be a pre-requisite for any marriage.
I'm serious, y'all.
All young couples that are physically able should have to go through a canoe trip of some sort before they can be allowed to get married.

Let me set the scene a little better.

On Sunday, almost immediately after I was finished with my conference, I was on the road with Hubby's family and our little family to head down the Catawba River of South Carolina in canoes.

When I say immediately, I mean the conference ended at Noon and I was in my bathing suit and on the road with my family by 12:30. They even packed me a little brown bag lunch with my name on it. Aw, thanks guys.

Now, I did use to go on these canoe, or float trips as we called them in good ole' Mid-Missouri, with my best friend, Susan. I am best friends with a woman who can steer a canoe while never dropping her beverage. Seriously, the woman is 5 foot 4 inches and weighs less than 100 pounds and is a master with an oar. I did not realize until this weekend just how much she did on those trips. I really thought I was helping!
Thanks Suz - you are a good friend. I now know, I was most likely just there to keep you company.

This was the first trip I have been on in 15 years or so. The first ever with Hubby. And my two kids.

Did I mention my 4 year old, Bubby, is terrified of deep water that he especially cannot see the bottom of? Like a river? Yeah - I'll get back to that.

The whole time we are driving to the river, all I can think of are my fun and relaxing trips with my friend - 15 years ago. Without any kids.

We finally get there.

Hubby's parents get a kayak, Hubby's brother and 2 kids are in one canoe and my sister in law and her other child in another. We get our canoe, life-jackets and with our 2 kids get set up in the river.
Or white water rapids as I like to call them.

Really, it is a category 2 river without a white rapid to be found, but it sure felt like it! And I say category 2, like I know how a category 2 is different from a catagory 4. Which I don't. I just overhead some rental company guy say that.

At first, my son seems to think this might be fun and then as soon as we get in the water, he realizes we are actually going to float down this river.
He immediately starts to scream. I mean scream. Loudly. And cry. And tell me how scared he is.
But it is too late. We are in the river and about to start going through some rocky areas before we hit the calm water.

Hubby is in the back. I am in the front. We have never been in a canoe together.
Unless you count the Log Flume at Six Flags. But there are no oars involved in that ride.

So, Bubby is screaming and we are rapidly floating - into rocks.
Hubby is now screaming.
At me.
To watch for the rocks.

Okay, so those of you that have been on a trip like this may know that the rocks - they just pop up out of nowhere.
I mean really, it is not like I could see them before our canoe would just ride right up on top of them and we would be stuck.

And meanwhile, Bubby is screaming every time we hit a rock.
And I am praying harder than I ever have that we do not tip our boat over because. oh. my. goodness. son.would. freak. out.

And the rest of Hubby's clan?

Well, his brother's canoe has overturned. With the drink cooler. Of course, Hubby abandons me to save the drinks. Alone with the kids on a rock. He is saving Bud Lights and Gatorades.

And his parents and SIL are stuck on some other rocks that we are all supposed to see but didn't because of the sneaking up thing.

We have been in the water about 5 minutes and have approximately 3 more miles of river to cover.

Whose idea of fun was this anyway?

Well, we finally get past the rapids and on to smoother sailing.
Bubby has not let go of my back side or looked up since we got in the water.

And he continues this way the entire trip - all 4 hours.

He screams the first hour at least, only to stop when we rested on an island. He would not enter the water for a swim and was insistent that I not do so either.

Remember the beverages? Well, I have consumed several while floating by now and since I cannot get in the water for fear of traumatizing my son even more, I must make friends with a grove of trees and revert back to the small town girl that I truly am. Lucky boys.

So, we rest and then head back in the river. Luckily, soon after this Bubby has stopped screaming.

Now, Hubby is another story.

Literally, we are zig zagging across this river. There is no floating involved because we have no earthly idea of how to work together to steer this boat. And my arms? Basically, they feel like they are going to fall off for the rowing that I am doing.

There is no shortage of drama in this family. My daughter is so dang smart that she insists on firmly telling me what I am doing wrong.
And she is right!
"Rowing on the right side will make you turn left, Mom!"

One YMCA camping trip and the girl is ready for the Colorado River.

And Bubby?
The one who was screaming for his life for the first hour is now telling Hubby and I what we need
"is a little teamwork, guys."

Hubby, meanwhile, who is BEHIND me is telling me to steer this way and that way.
Which way is that? I remind him that I cannot see him and to be more clear in his directions. You know, like, "Janel, row on the right side! Okay, now row on the left."

Seems simple. And the whole time his Dad, who apparently has been down this road before, or lake I should say, with his mom is laughing and telling Hubby how to overcompensate for my mistakes.
Not embarrassing a-tal!

Now, never ever in my marriage vows did I say I could white water raft. Or camp. Or do anything much outdoorsy. I am not an outdoorsy girl.

I camp - in a CAMPER.

I boat - WITH A MOTOR.

I like nature - IN MY BACKYARD.

So, he is surprised by the fact that with all my good rowing intentions we are headed into the banks of the river?

I never have even mentioned the thunder and possible threat of rain. Luckily, we missed that somehow. Or the fact that the wind was blowing toward us the entire time making the rowing twice as hard.

I would be remiss if I did not share how truly enjoyable it all was in spite of the craziness. It was nice to share in this time with family and spend some time in the peace of nature.
We finally made it back to our pick up point. TWO HOURS later than we were supposed to arrive. I am surprised the company that rented us our canoes didn't send a search party.

Maybe they knew we'd be late.

Maybe, and I am just speculating here, because of the screaming and tipping over in the first 3 minutes on the river they knew were were not experts.

Lindsey Kane

This girl led us in worship all weekend at She Speaks. She is beyond cute and ultra-talented. I have been listening to her new CD non-stop since I got it on Sunday.

You should pick it up - you won't be disappointed!

And she is on fire for Compassion International which I love. I love to see young people like this serving God in such big ways.

Lindsey Kane Ministries

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend Wrapup - Part 1 - She Speaks

This past weekend was stuffed so full, I could not possibly begin to tell you all about it in one post.

So, I think I will start with She Speaks. It was fantastic!

I always go to conferences with a pretty open mind. I try to go with the mindset to be available to learn what I need to be better at something.

I have attended conferences in my younger years that were required of me because of a job and I just learned skills that I needed to advance in that career. Always those conferences were motivating in some way but also exhausting, overwhelming and often I was left with the feeling that I missed something.

I was tired after this conference, but missing something is not a feeling I had when leaving She Speaks.

I really did not know why I was going to She Speaks. Last year after roaming around on the Proverbs 31 website, I found the conference information. It was not yet open for registration, so I just watched for it to do so. I became a regular reader of Lysa and Renee's site after Renee spoke at our women's retreat. So, I guess that I felt a bit at home with Proverbs 31 before I ever even registered for the conference.

I thought I would go for the Speaker's Track because I have done a little speaking with MOPS and our women's ministry.

Then I started to blog. I thought maybe the Writer's Track would be better.

I've also been involved in women's ministry for years now - so the Women's Ministry Leadership Track sounded interesting, too.

In the end, I went ahead and just signed up with my first instinct - the Speaker Track. All of my sessions were geared toward speaking. They were practical and motivating. Even if I never speak on a professional level, I will definitely be able to use what I learned just speaking at my church.

Saturday night while I ate dinner and chatted with the ladies at my table, one of them asked me the million dollar question, "what are you going to do now?"

Good question.

I don't know. What should I do?

Should I make a bio page and start speaking more? Start trying to improve my writing and getting a little more serious about it by maybe submitting an article to a magazine?

But in my mind, I just asked God - "Lord, what am I doing here?"

Those familiar feelings of doubt and insecurity just began to creep in.

Because there was more talent there than I can even begin to tell you.

The bloggers that spoke, Shannon, Sophie and Melanie - those women are every bit as sweet and genuine as you think they would be. They are exactly - No, better - than who they are on their blogs because they are real. Real live smart beautiful women that unselfishly shared what they know with hundreds of other women. It was exciting to be in the same room with them and so many other talented bloggers.

I met Jo-Lynne. She is basically the reason I even have a blog. She helped me immensely and even designed this blog that you see today! She continues to be so wonderful when I have a question about blogging. I felt like when I met her, I had known her for a long time. I just wish we could have spent more time together. I met Amy - sweetest smile ever! And Alyssa - one of the most beautiful mama-to-be's I have ever met! These ladies are amazing writers and bloggers.

Jo-Lynne and me!

Writers were getting set up with book publishers. One in my very own evaluation group, Cinderella, met with one.

Tables were filled with studies and books written by past She Speaks attendees.

The speakers were incredible, warm, funny, honest and amazing women. Their words impacted me in so many ways.

My speakers evaluation group (below) was phenomenal. The women in that group were in no way beginners and they truly knew how to make scripture come alive with personal stories. They were very generous in their comments and evaluation of me. Not a negative one in the bunch. They made me feel awesome.

I am excited to see where God takes each of those women. I know they are going to do great things for him!

So, to say that I was feeling a little underqualified would be an understatement.


This is the difference between those career conferences and a conference like She Speaks.

This is a ministry of God. These women are doing God's work. And there is no way I was going to get out of there feeling like that.

After dinner, Renee Swope spoke. She talked about how we often can live in the shadow of doubt. I love to hear Renee speak because she is warm and transparent. She is someone who women can relate to because she shares the real events in her life - the real struggles, the real joy.

We were asked to pray and write on a card what we felt led to concerning our fears, doubts and insecurities. Then if you wanted, to take that card up and lay it at the foot of a cross. Then to pick up a promise (various scriptures and words written on cards for us to take). To live in the shadow of the cross and not our doubts.

Okay, so I covered my card with doubts and insecurities. I walked up to the front and laid it at the cross and thought, if they find this card, they are going to think I am a total basket case. I got my promise and spent some time praying over it.

The scripture was what I needed from God at that moment. Exactly what I needed. I may share it later this week, because this post is getting too long.

What I need to share here now is that I didn't leave She Speaks feeling unworthy. I didn't leave feeling underqualified. I didn't feel like I was missing something.

While I still am not positive where God is taking me, I am so open to WHERE EVER that is as long as he's with me. I know that whatever the reason I went to that conference will be revealed to me some day. I will need the tools I learned. I will meet those women again. I will pray for them. They will pray for me.

I left feeling filled. Filled with the blessing of peace from a God that has his hand on my life.

I guess with a normal career or leadership type conference you leave with the tools you may need to help you advance a career.

With She Speaks, I left with the tools to lead a better life.

A life that says, I am worthy.

I am a creation of a big God.

I am not underqualified because he qualifies me.

Thank you to all of the women at Proverbs 31. Your hard work was visible in every detail. You are each amazing!

Update: Check out more recaps of the weekend from a Mr. Linky over at Robin's blog, Pensieve

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I can't believe I have not posted in almost two days! I have not really even had access to my computer until now and am actually still away from home and on my SIL's computer right now.

I am e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d.
Tuckered out.

The She Speaks Conference was just awesome. I learned more than one thing for sure! There was practical advice to help me with my speaking and writing and more inspiration than I even hoped for.

I am planning to post a little more about that later this week - just not tonight.

Immediately after the conference, Hubby picked me up and I joined him, his parents, brother, SIL and all the kids for a canoeing trip.

A wedding. A conference. A canoeing trip. And lots of driving.


So, hello and goodnight to you my bloggy friends.

I will be sharing all the wonderful events of this weekend throughout the week. So much happiness and fun. So many blessings.

I so appreciate your comments and hope to visit you all this week to catch up on your blogs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm Here!

Well, one wedding and too much time in the car later, I am in Concord, NC for the She Speaks Conference. I am so excited to see what God has in store for me at this conference tomorrow.

I hate that I had to miss the Bloggers session and reception tonight. Luckily, I can buy the audio of the session, but of course will have missed out on valuable time getting to know some very lovely women I am sure.

But I would not have missed seeing the happiness on my brother's face today as he and his new bride said their "I Do's". It was such a blessing.

So, the sessions begin at 8:15 am! Holy Smokes -early morning! They run all day and into the night. They are jam packed with more than I imagine my head can hold, but I anticipate the opportunties for growth and inspiration!

I had to shave an entire 3 minutes off of my talk for tomorrow. 3 minutes!!! That is forever in the world of speaking. Pray for me that it goes well!

Okay, I am awfully sleepy from our drive and off to bed!


I am the oldest of 3 children. I have two younger brothers by four and six years.

When I was 14, my parents divorced and my mom became a single parent who worked very hard to support us. Where my dad was in this picture is a longer story than I care to spend time here tonight. Because tonight, I want to share with you the happiness I feel for a sibling who has found a mate - a soul mate, a helpmate - a friend to share his life with.

When my mom had to work, I was the one in charge of taking care of my younger brothers. We spent a great deal of time alone together and managed fine most of the time. Except when I almost started our apartment on fire. That is another story for another day, though.

Anyway, we went through a lot together and I always hoped for the happiness that I have found with my little family for each of my siblings. I cared for them in ways like a mom would. As a matter of fact, my nickname for a long time was "Little Mom."

My brother met a woman about a year ago and fell in love. He knew right away she was the one and proposed around on Christmas morning.

I met her for the first time yesterday. I have spent time in their new home (first for both) and with her two children (sweet and beautiful).

I am so happy for him as he begins his life with this woman who could not be more perfect for him. He is a precious and sweet man and he has found someone who is loves him for exactly who he is. He has been alone for a long time and tomorrow he will begin a new life with a new family. It is pretty cool and I am very happy for him.

Welcome to the family!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


If I could only load up all the pictures of this kid dressing up in his various costumes.

Yesterday, it was as a ninja.

All. Day.

A ninja.

Everywhere we went.

My daughter dresses up, too in typical ballet and princess outfits. But it is really my son who can pull together a disquise with just a box and some rubber gloves.

Anyway, these are a couple of my favorites from the last couple years.
He provides a lot of laughs around this place.
For more fun flashback photos and stories, check out We are THAT Family.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wrong Address

Our attic was not intended to be the local labor and delivery room for 5 squirrel babies. Try telling this mama squirrel that as my hubby tried to scare them out. She was not happy with him and he still has nightmares about it! :) We ended up having to call a service to remove them. They wreaked complete havoc in our attic.

Or what about this one?
It's intended use is not a squirrel feeder. Try telling this little guy.

And what about this one?
I really did not think those critters would come up on my deck. I was wrong. Just seconds before this guy was hanging upside down from the feeder.

For More Wordless Wednesday photos go to 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless

Mine? Not so wordless. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday - I made THE appointment

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I made THE appointment. Finally.

I don't know if I have been in denial or what, but I was given direction by my doctor when I turned 35 to have a mammogram.

I was breast feeding at the time, so he let me wait until the year after I was finished before he recommended it again. That would have been around age 36.

Almost 2 years ago.

I know, I know. Bad decision.

But today.

I made the appointment. For next week.

No more denial that I am over 35.

I am...over 35.
It's okay, though.
I feel good.

And I need to take care of myself.

So, here it is: My mammogram appointment.
Let's get it over with now.

Want to see more great tackles? Check them out at 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just a TV

Hubby has been wanting a new TV for months. You know the ones: Flat, LCD - rectangle and does not fit in your really nice mahogany armoire that your other TV is housed in.

I have been resistant to the idea of a new TV for months because I knew that the new ones would not fit in our armoire in the family room. I love the armoire because when we are not watching television, I can just close it up and not have the TV as the center of attention in the room. We searched high and low for the right color when we first decorated our family room 8 years ago. We ordered a nice one because we just new we would have it for years.

Yeah, tell that to the TV manufacturers.

I finally gave in this weekend because I really didn't have a better plan for Father's Day except breakfast in bed. The kids gave him a new fishing pole, but it was too hot this weekend for fishing.

And he is the Dad. He should get to buy toys once in awhile, too.

So, I gave in.

He went shopping Saturday morning and found a super deal on a large LCD panel TV.

Of course it will not fit in the armoire and we already knew that so I headed a different direction to find a piece of furniture that would hold the new TV.

I won a gift card to Target from Beachy Mimi a couple weeks ago and I figured this would be a great thing to spend it on. Thanks Beachy Mimi!
So, I go to get the new entertainment center.
My brother and hubby move the old one out into the garage temporarily and it is HEAVY and they are telling me all about it.

Hubby puts the new entertainment center together and our CD/DVD player does not fit in the little compartments that are meant for these sort of objects.

I go back to Target to get the matching shelf to house all the components. DVR, DVD player, etc. Of course, you have to have a matching shelf on each side of the TV stand, so I get two shelves.

He puts them together.

The components still don't fit. Of course they don't.

Then I remember that the DVD player is not working right anyway.

That was all Hubby had to hear to head to go and buy himself a new surround sound DVD player.
It fit.
Very good.

We also have to exchange our current DVR player for an HD-DVR. Luckily, the cable company is running a special right now and will upgrade that free. At least, something is free in this whole deal.

So, what happened to the old entertainment center? Well, at first I thought I would just sell it and then I went on Craig's List to look at how much they were selling for. Guess what? Nobody is buying them because the new TV's don't fit in them.

So, I decided to put it in our bonus room and get rid of the cheaper KMart entertainment center in there. Which worked out well, because the TV that we moved from downstairs to the bonus room does not fit in this cheaper entertainment center anyway.

The only problem? It is huge and we have this crazy staircase with a corner right in the middle.

So, my brother and hubby had to take it apart to move it. And it was HEAVY. So, heavy. They cried all night long about how heavy that thing was. And this morning. Still crying.

Now my house is a complete disaster. Nothing is in it's place.

The new TV is the center of attention in my family room. No longer can I close it up. And it sets the whole room up differently. I need help with this room now. I am considering hanging the TV on the wall. I never thought I would do that: Hang a TV on the wall. It will become a focal point of this room - directly across from the fireplace. So, I need to get some creative juices flowing for sure.

The old entertainment center is huge and sets all the furniture off kilter in the bonus room, so I have to figure out what to do what that room now.

All for a new TV. Just a TV.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

We have a Winner!

The dryer balls you never knew you needed. The winner is ....

Sarah of Twinkle!!! Yay, Sarah!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your
random numbers:4
Timestamp: 2008-06-14 13:08:28 UTC

Sarah's laundry advice was:
I pretty much have to do it everyday. My kids are still at
the age where they can easily ruin two outfits in one afternoon. If I don't keep
on top of it, I not only end up with piles of laundry, but also ruined
I will just need to get your address and send them this week!

Thanks for all the great advice ladies. I think I am going to get a laundry divider and just have to try to keep up with it daily. I really need to just embrace the laundry. It certainly is not going anywhere!

Friday, June 13, 2008


A couple weeks ago, I heard a new song called Aware. I immediately loved it. I found the words reminiscent of where I am right now.

The other night I went for a run.

Well, a walk/run. I don't run the whole time because my knees kill and well, it just hurts to run, people. Kudos to all you marathon runners out there.

My younger brother called me out on this the other day when he read another post where I mentioned that I went for a run.
He was all like, "You don't run."
And I was like, "Uh-huh! Kind of. I walk/run - what do you do?"
Silence. Hhmph, that's what I thought, little bro. ;)

Anyway, I digress. But now I guess I must call it what it really is - a walk/run. Or I really like to call it "interval training."

Before I went for my walk/run I read my friend Amy's post about running. She is my neighbor and I was talking to her earlier that day about the Avon walk she has started training for and she just happened to mention that she could not listen to music during the actual walk. So, in preparation for that she was not listening to music while she trained. She really felt she could have some good quiet time with God while she didn't have music blaring in her ears.

That is nice, I thought and we went on our way. I also thought to myself that I would not be giving up my music during my walk/run. Because then I am sure it would be all walk and no run. It is about the only thing that motivates me to run.

So, back to my walk/run. With my headphones on, I am about to head out the door only to practically trip on my little dog who is very insistent on going with me. He is 6 pounds and he only gets around the block when he usually decides to park it under a tree so that I have to carry him the rest of the way. He doesn't normally go on my walk/runs. I couldn't resist, though and took him around the block and back home.

As I was walking with him. (No running at this point). As I was walking, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye - a long blade of grass. I thought it was a snake. It wasn't but when I turned my head just a bit to the other side I actually became aware of a very large black snake. Very large. About 2 steps in front of me. I jumped to the street and we missed it. It slithered into the woods.

I took the dog home and I headed back out. Same route. Now running. Music blaring through my headphones. I notice something out of the corner of my eye again. It was that same dang snake but in a different spot. Dodged him again.

So, I'm walking, running, walking, running - Music blaring... Stay with me here.

During this walk the following things happen which either never happen during my exercise or I just don't notice. My "interval trainings" are usually pretty hum drum.

A large jackrabbit jumps out in front of me. Dodged it.

I ran out in front of a minivan. She stopped for me so I could cross the street. Nice lady.

A frog hopped out in my path. Dodged him.

All of a sudden about 20 minutes into my walk/run, I became very aware - I mean very aware of the sound of the wind blowing through my headphones.

Not the song, but the wind over the song.
I have NEVER noticed this before.

Now maybe, it was just that I was running downhill, but I run downhill a lot. Because running uphill hurts! Or maybe my headphone was out of my ear a bit.

Whatever it was, to me, at that very moment it was like God had been trying to get my attention the entire walk. Just to be with him. Just to have some time alone to commune with him in his beautiful world for a little while. My dog didn't do it, the snake didn't. The rabbit? Nope. Frog? Nope. Even a big white minivan.

It took the wind over my music.

I immediately pulled my headphones out.
Then I was aware of the quiet.
The precious quiet and only the rhythm of my breath. (Note: with music on, I don't typically hear how heavy I am actually breathing!)

Then, I just started running and running and running. No walking. Just running and focusing on the beauty around me. It was an exhilarating feeling. I ran for a long time. More than I usually would. And it didn't hurt! (until the next day- ouch). There were no more interruptions that I needed to dodge.

My prayer during my cool down moments were some of the words to the song I mentioned above:
Just make me aware, God.
Always make me aware.
It's not all about me.
Take my world and turn it around.
That the obvious can finally be found.

Here's the song. Without the headphones and running and all that.

I Went to a Garden Party

I almost forgot about the Garden Party over at The Preacher's Wife today!

Gardening is a hobby of mine. It is something I really love and spend way too much time and money doing. During the Spring, Hubby is constantly reminding me of my budget and not to spend the grocery money on some new plant!

We have planted a lot in this yard over the last 9 years.

A LOT has not worked out and died. Some became overgrown this year and had to be replaced. So, a little of what you will see is actually new even though we have lived here for 9 years.

I am not a great gardener, but love the process. I just keep trying and some of it happens to work out! My mom told me this year that she thinks the problem is that I try too hard.

No, the problem is - not enough fertilizer! That's what I think it is, anyway. Plus, our full sun yard has now grown into a full shade yard and we've had to change a lot. So, I am just going to try harder!
So, come on! Come along to my Garden Party!

Here's the mailbox. It is the easiest part of my yard and it gets the most attention!

Especially when the Clematis are blooming.

But then the big tree above the mailbox completely buds out and it is too shady for the Clematis. This plant is only 2 years old, so if the saying is true then I guess next year is the year I can expect big amounts of blooms! I love love love the big purple flowers on this plant. It is great to drive up to my house and be greeted by them.

Below is our main perennial garden. Right now the Shasta Daisies, Day Lily's and Coreopsis are blooming. Shades of white and yellow against the green. Earlier it was the Peony bushes, iris, and tulips. Later in the summer something called Fireworks and the Crepe Myrtle will bloom out.

Also in there is Rosemary, Basil and Thyme.

The Rosemary bush is from a ladies tea that I was a part of and it holds some fond memories. The Thyme is from my friend, Kelly's garden. My SIL gave me a mini-rose bush the year my daughter was born and thats planted in there - 7 years ago! I have killed so much in this garden it is not even funny. I think I could have put a kid through their first year of college with just the mess ups.

I am very proud of to say that Hubby built the wall for me!

I am most excited about my roses this year. Planted just a few years ago, they have been such a delight to watch bloom! Everyone says roses are hard to grow and I am so hoping they are just happy where they are planted.

I got another hybrid (yellow and pink) rose bush for Mother's Day and I wish I had a shot of it's blooms. Maybe next year!

On to the back yard... Our new patio and a couple new raised beds there! It is my new favorite spot!!!

Here is another shot of a bed that Hubby built in our back yard.

Below is my deck and some potted plants. I love doing container gardening. I find you see the most immediate gratification from putting together a great container full of flowers.

Okay, that is officially the most photos I have ever put in one post. I wish I could post more, but that should do it for this year. I hope this is an annual thing!

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to offer you some sweet tea and a spot on the new patio to chat the day away!

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