Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace on Earth

Christmas Eve has been such a lovely day.  It has been filled with peace and love.  There should be a frangrance named after it.  Chrsitmas Eve.  I would spray it often in order to bring back the memories of the beauty of this day.  Sweet family time, beautiful worship at church, yummy food and God's spirit of joy filling our home.  The stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped, "Santa" still has some work to do, but other than that we are all ready for a great Christmas day ahead.  I love being a mom anticipating the fun that the kids will have tomorrow.  Merry Christmas and May God bless us, everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We have been haulin' out the holly over the past few days.  With Christmas songs playing on the radio, and the lights on the Christmas tree glowing we are making memories and filling the house with joy.  We started out the week with a shopping trip to the dollar store.  The mission was to spend $3 on a sibling,$1 on mommy and $1 on daddy.  Prior to the trip, we threw the kiddos names in a hat (Meredith offered her's up since she was wearing one) and the kids each picked a name to buy for.  They decided to keep their pick a secret which made the mission even more fun. I loved seeing their excitement while they picked out their treasures.  I could hear them giggling and whispering to each other, exclaiming "don't let mommy see!" if they thought I was getting too close. 

Once we got home, they couldn't wait to wrap their gifts.  Their spirit of generosity towards one another was beautiful for this mommy's heart.  I knew it would disappear soon and they would be back to fighting over who's turn it was to play the Wii so I soaked in every minute of it.  Their packages tripled the number of gifts that were under the tree.  It's REALLY beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!
Later on that night, I made some cut out cookies for us to frost.  I baked.  Yes... it was a true labor of love because I do not like to bake.  AT ALL.  But King Soopers was all out of the already baked and cut out sugar cookies, because don't you think for a second that baking them myself was the first option.  I was so happy to find out that such a thing (pre-baked, pre-cut out cookies) even exsisted.  Thrilled was how I felt.  Then my high went to low standing in the store listening to the mean lady at the bakery tell me that they sold out of those last week.  I wanted to ask her if she would make me some more.  I didn't.  Instead I made my way around the store gathering all of the ingredients that I thought went into cookies.  I googled "EASY sugar cookie recipe" and then heated up the oven, got out my mixer from storage and then baked and cut out 8 dozen cookies.  I was cutting out gingerbread men, Christmas trees and stars when Michael came into the kitchen and asked "Can we make dinosaurs too?" Of course we can, my little man, because nothing says Christmas like a frosted longneck!.  So I made a few of those too.  The next day, we had some friends over to play and we decorated the cookies.  They were so pretty when we were finished, AND they were SUPER yummy. 
We finished off our day by watching the Christmas Charlie Brown movie.  Mommy was a tad cranky by that time, but other than that it was the sprinkles on top of very Christmassy day.  There is quite a lot of Christmas spirit around this place!  Now, in the words of Marky... "if it would just SNOW!!!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I know tonight...

  • 3 of my kids went to bed way to late - I can always count on #3 to be sound asleep before I make "the rounds" (you know what I'm talking about, moms!).  Thank goodness for that!!  #s 1, 2 and 4... not so much...
  • I'm so happy that Patrick came home tonight.  I need another driver in the house... I mean... I'm thrilled to hold his hand over dinner (delivered pizza) ... yeah, that's what I meant. 
  • it's Wednesday and 3 of my kiddos still have big things going on this week
  • if I could work full time doing hair, I would - really.
  • I am suffering from "I didn't get enough for Christmas for the kids" syndrome.  It always hits me on the 15th, the day I try to be done with shopping. 
  • I would like to make a prime rib for Christmas dinner.  Some friends of mine swear it's a cinch.  Should I try it?
  •  As a Colorado girl, I think that I SHOULD say that I'm sad it hasn't REALLY snowed yet this winter... BUT - truth is I AM THRILLED!!!  I hate snow. 
  • troulble-making-people are so tiresome.  SO. VERY. TIRESOME.
  • I want to remember that Jesus is really the reason for all of our celebrating.
  • I have a lot of wrapping to do
  • I loved rocking my baby boy tonight
  • I loved snuggling with one of my daughters
  • the laundry is never done around here
  • I have a furniture rearrange going on in my mind once I take the tree down.  Can't wait!!  
  • I really need to go see "Woodwards" Christmas vingnettes in order for it to really feel like Christmas... this weekend it will happen.
  • I can't forget that I have 2 birthday's to get ready for before January 1.  Oh boy... 
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's my blog and I'll brag if I want to!

Last week got off to a rocky start, with Michael and I both under the weather.  With the help of a lot of laying around, resting and some great meds, we are finally feeling better.  Just in time for Meredith to come down with a bout of the stomach flu.  It was short, but it was nasty.  I'm happy to say that it is over, but truthfully, that is just the worst.  At least she's old enough know...

Besides nursing myself and the little kiddos back to health, I have also gotten to rock it as a mama to my older girls.  They have both made me proud this week!! 

Marky shot out of the gate on Monday night with an awards ceremony at City Hall, acknowledging her as one of the winners of an art contest that took place in our city.  It was for a drug-free campaign that the sheriff's department heads up, and Marky plus 11 others were chosen as winners to illustrate this year's calendar.  She was confident and beautiful as she walked to the front of the room to accept her award.  She is such an incredible girl, weaving and bobbing her way through middle school; finding her niche, settling in to this new stage of life.  Music, writing and art seem to  where she is touched most tenderly, what stirs her heart the most.  It is thrilling to watch God write her story.  Every day, a different aspect of her personality is revealed, a another layer of her soul peeled back. There is a deepness to my Marky that beckons me to listen to her, to find out what she is thinking.  Being proud of her is a given, wanting to be like her is a privilege. 

Today brought Maddie to the finish of her "book-bowl" competition (basically a reading comprehension event). My sweet Maddie is the most precious 4th grader that you will ever meet.  She was one of the spokespersons for her team, and she volunteered for that postition.  It is a position where you have to speak confidently, but only after having listened to your team mates gather up their answers.  They handed their answesr to her, trusting that she would deliver it in a confident, direct manner and boy, did she ever deliver.  I could tell that she was nervous, because when she feels those butterflies flyin' her hands are messing with her hair.  The hair was-a-twirlin!  Yet a little case of the butterflies didn't get the best of her and she represented her team quite well.  It was obvious they liked her as their team leader.  Maddie's heart is so big, it barely fits into her tiny chest.  She is constantly thinking of others and is very sensitive to the needs around her.  To see Maddie wtih her friends is to view a perfect example of what God defines friendship as -to lay down your life for them - a verb, action, taking care.  Her compassion and sweetness is contagious.  She just makes the world a kinder place.

Later on in the week, we got to listen to Meredith and Maddie sing during our church Christmas program.

Meredith take this singing business quite seriously.  She is very focused on her director, and sings every note correctly.  No wrong notes here, no ma'am!   Meredith is so incredibly gifted as a musician.  It will be so much fun to see her develop as a musician; especially such a determined one.

This mama's heart just might burst with all of it's mama-happiness.  My kids bless me so, and since it's my blog, I won't even apologize for bragging about them.  Cuz that's what mama's are supposed to do.   

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

our Daily Bread

My favorite sound these days is hearing the voice of my sweet son say the Lord's Prayer. His daddy has been say it with him since he before he could
even talk. It is a part of Daddy's bedtime ritual. Michael is also learning it at pre-school.

Listening to Michael repeat the phrases, or sometimes just what the phrases sound like brings me great joy. Such as "lead us not into temptation" sometimes sounds more like "me and gus go to the nations". But I get what he's saying and I'm sure God does. One of the parts that makes me so happy is when he says "give us this day our daily bread." I always pray that part with him. I'm all about the daily stuff, ya know.

Today in particular, we needed God to supply our daily bread. And we didn't just need bread, we needed a feast. We needed a bread and FISH miracle. And WE GOT IT! God gave us our daily bread, in fact, we got french toast - the really yummy kind. God heard our prayers to provide for us, and He provided more than we could have ever imagined. He gave us peace, He gave us words, He gave us time, He gave us freedom. We got butter, and syrup. It tasted so good because it was prepared by the ONE to which we say -

"And the power and the glory are YOURS, now and forever. Amen"

Monday, November 29, 2010

giving Thanks

Thanksgiving 2010.  A day of love, gratitude, laughter, togetherness, encouragement, great food, awesome drink, and a lot of family time.  Our holiday went from up to down, side to side, back to front, top to bottom and all around on the emotional scale.  There was happy and sad, mad and glad, tears and smiles.  My feelings surrounding holidays are sometimes difficult to navigate. The celebratory waters unpredictable and unstable.  Years ago, when my world cracked in half , what I knew as a "normal" holiday changed.  Since then, an air of challenge and difficulty surrounds most holidays.  We have to manage our holidays in a more rigid manner than I would like, and even though this has been the "new normal" for a while, I still have moments during the day when the "not-fairs" and the "this isn't how it's supposed to be's" rear their un-friendly faces. These faces aren't ever issued a formal invitation to join me, they just show up.  A surprise slug to the stomach reminding me of the pain of loss and injustice; A slap to the face stinging of shame and sadness  of what went wrong and the impossibility of fixing it for those I love.  Thank goodness the slugs and slaps come and go quickly, and soon I get back on track toasting the Holiday with a new half-filled glass.    With strength, prayer and a quick glance through the lenses of truth,  I ignore what is wrong, and instead see what's completely RIGHT with my world.  I refocus my attitude and my eyes to see the goodness, the love,  and the beauty that surrounds me. I see the faces of my beautiful, healthy, happy, "better-adjusted-to-our-new-normal-than-their-mother" children. I see my husband who loves me.  I see my mom who makes every holiday amazing and endures my holiday-grumpies with grace.  I see my sister and brother who I can laugh and cry with.  I see my dad who hugs and supports me.  I see my nieces , my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law completing the picture of Thanks in my heart.  It's never a perfect holiday, but when perfection isn't the goal, it doesn't matter.  What is better than perfection is what keeps us celebrating together year after year.  It's the ribbon of family, tying each of us together with our goodness and badness, our happys and sads all along for the ride.  It's the bonds of  moments we've had in the past and the ones we trust are just down the road.    Its the balance of knowing all about each other and loving each other just as we are - anyway.   For that ... I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On Holiday

Tonight, I am blogging from Sidney, Nebraska.  A place where the clock moves slower, the Disney channel broadcasts brighter and the mama is more relaxed.  We've already tested the pool and had pizza for dinner. The kids have staked out their sleeping spots, Daddy's got the newspaper unfolded,  and the wet towels on the floor are evidence that I am on vacation too. We might just stay up all night chillin with the tele fixed on "Hannah Montana".  We are all super happy that we have time together as a family and we are looking forward to more fun and making memories together for Thanksgiving 2010.  We have so much to celebrate.  We have so much to be thankful for.   

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tis the season!

The Christmas  music has been playing for about a week now.  I tried to resist the urge to listen to it before Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't help myself.  Last night, we ventured out on a cold walk across the street for dinner the lighting of the big tree showing off in the center of the shopping mall.  Lights, music and festivities.  And COLD!!!  After we got home and warmed our toes, we started decorating the house for the holidays.  We are traveling for Thanksgiving, and we won't be here in our home, so I figured it would be alright to have a few  Christmas lights up to welcome us home from Thanksgiving.  We won't cut down our tree until later in December, so we still have that to look forward to. 

The kids love to put the nativity sets up around the house.  We have 5 of them, so someone always gets to set up two (I'm sure they keep track year to year!). This year, Michael set up the "Little People" nativity.  Oh, it was so cute!  He had Mary sitting with the wise men, Joseph with the sheep and Baby Jesus hanging with the shepherds.  I started to put it all "back together" when the thought struck me that I should be so open minded as my 4 year old, rather than putting the picture back the way it is supposed to look, let it look like Michael set it up.  A nativity scene, not about perfection, but about peace and love among everyone.  Who knew decorating for Christmas was going to be so thought provoking?

I have been listening to Sara Groves' Christmas CD over and over - it's my favorite. ( if you don't have it you should go to I-tunes this very minute!).  She has an arrangement of "O Holy Night" that is quite different than the original version, and because of that it has made me listen to the words of the song more than I ever have.  These words have been there all along, but I think that the song is usually sung slow and I'm always waiting for the singer to belt out that last "divine" so I've missed out on these words.

"Surely He taught us to love one another.  His law is love and His gospel is peace"

"In His name all oppression shall cease."

"The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices."

Maybe it's where my thoughts have been settling lately, but these are some pretty amazing words!!  I could use some peace, some oppression to cease, a thrill of hope!  I just love it when something old knocks you on the noggin completely unfamiliar and brand spankin new!!  These are thoughts for some continued pondering.  I think that there is a theme hiding under the Bethleham stars for me... let Christmas be NEW this year.  Let your little boy's perspective on where Jesus belongs at the nativity teach you something NEW this year, Heather.  Hear the words to familiar songs in a NEW way - don't just sing along without noticing the depth of the musical message.  Make NEW memories, have NEW hope in that Baby Jesus, because He's showing me a NEW way while He hangs out with the shepherds this Christmas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

She's 12!

Today is one of  "those days" for me as a mom.  Marky's 12th birthday.  She is 12!!!  And now I'm going to sound like one of "those moms" when I say... "Where did the time go??? "  My children's birthday's are always extra special, but there is something really amazing about your first-born celebrating another year of their life.  It is a day filled with nostalgia and memory.  A day where sacrifice, desire and insanity all meet up to remind you that it was the day your life changed forever.  Although there were other people present at Marky's birth, I am the only one who has certain memories.  Memories that were developed under bright lights and sterile cloths; memories that have the scent of clean linens and the sanitized hands of the caring anesthesiologist; memories that were sandwiched between absoulte terror and unimaginaeable excitement.  Memories that have lingered and make that day 12 years ago seem like it happened this morning.  Those are the memories that are uniquely mine.  Embedded into the cells of my soul and the chambers of my heart - ones like my first thought when the doctor first gave me a hint of whether I was decorating with pink or blue.  He said... "Oh , SHE'S peeing."  And my first thought was... Oh! It's a girl!  We are going to have so much fun!"  Flashing before my eyes were all things feminine and girlie, "Anne of Green Gables" and
"Fashion Plates" leading the pink parade of what was to come.  I remember how small she was, and how she smelled so yummy.  I'd never smelled that smell before. It was natural and pure and whole. A scent I woud look forward to 3 more times.  I remember having birthing pains in my body, but being distracted from them because the joy of holding MY daughter and caring for her overwhelmed the pain until it disappeared; a feeling that would soon become familiar as one of the common themes of motherhood.  Becoming a mom on November 11, 1998 changed my priorities, my processes, and my person forever.  Marky was the pioneer for true love in my life.  I had never known love to ache until I became her mom.  I never knew the intensity of being connected to someone so deeply until I became Marky's mom.  I never knew that love could persevere through enormous trials until I became her mom.   I never understood sacrifice and an "I'll do whatever it takes to protect her" attitude until I became her mom.  Every opportunity to hold Marky, hug Marky, love Marky, teach Marky, and enjoy Marky over the last 12 years has molded me into the woman that I am.  She challenges me and amazes me; she is a daughter of God, a disciple of Jesus, a fabulous daughter,  a loyal friend, a fun sister, and a special grand-daughter.  I am so proud of the young girl that she is and the future has no limits for this wise and beautiful girl.  I love you, Marky-moo.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Most of my days are fairly predictable.  Few surprises, not many upsets, not much -to- write- home- about.  However, this week has been anything BUT that!!!  I have had one fun thing after another on the calendar, and I am tireder and happier than usual.   Tired because I've been on the go, and happier because more than once, I've gotten to put on my fancy shoes and lipstick,  backing out of the driveway with grown up music playing on my car stereo!  I've gotten to help friends, go on a field trip, hold babies, host parties, toast friends, celebrate birthdays, and the fun continues into the weekend when I get to travel to the mountains for an overnight trip with some new friends.  Its rare for me to go out of town, but boy am I looking forward to it!!!  A month ago, I coordinated wtih Patrick's schedule for him to be home so that I could leave, and the weeks of looking forward to this trip have moved so quickly that I can hardly beleive it's here!

Last weekend, we celebrated Marky's 12th birthday by spending the night at a hotel.  She and her friends had the best time in their own room (with me next door!) playing their music, telling their stories, laughing, putting on makeup, eating junk food, texting other friends, and many other pre-teen time spenders.  We swam and sat in the hot tub, watched a movie in our room and ate yummy food in the hotel dining room.  Saturday we shopped and ate and laughed some more.  Marky and her sweet girl friends were so much fun, and the special time that I got to spend with them was priceless.  Maddie was my shopping buddy for the day, and I was overjoyed to hold her little hand as we walked a few steps behind big sister so as not to "intrude".  I was so thankful that my Maddie-girl is still young.

We are well into the middle of the annual marathon of  acticvity that happens at our house between Halloween and New Years.  Holidays, birthdays, and the schedule juggling that occurs over a very short period of time can cause this mama to want to pull the shades and lock the doors until Valentines.  But each year around this time, I try to re-evaluate my priorities,  remember all that I have to be thankful for, and put on my happy face even when it's not feeling just so. The fun that we have will be what will stick with the kids and I need to make them the focus.  A few days away is just what I need to help me gain that perspective. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monotony and Glory. 

 Two extremes that are the see-saw on the playground of my everyday.  The monotony of packing lunches, cleaning up messes, doling out consequences, reminding the brother not to hit the sister, driving the well-worn road back and forth to 3 schools, keeping track of homework, reading logs, due dates and appointments.  Looks monotonous through one lens.  Then, I notice something extraordinary peeking over monotony's shoulder and I carefully zoom in.  I see glory starting to come into focus. 

Michael asked Jesus into his heart two weeks ago - GLORY!   
An invitation for a weekend away  - GLORY!
A pre-school field trip to the Farm - GLORY!! 
A sister who volunteers to read her little sister's favorite book to her - GLORY!
A shared laugh with a middle school daughter - GLORY!
Time spent with good friends over a simple lunch - GLORY!
Army guys, lego parts and matchbox cars in my hands playing with my 4 year old counterpart - GLORY!
A surprise encouragement from my sweet mom - GLORY!
An new 80 year old friend - GLORY!
A promise from the book of Psalms to soothe an anxious heart - more GLORY!
The Lord's Prayer being learned by Michael, said in his sweet child voice - GLORY!

When I turn my focus to whats behind the scenes I discover so much  glory tucked in and around the monotony. It's asking for attention if I will just open my eyes, ears, and heart to behold it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

More halloween pictures

 I love how Michael tipped his head back and peaked out from his mask every time he said "trick or treat"

New Bible Study!

Whaf do you get when you have a  girl who wants to be in a Bible Study but can't find one that fits her?? Well, first you add a few sweet friends, then mix another couple of girls who are roped (gently!) into coming to her house on Monday nights, throw in Godly wisdom, strong character, difficult life experiences yet joyful perspective and you have...  a  Bible study at my house!!!  I am SO thrilled to be starting this.  I honestly never thought that I would be able to have a Bible study in my home.  I thought that the kids would be too noisy, there would be too many distractions, my home wouldn't be "nice" enough, etc. etc. etc.  Insecurities anyone??  But by God's grace, it is working!!  God has known of the places that He needed to fill up in my heart with this study, with the "yesses" from my friends, with a place to study with like-minded women that fit my season of life.  I am not a risk taker and asking others to join me was so hard, but I am SO glad that I did!  We are going through the book of Ruth via a study written by Kelly Minter.  So far it has been exactly what we have all needed.  By faith, I am choosing to believe that this dear group of girls was brought together for just the right reasons.  I have been blessed so much by them already. Thank you, my Lord and my friends for doing this with me!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


My best Friend, Protector and Helper
great husband,  Awesome Dad,
Good son,
faithful worker and friend 
quiet, mysterious, wise
thoughtful, compassionate

A trick or treat weekend!

We've been celebrating Halloween since Thursday, when Michael got to wear his costume to school. Oh he is just so cute as Darth Vader. 


Friday, I spent the afternoon with a darlin cowgirl and a beautiful fairy.  The girls had a parade around their school, and a  party in their classrooms. 

Halloween has become quite the celebrated holiday.  We will have more costuming tonight as we make our way around the neighborhood.  Typically, in Colorado, October 31 is very wet and cold, either with rain or snow.  The weather has been beautiful so the kids might not even need to wear coats!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beautiful things!!

Ahhhh... beautiful!

I have loved Tracy Porter's art for a long time, but I had no idea that she made clothing!  How  I love everything she does!!! A great place to take a short break and enjoy looking at some beautiful things.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Girl Scout

Maddie is a Girl Scout.  The official kind.  The sash wearing, badge earning, campfire lighting kind.  AND she loves it!!!  Maddie was a brownie for 3 years, and is now a jr. girl scout.   I love the smile that she has when I pick her up from her meetings.  She learns about community service, crafts, skills all within the realm of "GIRL POWER".  Tonight, her troop went across the street to the neighboring homes to "Trick or treat" for canned goods.  Their activity was to benefit our local food bank, a very worthwhile cause.    The little girls that are in her troop are so cute and they are all such good friends. My little Girl Scout makes me so proud!!      

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pop tarts and popcorn

Tonight we are having pop tarts and popcorn for supper.  It's just the little ones and myself, and nobody is particularly hungry.  The weather outside is rainy and gloomy, causing us to seek comfort from the tastes and smells and feelings inside.  I just washed our flannel sheets and can't wait to get all snugged up for the night.  Meredith just read a funny book to Michael and me and the doggies are near to us,  happy that they aren't being forced outside.

Last week, I had a magical time at the pumpkin patch with Michael.  He is so darling, and so different at school than he is at home.  He was the leader of the class (and the teacher),  a tad bossy, confident and self assured.  The shy little boy that I often see in front of strangers and such was no where to be seen.  Michael led his class through the maze, showed them where to go and where not to go, reminded his friends of the rules, and made sure that his teacher new if someone wasn't following them.  The other thing I noticed is that he is very helpful, and also quite sensitive to the little girls in his class.  He makes sure they are okay, even putting his hand on them protectively... or possessively... I wasn't sure.     I was happy to be with him on this field trip to enjoy him, but also thrilled to gain this perspective on my sweet son.  It is so fun to look past today and into tomorrow wondering about the man that God has planned for him to be. For now, I will be thankful for each moment that I get to spend with my little guy.  I wish that he could stay little for a long, long time.