Monday, May 24, 2010


I've been reading.

Reading voraciously.

Loving every single second.

I thought I would share some of the ones I'm loving.

Some are silly. Frivolous you might say.

Some are spiritual. To challenge me.

Some are about child-rearing. Lord, I need all the help I can get!

Some are about cooking. Yummy!

But, they are all good. All.Good. =)

Creative Correction - Lisa Whelchel

Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin

The Well-Versed Family - Caroline Boykin

The Sookie Stackhouse novels - Charlain Harris

Deceptively Delicious - Jessica Seinfeld

I have several books on hold at the library and I can hardly wait until they come in! My rule when I was teaching is that I couldn't read during the week. Isn't that terrible? I would choose reading over grading or planning and I just couldn't do that! So, now that I am done with my teaching job from this past spring, I am back and reading with a vengeance. Any books I should check out? Send those ideas my way!!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


tarry: to linger in expectation

I've been thinking about tarrying lately.
I haven't really been able to help it. It seems like everywhere I turn it is there. In someone's words at bible study. In a Beth Moore morning show I caught this week. In a friend's writing. In my own searching heart.

I'm at that place, in a journey you know God is about to take you on, where I just cannot see ever really "getting" it. Right now, I feel so incapable of learning how to truly tarry with God. To honestly dwell in his presence. And to get something from it.

I try very hard to have a quiet time with God. Sometimes that is first thing in the morning, sometimes it is during nap time, and sometimes (sigh) it is in the run-away thoughts that happen right before I close my eyes for sleep.

But, my quiet time is surrounded by a cloud of thoughts that have no right to invade and yet I let them in anyway...

I've got to clean the kitchen. I wonder when Lauren will be up. I need to return that shirt before it is too late. Did I send that thank-you? When am I ever going to remember to vacuumI? What time do we have to be there Friday. That closet makes me feel like suffocating...I really need to clean it out. Did I just hear the laundry stop? Ooops, I forgot to call so and so back. What am I going to make for dinner. I wonder if so and so is upset with me. She seems distant. Is Lauren going to grow out of this whiny stage? I really need to work out. Blah, blah, blah...

I can't tarry. I can't dwell. I don't know how.

But, I want to

I don't know how to be silent. Stop laughing friends. ;) Every time I try, I find myself filling the silence with my own thoughts and never let God get a word in edgewise. It's a little disconcerting wondering if you ever truly hear from God because it might just be your own dumb words coming back at you because you are too much of a busy body to be still already.  

How can I expect to hear a word from God when I show up with such low expectations? Never truly believing I'll be present enough to hear. Never truly allowing myself to be present enough to hear.

In a book I've been reading called, The Well Versed Family, (go get is amazing) the author discusses the importance of scripture memory for the whole family. She talks about meditating on God's word. Obviously, this is an area of awkwardness for me since I have a hard time being present with God. Anyway, she said that we ALL meditate every single day. The problem is that we meditate on mediocre things. Lesser things. We meditate on (think about often, obsess) whether or not someone likes us, if our hair looks dorky, etc.  Things of no meaning.

Interesting thoughts, I thought.

In fact, I think I'll meditate on that for a while. ;)

But, in all seriousness, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I am honestly open for anything that would help me. I'm believing that this is a journey God wants me on. Otherwise I don't think I would have thought a single thing about changing what I've always known. I also understand that not a single one of you (as wonderful and spiritual as you may be) can do this for me. So, I ask for your thoughts/suggestions with an open heart...not expecting them to be the thing that works for me. Not expecting you to fix me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

picnic at the park

We went to the park for a picnic dinner and fun play time on the equipment. I had such a fun time preparing our meal and packing it all up to surprise Shawn when he got home from work. This was such a fun way to relax and spend quality time together after a couple of busy and stressful weeks.

On the big slide - all by herself! I remember last summer thinking that she could not possibly ever be big enough for this slide...oh how time changes perspective!

This cracked me up....Daddy on the big slide, Lauren on the little one!!!

We had such a wonderful evening. I love my little family!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

hankie anyone?

I've been wanting to make Lauren a handkerchief dress for a while now, but she hasn't been big enough. Well, now she is! I got the idea and directions here. This dress was so super easy and it truly only took me about 15 minutes!!! I picked up the handkerchiefs from Walmart for $1 a piece and the ribbon was around $2. Not bad for a sweet summer dress!!!

One of the things I love about the dress is that when Lauren gets older, she can still wear it as a top. :) So cute!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

birthday night

Shawn planned a wonderful evening for my birthday! He had arranged for my brother, Zach, and his girlfriend, Victoria, to come over and watch Lauren. I was a little nervous because they would have to put her to bed, but I shouldn't have worried. They did a fantastic job and Lauren loved spending time with her Uncle Wack and Oria (she just kind of mumbles Victoria - in her defense it is a mouthful!)

We went to eat at a fantastic Italian restaurant and we both really enjoyed the adult conversation.

After we went downtown to grab some coffee and to take some pictures. We are such goobers, but it was a lot of fun and we felt like kids again!!!

 These were self timer pictures and we were dying laughing as we tried to set up the camera, run to our spots, and find a pose that wasn't too dorky. Not sure if we succeeded. :)

Then we went to a local grocery store (I got the idea for this one here) and tried to take some more self-timer pics. This is the best one we got. All the ones that showed our faces showed us was so much fun.  I love this man.

Shawn gave me a beautiful diamond solitaire necklace for my birthday. I absolutely love it! He picked out a round diamond which matches my engagement ring. I am so blessed. Pics of that to come soon!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

happy birthday to me

This morning I woke to the sound of storm sirens going off. At first I wasn't too concerned because I thought it was Wednesday and they were testing them....until I realized that it was Thursday and it was really, really dark in my room. I jumped up and peeked outside and then texted Shawn to see if I should be scared and if he was coming home. A tornado had been reported southwest of our house and the storm was getting ready to pass through so he told me to get Lauren up and get to the bathroom to be safe.

As I was leaving my room to get Lauren I noticed some yarn stuck to the wall with a note attached to it.

I thought this was pretty funny, but I had to get Lauren and get to the bathroom before I could really investigate.

Of course we had to get Alex too. Lauren loves Alex. We hung out in the bathroom for about 15 minutes and then went back to the fun yarn maze Shawn had set up before he left for work.

The man must love me to go through all this trouble. Lauren and I had SO much fun winding up the string as we went and finding little clues!!!

He wrapped the yarn around everything. It was crazy and if I hadn't rolled it up as I went I know I would have been lost!!!!

See, everywhere!!! :)

Here you can see how much string I had already rolled up and the notes I had gotten before we reached the breakfast. Panera bagels!!! My favorite - asiago cheese and cinnamon crunch. Sooooooooo good!!!

I was cracking up at the amount of yarn the guy went through (also this is a sneak peek at our newly renovated kitchen....I promise to have a post soon!)

Beautiful flowers from our yard. Love this man!!!

This card cracked me up - I am to get my nicest outfit out of the closet and dust it off!!! :) Hehe!!!!

The final card. Apparently there are more birthday presents to come this evening!!!! And, Shawn arranged for my brother and his girlfriend to watch Lauren tonight. Lauren will be so taken care of!

Lauren picked out the cupcake card. :)

Look at all this string!!! I can't believe he thought of this. It was such a fun way to start my birthday morning. I am seriously the luckiest girl alive. I am blessed with a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. Happy birthday to me!!!

sweet commiseration

Yesterday I cut my finger while talking on the phone and chopping an onion. I should SO have my own cooking show....

As I was doctoring my finger with a Dora the Explora (I always say "explora" because explorer doesn't rhyme with Dora and that really bothers me) bandaid, Lauren decided that she needed one also. Love that girl.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

raise a glass to friendship and to knowing, you don't have to go alone

Last night I met some of my dearest friends for dinner and girl time. I've known these girls for about 5 years now and when I look back at our journey I just can't help but see God's hands all over it. When I got hired at Nixa I was told that I would be teaching 4th grade. I had no idea what to expect and I had never met any of the ladies I'd be working with. I can remember that first year of teaching so vividly. We became teammates first and foremost, but as the year rolled on it became pretty obvious that we were becoming really good friends. The kind of friends you can disagree with and still love to death. The kinds of friends who are there for your good days and your bad and accept you either way. The kinds of friends who know by a look on your face or the crack in your voice that a hugging intervention is needed. The kinds of friends who would beat up anyone who hurt you (or at least would talk the big talk about beating up said person ;) hehe) The kinds of friends who support decisions you make and cheer you on as you head into the unknown.

Over the past 5 years some have had babies, some have moved buildings, some have left teaching completely, some have become building administrators, and some have become math instructors. We aren't together anymore. But, in a way, we still are. We are connected. I think we always will be and I thank God for that. We have some mighty sweet memories and we can laugh with the best of them.

The evening started with Tammy and Leslie coming to pick me up. Tammy brought me a special surprise for my birthday.

Oh yeah, baby! That is the mother of all chocolate cakes. I would try to tell you just how fantabulous it is, but honestly I don't think words can describe it. How sweet is she? I don't even care if I gain 10 pounds from is that good!

LOOK AT THE INSIDE OF THIS THING......Oh my dear!!!! There are like pieces of actual chocolate in there. I have no idea how she made it, but IT.IS.GOOD.

We went to HuHot's for dinner and we closed down the place. Literally. I asked the waitress to take our picture and I as I did I realized we were the only ones in the place. I asked her what time they closed and she said 15 minutes ago!!! We always do that!!! We hardly ever get to see each other and so when we do get together it is basically just a huge talk fest. Which I love. LOVE.

I love these girls so much.

when I am down and need to cry till morning
I know just where I am going
when I'm in need of sweet commiseration
to speak out loud

raise a glass to friendship and to knowing
you don't have to go alone

we'll raise our hearts to share each others burdens
on this road

with every burden I have carried
with every joy it's understood
life with you is half as hard
and twice as good

~Sara Groves~

Monday, May 10, 2010

from this one place

from this one place I can't see very far
in this one moment I'm square in the dark
these are the things I will trust in my heart
you can see something else
something else

I don't know what's making me so afraid
tiny cloud over my head
heavy and grey with a hint of dread
I don't like to feel this way

- Sara Groves, From This One Place

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

a picky eater, a clever mama, and a koala bear

If you've been on the phone with me the past week or so, you'd know that it hasn't been the smoothest one. I've probably talked your ear off about struggles with my sweet and usually very lovable 21 month old. We've had some trying days to say the least. Thankfully, I feel like we are making some progress on some discipline areas and things are really starting to mesh again. It's been a lot of hard work and being consistent, but I am feeling the fruits of the labor. Thank you, Lord!

One of the issues we've been dealing with is Lauren not really wanting to eat. At all. I know that this is probably just a phase, but it makes me nervous when she doesn't eat. Or doesn't eat well. Lunch and dinner have been stressful as I TRY not to act like her refusing to eat is a big deal. Because deep down inside the part of me that likes control wants the girl to just eat her food already. If there is one thing I have learned from being a parent it is that you cannot make a child eat.They have their own will. It is a strange thing! ;)

Today for lunch I thought I would try something different. First of all, I limited her morning snack and made sure that she didn't have anything to eat for about an hour before lunch. Even when I was making the lunch and she kept saying, "bie, bie", I didn't given in. I was afraid that if I fed her anything at all she would refuse to eat her lunch. Then, I put her lunch together like this:

From top right: strawberries, heart shaped pepperonis, grapes, grapes, strawberries, mac 'n cheese

I've made her "Muffin Tin" lunches before but it had been quite a while since the last one. Let's just say the girl was excited!

She went right for the grapes. She also loved the pepperonis. I have this adorable tiny heart shaped cookie cutter that I cut the round pepperonis with. They were adorable!!!

After she ate, her plate looked like this:

This was a BIG deal for this mama. I was so proud of her. She even asked for more of the pepperonis!!!!!

After lunch she wanted to play with her koala bear puppet. I think my mom got this guy for her before she was born and we have LOVED it. She likes to make him read books...

...and love on him!!!

My goofy girl!!!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

melissa and doug, you have stolen our hearts and made playtime so much more fun

Melissa and Doug toys are the best. Seriously - I love them and so does Lauren, which is really the most important factor, right?

My friend Leslie got Lauren her first Melissa and Doug puzzle and Lauren has been really good at putting together for a while now!

Just recently I got Lauren a set of their nesting blocks. I wasn't sure if I was wasting money on them but after having them for over a week, I am so glad I bought them. I found them at Marshall's for $7.99!!!

They are so much fun because Lauren can stack them or nest them or knock them over or look at the pictures on the sides or.... You get it!


So proud!

Hiding the baby blocks and thinking about where it is. Too cute!!!

Being a total goof!!!

I just got her a new Melissa and Doug shapes/colors puzzle and she's been having fun putting it together. Here's a video of her!!

Here is a video of her playing with the Melissa and Dough lacing beads. She asks for her beads a lot. Love the end of this one!!!

oh what a day!

We had a wonderful day yesterday. We spent the morning playing with her new Melissa & Doug toys (post coming soon) and playing outside. It was absolutely gorgeous. Lauren went down for her nap around 11:30 because she woke up pretty early yesterday. She always asks for her binkie "bennie" and says "nigh, nigh". It is the sweetest thing ever. I just love it!

When Lauren went to bed, my mom came over to do my hair. I knew if she got here before Lauren's nap that Lauren wouldn't sleep because she would be too excited. It worked out really well because it took almost her whole nap period for my mom to highlight my hair. Disregard the lack of makeup! I thought I'd show you a picture of how crazy I look when mom does my hair. It was the perfect day to sit outside and wait for the color and whatever else she stuck in there to stick.

While I warmed under the sun, Lauren and my mom went to check out the peony bush in our back yard. It is stunningly beautiful and I am so glad the previous owners planted it! Right now, there are just a lot of little bulbs with ants crawling all over them! My mom said that if your peony bush has ants on it that is a good thing. They were there last year and the flowers were so beautiful so I hope that means they will be gorgeous again this year!!!

So my mom took Lauren over and let the ants crawl over her hands. Lauren thought it was absolutely hilarious!!!

They have way too much fun together!

When my sweet mother-in-law, Bev, was here last she taught Lauren how to walk up our concrete landscaping blocks in the backyard (with help, of course!) and it has been Lauren's favorite thing to do since then.

She had to try it out on Grammy!

Then, she wanted Grammy to climb them. I had to get this. Too funny!!!

After all the fun outside, I went in to wash the color out of my hair and get ready for our afternoon. My mom does such a great job with hair. I have no idea how she does it but it's so nice to have her expertise! I really appreciate the time and work it takes. Thanks, momma!!!

The finished product! I feel like a new woman. My hair was in desperate need of some help. We waited a little long between colorings!

Once we were all ready we headed out to do what girls do best - SHOP!!!

A girl could get lost in Hobby Lobby!

Of course when we got home, Lauren had to color with "calk" on her chalkboard. (Shawn drew the elephant and truck)

How precious! Thanks, mom for spending the day with us. We had a great time!!!