Girl’s Nite

Don’t you hate it when people misspell a word just because they think it amkes the event sound more catchy?  I mean, really, what’s the purpose of spelling night, NITE?

Anyway, moving on…I had the privilege of joining my lovely neighbors for a girl’s NIGHT out last night.  I had been looking forward to this for a while and the evening did not dissapoint.

We began our evening at The Old Spagetti Factory in the valley.  I haven’t been there in years, and I’ve never been to the new one.  I forgot how good their food is.  And coupled with pleasant conversation made for a fabulous dinner.

Following our dinner, we headed to the mall where we saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Let me tell you what I thought of the latest installment of the Harry Potter franchise.  Pull up a chair, grab a Cup of Joe – let’s have a chat.

So far I’ve been slightly disappointed in the Harry Potter movies.  Up until last night, that is.  I realize that the books are long and the storylines are complex so to make all of the movies true to the books would mean they would each be 5 hours long.  Which isn’t realistic.

However, in the first five movies, I felt like such an emphasis was put on the special effects (which were fantastic for sure) that a lot of the dialogue was missing.  In my opinion, if you’ve never read the books, they movies would seem very confusing.  The movies make the assumption that everyone’s read the books first, so they cut out key elements of the books.  (For example, little explanation was given on the prophecy concerning Harry and this was a key element I felt was missing in movie 5 – I could list a lot more examples, but I won’t bore you.

You are welcome.)

Did you like how I ended that paranthetical pause in a completely different paragraph?  My college professional writing professor would have had a small heart attack over that one.

Last night’s movie, however, I felt was the best so far – until the end when they seemed to run out of time and steam.  It followed the book pretty accurately, had great effects, and actually gave us a better insight into the characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione, which we haven’t really seen so far.

In short, I really liked it.  It was funny, sweet, exciting and well done. Alan Rickman as Snape is superb, in all of the films, really, but particularly in this one.  The the kids playing the title characters have just gotten better and cuter with age.  It was just a really good movie.

Okay, I need to sign off.  We’re headed to meet some friends this morning and I am still in my pajamas.  I have roughly 20 minutes to change, fix mine and the kids’ hair, pack a lunch and get out the door.

I think we’re going to be late…

I’m sorry but it’s all I’ve got today…

My friend Nicole got me started on this train of thought.  So you can thank her for the sad glimpse you’re about to get into my life…

I recently got some new tea.  It’s fabulous, as this tea tends to be.  Given that my throat is enflamed and my tonsils are kind of tap dancing next to one another, I’ve been drinking a lot of tea.  Inspirational tea.  Each tea bag has an inspiring quote like The Most Important Things in Life aren’t Things…

Mmmm…So true.  Philosphy in a tea bag. Brilliant.

Anyway – last night, my tea inspiration told me to Start Living the Life You Always Dreamed.  When I read it, Lee raised his eyebrows and looked over his own steaming mug at me.

“So what’s the life you always dreamed of?” he asked, a goofy grin pasted on his face.

“Well,” I replied, “If Brad and Angelina would split up, I might have a chance to live that life.”

To which Lee snorted. Yes, snorted.

Then, in my head I continued the thought because my husband didn’t ask, but if he had I would have told him…

My second option is to be 21 again so I can have Zac Efron (or at least drool over him in a less creepy, Cougar-ish sort of way).  Because he’s a doll.  I mean, really – if I were younger, I would have pictures of him plastered on my walls.  I would swoon over Zac just like I swooned over Kirk Cameron, Uncle Jesse, Jordan Whatshisface from the New Kids (which I have no defense for other than when I had a crush on him I was 11 so, you know, a little slack…), Leonardo DiCaprio and so on.  Zac Efron is swoon worthy – even for a thirty something.

But, I am a grown woman and I am married (to the more realistic man of my dreams, I might add) and Lee won’t let me hang a Zac poster now.  He says that’s weird. 

He might have a point…

What about you?  Who do you drool over?  Secretly, of course…

Mini S’Mores Cheesecakes

Mmmmm…mouthwatering.

We’re having friends over tonight for dinner.  It will be simple – grilled chicken, salad, bread – maybe grilled vegetables – I haven’t decided yet.  But the delight will come at dessert. 

*UPDATE- So our friends had something come up and had to cancel so I’m not going to make these tonight – but I will find an occasion sometime this week to make these!  Oh yes, I certainly will…

This recipe comes from Tea Time Magazine.  I will add it to my tea recipes page (as well as some other recipes that I’ve been meaning to add).

Mini S’Mores Cheescakes
2 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c plus 2 T sugar, divided
1/2 c butter, melted
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 t vanille extract
1 (1-oz) square bittersweet baking chocolate, melted
24 jumbo marshmellows

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar. Add the melted butter and egg white, and stir to combine. Press the crumb mixture into bottoms and halfway up sides of 2 (12 well) mini cheesecake pans. Bake for 3 minutes; set aside.
3. Increase oven temperature to 375.
4. In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and cocoa powder until mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate, and mix until combined.
5. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly among the prepared crumb crusts, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes or until puffed and set. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for approximately 20 minutes.
6. Freeze for 1 hour. Just before serving, preheat broiler. Place 1 marshmellow on top of each cheesecake, and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Carefully remove cheesecakes from pan, and serve immediately.

It sounds lick your lips good! I’ll try to take pictures later of the finished product.  Now I need to go because my house just got eerily quiet, which almost always means someone’s up to no good.  I’m off!

The good of blogging

Blogging is a great thing.  It is a powerful tool to reach numerous people with one minor strike of a key.  It does, of course, hold some negative effects, one of those being the addictive power it can hold. 

 There are days when I find myself sucked into the blogosphere as a means of procrastination.  I work really hard at not sitting at the computer all day because that’s not healthy for anyone; but some days, when I’m in a tired or lazy mood, I do tend to slack a little.

I am a work in progress.

There are a few blogs that I permit myself to read every single day.  I try not to alot any more than 15 minutes of blog reading time most days, and, for the most part, I do a pretty good job of that (save for the aforementioned slacker days…)

One of the blogs I read faithfully is My Charming Kids.  If you haven’t yet discovered this site, I highly recommend you check it out.  Jennifer (or McKMama) is a brilliant writer, witty, a great mom, an encourager, a godly woman and she’s in need of prayer.

And this is what I love about blogs.  Since she and her husband discovered the very serious nature of their son’s heart problem in the womb, the world – yes, I said world – has mobilized in prayer for their son.  And we have witnessed miracle after miracle in that little boy’s life.

Stellan is now 9 months old and he is sick again.  Will you pray?  Will you allow this thing called the internet be used for good and cry out on behalf of a family that is desperate for healing?

For as much evil as the internet has brought into the world, it is beyond encouraging to see the good, and to participate in the good, that the internet holds.

So I ask that you join me today in praying for Stellan.  A little miracle boy whose earthly heart is weak.  And may we all rejoice in our ability to be a part of God’s miracles.
Prayers for Stellan

The one with all the vomit – and other funny stuff…

It is amazing to me how two children from the same two parents can be so very different. 

Sloan has a penchant for melodrama.  He gets that from me.  I know you’re shocked.  I’ll give you a minute to let that bit of information sink in before we move on…

 Better?  Yes, as a child I tended to be slightly over dramatic about a few everything.  I like to think of myself as a passionate person.  And Sloan is my passionate child.  Thus the reason he and I butt heads constantly.  I’m positive my parents prayed fervantly that I ended up with a child just like me.

Tia, on the other hand, is relatively even-keeled.  Unless she loses a race or gets beat in a game, then the gloves come off and she releases with a mighty fury.  She only slightly competitive – just slightly like her daddy.

But when it comes to things like falling down, getting sick, etc… She’s our tough one.

When Sloan throws up, the world will know.  There is great wailing and gnashing of teeth.  There is a fair amount of bemoaning (Why did I have to get sick?) and he makes it plenty obvious that he’s not happy.  And I can appreciate that – I really can.

So when Tia started throwing up last night, I braced myself for the hysterics.  But they never came.  In fact, we didn’t even know she had a stomach ache.  (This is the same child who, the last time she got the stomach flu, threw up in her bed and went back to sleep in it – we never knew she’d gotten sick!)  And as I held her over the sink and washed her mouth off, our conversation went like this:

Me: Are you feeling better now?
Tia: Yes. (heaves and spews)
Me: Does your tummy still hurt?
Tia: No (heaves and spews)
Me: Do you want a little drink?
Tia: No – I want to go night-night. (heaves and spews)

Sweet little girl threw up on and off all night last night, and each time she leaned her head over her bowl, took care of business, then rolled over and went back to sleep with hardly a word.

Yes – they are different.  Both sweet and spicey in their own little ways.

_________________________________________________________

In other, slightly less disgusting news, Sloan and I had an interesting discussion yesterday.  I won’t recount the whole thing because it’s not entirely appropriate for this public platform, but let’s just say it involved him giggling over the word penis.

Boys!  Honestly, they don’t have to be taught do they?

And finally, this morning I took my brood (yes, even the sicko) to the Social Security office where I had to get all of our cards replaced due to them being stolen last year.  That’s fuuuuun.

As we left, we walked past a man taking a smoke break.  And my terribly un-shy 6-year-old piped up, “Why do you have a smoker?  Don’t you know that’s bad for you? It makes your lungs black.”

Out of the mouth’s of babes…

A Man and His Dog

When I returned home from Florida Tuesday night, the first thing I thought as I walked through the door was NOT, thank God I’m home.

Instead I thought, What the *BLEEP* is that smell?

Ahem.

You see, the kids and I were gone for 14 days.  For 5 of the 14 days, Lee was also gone.  For the remaining 9 days that he was home, he worked long hours which means our dog had the run of the joint for 14 DAYS.

And our house smelled like a dog had been living in it for 14 days.  She’s a good dog so there were no accidents on the floor (bless her heart) but the house just smelled like a dog.  And an old person…I don’t know what to think about that…

I don’t know how Lee survived because I could hardly breathe.  The only room that didn’t suffocate me, thankfully, was my bedroom.  And her bed is in our bedroom, which leads me to believe that when we’re away, she sets up shop in the living room.

But not on the furniture because she’s not allowed. 

And I walked the length of my couch with my nose pressed to the fabric and my butt up in the air inhaling deeply just to make sure that she obeyed the rules while I was gone.  Unless she figured out how to cover her tracks (which clearly, given the stench in the rest of the house, she has not), it appears that she is indeed staying off the couch.

So yesterday I hauled my kiddos to the store where I stocked up on Pine-Sol, Swiffer Wet Jets, Pledge, rags and food since my husband apparently lived on chips and salsa while we were gone.  Since the weather here is still bizarrely beautiful, I opened the windows, kicked nudged the kids out the door and gave my house a good old fashioned scrubbing.

I think it helped a little.  But only a little.  Now I’m just paranoid.  I keep rounding corners and sniffing the air (a bit like a dog myself) and I swear I still smell that oldladymustydog smell.  Not that I think old ladies smell like musty dogs or anything.  You know, it’s just sometimes – oh, never mind…

I think we need to get new carpet, really.  But I don’t want to buy new carpet, because Lee and I are already talking about the trip we want to take next year for our 10th anniversary (it’s gonna be good), and I don’t want boring carpet to take the place of an awesome vacation.  Is that so wrong?

Honestly, I’ve illuded to it before, but we really are thinking about giving our dog away.  She’s a great dog – we seriously couldn’t have found a better family dog.  She’s sweet, great with kids, fun, obedient, hardly eats anything at all, which means it costs next to nothing to keep her and so on and so on.  The problem is that she is a bit needy.  She requires a lot of attention – a lot more than we’re able to give her.  And she’s extremely athletic and we don’t have time to give her the proper exercise.

In short, I feel like she’s leading a sad little life with us and would be better with a family that actually had the time for her.

But every time I think about giving her away I get cold feet.  She has become a part of the family whether we like it or not and it breaks my heart to think of abandoning her. 

So I’m not sure.  If I knew I could find a home where she would be loved and well taken care of, I think I’d be able to do it – but I won’t just give her to anyone.  And I refuse to take her to the pound.  There’s no way I could live with that.

What do you think we should do?  Should we tough it out and keep her with us or find her a new home?  Ah!  It’s a dilemma.

Nine Years

To a man who constantly makes me laugh, makes me wonder, loves me well and is making all my dreams come true, I say Happy Anniversary.

This was us then:

July 22, 2000

July 22, 2000

 

Honeymoon in Orcas Island off the coast of Seattle

Honeymoon in Orcas Island off the coast of Seattle

Awwww...Ferrying to Victoria, British Columibia

Awwww...Ferrying to Victoria, British Columbia

And here we are now:
Sadly, I could not find a single recent picture of just the two of us - but given that our greatest accomplishment as a married couple are these three kids, I found this shot fitting...

Sadly, I could not find a single recent picture of just the two of us - but given that our greatest accomplishment as a married couple are these three kids, I found this shot fitting...

It hasn’t always been easy, but truth be told, it hasn’t been that hard.  God has blessed our marriage beyond my wildest dreams.
Lee, I love you.
And I look forward to the next 51 years, 4 months, 22 days +…

Heavy and Light

Sometimes my heart whispers to me.  Does yours?

It usually happens in the still moments, most often at night, when all the commotion of the day is done and the quiet overtakes me.  Sometimes, my heart whispers so ferociously that I cannot sleep.

The whispers are often sweet, though I confess that when the darkness engulfs me, these whipsers can be terrifying. 

Lately, my heart has been aching.  And as I ache, the whispers have begun to move into my everyday thoughts.  It’s distracting.  But it’s also good.  You see, I find that when my heart is whispering, I generally turn the whispers into prayers.  If the whispers are causing fear, I pray for peace and sweet release (I’ve had terrible whispers of bad things happening to my children and I’ve spent many a night praying that the Lord free me from fear.)

If the whispers are sweet, I turn them into songs of praise.  Like last night, as I sat in a chair on the beach watching the sunset, my playing children framed in a halo of orange and red - the whispers were grand – very, very grand.

Were I not surrounded by a group of strangers, I may have voiced the whispers out loud.  But that is not my personality and so I just just sat, my heart swollen, and drank in the scene before me.

Sometimes, the whispers are sadness.  These are the heart whispers I have the most difficult time with.  The sad whispers are the ones that forbid me to sleep.  When the whispers are sad, I pray that the Lord turn the mourning into dancing.  But, in the still of the night, the sadness can sometimes feel too big, too great to become anything but a mournful hollow at the base of my throat.

When the light comes in, however, and the darkness has fled, the whispers once again remind me that I have a God who is far bigger than the whispers of my very human heart.  As cliche as that may sound, I believe it with all my might. 

Trusting God is hard sometimes.  It shouldn’t be, of course, but given my tendency to want to control and fix things on my own, such independence leaves little room for trust.  I’m working on that.  I need to work harder on it in the daylight hours so that the nighttime would be more peaceful.

Because I have bags under my eyes, and I’m much too vain to have bags under my eyes!

I’m excited to come home and be in my house, with my routine and my husband – that will help quell the sad whispers a bit.  As will time, and the Lord’s gracious healing that I await with expectancy.  (It’s a healing of a spirit that’s needed – we are all well.  And my heart whispers a litany of grateful praise for that…)

That was heavy, wasn’t it?  Writing about the heaviness of my heart eases the burden a bit.  There’s something grand in sharing a burden with others.

__________________________________________________

But enough of that.  Now for the light.

What is greater than a group of kids, enjoying ice cream on a hot summer’s day?  I’ll answer that for you…

img_6604

Nothing.

Then and Now

Exactly one year ago, I took Landon to a small, relatively quiet section of beach and took pictures.  On Friday, I did it again.  In one year’s time, my baby has grown into a toddler brimming with personality and joy.  He is sweetness personified.  And he is growing up much too fast…

THEN - He was 7 months old and enjoyed immensely the taste of sand.

THEN - He was 7 months old and enjoyed immensely the taste of sand.

 

NOW - He's not too fond of the sand, particularly when it lands in his mouth.

NOW - He's 19 months and he's not too fond of the sand, particularly when it lands in his mouth.

THEN - He was still immobile.  He hadn't even begun crawling.

THEN - He was still immobile. He hadn't even begun crawling.

NOW - He can walk...

NOW - He can walk...

Run...

Run...

And wave hi to the passing tractor.

And wave hi to the passing tractor.

THEN - He enjoyed showing a little crack at the beach.

THEN - He enjoyed showing a little crack at the beach.

NOW - Well, thankfully not everything has changed!

NOW - Well, thankfully not everything has changed!

THEN - He was funny, sweet and brimming with personality.

THEN - He was funny, sweet and brimming with personality.

NOW - That personality is (loudly) showing up in a thousand different expressions.

NOW - That personality is (loudly) showing up in a thousand different expressions.

Whether THEN or NOW, the fact remains…
He is one handsome little boy.
He is one handsome little boy.

 

Just a couple of Why’s?

I’m a bad vacation blogger.  And you know what? I’m okay with that.  I needed a blogging break.  I needed to get away from the internet for awhile.  It can be very addiciting can’t it?  I am just enjoying my vacation and taking some time to breathe before heading home next week.

Then I’ll be back.  Oh yes, dear readers – I will be back in full bloggy form.  You. are. welcome.

So today, instead of trying to be funny or creative, I just have a couple of questions.  My friend, Nicole, calls these Great Mysteries of Motherhood.  I just scratch my head and think, “Why again?”

For example: Why do children fight, bicker, argue, drive mommy insane wear mommy out every waking moment of the day UNTIL OF COURSE bedtime, when suddenly they’re in cahoots and having a grand old time together when in fact THEY SHOULD BE SLEEPING!  Why, oh readers, why?

And why is it that the second I sit down on the toilet all hell heck breaks loose and everyone needs something at the exact same time?  Why?  I attempted to explain such behavior here, but I still don’t fully understand (despite my brilliant mathematical/scientific theory – read with sarcasm, please).

And now, a why that doesn’t involve the children.  Why do I wake up every morning determined to eat well, exercise and live an all over healthy lifestyle, but by midday have myself completely talked out of it as I snatch a handful of M & M’s?  Why do I do that?

Finally, why, despite all the drama and craziness of every day life, do I wake up each morning thrilled to see those little faces and hug those little necks?

Why?