Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy December

This picture I took today is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

A genuine belly laugh was definitely medicine for my body and soul.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

With Thanksgiving

After a holiday weekend full of family, friends, savory nibbles and game playing I pause again to give thanks to the One who withholds no good thing. He gives and He is good.

I am indeed grateful for the bountiful gifts of: my husband, our children, extended family, friends old and new, our church, the roof over our heads, our health, and employment. I'm also grateful for slipper socks, the warmth of the fireplace, scented candles, and freshly baked bread just to name a few.

I'm realizing the desire for my senses to be awakened to the gifts in the daily - to experience God working in even the littlest of things and to be fully present in each of them. Because God gives in the big moments and He gives in the small ones too. He gives. And gives. And gives.

For this I am a thankful Daughter of the King.

A few snapshots of our Thanksgiving weekend.Papa & Grandma with the huge bird!Cousins Kelci & Carissa
Caleb really thankful for his bread roll (he ate 4)Carissa striking a pose
and her younger cousin Olivia piercing us with the bluest eyesAnd Olivia's sister and Carissa's older cousin Kelci who is driving her own car now!
Its hard to believe that she was Carissa's age when she walked down the aisle as a flower girl in our wedding. How do they grow up so fast?A lovely holiday weekend

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here and Gone Again

My Mom, aka 'Nana' came to visit us but she came and went very quickly. She was here two days before we had to send her back home on an airplane.

No more than 12 hours after her arrival she was unable to move her right shoulder and arm. Even with medication the pain was unbearable. After a series of events and talking to the on-call oncologist in Phoenix, consulting via Skype with our family chiropractor (my uncle), and attending the hospital emergency room it was decided that further diagnostics and care were necessary in AZ. In short the tests indicate a badly torn rotators cuff. (More details can be read on her blog - Strength of My Soul.)

We are thankful that Nana was here but it was a disappointment for her to leave. I know we made the best choice but the reality of her health issues hit the softer spots of our hearts.

Although my mom has been an exception to the norm I know that we are on an extended journey. The journey is occasionally calm, sometimes distressing and often intense like a winding road with unpredictable turns and random stops.

Sometimes I want to escape the ups and downs, other times I want to accept them. Admitting my conflict, it isn't my desire to shun the zigzags of the journey. Instead I want to embrace the joyful moments and grieve the sorrowful ones with harmony and balance.

May I learn to walk this journey well and ultimately experience authentic transformation.

Birthday Parties

Birthday Party #1
We threw a waffle party for C & C's and a few of their little friends. We made waffles all together, ate a yummy breakfast, and opened a few surprises. Nana even got to be a part of the waffle party fun!Birthday Party #2
We had a family party drawing family members from Denver to Phoenix. It was complete with two cakes - A Cinderella/Fairy Godmother cake for Carissa and a Speed Racer cake for Caleb.Carissa got a doctor kit so that she can 'take care of everyone' - something that she does well.Caleb got a Spider Man shaving kit from his Aunt and Uncle. He thought he should get right on it since he's growing such a heavy beard and all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Best Birthday Surprise

Caleb & Carissa have been deprived of GUM their entire '4' years. Please don't say I'm a bad mama or that I've traumatized my children. Seriously, what's the point of GUM at such a young age? We decided as parents that C & C needed to wait for the juicy pleasures of chewing gum until they were old enough to show a little responsibility.

Oh yes, the kids asked for it but we deterred their requests by telling them that GUM was for older children and something worth waiting for (we gave them no definitive time frame - translate: hold them off as long as possible...) but they came up with their target date - the year of '4' - and frankly we were ok with that.
So here it is, proof that on their big '4' birthday we took a trip to Walgreen's
and purchased their very own packs of GUM. It was the best birthday surprise ever! The experience was long awaited and the excitement was overwhelming. I just love the exuberance and joy of children. I've personally found that it is often the littlest pleasures that cause such enthusiasm.
They were chomping at the bit to get their gum open and....
...actually put it in their mouth and chew it. Carissa chose pink bubble gum and Caleb chose yellow Juicy Fruit.
I was so excited when they picked out their gum that I didn't even think about the fact that Caleb's gum wasn't sugar-free. Honestly it didn't strike me until Jeff asked me why I allowed Caleb to buy sugar gum. My answer was pretty baffled. "Uh, because I didn't even think about it? I was too in to the moment?" It was an honest answer but after two days I traded out his gum for some sugar-free spearmint which went over just as well.
So here is proof of the best birthday surprise ever. GUM.

Might I add that I felt a little strange with my camera taking pictures inside and outside the Walgreen's establishment? But the kids helped me out - they felt the need to show and tell everyone who walked by that it was their birthday and they just got GUM. Perfect.

Oh, and one lady said "that brick wall is good background, maybe I'll bring my family to take photos here". Maybe I've started something.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Year of '4'

Where oh where has the time gone?
And how can it be that my children turned '4' years old? (a mere 13 days ago...Nov. 8th)
It seems like such a short time ago they were just wee little ones.
And now, look at these sillies showing off their '4' fingers.
and playing peek-a-boo behind the aspen trees...two sillies definitely too sillyCaleb, also known as 'Buddy' & 'Chunk': your smile, giggles and love for life is infectious. I love your adventurous personality, inquisitive nature and curiosity about all things (even though you set the church on fire). Your sensitive spirit and gentleness towards others is a gift. And your knowledge and love for God is developing.

You love preschool, enjoy reading books, playing imaginary games with your sister, riding your bike, playing with cars, light sabers and your new remote control car.
You are a lover of candy, Rice Krispies cereal, fruit, cornbread, popcorn and elk meat.
Your favorite colors are dark blue and red. Sometimes yellow.
You love to play hard with daddy but love mommy's kisses, tackles and hum's at bedtime.

When you grow up it wouldn't surprise me if you become a scientist. Lord help me if you become a football player. Since you are so 'big' we joke that we are going to put a brick on your head to stop you from growing.

Caleb, my son, you are a true gift in my life and loved beyond words. It thrills me to be your mama. Cheers to the year of '4', may it go by slowly so I can savor you this big.My dearest daughter Carissa, also known as 'little sweetie', 'honey bunny' & 'princess': your smiles, laughter and appreciation for even the littlest of things is so endearing. Your wild imagination often leads you, your brother and other children in free play. You adore your white blanket and still love naps (most of the time!).

You exemplify a little lady in every way. You love to cook in the kitchen, wash the dishes and help mommy do the laundry. You love all things pink and purple, princess, your baby dolls, little purses and dressing-up in your costumes.
One of your favorite activities is to ballet dance in your pink ballet costume & ballet shoes while mommy plays the piano. Your expressions crack me up! It wouldn't surprise me if you pursue dance and/or the arts as a profession. Teaching is also a likely field - you like to teach others and tell them what to do!

Your tender heart towards the Lord pleases me. Every night I look forward to hearing your favorite part of the day and your sweet prayers thanking God for simple things and praying for others.

Carissa, you are my angel and loved beyond words. Whenever I ask you "who loves you" you always answer with the long list of loved ones - "mommy, daddy, nana, papa, grandma, jesus, etc..." It thrills me that you know that you are loved by God and by your family. Please Carissa, don't grow up too fast! I cherish you and these years.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spider Man, Cinderella & Jack O' Lanterns

Spider Man and Cinderella made grand appearances on Halloween. We went trick or treating with our neighbor friends across the street.
(pic: Caleb, Ben, Ethan, Carissa)
Caleb, aka Spider Man raced the sidewalks with Ethan, the Power Ranger. His adrenaline was out of control!

Carissa, aka Cinderella was most concerned about being a beautiful princess. Even though her glass slippers slowed her pace she insisted on wearing them and showed them off at each neighborhood door.

Mid-way through collecting candy more little friends met up with us.
(pic: Walker, Caleb, Wyatt, Carissa)
Caleb checking out his loot.

Cinderella daintily eating her first piece of candy.
The Jack O' Lanters - One Eyed Jack and Mada
Carved by Jeff and the kids

Thursday, October 28, 2010

the year of '40'

It's official. Jeff is 40 years old.Earlier this month I planned a SURPRISE party to celebrate Jeff and all his wonderful-ness.Complete with cervesa, carnitas, and a variety of homemade salsas, and guac. dips, the mexican fiesta was not only a feast for the eyes but also the tummy!
Our friend Bridget made these gourmet desserts. Most guests indulged in more than one piece. (I'm not kidding. If you tried her desserts you would understand.)The mustaches caused lots of belly laughs!

I love Annie's (pic left) serious face - so contradictory! Not only did Peggy (pic right) look fabulous in her mustache she also got a free upper lip wax when she removed the sticky. While we were in hysterical laughter Peggy's 'wax' brought her to tears and blood to the surface. No worries for Peg, she won't need another waxing for at least six months.Jeff, may the year of '40' be a wonderful year!