Tuesday, December 30, 2008

6 Years Old!

Today Jake turns 6! It's hard to believe he's been around that long already. Most people say that Jake is a mini-Mark...the spitting image. He has my eye color but it ends there. =) Jake is a really good big brother. He loves to share his candy from school or church with Rory and he checks to make sure she's okay in certain situations, which is hilarious. He's really big on hugs and I Love You's lately, and we're drinking it in because we assume it won't last. He's all boy, and thumps and bumps and bangs around the house, which of course, drives me crazy. He's stubborn (shocker) but quick to say he's sorry. He colors a lot, and wants to do more school work as soon as he gets home in the afternoon. Right now his world is consumed with Transformers, Superheroes, and Legos. Especially Legos. His little mind is definitely a builders mind. He loves all his toys that he can create with...Legos, Magnetix, Lincoln Logs, Bristle Blocks...anything he can build. Legos seem to have taken over our house this Christmas and birthday. We're so thankful for Jake...I can't imagine my world without his fits of laughing. I don't think there's anything I love more in this world than when Jake does his hearty laugh! =)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Twas the week before Christmas and what can I say
No blogging for weeks, but I’ll explain if I may.

I came home from Thanksgiving way too sick.
But December is crazy with many tasks to lick!

So I started in right away, decorating and baking
With no rest I got sicker—and I wasn’t faking!

Finally it was all done, my house looked cheery.
I could sit and enjoy the season through my eyes so bleary.

Now that I'm healthy there’s fun stuff to do.
Town festivals and light spotting are the first two.

We’ve been watching our movies and reading our books.
Got some pics of my kids with some pretty cute looks.

We decorated our tree and had a party or two
The kids sang in big church, to name just a few.

Busy busy busy, but with really fun stuff.
December is magical so it never feels rough.

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care
Gifts are bought and wrapped and I can’t wait to share!

I’ve been very out of touch and I feel really bad,
But there are special times with my family that are being had.

And since I’m sure this post will be it for a little while,
Merry Christmas to all and a very big smile! =)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

I know I indulge myself in a little bit of Christmas through November by breaking out the music and the mugs (and even some decorations if Mark will let me get away with it early). But I will admit that it is not truly the Christmas season until that cold, fresh, nothing-else-like-it smell of our balsam fir hits me for the first time. Aaaaaahhhhhh...the true smell of Christmas in my living room!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Counting Down




Thanksgiving Countdown & MySpace Layouts


Mulling It Over...

When I was in college I remember my friends and I discussing what our favorite childhood Christmas record was. Yes, I am old enough to have used records as a small child. It was that one album that meant Christmas was here the moment you heard it. For one friend it was Barbara Streisand, for another Jim Reeves...you get the picture. We had a bunch that we played at our house, but my favorite by far was the Carpenters Christmas Portrait. A friend of ours was techno savvy enough in the early 80's to finally record it onto a cassette tape for us and that's what we played for years and years and years until the CD revolution, at which point (after receiving my very own CD player for Christmas), I went right out and bought my own Carpenters CD, along with one for my mom.

I was thinking about this the other day. For years now we've had Christmas radio stations at our exposure. I remember as a kid the oldies station would play Christmas music all day only on Christmas and we were so excited about it every year. Something different, something fun. But now, we have stations playing Christmas music starting as soon as Halloween is over and straight through New Year's (and online all year long if you want it). Now for me, this is great because my minivan is on the old side and only has a radio and a broken casette player. So the radio being my only option, I thrive on those Christmas stations as I drive around town. Another thing those of us blessed with DirecTV have is XM radio stations through our TV. I never listen to these stations, except when Christmas comes around. It's so convenient to flip on the TV and turn it right to the Holly station for some old and new Christmas classics.

But the other day as I was driving around singing Christmas songs with Rory at the top of our lungs, I realized that so far, my kids don't have that one special album that will always mean the magic of Christmas. Part of this is because of the two things I just mentioned, but another reason is because I have been a Christmas CD freak since college and at this point probably have over 40 different CD's. So if I do take the time to pop in a CD (or bring up iTunes on my laptop) instead of the radio, I'm playing a variety of music all season long, rather than just those few special albums over and over.

Is there a solution? I'm determined to make December as magical for my kids as I remember it being for me. But I like ALL my music and I don't want to leave any out. Maybe I can play the same CD every year as we decorate the tree, or maybe I can play the Disney one during breakfast every morning as a happy Christmas start to the kids' day...I don't know...I'm still mulling. Suggestions are welcome. Just once again thinking out loud to anyone who wants to listen!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Halloween!


One of my favorite things about Halloween is that I get to eat candy that I would normally not spend money on when I'm at a store. Take Milk Duds, for instance. I LOVE Milk Duds, but I don't think I've ever actually bought them. I mean, do they even have Milk Duds in the check out line? I don't think I've ever seen them in a store at all, come to think of it. So as I sit and make the effort to chew my milk duds (not an easy task), I see disapproving looks coming from Mark. He thinks it's mean to dip into the kids candy buckets. I have many points to dispute this thought:

1) Mark doesn't like our kids to have much candy in the first place.
2) I am a self-proclaimed candy addict and it's impossible to see massive amounts of chocolate without indulging.
3) Our kids are getting old--we did 2 neighborhoods instead of just our development and both kids have a rediculous amount of candy.
4) If we don't help the kids eat it, it will last until January, and I personally don't even like the candy to infringe on our Christmas cookie season because there's already so much food to enjoy during December.
5) Isn't it the God-given right of every parent to dip into their kids Halloween buckets? I mean come on--my mom did it. It's the circle of life!

Anyway, we had a GREAT Halloween this year. Mark got to go trick-or-treating with us for the first time in years. Jake had a fun class party and school parade that Rory and I got to help with. And we had a blast running into so many neighbors and kids from school that we're getting to know. Sometimes suburban America is nothing short of wonderful. =)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Time

I am a person of tradition. If something is done one year, it must be done the following year. My mom did it this way growing up, and I think it's just bred into me now. Although my mom does say that when we were kids, if she let something go or we skipped something, I was the one who demanded that things go the traditional way. I was not a fan of change--I think it made me feel secure and I liked knowing that our family did things certain ways. I feel it's really important to help create a feeling of security, fun, and festiveness in my kids lives, so they can look back at their childhoods and proclaim to all the world the way things were done in our family. I'm thinking this mostly pertains to holidays and special occasions, but I've seen it creep into other facets of our lives too.

So in saying all this, it's hard to let go of a traditional fall activity this year, but it's with good reason. We have carved a big jack-o-lantern every year since before we had kids. Usually it's the week before Halloween. Last year we made a huge event out of it, first carving the pumpkin, then having hot chocolate with pumpkin peep marshmallows, and finishing by watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Obviously, this is the most fabulous event in my mind because I'm so psychotic about fall, and I planned to make it an annual family evening.

BUT...I didn't count on life changing so much between then and now. First of all, Jake is in school, and on top of that, we are involved in so much more now than we were when we first moved here, and we finally know more people. This week, being the week before Halloween, is CRAZY! We had a costume party with our Young Adult (college/career) group from church, Rory has a Halloween party with her library story time class, we have a friends costume party and bonfire with a ton of people from church Thursday night, and then Friday Jake has his class costume party and parade at school, which Rory and I will also be going to. There was simply no time to carve a pumpkin! I'm willing to let go just this year and not freak out about it, because the kids are having SUCH a fun week with alternative festive events, instead of our little homemade one. But rest assured, it's in the back of my mind to pick back up next October. Maybe we need to do it 2 weeks before Halloween...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

21 days and counting until the constant beating over our heads that is campaign commercials comes to an end.

Monday, October 06, 2008

40 Things You May Not Know About Me

Someone challenged me to do this and it was hard, but fun.


1. Green is my favorite color (okay, so maybe you know that one since practically all my clothes and half my shoes are green)
2. I grew up the oldest of 4 kids with a single mom.
3. I love hiking and canoeing.
4. I’ve had 8 holes pierced into my body, and only the first two are left.
5. I had my gallbladder removed in college.
6. I wear sneakers every day (although since Christmas, my Crocs are giving them a run for their money).
7. I saw a real Viking ship sale into Dublin, Ireland the only time it’s ever happened since the invasions thousands of years ago.
8. Once the weather is cool, I burn candles every day.
9. Ever since I was a little kid, I have fainted EVERY SINGLE time I’ve puked.
10. In 9’th grade after puking, I fainted, then simultaneously split my chin open on the bathtub, and burned my arm (2’nd degree!) on a radiator. =)
11. For someone who hates working out, I was a pretty good athlete back in the day and actually won athletic awards. (it’s okay—you can giggle at that one).
12. New Hampshire is my favorite state.
13. I love oldies.
14. Growing up, my walls were covered with hockey posters, but now I know nothing about it and football has taken over.
15. I took a cake decorating class.
16. My mom let my sister and I have friends sleep over just about every weekend of my life.
17. I used to play the piano, flute, and guitar.
18. I went to a boarding school in NH for my last 2 years of high school.
19. My sister is tall, blond, trendy, and runs marathons, while I am average, brunette, wear the same clothes forever, and hate exercising, but we make each other laugh a LOT!
20. I’m in love with New York City.
21. As a kid, I took ice skating lessons and gymnastics.
22. I'm a big-time morning person.
23. When I'm sick, I babble the ears off of whatever person is near me and don't realize I'm doing it.
24. I have 14 rubbermaid bins of Christmas decorations.
25. My cousin and I once spent 9 hours straight swimming and playing in a NH lake.
26. My favorite part of the day is choosing my morning coffee mug.
27. My laundry room walls are covered with pieces of my history and things that make me smile.
28. I still like toys and cartoons just as much as when I was my kids' ages.
29. My husband and I are extreme opposites, but a lot alike---it doesn't make sense, but it works.
30. I love sleeping with the windows open and piled with quilts.
31. In 8'th grade my friend and I used to go to Au bon Pain every Friday night and order a ham and cheese croissant and Coke for $3.33.
32. I always considered myself a city girl, but lately I'm wanting to live in the country (as long as we're close enough to drive to the city).
33. I realized recently that my love of old movies stems from the fact that my mom and my grandmother always did too, and I've become determined to pass this on to Rory (along with our love of books). She just watched her first Shirley Temple movie.
34. I biked for an entire day around Cape Cod and the next day, literally could not sit down.
35. My ringtone has always been "Over the Rainbow" with a few others thrown in seasonally.
36. For someone who's not that into clothes, I have 2 and a half drawers of graphic tees.
37. My favorite food is a really well done Italian sub.
38. I have a GIGANTIC collection of cookie cutters.
39. I watch all my Christmas DVD's in November so in December I can watch the movies that are on TV--I even love the cheesy ones on Lifetime every afternoon in December.
40. I eat popcorn about every other night.

My Favorite Month

"October is the glory and magnificence of the year's late afternoon."
--Hal Borland (The Twelve Moons of the Year)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Man With the Spatula

Most people probably wouldn't look at Mark and automatically assume he's a cook. And he probably wouldn't call himself one, but I must proclaim to all the world that he has a gift. I think this gift involves spatulas. I'm telling you, anything he touches with a spatula turns to gold. Mark has been making pancakes with our kids on Saturdays mornings since they were old enough to stand on a stool. But it's his omelettes that have so impressed me over the years. I've been making my own omelettes since I was a kid, but once we'got married and Mark made me that first omelette years ago, I don't bother to make my own anymore. I don't know what he does to make them so perfect, and I think I've decided I don't want to know. I love cooking, but it's kind of fun that his are so much more yummo. The really cool thing is that he seems to have so much fun making them that he doesn't mind if I randomly ask for one. This weekend the spatula gift was confirmed. I was sick with a knock-me-over kind of cold and no food sounded good to me except for mild things like soup or english muffins. Mark made me the most delactable grilled cheese of my life. It wasn't anything fancy--plain white bread, one slice of american cheese--so I don't know why it tasted so good. I guess I'm just chalking it up to my husband's gift.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September, Here We Come!

Since having my kids and becoming a stay-at-home mom, my life has been very slow, for lack of a better word. I've had all the time in the world to do things. Once we moved to Columbus, it became slower than ever because of not knowing many people. I became involved more than ever in my online world, which involved numerous blogs I read, browsing for any and everything, and of course, facebook. Suddenly, life isn't like that anymore. For the past 6 or 7 months, we've been busy, but it seems since July, busier than ever. It's a good busy though--getting Jake started in school and all the meetings that go with that, starting with the Young Adult group at our church, doing a rediculous amount of fun area things with friends to get us through my most hated month of the year (swelteringly miserable August!). I guess all this is to say that I hate the fact that each blog entry seems farther apart than the last. As I go about my day, so many things pop into my head and my brain starts automatically writing my next entry, but then I don't get a chance to sit down and actually type it in, or when I do, I'm tired and I just want to vedge. It's frustating because this is such a fun outlet for me. Anyway, if you're still checking this silly but hopefully slightly interesting blog, I'm hoping things will even out sometime soon, maybe after my mom flies home next week and we're finally settled into a normal routine around here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here We Go Again

Just bear with me here, people, as it is time for my very annual lament about how summer is too long and it’s time for the magic of Fall.

I’m ready for jeans.
I’m ready for Ohio State football.
I’m ready for Jake to start school.
I’m ready for my brown sweater coat.
I’m ready for leaves to change color.
I’m ready for socks and sneakers and boots.
I’m ready for apple picking.
I’m ready for clean crisp air.
I’m ready for my green puffy vest.
I’m ready for pumpkins.
I’m ready for hay rides.
I’m ready to wear my first ever official OSU football jersey on Saturdays.
I’m ready for warm spicy candles.
I’m ready for pumpkin bread and apple crisp.
I’m ready to change my living room d├ęcor to autumn stuff.
I’m ready for a new TV season.
I’m ready for flannel pj pants and hooded sweatshirts.
I’m ready for homemade soups and stews.
I’m ready to wrap up in quilts in my cold house.
I’m ready to swap our American flag with our OSU flag for a few months.
I’m ready for the fact that once fall is here, the magic of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas closely follows, but with enough time in between to revel in each one.

So very much to enjoy...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I got to share the Lord's Supper last night with some girls in a very intimate setting. What a unique experience...to sit and take communion with a group of girls who I barely know yet, but who I feel close to because they are my sisters...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Little Things That Make Me Smile

"Don't you just love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address..."
--Tom Hanks in the movie You've Got Mail
I know I've used this before in a previous post, but it's honestly one of my favorite quotes of all time. And it's getting to be that time of year. Not fall yet, unfortunately, but since it's almost August, the stores are packed to overflowing with school supplies. As a kid, one of my favorite things in life was shopping for each year's supplies. I loved choosing a fun tissue box, a new pencil case sporting whatever I was obsessing over that year, and I still remember every trapper keeper I ever had. What's better than fresh pencils and crayons? Now that Jake is starting Kindergarten, once again I get to relive fun things through my kids. A few weeks ago he picked out a Batman backpack, and last week we got everything else on his supply list. I can't believe he's old enough that his existence now requires a batch of #2 pencils! So this is a fun new phase we're entering, but something I've been doing in August for years now is restocking our own personal house stash of crayons. You know how it goes...after a while you have a plastic shoebox size container of all broken crayon bits and pieces, complete with stray papers that have been ripped off the crayons along the way. Well, every August I stock up on 10 cent boxes of brand new Roseart crayons to last us another year. And hey, if you're feeling crazy, go for the 22 cent Crayolas!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reasons I Haven't Been Blogging Lately...

--3 week vacation to PA and Boston

--Picnics at the park

--Painting projects around the house

--Lots of kiddie pool time in the backyard

--Pool and ice coffee time at friends' houses

--Christmas shopping (that's right...have you seen the clearance toys out there? June and July are goldmines!!)

--Spending time with Mark before he started his summer job

--Painting polka dots on Rory's toenails

--Fun crafty projects with the kids

--Guitar Hero with Mark and quality Wii sports time with the kids

--Saturday morning farmer's market

--Library reading club

--Dinners with friends

--Quality time with ice cream cones

--Grilling outside instead of cooking inside

--Summer movies at ornate old theatres, in the park, and at the dollar theatre

I have to say, for someone who claims to "hate summer," I sure have been enjoying myself!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

"Though inland far we be
our souls have sight of that immortal sea..."
--William Wordsworth
"Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us
think things we like to think."
--Robert Henri
"Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought
of which the sea would not be a part."
--Hermann Broch
"A person should go out on the water on a fine day to a small distance from a beautiful coast, if he would see nature really smile..."
--Augustus William Hare
"There is indeed, perhaps, no better way to hold communion with the sea than sitting in the sun on the veranda of a fisherman's cafe."
--Joseph W. Beach
I am very happy here in Columbus. I've fallen in love with the city itself, but I do have one complaint--it's inland. This has been a problem for me and probably always will be, no matter how at home I am here. I once read that if you're born near the ocean, your connection to water never goes away. I find this to be irrefutable...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Out!

So much happening, so little time to write. We're heading on our annual journey to the hills of Pennsylvania this Saturday. As usual, Mark will be working 3 weeks of basketball camps, and the kids and I will be off on adventures to Boston, the beach, visiting old friends, and many peaceful mornings on campus, feeding the psychotic geese, blowing bubbles, riding bikes and whatever other whim takes over us. I already checked my dozen books out of the library (I do a LOT of reading on this trip), bought all our fun vacation snacks, and have the kids little backpacks filled with all sorts of goodies and surprises.

Something a little extra exciting for me this time around is that as of tomorrow, I'm done with my babysitting job. I am so thankful it came along when it did because it was an absolute answer to prayer. It's been 4 months of Monday through Friday 7:00a.m. to 5:30p.m. And now, IT'S OVER!!!!!! I can't explain to you how thankful I am to be spending the rest of my summer with my own two kids. The older they get, the more fun I'm having, and I am psyched to be just us again, and to have the freedom to say yes to whatever comes along because I won't have 4 or 5 (depending on the time of day) in tow.

So we're ready to get our lives back, we're ready for a fun vacation, and we'll be really ready to come back to Columbus and jump right back in to the fun and contentment we've found here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

An Ice Cream Awakening

I guess every area I've lived in has their own local ice cream place from Richardson's in MA to Mannings in PA. I finally got a taste of Columbus' Graeter's. I'm a creature of habit and that habit usually goes for a coffee chocolate chunk (Starbucks Java Chip...the best there ever was) or mint chocolate chip. But my friend told me about Graeter's famous black raspberry chip and I don't know if it was the weather or my mood or Lydie's excitement, but I was convinced I had to try it. I don't know if I will ever get anything else at Graeter's. It was HEAVEN ON EARTH!!! Black Raspberry Chip melting out of my waffle cone is a great way to spend girls night out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Take Time for Summer's Pleasures

That's the slogan for Country Time Lemonade. Doesn't the name Country Time Lemonade conjure up familiar images? Things like big yellow houses with porch swings, kids running through fields in summer, and lemonade stands on street corners with misspelled signs. I think Country Time's advertising department was successful since I'm pretty sure these images are memories of old tv commercials. Every summer of my life I've reconnected with this drink. Growing up my grandmother (who lived across the street) always had some in her fridge. As kids we always managed to mooch something off Gram at least once a day. In the summer for me it was the lemonade. It was mostly pink lemonade, but sometimes she went with the original. Grammie was a brand name kind of lady so there were no generic substitutions in her house. When it came to the lemonade, I was glad about that. Over the years in my own house I've tried to carry on this tradition of making sure there's always a pitcher of lemonade available during the summer. I've experimented here and there with cheaper brands, especially since I'm a faithful cheapo Aldi shopper but always end up coming back to Country Time because I don't like the koolaid-esque taste of the others. Don't get me wrong--I love Koolaid, but for the fruit punch and berry flavors. Lemonade is something you just don't mess with. I hit the jackpot today because a local store is having a Buy 1, Get 2 Free sale on Country Time. I bought 6 and calculated that they cost about 76 cents each! That should get us through at least the rest of this spring...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Little Bro

My youngest brother Tommy turned 21 last week. Being 10 years apart with other siblings in between, it's almost like we grew up in 2 different families, but I think all 4 of us kids were always close back then. It's so hard to believe he's this old. In my mind he's still the 6 year old kid he was back when I left home for boarding school, dribbling the basketball like a pro, never without a baseball hat, dressing up like every movie character he ever saw, and taking his wagon around to all the neighbors yards pretending to be a landscaper. =) To this day he is still the coolest kid I've ever known. I think the majority of people who read this blog know Tommy's history. He needs Jesus. Keep praying.


Since they both love cartoons, Jake has always loved watching movies with Uncle Tommy. =)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Here's the Story...

I recently introduced my kids to an American Institution, but not purposefully. For my birthday I got The Brady Bunch Complete Series on DVD (I bought it myself, of course) and it's now one of the most fun things I own. It's a special collector's set and comes in a green shag case--SO COOL! The Brady Bunch, you may ask? Yes, the Brady Bunch. I have loved this show since I was a little kid and remember watching it almost everyday after school for years. Now whenever I catch it on TV Land, or whatever channel it's currently showing on, I realize how much I still love it. The music, the voices, the story lines...everything about it is rediculously familiar, and therefore, is just plain comforting. So I decided to take the plunge. Since I bought it, I've been watching a couple of episodes here and there for the past few months, and didn't realize that it would reel in my two preschool age kids. Only the earlier seasons seem to keep their attention, probably because the kids on the show are younger so the story lines are easier to follow. They know the words to the song, and seem to have a special interest in Bobby and Cindy. =) They especially like the classic camping episode when the tents fall down on them, the one where Bobby enters an ice cream eating contest, and also the one where Bobby and Cindy get lost in the grand canyon. I have to admit that I'm glad they like it and considering how things on TV have changed quite a bit over the years, I know it was money well spent.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Childhood Attachment

Meet Cinderella. She's been Rory's best friend since last September, when she received her birthday present from Grammie. Rory sleeps with her every night, plays with her everyday, and sometimes, is even allowed to take her in the car or to the store. Cinderella has been a great friend, and has taken quite a beating. She's already had a patch job on her rump and her gloves have needed restitching too. I firmly believe that the Disney Store puts out a quality product, but when a little girl's love is this deep, even Disney Store products need some fixing up. Cinderella's been getting dirtier by the month and finally today I decided she needed a bath. Rory handed her BFF over to me with a very serious and concerned look when I told her Cinderella needed a ride in the washing machine to get clean, but her look also said, "I trust you." I'm so not kidding. So here we sit, with baited breath, hoping the gentle cycle doesn't do too much damage.

Rory opening up her present

The first hug

A child's love...right before I took her for her first bath =)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Another Friday...Another Movie...

"Life is an occasion. Rise to it." --Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

"See that girl, watch that scene..."

Mark has always been somewhat picky about the music he listens to. He likes mostly the latest in Christian or worship music (your basics: Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp, David Crowder Band, Hillsong, etc.) He also, being an athlete, likes your basic Jock Rock--anything that gets you pumped up--a little Van Halen, a little Def Leppard, a little Eminem, a little House of Pain. You get the idea.

I have always liked pretty much anything and everything except for R&B. I love rock (harder rock, indie rock, folk rock, soft rock, classic rock, alternative rock...get the idea?!), oldies, country, eclectic, classical, showtunes, crooners...I don't claim to love hip hop, but even I have my weaknesses for certain songs.

So imagine my amusement this morning when I woke up to my big tough guy husband whistling and singing along to Abba's "Dancing Queen" (which was loudly playing on my clock radio) as he went about his morning. My groggy first words upon waking up to this brand new day were, "Wow, nobody can resist a little Abba."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love


Disclaimer: This is not a Christian book.
Those who know me best know I don't read a lot of Christian authors. Mostly because I don't prefer Christian fiction, and I am by nature a novel lover. I have started reading a little more non-fiction by Christian authors, mostly because the older I get, the more I realize how clueless, helpless, (insert another synonym here), and lost I am when it comes to the fact that I am actually responsible for 2 human beings on this earth.
Anyway, I just finished reading this non-fiction piece of secular writing and I couldn't put it down. It was an adventure. It was eye-opening. It was a lot of crazy world views. Although there is so much I disagree with in this book, I have to say I agree whole heartedly with 2 major themes:
1 -- Food is divine (and I wish I could experience more)
2 -- Everyone should discover their purpose and their place in this lifetime

A Perfect Afternoon


We had a fabulous day last week. I haven't mentioned much about it here, but I've started babysitting my neighbors' kids fulltime, and because of that, I don't get out anymore. Having 5 kids everyday makes it impossible to be on the go the way I once was. But it's only temporary, so it's okay for now. Anyway, I had a day off last week because Jake had a Kindergarten visiting day. It was only a couple of hours, and since I had the entire afternoon off, my friend suggested we go to the park for a picnic and then over to Slate Run Historical Farm. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my one free afternoon! We had the best day. First of all, it felt so good to be out in the fresh air, eating a picnic lunch, which the kids and I love to do. It was our first one of 2008 and I'm looking forward to lots more. Second, I've been hearing about Slate Run since I got to Columbus and we just hadn't made it there yet. It's the coolest place for my kids ages and they had a blast. I felt like the day was our kickoff for spring and summer this year.
Rowan (the little guy), Ella, Rory, Jake, Silas, and Quinn

These are our new friends. Their middle two kids are the same ages as Rory and Jake, so we have fun together. Jake and Quinn claim to be best friends, which is very cute.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Kid Conversation

Pretty much the only thing that could drag me from watching The Office last night was my kid losing his first tooth. This really snuck up on me. I've never even mentioned teeth falling out, tooth fairies, or anything else on this topic. It started yesterday afternoon during lunch when Jake was crying telling me his mouth hurt. We've had a house full of criers lately so I was pretty unsympathetic and told him to just keep drinking water to make it feel better. Then yesterday afternoon, Jake found me to tell me that his tooth "broke." HAHA! Meaning it was loose cuz he was showing me how he could move it around. And by the way, OOPS, about the unsympathetic lunch. So I acted like it was so cool and tried explaining how teeth fall out and then grow back when you're a little kid. Who knows how much of that he actually comprehends. The 6 yr. old I baby-sit everyday told Jake that if he put it under his pillow the Tooth Fairy would bring him "3 dollars or 4 dollars or 5 dollars or 6 dollars." Huh? Things sure have changed since I was a kid! So I told McKensie that I was pretty sure the Tooth Fairy was still working with coins, not dollars in the Chapman house. Anyway, last night Jake calls downstairs from bed and tells me he has something to show me so he comes running downstairs proudly carrying his tooth in his hand. Mark said we should put it under his pillow right then, but I, of course, needed to give this auspicious event its due, so said we'd hold off until tonight instead. I have a fun book to read called "The Night Before the Tooth Fairy" by Natasha Wing that I've been saving for this very occasion. And we need to make a big deal and have fun with it all day. Any chance I get I have to make some magic around here. So this morning Jake was all excited when he woke up and told Mark again that his tooth "fell off." It kills me what wording kids come up with on their own. So Mark mentioned putting it under his pillow tonight and asked if Jake knew what would happen. Jake said, "the tooth fairy will put my tooth back in!" Again, HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

A New Day

I think spring has sprung here in Columbus, Ohio. We've had two gorgeous days and a couple more are on the way. There's also a ton of rain, which is fine with me because I like my surroundings green! My windows are wide open and fresher air I've never breathed. Maybe the germs we're fostering in here will be gone with the wind and all the crazy sicknesses we've been dealing with will leave with them.

With the spring comes the bi-annual task of sorting through kids clothes, finding what still fits, and of course, re-stocking flip flops. Since they're all my kids wear througout the spring and summer, we go through quite a few pair by the time fall comes around again, but it's okay with me because they're wonderfully cheap. And of course with flip flop weather comes toenail polish, so Rory and I took care of that paint job yesterday afternoon.

The other thing I'm especially thankful for today is my deck. We built it on at the end of last summer, so we barely used it before winter hit. I feel like we have another room on our house now that we're out there so much.

It's nice to know that tonight during the kids' soccer practice, instead of shivering on the bleachers for an hour, I'll actually enjoy it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mmmmm

I love Oreo Cakesters!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Second Star to the Right


I love Peter Pan. I have always loved the animated Disney version (did you have any doubt?) and I thought Hook was pretty good. Then of course, Finding Neverland was both wonderful and heartbreaking. But I just discovered the 2003 version of Peter Pan and it's so magical, they should slap the name Walt Disney on it! I'm still trying to figure out what I was doing that year, that I didn't realize this movie existed until recently. After reading up on it, I found out this is the closest version to J.M. Barrie's plays and novel (which I have a vintage version of...SO FUN!). The narration sounds eerily like Lord of the Rings narrator, and the actress who plays Wendy is phenomenal. As both the real world and Neverland decide, "I DO believe in fairies," there is nothing short of chills!

As a kid, I remember being torn between wanting to grow up and wanting to stay a kid (hmmm, sounds a lot like a certain tale...) I loved my childhood. There was no shortage of heartache, but there was so much happiness too, as it was full of friends, family, books, movies, music, delicious food, big imagination--all the things that still make me happiest. Now that my own kids are at an age where they can use their imaginations, creating worlds to play in, enjoying the timelessness of childhood, I'm determined to hold onto that for them as long as possible. But knowing that someday they have to grow up, I hope they take some magic with them, as I have tried to do...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Erin Go Bragh!

IRELAND FOREVER!
Now that I've been to Ireland, I feel more connected than ever to all things Irish and my heritage. This St. Patrick's Day season has been so fun.



I love Celtic knots and all things gaelic looking.
These images stir something in me.


As usual, the kids and I like to do it up big.
Happy St. Patrick's Day 2008!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring is Here

I just finished one of many Cadbury Eggs that I will be consuming this spring. There is nothing like them. They are pure chocolately, sugary goodness and I love them more than any other candy in life. It's probably more a dessert than candy because you can't just pop it in your mouth. It must be experienced. I have encountered a lot of people in life who hate them. I think Cadbury Eggs are like Peeps...you either love them or hate them. There's no halfway. I do have a couple of friends though who I have enjoyed many an egg with. We'd sit there, nibbling on them, licking out the smooth sugary middle, not saying a word since the chocolate is so velvety it makes speech pretty much impossible. Maybe the fact that they're seasonal makes them even more desirable.

Pure decadence.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Kids...

Kids little brains amaze me sometimes. Jake brought his latest creation out of bristle blocks up from the basement a few minutes ago and told me it was a building from Ratatouille. I said, is it the Eiffel Tower? Of course, he doesn't know what the Eiffel Tower is so I went and got the DVD case out and showed him and he said that's what it was and seemed excited that I knew what he was building. It's so fascinating seeing how they develop into their own people. Jake is 5 and has to memorize Bible verses for Cubbies every week, and he struggles with that. And there's Rory (who is 3) in the background basically memorizing them no problem because she's always listening in. And she helps him. Freaks me out a little bit and makes me feel a little bad for Jake, not that he really cares about that stuff yet. Then yesterday I was trying to teach them about clocks and telling time from these cute Disney flashcards I picked up at the dollar store. Rory caught on right away while Jake just kind of listened and watched. But look at what his mind does...creates a famous structure out of toys! We've always had lots of building stuff around the house--bristle blocks, magna logs, lincoln logs, small, medium, and large legos, and magnetix (which, by the way, if you don't have magnetix and you have a boy 5 or older, GET SOME cuz they are so cool and fun and seem to make kids be really creative!!!). Anyway, it seems like Jake has become quite a builder in the past few months. It's become his favorite thing to do and I love seeing what he comes up with. Kids are amazing!


Monday, February 25, 2008

To Love a Couch...

Sometimes my couch wraps its arms around me. I am cozy, I am warm, I am taken care of by my red cushy couch and my very faded and soft blue quilt with the flannel back. I love moments like this when I feel overwhelming contentment with my simple life...just me and family at home, the kids playing upstairs, me reading whatever novel I currently have my nose buried in, knowing Mark will make his way home to hang out with us before the day ends. This is why I love winter. To be able to burrow into my home for days on end is not a bad thing. So here I sit, book in hand, my latest cookbook next to me on the coffee table in case I need a change of pace, and a fire going to take the bite off the air. The wind is howling, more snow is expected, and I say bring it on. My cozy couch (and piles of quilts) will keep me warm.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Family Sing Along

Does anyone else love those freecreditreport.com commercials? There are three that I know of and I'm almost ashamed to say this out loud, but all four of us know them word for word. Why the obsession? I have no idea. I just know that I giggle uncontrollably when my kids sing the the pirate restaurant version to absolute perfection. I tried to upload them here but I'm getting errors, so just go to YouTube and search for freecreditreport.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First Timer

I just finished my first sewing project! This winter I've been really antsy to do something with my hands. I don't have a hobby, other than cooking, and I've wanted to find something else to help keep me busy. As many people know, my mom is a quiltaholic, so when she was here in January, we went shopping and got all the makings of a quilt. It was so fun choosing fabrics that I really love. And I just happened to have a sewing machine on hand because Mark bought me one right after I had Jake. I have gone back and forth for years on weather or not I want to try sewing, but now that I have, I realize using a machine is really addicting. I started my quilt while my mom was here and I'll be working on that for a long time. I'm really excited about it, but I also wanted to try something that I could finish quickly and see an end result. So I found a simple pattern for a tote bag online and just went for it. Even though it's sloppy I love it! Sewers of America, count me in!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Elizabethtown

A couple of posts ago I mentioned I'm passionate about movies that move me. I love Cameron Crowe movies--he has such a poetic way of telling stories. His most popular film is probably Jerry McGuire, but my two favorites are Almost Famous and Elizabethtown. I absolutely can't resist Almost Famous--I am always mesmerized as I fall into that world of classic rock. The goosebumps never fail when everyone on the bus ends up singing along with "Tiny Dancer."

But tonight is about Elizabethtown. I saw this movie two years ago, sitting in Abby's cozy little apartment on a frigidly cold snowy night in Minnesota. I remember freaking out after seeing it, as I have a tendancy to do when I fall in love with a movie. I just sat there, rehashing everything with Abs, and wanting to get into my car and drive across the country. I also remember being really tired that night and not catching all the details.

I have an ideal movie situation. I get to indulge myself a lot during the winter, with Mark being gone for basketball so many nights. I have a routine...phone ringer turned off, limited lighting, waiting for the kids to fall asleep, a lone candle on my coffee table, beverage, snacks, and chapstick ready and waiting so I don't have to get up for anything. Tonight was a night with zero interruption so I was able to fall completely into the story.

I don't think I remembered how amazing the soundtrack is...peppered with sprinklings of Elton John, Patty Griffin, Tom Petty...really wonderful stuff. I checked out Amazon and saw they had to jam the soundtrack onto 3 separate CD's! For me, this movie isn't about the romance of the characters, it's all the underlying symbolism and stuff that's hard to write about this late at night...and the highlight is by far the road trip, followed closely by me simultaneously laughing and crying during the Moon River tapdance routine.

I feel like this post isn't flowing so I'll just end by saying that Elizabethtown is a movie that moves me.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Half Empty or Half Full?

In the last two weeks...

Our red car needed new brakes.
Our water heater kicked the bucket.
Our basement storage room was completely flooded from the stupid water heater.
Rory flushed her Cinderella phone down the potty, making it unusable.
Our van is now smoking and smells like foul burnt rubber.
My kids drove me crazy.
The Patriots lost the Superbowl after a perfect season.
We felt alone and vulnerable.

On the other hand…

God provided a job for me that will not take me away from my kids.
Some men came down from another church to help install a new water heater.
The only stuff ruined in the basement flood were the yard sale boxes--hazzah for plastic bins.
Mark’s dad dismantled the toilet, fished out the phone, and put it all back together.
A friend here may be able to fix the van.
My kids are a gift and make me laugh out loud every day.
At least we had the Red Sox this year.
New friends seem to be at every turn.

Invaluable lessons are being learned about God’s faithfulness.

Monday, February 04, 2008

8 Things

A blog tag, huh? Well, this is the answer I’ve been looking for because apparently, my creative self has taken a leave of absence as there has been nothing to write about in the last month or so. Here goes…

8 Things I’m Passionate About:
My little family
People using their gifts within their church family and in life in general
Holidays
Movies that move me
Food
Hosting a memorable party
My kids becoming readers
Coffee

8 Things I Want to Do Before I Die:
Influence someone toward God
Know my grandchildren
Take culinary classes
Run a business of my own
Eat in the Mediterranean countries
Go back to Ireland because I need to spend more time in that magical land
Live in a picturesque place that inspires me daily
Visit Daylin

8 Things I Say Often:
What time is practice tomorrow?
I need a smooch.
What are you guys fighting about?!!
I don’t know what to tell ya.
Are you gonna be home tonight so I can go to Barnes & Noble?
What cartoon do you want to watch today?
Nice to meet you.
Is that me or what?

8 TV Shows I’ve Recently Watched:
Gilmore Girls
The Office
The Today Show
Everyday Italian
Barefoot Contessa
Lilo & Stitch, the Series
How I Met Your Mother
October Road

8 Artists I Never Tire of Listening To:
James Taylor
Sara Evans
Dixie Chicks
Michael Buble
Wicked soundtrack (not an artist, but the CD case is always on my kitchen counter for easy access)
Some old Passion conference CD’s
Lillith Fair type girl power chicks (Indigo Girls, Jewel, Sarah McLachlan---yaay for the 90’s!)
Ellis Paul

8 Things That Attract Me To My Friends:
Down to earth
Fun
Things in common
Loyal
Openness
Sincere
Quick to laugh
(Basically, I stole Gretchen’s list cuz she nailed it!)

8 Things I Learned in 2007:
Transformers and Magnetix are a mother’s best friend because little hands stay very occupied.
God is my Father.
Lonliness really stinks.
God grows us together.
The 2008 election will take more of a toll on me than the 2004.
Homemade vinaigrettes win out every time over bottled dressings.
Being 30 rocks.
How to truly love my neighbors.

Who Am I Gonna Tag?
My blog circle has already been tagged so just keep em coming.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Children of the 80's, Unite!

I admit, I'm a total sucker for nostalgia. Being born in 1977, I got to enjoy my childhood in the 80's. I was always so glad I wasn't a teenager during that decade because as silly as some of those early 90's trends were, nothing is worse that the 80's. I can live with seeing pics of myself as a teenager with the flannel shirts (loved the grunge era!) and the huge oversized sweaters.

But I will admit that as hideous as those 1980's were, being a kid rocked...the toys were great, the Saturday morning cartoons were great, little trends like snap bracelets, leg warmers, and banana clips were so fun for kids, and Punky Brewster was the coolest. In the last few years, toys from my childhood have made a huge comeback...Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and Transformers, to name just a few. Whoever decided to do this is a marketing genius because those of us who played with this stuff as kids now have our own kids. I am such a sucker for all of it. My kids have their fair share of this stuff and we love it. We just rented DuckTales Season 1 from the library and I think the kids get such a kick out of the fact that I know all the words to the opening song. I would kill for Boomerang, the network that plays all those old Saturday morning cartoons like Smurfs and Snorks and Pound Puppies, but alas, DirecTV has to dangle them in front of my face without putting it into the basic package.

So, all this to say, did anyone else watch the comeback of American Gladiators last night? Twenty years later, and there Mark and I were, watching those goofball gladiators as if we're still 10 years old...