Monday, June 28, 2010

Up In Flames

Yesterday, as I was planning the menu for my 4th of July weekend celebrations, my beautiful yellow laptop (read: my virtual right-arm) started to fall apart!  The screen was beginning to separate from the base at the hinge.  So I passed my computer to my husband to see what he could do to fix it.  When I came back into the room, I smelled smoke.  A wire had been pinched and my trusty laptop had gone up in flames!

This is very disheartening, as you can imagine, especially since I had made considerable progress on a writing project, and now I'm not sure if I'll be able to retrieve it.  Boo...hoo.  Also, my computer was pretty much awesome and fast, and now it is nothing more than a paper-weight.

The funny thing about this all is that during church yesterday I scribbled a little note to myself that I wanted to make sure that my kids learned to value real life experiences over virtual ones, and that although technology is wonderful and useful (and totally great!), we only really have time in this life to spend on the most uplifting things.

So I just have to chuckle to myself about this, and thank God for another opportunity to teach my children these lessons by example.   Given this latest development, and the fact that we've got visitors coming, a parade to orchestrate, and a trip to Palmyra coming up in the next two weeks, I guess now is as good a time as ever to take a little blogging break. (gasp!)  "Real World", here I come! 

In the meantime, I'll be praying that I'll be able to retrieve my precious pictures and writing project from my old laptop!  And I'll be back when my new laptop arrives...(Husband, are you reading this??? :)

Have a wonderful 4th everyone!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Things As They Really Are


I dream a lot.

Last night, I had an elaborate (read: uninterrupted) dream (thanks to the rain) in which I was defending the doctrine of the Family.  I stood my ground, and explained my beliefs despite disapproval from my friends in the dream.

When I woke up this morning, I continued reading where I left off last night in the June Ensign.  In his talk, "Things As They Really Are", Elder Bednar quotes President George Q. Cannon who taught:
"God has reserved spirits for this dispensation who have the courage and determination to face the world, and all the powers of the evil one, visible and invisible, to proclaim the gospel and maintain the truth and establish and build up the Zion of our God fearless of all consequences.  He has sent these spirits in this generation to lay the foundation of Zion never more to be overthrown, and to raise up a seed that will be righteous, and that will honor God, and honor Him supremely, and be obedient to Him under all circumstances."

Elder Bednar goes on to wonder if the young people hear this description so often that it has become trite.
It is not lost on me.  

I read this quote to my children over breakfast this morning.  We talked about what it means to honor God, and to honor Him "supremely" in all circumstances.

Elder Bednar continues, "You and I are to be valiant and 'obedient to Him under all circumstances.'  Thus, obedience is the principal weapon upon which the rising generation must rely in the latter-day battle between good and evil."

Time for me to take my valiant ones to church.
Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yeah, That's a Lot of Free Plants...Round Two


The gluttony of free plants continues.

My neighbors run a "flower tent" here in town.  They put the plants that they don't sell out for "free" in their yard today.  They were taking donations for a local dog shelter, so we did contribute to that.  I gave her $17. It was all the cash I had.  And I drove home with all of this.  The peonies in the back were free from my friend's yard (again, thank you, Jessica).


The best lil gardener around helped me to plant over 57 plants in our "kid garden" today. He informed me that since he is in the library garden club, he can put the plants where ever he wants.  I tried my best to comply.

I have to say that I am wondering why the Lord has blessed us so amazingly with all of these plants?
He must draw as much pleasure from watching my little ones' love of gardening as I do.

I left the house this morning thinking, "I'd sure like to run down to the Farmer's Market, so I can buy a few tomato plants.  We could really use them."

We never made it to the Farmer's Market, but somehow I ended up bringing home 15 tomato plants, 4 basil, 3 oregano, 3 parsley, 4 green bell peppers, and countless other flowering beauties, all, pretty much, free of charge!  That is a blessing, my friends!


I asked my husband if he liked the new plants in the garden.  "What new plants?" was his response.
Uh, honey, I put in a TON of new plants today!  You did?

UH, yeah. And I took him on a little tour...counting and pointing out each new plant.

Sorry, Boss, but you can't miss 57 new additions to our garden.  
That ain't right!  Poor man, he needs a day off!
He makes me laugh!

Well, it wasn't all work and no play today.  After a few sweaty hours of planting, we headed to the pool, where my sweet and lovely children discovered that they are, in fact, half fish.  My dear first-born actually swam in the deep pool without me today!  Try as I may, he is growing up so quickly.

I love him so much.

I love being a Mother, so much.

Even on days like yesterday, when we got all the way through the grocery store check-out process only to discover that I had left my wallet on the kitchen counter.

Even in the moment of that terribly inconvenient realization, I felt peace, as the Spirit assured me that this was an opportunity to teach my children, by example, how to deal with disappointments in life.

In that moment, I felt purpose, poise, and power.

And I felt reassured that the "little jobs" a Mother does are oh so important.

(We drove home, got the wallet, returned for our groceries--and no tears were shed--not by me anyway, and when I explained to the kids that this stuff just happens sometimes and instead of crying or getting mad, Mommy, just finds a solution to the problem, fixes it, and moves on, they were ok with that.)


Anyway, tomorrow is another day, and I see more planting in my future.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Green Thumb Club & Giveaway Winner


Yesterday was just an AWESOME day.

The kids joined the library's garden club and were allowed to plant flowers and veggies where ever they wanted...they were tickled pink.


And I think that Guy's picture is going to be in the newspaper.  I've gotta check.

After that, a friend of ours gave us a ton of free plants.
I transplanted them into our yard, which took most of the afternoon.

What a huge blessings for us.  I'm very grateful.



My favorite is the elephant ear hostas, which are the blue-ish broadleaved plants.

I love to plant things.
I love to garden.
I love to sweat (which I did most of the day yesterday).

And that is why I am dedicating this post to the Happiness Project.
(Just follow the link below to jump on the bandwagon.)

Photobucket


Now to announce the winner of the Lego Necklace Giveaway:

YELLOW Lego Heart Necklace

LYNETTE, you cutie!  There you are!

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You WIN!

Just contact Michelle's Charm World with your address, etc.
Congratulations!



Also of note:  Holly over at Rope 'Em In is doing 30 Days for the Family Proclamation this summer with her children.  Meander on over there and show her some blog love!  

Sorry about the randomness of this post.  Summer is crazy busy with outside things calling my attention.
So much going on. So little time to tell you about all of it!

I hope you are all having a very wonderful Summer!

Monday, June 21, 2010

DAD - A Father's Day Nursery Present

Note:  Don't forget to enter the Lego Necklace Giveaway here.
I will announce the winner on Tuesday!


This is what our Nursery leaders made for the girls to give to Daddy today for Father's Day.

Can you say cute?

Our ward was split last Sunday...Actually part of our ward was given to another ward--
a pretty big opportunity for everyone in both wards to really stretch ourselves.
Hopefully we'll see lots of growth.

Luckily, our Nursery Leaders stayed in the ward.  They are the best.
My children and I reap the benefits of their love.

For a chance to win a Lego Necklace:  Click here.
A winner will be picked tomorrow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daddy Lessons



My husband has taught my children many useful lessons.

I recently started writing them down...for posterity's sake.

Here are some of the most poignant things that my husband has taught my kids:


HOW TO EAT AN ANT:


More accurately, he taught them to eat ants. That's right friends, when my children find an ant on the sidewalk, their normal reaction now is to pop it in their mouth!  Needless to say, in a survival situation, my children will probably never starve.


HOW TO CREATE A TSUMANI:


So, we were enjoying a nice dip in my friend's baby pool on Friday, and my son starts kicking water all over the place.  I ask what he is doing.  He says, "I'm making a tsunami!!"  I ask, first of all, how do you even know what a tsunami is?  "Daddy taught me."  Of course.  Sorry about the slightly disturbing photo, but I'm pretty sure this is what his tsunami looked like to the other toddlers in the pool!


HOW TO (properly) FLICK A RUBBER BAND

LA6777-001, Barry Yee /Riser

Later that same day, we were eating dinner, and my son attempts to shoot a rubber band using his fingers.  Instead of asking him to put it away until after dinner, my husband say, "hold on, let me show you just how this is done," and he proceeds to give him a tutorial on flicking rubber bands right there at the dinner table.
Proof that there is no time like the present for a genuine teaching moment.

(A side note: Don't let my husband see this...or your husband, for that matter:)

Rubber ban gun

It's a "fully-automatic rubber band machine gun".  The website says that "each machine gun is beautiful hand crafted", holds 144 rubber bands and looks and shoots just like an old western Gatling Gun.  It is billed as "the ultimate weapon in the office rubber band flicking war", but I could see it doing some serious damage on the home front as well.


Like I said, I should've started this list a long time ago, because it just goes on and on:  
how to hammer a nail
tie a knot
throw a frisbee
ride a bike
wrestle
run a race
roast a marshmallow
build stuff
plant stuff
pick out a Christmas tree
pee "in the wild"
jump on a trampoline
shoot an arrow
slow dance
dig holes
sit still in church
blow the wrapper off a straw
build a birdhouse
lick an ice cream cone
play hide & seek
catch a fish
catch a frog
make a snowman
enjoy a thunderstorm
catch fireflies
wear sunscreen
play the banjo
run in the wind
eat waffles
throw a water balloon
work hard
play hard

Do my kids look happy?  They are.  Thanks to their wonderful, loving Daddy!

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!



Friday, June 18, 2010

"If It Ain't Chunky, It Ain't Funky": Lego Jewelry GIVEAWAY


YELLOW Lego Heart Necklace

Remember earlier this week, when I showed you the awesome Lego bracelet that I ordered online?
Of course you do, because you've all been begging me to tell you where I got it!

The Lego Fun Bracelet came from the Etsy Shop Michelle's Charm World.

And Michelle is giving each of you a chance to win one of these sweet and funky little Lego Heart Necklaces, shown above, in the color of your choice.

It'll go nicely with one of these babies:

Lego Fun Bracelet

Here are some other items I am lovin' from her shop:

Lemon Love Chunky Bracelet

I'm A Shy Girl Scrabble Tile Necklace

Girly Sweet White Bow Necklace

Cupcake Couture Ring

To Enter: 
1.  Leave me a comment with your email or blog address and name your favorite item in Michelle's Etsy shop.
2.  Leave a comment with your favorite 4th of July/Summer recipe or craft idea.
3.  Follow me.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
I will announce the winner on Tuesday.

Good luck.  Thanks for reading.  And have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

As You Wish: Guy's No "No" Day

Sometimes "I love you" means saying No.

Other times it means saying Yes...a lot...all day long, even.


I had misplaced something, and I absent-mindedly promised that if Guy found it for me, I'd give him....uh...anything, whatever he wanted.  (I was doing something else at the time and couldn't think of something specific.)  "Anything?" he said, "You won't say No to anything I ask?!!"
Sure, sure, yeah, just go find it.
"Ok, Mommy, I will share my candy with you..."

Well a day later, he did find that thing I was looking for...and, of course I had to pay up.
So, yesterday I said YES to Guy all day...no matter what he wanted.

Granted, I'm a pretty laid back Mommy.  I generally allow my kids to play in the yard like free-range chickens, and if they want to "create", I give them lots of tape and whatever materials they would like to invent with.  I even allowed my son to build a Guy-sized spider web on our swing set last week using duct tape.  But I still find myself saying "no" a lot, which is annoying, even to me.  So yesterday was a nice little break from "no, no, no!"

At Guy's request, we watched a marathon of cartoons on Boomerang on Cartoon Network.  We ate chips and blueberries for lunch.  He cut down the spiderweb himself, using scissors.  He sorted through our 4th of July parade supplies box, which he's been begging me to do...just to make sure we had enough "fun stuff", and for dinner, we ate a ton of homemade french fries, which Guy helped to make and a little bit of cold-cut sandwiches with pickles.  So, this is how he chose to spend his no-free day:  watching cartoons and playing with sharp objects.

How would you spend your day if there was no "saying no"?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Happy Mom

Lego Fun Bracelet

I was grocery shopping with my kids yesterday,
when an older woman stopped me and said, "Oh, a Happy Mom!  You look like you are all truly enjoying each other.  Thank you for being a Happy Mom!!"

Uh, thank you, lady.  You caught us on one of our really good days.


Yes, we were having a blast "driving" our shopping cart.


Wearing our tutus (all day).


And making pinatas.

Days like these are the ones to remember.

I saw this lego bracelet online last night and just had to buy it.
I thought it was cool and figured my kids would play with it during church, and I wouldn't be worried about them "breaking my jewelry".  I also thought it would be a fun reminder of these wonderful days that we are so very blessed to spend together...just my children and me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance


I am sure that there is an awesome picture of me somewhere in a leotard, performing ballet on stage during a church talent show.  But I can't find one right now....ooh, I found it!  Lucky you...


That's me on the right.

When I was a kid, my mother saved her money to send me to ballet lessons...which I begged for!
My teacher's name was "Miss Lily".  She was an older woman, very sweet.  She taught out of her basement and wore fishnet stockings underneath her leotard.

Recently, my 3-year-old daughter has been pirouetting around the house and has asked me for lessons as well.  So I'm going to teach her...myself.  Once she masters the steps that I teach her, she can go study with the Masters.

I asked my 4-year-old son what lessons he would like to have this summer (in addition to ballet).

He immediately began winding up, as if he was swinging an imaginary bat.  
Given his aptitude for baseball, I thought for sure he'd say "baseball lessons".
No.

He wants "hitting pinata lessons".

We'll do that too...but for now...here is our first ballet lesson.

The Five Basic Ballet Positions:

First position 

Second position

Third position

Fourth position

Fifth position

Tomorrow, we'll take on Tap.

I have a feeling they are going to love that!

Now where did I leave my tap shoes...?

What are you teaching your children this summer?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things



Last night, I went downstairs to put some things into storage and discovered that a pipe was leaking water right onto a bunch of boxes full of some old scrapbooks and childhood keepsakes of mine.

I started rummaging through the boxes, looking for damage, as I moved them to a safer location.
It was so fun looking at old, obscure photos from years gone by.

I also found a little photo book that I had filled with pictures that made me smile.
In my 20's, as I moved around a lot chasing my dreams, I kept this special photo book with me to remind me of the dear people, places, and events who had loved, supported, befriended, and mentored me along the way...People who, in my quest, I had to leave behind, but they always remained close to my heart.

Do you have a little book like this?
I think everyone should.

For a moment, it made me sad to think that I might have lost these precious photos to a silly leaky pipe!
So I've decided to share a few pictures and stories with you from "my favorite things" photo book.
That way, I'll share a bit of myself with you, and my stories/pictures will be "safe" from water damage.
I also am doing this, because a few weeks ago, I received a "Beautiful Blogger Award" from Tami at A Battle Worth Winning.  As part of the award, I'm supposed to tell you seven things that no one really knows about me, so this peek into my life will probably fit that bill.  

Here are a few pictures from My Favorite Things photo book...In no particular order:


This is the house where I grew up:  809 Warwick Drive, Sheffield Lake, Ohio.
Someone else lives here now, but to me This will always be Home.
My bedroom was in the attic.  I shared it with my sister Marissa.  Our room took up the whole second floor, had slanted ceilings and cool little doors and built-in desks in the walls, and an awesome book shelf that went all the way around the staircase and was always a mess.  
This is the first page of my special photo book.


This is a picture of my friends and I during our final Marching Band performance, Senior year of high school.
I'm the second one on the left.
I wanted to quit Marching Band my freshman year, but boy am I glad that I didn't.
I found some of my best friends in this group.  I learned discipline and hard work and the thrill of performing.
Occasionally, I have very upsetting nightmares in which I quit band and miss out on Senior year.
I still love playing the trumpet.  It makes me feel alive.


This is a ticket to the Martina McBride concert that my husband took me to as a Christmas present, right after I had Guy.  This was the second time I'd seen her live in concert.  I cried seven times.  She has an amazing voice.  I guess I have a lot of deep emotions associated with her music.


This is my friend Michelle.  She took care of me when I was an intern in D.C.  Since I didn't have a car, she always drove over to my apartment in Randolph Towers and drove me to church, institute, and singles activities.  She made me feel very loved.  When I moved back to DC a few years later, I was so happy to find she was still around.  Here was are at a Christmas party at our Bishop's house in 2002.


This picture will always make me smile.
This is a picture that I took of my friend Cory during our college Graduation ceremony.  I turned around to see if there were any friends nearby, and I was surprised to see my friend Cory, who I worked with at The Office of Student Financial Aid, just three rows back.  So I took his picture.  We actually continued our friendship after college, and he really helped me get through a time of adjusting to life in "the real world".  Cory's laugh is the most infectious I've ever heard.  When I look at this picture, I can hear him laughing.


This is my friend Beth.  We were roommates Freshman year of college.
She is a very happy, joyful, sweet, and innocent person.
She also loves Disney songs and music in general.
Here she is singing probably something from "Beauty and The Beast", using her curling iron as a microphone.
Classic Beth Romie.
I remember that we were always laughing together.
I could not have asked for a better roommate.


This is my photog friend J.T. and me in L.A. during the Democratic National Convention of 2000.
I met J.T. when I was an intern at Tribune Broadcasting in Washington, D.C., so it was fun running into him again in LA.  JT and I had lots of long talks while we were out on assignment working together.  He also taught me how to cook, sort of, since it was my first time not being on my college meal plan!
A note about the glasses:  They are not real.  (I just wanted to have fun and try out a different persona while I was traveling!)  The outfit, however, is real, and it is still hanging in my closet.  I bought it while I was in LA working for The Agence France-Presse.  I always want to wear it, but I'm sure my husband would be embarrassed!  (Maybe I'll wear it to Playgroup some day!)


This is the day that I left Columbus.  I hated living there.  It was funky in all the wrong ways.
But I did love these friends of mine.  We worked at MediaSource together.  In this picture they are pumping me up for my move to DC, making sure that I had everything that I needed, including confidence to go after my dreams.  Kristin, who had already done her time in NYC, was always giving me straight-talk...advice to help me grow-up a little bit, so I'd be ready for the big time.  I am thankful to her for that.  I love how Andrea is holding my hand and sharing one last laugh with me, before I embarked on my big adventure.  She wouldn't let me leave without my fuzzy bathroom rug, because I told her that I couldn't get up in the morning without it.  She rearranged my over-stuffed car to make it fit.  Now that's a good friend!


Say hello to Irene, another photog friend from my days at Tribune Broadcasting.
Irene was so much fun to work with, and she really took me under her wing.
In addition to helping me with my resume tape, she was just a really good friend.  Irene was always leading me into situations where I could grow professionally.  One morning, Irene realized that the bureau chief was going to forget to come to the control room to produce a life shot (pardon the jargon!).  So, instead of reminding the big boss to do her job, Irene put me in the producer's chair, placed the headset on my ears and talked me through producing a live shot.  I was talking in the reporter's ear, cuing the photographer, and keeping the local station on cue.  When the bureau chief came into the control room and found me, her intern, producing live television, she was pretty impressed.  Thanks, Irene!


And lastly, here is a picture of my friend Emily and me on our last day freshmen year at Miami.
We are standing on the porch of our freshman dorm Reid Hall.
This hall has been torn down and replaced with married housing, but I have so many good memories of this dorm, and I made some of my best friends here. I remember being a bit homesick while reading a letter from my boyfriend.  I was sitting on this porch at night sobbing.  I thought I was alone, but someone yelled out their window "hey, are you ok??"  Uh, embarrassing!  I got through it all...all four years and beyond, with a little help from these friends.  The big guy in the background is Shakka...our R.A...He was a blast.  We lovingly called him "Papa Shakka".  At Christmastime, they orchestrated a party.  The RAs asked our parents to send us a Christmas gift. Shakka dressed up as Santa and passed the presents out to each of us.  We called him Shakka Santa after that.  It was quite a sight and a memorable night.

Thanks for coming with  me down memory lane.  And thank you to Tami for this blog award.

I'm passing this award on to:

Tricia over at Tricia's Take...She's also having an awesome GIVEAWAY right now...but I was going to give her this award before I knew about the giveaway!  Tricia showcases her modest fashion choices daily.

My Mom Susan Hatch who always shoots it straight.  Today she is blogging about Service.  Check it out.

Jenn, because I think she is a very interesting person and I'm glad she's local (not loco).

 Jenna, because now I feel guilty for not replying yet to her very important question...but I am thinking about it....thinking oh so deep thoughts about it!  Also, because she's cool.

Marie at Marie's Make and Mend, because she made 40 journals for The Write It Out Project, Service Boot Camp.  And she's probably going to make more.

Millie of Inspirational Letters from Millie who is always serving others.

Lara of The Golden Seven who celebrated her 37th Birthday by doing 37 random acts of kindness/service for others.  I sooo want to do this for my birthday this year!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I've Got Something to Say...


I'm guest blogging over at Or So She Says today!

Come on over and say hi...

(A Note:  Our 4th of July Parade will be on the 3rd this year...so if you are local, SAVE THE DATE!)

=============

Also, I just had to show you this sweet bookshelf that my friend Martha passed on to me yesterday!
It's perfect for my little ones' board books, and just look at the sweet Franklin artwork on it.
Thank you, Martha!