Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I'm only showing it cause you asked. Well, a couple of you did.
Here is the result of my inspiration from last weekend.
What do you think we should call it? You can't say circles. Cole already thought of that one. Yes, I know, it's a bunch of circles, but still...something else.


Monday, April 28, 2008


Did you go to the Arts Festival last week? We went and it was wonderful. We all love art. Each of us has our favorite aspects of it. David loves bands, and Tyler never takes his eyes off of the drummers. Riley loves the dancers. Several of us want to get inside the minds of the painters and sculptors. We spent our life savings on food, watched dancers, listen to bands, and talked to artists about their work. Now I am all inspired. I love that feeling. Today I plan to go buy a big canvas to create something cool for Cole’s room. Garrett talking to a glass sculptorWatching a bandRelaxing on the grass

David and the kids worked at the marathon this weekend. Now David is inspired to run.

My sister-in-law and I sat up talking until the wee hours this weekend. We talked about people we admire. We talked about our hopes for our families and about other families we hope to model after. Families that inspire you to do the difficult work now and reap the benefits now and later. (We also talked about ridiculously random stuff, what is it about those 2am talks? Miss you, Kelse.)

I realized this weekend how huge inspiration is. I also realized that sometimes you have to intentionally seek it out. I hope I never grow too tired or lazy to look for inspiration. I also hope that I can teach my kids to always surround themselves with it. And I hope that somewhere along the way I can be an inspiration to someone else.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chocolate Mocha Rock Star Torte

I made this recipe one year for Christmas Eve dinner, then it quickly moved up to rock star status when I shared it with my girls. It was a winning recipe from a Pillsbury Bake-off . Being a Pillsbury Bake-off contestant is a fantasy of mine. One that I am having a hard time fulfilling because I never send in any of my recipes. And the folks over at Pillsbury seem to be very strict about that being a prerequisite to winning. A couple of times the winning recipes have been quite similar to ones I have created. This causes my husband to violently bang his head on a wall. He really wants me to kick some Pillsbury butt. It’s not because of the million dollars, either. For real. It’s because he is my biggest fan. He’s nuts about me.

Chocolate Mocha Torte

1 cup whipping cream
1 (12-oz.) pkg. (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or crystals
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
1 (15.5-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Fudge Supreme Chocolate Chunk Premium Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 10 or 9-inch springform pan. Heat whipping cream in medium saucepan over medium heat until very hot. DO NOT BOIL. Stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Set aside. (Mixture will thicken.)

In small saucepan, combine coffee granules, butter and water; heat over medium heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. In large bowl, combine coffee mixture, brownie mix and 1 of the eggs; mix well. Spread batter in greased pan.

Beat cream cheese in small bowl until light and fluffy. Add remaining egg; beat until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture; blend well. Spread evenly over brownie mixture in pan.

Bake at 350°F. until top springs back when touched lightly in center and surface appears dry. For 10-inch pan, bake 35 to 45 minutes; for 9-inch pan, bake 45 to 55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Cool 1 1/4 hours or until completely cooled.

Place torte on serving platter. Spread remaining chocolate mixture over top of torte, letting mixture run down sides. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until chilled. If desired, serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Store in refrigerator.

I lovingly dedicate this rock star to Kim.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Check it out, Little House on the Prairie fans

We have been doing an Oklahoma unit and yesterday we went to a Land Run. Riley wore the dress I wore for “Pioneer day” when I was in kindergarten. Isn’t that adorable?

Riley and Cole with a friend

The goal was for everyone to look very serious in this picture. Mustaches call for serious. But not everyone could pull it off.

We even ran into Taryn’s class while we were there!

I had to take a picture of Riley and Taryn’s shoes. Nothing says 1800’s prairie girl like a well worn pair of Rocket Dogs.

Tyler trying out the “old fashioned games”

Waiting to stake our land. Which Garrett told me he planned to lease.

This week we also made some pioneer food, homemade strawberry jam and biscuits. And we made a miniature covered wagon and filled it with things we would take on a land run.

Tomorrow we are headed to Guthrie to ride a trolley to see the first capitol of Oklahoma, and to have lunch in an old fashioned eatery.

Now tell me you aren’t singing “Oklahoma” in your head right now. Go ahead. Belt it out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Oh yes we did.

That will be the answer to David’s response when he sees this...

I know, I know. We made a cat cake for a cat who can’t eat cake. But today is Cutie’s 1st birthday. She was abandoned by her mom at 3 weeks old and left on our deck. She was curled up in a ball about the size of a small orange. She has been ours ever since. Most everyone in this family adores her.

And David is coming around.

She is sweet and calm and lets the kids hold her any way they want. They dress her in clothes, they push her in doll strollers, they make her dance. She can do the sprinkler and the running man. All while she continues to gaze lovingly into their eyes.

She smells like fabric softener because she spends most of her time in the laundry room. That is where she has toys and treats and a bed that is prettier than mine.

She has brought joy to this home, and we think she deserves a birthday celebration. And even though David called us “out of control” (harsh, right?) after the kids bought her a couple of gifts at Petsmart last night, I know deep down he thinks she deserves a celebration, too. I mean, look at her…who wouldn’t?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ok, Amy, I'll come out and play

My friend Amy tagged me, so here ya go!

Here are the rules:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What was I doing 10 years ago:
Ten years ago I had a three year old and I was pregnant. I think I was still trying to wrap my mind around motherhood and I was falling in love with my role. I was occasionally struggling with my identity and we were in the difficult process of getting out of debt for good.

Five Snacks I enjoy:In a perfect, non weight-gaining world:
1. Starbucks-grande-decaf-nonfat-toffee-nut-latte-light-whip. Oh wait, you said perfect world….full fat and double whip.
2. Roasted almonds
3. My sister’s toffee o’ perfection
4. Homemade, gooey, chocolate chip cookies
5. A snickers bar with a Diet Dr. Pepper. It really satisfies.

In the real world:
1. Amy had “I have a hard time gaining weight“ here. I started to leave it just for fun. That would be fun. I’ll leave it. Maybe it will come true.
2. I still hate cat hair, but I am learning to cope a little better in the name of loving my children. (no, they aren’t cats, but they love one)
3. I am a homebody.
4. I love burnt cheese.
5. I don’t like getting up early. Which is why we don’t start school until sometime after 9:00. Works for us.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Secretly meet other people’s financial needs.
2. Study lots of world history and art and take my family on a field trip to each place we study. Starting with Italy.
3. Pay off all of our family’s houses
4. Hire someone to dress like, act like, and perform the duties of Alice. (Brady bunch, people)
5. Decorate my house with lots of fine art

Five jobs that I have had:
1. Halmark gift shop employee
2. Factory worker-Those summers of shift work repeating the same action 2000 times in 12 hours were torturous, but the money lasted me the whole school year!
3. Kindergarten teacher.
4. Mural artist.
5. My current position-teacher, nurse, chef, housekeeper, counselor, chauffeur, and CFO.

Three of my habits:
1. Clicking the mouse as I walk by the computer to check email. I do it on my sister’s computer sometimes, embarrassing!
2. I like my spices alphabetized and facing out. If you mess with that you better look out.
3. I have a little antibacterial gel habit. It’s rubbing off on my kids. We may eventually need counseling, but we will go to our sessions without colds.

Five place I have lived:
1. I’ve only lived 4 places, all in OK
2. Weatherford
3. Shawnee
4. OKC
5. Edmond

What do you want others to get from your blog:
I guess I want to entertain my friends and family. And maybe inspire someone and show that God’s grace makes my life what it is.

Five People I am going to tag!:
But don't feel obligated! Just do it if you want to. I honestly mean that. Sometimes you just can't get to it!
1. Laura
2. Monica
3. Theresa
4. Kelsey
5. Jen

Thursday, April 17, 2008

She was right, it is a little funnier after a couple of years

I was looking through some pictures on my computer last night and I came across one my friend gave me about two years ago.

Here is a little background info. My oldest boys are friends with her boys. One of their favorite activities to do at their house is to go swimming in their pool, then run to my friend’s bathroom and jump in her ginormous Jaccuzi tub filled with hot water. I’ve seen as many as 6 kids in that bathtub before.

Well, one afternoon when my boys were over there, something…unexpected happened. When I went to pick them up, my friend told me to “not freak out.”

Unfortunately I was unable to grant that request.

Here is a picture of Tyler after he and his friend were busted. She took this picture not to get him in trouble, but because she knew I could never believe the extent of the foamy sea our boys had created. Mr. Bubbles would be proud. I, however, am not Mr. Bubbles.

She promised me it would be funny in a couple of years. You were right, Ang, it is slightly funnier.

But I still refuse to agree that he looked like an angel.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Princess Unveiled

This, my friends, is a princess.

When my friend Wendy, the daughter of my friend Angie, asked me to take pictures of her and her amazing boyfriend on prom night, I of course said yes. When that night came, and I opened up my front door and saw the symbolism, the tears started. And I'll tell you why.

I have known and loved Wendy since she was 12 years old. She is now almost 17. She has been the subject of many of my prayers. I have watched her go through more hard stages and dangerous phases in these years than you can imagine. She has been a searching, lost soul. But the search is over. And the soul is no longer lost.

She has found incredible joy in Jesus Christ. And He turned her into a forever princess.

Oh, I’ve seen the princess in there all along. There were just some thick layers that had to be painfully removed before she could see the princess. God threw some amazing people in her dark path to light the way and she will never be the same. Sometimes it seemed hopeless for her and for those who loved her, but He knew the whole time what was about to be unveiled.

She now knows exactly who she is. She seeks God’s approval instead of man’s. She stands for purity because she knows she is worth it. She continually blesses her family and everyone who knows her. She is a beautiful woman of God. And it is for eternity.

This makes me cry because I tell you, the road from the depressed girl with jet black hair and lips, to this glowing girl in pink ruffles and a tiara was long and difficult and treacherous.

It is a true redemption story. One of my favorites.
And it’s better than any fairytale ever written.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I cannot have a teenager, can I? Oh my. I do.

And I couldn’t be happier. But still, how did this happen? How can time go so fast? What is this watery substance streaming from my eyes?

The thought of one day having a teen used to frightened me somewhat. I don’t know what I thought it would be like, but I wish I would have known the truth.

The truth is it is delightful.

I love Garrett’s personality and I love who he is. It is so much fun to be on the receiving end of his wit and humor and I love that he gets me. He continually blesses me with his little acts of kindness, such as sharing his chocolate and picking up my empty coffee cup after church to throw it away before I do, even though I have never asked him to.

I love the relationship he chooses to have with each member of his family.

I love that he is a leader, but he is not arrogant. That he is sensitive, but extremely tough. That he is a warrior for God. And that he lets Cole beat the living daylights out of him.

I love that we are doing fun stuff together like our private Mom/Garrett book club. We are reading the same book and discussing it as we go. Right now we are reading The Shack by William P. Young. Sharing insight and observations concerning the book is such fun and it is definitely enhancing our reading. That’s not something I could have done with that adorable toddler I wanted to never grow up, is it? Sometimes it’s hard on mommy hearts to watch them turn another year older, but I’m telling you, it just gets better.

Having a teenager is not frightening. It’s amazing. Especially with this teenager. Happy birthday, babe. I admire you and love you so much.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gettin' dirty

Let me just say it. I don’t like dirt. It’s just so dirty. I want to be laid back about it, but it is just not natural for me. I want to be one of those moms who grins in adoration when her child splashes her as he jumps in a muddy puddle on their way into church, but instead I am the mom who says “For real? Did you have to jump right in the middle?” It’s just how I am. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect them to please me in this area, I’m just saying dirty stuff makes me uncomfortable.

This week a blog post inspired (read convicted) me to go as far as to encourage my children to play in the mud (one…minute…please…trouble…breathing…ok, better). So I made a commitment to myself to lead my children in that very activity this week. I seriously can only think of a couple of times I have actually encouraged mud play. Allowed it, maybe. But encouraged? So today I jumped out of my comfort zone in the name of fun mommyhood. They had a blast and I only hyperventilated once or twice. The clothes are all in the washer and the kids are all showered and quite honestly, I think after a couple of sessions of therapy I am going to be alright. We may even do it again soon.
Comfort zones are for wusses.
Garrett stood in the pond and dumped water over the wall into our mud pit

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

And then there is the fourth child

I remember ten years ago when it would be time for me and my only child to go somewhere. Like the library. I would pick out something adorable for him to wear, clean his face, and gel his hair just perfectly. You never know when you might see someone you know, ya know? So fast-forward a decade and the following is kinda how we roll.

Me: COME ON EVERYONE, TIME TO GO TO THE LIBRARY! Whoa, Cole, are you wearing that?
Cole: Yes!
Me: Are you wearing underwear under there?
Cole: (checking with uncertainty) Ummm....yes.
Me: (surprised) Oh! Good job, babe. GET IN THE CAR EVERYONE!!!

I don’t know if I have really chilled that much or if I feel more secure because my other three regularly and voluntarily sport fashionably acceptable duds and in my mind that gives Cole a little buffer zone, or what. I just know it is different now. I find myself saying less and less “Let’s just make that a special at home outfit,” and just going with the flow. I have to say though, I may have let the costume slide but I had to put my foot down when he was wearing socks and flip-flops on the way out the door the other day. I may have mellowed, but there are still standards to honor for crying out loud. We’re living in a society here.

On a side note, during this visit to the library Cole was making friends with a little boy (He was working to reach his personal quota of making 6-8 new friends in each place we stop) and I heard him whisper “I’m not really this strong.” That's my little man of integrity. You’d hate to start a friendship under false pretense. Lord knows the pain and disappointment that could have erupted if they were ever to meet up again and he were to realize that Cole’s biceps are actually the diameter of an egg roll.

Here ya go, Laura

My friend Laura, whom I haven't seen in person in years, was asking me the other day why I am never in any of the pictures on my blog. There are several reasons, the top two being 1. I am usually behind the camera, and 2. I have issues. Racks and racks of 'em. But Friday in art class Riley's little friend was snapping shots of us, so I decided to post one of them. Here it is. Happy?

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I professed my love for swings in a previous post. Something about them has always been so comforting to me. My all-time favorite swing is the one on the side of our front yard. Handmade and hung by my husband, who thinks my love of swings is cute. He didn’t just make any ol’ wussy swing either. He made a huge seat, often big enough for more than one person, depending on ahem posterior girth. Everyone loves to swing here. Kids, adults, grandparents, everyone has at least tried it. And he hung it from a huge branch over 30 feet in the air, so when you start swinging high, you go waaaaaaay out. It seems very slow, almost like you are hovering.

I love the feeling I have on this swing. The relaxing rush almost feels like a drug to me. I love to feel the soothing breeze as it races past me and the sensation of gliding above everything on the ground. David summed it up with a quote he wrote on the bottom.

It reminds me of my prayer life. I adore the times when I am so close to God that it almost feels like a drug. Nothing can bring me down. The calm of walking with Him is like the soothing feeling of the swing. I love gliding above all my problems and concerns, floating on the faith that He has it all under control. Going higher and higher and leaving the world behind.

I go through seasons with our swing when I hardly notice it is out there. Then there are seasons when I have my child slaves pushing me on it every day. Unfortunately I have similar on and off seasons with God. But He is always there waiting, ready to take me higher, just like our swing is always out there waiting for me to jump aboard.

Sometimes I leave both of them hanging for way too long.

And when I get back on, I am never disappointed.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Remember the days when you chatted on the phone for hours? You laid on your twin bed, you painted your nails, you resprayed your hair up totally big, you fixed a diet coke, you moved to the couch to turn on Days. All while maintaining your focus on the caller.

I used to do that with Laura. She is a friend from college. Today I was on the phone with her for over an hour. That may seem like a long time, but the truth is, we really only got in about 30 minutes worth of conversation. Which is a bummer because we had important things to discuss, like how our size 8 clothes were getting dusty and outdated and how food tastes so yummy. But we kept getting interrupted by the combined 8 people we are responsible for.

Cole was supposed to be putting away his clean clothes and he kept appearing dressed in layers of the clothes he was supposed to be putting away and asking questions like “Can I just have a garbage bag? I really don’t want these clothes.”

Laura had to pause to tell one of her kids to stop cutting the hair bows. I think we all know what a daily struggle that can be.

And she must have said “Just go clean!” 34 times.

Then there was the issue of her happy-hearted bathroom cleaner who was singing so loudly that Laura couldn’t make out my words.

One of mine came in to ask if he could take the laptop outside where he was playing with the neighbors. That’s when Laura and I discussed our overuse of the phrase “Not today.”

Laura had one following her around trying to get her to fill out an apparently time sensitive form, while I had a moment with my kids after finding a whole package of deli ham that had been left on the counter for several hours by someone who doesn‘t pay for groceries. Yet.

There just really wasn’t a lot of time left to talk. Gone are the days. Like sand through the hourglass.

Thank you Dear Jesus for the Internet, thank you.

Oh, and for the kids.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Exercise Shmexercise

I took my camera with me on a family walk because I am excited that it is spring and time to be outside again. I wanted to capture the springiness and put it on my blog. Upon viewing the photos when I got home, the theme of my post changed. I discovered that these pictures represent why I do not get a lot of intense exercise on our family walks. I’ve noticed I just don’t seem to get much momentum going. Sweating is rarely involved and there is little to no heart rate increase. And quite honestly, where are the toned calves? So now the mystery is solved. Here is how the ol’ family walk plays out.

Walk walk walk STOP
Pet the neighbor’s dog

Walk walk walk STOP
Explore creek

Walk walk walk STOP
Wait for climbing of dead tree on side of road

Walk walk walk STOP
Dodge scooter making figure 8 in path. Repeat 12 times.

Walk walk walk STOP
Dodge middle-of-the-road football game

Walk walk walk STOP
Wait for tired child to be picked up and carried

And now, thanks to my camera, I know. Family walks are for fun, not for workouts.

Treadmills are for workouts.

And because I am so kind, and my treadmill has been resting so peacefully, I shall not disturb it.

So on with the fun. I'll have toned calves in heaven.