Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nana and Em's Garden

Emily has wanted a garden for a couple years and finally we gave in and built a little "sandbox" of a garden as my mom would call it.  :)  Emily is used to my mom's garden that is huge and endlessly filled with vegetables and fruits.  Unfortunately, our back yard stays pretty wet, so after Emily researched, she's decided that a raised garden bed is the answer.  I handed all the research over to her and she is taking it all very seriously.  What I love most is that she has bonded with my mom through this gardening endeavor.  Emily seeks my mom's advice and Emily can't wait to share news with Nana as plants are beginning to really blossom in her garden.  It will be a trial year, but we are excited for whatever may bloom!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy Summer

To celebrate the end of the school year, we kicked it off by picking strawberries at Hidden Valley, and then heading to the mall to get Ellie's ears pierced.  It was during that hot and humid spell we had last week, but the girls were troopers and we picked three pints.  A couple years ago we made jam, but we didn't pick enough, so we'll have to just buy them at the store and make them later.

 A few weeks ago, Erika had an event at her school and Emily met this sweet girl and they hit it off immediately.  They exchanged emails and have been writing back and forth and ironically, we saw them while picking strawberries.  Emily was so excited!
 The strawberries were so sweet and yummy and we stole a few to nibble on as we picked, because they were grown organically...
Happy Summer!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Painful to be Beautiful!

 Ellie is FEARLESS!  She has been ready to get her ears pierced for awhile, and so on a whim to celebrate the beginning of summer, we took her to Claire's.  she didn't even flinch.  I was definitely squeezing her hand tighter than she was squeezing mine! Of course, when she picked out the most expensive pair, I persuaded her into a bit less pricey diamonds. 
While I was letting her pick out some celebratory earrings, Emily surprised us and had bought her three packs as well (buy two packs, get one free- highway robbery) and handed them to her after we had bought the same deal!  So, six packs later, and big bucks spent, we headed out, with a big smile on Ellie's face.  
 Getting organized...

Friday, May 25, 2012

100 Things... ongoing

1. I was born in Trenton, Ohio. I come from a town and am a farm girl through and through. Although I don't like bugs. I like 93.3, reading Francine Rivers, warm brownies, my screened porch, and a glass of red wine.
2. I grew up on a farm in the middle of four cornfields. That may explain the following 98 things.
3. I am a people pleaser to a fault. I was compliant and pleasant as a child. And cried alot. And still do.
4. I went through a severe tomboy phase as a young girl. I didn't play with Barbies, had a mullet, wanted to be in my cousin's boyscout troop, and loved to beat boys in leg wrestling (don't ask).
5. I loved my Jordache jeans, KSwiss tennis shoes and friendship pins. 
6. My daddy loved his girls and frequently let my sisters and I drive tractors, ride on the back of his motorcycle, and bale hay and whatever else you do with daddy's who farm. This didn’t seem to me all that strange at the time.
7. I am an overachiever. Maybe because I am the first-born.
8. My parents have always loved me unconditionally. This may be the greatest gift that I have received from them. I am trying to pass it to my children. They made it look so easy.
9. I am an eternal optimist. The glass is always half full—-with pink juicy sparkling champagne. And a cherry on top.
10. I have been a christian all of my life. I have done nothing to merit the wonderful grace of God. I have only presumed upon it and abused it in the most vile ways. I am learning to accept the gifts He gives with humility.
11. I am more like my daddy than my mother. I inherited his sense of humor, his insatiable bruxism, his kind and generous spirit and large imposing forehead.
12. I’ve always had the most wonderful friends. It seems that no matter what point I am in my life, beautiful angelic people are waiting to ‘befriend’ me. I am thankful for them all.
13. I hate to run, but I do anyways.
14. That said, I WILL run a half marathon by the time I'm 50.
15. I have always had the sense that we are part of a grand adventurous story. That God has a purpose for our lives. That His great ransom of mankind is the most miraculous and romantic tale of all.
16. My mother once told me, “The sun always shines where you are.” I have spent decades listening to that phrase play a melody in my heart. And I finally believe she is right. He does always shine. He is like a consuming fire. Purifying and making new.
17. My sister and I have shared a complex myriad of traumas and joys together. It has forged in us a bond that is untouchable. It is, I believe, eternal. I’m sure that she and I will go skating together in heaven and watch our children play along the sea and make each other laugh till we cry.
18. I have a ravenous appetite for books. I wish I could just sit and read all day, every day. I almost always have a book in hand. And one in my purse. And several in my car. And hundreds in my house. I think of Lewis and Piccoult and Rivers as friends.
19. If you’re really bored and don’t have any laundry to fold, take a seat, drink some coffee (you’ll need it to stay awake) and stroll down memory lane with me.
21. I majored in elementary education in college. I would have made an amazing psychologist.  I love to listen.  but my high school counselor discouraged me and I listed to her and here I am, with a teaching degree. Maybe someday.
24. I applied for UD and got accepted.  I will never forget the look on my dad's face when he came up to my room, sat on my bed with tears in his eyes, and said that I should look at another college, that we just don't have the money for UD.  With three younger sisters and both my parents back in nursing school, i headed up to Bowling Green.  Married to the best guy in the world, I'm pretty convinced that all things happen for a reason.
25. I really am not into sports or athletic at all.  But I need to be for my husband.  We would have more in common.  That's a good thing.
26. I gained 12 pounds with my first pregnancy and did aerobics nearly until I delivered. 27 yo bodies were meant to have babies. I loved being pregnant. Every time. I would have a quiver full if I could. There is nothing more miraculous than giving life to a child from your own strong able body.
27. I have so many regrets about my early days as a parent. Can I get a do-over? Why is it that when you finally ‘figure out’ how to do this parenting thing, your oldest is turning 13?
28. I love watching the Batchelor.  I know, pathetic.
29. Watching Friday Night Lights is a little like reliving parts of my past.
30. I try to Be Still and Listen, but it's hard.  I hearEmily's 3 year old voice sing, "Be still and know that I am God." That she learned in preschool.  Sometimes when we are laying in bed and tucking her in, I will ask her to sing it for me.
I speak from experience when I say that having children who are compliant can give you the false sense that you are an extraordinary specimen of a mother. And on the contrary, having strong willed children will have you convinced that you are not capable of parenting at all. I have both varieties in my little family. Until you’ve parented a strong willed child, it would be wise to save all your statements that start with “Well, if that was my child, I’d….”. Give people the benefit of the doubt and spend the time you might judge them–saying a prayer for them instead. This is no task for the faint of heart. And grace and mercy need abound.
32. .I am a foodie. My dream kitchen would have an eight burner Viking gas stove, 3 ovens, a built in deep fryer and wine refrigerator, a commercial coffee maker, and an entire collection of vintage aprons.
33. I am neurotic about smells. I love a fresh, clean smelling house. And fresh clean smelling kids. And fresh clean smelling pets. My car….. now that’s another story.
34. My favorite color is tiffany blue. I have plans to paint my laundry room that color. Last year, my favorite color was orange. I’m wishy washy like that.
35. My favorite southern city is Charleston. My favorite midwestern city is Chicago. My favorite place to spend time in the summer: on the gulf in Destin, Florida.
36. I dream of lazy days reading and baking and making crafts with my children while the smell of clean laundry and fresh bread tickles my nose. No wait, that’s what I get to do everyday. Someone pinch me. (Ideally, yes, but actually, no.)
37. My favorite tree is the southern magnolia. It looks beautiful and stately in the yard and its branches frequently adorn my tables inside. Knockout roses rock, too.
38. My favorite movie is The Notebook . Or maybe On Goldn Pond. I also love Steel Magnolias and Little Women. . And Pride and Predjudice. Picking one thing has never been my strong suit.399. Each of my children have altered my life in some profound way. They have taught me and changed me and made me a better person. I have learned patience and humility and loyalty and compassion. They continually force me to reevaluate my preconceptions and prejudices. I owe them a debt of gratitude which will be impossible to repay.

39. My hair is brown. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
40. I’m pretty sure I could quote most of the Dr. Suess book “The Places You'll Go”. I cannot, however, seem to remember where I put my car keys or parked my car or laid my book. I now remind my children to watch where I put my cell phone. Between all of us, we can usually find it. Usually. And whenever I’m frantically looking for it before we walk into dance, I’m usually talking on it.
41. I am an ‘late to bed, late to rise’ type. I was always the one freezing girls bras at sleepovers when I was a teenager. 
42. I dream of living in the country in a big white farmhouse with a huge front porch and chickens and goats and dogs and pigs. Or on the lake in a cute little 2 bedroom cottage. Or in a downtown loft in Chicago. If only there were more time here on earth……**big sigh**
43. There have been people through the years who have had a dramatic impact on my life. They are numerous and I wouldn’t even attempt to mention them all. One of those people is Carolyn, who I met when I taught in Centerville. She taught me so much about mothering children and nurturing a family. I remember asking her how she is so close with all four of her children, and she said, "Tuck them in and spend time with them laying in bed with the lights out~ it's amazing what truth comes out when they don't have to look you in the eyes."
43. I was a gymnast as a young girl. I can still do the splits. I dream of doing a backhandsping on the trampoline, but I'm pretty sure I would split open my insides.
44. I am terribly addicted to my own bed. I love my bed and my pillows. All three of them, one between my knees. Feather of course.I need a fan blowing, always.
45. I currently have 33 lamps in my house. I really, REALLY prefer table or floor lamps over overhead lights. It's hard enough making our home feel homey.

Camp Kern weekend with Dad

 Most moms look forward to a weekend of Mother's Day Brunches and being showered with family for the day.  I, on the other hand, look forward to an empty, quiet house with no one there but me.  It may sound harsh, but with me homeschooling my girls and a husband that travels, I truly am ecstatic to make a to-do list a mile long that I want to accomplish~ the whole time wearing my jammies!  They are home Mother's Day morning, by 10 am, so then we have the whole day together, it couldn't be more perfect!  For a few years, Ellie wasn't old enough, so we had the weekend together.  Next year, Erika will be too old for Indian Princess so I will be with her.  This year, all three were with their daddy.  You can imagine how long my to-do list was having a house to myself!

 Indian Princess is a Father/Daughter group that has functions/activities once a month from anything like University of Dayton Basketball Games to Ice Skating to Camp outs.  "One of the greatest gifts a father can give a daughter is quality time spent together."  With Rob having three girls, it has been perfect memories together.
 The slogan for Indian Princess is Friends Always."  They have specific aims they focus on for the year that each of the girls memorize:
Aims of the Indian Princesses
1. To be clean in body and pure in heart.
2. To be friends always with my father/daughter.
3. To love the sacred circle of my family.
4. To listen while others speak.
5. To love my neighbor as myself.
6. To seek and preserve the beauty of the Great Spirit's work in forest, field and stream.
 These pictures are from Camp Kern's Camp out this year.  Rob was the "chief" of all the tribes in Montgomery and Warren County.  The thrill for the girls is to see their Daddy jump the fire.  Good times!

 They have a different theme each year and decorate their cabins~ this year it was red, white and blue in honor of our soldiers.

 Rob gets to come across the lake in the dark and everyone chants as he comes running in... Em got to ride with him this year!

Archery, horseback, zip lining, canoeing (where Erika's phone and camera are at the bottom of the lake- another blog post) and all kinds of fun activities are planned for the weekend.  They have rituals at the campfire with goofy songs they sing for weeks afterward...  it's all about the memories!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This month could not get any busier... or fun, for that matter.  The weather has been amazing and we just can't get enough of it after last year with so much gray that consumed our days.  We were able to get tickets for The Cincinnati Ballet to see The Princess and the Pea.  It was beautiful and the first experience they remember appreciating the orchestra playing while they witnessed beautiful dancing. 

                                        Volleyball has been big in our neighborhood- there's always someone up for a game. 

                                     Lots of birthdays--- Ellie turned 8, Erika turned the BIG 13, and I turned 40.  (Yes, I typed it... and had to write it at 8 in the morning of my birthday, and sign in under a poster board for a 5K race under the age group of 40-49!  ReALlY???!!!  That was just cruel... especially before a race, where it was freezing cold and rainy...

 Easter Egg Dying is still a hit with my girls...  guess who's dozen this is...
Couldn't get enough of my sister's ducks at Nana and Papaw's house for Easter

 She really can't be 13... pretty sure she was just 3 and crying that her shoes had to match her outfit that had to match her coat!  My sweet Teen Angel, as Papaw calls her.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Erika's Eye

Erika is becoming quite the photographer~ here are some of my favorite shots she's taken lately.