Saturday, May 30, 2009

No wonder I love ice cream so much!

It's a rare day that I take Brody out somewhere and someone doesn't make a comment about his hair. It's red. Nine times out of ten, someone will ask, "Where did the red hair come from?"

It's an innocent question. Maybe they're trying to just make conversation, maybe they're truly curious. But no one EVER asked me where Emma or Addie got their hair colors from. I always proudly say, "Oh, my dad (and nearly every person on his side of the family!) has red hair" which is true, but Gary and I have snickered lately thinking of other replies -

(after exchanging remorseful looks) "Ohhhh... it's kind of a sore subject."

"The milkman." (Which, it turns out, could really confuse the poor kid years from now.)

"Gary's friend..." (It's fun to see how big their eyes can get.)

"My sister's husband." (They'll nod and say "oh" and then realize "OH!")

I LOVE Brody's hair. I think it's darling, and Gary and I both proudly give credit for it being in our gene pool since Gary's grandma had red hair too.

But for every comment about Brody's red hair, I get one about how different my kids look. They each have a different hair color. Emma is almost brunette, Addie is bright blonde, and Brody is a cute little red head. Kind of like...

Isn't that cute? A friend pointed it out to me awhile back and said that she dreamed of the same scenario, and being able to stand on the front porch calling, "Neapolitan!" when it was time to come in for dinner.

I can totally do that!

I also have heard them compared to the Rice Krispies guys:

But I think I prefer Neapolitan ice cream. Don't you?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quixotic. Q-U-I-X-O-T-I-C. Quixotic.

I'm not a huge basketball fan. I mean, it's okay, I just don't follow it closely. Or at all.

But I live outside Denver, and rumor has it the Nuggets are doing pretty well. They're playing in some kind of play-off somethin' rather... I don't know, I just know they're close to the end where one team gets to move on and then whoever wins that is like the champion of the world or something.

Like I said, it's not really my thing.

But Gary got three tickets to go to tonight's game and of course he asked ME to go. While the game itself might've been fun to watch, I was totally pumped to go for the excitement and ambiance. I love people watching and being part of big crowds and figured it would be a blast.

Over the last few days we've been trying to figure out who would best be our third wheel at this game. Our standard third-wheel-friend couldn't make it, and so in the end Gary invited two of his guy friends to go.

I'm okay with that. I felt guilty holding on to this ticket when I figured others out there probably get far more excited about the game than I do. Besides, it might have annoyed our third wheel if I kept leaning over to ask about the rules every 30 seconds.

Anyway, last night I sucked Gary into watching the last round of the National Spelling Bee. I'm going to wager that it would've been his last choice of what to watch. But me? I loved it. so. much.

Hi, my name is Angie, and I'm a spelling bee nerd.

With much disdain, Gary said, "You probably wish we had three tickets to this."

I lit up at the mere thought and exclaimed, "YES! Yes, I do! Oh, who would we bring?!"

And he immediately said, "YOU would bring your sisters."

Hmmm. Interesting. How quick he was to bow out of this cherished event. Why wouldn't he want to attend this imaginary spelling bee? Doesn't he realize that, like his basketball tickets, people would probably be fighting over these tickets? Doesn't he know that friends would come out of the woodwork if they knew I had tickets to the National Spelling Bee?

Doesn't he even KNOW?!??

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to have the worst summer ever

We're into Day 4 of the first full week of summer vacation and so far... not so good. In case any one out there wants to give it a shot and join me, I thought I'd give a little outline as to how you too can blow your summer break.

1. Make sure you have sick kids. Having sick kids means not really being able to go out anywhere. It also means that you're wiping noses 3,429 times a day (lovingly, of course) and washing your hands more times than that, ensuring that they're as dry as... something really dry. (How's that for an awesome simile?)

2. Don't get dressed until after noon... or three... each day. This way, you feel totally unmotivated to get much done. You also feel sloppy and grumpy as a result.

3. Don't have a plan. I'm not talking about flexibility and freedom, I'm talking about ANY plan. Chore plan? Forget it. Rules? Forget it. Activities? Forget it. Just wing it and see what happens. I'm learning that it usually means that the end of the day arrives just as I'm getting around to making any sort of plan. This also means grumpy mom and kids. (Are you sensing a theme?)

The bottom line, is that I've gotten a little taste of what summer break might be like if I'm not intentional about it. Granted, there's not much I can do about sick kids. I actually think that Brody and Addie having little colds this week has been a blessing in disguise. It's shown me what it will be like to putz around here all day without a plan or purpose for the things we're doing.

Don't get me wrong - I am ALL for a day at home in jammies. I'm a homebody. I love being here, and see nothing wrong with being in jammies all day once in awhile. But I do think it should be the exception, not the norm. I find I get more done around the house - even if I don't intend to leave - when I'm dressed, and especially if I'm showered. This goes for the kids too!

And I don't want to book us solid all summer. I just think I need some sort of plan for when we're home and when we're not. Otherwise, I can imagine August rolling around and regretting that I wasted our summer.

So, the last couple of days I've really been thinking about what summer looks like. Some of the things I'm thinking of:
  • The girls and I made a summer wish list - things we want to do, places we want to go, things we want to learn, etc. I hope to put it on a posterboard like this so it's visible.
  • We also brainstormed an extensive list of things we can do here at home. If they ever complain of being bored, they will be directed to the list!
  • One adventure per week (or every other week) - some of the things on our summer wish list are bigger than "going to the park." My hope is that we can do one of these a week.
  • Chores - we don't really do chores, but I think this is a good time to start. I like what my friend Meredith is doing, and I think I'll alter for our purposes. I even like her idea of writing it on the fridge, except I have two tiny little 9-month-old hands that would love to get in on that action!
  • I think part of the chores will be daily expectations of the girls: get dressed, brush teeth, and make their beds before they can watch any TV, play the Wii, play their Leapsters, go outside, or play with friends.
  • A rule for myself - I need to up and ready for the day by 9:00 a.m. With kids who wake up around 7-ish, it's not a matter of being up (sleeping in? what's that?), but more a matter of getting around to getting ready. During the school year when there are places to get to, it's no problem. But in the summer? It's easy to put it off, put it off, and before I know it, it's noon. Come on... tell me I'm not alone in this!
  • Scripture memory - I think I'm going to try to help the girls memorize one verse a week. We haven't done this before so frequently... we'll see how it goes!
I'm still trying to get organized and pull it off, but my hope is that I'm getting ready to kick off a great summer! I've given myself until Monday to get it together - routine, expectations, charts, etc.

What about you? What works for you? What doesn't work for you?

Monday, May 25, 2009

There's 104 days of summer vacation...

Well, I'm not sure that's entirely true, but it might be close. And it's HERE!

Emma is done with preschool. I thought I might shed a tear or two last week when she had her final day and I was right. But it was only after she got all weepy on me on the way home, saying that she would miss her preschool and her friends and her teachers so much, and that she would like to stay in preschool and not go to kindergarten. I can't believe she's going to be in kindergarten.

From the other side of the backseat, I heard gleeful squeals from Addie who said, "Tomorrow? Tomorrow I get to go to preschool?" I told her no (for the millionth time) and she's asked every day since if it's fall yet. This will be a long 104 (or so) days.

I won't go into all the details or post all 523 pictures I took, but we had a potluck at a local farm to celebrate the end of the year. It was so fun!

Tears were shed all over again, not because Emma will miss school... but because she'll miss BLAKE. Who apparently she is going to marry. "I'm in love with him!" she confided in me. "Could you find out what his last name is so that I know what mine will be?"

Um, no.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the teacher gifts that we made for Emma's teachers, in case any one out there is scrambling for ideas. This is quick and cheap. I think it cost less than $4 or $5 per teacher, assuming you have some of the materials/scraps already.

I'd love to take the credit for this cute idea, but I can't. And honestly, I can't remember at all where I got the idea! Two years ago I found the idea on a blog and filed the picture away so I'd remember when the time came. I wish I'd noted which blog it was from! I'd give it credit! So if it's yours or you know where it's from, please let me know so I can give them proper credit and tell them thanks. Because I like to be all proper and stuff.

And brownie points to whoever can tell me what I'm referencing in my title. It just makes me happy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My inquiring mind needed to know

If curiosity killed the cat, I just cringe to know what it's going to do to me.

I went to a neighborhood garage sale a couple of weekends ago, and found some bargains on cute baby boy clothes for Brody. I got him a little sweatshirt, some sweatpants and matching hoodie for next winter, and a handful of cute little summer shirts. I walked away feeling like I got a good deal and a few more things to tuck away in Brody's closet. I swear he's more stylin' than me.

But unlike the musty stench that often accompanies garage sale items, these smelled GOOD. I mean, really good. So good that I risked whatever germs I purchased along with the clothes and even let Brody wear the sweatshirt before washing it. I KNOW! It wouldn't have happened with my first child.

Suddenly, I was obsessed with the need to know what laundry detergent they were washed in. I don't know what came over me. The next time I went grocery shopping, I stopped to sniff a few jugs of detergent, but couldn't figure it out.

I asked on Facebook if it would be weird to go back and knock on their door to ask, and when one friend said, "do it & then BLOG about it!" and several others jumped on that bandwagon, I had no choice.

So I did. Except I chickened out and couldn't bring myself to face them at the door, so I scribbled a note on some scratch paper in my car and put it in their mailbox.

Or at least, I hoped I did. I wasn't sure if it was even the right house, which made it super crazy.

I admitted in the note that it seemed crazy, but left my email address in hopes that they'd see through the craziness to the true desperation of a mother who just wants her clothes to smell garage sale fresh.

As I drove away, I fretted that maybe putting a note in their mailbox was not only crazy, but possibly illegal. Would I be arrested for mailbox tampering?

Well! Today I got a special little note in my inbox:

I replied to her, thanking her and telling her that actually, I live 20 minutes away and that I'm not a neighbor at all. Yeah. I'm sure that really puts my craziness at rest. I also asked to have her put me on the mailing list for her next garage sale. I said I was kidding, although I doubt she believes me.

One last thing - I remember that she had really cute hair. Would it be over the top to get the name of her hairdresser?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Not your typical Mother's Day post

If you're a mom, do you ever have those moments when you think you can't love your children any more?

Like maybe when they stumble over their ABC's in the most adorable way?

Or when they truly believe that a kiss from you will really make their owie all better?

Or when you gaze at their angelic sleeping faces late at night?

Or when they ask who's coming over when they see you vacuuming?

Okay, maybe not so much that last one.

But really, there are moments as a mom when I think my heart might just explode because I love my kids so much. All it takes is one cute look or a tight squeeze or a mispronounced word to melt away all of the frustration over when Addie smeared foundation and mascara and eyeliner all over the newly cleaned carpet in my bedroom the other day petty offenses.

But there is one thing that makes my heart both explode with love and break all at once. It's a face only a mother could love. And if you're a mom, I think you'll know what I mean.

It's Brody's poopin' face.

And hey! Here's an interesting tidbit: Emma's poopin' face once made me wet my pants in the middle of Target. Good times!

Brody, if these pictures resurface 40 years from now when you're running for president... I'm sorry. But I love you more than you'll ever know.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Faith as small as a ladybug

We took a trip to California to visit family a few weeks ago. While I'll spare you all of the pictures and stories (go to my Facebook page if you want to see more pictures), there is one cute story that is worth sharing.

One afternoon we were searching for ladybugs in Grammy's garden, and were having horrible luck. I think we found one lonely little ladybug. The girls were determined to find more, but seeing their disappointed faces was heartbreaking. Emma even prayed out loud once, "Lord, please let me find just one more ladybug. Please!" I convinced them that the ladybugs were probably napping, and that we should check back later.

It was at that moment, that I hatched a brilliant plan.

I was shopping with Granny-Great (Gary's grandma) while the girls rested that afternoon, and I shared my plan with her. She was in! So now that I had a partner-in-crime, we went to work.

We headed to a nearby nursery and bought a box full of ladybugs. Granny, always thinking ahead, asked if they had any spare containers so that the girls could each have one to keep their ladybugs in. The lady at the nursery was SO NICE and gave us a spare ladybug container.

We went home, and Granny read to the girls while I went on a top-secret mission in the backyard. I spread the ladybugs - all 1500 of them! - all over the flowers.

I came back inside and Granny suggested that the girls go look for ladybugs again. We presented them with their new ladybug containers and off we went.

They were TOTALLY beside themselves! There were ladybugs everywhere! We couldn't look at a single flower or plant without seeing dozens of them all over. The girls raced with Grammy and Granny-Great from flower to flower, capturing as many ladybugs as they could. They didn't even mind that after awhile, for every one they put in, three flew out!

Emma was just beaming, and said, "Mommy! I prayed that God would help me find more ladybugs and HE DID!" God may have used Granny and I to answer her little prayer, but to see her faith grow like that instantly was so exciting.

Later that afternoon, as she was inspecting her ladybugs, Emma held out a finger and said, "You know, Mom, I've always wanted a bird to land on my finger..."

I grinned and looked at Granny and said, "This one's YOURS!"

Monday, May 04, 2009

He's lucky it wasn't a yellow Life Saver

Ten years ago today, I was supposed to be pulling an all-nighter while studying for a final exam my senior year of college.

But just before dawn, Gary came and woke me up, blindfolded me, and kidnapped me. I had no idea where we were going, but I was excited that maybe he'd come up with something fun. After all, it was our three month anniversary.

Our three month anniversary. We'd been dating for three whole months.

And boy. Had he come up with something, alright! He took me up to a beautiful overlook just before sunrise, took off my blindfold, and gave me a dozen white roses.

Then he led me down a candlelit and rose petal covered path, to a blanket where he had breakfast and more roses waiting for us. We enjoyed breakfast together, snuggled under a blanket together (because it was SO cold) and reminisced about our three months together. Because, you know, we'd been dating for three months.

It was very cold that morning. Had I known where we were going that morning, I might have dressed a little warmer. I also might have chosen not to attempt an all-nighter, might have done my hair, refreshed my make up and maybe not have thrown on an old sweatshirt.

So Gary started getting up to get another blanket for me out of the car, but he never stood up all the way. He stopped when he was on one knee. HE STOPPED. ON ONE KNEE.

He pulled a box out of his pocket, said a bunch of sappy stuff and proposed. When he opened the box, instead of the sparkling diamonds I'd been eyeing in the Brides magazines since age ten, there was a red Life Saver inside. But you know what? That was better than a diamond. We'd joked that I'd say yes to him, even if he proposed with a red Life Saver. So I did say yes, and then he pulled out the real thing and I had a ring on my hand. And my engagement ring was simple, beautiful and perfect. The fact that he picked it out without any help from me and that it was so "me" was just confirmation that he was "the one." Oh yeah, and it turns out that it was WAY better than a red Life Saver.

He gave me a Bible and a special keepsake box he made to remember that time in our lives. It's filled with several special reminders of God's blessings during that time and serves as a marker for such a special event. Today it hangs right next to our front door.

We finished breakfast and walked back up to the car, where he gave me another dozen roses, but this time they were red. Before I said "yes!" all of the roses were white... but now all of the roses were red. How clever is he?! He drove me home, where I was met with hundreds of red roses. They were everywhere! It was amazing. HE was amazing.

So today I'm celebrating the tenth anniversary of our engagement. I didn't expect it AT ALL. Did I mention we'd only been dating for three months? We might have gotten a lot of flack for it, but we really sought out God's voice and plan for us. Ten years later, we're still going strong.

Gary started our relationship with a bang, and it's only gotten better.

I love you, Gary. Thanks for asking me to be your wife. I've loved every minute and am so proud to be wearing your Life Saver ring.

Taken later that day. Ten years ago today!


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