a few reasons to smile today

1. that the cop who was banging my door down at 1 am only wanted to tell me that my garage door was open and not that someone was dead. ( really, that couldn't have waited until morning, or i'd almost rather have the lawn mower stolen than the the pants scared off me in the middle of the night).

2. that Tess went back to sleep after her early wake up session until 8:30!

3. that i got my fat ass to the gym and loved it.

4. mexican food for lunch with a friend. (so much for the gym)

5. saving a cute little bird from the pool parking lot. ok, really wendy did the saving.......but she did use my hat to hold it in so i should get some good deed points out of it.

6. really it was Shaun's hat, and he doesn't know, which will really make me smile.

7. iced green tea with one splenda.

8. a swim lesson w/out any melt downs.

9. almost 15 minutes that both children were asleep at the same time in the afternoon.

10. an afternoon high that was less than 3 digits.

11. mexican food for dinner w/ a friend... different resturaunt, different friend. i had the will power to say no to the 2$ coronas and even a margarita but quickly plowed my way through the entire bowl of chips.

12. 10 ft tall sunflowers blooming in the back yard.

13. fireflies and pop-ice.


home has been a lot places.

2703 Pinehurst
but sometimes it felt like it in my friends' homes as well. their homes were often smaller or their parents weren't married. but it was welcoming all the same.

home was in a bunk bed on the Guadalupe river.

home was in the sun room.

and then i met shaun. and home was always with him. even when i wasn't sure exactly what i wanted and still wanted to be more wild than grown up. i knew he was home.

lately we have done a lot of traveling. i have missed my bed but most of all
i have missed that feeling. the one you get on your couch in your pajamas. or the cool slip of grass between my toes in the yard. the comfortable exhale.
watching my son catch a fish in the mountains or drive paw-paw's boat is fun and makes me smile, but not quite as much as watching him run through the neighbor's sprinklers. or the heavy weight of him when i carry him to his bed. or when the dog settles at my feet as i try to sing (badly) little Tess to sleep.

so for now, i will ignore the suitcase in the corner that will need to be packed again soon enough and go to bed early.
my bed.

no vacation in vbs

the good moms bake cookies and mac n cheese from scratch. they always remember to brush their kids teeth, they rarely drive through, they monitor cartoon time (rather than use it to squeeze in a nap or check facebook), they think their new minivans are cool and most importantly they get really excited about things like volunteering at vacation bible school.

i on the other hand dread it.
it is a misnomer really. their is no vacation about it.
this mom is none of the above and even doesn't answer her phone when she thinks that the church is calling to ask for volunteers for the 3 year old sunday school class. i have nothing against volunteering. really i am all for it. it is just that I'd much rather sort clothes for the mission center, or make food for the homeless, or hey even get a filling than "teach" a roomful of little kids.
little kids scare me. i am not good at that fake happy everything is exciting voice. i can barely discipline my own kids, much less a dozen others. when they cry, i want to join in.

but for vacation bible school i figure it is time to pay my dues. i didn't work one day ( for no good reason, but I didn't stop other people from thinking i had important things to do). i pulled for what i thought would be the easiest job. snacks. i pictured passing out grahm crackers and cups of lemonaide to all the rooms.

not exactly.

think 800+ kids and nothing as brilliantly simple as an oatmeal cream pie or pop ice.
instead i had to count out individual animal crackers and add cool whip and chocolate chips ( who thought of that weird snack?), cooks billions and billions of corndogs. also one of my absolute favorite snacks of all time might be ruined. nachos. you know the fake cheese ballpark kind. counting out 9 chips per bowl and ladle out ( read end up wearing) lots of uncheese.
the food and labor weren't actually so bad, but factor in over 100 degree weather and that we were serving these snacks outside. some of the above mentioned moms who really felt like snack was of super world importance. moms who fought over the best way to distribute the formentioned super fancy snacks. i for once kept my mouth closed, did what i was asked, didn't asked questions, secretly dubbed someone the "snack nazi" (...ok, it slipped and i told a few people but it is a secret to her), and counted out my mini corndogs.

but last night, owen sits down on the couch next to ( well more like on top of) Tess and starts talking to her. Shaun pulls him off her and asks what he was trying to tell Tess.

"I was telling Tessie about Jesus".

then to his sister ever so sweetly, "Tessie, Jesus loves you".

it was a bit more than I could handle, I slipped into the kitchen to pretend to do dishes while i quietly cried.
and I can't wait to volunteer next year.

the blessing

Tonight a woman approached me in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
She looked kind of like my mother.

As Shaun returned the cart, and I tried to buckle one of my children in, she asked me for money. She explained that she had to leave her husband and was living in her van, but was having engine trouble.

I checked my pockets and came up empty handed.
I found a few small bills in the console and handed them to her.
She thanked me for sharing.
She also said “God bless you”.

Almost every time I have given someone money, or bought them gas or groceries or food. They have that response.
“God bless you”
It is like they are in on some secret that the rest of us don’t always get.

Maybe she was lying. Maybe she was going to buy drugs.

But she looked so broken. I hated that I only had a few bucks to give her. I saw her move along to the next person quietly telling her story and humbly asking for help.

I knew I should have done more. Driven her to some shelter. Taken her inside and bought her something to eat. Heck, maybe I should have taken her home.

But by the time my kids were buckled safely in their carseats she was gone.
I had missed my chance.
I missed my blessing.


for the last 8 days I was in some far corner of the world.
well, not exactly.
just a few states over.
but it felt like it.
I was in a lodge in the mountains with very very slow internet, no cell phone reception and a single tv down in the basement no one bothers with.
ditto for the super slow internet.

instead there were mountains and flowers and trails.
the air i swear was different. better. sweeter. easier to breathe.

i have been home now for over 24 hours.
and home is good.
i was happy to walk in my door, smell our smell, set my bags down and sleep in my own bed.

there are the tasks from being home that i dread. like laundry and bills and dishes all piled up.
however, i was also slow to charge my cell phone, check my emails all hundred+ of them and start returning phone calls. even checking the tivo seemed daunting.

it isn't like i have to go to work in the morning, but i am still resisting this return to normal.
i tried to explain this to a friend today ( mainly why i was sucking so much at conversation).....and she used the phrase "re-engage with the world".
that was exactly right.
i was so eager to be home.
but i am resisting re-gaging.
i miss the simple.
being surrounded by God's beauty rather than so much noise.

usually i love the world. i love my cell phone and my fancy coffee and target.
but after a short vacation from it, i see no hurry to get back.

romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is-what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.

that funky monkey part two

Two nights ago I was sitting around a campfire in Colorado. There were marshmellows, a bear, a stary sky, guitars and even a harmonica. There is something magical about a campfire that makes you put up with all the smoke and want to sing. The crowd was mostly older and the guitarists mostly stuck to things like the Eagles and House of the Rising Sun.

But then Owen chimed in.
If you read my blog, you know what comes next.

"Brass monkey, that funky monkey"

The wrangler about choked on his smore.
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arts and crafts

Keeping two kids occupied all day is a bit of a challenge. We have hit the zoo, had a water balloon fight, gone swimming, played outside, played in the neighbor's bouncehouse, gone to soccer camp, had wiggle car races and played outside again. Today, I thought I'd mix it us a bit and do some arts and crafts. O decided to be Earth friendly and just use his sister as his canvas. Good thing purple looks good on her.

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That funky monkey

Yesterday, being O's actual birthday I let him have his run of things. I told him we could do anything he wanted ( within a 20$/20 mile range). He picked whatever our neighbor was doing. I assumed it would be storytime ( the usual Wed. routine), and figured that was pretty tame. I tried convincing him to go to the zoo, or a bounce house, or even a splash park. But he wanted to do whatever his buddy was doing. I let him knock on the neighbor's door to find out what fun filled adventures awaited.

Instead of anything remotely fun, the neighbors were just going to run errands all morning. I invited to take their son to the zoo with us, before I realized what monstocity had slid out of my mouth. Here I am going nuts w/ two, and I am voluntarily agreeing to watch one more. His mom of course quickly agreed and him dressed and in the car seat before I could change my mind.

While I was buckling him in, her son seemed to get nervous about going somewhere without his mom. You could see the tears pooling in his eyes. His mom was quick to spot this and attempted to distract him. She talked up the zoo and how much fun they would have. She said they could even sing songs the whole way there, and started singing one that had learned in Sunday School just a few days before. So she and her son eagerly sing their cute little church song, while O decides to join in. With his own song choice of course. Keep in mind, this was his 4th birthday.

"Brass Monkey, that funky monkey"

I don't know whether to be proud or embarassed by his musical choice. And off we drove singing Beastie Boys the whole way.

first day of summer

Today is my first official day of summer.
Shaun had to sleep on the alarm side of the bed and I didn't budge when it went off at 6:45 ( usually I am at school by then!).
Tess started to cry and I made her a bottle, tossed it in the crib and headed back to bed. Owen stayed asleep until almost 8 am and I got hours more sleep than usual on a weekday. I woke up rested and eager for a fun filled day with my kids, and ready to knock a few things off of my "I'll do it after school is out list". Owen was appeased with a muffin, some milk and cartoons. I sat down and read the bible with only a few interruptions. I was considering hitting the Y and working out before my friends started calling with invitations to play. Tess started to be a handful, so I decided to be productive instead. I packed up and headed to the car looking forward to 8 more weeks of leisurely mornings. I am going to be so well rested and get so much done. I might even tackle the laundry this afternoon.
The neighbors were already out playing.
Ughh, "ok, O you have 10 minutes and then I have to run some errands."

30 minutes and one skinned later we got into the car.
I did manage to knock out one stinking errand before the screaming from the back seat made me give up and head home.
The screaming contined once we got home.
Shaun called to check in, I begged him to come home, although I am sure he couldn't hear me over Owen's monster growls and Tess's yacking up the handfuls of dog fur she pulled out of the trash and was attempting to ingest.
Around noon, I thought about calling Shaun to see if he wanted to meet us for lunch but then I looked down to see spit up and baby carrot food splattered all over my shirt. A microwaved hot dog sounded better than changing everyone's clothes.
More cartoons, and a handful of goldfish for Tess = one load and dishes and one load of laundry started. I also managed to empty the coolers from Owen's party (translation -- I am soaking wet because the lid fell off and it poured all over me. On the upside, I think it rinsed off most of the spit up).

I got Tess to sleep but Owen is having nothing to do with a nap but for now he is content destroying his room, coming out every 5-10 minutes asking he can go swimming, get a pet bunny (now where did he get this idea?) or for candy.
All of which the answer is no.

I am starting to wonder if it is too late to teach summer school.

one reason why i don't believe in grammar

well not grammar exactly, but today I have a beef with phonics.

I went to buy live minnows for O's camping party. ( just to play with)
I drove miles off into the middle of no where and ended up at a E-Z mart/bait shop that looked a little sketchy. I marched inside and read the prices for bait.
I then ordered 2 dozen crappie minnows and 2 tubs of worms.

Apparently crappie is pronounced like a fish I have actually heard of "croppie". The 12 year old behind the counter corrects me and stifles a giggle while I blushed and fished out my credit card.

I am sure that the men in line behind me with their styrofoam cooler got a good laugh at my expense. (ok, 2dozen crappies is a little bit funny). Maybe the bass minnows, although a quarter more per dozen would have been a safer buy. Unless of course you are in a music store, and the bass is pronounced "base".

a few summer pics

one hot day last week we headed over to my friend Rhonda's house...and she snapped these:

for more of her stuff check out www.snapshotsonlocation.com