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Archive for the ‘Just a Thought’ Category

Our little girl turned 11 this week and this year Lauren wanted to have an Alice in Wonderland themed party, which turned out super cute, and so I thought I’d share some of that cuteness with you, Gentle Reader.

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Sam, dressed as the Mad Hatter, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the guests! We got his hat for $5 at a party supply store and the rest of his costume was just the remains of his cello recital outfit, too small to recite in, but just right for becoming the Mad Hatter.

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I actually forgot to get a photo of this while it was hanging on the front door. This is just a hand made sign on card stock inviting our guests to fall down the rabbit hole and enter Wonderland.

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Of course, Wonderland has all sorts of arrows leading in every direction but the right one! The kids had a blast making these and posting them around the house! We just got a couple of poster boards (from the Dollar Store), drew arrows all over them, cut them out, and wrote “directions” on them.

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No Alice in Wonderland party would be complete without a stack of giant cards! We found these huge playing cards at a party supply store and Lauren drew faces on paper and taped them on so they looked like soldiers in the Queen of Heart’s garden!

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I think these might have been my favorite part of the party if only because of the kid’s reaction to them, they were a huge hit! Cute little bottles with corks (found at Hobby Lobby for $1.99/ea) filled with Magical Elixir (Hawiian Punch) and finished with a ribbon and a hand made “Drink Me” sign.

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In the story, Alice often finds herself in the awkward position of either shrinking (“Three inches is such a dreadful height, after all”) or growing (“Over a mile high!”). We thought that the best way to simulate all that size changing was to juxtapose large and small food and decorations to make you feel either very big or very, very small, indeed.  The small flowers and butterflies I picked up at the Dollar Store, the large butterflies are from Hobby Lobby (all very affordable, less than $5/ea.). The large flower was also purchased from Hobby Lobby (50% off!) and will also serve as decoration in Lauren’s room.

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{big cupcakes with home made “Eat Me” signs taped to toothpicks, the door mouse in a Happy Birthday hat, peeking out of the creamer pitcher, more big cupcakes with sugar pearls, foods big and small (m&m’s and marshmallows), tiny cupcakes, The Birthday Cake! with an sugar pearl L}

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And when it was all over, the guests just had to follow the arrow to find their way home…we filled these cute little mason jars with all of Lauren’s favorite candies, tied on a hand made “Take Me” sign, and gave them away instead of goody bags!

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Happy Birthday, Lauren! 

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Last Sunday, I decided that what I would like most would be to go for a hike.

And so, my dear family, wanting me to have a wonderful Mother’s Day, complied with this request.

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Interestingly, it was also every other mother’s dream to go for a hike on Mother’s Day. And we waited while the rangers drove around to see if the park was full or not.

Adam snapped these fine photos while we waited in our vehicle pulled “as far to the right” as it could possibly be pulled. Those rangers are specific in their instruction.

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Once we were admitted to the park (it really was that crowded!), we parked in the first spot we found and headed for the top of the trail.

And it was absolutely lovely, so much beauty in the wide open spaces.

There were kids at the top of rock formations…

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And the ramshackle remains of a homestead long abandoned but fun to climb on…

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And more kids at the top of rock formations…

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But you must know that the real star of the show is always the stream, at which we arrived a mere two and half hours after we embarked and yet we all came away feeling that the effort made our time in the water very sweet, indeed…

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That fresh flowing water felt good on tired, little feet which had travelled far to play in it’s gentle currents…

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And on it’s banks…

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And though I did ask myself a number of times on that hike why I had chosen this of all activities on Mother’s Day for I could have been at the spa…having a massage…and a pedicure…instead of up to my (very sore) ankles in dirt and bugs. And why had the ranger, who chatted us up nicely as we waited, noted that Mother’s Day is always the busiest day of the year?

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And then I snapped this picture and I remembered exactly why we choose this activity on Mother’s Day. Because it puts on display some of the most wonderful aspects of the family. As I recall there was a very long, very sweet conversation on the subject of fairies and the fact that they wear acorn tops for helmets. There was also much oooh-ing and aaah-ing over the beauty all around us which led, deliciously, into reflection on The Creator and His creation. I witnessed much tenderness take place between my children as each one watched over the other, warning and helping each other over the hard spots. I got to hold each of my family’s hands at different intervals during the afternoon and I was presented with any number of priceless treasures along the way. I tripped once, right into the strong arms of my wonderful husband, and I liked that. A lot.

Yes, that is why mom’s like to go hiking on Mother’s Day, I think.*

At least that’s why I like to go…

*I suppose it is entirely possible that some mom’s simply love to hike…but that sounds a little crazy to me! 🙂

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Dear Friends,

Mother’s Day is nearly upon us. Is it a fake holiday made up by the card companies and florists? Yes. It is.

But does it necessarily follow that there should be no Mother’s Day at all? Well, maybe. But I don’t know.

Maybe everyday is Mother’s Day. Kind of.

Everyday, we  understand the gravity of what we hold in our hands. That when we hold our precious children we are really holding an immortal soul. Our work is so profoundly important because we are training what is eternal. Yes, eternal. Women really do have the awesome privilege of partnering with God to bring life into the world. It is astounding to me that we have been chosen for this.

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This is our life’s work, everyday. Our magnum opus. Our great contribution to the world.

Everyday, as we go about our mother’s work, the work of listening, hugging, driving, cleaning, laundry doing, tutoring, disciplining, admiring, organizing, clothes buying, toy finding, vegetable lecturing, bathing, ironing, rocking, reading, planning, shopping, willing, dreaming, hoping, volunteering, combing, wiping up, nursing, drying tears, mending, listening to that song for the one millionth time and singing along, encouraging, building up, tv/vcr repair (can you hear Sally Struthers voice?)…we remember this.

That if Ralph Waldo Emerson was right, that men (and women for that matter) are what their mother’s make them, then this job of making and guiding and shaping People is a profoundly important one.

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It is not for the faint of heart. We know that everyday.

Our shortcomings are reflected in every frustrated tone, late morning, note home from school, and flare of temper and the pain is real and acute. But we are reminded of what C.S. Lewis says, that courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at its testing point. And we dry our eyes and march on.

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Everyday we plead before the throne of grace for our children. For their protection, for the wisdom to bring them up well. For patience, (oh goodness, make that twice a day for patience!) and the knowledge that He will fill in all our cracks as we pour out.

The President reminded us that in South Korea teachers are called nation builders, and I agree, teachers are nation builders.

But everyday we are reminded that mothers are their children’s ultimate teachers. They may learn academically elsewhere, but the fashioning of their character is incumbent upon us. It may be up to the teachers (including homeschool mom/teachers) to help guide our sweet children into the fields of writing, and math and science but it will be up to us whether those writers will have integrity or our scientists will value life or whether any of them will care for and be faithful to their families, communities, the world.

I am able to write this because I have seen so many of you, everyday, living it around me. I see you at the park, at the library, in church. I have seen you in your car and in the schools and in the express lane at Target. You are family and friends.

You are heroes, imperfect, but heroes just the same.It does not do it justice to say it is a hard job. It is the hardest job. But the reward is eternal.

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Much love to you all this Mother’s Day with many hopes for you all to get a nap (which is probably what you really want anyway)!

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A couple of weeks ago, Sam was using the 409 to clean up a spill he made on the counter…

And while he was wiping, he made the following statement, “Hey Mom, next time I get the the flu, I think I’m just gonna spray some 409 in my mouth.”.  I must have looked horrified because he said “Well, it says it right here”….and he was right, it did say…

And so I will tell all of you what I told my dear son, only I will hold back on the panic stricken looks and the additional lecturing about you not being a baby and putting things in your mouth…If you do happen to get the flu, do not attempt to treat it with the 409, it is NOT meant to be sprayed in your mouth!  🙂

I wish you all a very Happy Weekend!

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Here is the scene on my counter the last time I made the grocery store run…

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For me, it looks like a scene out of a horror movie because, to put it quite bluntly, I do not like healthy food. I know, I know…but it’s true, well maybe it’s not entirely true. Allow me to clarify. I do actually like each of the “healthy foods” on their own. Really, I think most food is pretty darn tasty but it tastes infinitely worse to me if someone starts throwing around words like “low-carb” or ” antioxidant” or “protein packed” or the worst, “only___ calories per serving”. Ick. This language is grossing me out right now.

Why do I feel this way you might ask? Did some fruit or vegetable abuse me when I was a child? Did someone water board me while repeating the phrase, “serving size”? Was I involved in some domestic dispute that involved a piece of whole grain toast or a package of skim milk cheese? The answer to all of this is, “Um, no”, but nonetheless, I do recoil at the slightest whisper of these phrases and frankly I think this is a little bit weird. Why do I rage against those things that are good for me to eat and their verbiage?

Well, unless I’ve repressed something in which case we’re gonna need to call Dr. Phil, here is my own self diagnosis of the problem in one word…and another word…in two words:

Rebellion and Deliciousness. Let’s explore these separately, shall we?

Rebellion

Sometimes I just feel the need to rail against some of the current trends. And the idea that I have to have some book to tell me that eating an entire family size bowl of Mashed Potatoes or seven slices of Pumpkin Pie is inappropriate, well, it just rubs me the wrong way. I only ate six slices of pie last Thanksgiving and that was without using any book as a frame of reference.

Deliciousness

I have always lived my life with the understanding that chimichangas taste better than brown rice, that whole milk is sweeter and creamier than the blue water that is skim milk and that real Coke tastes a whole lot better than plain old water. I don’t know, I just don’t think taste buds lie.

All this rambling is leading somewhere, I promise…and here it is:

I recently had an epiphany that turned all of this fine thinking on its head.

All of my feelings about healthy food and the words used to describe it were…wait for it…immature. Shocking, I know. Actually, I got started thinking along this line of maturity while reading my Bible. Those of you Fellow Daily Bible readers will know exactly what I mean when I say that I was reading in 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love, and instead of stopping in the usual place, in Verse 8 “Love never fails”, I went on to finish the chapter and here’s what I found in Verse 11.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

Now, it’s not like I’ve never heard this verse before. No, I’ve been a believer for a long time and I’ve heard this verse many times but this time it carried with it such conviction that I had a hard time moving on from it. I tried to think honestly about the many components of my life. Had I put away childish ways in many of them? In some cases the answer was a sure and resounding, Yes. In others it was a sure and resounding…Kind of. In the area of maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, it was an Absolutely not. I realized that I had some immediate growing up to do.

And so, began the process, which I will continue in the weeks to come to discuss in this, my little corner of the world. The all important journeys of learning about how to healthfully feed my family, to truly change my thinking on the way those good, whole foods taste, and to make more active choices everyday have simultaneously begun but infinitely more important is that I think I am finally on the way to permanently putting those childish ways behind me…Now, I’m off to Taco Bell, anyone want anything?
Just kidding…

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It’s Tebow Time!!!

Go get em’ Broncos!!!

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Sledding!

Remember when you were a kid, I know for some of us that is ancient history but try to think way back to what it really felt like to be a kid. Can you remember the feeling of utter starvation after a hot summer day of swimming when it felt like you might really die of hunger en route from the pool to the dinner table? Did you ever come home from school on a snowy day, smell something amazing wafting from the kitchen and decide on the spot that your mom was the best mom…ever? Remember when you had to ask your parents before you turned on the tv or wore your new sweater or had another cookie? I can remember thinking, “When I grow up I will eat as many cookies as I want!” (a philosophy that has not served me well, I might add, but that is a story for another time). Oh, and Christmas! Remember Christmas as a kid…the smell of turkey (when you didn’t have to cook it!), the twinkling Christmas lights (everywhere!)…the anticipation levels so high you almost couldn’t take it, every wrapped gift had such possibility!

And do you remember that feeling of joy in its purest form when, once in a while, you were given the perfect toy? Not the toy you wanted because all your friends had it or the one you begged for because you saw it on tv but the toy that you got and instantly it became a beloved part of you, just like that. For me, it was a beautiful Madam Alexandra doll named Alex and for my kids, it’s been The Sled.

Who knew that when my parents gave my kids sleds, they would hit the Perfect Toy Jackpot?! I remember enjoying sledding when I was a kid, but I’d get cold pretty quickly and want to head inside…this is nothing like that. These guys are hardcore. The kids have officially become meteorologists…it’s like living with Al Roper. They check the forecast everyday, willing it to say “Snow”! In fact, they have become so interested in the weather that I have stopped checking altogether for myself, no need. If I need to know what the forecast is I just ask one of the kids. On Sunday, Lauren informed me that I was inappropriately dressed because the high was “going to be 50”. On Monday, Sam asked his dad if he thought his Wednesday evening cello lesson would be cancelled because it was going to snow (Adam had no idea it was going to snow on Wednesday).

When it snows, Sam and Lauren, who generally are not fast movers in the morning, get up early to hit the hill before breakfast and I do suppose that most of their physical education credits this year will be derived from the great sport of sledding.

Their sheer joy and elation has led me to believe that the only real advantage to growing up is that you get to get married and put together your own little brood of Sledders, or Snowboarders as they call themselves (even though they are usually seated and do not own any actual snow boards)…

Well, that and you can have a cookie any time you want…

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