Thursday, September 14, 2017

September's Gifts

I love September.....for several reasons.....It's my BIRTHDAY.....and it's still a little bit summer but fall is quickly arriving.  The structure of school and some semblance of routine is returning....yet its not too routine yet. Sweet September!

September at my house is filled with gifts!  I love gifts....but don't really like buying for me is probably not the easiest!  I rarely have any ideas when asked what I like.....I'm not trying to be difficult....I will tell Randy and my Mama when I really want something (a camera....or a fire pit!) but generally I have no clue.  I've been thinking about why a lot this month, because I've been asked a lot what I want....and this is what I came up with:

I want thoughtfulness.
I want words.
I want pictures.
I want memories.

These are the things that I value and they are not always easy to put in a box with a bow!  

Some gifts (stuff) really hit the jackpot are a few of my all time favorite gifts.....

A simple bracelet that sorta sums up my life.....

This was a Christmas gift this past year.

A handmade 7 egg shadow box (I have 7 in my tribe!)......

This was a 40th birthday gift, a few years back!

Flowers from my Andrew with no prompting, flowers mean very little to me, but him remembering means everything....same when my Jackson buys me a Diet Coke with crunchy ice.....yeah he used Daddy's money but it was his idea!

Signs.....Randy knew I would like this one because he said it was sorta a rule or command.....

Evidently its a theme in our home decor...RULES....Randy and Andrew noticed and pointed this out this summer!  I do love me some rules!  Somebody's got keep this crew in line!

(There are more....I even have a "porch rules" sign....)

One gift I received from a friend this year was a pure white water bottle.  I do like practical.  For real.  If you are gonna give me stuff I want to use it!  The tear off label said, "Live Pure".  

I don't think the manufacturer meant to covey the message how I took it, but now each time I grab that bottle I'm reminded by the pure white....Live Pure.....YES!  
That is my kind of gift!
Meaningful and Useful

God's been so faithful to me and given me a few gifts this month too.....

One was the gift of Randy.  I'm so thankful for him.  He is wise and slow to act.  I need him!  Just this week I was ready to jump in and solve one of my kids relational problems and Randy firmly but gently said no.  This is a kid issue.  We can talk to the kids, pray with the kids, but we need to let the kids handle this.  Oh. my. word.  I'm so thankful for Randy's leadership.  When I want to jump in and be a helicopter parent I need him to remind me to lead and guide and pray....not to take over and solve.  God and the kids worked this situation out so much better then I ever could have!

There have been other gifts too....lessons in my pridefulness, lessons in my sinful tendency towards self-sufficiency and impatience.  That is a blog for another day though!

September also brought the gift of  expanding our community.  I have so enjoyed meeting the families of the kid's school friends at a school wide movie night

I've enjoyed meeting fellow teachers and student's and their families at the preschool.

I've enjoyed sweet time with Sophia who has been killing me at the gym.  She is hardcore!  So if you see me hobbling around its from trying to keep up with her!  UGH!

I have been reminded this month of the precious gift of friendships....Mine and my kiddos.

September Gifts Abound!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What's Cooking

So...ya' I'm gonna share THE best salad you have ever had.  It is AmAzinG!  Oh. My. Word!

I have Kary to thank for this addiction.  Kary is my beloved hair dresser!

She not only takes care of all our hair and....and eyebrows...and color....she also recommends great salads.  She told me I HAD to try the Arugula Salad from Radius Pizza in I tried it....YUMMY!  However, I'm sorry to say it is also $15 a pop if you add I decided I would have to make it at home.  I've eaten like 4 times this week.  I am totally addicted.

Feta Cheese
Dried Cranberries
Walnuts (Radius uses peanuts....but the peanuts tasted a little weird to me)
Diced Roasted Sweet potatoes....YES!

Pan seared salmon....not included on salad, but Kary recommended adding it.
Vinaigrette Dressing

You are welcome.  I know I'm your new best friend.

And if you want your kids to think you are awesome....
Make these cookies

1 box cake mix (I used strawberry)
1 regular sized tub Cool Whip (I used reduced fat)
1 egg

Roll into balls and coat in Powdered Sugar
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes....

So quick I made them before school!
Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the finished product....
They were cute.
I didn't eat one but my kids LOVED them.

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Exploring Home

I've lived in Durham basically my whole entire life.  I say basically, because I did leave for college, but made a quick return home.....So I kinda thought I knew my town and the surrounding areas.  I'm realizing this last week, however, there is really so much I don't know about my hometown.  I think my new hobby is going to be uncovering Durm.  Take for instance Duke Gardens, I definitely knew it was there and had visited it many times.  Nonetheless, I did not know that it was so quiet during the weekday mornings.  A perfect spot for a walk, or quiet time, or writing.  I will definitely be incorporating this treasure into my life.

These weekday adventures are giving me lots of ideas for family adventures.

One of my favorite discoveries this week was King's Red and White.  Thank you Julia Curl!  Seriously, how can I have lived in Durham my whole life and been so unaware!  It is the cutest, quaintest grocery you can even imagine.  Mapleview Farms butter (and ice cream), homemade jam, 9th street bakery bread, local produce, a real butcher in back, hand drawn signs in the window.  Oh. my. word.   My new favorite!

Rubbing shoulders with strangers.  Strangers becoming acquaintances......maybe even new friends.  New friendships bring even more discoveries.  Randy found a new favorite drink from one of Lydia's new friends.  Mixing things up a bit, eyes open wide....

Slowing down.  Paying attention.  Breathing deep.  Discovering hidden treasures along the way.

Absorbing life.

Pouring out from His abundance.....Ahhhh

Friday, August 11, 2017

I Survived Summer and Starting School!

Mama's, summer is no joke!  It's fast, it's fun, it's full and at our house it's over.  It went out with a bang!  I spent several days at my parents beach house and let each of my kids bring a friend.  It was really fun.....

Lots of laughs

Lots of memories

Lots of food

Lots of sunshine

After our friends left we headed into a weeklong family vacation, that was exactly what the doctor ordered!

We came home, unpacked, and hit the ground running because 5 short days after vacation ended school began!

So on Thursday, I sent my four kiddos back to school.  The big one heads back in a couple weeks!

Sophia was headed to the brand new high school!  It's so pretty!!!!

She is absolutely in LOVE with high school.  She came home beaming.

Jackson and Lydia both started middle school.  That is crazy!  Lydia came home bubbling over with excitement about school and talking about all the friends she made.  Jackson made lots of friends and came home with a new nickname, "Jay"! There is another Jackson in his Jay it is!  They were a little bummed when they realized that they were twinning on the first day of was accidental!

As I was talking to Jackson before bed last night, I asked him who the prettiest girl in his class was.  He rolled his eyes and reluctantly admitted, "Lydia".  So sweet!

Audrey is in the fifth grade, and she is crazy about her teachers and already making friends.  Sophia asked her if she had done any of her voices at school yet.  She hasn't.....yet.  They have no idea.....I'm sure she will come out of her shell in a few days :)

I did tear up a little on Thursday as I dropped off the last kiddo.  Just for a bit though.  This is a new chapter for me.  I've homeschooled most of my adult life....and the one year they did go to school before I taught school.  So I'm home alone....and it is weird....and I must admit....a bit wonderful!

I've been stopping at the Riverwalk on my way home from school and walking and listening to music and I love it!  It is quiet and beautiful.

I am hopeful that this will become a habit.

I've also enjoyed unrushed Quiet Times with Peach Tea and uninterrupted Phone Calls with sweet friends.

So far it has been a lot of the same....Laundry, Dishes, Cooking, Cleaning, Planning, Organizing.

It is easier and quieter.

Except not the paperwork.....there is a lot of paperwork!

It's also a little different.....Packing Lunches, Morning Rush, Afternoon Carlines.....

And different because my breakfast game has been on point....(I'll try to remember to blog when I throw Pop tarts at them too!)

But it's also different because life feels a bit more restful....a lot less I can breathe a little.

(a little inspiration found on my morning walk)

I love my crew and am so excited to see them each afternoon and hear their stories and about their days but the break has been nice....very, very nice.  Except when Mindy tears up the trash and I'm the only one to clean it!  Just keeping it real......

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Foot

365 Days ago I had foot surgery.  My left foot was in constant and tremendous pain.  It hurt to stand, it hurt to walk, it hurt to sit.  It hurt all the time.  So after about a year of pain and multiple doctor appointments the date was set for surgery.  It was an extensive surgery that involved a bone graft, a screw, cutting and lengthening a tendon in my leg, cutting my heal bone and realigning it....and lots of other fun and painful stuff! If I had known the pain and rehabilitation involved I would have thought VERY hard before deciding to do this surgery.  I never could have imagined the pain involved in learning to walk again.  I only went about 9 weeks without walking nevertheless my muscles atrophied in that time period more than I could have fathomed.  Two weeks ago, I would have said it was not worth having surgery.  I was still in pain.  It was a different pain but it was still a very real pain.  I was still limited in my activity and had to be very careful when navigating rocky or uneven terrain.  However, two weeks ago I got a cortisone shot, which for me was a game changer, so now I'm beginning to think that yes I would do it again.  Perhaps the pain has been worth it.  I've had about two weeks of minimal to pain-free living.  It has been amazing!  My hope is that the shot is what I needed to get over the final hump of healing.

The first photo was taken just two weeks ago, it was right before my cortisone shot. The next photo was taken about 3 days post cortisone shot.

This is the 3 days post cortisone shot again....and then about 10 days post shot.....

The improvement in my foot feels as dramatic as it looks.....

So in my excitement over feeling better, I decided to start training for a 5K.  Randy was pretty much outraged and thought it may have been one of my worst ideas ever, and I have had some bad ones.

So I reluctantly called my doctor and left a message with the nurse, who called me back within the hour to tell me it was indeed a bad idea.  She talked to the doctor who said running a 5K in March would increase my risk of re-injury and I should not run one before June and encouraged me to wait until September and suggested that I elliptical, swim, walk, or bike for a while first.  So still no running for me!

On another note:

I'm super excited about Christmas!  I feel like I missed it last year.  I was so drugged and out of it.  So I'm ready to celebrate.  I'm really thankful for all the friends that have stood by my side through this last year.  I'm thankful for you inviting me to limp along on all our fun adventures and never being annoyed at me for being so slow.  You guys are the best!  I'm thankful for how well you loved us and fed us and cared for us in the months immediately following surgery!

I'm so blessed!
Merry Christmas!

PS Someone may want to mention my desperate need for a pedicure to Randy as a possible Christmas gift!


Monday, November 21, 2016

The Rescue

As I read in Genesis this morning about Dinah's rape and how her brothers tricked the prince and came in and destroyed the city so that they could rescue Dinah from her capture a part of me just wanted to cheer.  There is something deep within my soul that just loves a good rescue story.  I love good conquering evil.  I love vindication.  My mind can't help but turn to the greatest rescue of all time.  How Jesus rescued me.  I too was a prisoner.  Locked away and held captive by my own evil and sinful desires and actions and thoughts.  I had no hope.  Yet Jesus saw me.  Before the foundation of the earth, he picked me and knew me and loved me and formulated the greatest rescue plan of all time.  The plan to save me from my sins.  How amazing and loving is that?  So as thanksgiving approaches I'm thankful.  I'm thankful that despite my undeserving, wretched, sinful, rebellious way.....due to nothing I've ever done or deserved.....he chose me in him.  He entered our sin-soaked world and he was born of a virgin and he lived the perfect life and then was nailed to a tree for my sinfulness.  His Father God turned away from him because of my sin on Him.  The agony, the pain, the shame, the suffering for me.  That is a great rescue.  That is the most unbelievable love.  Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Halfway there...

It has been 27 days since Randy and I left Andrew at school.  Definitely the longest I've gone without seeing him, and I still have 27 more days until he comes home, yes I am counting!  My goodness what is a Mama to do?  I miss his face, I made him text me a picture the other day just so I could see him!   I must say it was ROUGH starting out. I don't think you can really know until you've walked the road.  I knew it would be hard, but it was not how I thought.  There was lots of crying and a bit of withdrawal from people and things, but it was a necessary part of my grieving for a huge chapter of my life that ended, and praise the Lord it is becoming easier! I'm getting into the groove of my new normal.  I do still miss him like crazy and think of him multiple times each day, but there is great joy and satisfaction in seeing your child make good choices and being so excited about life and functioning so well independent of Mom and Dad.  He loves his church, his community group, his classes, the city, and has made so many friends.  I'm just happy that he is so happy and I love so many of the choices he is making. I'm proud of him and it has nothing to do with some secret parenting recipe, it is all the grace of God.  Thank you Lord!

One thing I've wondered through the process is what happened to my blogging?  I used to write it all down.  I wanted to preserve and record photos and memories.  After reflecting a bit I've come up with several conclusions:

1.  I'm busy....and when I don't have anything to do I don't want anything to do.....

My last week, 4 days of which were spent without Randy and Jackson because they were on a little road trip, went like this:

Get Sophia to school and home each day and do school with my three at home in the meantime.  In addition we've had: 3 days of swim team,2 football games (one Jackson and one Duke), a football practice (we actually had 2, but skipped one), a Sunday School Lesson to prepare for and teach, a church picnic, 3 dentist appointments, a 2 hour clogging practice, a clogging show, a gymnastics class, a history class to prepare for and teach, a teacher luncheon at Sophia's school to sautee onions and peppers for and help setup, a meal to prepare and take to a friend,  Co-op, Nursery, a piano lesson, a doctor's appointment, and of course regular house stuff: grocery shopping, errands for a birthday gift and props for a play and ink for the computer, dishes had to be done, laundry is never ending, and disciplining which is a lot like laundry....constant.  And there was banking, and meals to prepare and lunches to pack and I wish I could say cleaning....but I didn't do that unless you count walking around picking up scattered trash and dishes and wiping the table and telling the kids to pickup their stuff and take out the trash.....that was the extent this week.....and the thing is this  is what is like to be a busy mom.  I'm not special....this week wasn't's just life and it is at a busy stage!  So blogging is not what is used to be!

2.  I want to respect my kids privacy.  I used to be an open book, but as my kids grow and develop and mature I want them to have the freedom to do so without the fear of my telling everyone about it.

3.  I realize how unknowledgeable I am, and I in no way want to come across as "an expert" or judgmental , or awesome, cause I'm not.

4.  I'm living it.  Sometimes in an effort to take pictures and blog the beauty of the moment can be lost.  So I may blog and I will take pictures, but only sometimes......