Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Letters To My Children

Dear Van,
One day you'll be a grown man with a family of your own and I'll look back and wish you were a baby again so I could hold you and rock you and smell your sweet baby smells and hear your sweet baby grunts. And I'm holding onto that truth because today; today my arm feels like it's going to fall off and I'm wishing you'd let me put you down without screaming your head off. *sigh*
Love, your tired Mama.

Dear Jentry,
One day our house will be empty and quiet and I'll wish there was a little blond headed girl here to keep me company and talk my head off. And I'm trying to hold onto that truth because today; today you've already made a million and one messes which are hard to clean up one handed... the other hand being occupied by your screaming little brother. I love your energy but some days it's just too much. *sigh*
Love, your frazzled Mama

Dear Audrey,
Being a parent is freaking hard! I hope you know that his morning was as hard on me as it was on you, but tough lessons need to be learned with tough love. *sigh*
Love, the mama with a heart in a million pieces

Dear Levi,
When did you grow up? Fifth grade next year? I didn't ok this. I'm looking at Van in my arms and remembering comforting you like this... a decade ago. *sigh*
Love, Mama

Sunday, May 18, 2014

End of The Year Teacher Gifts

This is seriously the easiest gift ever. All you gotta do is gather up a bunch of orange colored products, and bundle them together in some sort of orange container (tub, gift bag, basket, etc.).  Then, print out the tag, have your child sign it, and VOILA... a perfect (and cute) way to thank teachers at the end of the year!

In the picture below, I've taken all of the loot out of the plastic plant pot (purchased at Wal Mart for less than $2) so you can see an example of what I put in the package: orange tic tacs, Reese's pieces, orange Trident gum, Hawaiian scented stick up air fresheners, a package of peanut butter crackers, and orange mango flavored ice water.

But the combination of orange colored products is endless! I found this orange tub at Dollar General and it's got a citronella candle in it. It made the perfect container for a package of Reece's peanut butter cups, orange Trident gum, Cutter bug spray, and Sunkist soda.

Want the tag I used? Right click on the image below and save it to your computer. I don't know how to be all fancy and turn it into a downloadable. Anyone want to help me with that?

Linked up HERE


Epic Mommy Adventures

and HERE

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Everything Has a Price

This blog entry could also be titled: Never Take "No" For An Answer!

Last week, I stopped in at a Salvation Army Thrift Store that I hadn't been to in a while.

No, wait, back up...

Last summer, I started to re-do our girls' room. I say "started" because it never got finished. One of these days I'll finish it and do a before and after, but some of the improvements I made included painting the walls, putting up a chair rail, bought new head boards, rearranged the room, got rid of an old falling apart particle board bookcase, accessorized with pictures for the walls, and hung a new chandelier light.

The books, that got taken off of the falling apart shelf... went into this HUGE pink tub.

It's so big, that by the time I had it full of books... it wouldn't budge! This picture doesn't even do justice for how huge this tub is. It's really deep. I asked my husband to carry it to the basement for me to get it out of the way until I could find a new shelf but he said it was absolutely too full of books and too heavy to try and get down the stairs. So, it has sat in the girls' room for nine solid months now... not budging. That's a full term pregnancy, people! It's huge! And in the way.

Until today.

Today, I finally bought a bookshelf to house all of these books.

This whole time, I've been on the lookout for the perfect shelf for a particular spot in the room and it had to meet some criteria. First of all, it had to be tall enough with enough shelves to house all of these books. Secondly, it had to fit into a spot right between the closet and the space where the door swings open into the room; so, it couldn't be too wide. And thirdly, it had to be REAL wood. no more pressed board particle crap. I didn't really care the shape of the wood because I totally planned on painting it anyway... but it had to be real... and sturdy. And then lastly, duh, it had to be a decent price.

I've looked everywhere! I've scouted yard sales, I've perused Craigslist, I've put out an "ISO" on Facebook yard sale pages. Nothing.

Ok now back to my opening sentence...

Last week, I stopped in at a Salvation Army Thrift Store that I hadn't been to in a while.

And I found THE PERFECT bookcase that I'd been looking for for nine months! It was tall enough. It was just the perfect width. It was real wood and very sturdy!

But it didn't have a price tag.

And this, I finally saw, is why:

Nooooooo!! I wanted that bookcase!!!

Must. Speak. To. Manager!

Well, the manager wasn't there and no amount of me pleading and batting my eyelashes was going to make the girl working there budge. She couldn't sell me the book case.

That was last Thursday.

Fast forward to today. I decided to stop back in on a whim and see if the manager was there today, and she was! I nicely told her that I had been looking forever for a bookcase and that I thought I had finally found one in her store but was disappointed to see that it wasn't for sale and would she PRETTY PLEASE consider selling it??? With sugar and a cherry on top??

So she says to me "oh I don't know. It houses all of our fabric." And, I kid you not there was like TWO pieces of fabric on the whole shelf. So then she says "I guess I could let it go for $15"



But, I had to contain my excitement. Had to play it cool and act like ok, I gueeeeeess I'll pay $15 for it. Had to act like she wasn't practically just giving me a solid wood book case in excellent condition!

And now...

the book case is proudly sitting in my girls' room waiting for me to load it with books and get that eye sore of a huge pink tub outta there! After nine long months... we brought our baby home!

Never take no for an answer

Now, how to get the "NOT FOR SALE" off of there? Or should I leave it as a reminder that we didn't take no for an answer? We wanted something and went after it... and got it.

Tell me about a time in your life when YOU haven't taken no for an answer.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Days Past And Present

As Mother's Day approaches this weekend, I've been reflecting on Mother's Days past. Six years ago I posted this on my old blog: 
"This was my fourth Mother's Day and I have to say that it was the very very best one yet!!
It all started on Friday. Two of my good friends that I'm in an accountability group with had invited me to go to Omaha, Nebraska to see Beth Moore. I told them that there was no way that I could afford the conference ticket, travel and lodging expenses, and a babysitter for the weekend. Well, Mindi says to me that if I could arrange for a babysitter that she had someone who would pay for the rest!!!!! So, at THE last minute I got a college girl from church to watch the kids. We were going to drive to Nebraska. It's a four? five? hour drive. But, THE DAY BEFORE, Mindi tells us that we are flying. Her dad has a private plane that seats eight and he was going to have his pilot fly us up there. There were five of us total that all ended up flying to Nebraska together and the trip was only one hour as opposed to a five hour drive. I'd never flown in a private plane before and I'm here to tell ya I never want to fly commercial again!! I've been completely spoiled.

We get in the plane and take off and one of the girls, Jessica, hands me a giftbag. I thought it was a thank you gift for Mindi and so I was holding it while Jessica rooted around in her purse for her camera. I handed the bag to Mindi and Jessica says "what are you doing? That's for you." Inside was a card that read "happy mother's day! we love you mommy. Love, Levi and Audrey." and in the bag was a necklace. In the circle of girls I hang out with, they all have this particular necklace and I was the only one who didn't have one. Basically it's just a silver chain and then you buy separate rings to go on it and there are different rings that say different things. They bought three for me. Mine say 'son,' 'daughter,' and 'courage.'

The Beth Moore conference was EXCELLENT!!!!!!! I bawled my eyes out more than a few times. There were six THOUSAND women (ok, and a stray husband here and there that had been drug along) women in attendance at the conference. awesome! We got to sit in the second row from the front down on the floor which just happened to be right behind the hearing impaired section and I fell in love with one of the translators they had for the weekend. Seriously, I could not keep my eyes off of her. When she was signing the praise and worship I got goosebumps. I want to be able to do that! It is a passion of mine to fluently learn sign languge and use it as a ministry! (bet ya didn't know that about me, did ya?)
On the way home Saturday afternoon, Mindi gave up her seat as co-pilot and offered to let us experience it. I got to sit in the co-pilot seat for take-off which... on man... that's something I'll never ever ever ever ever forget!
at around 4:00 when it wasn't SCORCHING heat anymore, I took the kids to the park to play and then to Sonic to get something cold to drink. While I was at Sonic, Mindi called and invited us over to their house to grill out. So, I took the kids over in their swimsuits and my two kids and her three kids all played in the water together and her hubby grilled for us. I got to eat a yummy dinner and relax with a glass of chianti.
I seriously could not have asked for a better weekend!
I'm so blessed to have awesome friends."
When I reflect back on that time of my life it blows me away how blessed I was. There I was, a single mother with two young kids who had no clue on their own when Mother's Day was and I had no spouse to remind them... but, I had friends and family who wouldn't let the day go uncelebrated for me! The year before, it was my mom and dad who stepped up to the plate to honor me as a Mother in England.
Things change a lot in six years, but one thing that hasn't changed is how loved I feel. Now, I am married to a man who has made it his life's mission to spoil me rotten. Together, we've had two more babies, bringing our blended total to SIX KIDS!! And these days, my first two are now old enough to know when Mother's Day is without needing the reminder from dad.
So, the other day, Jason took me to the city to shop for myself. We had four of the six kids with us and my ONE rule (from Jason) was that I was not allowed to buy ANYTHING for them. I wasn't even allowed to look. That shopping trip was all about ME (he spoils me like that especially right after I've had a baby and feel yucky about the way I look and the ways my body has changed). While we were in a particular boutique that I just LOVE... my ten year old tells me he saw something that he wants to get me for Mother's Day but he doesn't know how much it is. I told him to ask the cashier how much it was (figuring it'd be WAY too expensive and he'd not get it) and that I was going to the store next door and he could walk over and meet me there after he asked. Well, I came out of the second store to see that he had a bag of something he'd purchased in the boutique... and so did his eight year old sister (who had no money on her which meant my sweet boy had loaned his sister money to buy mama something!) So I asked him how much the item was and he said $8 and change. Knowing he doesn't have much money, I told him he shouldn't have spent that much money on me... and nothing else was said. Much later, we were walking through Target and out of nowhere he comes up to me, puts his skinny little arm around me and says "mom, you are worth the $8 I spent on you." And now if that's not just the sweetest thing!
Here it is, Friday. Not even Mother's Day yet... and I still don't know what's in that little boutique bag... but already I feel like the luckiest mom ever.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Class of 2014 Senior Boys

I've had a couple of senior guy photo sessions this week. Guys are so fun/funny to do pictures with! I love my job.

Here is a sampling of some pics we took... One urban setting, One rural.

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