Sunday, January 27, 2013

trip anticipation

i often say that one of the best parts of a trip is the anticipation leading up to it.
it's half of the fun really.
you think, you plan, you dream.
you get excited!
i'm in that stage RIGHT now.
for two different places.
first trip on the agenda... newton, kansas.
number 1 is not the most exciting of destinations.
listen to me here... it's not the locale that makes it enticing
but what we're doing in that location that makes all the difference.
in a few short weeks i'm headed to the middle of the u.s. of a. to attend a little something called craft weekend!
this isn't any ordinary craft weekend.
but a highly sought after dream vacay, if you will, for us crafty lady folk.
heck, you don't even need to be "crafty" to attend.
you just need to get excited to create and have fun!
everything is taken care of, to the very last detail.
and i can't wait to take it all in!
not just anyone can attend... you need to be invited... and the way you get an invite?
random draw.
there are thousands of women's names on the list.
the chances of being picked are slim.
so you can imagine my excitement when in september i received this email:

Hey, Ladies!
You are receiving this email because your name has been chosen in our lottery for Craft Weekend!!!!
Here are the details:

Who: YOU!!!!We are inviting you to purchase a Whatever Craft Weekend ticket(s)...You can purchase for friends! 

What: WHATEVER CRAFT WEEKEND...wanna come????

Where: at Meg's Craft House in Newton, Kansas. We will craft, eat, shop, craft, eat and craft some more!!!!

When: February 8,  February 9, and February 10, 2013. We will start around 6:00 pm on Friday the 8th and finish up on Sunday the 10th at noon.

Why: Why? How did that question get in here???

unfortunately, i'm only able to bring one friend along... as much as i'd have liked to bring 10!
one of my very closest friends, D, is accompanying me.
road trip... here we COME!
we are SO excited!
and the anticipation is getting the better of me.
seriously... i've hardly slept over the last few weeks.
last week i had some vivid dreams about craft weekend.
meg had asked if i brought the cake.
what cake?!
i'm supposed to have brought a cake.
oh shoot.
i forgot it at the hotel.
all of a sudden there's a basketball player there that was 9'5".
exactly that height.
what did i tell you... weird and vivid dreams.
but i guess he won a ticket to craft weekend too?!
i'm telling you... the anticipation for this trip is nuts... but fun!
i can't wait 'til we go!
and two weeks after that... we head to PALM DESERT!!!!!
in sunny californ-i-ay!
my kids have been watching home video from palm desert from a few years ago to "gear" up for the trip.
they can't wait.
and they are loving seeing what they looked like 3 years ago too.
to think... i had a little baby back then!!!
look how little my girls were!!
i just love looking at the old pictures and video too.
it makes me thrilled to think about being there soon... in the warm weather.
swimming and sun... every. single. day.
plus a trip to disneyland too?!
what could be better?!
(maybe this year we can get a bit of a better family shot in front of sleeping beauty's castle. one can hope, right?)
february is gonna be one exciting month!
and 2013 is shaping up to be a great year so far.

Friday, January 25, 2013

9 years today

it's hard to believe it, but today i have a 9 year old daughter.
she was born on a blistery day in january, exactly 9 years ago.
i was not prepared at all.
oh yes... i sure thought i was.
i thought i knew exactly what i was in for.
turns out, i was not ready for what labor actually was...
and even more ill prepared to handle a little tiny baby.
luckily, breastfeeding came easy.
but everything else?
hard, like mad hard!
i was physically in a lot of pain... but emotionally even worse.
my anxiety was cray-zay!
she was born after we had a miscarriage, almost a year earlier.
so every little thing seemed heightened, whether good or bad.
every cry... every cough (she had some breathing issues)... every time she slept, even.
("i haven't heard her... she must have stopped breathing... go get her... NOW!!")
you could say we were the atypical first time parents.
but this little baby i speak of... well, she's grown up.
sometimes it feels like i can just close my eyes and picture sitting in her nursery...
bees and dragonflies on the walls...
nursing her in a chair by the window...
soft sunlight peeking through the drapes.
i miss that room.
i miss those times.
with a little baby.
they were SO hard then.
so incredibly difficult.
but now i look back and miss them so much.
i sit here sobbing for all those wasted moments i tried to wish away.
for now my baby doesn't want my arms to hold her all day long.
my back doesn't hurt from rocking her to sleep all hours of the day.
she's growing up and there's nothing i can do about it.

*i literally just got a text from a friend.
this is what it read:

Did you realize that 9 yrs old is half way to 18? :(

and just like that... here we are.
half way to adulthood.
luckily she still very much relies on us.
she is very responsible though and i feel i probably put way too much pressure on her.
i hope she'll forgive me one day for making her the stereotypical first born.
poor girl has had to be the guinea pig at all times.
i'm so proud of the girl she's becoming.
her daddy does blessings with all three girls each and every night.
each girl loves to get their "blessings".
and my sweet big k always adds to the card.
just a couple days ago she says, "daddy, can we add a couple of more blessings to the blessings card?"
big m says, "of course!  what?"
big k answers, "thankfulness and courage."
i love that she is thoughtful and reflective.
i could tell that she had been musing over this and was excited to add it to the list.
i rely so much on her!
i don't think she realizes that i wouldn't be able to handle our home properly without her help.
i need to tell her this more often instead of just expecting that she knows she's needed and appreciated.
today we will celebrate her life!
it's time to party!
she's having 8 little girls over to paint nails and play.
we will eat pizza, enjoy a home made baked cake by her auntie d and open presents.
and i will watch my little girl turn into a little lady.
thank you Jesus for blessing me with this gift!
thank you that You knew what You were doing by giving her to us after such heart ache.
i can't wait to see where her life takes her!
happy 9th birthday big k!
you'll always be my little sweetpea!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

heart attack

today was one of the scariest days of my life.
i lost one of my children.
my middle daughter was lost and left alone for almost half an hour... in the bitter cold.
to make a long story short...
i believe the school made a huge mistake in allowing her to leave to walk home to her nana's place.
my girls take the bus every day.
if they're not taking the bus, i always, always, always put a note in their agenda books or i call the school.
little k was adamant that she was supposed to walk to her nana's after school today.
that was never discussed, so i have no clue where she got the idea.
i knew my in law's wouldn't be home after school today.
but listen to this...
the school allowed her to leave WITHOUT my permission.
they called me after she had already left the school only because my eldest daughter noticed her little sister wasn't in the bus line.
i mean seriously?!
and her teacher even called my mother in law prior to calling me and left a message saying, "k is on her way walking to your place, just so you know."
typically if people don't answer, they're usually not home.
how can you let a six year old girl walk all by herself?!
so after i got the call from her teacher, i panicked.
i freaked out.
i grabbed baby h and started to get our coats on.
i received a call from my friend D who was at the bus picking up all the kids.
little k wasn't there...
i knew that because i had just gotten off the phone with her teacher.
i know D knew i was freaking out.
she offered to drive to my in law's place to look for my daughter.
those were some agonizing minutes as i waited.
i prayed and prayed and thought the worst.
i really did.
it was so very, very scary.
but i can say that i also felt peace in the midst of the scary.
it's hard to explain... but i did.
after what felt like an hour, but was probably only 5 minutes, D called me back.
she had little k.
thank you Lord!
i didn't quite settle until i saw her sweet face and held her in my arms.
and it was then that i broke down...
tears of relief... anger... anxiety... frustration... pain.
but my daughter was safe.
she was ok.
i found out that little k was probably waiting outside at my in law's for about 10-15 minutes, by herself.
she walked all around the house, knocking on all the doors.
and people... it was FREEZING out today.
absolutely bitterly cold.
my poor baby was all alone, in the cold, waiting.
i'm so glad that she's alright... but i'm also terribly upset with the school.
i just don't understand it because they are very careful with safety at our school.
well, they obviously dropped the ball in this situation.
i am the worst... literally, the worst with confrontation.
but you better bet your bottom dollar that i'll be going to the school tomorrow to confront them on this.
i can't in good conscience let this go.
what if we didn't find her?
what if someone took her?
what if she got frostbite from waiting outside so long?
i don't even want to think about the possibilities.
i'm still recovering from my near heart attack.
i'll be holding her close tonight... along with my other two girls.
thank you Lord for your continued protection and provision for these blessings of mine.
help me not to take safety for granted.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


this is the post where i tell you i have a really sore thumb.
it's either a hang nail...
or an ingrown nail.
either way... it hurts anytime i use my space bar.
no... that's too hard to read.
for you, at least.  ;)

in this post, i also have a confession to make.
i need to tell you i cheated on my challenge again.
i know i look extremely happy... but here's the story.
i went and purchased a pair of tights from lululemon yesterday.
they were on sale.
but it doesn't make me feel any better.
the only thing consoling me is that they're the comfiest pants i've ever owned.
i may have to live in them straight for 21 days to satisfy my guilt and move on.
(in real life friends... don't be surprised if you see me in awesome stretchy pilcro tights from lulu)
i think the key to my keeping up with my challenge is just to stay away from the mall.
it's so hard!
avoid the temptation?
or face the temptation head on and be strong?!
choices, choices!

here's something i can't choose b/c my family is waiting for me...
time for dinner!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

christmas break happenings

we kept busy during the christmas break.
saw lots of friends and family, went lots of places.
but we also got to spend a lot of great time at home in our pjs and sweats.
this was my favorite part about holiday break...
just being lazy and hanging out as a family!

on that first weekend before christmas, we saw the nutcracker ballet.
this was the only stealth picture i took.
before the actual production began.
no pics during the performance.
it was so pretty though... like candy for my brain.
something i won't forget for a while.
hopefully my girls won't either.
(they better not... i shelled out $40+ for their tix) 
sweet middle girl was all of a sudden "STARVING" at the end of intermission.
luckily i had a granola bar in my purse.
i typically don't have snacks in my purse but this time i'm glad i did.
jeez... she was sorta freaking out.
i was getting annoyed that she couldn't just wait 'til after.
so we quickly went out to the hall and she scarfed it down.
this picture reminds me how sweet and little and innocent she still is.
yes, i can get very frustrated with her... but she's still just a little girl.
and my heart and head have to constantly remind myself to be gentle with her tender spirit.

of course christmas wouldn't be christmas without some family time.
and the cousins had way too much fun being with one another.
i'm so glad they have cousins the same age.
they don't know what a blessing it is... actually, they do.
they all call each other BCFF (best cousin friends forever)!
so sweet!!
they were able to be together, i think, a total of 4 days during the holidays.
that's pretty good for one span of a week considering they only see each other once a month usually.
you wouldn't think a 45 minute drive would be too far to see them more often...
but with everyone's schedules and separate lives, it's tough to find time.
hopefully we can make it more often now in the new year.
they just LOVE being together, all those 7 kids... and i love it too!! :)
oh yeah... and us adults always have a good time too.
here's a rowdy game of battleship going on:
you may have noticed my brother in the shades.
he's not really that cool.
he's not a superstar.
unfortunately, he had to have eye surgery on christmas eve day.
poor guy!
but being who he is... he made fun of himself... and allowed me to make fun of him too.
isn't that what little sisters are for?!
i lovingly dubbed him Quasimodo.
or hollywood.
depended on whether the shades were on or off.
as you can see, i think i'm pretty funny.
luckily he does too.
our own little family christmas gathering was lovely too.
i just love these three little girls so much!
and when they're lovin' on each other?
oh, be still my heart!
it makes me feel like i'm teaching them at least something.
you know... to love well.
that, or how to take a good picture.
we gave them a few small gifts this year.
nothing big, nothing expensive.
a couple articles of clothing, little etch-a-sketches, and a build a bear outfit for each of them.
as part of their stockings, they each received a blue t-shirt.
i made the little owl appliques in the 11th hour.
i had planned it a while ago... and of course didn't actually execute 'til the night before.
oh well.
i stayed up extra late and quickly stitched on those sweet owls.
it was worth it to see how excited they were to have "matching" shirts!
(clearly this picture is taken before hair brushes were used)
and a big reason why they didn't get many gifts was because of this!
they were pretty ecstatic!
and since then?
it's all baby h ever talks about!!
"when we go to disneyland and i see cinderella... blah, blah, blah"
it's pretty awesome!
hmmmm... what else did we do?
well, we watched one of my most favorite movies!
yup, the sound of music!!!!
of course we all sang along. ;)
we did some lego'ing.
my mom and i did a major overhaul of all the lego goods.
sorting, organizing and building.
it was pretty epic... and fun, for the nerdy, follow the instructions girl that i am.
drank some wine!
drank LOTS of coffee!!
had a chocolate fondue with friends.
yes, it got messy.
do you even need to ask?
the girls "inked" daddy's back.
it looks painful, doesn't it?
but those red marks are mostly just the baby of the family scribbling with a red marker.
is this toughening him up for the real deal?
only time will tell.
maybe it's just our way of letting our kids become practiced tattoo artists. ;)
this mini adult (ummm, WHEN did she grow up?!) had four sleepovers!
yup, FOUR!
she stayed up late at every one...
and woke up early at every one.
it made for some cranky days.
but shhhh... don't tell her friends.
i actually made her nap one day.
(she'd KILL me if i told anyone outside of our house)
new year's eve was spent at a friend's house at a james bond party.
we all dressed up like james bond characters.
here's the ladies.
as you can see, i went for 60's mod style.
i had some major falsie eyelashes on.
man, did those take some getting used to!
it was fun wearing a cocktail dress b/c i hardly dress up like this.
as for my husband... well...
i never force him any more to conform to my idea of how he should dress.
i gave that up a few years ago...
and honestly, it's been quite nice.
he wears whatever he wants.
and i don't really care anymore!
case in point...
this party!
he decided to dress as james bond, circa the 60's sean connery "beachy" look.
i think he pulled it off great.
(and don't tell anyone... but he's actually wearing my shorts!)
we spent lots of time outside...
tobogganing and just plain horseplay in the snow.
and we built the best mega blanket fort EVER!
we put a lamp in there...
brought in all of our build a bears and beanie boos inside.
plus, sleeping bags, all sorts of blanket and pillows.
and did a lot of reading...

and cuddling!
the fort stayed up for 3 days!
i can't believe i let it last that long without me going crazy and trying to clean it up.
messes bug me.
i'm making strides, people!
it was awesome though.
and the girls played in there straight all three days.
it was so fun!
our entire christmas break was fun... and, more importantly, relaxing.
full of family time!
i'm sad to see it go...
but we have a whole multitude of great memories now to get us through 'til summer.
or at least 'til the next long weekend.