Monday, November 23, 2009

Faith Like a Child

Today E was happily playing by herself in her room. She was playing with checker pieces, stacking and counting and organizing them by their color or the Disney Princess that was on them. She was so quiet and content I became concerned and called out to her. Hearing her voice was not enough reassurance so I hurried up the stairs to SEE her. I was not worried that she was injured or into anything she shouldn't be, but she still I needed to see her. I missed her, even though she had only been away from me for a short time.

As I type this I am having a revelation. (God always uses my kids to get to me!) It makes me realize how often I am not with Him, how often I am quiet from Him and how He might feel about all this. He calls out to me to make sure I am OK. If my answer does not convince Him, He comes to me closer with a touch, a song or through a friend. He misses me and just wants me to be with Him ALL THE TIME!

A few minutes passed and E came downstairs with a game to play. It is one of those fishing games where the base spins and the fish's mouths open and you try to hook them. She and I put new batteries in it and she was off and running. After a few minutes I was able to join her and we noticed the game was spinning slowly. Then it stopped. We shut it off and then back on. Nothing. We shut it off for longer and when she turned it back on it worked. Then I noticed the smell. Anyone with toys that have small motors knows that smell. Like hot plastic or something. Not a good sign.

We finished our game with me gently helping the game spin. When we were done I explained the game was broken so we could not play it anymore. E asked if I could change the batteries. I explained to her that it was not a problem with the batteries but with the motor. "Can you change the motor?" she asked, fully confident my answer would be "Of course!" Did I tell you I did NOT graduate from MIT? Yeah. This is beyond my scope. I was so touched though by her faith in me and her honest confusion that I could not fix this. She was not upset about it, just perplexed. As I type she is still playing with the game, mixing the fish up, arranging and rearranging them in the game, and trying to spin it by hand and fish at the same time. I guess that is my cue to get off the computer and go play with my daughter some more.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I [Heart] Thanksgiving!!!

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays. As a child it was my parents that hosted all of our family and friends for dinner. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and friends would come over, each bringing a dish to share. Our house would be filled with talking and laughter. The kids would run around and play. If it was snowy we would sled, build snowmen and have snowball fights. Sometimes even the adults would join in! My cousin's Portuguese grandma (Vovo) would bring her fabulous pastries which we would all fight to get to first. My dad would wake up early to start his turkey, which he would slave over all day. Frequently the Sunday before we would have a Pre-Thanksgiving feast to make sure we have enough food for everyone! There was usually about 30 people in our tiny house. I can remember bringing in the old picnic table from outside just so most people could find a seat, and still we had to fight for a spot to sit down. Dad would get frustrated because everyone wanted to gather in the kitchen, but in the end always said that it was one of the best Thanksgivings ever.

Now as a parent it is such a blessing that my family has continued this tradition. My cousin and her husband host now since my parents have moved out of state. We still typically have 20-30 people there and Vovo still brings her amazing pastries.

This consistency is in thanks to my Grandpa on my mom’s side, who always instilled that family comes first. He made his six children promise to keep getting together for the holidays and that promise has since been upheld by my generation. I am so fortunate that I have this foundation on which to build my family. In troubled times I rely on legacies like these. It is one of the many things we give thanks for.

My Aunt Mary (my mom's sister. They look like twins but aren't. Their youngest brothers are though.)

Aunt Maria and her mom (Vovo )

Cousin Sarah and her handsome men, Collin and Adam

Vovo, our oldest living relative, and my cousin Ben's daughter Emily, the youngest and her Great-Granddaughter

Aunt Kathleen and Cousin Sarah (the hostess with the mostest!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ten Years

Anniversaries are weird. Both good and bad – they are all weird. Not in a bad way but in the way they affect me. I almost always spend the entire day remembering where I was and what I was doing at this exact time. It all seems so fresh in my mind and heart.

Today is the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings. I know the nation and even the world may be remembering this. There will be an article in the paper or a segment on the news reflecting back on what happened that day and how things have changed since.

Ten years ago today I was engaged to my husband, living in a fabulous apartment near downtown, and working at a wonderful office in Denver. I rarely thought about Columbine or the people there, even though I had graduated from there just a few years earlier. Then as a coworker came in from lunch she said that there was a shooting at a high school in Littleton. Imagine my surprise when she told me it was my typical, beige, suburban alma mater. I thought for sure it was some punk kid trying to be a “gangsta” or something. I certainly never imagined the horrors that would unfold.

My coworkers covered my duties so I could watch the news coverage in a small coffee room. I stood there in disbelief; numb as I watched SWAT teams swarm the building I spent so much time in. It had been remodeled and expanded after I graduated so I could not picture the scenarios that would unfold. All I could think about were the teachers I knew and the younger siblings of friends I thought might still be students. I quickly sent an email to one of the few friends I was still in touch with. She was stationed in South Korea and her youngest sister was a senior. I later found out that her sister was planning to work on a paper in the library but all the computers were being used. She instead headed to her other sister’s house and was leaving the front of the building as Brian and Dylan were entering the back. That makes me shudder even today.

As the details poured out and names were released I racked my brain trying to remember if the names were familiar. Then they said that a teacher was killed. Dave Sanders. Coach. He was a good man and a good teacher. I had him one semester. One of his daughters was a friend of mine. I ached for her. I saw my old theatre teacher breaking down in a student's arms and wished I was there for her too. I worried about another friend’s sister and saw her that evening on the coverage of a candlelight vigil held at my old church. That is when I first broke down and I sobbed myself to sleep.

Now ten years later I look at the clock and think about how it was just an average day. It was sunny and cool. All of those normal everyday things were happening. And in an instant that all changed. Not just for me or my high school, but for all schools in our country and so many countless people across the world.

The students graduating from high school this year were in the 2nd grade when the shooting happened. Chances are they do not remember it. They have never known a school without locked doors, closed-circuit cameras, police on campus, and lockdown drills. Their sociology books have always covered Columbine. The memorial wall always a part of their landscape.

Now as a parent I have fears my parents never had. The idea of a child planning an attack like those at Columbine, Jonesboro, and others were incomprehensible. The generation before mine sent their kids to school trusting they were safe. Their biggest worries were that their child may smoke behind the gym or skip geometry. Parents of students today send their kids to school praying the bully intervention and security measures are enough to keep their kids safe for one more day. Our hearts lurch whenever a lockdown is put into place.

I am not sure how I am going to spend the day today. Remembering. Praying. Perhaps I will venture down to Littleton. Check out the Memorial. Bring some flowers. Or just stay home and thank God for the blessings he has given me, if only for today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Must-Follow Blog

I love to share things I find useful, interesting, and fun. This blog is no different. The author, someone I am proud to know, is so full of wisdom and grace and that shows in her writtings which are about her parenting style and techniques. Not only is she a great mom, but she is a trained educator and counselor so she knows her stuff. Her blog is new so it will not take you long to get caught up. After reading her 4 entries, I am so energized and pumped up about being a better parent to my kids! Check it out and let her (and me) know what you think!

Parenting What I Preach

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Today was a normal day until...

the sky fell.

OK so not really but I, or rather my van, was abused by objects falling or from the sky courtesy of a very strong gust of wind today.
That missing piece of the sign is what fell/flew into my van. I was surprised by how heavy those things are and very thankful no body got hit by it.
Moral of the story - Upfront parking has its price.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


At least once a day I think about something I would like to blog about. So why does it never come to fruition? Too busy? Too tired? Too forgetful? Yes Yes and Yes. But to be honest with you and myself I think the biggest reason is a theme that seems to be weaving itself throughout many areas of my life. I can sum it up in one word.


I cannot pinpoint where or when this became such a huge part of my life and I am sure it is something that always was lurking. Now it has become a headliner. In talking with my friends, I know I am not alone in this. I have been praying a lot that the constant recording of "You are not *insert adjective like good, smart, talented * enough" would be replaced with the Truth. So bear with me as I struggle through this.

Fortunately our God is a gracious and loving God and has faithfully placed people and opportunities for me to work through this. The Bible Study I just finished (Taking Charge by Andy Stanley) was great and the one we are about to start sounds like it was written for me! (Amber I will get that DVD back to you soon, I promise!) I keep trying to remember what I tell my kids which is this. God made you and God does not make mistakes.

Other highlights and happenings (in bullet form because I [heart] bullet points!)
  • I am done homeschooling. As you may remember I was not exactly confident when we began this journey last August and so I am quite relieved it is over. The sad thing is that the rest of my family was really OK with it all. I however hated every minute of it. We got Z into a Charter School which is quite a drive from us. Z loves it so much and is so happy to be in school again and is doing really well. It has been a trick arranging how to get Z and K from school because they get out of school 5 minutes apart and are 30 miles away from each other. Since Scotty is not getting my calls to be beamed up, Steve is getting K and I am getting Z and we have a few lovely friends who offered to be back-up if we need it. This is only for the remainder of this year. Next year they will be in the same school - just not sure which school that will be. Stay tuned!
  • Because of our new school situation I am back on a schedule. I personally do well with the structure a schedule brings. Because Z has to be at school in the morning now, I have to get up to get him there! I set my alarm an hour before the kids need to get up so that I can have some time to myself. I LOVE being up when the rest of the world is asleep! Those who knew me in high school and college will likely question that but I swear it is the truth. I treasure that hour to sit in the pre-dawn quiet of my house to read, pray, work-out or just drink my coffee. With the rest of my day filled with chores focused on the needs of others, this time for me is precious! And I love seeing the sun-rise. I get to witness the opening of the gift of each new day! Cheesy yes but hey, that's me! I do still struggle to get to bed early though. Gotta work on that.
  • I have lost 8 pounds. Not many knew I was trying to loose weight and honestly I am not one for the formality of starting a diet so I didn't. What did I do? Just a few small things like not snacking before bed, paying attention to what I eat, getting more protein in my diet and working out more often. I have no set weight or size I am striving for, but I do want to be able to run a 5k and I want to fit into this cute dress I got for my cousin's wedding. I got it at a thrift store and it does not have any tags in it so I do not know the size which works with my non-goal non-diet. I'll post pictures sometime.

I think that is about it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mid-Week Pick-Me-Up

My cousin sent this to me and it is so cute I had to share. It is only a little over a minute long. I hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the National Western Stock Show with my kids. After a suprise snow storm (see above!), my hubby's rushed trip to buy chains for the van, figuring out how to put them on, returning home to take them off because the roads were only wet (total I-told-you-so opportunity, which I resisted), and a very slow drive to the complex - we made it! The storm turned out to work in our favor because it seemed to have kept many people home. I hate crowds when I am with my kids. Serious anxiety attacks. But that is a blog for a different day.

Back to the four-legged fun!

Instead of giving you a play by play, I will just share a few of my many pictures.

Back-Stage with a Professional Rodeo Clown:

There is more room in there than in my old apartment!

Watching the Cowboys:

I loved the lightning bolt mark on this horse.

Petting Farm:Happy was very popular after she spilled their food in her coat and hood.

I know it doesn't look like it, but she really loved this over-sized rocking horse. I think it was me she was getting annoyed with! :)