Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Even More Proof

I will also report that I very responsibly took the kids to get flu shots this weekend. Before the Halloween festival. Stupid, stupid me.

It may sound cold and callous, but I started laughing when Jackson went into hysterics over his shot.

I bravely modeled "not crying" while I got mine. Then Lilly saw an eensy, weensy drop of blood and started screaming things like, "I don't want a flu shot! I AM GOING TO DIE!"

I then handed a trembling, teary Jackson a Green M&M of Bravery to chew while he got his shot. Clearly he didn't swallow it, because one second after he got pricked (and that's all it is, people!) that green M&M came flying out of his mouth in half-digested chunks. All over me.

Based on the amount of shrapnel, you'd think he swallowed an entire 2 pound bag.

The kids kept asking, "Why doesn't Daddy need a flu shot?" and I had to preserve his dignity and say something like, "He is so tough and his immune system is so strong that he doesn't need one." I cannot burst their bubble by telling them he doesn't believe in preventative care.

They will know soon enough.

Healthcare Coverage At its Best

In our family, Brad and I don't exactly have the best reputation for seeking out professional medical care every time we get a sniffle. (We might argue that others are hypochondriacs, but I will not name names).

To say the very least, we don't frequent the doctor and neither do the kids. I just figure most viruses will go away and we've been blessed to avoid most major bacterial maladies.

(There are isolated incidents of Hand-Foot-Mouth disease, Nursemaids Elbow, and New Years Eve Dehydration of 2006 but that is about it.)

I personally don't know of Brad going to the dentist since we've been married, but I stopped bugging him about it around 2002. He loves to brag about his cavity-free existence, but I assert that is highly debatable based on lack of professional evidence.

Last February in the midst of yet another gigantic blizzard, we both dragged our truck-just-backed-over-us achey bodies to whom we thought was our family doctor. They couldn't find our records because we realized we'd NEVER BEEN. Working in our favor was the fact that we were so blatantly sick that they just handed us Z-Packs and pushed us out the door before we contaminated their entire office.

I want concerned relatives to feel like our kids are in Good, Caring, Medically Overprotective Hands, so I'm going to recount this true and recent event where I voluntarily drove myself to the eye doctor!

Sunday night, I realized that I couldn't see very well. Actually, others have astutely pointed it out to me since I can't read clocks, see the football scores on TV, or accurately read highway signs until I have passed the exit. (Don't worry, I only drive in familiar neighborhoods. Right.)

The straw that broke the camel's back was when Brad pointed out to that I was holding the laptop in the air approximately three inches from my face. It does defeat the purpose of a laptop to hold it up high when it is ten times the size and weight of a Blackberry. Not that I can see that screen either...

So I got new glasses! My old ones broke over two years ago and I had yet to replace them. No, the frame didn't bend a little or lose a screw (I am not above repairing them with duct tape) but the glass completely cracked in two. (Much like our fireplace.)

I've had several appointments in the past few years to get an eye exam and new glasses, but things always came up. The kids had a school program, I couldn't find a babysitter, or someone had a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage that left me out of pocket for awhile.

Come to find out, I'M PRACTICALLY BLIND! Before you freak out, it's just my left eye and my depth perception is not affected when I drive Popeye-style. Right.

The best part of glasses (unlike all other medical procedures) is that you get to pick out cute, trendy glasses at the end! When I got to "pick out" the walking boot for the broken foot, the choices ranged from obscenely ugly to shameful.

But glasses offer so many great color and style options that I got giddy. There was shopping involved in a medical procedure.

That is right up my alley.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up

"Mommy, I am so sad we switched houses. This house doesn't have very many roly polies."

"Yes, but this house has lots of frogs."

"But I loved the roly polies. They were so cute and they were in the rocks and all over the place!"

"I know. But I am still glad we moved."

"Mommy, I am just SAD. You know, they were like family to me."

(Do I even NEED to mention that was Lilly?)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Identity Protection Program

I have this little site monitor called "Feedburner" that I set up so that rabid fans of Jackson and Lilly can be immediately notified any time new info about them is posted.

Feedburner does all kinds of other cool stuff, but truth be told, I really don't know what. I would explain what I don't understand, but it's super-techie stuff about feeds and site visits and who knows what.

I can barely work my own blog.

However, there is a section that tells me when people find the blog through a web search.

My intended audience is People Who Know Me--NOT STRANGERS. I know other bloggers who have changed their kids' names and never show pictures of their faces to shun creepy internet freaks. That would pretty much defeat my stated purpose of Long Distance Communication Involving Pictures of The Kids.

So...I was aimlessly clicking around on Feedburner, trying to make some semblance of meaning from all their over-my-head blogger jargon.

As best I can interpret, several people have found my site after googling "spanking", "spanking spoon", and (my favorite) "did the Osmonds spank their kids?" I was the EIGHTH hit on that one--just try it!!!

While I am free and easy to admit spanking takes place in our house, I DO NOT want to be known for this tactic. Especially since some states are thinking of OUTLAWING it.

So, if anyone asks, I am 5'4", with dark hair and changing the blog name to On the Lam.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Morning Message

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lilly Says II

"Mommy, I want to whisper something in your ear." (We are alone.)

"Yes, Lilly."

"I don't sleep at night." She waits for a reaction.

"Really," I say, "What do you do?"

"Play." she responds. I am not surprised.

The Truth Hurts
"Papa, why didn't you take a shower today?"

"I did take a shower, Lilly. What makes you think I didn't?"

"Your wrinkles are still on."

Kneeling by Lilly's bed, I said "amen" to our nightly prayer and asked Lilly if she wanted to pray.

"No, Mom," she said, "I only pray on Fridays."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Prince Charming

Have you met him? I had a date with the sweetest 5 year-old boy EVER.

Being as we both like sporty things, we went on a joint bike ride/run along the Cherry Creek trail.

He rode, I ran.

He stopped to stuff leaves in his plastic bag and throw rocks in the creek. I stopped to gasp for air and give him high fives.

Have you seen how big he is? (But he still wears a Finding Nemo bike helmet.)

Have you heard him laugh? The smallest joke or silliest voice makes him grab his tummy and wobble on his bike with an infectious giggle.

Have you seen him read? Every sign along the way.

Jackson means, "God is gracious." Understatement of the year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You Call That Parenting?

"Oh my gosh, it's 6:00 o'clock where did the LAST SIX HOURS go?"

My friend and I were having all these great conversations about deep topics. (I am serious. I think we only mentioned Pottery Barn once). We pondered marriage, communication, parenting, finances, the Holy Spirit, and many other things so philosophical I can barely recall them.

At one point, it did strike me as a little odd that she was giving the baby her THIRD bottle at my house that day. I was just thinking she was extra-hungry instead of realizing they could have DRIVEN TO OKLAHOMA in the amount of hours they were at our house.

Anyway, her husband called wondering where she was. "What do you mean? I'm at Nicole's," she said.

We both looked at the clock. OH. MY. GOSH.

I can't account for the hours between noon and six o'clock. There was lots of talking and noticably absent: OUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD.

As best as my foggy memory can recall, at around 1 p.m. we sent the four kids to the basement for a viewing of Star Wars. Come to find out in the Post Child-Neglect Interviews, they watched Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake, and Mickey Mouse Christmas (TWICE).

Apparently, Jackson knows how to work the DVD player.

I have never witnessed a grander scattering of small, foil Hershey's kiss wrappers in my life than I saw today on the basement floor.

It's overdone, but:
5 hours
3 movies
100 Hershey kisses
5(!) hours of adult conversation: PRICELESS

Humble Hill

Daniel 4:37
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Lately, I've been praying a lot about pride and humility. Study Daniel for just a little while and you will be begging for every inch of pride to be brought to the surface and destroyed. Watching the king live like a wild animal was enough for me.

Yesterday while I was running, I thought a lot about this.

Our house is on a hill, and this being a hilly area, there is no such thing as "flat land." You are either running uphill or down--it's that simple. The first mile or so of each run is downhill. Cruising along, feeling good.

But somehow, on those downhill segments I always get a swell of pride. Even though I know I will again face the Uphill Monster of Death. My stride lengthens and I imagine the people passing me in their cars saying things like, "That girl is so incredibly fast. I bet we'll see her at the Olympic Trials." (I also envision them saying "girl" instead of "exhausted-looking, 30-something, mother of two.")

Then it's about 2 miles uphill. Pain, torture, begging for the hill to end. Major ouch.

On the looooong uphills, it's a different story. I hope passersby notice I am actually running. A wave of sympathy probably washes over them as they see my slow cadence and think, "Well, at least she's trying. Maybe she's injured. Should we call 9-1-1?"

My favorite segment to run is a stretch south of all the housing developments where its just me and some stray cows. The landscape is sloping downward and after challenging my lung capacity for miles, I finally let loose and really enjoy the run without much effort.

And there's the rub: Without much effort, it feels good and easy, but my sense of accomplishment is so minimal. Going downhill is refreshing, but not defining. It's relaxing, but not always memorable. It's easy to get lost in fantasies about the Olympics and running a 3 hour marathon and how my jeans will probably fall off me next time I try to put them on.

Then there's the tougher segments. These are times when I am in prayer (between gasps for precious oxygen) just to get up the dang hill! If I'm not focused on my goal, it's not happening. To keep my body in motion, to overcome the pain in my legs and lungs, takes concentrated effort. It takes a strength greater than my own. But when I reach the top, the sense of satisfaction is unsurpassed.

As you know, what goes down, must eventually go up. And that's where the reminder of pride comes in. Just when I feel so good, like running is so easy, like I am an athletic phenomenom, the uphill confronts me. My pride shatters, and not more than ten steps into the next mountain I am effectively humbled.

Sometimes God humbles us with hills in our lives. Sometimes he allows us to search out our pride and offer it up before he lays down the law. I would rather learn from King Neb and humble myself.

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." I Peter 5:5

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Reader Questions

Q: Are you going to change the title of your blog to "All About Pumpkins?"
A: No

Q: Which parts of your house haven't had warranty issues?
A: To our knowledge, the frame, but admittedly, it could be rotting this very second. Everything else (refrigerator, cooktop, furnaces, fireplaces, sewer pipes, washer/dryer hookups, windows, door locks, thermostat, siding leaks, garage door) has had issues. We've also had concrete re-poured in the basement and garage.

This is not a charming 1920's fixer upper.

Q: What do you mean by "minor explosion?"

Q: Can you post pictures of Lilly's French Bakery room?
A: The perfectionist in me is screaming, "It has not achieved show-home Architectural Digest quality yet!" The practical girl in me says, "Don't spend another dime on it!" However, I will have a photographer friend take some pictures that can hopefully do it justice.

Q: When will you blog more about running?
A: Soon. When someone invents a device that can take all of the very deep and exciting thoughts I have while running and transcribe them to the blog, I'll be in business.

If you want to buy me an iPhone until such mechanism is invented, I will graciously settle.

Q: Is your kitchen pink?
A: No. The color is a Sherwin-Williams tint called "Reddish." So yes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Scarecrow Day

Since Jackson is off-track for three weeks (thanks to year-round school here in Colorado) the class had a Scarecrow Day last Friday. The kids dressed up as scarecrows, got their faces painted, bobbed for apples, and ate caramel corn.

I was decidedly Out-Mommed by certain ladies who thought to use duct tape to add raffia and straw to their kids' costumes. Some even used snow bibs to create overalls complete with scarecrowish patches, hay and straw hats.

Jackson, on the other hand, was wearing a shirt two sizes too small that I made fit by rolling up the sleeves. I talked him into wearing his jeans with holes under the guise of, "The crows nibbled at your knees!" That was my best shot at creativity.

Party Crasher and Jackson

Lilly was a fine junior assistant (under threat of death) and had the teacher saying ridiculous things like "She can just come in and be part of our class anytime she wants to." Right.

When it's her turn for these festivities, she will be dressed in full Scarecrow Regalia. Must be nice to be the second child.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rut (I Mean Gut) Buster

Yesterday, Twinkies made their unhealthy (but trans-fat free!) debut in our house.

For a foodie, I can be especially low-brow from time to time. Like last night.

Bored with our usual dinner-with-friends routine, ("You bring the salad, we'll make dessert") we decided to stir the pot a little bit.

Broken into 4 teams of two, each group rolled the 24-sided Scattergories dice. Each team had a $10 budget to buy food for dinner starting with their letter.

It had to be readily edible (e.g. the "f" team couldn't buy flour because, well...) and have the designated letter in either the brand name or actual item.

So we descended on Super Target with 5 minutes and $10 each. You cannot buy quality or health in that time.

You can, however, carbo load and get fat. Which we did.

Here is what we bought:

B team: Bread, chef Boyardee ravioli, Baked Beans, Big pack mac & cheese

C team: Cheese sticks (mozzarella), Corn dogs

D team: DiGiornio pizza, Dora soup, Dark chocolate, Dibs (ice cream)

T team: Tostitos chips, Tostitos salsa, Twinkies

We chose not to take up valuable stomach real estate with whole grains or protein. But we did cover our fried food and sugar quotas through 2009.


Oh boy. It is snowing. When I looked out the window this morning I let out an audible scream. Think shriek of horror, not squeal of delight.

Suddenly the beautiful, glorious golden fall has been hijacked by winter.

This presents a problem for our family on several levels. Yes, snow is pretty, but I am only able to joyfully interact with snow in the month of December. It is very bothersome to me at other times. Like in October.

1) We had a minor fireplace explosion last week. The fireplace people can't fix it until Novemeber. Grrrrrrreat.

My one consolation in snowy weather is sitting together around the fireplace with huge mugs of hot chocolate, watching football, and playing Corn Hole indoors. So technically, I guess we can still do that...but the fireplace won't be on and we'll have to watch out for shards of glass.

I suppose I need to explain our wacky fireplaces to those of you who live anywhere besides Metro is against building code here to have a wood-burning fireplace. Apparently the climate is so dry that the fire hazard is off the charts. So they have these nice little self-contained units that you turn on with a light switch!

When we first moved here, it seemed so very wrong to take all romance and danger out of the equation with these self-contained units. No lumber, no matches, no stray sparks flying wildly into the living room. Bummer.

2) No coats. With the prospect of a move to warmer climates looming, we hadn't pulled the trigger on coats for the kids this year.

"Have them wear last year's," you might suggest. Jackson was on Year Three of his coat (size 4) and Lilly was on year 2 (size 2T). Their current clothing is in sizes 7 and 5T, so shimmying into their old outerwear isn't really possible.

Also, I sold them in a garage sale last spring.

3) Minimal heat. The upstairs furance is working (kids are warm!) The downstairs furnace is not (Brad and I are mostly numb). That means Brad will abandon his side of the bed and snuggle with me for warmth. Never mind that one of my love languages is Personal Space.

Thank goodness for our heated mattress pad--the most life-changing Christmas gift EVER. (Wait, maybe tied for 1st with TiVo).

I have been writing awhile now. It is still snowing. Not stopping. The lamp post in our front yard is giving me flashbacks of Narnia.

I'm so grateful it will all melt tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mount St. Caramel

Last night we made caramel corn for Jackson's Scarecrow Day. Family fun! Cooking together! Making memories!

Or, if you know us even a little bit: Total Disaster (but still funny).

The short story is that I decided to double the caramel corn recipe. Brad literally ran out of the kitchen when I announced my intentions because I have a LONG, BAD history of trying to mix higher math and cooking. (When I have a slow blogging day, I will recount the Amish Friendship Bread of 2000 incident.)

Everything was boiling nicely on the cooktop until I added the baking soda. Picture a very large, science project-esque volcanic eruption in a 2 quart saucepan. It was not projectile, but a slow, lava-like seepage.

"Brad, come in here quick!" There is urgency and terror in my voice.

"Do you want me to bring the camera for the blog?" he says very casually.

"NO. I want you to SAVE MY BRAND NEW COOKTOP!!" By now, my biceps are shaking because the caramel lava is rapidly expanding and I've already filled one saute pan.

According to the cooktop owner's manual...if so much as one granule of sugar melts on the cooktop that spot will be forever ruined. (note: I do not like this cooktop, but I am also not ready to buy a new one after 5 months).

This was not going to end well, so we all started laughing. The kids were howling, Brad was doing his silent, shaking laugh, and me and my very fatigued upper arms were hysterical. We filled 3 roasting pans, 1 saute pan, and covered 4 bags of popcorn with this concoction.

There was caramel everywhere. On my running shoes, pants, all over the counters, heating vent, and in our hair, faces, and sink.

But, PRAISE GOD, not a drop was on the cooktop.

I have spent over an hour cleaning caramel (which has similar adhesive qualities to Super Glue) off everything.


...and more scrubbing


All of the mothers in Jackson's class were very complimentary of the caramel corn and asked for the recipe.

The students, of course, would have been fine with CrackerJacks.

2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

When I read these verses, it felt like a large, long, splintery, 2x4 smacked me across the head.

I've been in hand-to-hand combat with some tough truths in my life lately, which makes me want to get on internet dot com and research it to death. Then, I want to buy books to help me work through things. Then I want to talk about it with my friends. Then I want to curl up on the couch and cry. Google, sob, repeat.

Then, yesterday, God shined a splotlight on my foolish pattern. I took a figurative step back when I read those verses. Through HIS glory, HIS goodness, HIS divine power, he has given me EVERYTHING I need for life. I know godly input is invaluable, but clearly, I was putting my trust in that rather than His divine power. Hmmmm...

So now these verses are marinating in my heart and I am learning to rely on God's power to change me. This is not easy. I have control-freak tendencies. I want to change me. God startlingly and painfully brought to my attention that it really doesn't work that way.

Sometimes his goodness just knocks me over and I just had to share.

Also, I wanted to post something not relating to food. (More of that later because we had a medium-sized caramel corn eruption last night.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I am so sorry about all the pumpkin talk. A good, pumpkin-loving friend even brought me Chocolate Oatmeal Pumpkin Chip cookies yesterday. I think she was trying to end all the pumpkin blogging if she could appease me and my Inner Pumpkin Stomach with some pumpkiny choclately goodness.

It did not work.

I promise to tone it down in December. But just know you will trade Pumpkin Talk for blurry pictures of my kids with Snow, Santa, Cookies, Holiday Cheer and 4 Year-Old Birthday Madness.

I can't wait.

(Thanks for the cookies, Robin. Y-U-M).


Here is the deal...I love food. The planning, shopping, preparation, eating, and occasionally, over-eating. (Sometimes it is just that good).

But my Aunt Susan is the Real Deal--a Foodie. That's her official title at Market Street, not just self-proclaimed hobby. Cool, huh?

She and her fellow foodies came up with a list of "You might be a foodie if's..." I related to all of them. And added some of my own. As it turns out, I come from a long, long line of Food Lovers (some might say Food Obsessers).

Here they are:

If you live to eat, rather than eat to might be a foodie

If you would rather read a cookbook than a best selling novel...ymbaf

If the highlight of your day is shopping for groceries and discussing recipes with total strangers at the store...ymbaf

If you describe your vacation by the restaurants you dined at...ymbaf

And two of my own:
If your children know the names of the cooks on the Food Network...ymbaf

If you spent over 20 minutes in October planning your Christmas menu...ymbaf (I did not do that just yesterday while standing at Michael's, pouring over the Southern Living Christmas 2007 Guide. I swear.)

Feel free to leave comments and join in the "YMBAF" fun! I know you want to.

And, by very popular demand (or one faithful reader's request), here is the famous Pumpkin Bar recipe. We made a pan of these. And ate them. All in one day. I might have put my face in the bowl.

Last year, my next door neighbor made them on Halloween (they're great at chasing down a bowl of chili). I lost count after eating around five. They are so light and soft that they just slip down your throat with a teeny tiny little gulp.

Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
16 oz. pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix together and bake at 350 degrees 25-30 minutes.

4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar - add gradually

Once bars have cooled, frost them. Then TRY to eat just one.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin "Patch"--Take 6

It was Lilly's turn to participate in the fall field trip ritual for preschool.

I would say we hit an all-time low when she picked a pumpkin out of a cardboard box as a souvenir.

The hayride was mostly through parking lots, but hey, this is the suburbs!

If the camera panned wide, you'd see
muddy parking lots and the highway.

Audrey & Lilly
Hay bale maze

Witch tattoos!

Lilly showing her belly to the whole class

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkin O Rama

Here are pics from the annual pilgrimmage to the Chatfield Pumpkin Festival. We love it because kids get in free if they wear their costumes and the pumpkin patch is gigantic and out in the middle of nowhere. Thus, the kids are forced to pick out a pumpkin they can carry long distances.

In case you're not sure, Jackson is a Jedi Knight...different ones depending on the day. I believe he was Master Windu on Saturday (the purple lightsaber is the giveaway.) Zach is Raphael, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

The girls opted for easily identifiable and predictable girly themes: Lauren the Ladybug and Lilly the Witch.

witchy woman

hunting for pumpkins

Lilly, Jackson, Zach & Lauren

the whole fam (serious as always)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pumpkin Foul

Look! A huge pile of butter next to a pumpkin! Or perhaps its delicious cousin, Crisco? Give up? It's PUMPKIN FUDGE. Yum.

Just when I thought I could never hate anything pumpkin...

(it can be yours for $8 on, by the way)


"Jackson and Lilly, I reminded you right before you walked out the door that if you went down to someone's house, you need to call me. You didn't. I had no idea where you were. You have lost your privilege to play with friends tomorrow."

Jackson breaks down in sobs. "We're sorry!"

"You know what this means, Jackson," says Lilly, very matter-of-factly, "We're grounded."

"No, Lilly, you are just suffering a consequence. No friends tomorrow."

"Sounds like we're grounded to me."

Is That a Threat?

"Mommy, if you don't stop typing by the time I count to 3, I won't be your best girl anymore."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

In my ongoing tribute to all things Pumpkin, I am posting the recipe for Pumpkin Crumble Cake. We're taking it to dinner group tonight at which time our fame will be known throughout Parker.

This has seriously made me a small-time celebrity. As in, "This is my friend, Nicole, who makes that great Pumpkin Crumble Cake." And then they gush about its fabulousness.

I'm not saying this to pat myself on the back or anything. It's not like I made it up, I merely mixed the ingredients.

It's far more Paula Deen than Ina Garten.

Last time Brad and I made it (over a year ago, I might add) we found ourselves up past midnight, eating directly from the serving dish. And eating. And eating. Our bodies were not kind to us the next day.

Pumpkin Crumble Cake
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
12 oz. evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 ½ c. sugar
3 t pumpkin pie spice
½ t. salt

1 box yellow cake mix
1 c. melted butter
1 c. chopped pecans (optional--I like to toast chopped pecans and walnuts)

Pour mixture into greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle cake mix over top. Drizzle melted butter and pecans over cake mix. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes.
from my Mom

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Am So Not There

Out the passenger window of the Suburban, I saw them. Driving very slowly through our neighborhood to avoid squashing any stray balls or small children, I couldn't help but notice.

They were a youngish looking couple, taking an evening walk, holding hands. Not too out of the ordinary, but in our hood, a posse of small kids or at the very least, an over-sized stroller are the standard accessories.

So I craned my neck to see if I knew them and then realized that they were not only walking without kids in tow, but they were carrying wine glasses. That's right. I knew it was wine because it was in beautiful, glass-goblet, STEMWARE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! They were strolling through the neighborhood hand-in-hand like it was some paradise, beachy, island, South of France, romantic, cafe thing. I assume they will feed each other gelato later.

Here is my reality: It was 6:00 p.m. and I was still in my workout clothes. No, not to look sporty, but because I actually worked out and I still smelled terrible because who has time to take a shower when your kids have stuck small VERY-ADHESIVE stickers all over your house and colored on themselves with SHARPIES?! We were returning from the fourth Super Target encounter in 2 days in search of the Must Have Star Wars Jedi Deluxe costume for Jackson that will change his life and make him socially acceptable this weekend at the Pumpkin Festival. Maybe he will even get voted Kindergarten Class President and Most Likely to Be an Actual Jedi when he grows up.

The kids were starving and I had no ideas for dinner that didn't involve cereal, and my personal menu involved eating chili for the fourth consecutive night (maybe I'll change up the toppings?)

And there the couple was: swaying up the sidewalk of Camelot, goblets gracefully clasped, like Parker is suddenly some fabulous honeymoon destination and mecca for lovers around the world (nevermind the power lines).

It was so insanely out of of place that my first impulse was to grab my phone and take a picture. I almost reversed to ask them before snapping the photo, then realized I didn't have an explanation other than, "I'm going to write about you and openly laugh at your carefree spirit on my blog!"

Instead, I got hysterical laughing at the striking contradiction of our situations and called my friend, knee-deep in tired kids and lackluster dinner plans of her own. We laughed till we snorted.

I couldn't have been more surpised if I had seen Santa and Mrs. Claus themselves.


For Jackson's kindergarten class and Lilly's Cubbies class, it was our turn to bring snack. So throwing the practicality of convenient, pre-packaged, individually-sized snacks to the wind, I made cupcakes. Homemade. With cute pumpkin wrappers. Orange and yellow sprinkles. Candy Corn.

There is something about sending cupcakes to school with my children that tells me I am doing something in these murky parenting waters correctly. My Mom Card gets stamped.

Many aspects of motherhood were thrust into my lap without notice or caution, but bringing snack (on the designated day, no less!) is something about which I had fair warning based on extensive personal experience with elementary school.

So many elements of parenting are harder to wrap my arms around: teaching siblings to become lifelong friends, developing a heart of unselfishness, demonstrating sacrificial love.

And then there are cupcakes.

I can do this! I have no clue how to effectively instill self-control, generosity, and Christ-likeness into my kids, but BY GOLLY I CAN BAKE!!!!

I am thankful God gives me small victories.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Have you Ever

Run outside off the beaten path on a clear, cool autumn afternoon in Denver? Running uphill, you feel your heart pounding, but you can't hear your breathless panting over the surround sound of "Everlasting God" blasting into your ears and your heart.

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

You run to the peak of the hill and suddenly before you are the snow-capped Rockies. You involuntarily throw up your arms in praise, clutching these promises as your lift up close friends who are weary, weak, and need His comfort.

Then you start to cry, making the breathing harder, but they are tears of joy, because through the pain, you have seen His faithfulness and the strength that rises as you wait.

I have.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lilly Says:

If I wrote about the nutty things that fly fearlessly out of her mouth each day, there would not be a blog grand enough to contain them. So I will thoughtfully condense her best material into a weekly digest for your reading pleasure.

Spanking (one of her favorite topics)

"Mommy, I don't think you should spank me."

"Why not?" I am holding the spanking spoon & explaining to her that I must do this so she will remember the consequences next time she decides to disobey.

"Because, I will remember better if you don't spank. I will think to myself, 'Remember when Mommy didn't spank me?' and I will not hit Jackson again."

"Right. I am still going to spank you, Lilly."

"Then can you just do gentle pats like Daddy does?"

Spanking, Part II

"Mommy, I was at Rhianna's house and she doesn't have a spanking spoon."

"Really." I sigh, knowing where this is headed.

"When Rhianna disobeys, she just goes to her room and cries. I asked her Mommy to see the spanking spoon drawer and she told me they don't have one. Isn't that great?"

"Did you tell Rhianna about our spanking spoon?"

"Yes, I told her it was big and blue and I get spanked all the time."

"Super. I'm sure the authorities will be calling any minute."

Clean Sheets

"Mommy, I have the dirtiest, hurtiest bed in the world."

"Lilly, that is because you insist on sleeping with your styrofoam pumpkin that has glitter all over it. Now there is glitter all over your sheets and it feels like a sandbox in there."

"That is not true. The builders of our house made me a scratchy bed on purpose. My pumpkin would never do that to me."

Nip in the Air

As a Colorado resident, I officially reserve the right to blog endlessly about the amazingness of fall. I am not trying to belittle or mock my Texas readership, but I want to gently remind them that fall is NOT 90-degree football games with the elderly passing out from heat stroke.

The Midwesterners can argue a strong case for beautiful leaves changing colors, but we have the Rocky Mountains. Check mate.

Waking up before dawn this morning, I checked our thermostat and it read 60. Now that, my friends, is crispy. Tucking in the kids last night, we pulled out the down comforters and snuggled them in. Turning the heat on signifies surrender and we are not there yet.

I should clarify: we tried to be there. Last night, Brad turned on the heat upstairs and not 30 seconds later, I smelled smoke. Actually, before I smelled smoke, I couldn't help but hear (along with our entire neighborhood) the sound of our smoke detectors going off. This was the maiden voyage of our heating system and I'll be the first to tell you something is definitely not working.

Usually Brad will pour all of his Manhood and Ability to Tinker with Stuff on the line and figure it out. However, after the Great Sewer Mishap of June we are not messing with anything.

(For those of you that didn't hear/smell...after we moved in this past June and had lived here a mere WEEK, I ran the washing machine. That prompted our sewer line to back up ankle-deep in the basement underneath our furnace, thus projecting the smell of human waste everywhere. Not to mention ruining my favorite pair of flip flops. Ever.)

After many thousands of dollars exchanged hands, we signed our lives away and promised the builder never to speak of it again. Except on this blog. Oops.

So my chilly fingers are carefully typing while my feet are tucked into some fabulous cable-knit slippers I bought on sale at the Gap last Christmas. Our house sits up on a hill, and there is nothing better than looking out our bedroom window at a blinding pink sunrise over the clear Colorado sky.

In a few minutes, the kids will come down in their robes and force me to make oatmeal and hot chocolate to warm them up. (Ok, it will be my idea.)

I LOVE fall!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jack of All Trades, Master of...

Seems like I should give you an update of my current employment situation. By "employment," I mean hobbies that occasionally pay a little bit when I run into someone who has a great connection and then I run with it for a year before moving on to something else.

Since living in Colorado, my jobs have been:
1. stationery business owner
2. tutor
3. textbook company researcher
4. medical research subject (numerous times)
5. nanny
6. preschool teacher
7. brownie & cookie baker
8. home stager

8 jobs in 5 years, NOT BAD! Oh, we're going for income potential, not quantity. Anyway, I have quite the entreprenuerial spirit and love to try new things. Basically, when I come across a hobby I try to see how I can make money doing something I love. Seems like great overlap, right?! My top 2 job problems are that I a) lose interest or b) can't actually make money in the vocation. Then there is Brad who has been with the same company since the day he graduated college. Opposites attract.

I have very recently retired from making brownies and cookies for a local pizza place. It was a great deal while it lasted thanks to my fabulous friend, Holly, but it was time to move on. (What, OH WHAT will I do with my beautiful double ovens in our new house that I bought with the Lillybean Bakery in mind?!?! Oh well, I will be forced to continue to use and love them).

they were super good

So here is the latest: I am a home stager! Are you familiar? When a house goes on the market, a home stager, such as myself, comes over to make the house more appealing to a potential buyer. i.e. "Your 22 year-old son's 1,000 piece Star Wars collection must be put away if you want to sell your house for $500K. "

Actually, I am learning that home staging is a lot more finesse and psychology than actually helping people effectively arrange their home.

The first thing I try to get through their INCREDIBLY THICK SKULLS IS: If your house is on the market, it is NO LONGER YOUR HOUSE. I could write ad nauseum about how people don't get that. They want life to continue to be convenient and uniterrupted, thinking that strangers understand why they have dirty laundry sitting around and dishes in the sink, because you know, "people still live here." Seriously.

If you are going to buy a house, do you want to think at all about the people that still live there? No, you do not. That is creepy, if we're all honest. But I will be the first to tell you, nobody gets that.

So to save myself some cyber-breath, here are some things to put away if you want to sell your house quickly (these may or may not be based on personal experience):

1. Figurine of your bull terrier with a cute sunflower around his neck

2. 300+ DVDs displayed in the open for all the evaluate your personality based on your terrible movie selections

3. Products in the shower. Buyers will know you are bald, dandruffy, have limp hair or require special skincare products. Mmmmm...other people's greasy/bald/scaly skin all over the house!

4. Family calendar appointments (Gyno on the 7th! Psychiatrist on the 12th!)

5. Anything that makes your house "SOOOO YOU!" (like your child's combo Winnie-the-Pooh/Dinosaur room or your ginormous collection of formerly-living wild game spread eagle--pun intended--on the game room wall).

I could go on and would actually love to show examples from houses I've staged, but I'm too new at this to risk lawsuits.

And just so you know, if you are going to sell, PLEASE call someone to help you stage. You are not objective about your own house. Trust me on this one.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Here are some pictures taken late this summer of the kids. Just so we're clear, I don't actually take pictures, I only post pictures. All the pictures posted thus far on the blog...not mine. I'm always quick to buddy-up with the kind of girls who keep cameras in their purses, ready to catch their kids in an adorable pose, then rush home and dedicate an entire scrapbook page to "Billy Stands In Line At the Grocery Store!!"

Sadly, my kids will have no visual reminders of their childhood other than this blog, so I'd better get writing.

Thanks to our friend, Angela, who took these great shots!

I love how J is looking at her!
I. Could. Eat. Those. Cheeks.
Her hair! The wheat! (Sigh...)
Classic Jackson pose
Please don't grow up.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Jackson wrote me this little note last night in his little kindergarten scrawl. Needless to say, it made my day.

Translation: Mom I wanted you to know that today you made me feel happy. Love, Jackson
Before you think I'm going to run away with Mom of the Year honors, just know that he's written the same note to tell me I've made him feel sad.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

This is Next Year

Just for the record, GO CUBS!

Cub Fan, Bud Man
Sept. 2002

If I didn't believe, I wouldn't be a Cubs Fan.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Glenwood Springs

There is nothing better than fall color in Colorado. Pretty amazing, even for an "off" year. Here are some pics from our adventure to Glenwood Springs and our hike through the caves at Rifle Falls (or somewhere like that).

I asked Jackson what he wanted to write about in his "Nature Journal" for Awana and he said, "The hotel."

Payton, Lilly, Audrey, Jackson

Not a fake backdrop

Jackson in the cave

me & Karen

Field Trip

Jackson solidified his status as an official kindergartner by partaking of his first ever field trip. The class ventured to Miller Farms, a working farm in Longmont (read: far away) that also generates money through agrotourism. Meaning, kids pay to go harvest their vegetables for them!

I was a little sad to see the joy on these kids faces to find out that Corn Actually Grows On A Stalk! Apparently they thought it was manufactured at a plant in China like everything else at Super Target. Jackson's favorite parts of the day were picking the onions, potatoes, carrots, and pumpkins. Of course, he assured me that he would not actually be eating any of those foods.

The kids also got to play on a HUGE hay bale tower (no fatalities, I'm glad to say) and the obligatory inflatable creations. Jackson rated the bus ride only a C+, mostly due to boredom. Thankfully, a neighbor and I got to ride up there in the comfort of our own car, Starbucks in hand.

Katelyn, Merich, & Jackson Jackson & Liam on the hayride
J at a birthday party

Monday, October 01, 2007

But does He wear a shirt?

Lilly continues to be the most hysterical kid I've met (if I do say so myself). Just when I think she is "normal" she'll bust out with all kinds of crazy things that make us all have to leave the room because we're laughing so hard.

Last night we were all talking about how we don't want to be silly when we're talking about Jesus. Meaning, we wanted Lilly to stop singing things like:
"Jesus doesn't love me,
this I don't know,
for the Bible doesn't tell me so."

So then she started saying all the things we shouldn't say about God. "Yeah," she said, "Don't ever say things silly about God. Like, that silly God, he doesn't wear pants. That would not be nice."

She said, "People should not sing things like:
(to the tune of Happy Birthday)
"Happy Birthday to you,
It's not really your birthday, Lilly,
I don't even love you,
Happy Birthday to you."