What’s up with the password?

September 13, 2009

A few of you have noticed and asked about the password protection on some of my posts. Some strange web search inquiries were showing up on my blog stats and I just got a creepy feeling about the word choices and intent behind those searches. I’ve decided that family photos, especially those including my girls and precious nieces, will now require a password to see. If you’re a family member, friend or blog friend and I haven’t sent you the password just let me know and I’ll get it to you. A reminder for all my mom friends, if you get a creepy feeling about anything regarding the safety of your kids, always go with your gut. God gave us that intuition for a reason.

Protected: July 2009

August 19, 2009

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Protected: June

July 1, 2009

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Ten things my dad taught me

March 26, 2009

Today is my dad’s 70th birthday.

In honor of his 70th I thought about listing the top 70 things my dad taught me but realized that would be a mighty long post. So, I’ve decided to go with a “top ten” list of things I’ve learned from my dad over the years. Here they are…

10) Show mercy – My dad is one of the most merciful men I know. I could tell you stories but those are his treasures stored in heaven.

9) Be consistent – I can still hear him saying this to me at a sailing regatta after I finished first and then last in two consecutive races. I don’t think he was suggesting that I had to win every race (and certainly not to consistently come in last) but instead to give focused effort to everything I do. As an adult I’ve translated that advice into being focused and yet balanced. I’ve been working on that ever since then.

8] It’s possible to memorize the book of Proverbs and drive your family crazy with your wisdom— I  love ya Dad! J

7) Be generous—I think that’s one reason why I picked St. Francis of Assisi as my confirmation saint.

6) Eat chocolate pie for breakfast J

5) Think before you speak—I’m sure there was a proverb he quoted for this. Of course, those who know me well know I’m still working on this one

4) Work hard

3) Take care of you family

2) Loyalty and the importance of keeping a confidence—I don’t think there’s anyone in the world I would trust more with a secret than my Dad.

Finally, the number one thing I learned from my Dad….I can trust my Father God

My dad didn’t just teach me this with words, he taught it by the way he lived and still lives his life. Because my earthly father showed mercy I learned to trust in God’s mercy. Because he was generous and took care of his family I find it easier to trust in God’s provision for my life. His loyalty and faithfulness gave me a glimpse of the faithfulness of my Heavenly Father and made it easier for me to trust God’s Word. 

No earthly father is perfect and I’m not suggesting my dad did it all right. But I know just how blessed I am. I know many people who struggle with trusting in and knowing God as their Father because of the example set by their earthly father or the absence of a father figure. 

So, thank you Dad for teaching what I needed to know most in life, that I can trust my Abba Father. I love you more than you’ll ever know. I hope you have a Happy Birthday! (And please remember that mercy thing when you realize I just told everyone you turned 70 today!)


Thanks Mom

February 19, 2009
Today is my mom’s birthday so I thought I’d wish her a Happy Birthday and tell her how glad I am that God brought her into this world. I suppose I’d better be glad ’cause if she hadn’t been born then I wouldn’t be here either. Obviously the gift of life is the greatest gift my mom gave me. But, there’s another gift my mom gave me that I’m reminded of on a weekly, if not daily basis.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is waking up early for school and seeing my mom sitting in the living room reading her Bible and praying. Later when my brother went away to college I’d pass by his room where she’d sit at a desk with her Bible open, notes from her studies spilling from between its pages and usually a list of people she was praying for.  From what I can remember she did this faithfully every morning before getting ready for work.  When I was older and struggling with all the angst that came with being a teenager my mom would spend time in the morning writing a Bible verse on a 3×5 card and a short note to encourage me. She’d slip it into my backpack and I would usually find it sometime during the school day.

 My mom would tell you she’s no saint but I can’t begin to tell you the impact her prayer life and love for the Bible had on me. If there’s one thing I am sure of in this life it’s that my mom has spent countless hours on her knees in prayer for me and our family.  And I know she’s still praying and not just for us but for anyone for whom we might ask her to pray. When my sister recently called to tell my mom a dear friend of hers was in ICU after an massive heart attack my mom prayed faithfully for this man she’d never met.  When I mentioned the son of one of my closest friends might have serious vision problems my mom prayed regularly and asked about him often.  I think my mom’s prayer life is one of the greatest ways she expresses her love for her family and friends.

Not only were her prayers a great gift but I’m certain that her example has helped to form my own prayer life and love for God’s written word.  I know my faith journey would not be the same without this example. I can only hope that my girls will see that same faithfulness in me that I saw in my mom.

So Mom, this post is for you.  Today I honor you and thank you for giving me the two greatest gifts: life and the key to living this life, knowing and loving God through prayer and His Word.  I love you and I hope you have a very happy birthday. Oh, and please note that I was a good daughter and didn’t announce your age.  🙂


That's my mom with Claire on Christmas morning

That's my mom with Claire on Christmas morning 2008.

How Quickly You Forget…and Remember

January 31, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve had a baby in the house (four  years to be exact). It wasn’t long after Peyton’s mom and dad left that I realized just how much I’d forgotten about babies.

How quickly you forget…

…that your house becomes an obstacle course full of baby contraptions (i.e. high chairs, play pens, toys, toys and more toys) ready to trip you up at a moment’s notice.

…what it’s like to carry a basket of laundry on one hip, a baby on the other while talking on the phone and maneuvering through said obstacle course (that really should be an Olympic sport).

…how hard it is make dinner, do dishes,  pay bills or really do anything productive when you have a baby clinging to your ankle.

…the creativity and dexterity needed to change the diaper of a child who is constantly trying to flip over and crawl away (not an Olympic sport but definitely a challenge)

…how everything revolves around naptimes and meals

Funny how you forget these things. Probably has something to do with what you remember the most…

…how it feels to hold a little one in your arms

…the sweet smell of a baby’s head (not sure why it smells so good but it does)

…what it’s like to rock a little one to sleep

…the way babies always look happy to see you when they wake up from a nap (I’m sure it has more to do with the fact that you’re going to free them from the crib and feed them, but it sure feels good to be greeted with such enthusiasm)

…the absolute miracle and gift of life

2 + 2 = Chaotic Fun

January 30, 2009

We have a couple of house guests this weekend.

Remember those two little  boys who invited Claire and Ella over for a playdate last week? Well, their mom and dad have set sail on a cruise and the boys are staying with us while their parents enjoy a belated celebration of my girlfriend’s 40th birthday. The cruise was booked over  year ago which is when we happily offered to have Cameron, their only child at the time, stay with us.  However, before they could take that cruise a better birthday surprise came up– a precious baby boy was about to be born and needed a family. My friend and her husband had been praying for God to bring another child into their lives and were thrilled when they found out this baby would be theirs.  The timing of the adoption meant delaying their cruise. Fast forward a year and here I am with not just one adorable boy but two. For the next four days I get to enjoy the chaos and fun of loving and managing two extremely excited girls, one very energetic boy and a curious crawling baby.

[Note: I’ve already thrown up a few prayer requests to the patron saints of patience and endurance. I’m gonna’ need all the help I can get!  🙂 ]


We’ve Got Anna!

January 10, 2009


This weekend we’ve got Anna. She’s staying with us for the whole weekend. The girls are beyond excited! When I told them she was coming they ran around the house screaming we’ve got Anna, we’ve got Anna!

So just who is this Anna?

Anna is a part of the JMJ Catholic Home School Co-op. (JMJ is a group of families striving to live and love like the Holy Family, hence the name JMJ which stands for Jesus, Mary and Joseph.) Anna’s mom and I met in the co-op. I instantly had a connection with her; she’s a convert to the Catholic faith too. She has a great story to tell about being a evangelical protestant working at Franciscan (Catholic) University but it  has nothing to do with this post so I’ll move on.

At the time that I met Anna, Sarah had just moved away to attend college and I was looking for a good babysitter so I checked her out at once. Funny thing is, she was checking out my girls as well. Turns out she saw them at daily mass one day and told her mom she’d like to babysit them (must have been one of the rare times Ella was behaving in mass :-)).  Next thing you know Anna is one of our favorite babysitters.

Anna is  the closet thing to a “Sarah” that we could find.  Actually, she reminds me a lot of Sarah. They were both the same age when they started watching the girls. Both are athletic. And they both come from great families.  Now let me say that no one could ever replace Sarah. Sarah will forever be our Sarah.  But Anna is by no means second best. We really adore her. It’s kind of like when you have one child and then God gives you a second. The love just keeps growing. In my opinion our family is blessed by God with both of these young women. [Note: The whole second child thing is just an analogy. I’m not really old enough to be their mom ;-)]

One of things we love about these ladies is how they love Claire and Ella. They just don’t “babysit.” When they come it’s not just a way to pass time or make a few bucks. They really love on our girls. And I don’t care what you tell me, that’s something money can’t buy nor the convenience of on-call childcare can make up for. There’s a peace of mind that comes when you know you’re leaving your kids with someone who genuinely loves them.  So, if I’m honest we first fell in love with both of them because they fell in love with our kids. Kind of reminds me of that Bible verse that says we love God because He first loved us. The way God’s love flows so freely through them says a lot about who they are.

While Sarah and Anna are different in some ways (Sarah is more of an introvert and Anna is more of extrovert) there are similarities between the two that I really appreciate. Both are independent thinkers; they’re  not the kind of girls who just follow the crowd. They’re “down to earth” and real.  And both love God with all their hearts.  They’re the kind of young women I want my girls to admire. Not surprisingly I really like both of their moms. Who Sarah and Anna are speaks volumes about their parents.

You may be wondering how it came to be that Anna is staying with us this weekend. Her mom and dad are celebrating their 20th anniversary on the beach and Anna opted for a weekend with us instead of hanging with her brothers.  We’re flattered that she wanted to stay with us.  The girls were so excited she was coming that they made her a cake and put cards next to her bed to welcome her.


We’re really enjoying Anna’s presence this weekend. We have to return her to her family tomorrow.  We’re gonna’ hate to see her go but I have a feeling we can twist her arm and she’ll come back again.

Worth it

January 8, 2009

Found this note from Claire stuck to my computer screen.



Makes those crazy and sometimes frustrating moments worth it.




[Note: A friend and fellow mom who saw this post was kidding around with me and asked “Hey, has it been one of those weeks with the kids?” I asked how she knew and she said because of the way I described the photo in the post. I had to laugh. My astute friend read between the lines. I suppose if it had been one of those blissful weeks where everyone was getting a long and the girls did what I asked when I asked then I might have called this post…


 One of the simple pleasures of being a mom.


It hasn’t exactly been a blissful week. Not even close. It’s our first week back to schooling after having three weeks off. It feels like I’m having to crack the proverbial whip just to get a few math problems done with Claire and complete a reading lesson with Ella. Of course, in the end it’s always worth it. But maybe if I’m lucky we’ll get some bliss next week. 🙂 ]


[Second note: For those few readers upon whom my hyperbole is lost… No, I don’t really use a whip when we’re home schooling. I just tie them to their desks. 🙂 Ok, I don’t even do that. Better be careful what I write lest they send DCF after me. ] 

A Change of Plans

January 3, 2009

There are a lot of things we should have done today: Christmas decorations to take down and store, lesson plans to plan and of course, laundry (there’s always laundry). But we didn’t do any of those things.

Instead, when an appointment in my schedule was changed,  I decided we should hit the beach.


It was a gorgeous day here in Florida. The water temperature was a bit cold but the air temp was perfect. I hadn’t planned on the girls swimming but as you can see that didn’t stop them. I think they’re nuts! This Florida girl wouldn’t even put her toe in the surf.


Claire dousing Ella with a bucket of water.

You can imagine how well this went over with the little sister!

 Life is too short. And Florida is just too beautiful this time of year. There will be other days to learn math (right J.?) Besides, according to Bruno I’m allowed to blame it all on my music leader.  After all, he cancelled today’s practice and told me to enjoy the day so I figured we should spend that time at the beach. So it’s really his fault I was unproductive today. 🙂

Here’s to a great day at the beach.



Fully clothed + covered in sand = complete mess in my car!

Fully clothed + covered in sand = complete mess in my car!

We’ll hit the books on Monday…unless, of course, there’s a change of plans. 🙂