Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Adventures of Arthur

There are so many gimmicks attached the holidays and our family usually foregoes them. I try really hard to spend time talking with the kids about the joy of giving and the significance of the season being a time of preparation and waiting for the birth of Jesus. We certainly get caught up in Santa Claus and the festiveness that goes along with Christmas, but try not to go overboard.  There is one gimmick that got us and I am so glad.
My kids are seven and nine and have never had Elf on the Shelf. It seems like you need start this before your kids can even read and to do it for always. I missed the boat on it a long time ago and thought the opportunity had passed.  Then I saw the flux of ideas on Pinterest (of course) that show the Elf doing all kinds of wacky things and had to give in. The Athlete and The Princess are just on the cusp of being too big, but they have the best sense of wonder and enthusiasm that makes this perfect for them. We’re having such a good time this week with our new pal, Arthur and the added bonus of The Princess getting out of bed without being asked so she can search for Arthur is fan.tas.tic.  And hearing her say the word "hilarious" is pretty great, too.

I hope your days are merry and bright, too!

He came in for a crash landing and got stuck in the dining room chandelier

Using a holiday photo as a canvas to improve his art skills

He borrowed the dog’s reindeer ears for a dress up party with the Christmas bears

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Benefits When Your Employment Ends

The header on the file that's currently on my desktop reads "Benefits When Your Employment Ends".  It does not make me smile.

For a girl that works PRIMARILY for the kick-ass benefits package that header is not comforting.

The good news: I did not lose my job.  I am still employed.  Very.Good.News.

The {less than} good news: my very stable US company was acquired by a growing company based in Canada.  They are committed to aggressive growth and development and not as committed to health insurance, stock options and retirement plans.

Less than good news (for me).  There is a lot of upside to the transaction and I truly am grateful to still be employed.  But let's face it.  It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to.

The cover page of the 38 page file also says this -

For U.S. employees whose employment transferred as a part of the sale/purchase of your company effective December 7, 2011.  The PESP portion of this document constitutes part of a prospectus covering securities that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933. The Stock Plans portion of this document constitutes part of a prospectus covering securities that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933.

I am more interested in decking the halls than rolling over my pension.  Please say a prayer that E and I make good decisions for our family this month and still take time to enjoy the magic of the season.  I don't want to miss a moment of merry.  Even Arthur the elf is counting on us for a safe landing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Birthday Blessings

Today would have been my Nanny's 92nd birthday.  New Year's Day will mark the fourth anniversary of when I held her hand for the last time and I miss her terribly.  If I could call her today and wish her a happy birthday I would be sure to sing in my clearest, happiest voice.  No one ever made me happier or feel better than my Nanny did for most of my life.

When I pray with my children and tell them of the Lord's goodness I ALWAYS think of her.  She was so faithful and steadfast.  She would enjoy their enthusiasm and love for God so much.  Psalm 23 was her favorite scripture.  It reminds me of her.  Just like hummingbirds, butterflies and homemade waffles.  They were all uniquely her to me.  Happy Birthday, little bird.  I love and miss you so much.

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ten Things - November 2011

I'm late to the party (notice a trend?) but I somehow feel like if I don't admit that another month went by then it won't really happen.  Not true.  I love joining Emmy to recount the months, every month.  Not matter how fast it went.  But this one hurt a little.  Way. Too. Fast.

Ten Things to Smile About: November

The car service chauffeur agreeing to drop off the kids at school on my way to the airport. They were thrilled!

My super slick laptop and my sweet husband who went out at midnight on Black Friday to get it for me.  We can Skype again!! Thank you, sweetheart!

A 2 year old, a 7 year old, an 11 year old, a {darling} 4 year old, another 7 year old, a 9 year old and a 10 year old cousin having the grandest time together.  This makes me smile bigger than most anything that has happened to me lately.  I am so in love with each of these kiddos for what makes them uniquely special and I especially love how much they love each other.

A {free} fancy dinner and seeing Blue Man Group with E and some fun colleagues.

Emily from Jones Design Company offering fantastic holiday printables that I am using like crazy. You're gonna love her as much as I do.  I'm tellin' ya . . .

Telling myself that perfect is overrated (and believing it!!) and ordering my Christmas cards while they were on sale for Black Friday.

Celebrating my eleventh wedding anniversary with E.  I feel so lucky to still be IN love with the father of my children.  Truly.

Getting started on some handmade gifts

Enjoying the loveliest  Thanksgiving that I can remember in a long time.  Table settings, place cards, candlelight and amazing company.  The evening absolutely, positively made up for us not being in Hawaii this year.

p.s.  Anyone that can prepare a meal  for 31 guests that is elegant, delicious and beautiful and still look this great is a hero to me. Love you, Aunt Linda!!

Beginning the celebration of Advent and sharing the joy of giving with my children.  We have so much and Advent is the perfect time to reinforce with them that our bounty must be shared.  It IS the most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flashback Friday

Eleven years ago today we were standing in that tiny little church right on the edge of the ocean and we could see the waves rolling into the black rocks just outside the window.  Our happily ever after started the moment that Reverend Alika chanted his blessing for us and Jamie Lawrence serenaded us.

For me, our wedding was magic.  The moments freeze in time and I remember exactly what the waves sounded like when we approached the altar.  I still see the way our Moms held hands on the way to light candles and how my Daddy cried all the way down the aisle asking me if I wanted to slow down. 

Our family and friends sacrificed a lot to be in Maui with us on November 18, 2000 and I don't take any portion of that gesture for granted.  Eleven years later I realize that it was only a moment and it is NOT what makes a marriage, but I am truly, deeply grateful for such a happy beginning to the life that E and I share.

For my love,

If I had known then what I know now I would have dragged my poor Daddy down the aisle even faster to get to you.

You are so much more than the handsome young man I married.  You are the conservative to my liberal, the salty to my sweet and the mild to my wild.  You still melt me with your big brown eyes and you can make me laugh like no one else in the whole entire world.  I love the way you smell and how you reach for my hand before you fall asleep.  I am awed by the way our kids look up to you, admire you and adore you. Their love for you as their Dad makes me love you more than anything I would have even imagined on that sunny afternoon in Makena.  I am a better version of myself because you love me and I always want to be better because you don't deserve anything less.

Thank you for eleven years of happily ever after. I pray we'll be granted the opportunity to enjoy many, many more.

Happy Anniversary.  I Love You

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flashback Friday

Tuesday night was the end of another baseball season and ended with a heartbreaking one run loss.  You do not want to be the gloating parent on the other team at 8:30 PM on a school night in front of this Mama who's son is cold and disappointed.  You do not.  My Athlete pitched two terrific innings and had a great final game.  He always makes me so proud.

E coached the team this season and devoted a lot of time to making sure the boys were learning the fundamentals of the game. Those boys really look up to him and are learning how to play their positions correctly to take them far beyond this interim season.  He is such a good and talented man and makes me very proud, too.

The first season he coached was spring four years ago and The Athlete had just turned five.  It shouldn't have been that long ago.  It doesn't feel like it's been that long.  But then it does.  He was such a tiny little guy sitting on that bucket.

There are some things though, that time doesn't change. How much I love these two is at the very top of the list. Always and forever.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Happy

My Dad and E's Mom share the same birthday.  How likely is that?  It seems special to me that we celebrate two people that mean so much to us on the same day.  There are so many things to love about both of them . . .

My Dad is a southern gentleman and a warrior.  He is intensely loyal, loves deeply and is no one's fool.  He is well read and wildly intelligent.  He would do anything in the world for you if you asked it of him.  Anything.  I love that he takes my children fishing and target shooting when we're there and alternately shops for cars and guns online. 

My Daddy cries like a baby every time he sees me and it breaks my heart that he misses me so much.  I don't think we've celebrated his birthday together in more than 20 years.  That doesn't seem right.

He was REALLY hard on me when I was young.  There were a lot of days that I wouldn't have gushed about how much I loved him, but now some of my favorite things about myself are only there because of him.  I owe him a lot for trying so hard and loving so much.

When my Athlete was a baby he couldn't pronounce the word Grandma and just called her "Gra".  There's part of my heart that wishes he still couldn't say Grandma because it was so darn sweet.  He is 100% the son of her first born son and he has her heart.  To see them together is something special.

The Princess is her mini me.  Blonde hair and blue eyes only came from one place in our family.  She provides an endless supply of chewing gum and lipstick to the little girl who loves her so deeply.

She is warm and generous to everyone and has never been anything but kind to me.  I don't have to wonder how she must have felt when her son brought home a girl from 3,000 miles away.  She was far more gracious than I will ever be capable of.  But, I mostly love her because she raised such an amazing man.  I am grateful to her every day for  helping to make him all the things that I love so much.  She is a role model for me as a mom to a son.

Our family is so blessed to still have Granddaddy and Gra to celebrate on their birthdays.  We love them and cherish them more than words on a page can ever say.  Happy Birthday to two of my favorite people on the planet.  Many blessings for a year full of good health and lovely moments.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude for my Girl Crush

Just this morning my heart took a turn to gratitude. With Thanksgiving being so close and Christmas literally around the corner I have made a vow to force myself out of our hectic pace and make the time to enjoy all of the goodness that is uniquely mine.

A warm home on a cold, rainy day.

Kids that want to splash in the rain and hold my hand while they're running.

A bath tub full of dirty water and a clean dog begrudgingly being "beautified" by a giggling seven year old holding a comb and a hair dryer.

This IS the good stuff. I absolutely know it and have allowed myself to overlook it a little too often lately.

And then there's my Girl Crush, Emily.

I use her lunch box note cards to brighten peanut butter crackers and apples.

Her JDC|monthly grocery lists, weekly calendars and note cards help keep me beautifully organized and inspired.

The Princess and I made glitter letters this weekend from her November project.

I love her a whole heckuva lot and she has really outdone herself this time.

The Thankful Tree she featured today will be in my home by the weekend. Mark my words.  It has a perfect home on the console table behind the sofa.

I absolutely love this idea and love her for sharing it. Many thanks to you, Emily!

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.  ~Cynthia Ozick

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ten Things ~ October 2011

This week found me 3,000 miles from my computer at the end of October and I decided I'd better get this done before Thanksgiving.  Every month seems to be a little shorter than the one before.  How does that happen?!?!?

Ten Things to Smile About: October 2011

Adopting our sweet Hope.  She is so good for Kate and we all think she is an angel.

Great teacher conferences for both of my wonderful kids.  The words leader, exceptional and bright came up more than once.  That is such a compliment and makes me so, so proud of them.

Receiving flowers as a thank you

Successfully making two great projects that I pinned


A new season of Cotillion starting

The innate kindness and responsibility that The Princess shows with our foster dog, Lucky

The Athlete's sense of commitment to baseball and how much confidence comes from doing well

Playtime with my itty, bitty niece C

A long overdue dinner and movie night with my E

The joy they get from Halloween

There's a lot of joy to be had in the world.  The big things and the not so big.  Counting them down is not a big thing, but taking the time to count them down and document them before the moment is too far gone is a treasure.  Thank you, Emmy!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday

For the last couple of months I have been telling E that we need to have family photos taken again. With The Athlete in braces and The Princess in her own world I feel our time with them slipping away.  I feel it all the way into my heart.

He has an internal countdown clock that is tabulating the days, hours and minutes until he is 10.  Double digits are ruling his world right now.  I have no idea what he thinks is going to happen on that fateful day in February but turning 10 is everything to him right now.

We haven't tried lately, but I don't imagine he'd be all that willing right now to put on a white button down shirt and spend the whole afternoon looking at shells and rocks with his parents and his sister.  I could be wrong.  He does have a heart of gold. 

I will always think he's the most darling six year old boy that ever, ever lived.  I think he's holding a Matchbox car that he snuck to the photo session in his pocket.  I love that.

The Princess is seven this year going on 17.  Her could care less attitude crushes me and I just want better for her.  I personally get a kick out of her inability to be destroyed by pettiness, but I want her to temper her sassy with sweet.

She is a talented and fierce soccer player.  Her teacher told me yesterday that she reads 64 words a minute.  WOW!  I am so proud of her and intermittently terrified for her that I can't even organize my thoughts around it sometimes.

I miss this little wafer of a girl that looks so pretty with a blue bow in her hair.  She may have been complaining just then that the sand was cold on her toes.  That sounds just like what her four year old self would have said.

We paid for photos that day through a school fundraiser and spent another hour or so goofing around and taking photos on our own.  The sun was shining on my precious children directly from heaven.  I love how golden her hair shined.  The sky was bluer than it should have been in October and the green moss on those rocks isn't any more spectacular in photos.  All of it was pretty stunning that day.  The most beautiful thing though was them.  That day will never happen again, but I am blessed that it happened once in my lifetime.

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million.  ~Walt Streightiff

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Connection

Sometimes I would go to the office late and we'd steal an hour for breakfast and a chat.  We'd use a free Friday night to hire a sitter and have a casual dinner before a movie.  We knew what was up with the kids and each other and we were CONNECTED.
That was before fall.

He's coaching a baseball team.  Soccer practice and games take Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.  Fourth grade is harder than we all expected.  My days of slipping  into the office a little late are over.

If you ask me how he's doing all I can say to you is "he is wonderful".  And he is.

He is a wonderful Dad.

He is a wonderful Coach.

I'm honestly not sure right now if he is DOING wonderful, but he IS a wonderful man.

We had a chance over the weekend to spend a little time together and it was nice.  We inevitably talked about family and deadlines and the stresses of impending adolescence, but we talked.  We held hands on the sidewalk on the way to the restaurant.  We weren't just their parents or the coach and the team mom.  We were Mr & Mrs M.  Just us trying to connect.

And I told him that above everything else that is piling onto our shoulders right now I am grateful for him.  I am grateful that we are happy.  I am so lucky he is mine.

I am pouring my heart out with Shell today about how blessed I feel to be in a happy marriage with my E.  When we've done all we can do for our children and we send them into the world the only thing we'll have left is each other. That will be wonderful.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flashback Friday

We're rolling into anothe jam packed weekend and I am feeling a little misty eyed about how big my babies are getting.    Our weekend will be full of soccer and baseball with a birthday party and basketball tryouts wedged in for good measure.  Basketball season is always my favorite and it kills me to realize that this photo was only two seasons ago. 

My {almost} ten year old athlete was just seven turning eight and his little sis was only five.  He was still missing two front teeth and a long way from braces and the head gear that has made him cry at bedtime this week.  She was so teeny tiny and would still let me dress her in team gear with a hair bow to match.  Boy are those days OVER!!!

Happy Friday, friends.  Hold on tight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Evolution of the Animals

Once upon a time we had two dogs.  Our big boy, Kramer and his sister, Kate.  It was simple.

They coexisted like all siblings do.  Sometimes they ignored each other.  Sometimes they couldn't get enough of each other.  Just like any brother and sister.  They slept late.  They ate brunch together.  They slept some more.  Sometimes they played.

On Labor Day we said goodbye to our dear old man at the age of 15.

It broke our hearts into pieces.

E and I were parents to a wild and crazy boy long before I gave birth to a wild and crazy boy.  We loved him so very much and it hurt a lot to say goodbye.

Suddenly his sister had to go everywhere with us because she was heart broken, too.

She has been with us since she was a tiny pup and had never been without her brother.  We decided to start contacting rescues to look for another sibling for her.

We met Mia

The Athlete fell in love with Drake

We played with Nevaeh and talked about Hershee

Then sweet little Lucky that we know well needed a home.  She's living at our home for a while.

Almost immediately we got a wonderful opportunity to foster two pups and get to know them.
Kayla and Kona came to our house, too

In less than a week we went from one sad dog to FOUR dogs.
That might be too many.
Someone has not been thrilled with our choices.

We had to make a decision and we decided that we can keep one darling dog.

We chose Hope (aka Kayla)

She is getting a lot of attention and love

We will need to find a calm, quiet home for Lucky {everything our house is not!!!}, and Kona is living here until his rescue finds just the right home for him.

On our journey to find a new four legged friend, we've met a lot of really wonderful people who are committing lots of time and love to animals in need.  If you or someone you know is looking for a pet, please encourage them to contact a local rescue.  Their volunteers are such kind people and there are some very special pets that don't need anything besides the love of a family.  We submitted applications to three rescue groups in Southern California and there are rescues all over the US.

Adopt - Don't Shop!!!


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