Sunday, December 1

Christmas Down the Road

Some Christmas down the road, my towering pine 
Will have matching ornaments, all in a line, 
And red ribbons cascading down tinsel of gold;
But that's some Christmas down the road.

On that same Christmas, my Nativity Scene won't come from Fisher Price, 
And no one will ask, "How long till Christmas?" more than once or twice.
No fingerprints in my fresh-baked fudge, no meltdowns from sugar overload -
But that's for some Christmas down the road.

That festive season yet to come will hold no reindeer ears 
Blocking my view of the Christmas parade, no childish games that end in tears.
No holiday parties with tokens or tickets, and no cheap "treasures" bestowed...
But that will be Christmas down the road.

This year, I'm holding on to the mistletoe kisses, 
My handmade crafts and those batter-smeared faces.
I'll take smudges, bad jokes, and a mismatched tree
If it means having Christmas again with these three.

You can have your resort - I'll take the parade,
And those ornaments that with such care were made;
Yes, I think I'm happiest in my current abode,
Even if I never see that "Christmas down the road."


Wednesday, October 23

My Incredibly Blessed Life

A coworker was having a rough week awhile back, so I told him that I'd been praying for him. His response struck me - he simply said, "Keep doing that. I live an incredibly blessed life... the correct prayer is for me to recognize it far more than I do."

For some reason I was thinking about that conversation tonight after I sleepily went through the motions of making lunches, putting the kids to bed (and back to bed again..and again), and picking up the house. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the keychains we'd picked up for the girls on our recent trip to California. They reminded me of how much fun we had, how many friends we saw, what great memories we made...

That's when it struck me, I am so blessed! The signs are everywhere, I just need to wake up and see them. So, being the literalist I am, rather than going to bed early as planned, I grabbed my phone and began snapping pictures around the house of more things that remind me of how amazing my life is...

Funny things, like this mysterious cardboard sign I found in Linsey's room while cleaning in there earlier. Our oldest is crazy, creative, and overall hilarious. So glad to be her mom!

Sweet things, like this picture Hannah made for her Daddy of the two of them. I'm SO very thankful to have a guy my kids adore as much as I do!!

Then there are more sobering reminders, like this picture of our sponsored child, Simon, who lives in Uganda.

One of Simon's daily jobs is bringing drinking water to his family from the swamp a few miles away. He caught malaria last year and spent months out of school. We've sponsored Simon through World Vision for several years, and his letters are a constant reminder to our whole family that 1) we have been blessed beyond measure, and 2) our "extra" can make a world of difference to someone else.

And finally, there are many, MANY reminders around my house that are "handmade with love" - 

 (Thanks to art class, I may never have to buy decorations again!)

Each one has a special story, like this banner our kids made to welcome the international student from Japan who is staying with us this semester. Hosting students has been an amazing experience that allows us to share our incredibly blessed life with others and, with any luck, help them see the blessings around them as well.

So thanks for following my little journey to finding the blessings around me, and let me challenge you to take one of those trips yourself soon if you haven't done it lately :)

Sunday, June 23

Home Again

Hi! You haven't heard as much from us lately with new schedules and activities and jobs to adjust to, trying to get back into the swing of things though. I thought I'd start with some highlight activities for our family the past few months, what we've been up to since our transition to AZ.


It's been great having more family time since we moved, especially on the weekends. We go hiking at least monthly, which is totally fun and addicting. I never get tired of the desert mountain view! The girls do great too, and we usually try to drag at least one or two people with us, so that's an added perk.

Hannah loves collecting rocks on our hikes! New rule: she carries them down herself :)

Phoenix Skyline

We also have fun doing "city" things we haven't ever really lived near before, like having a zillion movie theaters and restaurants to choose from, and more stores than I could visit in a year (although I'm trying!)

Our local dollar theater has was statues that Natalie likes to imitate.

Ok, maybe Nattie is slightly obsessed with mannequins and loves to pose with them..

For Christmas, Tom's aunt got us a year-long membership to the Phoenix Zoo too, and we've taken advantage of that several times... the girls never get tired of going!

Meeting Really Cool People

One of our favorite things to do since we moved to Phoenix is to host international students. We've had two from Japan now and one from China, plus a Korean exchange student we still keep in touch with from years ago. My girls love learning phrases in other languages and about different cultures right in their living room!

Our family with our first exchange student, Mutsumi. Miss her!
And for Hannah's birthday, we had the chance to attend a concert in Phoenix by an amazing singer-songwriter friend of ours, Bobby Jo Valentine, and he stayed with us for a couple days. Natalie was only slightly bummed when he didn't show up for her birthday last month, but he promised to come soon :)

We love living near Tom's aunts and uncles and cousins - lots more to come about them too. And of course, we do all the crazy things we used to do too - dressing up and having indoor picnics and swimming and just enjoying being together.


Our location may have changed, but our family is stronger than ever.  It was a difficult transition, but it didn't take us long to realize that home is where your family is, no matter where that may be. And we have come to love our home here in sunny Arizona! Thanks for reading :)

Sunday, April 7

If I Could Keep You Little...

Dear Nattie,

As my youngest, my heart is torn watching you grow up. I love it - and I hate it. I love that you're getting more independent and doing more of those things "the big girls do,"

And I hate that this means you don't need me as much as you used to.

I love that you're old enough to have your own style -

But I hate that it often conflicts with mine (and that of mainstream society!)

"Mo-om, I'm ready for school!"

So after much thought, I've decided: if you will agree to stay little, just for an extra decade or two - here are some of the perks I can promise you:

You will be able to eat all the chocolate you want and never gain weight (trust me, this is a big one!!)

You'll never get too big to sleep with your candy cane Christmas blanket, which you've slept with every night since you stole it from Linsey's room as a baby. (she didn't mind!)

Additionally, I promise to buy you a lollipop (your favorite candy) every time I go to the store, no questions asked...

...And the best part? You'll never grow out of your lion costume!! (Though I'll still need to wash it sometimes)

I promise to love you either way, and to make the most of every day I get to watch you grow, but I've gotta ask...Nattie, do we have a deal?


Your Adoring Mom

Saturday, January 26

Working Mom, Part I: Office Supplies

As you may know, I've recently transitioned from works-from-home(schooling) mom to full-time working mom who put all 3 of her kids in school for the first time within 2 weeks of each other. (I don't recommend that, by the way, it was mildly traumatic!)

While I am pleased with how this transition has played out, and my husband seems happy with it as well, Linsey, who is 8 going on 35, is not as impressed with my office job. We were watching a reality TV show recently about people who worked in a cupcake bakery that were making a 1,000-cupcake replica of a Mardi Gras mask, when she quipped, "Wow, Mom, aren't you glad you don't have to do that kind of hard stuff at your work? All you have to do is type." And I immediately thought, Yeah, tell that to my boss!

Although my becoming an executive assistant has yet to impress her, there are a few perks at our office that she admits are "pretty cool:"

  • A popcorn machine that puts microwave popcorn to shame,

    • An Atari, (which occupied her for about 15 minutes)

    "So all you can do is run back and forth, that's it?!" Linsey asked incredulously. 

    "Look," I said, "This was one of THE first video game systems. Ever. They've come a long way since then, but this started it all - the Wii, the PlayStation, XBox..."

    "Oooh, so it's old!"

    "No. It's RETRO." (Which is, in fact a cool way of saying, "Yes, it's old.")

    • We also have a gigantic exercise ball that doubles as a chair in my friend's office,  
    • Big whiteboards with a rainbow of colors for the kids to draw with,
    • And, most importantly, the shredder. 
    When Linsey walked into my office for the first time, she gasped, "You have a SHREDDER? That is SO cool! Can I... can I please shred something?" Kids.. you just never know with them!

    Hannah, on the other hand, thinks our office is the coolest place in the world.

     When she spent half a day with me at work because she was feeling under the weather and my boss was out of town, I wasn't sure she would ever go back to school. "I feel like I'm at the movies!" she giggled. I guess I wouldn't go that far, but it is a pretty great place to work!

    So while a lot about our lives has changed lately, some things are still the same: We still love each other like crazy, we find humor in the everyday happenings around us, and we're always busy making crazy memories together! Stay tuned for more adventures :)

    Love my girlies!!

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