More artwork


A bit of artwork for your Friday!

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He’s drawing a house.

Then he added.

And added.


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A swimming pool.  Trees.

Arms.  Legs.  Wheels.

Thus it became a person house.  One that looks a bit grouchy until you notice the face, way up at the top of the roof.  Smiling.


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Enjoy your weekend!


Conversations with kids

Kids are interesting.  Always.  Sometimes interestingly crazy.  Sometimes interestingly sweet.  Sometimes interestingly disobedient.  Sometimes interestingly funny.  But always interesting.  It’s like reading a reading a really good book and just when you think you’ve figured it out, something unexpected happens.  Or watching a movie that you may have seen before but it still surprises you with it’s humor.  I find so many conversations with kids interesting.  And funny.  And sweet.  And….


Here are a few recent conversations with my kids:


My Dear Daughter:  Mom?

Me:  Yes?

DD:  *pause*  I forgot what I was going to say.

Me:  Was it, “Mom you’re awesome.  Thanks for taking such good care of me”?

DD:  NO!!

(Well, it was worth a shot.)



My Dear Son: You’re wearing all black.

Me:  I have a purple shirt on.  (However, I had on black pants and a black cardigan.)

DS:  You should change.  (Please note this child is 4 years old.)

Me:  Why?

DS:  You look weird.

(Apparently I shouldn’t begin a Goth phase soon.)



My Dear Son:  I’m thirsty.

Me:  Drink some of your water.

DS:  I’m thirsty for cake.

(Hmmm, now I’m a bit thirsty for cake.)



From a few months ago:

My Dear Son: “Banana” is how you say “Hello” in Spanish! 

Me: “Hola” is how you say Hello in Spanish.  

DS: Well, “Banana” is another way to say “Hello” in Spanish. 

(I wonder how someone would feel if we greeted them with “banana”?  I suppose there are worse greetings.)

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And occasionally they’re good for one’s ego:

As I pick up a baking sheet to carry it to the sink, My youngest son asks:  You can do that with one hand?

Me: Yes.

DS:  Woah

(Yes, that’s right, Mommy is All. That.  Please make a note of it, because I’m sure we’ll forget it 2 minutes from now.)




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To J’s future wife:

This morning when J said “I don’t know where my slippers are.”  I responded immediately: “They’re by the front door.”  Such a simple exchange.  Only a moment of time. Then it hit me: I need to apologize to you.  For through that brief exchange I am setting you up.  As of right now you have no idea.  You may not even be born yet.  But the time will come.  Oh, the time will come my future daughter-in-law, when you will be required to continue the role of wives and mothers everywhere.  Hopefully your mother will warn you and help you adjust to your future reality: you will need to know where everything is.  And when I say “everything” it includes the receipt for the car part purchased three years earlier.  It includes the tie J wore two months prior and randomly discarded at his first opportunity.  Measuring cups, books, batteries, and children will be included in this “everything.”  Thankfully it will not include video games or large pieces of furniture.  But you will be expected to catalogue the location of everything else in your mind.

This will come naturally for you to some degree, because through this catalogue-ization you are able care for those you love.  However, beware: It is a trap.  Once you indicate you know where one thing is it will be deemed your role for eternity to know the location of everything.

Occasionally you will have to face opposition.  And again I am sorry.  Even this morning when I told J where the slippers were, his gracious and loving response was, “No, they’re not.” (Please note, he said that while he was walking to the door, where he found the slippers.)  I’d like to tell you he came running back to me saying, “Oh thank you, Dear Mother!  I’m so very grateful you knew the location of the slippers.  You are amazing.”  I would like to tell you that but it would a big, fat lie.  I don’t even recall him saying ‘Thanks.”  (If it’s any consolation, when he comes and rescues you from the scary bugs in the house, he probably will not expect more than an end to the screeching.)

At times you will attempt to empower J: “Try looking for *said item* in the drawer.”  However, unless the item is on top of everything else in the drawer with blinking lights around it, J probably will not find it.  Soon he will tell you he looked “everywhere.”  Please keep in mind “everywhere” does not carry the same significance as “everything.”  For when he says he looked “everywhere” he means he looked “somewhere” and then decided it would be easier to either A.) Live without *said item* or B.) Ask you.  When he asks you, you will likely respond with “It’s in the drawer,” which will bring more opposition:  “No, it’s not; I already looked there.”  Keep in mind both of you are correct.  He did look in the drawer, but since the item was not on top with blinking lights he could not find it.  When you look in the same drawer you likely will move a piece of paper and the *said item* will be immediately visible.

Since J is still young I would like to tell you I am the woman to break this vicious cycle.  But I forced to admit I am not strong enough.  His cuteness has sucked me in.  So you, my dear future daughter-in-law, must bear this burden, and I am sorry.  Please note I am training him on his bug removing skills, so there will be a silver lining in your future.  I also am dedicated his stay-dry-at-night training.  Although you don’t understand now, I think in the future you and I will agree this was the more important battle to win.

– Your future Mother-in-law



It’s another gray, wet, and dreary day and my three-year-old and I are staying home, so I again went to Pinterest to look for fun ideas.  Today I found one quickly: Mad Science, a perfect activity for J.  What child doesn’t love the chance to mix, create, and see what happens?   Usually we’re cooking together where  there isn’t much room for creativity.  Today J kept asking, “Can I do/mix/try this?”  Yes!  Mix anything you want!

This activity is super easy to prepare.  Grab jars, bowls, measuring spoons, stirrers, droppers, etc.  Then add goop to mix: colored water, vinegar, baking soda, shampoo, etc.  I also used salt and yeast.  Next time I think I’ll include lemon juice; there will be a next time.  Maybe we’ll do this over spring break…I think all three would all enjoy it, even my twelve-year-old.  I’m sure he will come up with the most creative concoctions!



Mixing in yeast.


Then as a bonus, J did most of the clean-up: water play!



Bubbles are awesome.

Mini Photographer

It’s a wet, gray day here and we’re still adjusting to the time change, which translates to no motivation.  Since I’m not a fan of my three-year-old spending the day in front of the television I searched through some Pinterest ideas and found a photo scavenger hunt, which sounded perfect.  My youngest hasn’t spent much time taking pictures and when he does they are baaaad….as in we have numerous blurry pictures of our floors if you ever need one.  He hasn’t quite mastered the “make sure you’re aiming at the object before you push the button” part of photography.  Today was a great practice for him.

Here was his scavenger hunt list:IMG_7149

If he took pictures of all five objects he would get a prize.  It’s great to have a motivator!

His first picture:


Granted, it doesn’t especially look like a car, but everyone has to start somewhere, and I love the perspective he has in this picture.  I took this picture so you could fully appreciate his picture of the vehicle:


Then he went in search of a doll, something his sister has in abundance.   We had to practice getting a little further back from the object so we could tell what it might be (his first picture was just a blur of dark and light).  Another day we’ll work on lighting….


When he found a book to photograph we did more practice of backing up a little from the object.  He took several pictures of the book, but here are two of his pictures.  I love both pics.  The first has such a cool feel with its perspective, but the last has the book (mostly) in focus and entirely in the frame.



Find a ball and quick take a picture.  Got to get that surprise!


More practice with perspectives when taking a picture.



And one of the photographer himself:


I can’t wait to do this project with him again…we both loved it.  (He also loved his prize of fruit snacks.)  I’m pretty confident my big kids would have fun with it too, especially if there are prizes involved!


Several years ago I developed a passion for bird watching.  It’s a simple thing I found to be really centering, so to speak.  I discovered bird watching was a way to find beauty anywhere because they are everywhere.  For example, it might seem like a dirty part of the city, but birds are still there.  An empty field…more birds.  Near my hometown there’s a wastewater treatment plant that is a great place to see unique types of birds!  Spotting a bird reminds me of the beauty God created.

This morning I went for a walk around the lake pond near our house and discovered a visitor.  I didn’t have a camera with me other than my phone (which is horrible for pictures), so I went back later with my 3 yo.


One of the awesome things about being a parent is introducing your child to the world.  Helping them discover is truly an amazing experience.  I don’t usually try to ‘bird watch’ with my kids around, other than in our yard, because kids generally don’t love to sit quietly.  Or walk quietly.  Especially if they see a pine cone.  or a bug.  or a stick.  or a leaf.  or anything else remotely interesting.  While this trait is absolutely fantastic, is doesn’t lend itself well to bird observation.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  It does allow one to see how quickly birds can scatter and hide….

On our way to the lake my son and I had several discussions about being *quiet* so we wouldn’t scare the big white bird. I also gave him a pair of binoculars so he could study nature on his own.  I have to say, despite being three years old and generally loud, he did very well on our walk!  I was able to get a few pictures of this beauty:


American White Pelican


American White Pelican.
And turtles.



…until my sweet boy forgot to be quiet.  Here is the Pelican flying away.




So we looked at the turtles instead.


My fellow birdwatcher.



Little moments


In life we constantly juggle big things and little things.  The big elements are obviously important, whether they’re careers, illnesses, faith, relationships, etc.  But the little things can be worth noting too.  Often we’re overwhelmed by the big things (whether they’re good or bad) and we miss many little things.

Having kids around gives opportunities to remember the little things.  Sometimes I want to sit down and cry about a little detail and other times I want to celebrate a small experience.  Either way, the small things in life make it fuller, more fun, and more real.  The little pieces add dimension.

This morning I was reminded of the little things when my three-year-old came up to me and asked for breakfast.  He had already washed his hands without being asked.  Let me repeat: he had washed his hands without being asked.   This is the child who hates washing his hands.   I think parental pride oozed out of all my pores.  It was a moment of joy and bliss.

Now, will this brief moment affect whether or not he is a loving father some day?  Probably not.  Will it help him graduate from school?  Probably not.  However, it is a small part of our journey.  It might be only a tiny pebble in the path, but some pebbles are really beautiful when you take the time to look at them.  So I will celebrate today’s triumph.  It might even help me get through the next catastrophe.

Plus he hasn’t tortured the kitties today.  Yet.

I shall bask in the joy of the fleeting moments.

Take note of the little things in life.  They matter too.



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Caption this?

This past summer we took a fishing trip to a nearby park.  The fishing didn’t go very well, but we finished the trip with swimming at a beach, so it still turned out to be fun.  I took this picture early in the adventure while my oldest was fishing and Dad was trying to set up fishing poles for these two.

I love this photo and my sister-in-law had the great of day of having people come up with a caption for it.

What do you think would make a great caption?


K loves to match.  She looks for matches and she finds them…everywhere.  She likes to match J at bedtime…if J wears ‘feet pajamas’ she wants to wear feet pajamas.  If someone wears tennis shoes then she wants to wear tennis shoes, etc.  When we’re in the van she’ll often find cars that match.  And she very frequently finds people who match.

Often it’s a game for me…how do these people/cars/toys/etc. match?  It’s not necessarily obvious.  Sometimes it’s the color, like the color of a car or the color of a shirt.  Sometimes it might be the number of doors on a car or the way two people wear their hair.  It could be one adult with dark skin and a child with light skin…but they match because they have on the same type of shoes.

How awesome would it be if we all viewed life this way?  Often we just notice differences.  What if we started focusing on what we have in common with others?  When we see a person of another culture, lifestyle, religion, or upbringing we looked hard to find how we ‘matched?’  Maybe we would work harder to communicate with them.  Maybe we would find it easier to understand them.  Maybe we would find reasons to like them.  Just maybe our corner of the world would be a better place.

Do these items have anything in common?

Me again

I think I’ve said it before, but I really plan to update this blog more often.  Really.  Then months pass and I realize I haven’t posted anything.  I’ve written stuff in my head, but I suppose that doesn’t help much.  Part of the issue is I’m trying to figure out the ‘flavor’ I want this blog to have.  So if you have (helpful) suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

By way of an update, here’s what we’ve been up to since my last post:

Mom playing the part of activity director and referee during the summer.

Mom playing the part of tour driver and director from Alabama to Michigan and back.

The children alternating from playing great together to fighting to playing great to arguing to playing great….

Swimming in creeks, pools, Lake Michigan, and at least one other lake.

The kids trying to catch lizards and bugs.  And succeeding.  And being forced to return the creatures to the wilds of suburbia.

Seeing the weinermobile.  Being more excited about it than my children.

J learning to string several words together and expanding his vocabulary exponentially.

K falling in love with jokes.  Especially knock knock jokes.  More on that later.

S complaining about having to read to his sister every day but getting really good at reading out loud by the end of summer.

Potty training J.  Slowly.  Practicing my sprinting throughout the process.

Remembering how fortunate we are to be healthy most of the time.

Summer ending.  Such a bummer.

S starting 6th grade.  Yes, 6th grade.  It just isn’t quite right.

The children all growing too ridiculously fast.

Here’s a couple random pictures.  Because you like random pictures, right?

Me in Lake Michigan. Ahh…a taste of home.

My kids at the Georgia Aquarium.  Can you see all three?  Plus a fish or two?

Another one from the aquarium. Just because I like it.

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