More science

Today is the last day of spring break and it is rainy and gloomy.  Thankfully I was ready for such a day!  Do you remember my previous post regarding the science activity?  That is what we did this morning…and the kids loved it.  Of course, my oldest wanted more and more chemicals involved, ones that would not be preschool approved.  But despite his inability to use those today he loved the activity.  It was great to watch the kids make observations about what happened when they mixed things together.  They observed colors, smells, and of course which combinations made fizzing/bubbling reaction.  The kids were focused:









After a while the youngest became bored with mixing and started building instead.



All in all, a great way to spend a rainy morning!



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.


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This past weekend I took K to a birthday party for a girl in her class.  Her mom is the room mom for the class and I’ve run into her several times at school, but never really had the chance to talk with her.  A friend of mine was also at the party and she mentioned she thought the mom, Kristi, has been her OB nurse…at which point I totally interrupted and started freaking out.  (Which was probably not the reaction my friend was expecting from her brief comment.)  It was one of those moments where something major clicks in your brain; I felt tingles all over my body.

Many of you are very aware of the trauma surrounding my youngest son’s birth.  We moved across the country when I was in my third trimester and my water broke 10 days after arriving in Alabama, when I was only 35 weeks along.  We knew no one in Alabama: no doctors, no friends, no acquaintances.  No one.  I was a mess, terrified and alone (Matt was at home with our other two children.)  If you knew me then you know what a stressful time that was, especially with J’s stay in NICU and his medical issues for the first six months or so of his life.  It hard to think about that period without remembering the pain of those first weeks.

Anyways, back to the birthday party.  The mom of the birthday girl is an OB nurse.  At the hospital where J was born.   The first night I was at the hospital she was my OB nurse, when I was the most scared and alone.  If you read this blog back then you might have read this post about her.  Finally I know why she has looked familiar to me when I’ve seen her at school!  It was awesome to be able to tell her how much she helped me back then.

Sometimes the world seems huge and other times I’m reminded it is a beautifully small place.

Jace 8/17/10

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!

Superbowl weekend.

Several people have asked about our trip and how the expectations met up with reality. I thought I’d start to answer the question. I had a few concerns going into the trip because it was a Bud Light trip. 1: I don’t drink beer. 2: Hanging out with people drinking a ton of beer is not my idea of a good time. 3: We were told Bud Light girls would be there. My fear was it would be a whole bunch of loud, drunken people and scantily clad women.

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However, if you ever get a chance to stay at a “Bud Light Hotel,” JUMP at it. It was truly incredible. The accommodations were amazing. This year the hotel was a brand spankin’ new cruise ship with a full staff. Yeah, it was as good as you can imagine. We were told we’d have ‘meals included.’ We had no idea that meant all the specialty restaurants,  as well as room service, and beverages (with some exceptions). I ate more filet mignon this past weekend than in the rest of my life put together.  There were even a few food trucks on the adjacent pier with free food for us.  We had the tastiest waffle thing out there…oh my.

Drunk people were hard to find. There were people drinking. All the time. Seriously, they offered you beer the second you walked on the boat and EVERYWHERE you went on the boat there were Bud Light products available, free of charge. A few people had it with breakfast. (Eww.)  But despite that I saw ONE person plastered and obnoxious…and that wasn’t until the last night on the way back from the Superbowl. (Got to see him the next morning too…still plastered and obnoxious. Lucky us.) However, that was it. There was no loud partying, though I would imagine you might see some if you went to certain locations where you’d expect it (ie the bars on the ship late at night.)  Our room was quiet, the hallways quiet, and the common areas were calm.

The Bud Light girls…I did see a couple on the boat. Fully clothed. They ‘danced’ at a few concerts in between sets, but that was very tame. I’m not sure I’d want my 12 year old to see it, but even that is a ‘not sure’ because it was THAT tame.  Many billboards are more revealing than what we saw.

Security was ridiculously tight…in a good way. No one could get onto the ship if they weren’t supposed to be there.  Every time we got off or on the ship our room key (which included photo identification) was scanned.  To reenter we had to go through metal detectors.  There were police SWAT teams on  and around the boat CONSTANTLY (including the river around the ship). There was always at least one police dog on the ship at all times. Bud Light wasn’t going to let anything happen on their watch and I felt really safe the entire time.

Entertainment: Much better than I even expected. There were SO many things to do that Bud Light scheduled. We didn’t get much time to relax or see the city, but we had some crazy awesome experiences. (We could have had even more if we weren’t old and tired!)  Cooking expos, comedy shows, and concerts, for example.  We even toured the Intrepid Sea, Air,and Space Museum free of charge.

Swag:  Oh. My.  We were given shirts, bags, food, hats, sunglasses, gloves…and the list goes on.  Our luggage was MUCH fuller on the way home.

Transportation: It was fantastic to not have to worry about getting to and from the airport and to and from the game. The big Bud Light buses were great.  On the way to the Superbowl the police directed traffic so we got through FAST.

The Game: It truly was a great experience.  Surreal actually.  The game play itself was a bit of a bummer…we’d have preferred a better competition. But that would be our only complaint. The pre-show was cool.  Half time was amazing. It was so cool to see them set up and tear down within minutes. Admittedly the number of people there is intense; 84,000+ attenders in one place. If you don’t like crowds…it’s probably best to avoid the Superbowl. 🙂

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Will I now be a football fan? Not likely. Do I still think we spend way too much on the sport? Yup. Do I feel a little bit more connected to the sport now? Yes, somehow I do.

Will I start drinking Bud Light? No; I just really don’t like beer. Would I recommend them as a company? I would. They were so organized and this was extremely well planned out. The people I met who worked for them directly or indirectly had good things to say. I have significantly more respect for them than I did a week ago.  It’s amazing they were able to pull off all they did this weekend with any hitches (obviously I have no idea what went on behind the scene.  I imagine a few people have ulcers, because that took SOO much work.)

And the bud light decorations on the ship? (This was a Norwegian ship ‘made over’ to be a temporary Bud Light Hotel, so most Norwegian logos were covered with Bud Light logos).  They were significantly more tasteful than I expected. Of course, there were Bud light chandeliers in one of the buildings on the pier. But those actually fit perfectly to their setting.

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Did I mention the crazy awesome food?  I did?  Well, it’s worth mentioning again.  YUM.

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Am I glad I went?  Well, that’s probably obvious….


Today I cleaned out a drawer that should have been cleaned out two years ago.  It had all sorts of nails, screws, and misc hardware in it that we acquired when we moved into the house.  Sometimes I’m amazed at the level of ick I’m other people are willing to ignore!

So my method of dealing with this nasty drawer was to sort through all the metal type stuff and either throw it away or shove it in a can.  I happened to have a nice empty can on the counter waiting to go out to the recycling, which worked out perfectly.  After cleaning a while it dawned on me:  I’ve officially become my dad.


My dad was an awesome guy.  He was hardworking, always helping someone, loved God, and he thought I was awesome.  What more could you ask for in a dad?  He grew up in poverty and one of the things he learned was saving.  He saved everything. And I mean  Later in his life he had Alzheimer’s, so he saved even more things!   I remember sorting through some of his stuff and finding napkinsrandom ones, from restaurants, weddings, etc.

Anyways, in his workshop he had coffee cans.  Shelves full of coffee cans.  A few plastic jugs were also interspersed (with the tops cut off to enable more storage).  The cans and jugs were filled with screws, nails, and tons of other miscellaneous things.  One of his famous sayings (which eventually became a family joke) is when you’d ask to borrow something  he’d say he wasn’t sure where it was because he “put it up somewhere.”  This “put is up somewhere” phrase meant he had no clue where it was but he’d eventually find it, often long after you no longer needed it.  

When I saw my can filled with metal miscellany it hit me…he and I are definitely related.  

It’s an honor to be related to him.  I can pack a box, vehicle, suitcase, etc. like a champion.  I used to say my dad could pack an entire apartment into a pinto (the car, not the horse).  From him I received my love for people as well as my sense of humor; while the nature of my humor is different from Dad’s my humorous streak comes from his branch of my family tree (he loved practical jokes, where I have an affinity for sarcasm).  But I also inherited his ability to save.  and save.  and save.  Ridiculously random things that I’m sure will be needed someday.  (And they are needed just enough to reinforce the habit.)

However, I would like to point out an important distinction:  My can is not a coffee can.  It’s a panko crumb can.  A panko crumb can filled with crap miscellaneous important things is way cooler than a coffee can filled with crap miscellaneous important things.  So I’m totally different from my dad.  Definitely not a pack rat.  (And no, you do not need to ask my husband.)



So here’s to Dad.  I love you, miss you, and would give anything for a few more days with you.  And I am most definitely your girl.  🙂



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.




For as long as I can remember Fall has been my favorite season.  The smell of the fallen leaves (though not so much the raking), the colors on the trees, the cooler weather, apple cider, spice donuts, etc.  Plus hay rides, pumpkins, bondfires….bliss.

Moving South has definitely put a damper on the Fall season.  However, when we moved here I was thrilled to learn that there are many trees with colorful leaves.  Not as colorful as at home, but still beautiful!  (The bonus of Fall in the South is knowing winter isn’t that long and Spring will soon be just around the corner!)

Yesterday afternoon I had a chance to go for a walk, without children, and savor a little bit of Fall.







And turtles.  Okay, not so much a Fall picture, but I took it on my walk because it was cool to see.  Every log, stump, etc. sticking up out of the water on my route had a turtle on it, soaking up the Fall sunshine.  It was a beautiful day.



Happy Fall!!


black cats and truths

The other day we were heading to a Halloween party and on the way a black cat crossed in front of us.  My oldest son was spooked for a minute, thinking it’d bring back luck.  And I wanted to laugh.  A lot.  Because at our house we have:


My son has lived with this black cat for well over seven years.  He knows very well there isn’t bad luck because a black cat walks in front of us.  However, it’s late October and as Halloween approaches people start decorating and talking about the perils of a black cats and such.

As I was thinking about it I realized I do this kind of thing all. the. time.   For example, I know I am loved by God and accepted the way I am.  However, it takes about a minute of me listening to outside influences for me to start thinking I’m not good enough.   Which is silly, because I know the truth.  Or at least, I should!  Just like my son should know the truth about a black cat.  I need frequent reminders of truths I already know.

So Happy Halloween!  May you remember the truth, regardless of what you hear.



Love is complex.  It’s awesome.  It’s powerful.  It’s hard.  It’s messy.   It can feel random.  Sometimes it is doing the opposite of what you feel.  It’s hard, it’s glorious, it’s miserable, it’s beautiful.

And sometimes love is simply keeping ‘flowers’ in the window long past their prime and smelling them upon request.


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