The Cutest Hat...

is only made cuter by the sweetest almost-three-year old and her precious dimple! (I'm totally biased and I don't care!) Love this girl!


A Little Man's To-Do List

If my son made a to-do list, it might look something like the following:

  1. Stuff myself onto the bottom shelf of the pantry.
  2. Tie the shirt I'm wearing to the kitchen drawers.
  3. Pull myself away from the kitchen drawers and call it "magic."
  4. Ask questions about everything.
  5. Make my mommy laugh.
The list would also likely have countless other crazy items.

And, if he'd made that list today, he could have checked everything off including number five multiple times. I guess you could say he had a productive day.


Up to No Good!

I have to admit that it made me smile when I saw Ann rush over to Chris and whisper something in his ear. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were planning to do something naughty.

A few minutes later, I was upstairs and noticed the bathroom door was shut and I knew Ann and Chris were inside. I told Tony, "They're up to no good in there!" He opened the door and told them to come out.

They both rushed into Chris' room and started laughing. It turns out they were "experimenting" with their mouthwash. They mixed the two different kinds and even tried adding water. Chris also mentioned that he tried putting hand soap in his and he didn't like it!

The only discipline I could muster was to tell them that it was being wasteful to use the mouthwash that way. It's hard for me to be too upset when I see them having such a good time together!

It's long been a question of mine as to what makes siblings close friends. Anytime I see mine truly enjoying each other, my heart melts. It's quite hard to discipline when your heart is so soft!


Not THAT Question!

My little man is a curious little fellow. I've grown used to hearing, "Mommy, I have a question," as he ponders life from the back of the minivan. He has asked about things such as where garbage goes and where the bees go in the winter if the birds fly south. So today, I smiled when he said his trademark, "Mommy, I have a question." That smile quickly faded.

Today, he asked, "How do baby's get out of their mommies' bellies."

Choke, cough, raise my eyebrows and wish he had asked my husband this question.

So, I did what I usually do in such situations. I asked, "How do you think they get out?"

I then sat there with a smug little expression waiting for him to tell me his creative answer.

No such luck. He replied, "I don't know." Darn!

"Well, God makes mommies bodies so that the babies can come out," I said and then thought, "Please, please, please be satisfied with that!"

Again, no such luck.

"But Mommy, where do they come out?" He persisted.

"Out of a hole that God puts in mommies' bodies," I reluctantly elaborated.

"Where is the hole?" He innocently asked.

Repeat the whole choke, cough...scenario from above.

I weakly, but truthfully answered wishing I had invented some elaborate story instead.

Then, never in my life have I been more grateful for Chuck E. Cheese. Never! We happened to drive by it and my little man became so distracted that I was off the hook! For now.

Now, can you blame me if I'm a bit nervous to get in the car with him again?!


Clutter Busting With a Friend

Tomorrow is another snow day for us. That means lots of time indoors in between playing in the snow. Since I've got nowhere to go, it's the perfect time to work on clearing out some of the clutter that has accumulated in our house. Read about my latest way to make clearing out clutter easier over here.


Sweet, Sweet Boy

That sweet boy of mine strikes again!

Each week leading up to Christmas, Chris brought home a different Christmas book from the school library. He told me it was because he knew I would like them. It's true! I really like Christmas books and the heavy box I just stored for next year is proof!

Due to snow days, today was the first time he got to go to the school library since school started back after the long break. As I was going through his backpack, I found a book about penguins. He made this week's choice for his big sister who loves penguins.

Who knows, maybe next week he'll brave checking out a princess book for his little sister. At this rate, that kind of sweetness wouldn't surprise me.

Little man, our family may be crazier with you, but it's also much, much sweeter. We love you!



Since I'm normally the one behind the camera, we have several pictures of Tony having fun with our kids. (And to be fair, he is more fun!)

So, the other night when I found myself dancing with the kids, I asked Tony to take a picture. He did and now I have proof that I know how to play!

It might not be a great picture, but it makes me smile. It also makes me think that while we don't necessarily need more pictures like this, we certainly can never have enough moments like this!


What Did She Say?!

This afternoon, I was able to take my oldest daughter out shopping for a bit. This has become quite fun for me as she is starting to take an interest in her clothes, but it's still very easy for me to guide her choices. She did quite well and came away with a new dress, shirt, dance leotard, and boots. She promised once she got home she'd try on everything for me.

Ann kept her promise and we were both happy to learn that everything but the leotard fit perfectly!

Just before I tucked her in, I noticed that she had her new top out to wear in the morning. I told her that I'd like her to save it for school on Tuesday. Then, I quickly became grateful I wasn't eating or drinking when she responded to me.

"What? You want me to be hot?" She asked.

For a moment, I couldn't speak. How on earth did she know what being hot meant? And more importantly, did she want to be hot? Did she think I wanted her to be hot? What had just happened?

Finally, I was ready to reply, but before I could, Ann said, "I will be because it has a hood you know."

Oh, she meant hot as in temperature! Whew! I took a deep breath and continued to tuck her in for the night. My little girl was wearing a tiara and a princess nightgown and all was once again right with the world. And it will continue to stay that way as long as I have several more years before one of my girls wants to be hot without sweating!


What I Learned Tonight

Tonight I learned that if you have friends over for dinner, you should be really careful about what you say about your children. For example, if you are talking about how easy one of your children is, that same child will likely start being more ornery than you've ever witnessed.

Then, if you happen to mention that another one of your children has become much less aggressive toward other children, that same child might headbutt one of their children in the nose.

Fortunately, I also learned tonight that you should shut your big mouth before all three of your children make you look like a liar.

Most importantly, I was reminded tonight that keeping a sense of humor while raising children is a pretty good idea. Make that a VERY good idea!


Sometimes I'm Okay With Unfair

I recently put my oldest daughter to bed after reading to her for nearly an hour. We both got caught up in her book, Changes for Samantha. It was our last book in the series of the now retired American Girl Doll Samantha. I thoroughly enjoyed the extra time with my girl who spends most of her days at school. As a mom of three young children, this was a luxury and one that didn’t come without a price! (Read the rest here.)


That Might Be The Last Time She Gets Her Hair Done ...

At least until she's quite a bit older!

As part of a school fundraiser, Ann got a free hairdo tonight. I couldn't help but smile when she walked in the door when Tony brought her home. Yet, all night as I would look at her, I couldn't help but think I was seeing her ten years from now. Of course, she'll probably have all her teeth and won't want to wear purple princess clip-on earrings by then, but still.

And, because I'm her mom, my other thought was, "She is so beautiful!" It's been six years and two months to the day since she entered our world and I still can't get over how blessed we are with her and her siblings. And not because she's beautiful, but because God trusted us with something so precious!

I love you Ann. Now, repeat after me, "I'm only six. I'm only six...."


If there were no little boys...

then who would invent "Trash Can Skating?"


Snow Day

I've always loved snow days! I loved them as a child, adored them as a teacher, and now cherish them as a mom. So, it's no surprise when I woke up early this morning, the first thing I did was to look out the window and check to see if promised snow had fallen. It had!

Then next thing I did was to tiptoe downstairs and grab the laptop. I then went back to my room and turned it on. Several school districts were closed, but not ours. I shut it and then tossed and turned. I checked one more time and sure enough, we had a snow day! I happily went back to sleep.

I was awakened a little after 7 when Tony called to inform me he'd made it to work safely. I felt a bit guilty that I was still sleeping and he was at work, but not guilty enough to do anything about it!

Once we woke up, it was a lovely 7:30. If you know anything about my little early risers, then you know this is some serious sleeping in at our house! We had a hot breakfast and the kids played all sorts of games together. It makes me so happy when they all play together. We read several stories and headed out into the snow after lunch.

Chris and Ann were delighted to be outside. Our cat even got in on the fun!

Jane was happy to get her snow clothes on, but once outside, she had second thoughts. However, after I handed her a little dust pan and told her she could shovel the snow with me, she was sold.

Most of the neighbor children were out which always makes for a good time. My awesome husband came home early and took the big kids sledding while I made soup and hot chocolate. Not surprisingly, our newest snow lover fell asleep before dinner.

So, the trend will continue. I will continue to be excited at the prospect of a snow day. In fact, I may like them even more now!


Spoiled Much?

It's late Sunday afternoon and I've just come downstairs after taking a nap and reading in bed. The best part is my husband encouraged me to do so!

Once I finally came downstairs, he said he was taking our kiddos out to eat and play. His only request was that I go grocery shopping by myself while sipping a mocha. (Okay, I added that last part, but since I still have money left on a Starbucks Gift Card, why not!?)

Now, this is what I call a Day of Rest even if it involves a little grocery shopping.

Thanks, Tony! You're the best!


Organizing Paper Peak

I have a tendency to make easy tasks difficult. I think about and plan things for so long that I'm tired of doing them before I actually do them. Just ask my husband!

Our house recently became proof of my problem. It was more cluttered than it had ever been. Adding Christmas into the mix was a recipe for disaster. So, I began to successfully declutter. However, I never did anything about my pile, okay piles, of paper.

It was easier to ignore those piles since I had so much space for them. My husband recently installed a microwave over our oven which gave me all the counter space that our previous microwave had occupied. However, I also had paper piles on our desk and on a table in the basement. I was getting tired of it, but didn't know where to start.

Late last week, I was talking to a friend who is naturally organized. I started asking her questions about what she does with her papers and she explained her simple system of using binders and folders. It dawned on me, (finally) that I was making paperwork out to be a larger task than it really is.

The same day I talked to her, I headed to Target and bought a few supplies. I began tackling my piles. I even tackled piles in the basement! I realized that part of my problem was I had started too many filing systems and never just stuck with one! (The story of my life!) Currently, in our giveaway pile I have one file drawer, one file box, three 13-pocket expandable files, two 7-pocket expandable files, countless folders and who knows what else!

Now, more than two years after my husband bought me two larger filing cabinets, I'm finally using them! I'm not sure it will stick, but for now, three binders and two filing cabinets are doing the trick and taking up much less space than my former plethora of failed filing systems.

Perhaps 2011 will be the year I finally defeated the paper pile, uh, I mean, piles!


It's My Blog and I'll Brag If I Want To

My mom has always told me not to "toot my own own," but it's not my horn I'm going to toot.

This afternoon, my sweet kindergartner came home with her 2nd Quarter report card. She got perfect marks. In addition, she is reading at the level they want kindergartners to be at by the end of the year! We're moving onto helping her with First Grade Sight Words. Way to go girl!

Of course, I congratulated her and she said, "For what?" I just laughed and told her she was doing a great job in school.

Then again, perhaps the reason she didn't give much notice to her report card was that she finally got to bring home Henry Hippo. Henry Hippo is a stuffed hippo that each child in her class brings home for a few days during the school year. We get to write about her adventures with Henry, who she keeps calling "Hippy Hippo." So far, he's had a snack and watched a few minutes of Scooby-Doo.

Once again, congrats sweet Ann! (Toot, toot, toot!)


Watch Out for the Hot Llama!

Over the Christmas Break, my children invented all sorts of new games to keep themselves entertained. I should note that very few of these games actually involved their new toys. (Sidenote to Mrs. Claus next year: Don't get carried away with the presents!) Anyways, one of these is a game that involves lava.

My three children have been pretending that the family room floor is hot lava. In order to keep from touching the lava, they attempt to jump from the coffee table to the couch and chairs. Needless to say, this game isn't always mommy-approved. However, I should also admit that I totally get how this would seem to be the coolest game ever to the under seven crowd, so I've been known to allow a jump or two.

Perhaps the most entertaining and sweetest part of this whole idea of a game is that my sweet two-year-old keeps warning me of "hot llama!"

I'll be walking through the family room and she'll call out, "Mom, it's hot llama!" Too cute! I don't even try to correct her because it's too stinking precious. All too soon, she'll say "lava" and be much too big to even entertain the idea of such a game. For now, I'll just continue to watch out for all those hot llamas in my family room!


To Save Those Toys Or Not To Save Them

One of the best gifts my children got for Christmas wasn't actually a gift. It came after Christmas when they inherited my husband's old He-Man collection after their grandma made a trip to her storage unit.

It got me thinking...Should I be saving my children's toys?

Head over to my latest blog here and let me know what you think about saving toys, or not.


My Afternoon Companion

Beginning in August, both of my older children were in school. That means that I spend three hours each week day with my two year old. I've cherished this time. She is the sweetest little girl.

Just today, as I helped her to get dressed, she twirled and asked how she looked. I, of course, told her she was beautiful. Then she grabbed my face with her little hands and told me she loved me.

As I finished helping her, she announced that she loves, "Daddy, Mommy, Buck, Daisy, Ann, and Chris." Then she waited patiently while I finished helping her. This kind of thing happens multiple times a day.

In just a few short weeks, my baby will turn 3. I can hardly believe it. I'm so grateful the surprise of her life completed our little family. I love you sweet Jane!


And I Call Myself a Reader!

Not long ago, some friends of mine were posting notes on facebook about how many of the 100 classic books they'd read from some list. I joined in the fun and dutifully marked what I'd read. Apparently, I lied.

I genuinely thought I'd read The Chronicles of Narnia, but after picking up the series, I discovered that I hadn't. At least I hadn't until last night at nearly eleven when I finished it.

Also, upon reading the list, I was reminded of books I've wanted to read for years. Finishing up The Chronicles of Narnia got me started on what I hope will be a roll. Today, I began Anne of Green Gables and I'm waiting on The Lord of the Rings to arrive in my mail box.

Clearly I've lost touch with reality as my life doesn't exactly allow me to sit around and read all day. I'm hoping to finish two books a month. If I follow my plan, I'll read one fiction and one nonfiction book. Anything else will be a bonus.

So, I suppose many people are focusing on things like weight loss and better budgeting as the new year begins, while I'm making a book list. Perhaps I am a reader even if I've managed to miss a few that I'm sure will become new favorites.

What are you reading?


O Christmas Tree...

How I'll miss you!

Well, I won't. I'm ready for the kids to have their playroom back, but Daisy, our cat, will miss the tree tremendously.

As you can see, she's made it her own by removing a few branches and carving out a space that's just right for her.

Daisy has been one of the best things about 2010! We've thoroughly enjoyed being her new family. She was well loved by her first family and I know they were so sad to have to let her go, but we have been so happy to take her in.

And now, because it seems wrong to post a picture of our cat by the tree and not one of our kiddos...
The coordinating outfits are courtesy of one of their sweet grandmas.

Tomorrow, I have plans to take down the tree. We'll see...


Happy New Year!

Exactly 17 minutes into 2011, my oldest daughter sat up in my bed and puked. I nearly laughed, but the stench sent me gagging instead. It was either laugh or cry at the start of the year. I prayed it wasn't a sign of how the year would turn out!

Our first day of the new year involved unpacking and some general housekeeping. Not, of course, that you would necessarily know it by stopping by our house. There are still plenty of piles to pick up and laundry to wash, but isn't there always?

A highlight of the day was playing Alphabet Go Fish as a family. Games are always interesting with young children and this one did not disappoint. An attempt was made at Uno, but it was quickly abandoned. Tony also taught Ann and Chris how to play Connect 4. We're making good use of those Christmas gifts!

The kids are enjoying their new Wii game, Just Dance for Kids. It's too cute to watch them copy the moves of the children on the game. So far it has been a perfect way to help them burn some energy when it's too cold to play outside for long periods!

I left for a bit today to run a couple of errands. I'll admit I spent part of that time tucked away inside of a Starbucks while sipping a Peppermint Mocha. (I'll let others start their healthy eating today!) I finished up an article and enjoyed a break from unpacking and the post-Christmas clean up.

Dinner was a simple affair. Then, it was time for baths. In the middle of the process, I came downstairs to grab something and saw Tony reading his Bible.

Less than half an hour later, we gathered as a family and read, more like paraphrased, Genesis 1 to the kiddos.

Needless to say, the day only got better and better. Puke or not, I do believe there is hope yet for 2011!

Happy New Year!

Oh, and if you'd like to read along with us, be sure to check out