Animal Kingdom

No, I am not talking about the one at Disney. I'm speaking of the one that is in my house! If you remember this post you will remember that my girls have a penchant for all things animal. For years, Ella has been fascinated with frogs, bugs, birds and all types of creepy-crawly things. Even tonight she was scaring some boys with the huge frog she was carrying around. Ella's inhibition towards these animals has rubbed off on Lucy. She's just as bad.

Who needs Jeff Corwin when you have a virtual zoo at your own house? So not only do we have the two bunnies, but some birds have decided that my beautiful front door floral arrangement would make a lovely place for a home.

Can you see the baby birds in there? They are only about 2 days old and don't even have their eyes open. This nest must be really comfy because this is the second set of birds to be hatched in there since the beginning of Spring.

Then there is this:
A butterfly right after it hatched from its chrysalides. Grandma bought some catepillars from an educational supply company and we watched caterpillars' transition as they matured, changed into chrysalides, and finally emerged as Painted Lady butterflies!

They did not fair too well but we had fun none the less.

This is Ella actually watching the butterfly emerge. All 5 hatched within hours of each other.

Just when I thought all the excitment was over, the girls brought this home from my parent's house today. It's a tiny little water turtle. It's just beautiful with these intricate markings all over its shell.

And since we needed one more thing to feed and water, we decided to get it a home. Sparkle, the turtle, now resides happily in the kitchen with BJ, the Beta fish.

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MOM's Group

Our Mom's Group celebrated the end of another "season" of our lives. Now what could be a more appropriate way to cheer our 12 week victory than a nice lunch (without our kids) at a local cafe? Thanks ladies for sticking through the last 2 Bible studies. I know I have grown as a Christian, wife, friend, daughter and MOM over the past 3 months. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have!

If you are reading this and are interested in joining us for the summer, please send me an email. We'd love to have you join us and there will be many new faces in our group. Lots of our teacher friends are going to come during the summer. We are not doing a specific study, but rather a different topic each week that focuses on trials associated with being a woman in the 21st century. Childcare is provided....so what excuse do you have? I can't think of any!

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Mother's Day Pots

These are one of the Mother's Day gifts I gave my mother and mother-in-law this year. I bought a terra cotta pot and sprayed it red. Then I did the girls hand prints and used a paint-pen to write their names and the year. I filled my mom's with patio blueberry bushes and my mother in-law's with geranium, which are her sentimental favorite.

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glee (gle) n.
1. great merriment {syn. hilarity};
2. malicious satisfaction {syn. gloat}

Erik and I stumbled across this new show on Fox tonight. When I say stumble, I do mean stumble. We, in general, do not watch tv. It's not that we have anything against the tv, its just that we choose not to make that a part of our nighttime activities. It's been years since we have had a "show" that we watched religously. Probably even before Ella was born. American Idol in its earliest years were a priority on Tuesday nights at our house, but that was a long time ago.

So tonight, as Erik sat nursing a sore back, I heard the beautiful sounds of show tunes coming from the playroom/family room. Only a trained ear like mine could detect the sounds of a professionally trained 4 to 6 part choir belting out "Somebody to Love" by Queen. There is nothing else on earth can bring out the inner nerd in me like a broadway procution or musical performance.

This new tv show is, by default, my NEW addiction. It's just wonderful. You can have your Grey's Anatomy, your House....I will take my nerdy Glee club anyday! Here's to the new season of Glee! May your ratings keep you around for years to come.

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What's Next, God?

It's day 2 of Summer break and the girls are staring at me asking "what are we going to do today?" I really have raised 2 monsters. Ella is the worse. She is constantly asking "what's next" on the agenda. I am the exact same way. I always have been. My mom says that when I was little I wouldn't even finish breakfast without asking what was for lunch. It wasn't that I liked eating that much, but rather I needed to know what the next step would be. I needed to know the plan, if you will.

As I contemplate my plans for the future I find myself asking God the same thing. What is next for me? I feel as if I am at a crossroad in my life right now. I think it is a temporary crossroad, but I am not sure. I know what MY plans are....but I still don't know if God's plans correspond. OOPS! That should read "do my plans correspond with God's."

But isn't that how it usually works? We figure out what we want, how to get it and a timeline in which we'd like it to happen. Then we get mad at God when it does not happen exactly as we want. If we would concentrate our efforts on praying for God's will rather than planning our timelines, we would all be much happier and fulfilled. God promises to pour his blessings on us if we will just devote ourselves to seeking his guidance. HIS timeline and purpose is perfect. Mine is created with human inefficiencies.

So while I may stew and worry on a daily basis, I also try to fall on my knees on a daily basis asking for guidance. What do you want from me, Lord? What is the master plan for my life? I also pray that God would allow me to live each individual day in His will. Because although I am waiting on that long, sought-after email from God with a detailed itenerary for the next 60 years of my life, I know I won't get it. I honestly want to be content just living day to day. It's a battle for me to accept this, but I know its what I have to do.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

Shouldn't that be enough?

Well, it's not for these two. Not right now anyway. They are ready to go swimming. Right now. Immediately...5 minutes ago even!

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Around the World

A 5-year old is apparently quite content to travel the world within the confines of her own 4 walls. Ella is convinced that her preschool class's recent studies of Italy, Africa and Hawaii make her an expert on all things abroad. When her class studied Hawaii I volunteered to help out. We ate hawaiin food (think pineapple and ocean cupcakes), played luau music and even did a beach-themed limbo. I'm sure the children in her class thought it was great, but it was a far cry from the beach to me!

(the ocean-themed cupcakes I made)

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If I Twittered....

I would tell you that my mind reeling with a "to-do" list a mile long and a "want-to" do list even longer. I have about a month's worth of blogging to do and about 10 craft projects I want to complete.

I am also coming to grips with my new reality. It's called SUMMER BREAK~! Also known as that 2 months when you are supposed to rest and relax but otherwise spend all your time going and doing.

But since I don't (Twitter).... I won't.

p.s.- for those of you who have complained that I only post once a week. Things are about to change. It's (one of my) summer priorities!

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Dress Yourself Wednesday

This morning Lucy was especially sad to see Erik leave for work. In an effort to appease her, he told me to bring her by his office later. We both took a shower and I got her clothes on and then I told her to go play while I finished getting ready. While she was in her room, this is what she did....
Lucy added the orange beaded socks, the pink pool shoes, the birthday crown and the sunglasses. I couldn't help but laugh and fully embrace my daughter's creativity.

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Spring Dance Recital

Well, actually it was just dress rehearsal. But these may be the best pics I get of Ella the whole time because we can't use flash photography in the auditorium. I will spare you my rant on my frustration with that whole issue. Let's just say that mommies who spend as much as I have on dance lessons and costumes should AT LEAST get to take pictures during the recital!
But I digress.

Ella's tap number is to the song "Sea Cruise." How cute is this little sailor girl?

For ballet, they are wearing this darling baby blue tutu and leotard. I just love it. Blue looks so nice on Ella. They are dancing to the song "Just Around the Riverbend" from the Disny movie Pochahontas.

Lastly is her gymnastics routine. They are all dressed as different animals. Ella is a kangaroo. The music is "Choo Choo Soul." It's from a mini series on the Disney Channel.

Ella and Gracen posing. They really are best friends.

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Peter Cottontail Came to Visit

My girls have been begging for a pet forever. It's a daily (often many times daily) conversation at our house.

Ella "Can we go to the pet store?"
Me "Maybe one day soon."
Ella "But Mom we need a pet."
Me "Yeah, baby. I know." (said in that tone that mommies use when we try to appease our children without making a promise that will later be broken)

You see, we all have allergies to pet dander. So that rules out any option for an indoor pet. We've tried outdoors kittens, but that has been a miserable failure. 4 gone in 1 year. They just don't stand much chance around the coyotes in our back yard. And then there's the whole truth that I'm just NOT an animal person. I try to be and I like the idea of a pet, but when it comes the feeding and maintaining...it's just not for me!

Our sweet neighbor, Mrs. Lori, is just the opposite. She has given her 5 boys most any pet they've wanted. So for Easter they received 2 bunnies. I think Mrs. Lori quickly regretted the decision and asked if we wanted to take the bunnies to our house. I really did not want to, but Erik and the girls won the battle. We now have 2 bunnies.

I am now just praying that the bunnies are both the same gender!

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Happy Mother's Day

December of 1995 will be a month that I will never, ever forget. How could I? During that month, around the 10th, I almost lost my mother. In all honesty, the whole event is still so surreal. You see, my mother suffered a massive pulmonary embolism that caused her lungs to fill with blood. In a matter of hours, she went from a normal life to a mere shell of a woman lying on her bathroom floor. It is truly a miracle-a God thing-that she is even alive today. In the days that followed that event, our family and friends flooded the hospital day in and day out as we waited to see if she would live.

I was a freshman in college. It was exam week of my first semester. I was rushing home from school to get to the part-time job I had at a local stock broker's office. In my mind I was playing the scenario of going home, changing clothes and quickly getting to work. I had decided to NOT call my mom and tell her about my last exam because I knew that we would talk too long and I would be late. So, in the door I walked and went straight to the phone and called her. I don't know why I did. It was if my brain had not comprehended the whole scenario I just went through.

In hind sight, there is no other explanation other than God laid it on my heart to call her and I had no other option that listen. It was that call that led to the events that would save my mother's life. I have thanked God countless times for allowing me to be my mother's angel that day. After all, she had been my angel for 18 years.

As I sit and think about Mother's Day I could write for hours about how blessed I am to be Ella and Lucy's mom. But not today. Today I want to tell you how blessed I am to be Nancy's daughter.

My mother is the mother I long to be. She is a Godly woman who prays the kind of prayers that you just know God listens to. She is the Christian wife that supports her husband through thick or thin. She loves her children unabashedly and has set such an example of righteous living that no matter how far we may stray, we always know the way back home.

I love my mother so much it hurts. My mother is my best girl friend and a true confidant. She is a wonderful grandmother to my children and a great mother-in-law to my husband. Her ultimate goal in life is to see that her children, her grandchildren and all those around her know the Lord and see Him through her.

3 John 1:4 says "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." This must truly be a verse that my mother could claim as her heart's desire. It's one that I have hanging on a plaque in my own kitchen. It has become important to me because it was important to her.

I thank you, Mom, for instilling in me the values, morals and ethical compass that has allowed me to continually fall on my knees daily to ask God to guide me through the tumultuous road of parenting and being a wife.

Thank you, Mom, for holding my hand as I lost my first tooth, my first boyfriend and then on my wedding day.

Thank you, Mom, for holding my hand as I gave birth to my own children and then patiently guiding me through the first months of motherhood as I struggled to even get my feet on the floor.

Thank you, Mom, for continuing to love me unconditionally like only a mother can.

Thank you, Mom, for holding a crown over my head so that I could grow into it.

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me that good mothering comes from the inside out. You showed me that I have to become what God wants me to be so that I can help my own children learn who they are meant to be.

Thank you,Mom, for showing me that parenting is rooted in God's grace, not my perfection.

And thank you, Mom, for just being you. You grow more wonderful every day. I love you so much.

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First Day Fishing

2 weekends ago we spent some time flying a kite and trying out this year's fish population. We went to my parent's house and had a great time. We first stopped and got a bucket of crickets (which ended up being the favorite part of the day for Lucy.) The weather was beautiful and there was enough wind to fly our kite. We Mommy only caught one fish which frustrated the girls immensely. Yes, that's right! I caught the only fish of the day. They are so spoiled because in the summer you can catch a fish in their lake just by looking at the water!

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Mission Impossible

Lucy on a mission to catch butterflies. 2 weeks later we have yet to catch those elusive butterflies.

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Birthday Party Fun

Our friend John Owen recently celebrated his 6th birthday. He is quite obsessed with Spiderman right now, so that was the theme of this cake. The theme of the party was "pretend." That meant that each child was able to dress in his/her favorite costume. As his mother said, "it was like Halloween in April." Ella dressed as the Little Mermaid and Lucy dressed as Jesse the Cowgirl. Have I mentioned Lucy's obsession with Toy Story?

I was not able to snap a great picture of the girls together, but I did get one of Jesse and Woody. How perfect was that?

Leave it to Amanda to ham it up any chance she gets. I don't know...I sort of like this look.

Then these two "hammed" it up with their party favors. Cute, huh?

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