Friday, May 27, 2011

Our Summer Wish List

With the school year officially over around these parts (Yay! Abby's second semester report is finally done and sent!), the kids and I started a list today inspired by this idea from Fishful Thinking.  
101 Things To Do Before the End of Summer:
We tend to have a lot of free time in the summer, and it can be all too easy to let the summer drift away without using the time wisely. So this summer, try something new by creating a list of 101 Things to Do Before the End of Summer.This should be a list of goals that your family wants to do, as opposed to things they should do. Think about things your family would like to learn, foods they’d like to eat, games they’d like to play, etc. Make sure everyone in the family contributes. Goals can be for the entire family or for individuals. If you already have travel plans for summer, include places to see, foods to sample, and experiences specific to where you are going.
I feel like the summer months FLY by, and being that the kids will be starting school at the beginning of August (still can't believe Noah will be going to K), I want to make sure we get in a boatload of summer fun. A few things that have made the list so far include "catch fireflies, swimming lessons, fishing with Dad, go camping, Chuck E. Cheese, botanical gardens, go bowling, make a lemonade stand, take a trip to the beach..."  (Oh, the beach! That would be SO nice.)
We've actually gotten a head start on our list. It kicked off a few weeks ago when my mom came to visit for Abby's birthday. Just us girls went to "Breakfast with the Butterflies" at the botanical gardens. Abby even got to release her very own butterfly - very cool!

We headed back to the gardens this past Tuesday with friends to check out the newly renovated treehouses and let the kids get wet!

There's also a jar outside with a firefly/lightning bug in it, hanging on for dear life, that the kids captured the other night. Poor thing, but Abby insists that it is "doing fine".

Travel plans are on the agenda as well. We are heading out west to see family and celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary (wow!!!) with a photo shoot at the St. George, UT temple where we got married. I've always wanted to take the kids there and have some professional pictures taken outside. Yes, it will probably be 115 degrees like it was when we got married, but we are doing it, by golly!

Another item on my wish list for this summer? I am really hoping to spend a chunk of time visiting family back in Virginia. My brother is graduating. My stepmom's dance studio is closing. My sister is turning 20. A good friend is having a new baby. Another one had a baby whom I've yet to meet. A lot of good reasons to go despite the crazy gas prices...and have I mentioned the homesick thing? I'm not sure what my deal is - the tornadoes? we've been here two years? visits aren't quite long enough? - but I just want to be closer to family. 

There's also a little something in the works that I hope to share very soon. It's a learning process and a bit of a transition, but I think it has potential IF I can devote more time to it...inbetween catching fireflies and trips to Chuck E. Cheese, of course. 

*What is on your family's summer wish list? 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sometimes You Just Need Pie...

Not any kind of pie.

The kind that helps with a major case of homesickness and irritable-mommy-syndrome induced by way too much multi-tasking, running all over creation, and a "plethora" of end of the school year events - recitals, camp fundraisers, birthday parties, Daisy Scout meetings, church activities, last soccer games along with trophy parties, homeschool group play rehearsals....

Holy cow.

This magical cure (at least temporarily) could not have arrived in my inbox at a better time (thanks to a dear bloggy friend) -

Brace yourself....

Chocolate Chip Cookie PIE.

Just reading the post about how to make it and seeing the pictures made my heart flutter.


I wanted to run out right that minute and get a couple of missing ingredients (- unfortunately, I don't keep frozen pie crust on hand).

It took almost 45 minutes to get Noah to leave the house so I could get to the store, but we FINALLY made it and got what I needed.

Boy, did I need it. I've needed it all week.

The way I've been feeling, I really should have made TWO of them.

Lucky for me, I have another pie crust in the freezer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - My Boy...

My boy...calm...sweet...not saying "no" to my every request...
 Moments like this have seemed rare lately...very rare.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Big Reveal!!!

It's been almost three months since Pat, the kids, and I were able to be a small part of this Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project for the Sharrock family. We've been really excited to see the episode, learn more about the family, and see the INSIDE of the house!

Last night, we made milkshakes and popcorn and had our own little "Move That Bus" party!

It was awesome! (If you missed it - you can watch it right here.)

The whole superhero comic strip theme, Patrick's jokes (the kids were cracking up!), the trip to Disney and Animal Kingdom, the "Patmobile", his enthusiasm and amazing spirit, the gratitude from the family and love of the couldn't have been a better episode!

Definitely a SUPER way to end the season! 

After watching last night, Noah said, "I want to watch it again tomorrow!"

I'm sure we'll be keeping that one on the DVR for awhile. :o)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kids4AL : Shoe Boxes of Hope

Last Thursday (5/5), Abby's Daisy troop leader emailed about putting together Boxes of Hope during Friday's meeting for the children affected by the terrible tornadoes in Alabama. We scrambled to get things together to fill two shoe boxes - including basic toiletries, puzzles, markers, notepads, books, squishy ball, etc...

 Knowing that "these boxes of activities and games [would] give children hope and something positive to focus on during this time" made the last minute scrambling totally worth it. Seeing these first grade girls sitting on the floor - items scattered - and filling the boxes was really an awesome sight.

There's a whole slew of ways to help on the Kids4AL page, a list of Helping Heroes, and how WE can give to these children and families who have suffered so much heartbreak. (You can also follow Kids4AL on facebook and Twitter .)

While gathering these shoe box items with my kids, I couldn't help but think of this bit of info that Dr. Reivich shares about "Hope" - one of the five Fishful Thinking ingredients:

Having optimism and hope doesn't mean denying problems. But, people who are optimistic tend to focus on the positive and to focus their efforts on the aspects of a situation that they can control. Hope and optimism are important skills that will benefit children across their lives and as parents we can help instill these thinking styles in our children. The goal is NOT to deny that bad things happen, NOR is it to teach our children that they have complete control over what happens in their lives. Rather, the goal is to help our children see situations fully and accurately — which includes seeing the positive elements of a situation — and to focus their energy on helping to bring about positive outcomes.

It's truly been amazing to see how people are reaching out to make a positive difference in the face of this tragedy...even little Daisy Scouts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Good Distraction

I debated about whether we should have Abby's "almost sleepover"/pajama party this past weekend. It was Monday, and a lot of people still didn't have power. Things were (and still are) kinda crazy. I wasn't sure if it was appropriate timing for a party or if the curfew for our county would even be lifted by that Friday. (Due to the power outages, power lines down, possible looting, 8pm curfew was temporarily instated.)

Still, I knew how much Abby had been looking forward to her birthday party - counting down the days for weeks. When I mentioned the idea of postponing it, she burst into tears. I felt about this big. So I emailed the moms (the ones with power) and made a few calls (to those with phone service) and asked if their girls would still be able to come - assuming (and crossing fingers) that the curfew would be lifted by then.

Surprisingly enough, the answer was a resounding YES!!!

"Yes, she'd really love to come..."

"She is so excited about Friday..."

"It will be a good distraction..."

...and it was.

Seven giggly girls decorated pillowcases, ate BIG pieces of  birthday cake (decorated by Abby - she was so proud!), played "musical pillows", danced in the dark wearing glow bracelets, and played a few rounds of flashlight hide-and-seek.

I swear, the parents could hardly get their girls out of the door when they came to pick them up. They really had a good time...and Abby was one happy birthday girl.  :o)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Imagine if...

 Imagine what would happen...if every morning [we] got on our knees and asked our Father who He needed us to reach out to that day. And then imagine if we did it! - Sheri Dew
Believe me, I have been asking this past week. 
After a very scary Wednesday, huddled in the closet with the kids, we were extremely fortunate that our home was untouched by the recent tornadoes that whipped through Alabama. But just five miles up the road? Homes have been leveled. It is completely surreal to see the devastation along the road side as you are driving to church or to the store.
It's only been within the last couple of days that the power has been restored to most areas in our county which is part of the reason I haven't posted sooner. I've also just not quite known what to write. It's all been a lot to digest. 
People are working around the clock to help those who have suffered such great loss. Shelters have been set up, donations are being collected, free hot meals are being served. Neighbors are cutting trees off of homes and climbing on roofs to cover the gaping holes with tarps. Some neighborhoods have been wiped out completely, and people are helping to dig through the rubble in hopes of recovering belongings. It's unreal.
I was beyond relieved to see so many faces at church on Sunday. Phone service has been spotty so it was hard to get through and check on people. Today at dance, I was so happy to see my two-year-olds and my assistant. (A neighborhood just a half mile from her home was destroyed.) After everything that has happened, it was like a breath of fresh air to jump, clap, and giggle with those little girls. 
People are resilient, and I know that amazing stories of triumph and service will emerge from this tragedy. Still, I cannot imagine what the victims are going through right if I may, I am asking for extra prayers for my friends and neighbors in Alabama during this time. They are very much needed and appreciated. 
Thank you SO much!