Saturday, October 30, 2010

a party fit for superheroes and jedis.

i've been friends with marielle since high school and was so excited to hear that she & her cute family also ended up in arizona...and now we live about 10 minutes away from her.  she & her husband scott were nice enough to invite us & another HS friend & his family over for a Halloween party.  

unfortunately, the other family couldn't make it since the lovely strep throat plague had hit their daughter.  but we jedis still went over in full costume for some delicious food and fun times.  

yes in case you're wondering, i am wearing the yoda toddler costume as a shirt.  i just couldn't justify the $ for the adult-sized one, so when i found the smaller version {designed to fit a 1-2 yr old} on sale, i went for it.  my aim is to use halloween as my opportunity to look as foolish as possible.  i think green is my new signature color.  who needs crest whitestrips?  just paint your face green and bam!  your teeth look as bright white as when they first popped through your gums.

marielle's family dressed up as different superheroes and their boys kept us laughing with their superhero poses.  and scott's props came in handy, the boys played with them all night long.  i'm pretty sure all our kids will be getting for christmas is a bunch of socks wrapped up to look like sausages. 

as you can see toward the end of the pictures, princess leah wasn't feeling well.  poor little girl, we were hoping she'd be feeling better but she wasn't.  i was actually really happy that we'd dressed up since it will probably be the one time our family will be going out together.  

with leah sick, she's going to stay home & ben & i will be switching off cavorting darth vadar around to shamelessly beg for sugared snacks....which we will then get to watch collect dust in our cupboards to be re-used for next year's candy to hand out to unsuspecting children.  

we are totally that family.

thanks rasmussens {pronounced completely incorrectly, just for fun} for the great party! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

defending the silver lining.

sometimes, bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people.  i love it life goes that way, when karma lives up to her name.

but sometimes, bad things happen to good people.

and a true test of character is to see that happen to someone you love... without being able to stop it or change it or carry it for them... and watch how they endure, and persevere, and rise above.

i've written on here several times about my friend andrea, and tonight i think she deserves an extra moment on the blog.  i don't write just about my kids here, or about my ability to fill my time accomplishing what feels like close to nothing, but i write about what affects me.

andrea has been through more lifetimes than most 80 yr. old's i know.  she has been handed some of the most difficult trials in life and hasn't even reached my golden age of 30 yet.

there are many amazing things about andrea, the list could be a mile long.  her kind heart, her loyalty, her ability to love others unconditionally, the quick forgiveness that she gives to those who repeatedly wrong her, and the way that she stands up for what's right in a humble and soft way.

but my favorite thing about this girl?  

it's the way in which she has not allowed these trials to break her.  instead, she uses them to teach her and those around her and change her for the better.  she always takes the high road and never stoops to the level of others who try to hurt her.  this past year has been extremely difficult on her and while i would love to shout from the rooftops the names of those who have hurt her and the injustices that have been done to her, i know it's not what she would want.

telling her i'm proud of her doesn't even begin to describe how i feel.  i have watched her overcome and continually keep going, and her example is something that has changed me.

there have been a few times in my life that i have met someone that i knew God put in my path to bless me and teach me, and she is one of those people.  

during one of her darkest days, i drove to meet andrea at jason's deli.  over and over again on the long drive there and back, i listened to one song.  i cried my eyes out the whole time and prayed that she could get on the other side of her pain.  and that for just this once, good things could happen to this good person.

the words of the song that struck me that day were these:

"You know it's nothing new
Bad news never had good timing
Then the circle of your friends
Will defend the silver lining"

there are many times andrea has defended that silver lining for me.  telling me that i am strong and capable of handling tough situations, and that good things are coming.  as i sat in that deli with her, i promised myself that i would be there for her.  and defend her silver lining, and let her know that she is strong and capable and deserving of better things to come.

it is almost a year later from that day, and even though the pain is still real and is still there, she is coming through it.  

and i'm not grateful for one second that these things happened to her and that the fall-out is still continuing.  but i am grateful that she is andrea.  and that she is in my life.  and that she is my friend.

and i'm mostly grateful that she has taught me that the heart of life is good.

drizz, this one's for you:

Monday, October 18, 2010


sometimes my height {or lack thereof} shocks me.

when i go out in public, or am in the company of someone besides my shrimpy kids
it throws me off my game.
like, huh?  how did this just happen?

because when i look down, i think i look pretty tall.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

late saturday morning

for almost 3 years now i've been praying for a morning like this.

crepes and fresh fruit for breakfast.

everyone still in pj's.  
{except for dad, who was only dressed in "normal clothes" so he could quickly roll out our garbage can in a race to beat the garbage man before he made it to our house.}

a collection of blankets spread across the floor.

a danceparty/screamfest/wrestlemania/hugpuddle/spontaneousleahinspectingcaleb'steeth moment.

when working & living at the group home, i longed for a late saturday morning 
with just my little family 
where i could do whatever i wanted.

then when we moved to arizona and ben started working weekends 
i found myself longing for it even more.

and it's finally here.

with a changing schedule every 6 months,
i don't know how long it will last

but i didn't want this morning to go un-noticed and un-noted.

because i am so grateful and wanted to never forget.

it's these simple moments
that can feel so un-simple
when you've waited a long time to get them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

love, sweet love.

leah's 1st birthday, 2/27/10

so it's day 3 here of fall break.  and still, not much is going on.

but it's okay because we've still been having a good time together.  most importantly we have been able to slow down a little on living life and keeping on a schedule.

this afternoon i found myself outside in the backyard {yes!  a backYARD!  so exciting to me still.} playing "what time is it mr. fox?" with caleb, while leah wandered around picking up various rocks and "yuckies" to hand them to me.  we were outside for about 40 minutes when an unfortunate accident happened involving caleb tripping, the brick fence that lines our backyard, and caleb's forehead. we came back inside.

with the kids being dirty i had them strip down to just their diaper and underwear and we started playing a new game.  this time i sat on the rug by our couch and the kids took turns running to me screaming loudly and jumping into my arms as i catapulted them in the air and onto our couch cushions.  this went on for a good hour.  they were laughing hysterically and so was i.

i watched my two kids running around.  their healthy, strong bodies.  their bright eyes and smiling mouths.

leah, with dirt on her face and bright red cheeks.  scraggly hair.  absolutely beautiful to me.

caleb, his big goose egg on his forehead and his chipmunk laugh.  so adorable.

i can't wait to see who they turn out to be.  my job is not to force, to control or to judge their decisions.  because they're going to grow up to believe differently from me, to feel differently from me.

there has been a lot of hate going around the world, specifically recently.  even when it is delivered in the name of love, it's still hate.  but there also has been a lot of love going on, delivered in the name of love.  

i have thought a lot lately about where i stand, what i believe in, who i am.  i think it's good to have these self-evaluations regularly, even if these very evaluations have been brought about because of hate, delivered in the name of love.  

i will let my children know my beliefs and who i am.  of course i will.  but at the end of the day, when they are grown and doing their own self-evaluations, it will not be my place to disapprove, or judge or mock or persecute.  that is not my role as their mother, just like it's not my role for any human being, really.

but what is my role?

just to love them. no matter what.

i'm really glad my job is so easy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

what's been going on around here? a whole lot of nothin'.

it's "fall break" for caleb at school, which has brought about several things:

a)  my indignation.  where in the H was my fall break when i was in school?  i sure could have used that back then.  5 less days of junior high?  where do i sign?

b)  my laziness.  i pretty much stayed in my pj's until about 2pm today.  because i had no other school moms to impress.  ha!  like i ever get dressed for them anyway.  95% of the mornings i walk caleb proudly up to the kindergarten gate in my flannel pjs & old t-shirt.  i think once i may have had toothpaste covering up a lovely facial blemish.  { just wanting them to get to know the real me, you know.  no pretensions.  or i'm just lazy.}

c)  my redemption.  i now need to redeem myself for the rest of the week with crafts, adventures about the town and fabulously creative ideas.  so that i can still be in the running to become america's next top mom.

d)  my never-ending gratitude.  the un-fantastically hot state of arizona decided to have a pow-wow with whatever PTA committee started this "fall break" and drop its temps below the 100's at the same time.  NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON, ARIZONA.  IT'S ONLY MID-OCTOBER.  now if only we could get the community pool owners to re-open their dang swimming pools we would be set.  why are they closed anyway?  who thought this was a good idea?  who in their right mind is not still sweating in 97 degrees?  afraid hypothermia might set in once you reach the lukewarm chlorinated water?  brrrrrrrr.

e)  my lack of imagination.  basically this is just a post about how there's not a whole lot going on around here.  part of me wants to change that, but another part of me says "live it up!  lay around!" so i guess we'll just see who i listen to.

happy fall break everyone!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

i am not ashamed of the fact that i use a bathroom rug as wall decor.

so, here is a fun story.

about a month ago i was wistfully daydreaming on the anthropologie website, in the clearance section {the only place i will allow myself to look on there because why depress myself??}....something i tend to do when i have a gloomy day....and came across a bathroom rug that i immediately fell in love with.

it was bright and colorful and i knew that on another randomly gloomy day, it would be just the thing to cheer me up.  {does anyone else have this thing with space in your home?  that when you put something in it that you just love it can change your mood faster than winona ryder can say "beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice?"  or is it just me?  i'm willing to stand alone in this, i'm just curious.}

anyway, even though it was on sale it was still a whole heck of a lot more than i would normally spend on bathroom rugs.  you know, the ones by the toilet, where little boys {and big boys, let's be honest} tend to um....miss, and spray?  or worse, but i will keep those details private.  

i usually go mucho cheapo for those rugs because they get washed a lot and wear out pretty quickly.  and who wants to see urine and fecal matter on something beautiful?  

well, that particular gloomy day let me give in to temptation and buy the rug online.  i couldn't believe i had done it, but i had.

when it showed up about a week later i opened the box and was immediately struck by the vibrance of the colors, exploding at me like rays of multi-colored sunshine bursting behind clouds.  the rug was titled appropriately, "fireworks" and i knew that even though it didn't make sense to put it where it could possibly be struck by a rainstorm of mostly-sterile-but-still-disgusting-bodily-fluids, i hugged the soft rug and whispered to it that i would never let it go.


i lay it down on the floor for about a day.

and during the 24 hours it spent on the floor, i refused to walk on it and if caleb went into that particular bathroom i would roll it up off of the floor until he was finished, and then place it back down after he had left.

we just don't get nice things like this very often...and even though it was on sale i knew it would be a loooooong time before i could justify having to replace it in 6 months or so.  this is what happens you live in a destitute-like lifestyle as we have for so long.

i sat on the couch and pictured my lifetime chore of preserving the rug that way.  when guests came i could see myself opening the bathroom door and showing them the room, but as soon as they started to walk that way to provide their bladder relief, i would quickly run ahead of them... possibly throwing some elbows....shut myself quickly in the bathroom to roll up my precious fireworks rug and then emerge a moment later to allow them to do their deed.

it just wasn't going to work.

ben came home and i told him my dilemma, in my most dramatic, whatever-shall-i-do voice.  and i just may have underestimated that benjamin's brain because he came up with one of the most brilliant plans in our 8 year marriage together.  {right now it's a running tie between this current idea and the one that took place in the desert just a mere few months ago.  you be the judge.}

"why don't you just hang it on the wall?  that way you can still look at it but won't worry about people/kids/animals/random strangers you let in getting their um....poop on it?"  he said to me, half-joking.

i looked at him like he was crazy for a moment.

put a rug up on the wall?  could i do it?  no.  did i have the guts and the ability to fake trendiness in a oh-yes-we-always-hang-our-rugs-up-on-walls--doesn't everybody??--type of way??  

i doubted my abilities.

but i kept the idea in my back pocket for another day.  

and finally, after rolling up the rug about 5 more times, racing to get through the bathroom door before it closed on me, i decided to give it a go.

and i must say.  i think it works.  quite well.

and on the floor i replaced my fireworks explosion of color with a lovely $2.99 rug that looks like it belongs right where it is.  on the bathroom floor.  ready to soak in whatever comes it's way and be washed a billion times, like a sturdy champion.

here's a shot at the rest of the bathroom, if you're curious.  with little miss sassy pants discussing the meaning of life with her own reflection in the mirror.

that bennigans, i tell you what.  he has more tricks up his sleeve than i give him credit for.  anyone who chooses him as their psychologist in about 3 years is going to be oh so pleasantly surprised.

so there it is.

and i'm not ashamed that this is my wall decor.  i mean it's just a bathroom rug.  hung up on a wall.  

you should try it.  everybody who's anybody is doing it.

or at least that's what i tell myself.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

18 months.

well she's actually 19 months old now, but who's counting?  clearly not me.

her new talents are:  
being able to count up to about 18.  she can almost make it to twenty, but kind of trails off around 18 and then erupts into a cheer when i say TWENTY!  

she speaks in 2 or 3 word sentences, and sometimes whips out even more than that.  more often than not, when i actually listen to what i thought was just baby-babble i can make out clear sentences.  it always catches me by surprise.

loves to sing "i am a child of god" and her "ABC's."  

she's our little mimic and i unfortunately heard her echo my "oh, crap!" a couple of days ago.  so i guess i'll need to watch myself a little more carefully.

can recognize and say the colors red, black, pink and white.  purple, orange, green and blue are a little fuzzy right now but she'll get there.

can recognize and say the shapes heart, circle, star, square, triangle and rectangle.  

when caleb is in school we spend most of our mornings here.  as i clean up the kitchen she pulls random things out of the cupboards and puts them back in, over and over again.

she's completely obsessed with blue's clues.  or as she says it, "cues cues!"  in the morning when i go to get her out of her crib she stands up and says, "hi mama, do you see a cue?"  and then looks around her room and says, "where?" as if she's searching for a pawprint.  we discuss her "handy-dandy notebook" about 50 times a day and whenever she sits down she calls whatever chair she's sitting in her "sinking chair."


has lived up to her womanly duty of developing a fascination for shoes and loves to put on anyone's shoes but her own.

she definitely has a strong will, i've known this from the start.  90% of her day she's a dream toddler, walking around content and playing and laughing.  but the 10% where she's asked to do something she doesn't want to do?  WATCH. OUT.  she has been put on a couple of time-outs already and i have a feeling it's the beginning of a long couple of years of time outs.  but i'm prepared...her brother was the same way.   

she absolutely loves the moon.  she looks for it every time we walk outside whether it's daytime or not.   she goes through her vocabulary of "sky, clouds, birds, sunshine, trees and then says....moon?  MOON?  WHEE ARRRRE YOUUUU?"  and then i have to explain that the moon went "night-night" so that the sun could come up.  she has a moon nightlight in her room and it is the only way i can coax her into her bedroom during bedtime without her having to have a showdown.  

so there's her 18/19 month update. 

leah is still our ray of sunshine.  
and i am grateful for every minute that i have had with her.

Monday, October 4, 2010

did you hear about the morgans?

according to hollywood, the morgans look like this:

but in real life, the morgans actually look like this:


this weekend the morgans became our first official visitors in our new house.
and oh my goodness did we have a good time.

the morgans know how to party at the phoenix artwalk.

the morgans know how to help build fantastic forts.

and they know how to provide musical accompaniment while those fantastic forts are being constructed.

they know how to have a dang good time at a swimming pool.

the morgans know how to relax and watch movies during cousin sleepovers.

they know how to slide down slides,



and make sand angels,


pose with awesome expressions for pictures,


indulge a toddler's obsession with their yellow shoes,

and say good-bye.



we had such a fun time with the morgans and hope they come back soon!