Sunday, September 30, 2007

Playtime and Praytime

I will warn you this post will be all over the place, for there are grand celebrations right now, coupled with a great sadness. First the happy news...last night marked the annual Celebration of Bands. My nephew began the tradition by becoming a member of the marching band four years ago. This year he celebrated his eighteenth birthday and then began the pivotal "Senior Year"! I remember the first time I held him - I was sure he hung the moon and to this day, I think I am still that enamoured. Imagine our joy when two sisters would join him. The next oldest has now hit the high school circuit and she too, marches in the same band. The youngest in their tribe has her own set of activities, but she continues to be a great sport attending all of the band functions and cheering on her brother and sister.

My nephew's eighteenth birthday (choke, sputter, I must be wrong about that)

And marching last night

His beautiful sister

And his other beautiful sister!

My brother and sister-in-law are exceptional parents. I have learned so much watching them and am so thankful they entrusted their children to me early on. They were my practice:-) As chairpeople for last night's event and a definite presence in any and every activity their children have taken on, they make a difference in not only the lives of their kids, but in the lives of others. My brother celebrated his 45th birthday yesterday - Happy Birthday Big Brother, I could not be more proud!

Emily had a ball, making a new friend and watching for her cousins...and the highlight of her evening was a giant soft pretzel offered to her by Aunt Janet - thanks!

Hannah clapped and clapped, she sat rapt with attention and thoroughly enjoyed the whole night - how cool is that?


This is Sam. (It is not the best picture of Sam, but one most easily accessed and I like it because it looks like he is praying, which would make Sam very happy) I have known Sam as long as I can remember. I was blessed to grow up in a church where the members were family to one another. Sam and Anne were members and friends and I went to Sunday School and Choir with their daughters. In recent years, the church experienced some issues, nothing that I would ever discuss here, but it caused members to disperse, and now many of us who clung together find ourselves attending different churches and spread out, a situation out of our control ,but certainly heavy in our hearts. We know God has a plan for this experience, but that does not make it easier.

My first impressions of Sam were that he was way too cerebral for me. A scholar and an educator, Sam is wise beyond anyone's wildest expectation. I would learn, many years later, there was much more to Sam than that which may have intimidated me at first. He is a leader, a teacher, a friend, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a servant. He is truly a servant. A few years ago, Sam and Anne and a group of people, including my parents, forged a vision into a reality by implementing their own mission. This mission is a passion to those who serve through it, and those who support it in whatever ways they can.

So, what about the prayers? Sam was diagnosed several years ago with pancreatic cancer - after a very scary operation that did not go well, and treatments that proved difficult, even for the strongest man, Sam did the incredible. He healed and received a clean bill of health. Doctors called him a miracle, so did we.

Some weeks ago, Sam began having fevers for no apparent reason. Tests would conclude that the news was not especially good. Now, as he faces more treatment and some painful days, I would pray for a multitude of things:
~ for the doctors to have wisdom for treating Sam
~ for painfree days and treatments that will help, not hinder
~ for complete healing
~ for strength
~ for Anne
~ for his daughters and their children
~ for his peace of mind - he loves serving and prayers for his continued service

I believe in prayer. I love this family. I know you will join me in lifting them up.
Many, many thanks.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Indian Summer

With a morning storm behind us, the rest of the weekend was perfect Indian Summer weather. We squeezed in some fun festivities for the warmer weather and now look forward to changing leaves, breezy days, apple and pumpkin picking and cool, crisp evenings. Hope you had a wonderful weekend, too!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

These Boots Were Made for Walkin'

Or splashin' that is!

Nan (my mom) offered graciously to get raincoats and boots for the new school year. Hannah's have yet to be decided upon, but Em's have arrived and she has been on the lookout for rain!

Well, the first signs of precipitation fell this morning and Emily was going to find a puddle if it was the last thing she did. She jumped...

and checked the mud out

Decided on a different puddle...

And I will spare you the pictures of the clean up!

Meanwhile.............somebody was in her sister's book bin! (Yes, she had just stripped her beautiful blue bow out of her hair!)

Ooooh, I like Emily's books

Uh Oh, she's back!

I'll just flash the million dollar smile:-)

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Life's Little Surprises

"There is a fountain of youth. It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love." Sophia Loren

I could use that fountain right about now...but instead of focusing on that, today I will focus on the wonderful little surprises the past few days have presented me. In fact some of them highlight the gifts and talents of others and they way those have blessed our lives immeasurably. If anyone would have told me we were adopting a whole village, I probably would have laughed. But, that is what happened, we were blessed with the addition of Hannah to our family and a whole host of friends, who I am thankful to say I "know".

First, there is my bloggy pal Lori. She has emailed me to let me know she was "working on a little something" for me. Well, a package arrived on Monday.

A beautiful package wrapped in blue ribbon, so very pretty. I was elated with what I found inside...

The most beautiful apron, I have ever seen! The photo does not do it justice - Lori made this little ditty and I love it. When my husband walked through the door, I was holding it gently, like the treasure it is, and even he loved it! He tried to talk me into a photo of me in it and I'm sorry but my sweats just will not do! I will wear it while cooking and get a photo then:-) Lori, you touched my heart and gave Emily the beautiful lesson of doing for others for the sheer joy of making another happy. Many, many thanks - I will wear that apron out. It is one of the sweetest surprises ever in my life.

Then there is the little surprise that Emily likes dresses. Who knew? Our little tomboy has shown a renewed interest in getting dressed up and actually has asked to wear one favorite dress everyday for the past five days. Today was picture day and she chose one of my favorites. I love seeing her grow and change. I love that she is searching herself and enjoying new things in life.

Her favorite...

My favorite (her coat is covering the top, but the coat is cute too!)...

Then, there was Back to School Night. Now, this is not a surprise, but the emotion I felt being there and hearing her teacher speak about her was surprising. She has two magnificent teachers this year. The lead teacher is funny and spiritual, she is well versed with the kindergarten crowd and she is compassionate. The assistant is all those things, as well. They are a great team and best of all they think they have the best job (what parent doesn't want to hear that?)and they love our children. These ladies overwhelmed me and I am grateful.

And Miss Hannah, you ask - well, she just wants to be a rock star! We suspect those nasty teeth are invading again, but no worries, Miss Hannah has the attitude to handle it! Her funny bone has arrived and she has us laughing all the time. Last night, she thought 2:30 AM was a good time to practice her latest song and she was ready to party. Too bad Miss Hannah, the rest of us wanted to sleep (we are such party poopers!) Delightful ~ and the big surprise, venturing outside her comfort zone more frequently. Hannah takes it all in and lets us know when she is ready, thank you sweetheart, you light up our world.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happiness Is...

Fresh picked "flowers" from your five year old because she wanted you to have something beautiful to look at (Oh, Emily, I have everything beautiful right before my very eyes!)

Going to church with your family and having the rest of the congregation enjoy your children as much as you do

Hearing your baby say Amen for the first time (it was priceless)

Laughter and lots of it

Swingsets, sliding boards and running through the leaves

A wonderful weekend with people you love

Happy Monday everyone. Have a blessed week.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Big Bug is a Ballerina and Other Thursday Tidbits

Emily has always been a bit rough and tumble. I like that about her. She surprised us last spring by toying with the idea of going to (GASP!) dancing class. Always choosing the nearest animal from her toy box and never doing much princessing, I wondered how this idea may come to pass. So, we registered, went to purchase dancy things (which she loved) and today the big test, her first class. Mind you, she is attending with a two adorable little friends(certainly fans the fire of motivation)and (drum roll please) - she loved it! She was impressed with her stamp for good listening and has shown us her first new move. Even if she ends up hating it, I am thankful she will try new things. Emily's love for life is evident in the way she approaches everything.

The little bug let some others hold her the other day. This is big news. Granted the others were our nieces, but still, I was cleaning up from dinner and realized neither of us parent people were with her, she was happily scooped up by family. It was a big moment.

My mother celebrated a big birthday this week (shhhh, don't say 70!). She is a wonderful mother and grandmother. She has taken care of so many in her life, willingly and without complaint. Somewhat shy and certainly more reserved than I, I pray that I am half the woman she is. Happy Birthday!

I was cleaning up after dinner and the house was oddly quiet. I looked out the window and there were a few of my favorite people all snuggled into the hammock out back. In honor of favorites...

Danielle tagged me for another meme and you know I love knowing little tidbits about everyone else, so I have to play along to be fair.

Random Meme

Favorite movie(s) - The Sound of Music
Last movie you saw - So sad, I cannot even remember
Favorite TV show(s) - Grey's Anatomy. Doesn't get better than that.
The one show that you didn't want to end - Seinfeld or LA Law
Do you have a favorite type of pen? - Black ink, medium point
What do you struggle with - Worrying about things out of my control
How many siblings do you have? - 1 brother
His name is - Mark
Birth place in family - youngest
Pet's names - Molly, Louie, Dory and Bubbles
Favorite breakfast - Fresh fruit and a croissant
Favorite salad - Anything with Santa Fe or Tex Mex in it
Favorite desert(s) - Birthday cake or Blondie brownies with maple butter
Favorite holiday - Christmas of course.
If you could do anything - Oh, this would take me forever- I have a list but I could never list them all here:-)
The one living male and female celebrities you would meet - Denzel Washington, Faith Hill
The one deceased celebrity you would meet - He did die for us and then arose - I would meet Jesus
Your birthday - 5-18
Favorite pie - Cherry
Favorite pastry - Cherry danish
Favorite Christmas song - Mary, Did You Know
Favorite soda - I know, the health nuts are cringing- I love soda - good old fashioned fountain coke is my favorite
What do you despise? - Snobbery (is that a word?) and slothfulness
Most annoying thing people do - Bad manners (I hate loud chewers- can't stand to "hear" people eat)
What did you do last night - Had my mom's birthday and went to class til 10:30
Any tattoos? - No. Never. Too permanent.
Pierced ears? - Yes. Two holes in each ear
Eye color - Green/hazel
Black or brown accessories (shoes/bags) - Both - love them both.
Favorite color - Pink
The walls in your bedroom are - The color of a Thistle crayon
You can't wait for this show to start this fall - Grey's Anatomy
If you could have one skill it would be - To play the piano and sing - I looove to sing, I'm just not very good at it:-)

Monday, September 10, 2007


I remember that morning clearly. I was working in the elementary school at the time. Newly married and full of hope, I waited in my khaki capris and sleeveless white tee for our special education students. There were a few of us, most of whom I am still friends with today, who stood in that sunshine filled doorway, never imagining what was happening in our world.

First a woman talking under her breath, whisked past us and turned just inside the building to say, "Something has happened, did you hear what happened?" We stared at her blankly, we heard no sirens, saw nothing amiss. She kept going. Then, a man, "Do you have all the TVs on? We need to see what's going on." Our curiosity peaked, we knew we did not have the time to venture back to find a television set, so we continued to wait for our students. That was the first of the uneasy feeling.

Once our kids had been escorted off of their buses, we led them back to their classroom, only on the way, a sixth grade teacher had set up a TV in the hallway and in full color, we could see the devastation, the despair, the complete chaos that affected not one city, but three. It affected not one human life but millions. The hall fell silent and we were forced to turn off the television and move, as not to scare the children that might pass. The parents reserve the right to speak with their own children, deal with it in a manner consistant with crisis, in the privacy of their homes. Within moments, SUVs and station wagons, sedans and vans, even a motorcycle came up the drive chock full of parents to retrieve their little people and hug them, assure them, assure themselves and wait and watch. Children were signed out all day. I'm not sure I "got it" then, but I sure "get it" now.

There was an irony to this whole scenerio for me, I had discovered the evening before that I was having a baby. A life, a child...I was going to fulfill a lifelong dream and bring a child into this crazy world. We were going to be parents. The anniversary of September 11 will never go unnoticed in our family because it marks such a critical time for us - for others, it marks the worst, for us it marks the very best.

Dismissed early, I arrived home to the cacophony of images that still plague our nation. I cried, I prayed, I thought. I was blessed to not have lost loved ones, but I prayed for those who did. I prayed for the families who had not said goodbye. I prayed for all the mommies that were pregnant,like me and the strength they would need as they faced those pregnancies alone. Like our Emily, they have five year olds now. It occurs to me the hope that weaves itself into disaster. The hope of a life, of a child. I prayed for all the parents, as I wrapped myself around the joy that would be our child, it occurred to me how many parents had lost their sons or daughters to terrorism. It challenged my faith, my spirit, my very core. But, at the root of all challenges lies hope and I held that hope, within my very being, I held that hope.

Emily likes to sing a christian children's song, "I am a Promise". Someday, when she is old enough, I will be able to tell her just how much of a promise she was to many that year. She continues to represent all that is good and right with the world. I remember what was lost that fateful day - it is more so because I remember how much I gained that year. May we never forget the tragedy that shaped a nation, caused us all pause and remain thankful for all who serve, in the name of freedom. May we never forget that even in the darkest of hours, hope presents itself, sometimes small and beating, but ever present.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Funny Girl...

Okay, so the last thing I should be doing right now is blogging. My ironing pile has applied for a zip code of it's own, I have work to do and homework to do and I am hosting my family for my mom's 70th on Wednesday.(I'm game for trying something new, if anyone has a good crock pot or casserole recipe) But, here I am!

So, Emily says,"Mom, have you seen the pretty headband Nan got for me?" My response, "Oh, ummm yes I have." (Yes, the second picture she does have her first lollipop, which for the record, was Emily's and she begged it off of her!)

I was too slow with the camera to capture the bunny slipper heist that occurred shortly after the headband heist. But my dad, bless his heart, did capture the sunglasses heist last weekend. Hannah has become quite taken with all things Emily. Emily is amused at Hannah's fervor in obtaining the object of her desire and then parading around in it for surprisingly long periods of time.

The Bunny Bandit strikes again...Emily was out of range (at school) and Miss Hannah went "In Search of..." I caught the whole process this time!

Yes, here they are

Taaa Daaaa

You can't catch me!

Nope, don't know what you are talking about, wasn't me!

We considered a security guard for Puff (yes, the Magic Dragon - no comments, please, Emily adores him and the song, personally, I cry everytime she plays it) He was fair game a few weeks ago, but now Hannah has been making off with favorites from the book collection. This little one certainly keeps Emily steppin';-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

First Day of School!

Well, it has arrived the first day of school...exactly 24 minutes until I can pick up our little cutie pie. Not that I am counting or anything:-)

Emily was happy and excited to go to school this morning. Slightly overwhelmed once in her classroom, she rose to the occasion and was perfectly content when I left (what a true blessing). I snapped a few pics and will probably post a little more when I find out how her day went.

I have to say how very grateful I am that she goes to a Christian school where she is nurtured and loved. I am also in awe of her teacher and the depth of her devotion to these beautiful children. Thank you, Mrs. Hershey for giving us first timers peace of mind and spirit.

Hannah has been looking for her...very cute!

Waiting to go...

Unpacking her school bag

How cute are her shoes??? She said, "Don't forget a picture of my shoes, Mommy!"

Loading up her locker~ she stands on a stool to get to it

A Few of My Favorite Things...

My good bloggy friend, Danielle tagged me for a meme. Actually, I love this one because I really like knowing what makes people tick. It's the psychology buff in me, I suppose. The rules are (who makes up these rules anyway? Seriously, I am curious about Blog Etiquette:-)I am to tag others for this fun, but sadly all my bloggy buddies have done this meme or a version of it - feel free to consider yourself tagged, if you have not been tagged yet!

These are a few of my favorite things:
sound - the ocean, our children laughing
late night snack - a piece of toast with peanut butter
smell - definitely the girls after their bath
color combination - Pink and Brown (second choice Navy and White)
nut - walnuts
time of year - Used to be just Christmas and now, I'm thinking summer is moving up the scale!
author - So many...I am a big Patterson fan, though and I like the work of Sue Monk Kidd
books - Anything Dr. Suess, Little Women, When the Heart Waits, The Secret Life of Bees
vegetable - believe it or not, beets
male actor - Denzel Washington or Tom Hanks - just love these two!
female actress - Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts and Audrey Hepburn (what a dichotomy, huh??)
flower - hands down, Gerbera Daisies - loooove them!!
vacation spot - Disney (I know, sad but true!)
pizza - Mack and Manco Boardwalk Pizza (yum!)
sports to play - I'm sorry I don't know what that means - I was one of those "cheerleader, dancy" girls!
subject in school - English
tv channel - We are an ABC family, when we watch TV
radio station - I tend to like the eighties stations, go figure
holiday - Christmas, Christmas, Christmas
perfume - CK, Be
shoes - Preferably bare feet, but if I have to wear shoes, I love heels - anything with a heel makes me happy!
candy - Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellies and Dark Chocolate anything!
city to shop - I'm a country mouse - I like small, out of the way boutiquey shops, the kind where you get to know the owner
beauty products - HAHHAHHHAHH - okay, I do like Estee Lauder, but these days, I am lucky if I can grab a pressed powder on the run while food shopping
item to shop for - Back to the sport question - I consider shopping a very competitive sport! I like shopping for just about anything (except the groceries) but I would have to say shopping for the girls clothes is great fun! I used to be way into shopping for the home - I am an Americana freak and love finding that "just right" item to fit in the perfect nook!

Monday, September 3, 2007


To send the summer out properly, we took an impromptu trip to the beach to be with my parents for the weekend. The weather was beautiful and a good time was had by all! We saw a lot of Hannah's mischieveous personality eke out. Our firsts with her are so special. Our dreams of a family of four are now reality. Emily had a blast - she truly enjoyed every moment and like her mother is a born planner, scheduling each event and then recaping her favorite parts. She oozes joy and we could not be more grateful to be able to spend time like this together. A vacation is not to be this year, so we were thrilled to have our last hurrah!

The Changing Seasons

I love fall. I always have. I look forward to it ~ perfect temperatures, yellow school buses, leaves changing colors. I enjoy learning, so fall represented the return to that which I loved.

As I grow older, I love summer. Even more perfect temperatures, long days with my children, the sunshine on our faces...

So, this year, I find myself unabashedly kicking and flailing to hang on to summer. Perhaps, it is the impending beginning of kindergarten for my older daughter, Emily. Wasn't I just worried she didn't talk early enough? Wasn't it just yesterday I thought she'd never outgrow her fear of the ocean? When did she get so tall? I was there, watching, enjoying, taking it all in...but it went so quickly. She is a lovely child, face all aglow with a smile to melt the hardest hearts and a joyful temperament, that I simply adore. And, she is going to Kindergarten; it is the end of an era.

Yes, I know it is also the beginning of an era, but my stubborn personality all equipped with that mechanism that makes change so hard for me will not allow me to fully let go. I know, I have to. Usually this time of year, we are all set to journey to our vacation, not this year, we have a child in school now ~ she needs to begin Kindergarten fresh and learn about her new friends and new teacher. Her teacher is wonderful. We had the pleasure of meeting her several evenings ago and were thrilled with her presence and love for our child.

Emily, gregarious and sometimes even boisterous, became shy and her bottom lip quivered, "Mommy, I don't know anyone in this class." at which point I almost scooped her up in my arms and ran her from that building assuring her I'd never make her go back again. Her teacher approached, took her gently in her arms and made her way (with our child) to another little girl and they met...and hugged...and giggled and assured me that it will be okay, much to my chagrin, it will be okay.

I want her to grow to be independent, kind, happy and confident. I need to teach her it is okay to grow, to venture out. Emily will be sucessful and that is what every parent wants for their child. It just feels like it washed over us so fast. My mother advises it may pick up speed from here - I cannot imagine! But it shed light on my own mother, who enjoyed us so much and often lamented it went all too fast - I usually laughed or scoffed. Now, I get it. Wasn't I just in pigtails getting on a bus for my first day of school - I am certain she would say, it feels like just yesterday...


© Welcome to Our Little Ladybugs!
CoffeeShop Designs