Monday, January 31, 2011


Here.  Today.  Mark it down in your journals and the annals of history.  Anna introduces to the world her newest addition to the upcoming English language Dictionary…version 2011.1.

Fwoppy (adjective)

pronunciation: fwahp-pee

A condition of the skin.  A wrinkling of the epidermis.  Similar to the skin of plump raisins.  Can be used in varied formats…according to the creator

usage:  I have fwoppy skin from the bathtub.  My hands are fwoppy.  OR   I feel fwoppy.


So I’m thinking, maybe I’ll turn this into a “buzz” word.  Maybe when I think something is a little wrinkled, a little messed up?

Dude, that’s totally fwoppy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

5 snowboys and a snowgirl

IMG_3242This is the tale of 5 snowboys and one snowgirl

                  who ventured out on a cold winter’s day.

“It’s only 11 degrees outside,” said their mommies.

                 “Let’s enjoy the warmth (ha!) and go play!”

So they all bundled up, nice and warm

                  from head to toe there was nary skin showing.IMG_3238

From the top of the hill they flew like a flash

                  they zoomed so fast, they were nearly glowing.

Giggles and laughs were all around,

              filling the hollow with a delightful sound.

A day to remember, this is for sure;

             friendship warms the heart – it’s so pure.IMG_3243

(ok, it was a little K-orny, but it was fun to write.)IMG_3239

I had to include this one – Anna took the hand warmers from her mittens to warm her cheeks!!!!!IMG_3246

And this one – Hudson was being a super big brother trying to pull Anna up the steep, steep, steep hill in her tube instead of making her walk.  I guess the chivalry lessons are starting to kick in!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

neighbors, family, yourself

(a conglomerate of stuff and pictures that I figured out how to put into one post…. ;o)

Inside.  I know.  I could be outside freezing cold, but I choose to be inside.  Plus it is is just gross outside.  Too wet to roll in the snow, not warm enough to be without a coat. We do go out; because if you know us, I can’t handle being cooped up too long.IMG_3183     And when we come inside, I want to be like Anna, and I want to do this…(her new favorite warm up spot; curled up in a blanket)IMG_3192 I’m trying my best to avoid my winter “slump” by staying busy with fun things inside.  So I bring you….neighbors, family, yourself.

We’ve enjoyed baking a lot together the past few weeks.  I should say, we like to bake all of the time, and have for a while.  But oddly enough, while we enjoy the process, we don’t always want to eat the results (even though they are delicious!), it is often too much.  So here comes the “neighbors.”IMG_3193 We like to share our creations with our neighbors and I meant to do something for Christmas wishes, but ran out of time.  So we baked up some yummy fudgy mint chocolate chip cookies (yup, they are like the ice cream in a cookie form) and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  The kids helped in all processes and we made up a bunch of plates complete with some delicious clementines we got at market….put the plates on a sled with some little people and delivered love.IMG_3194 FAMILY:  I like crafts.   Always have.  Always will.  Creating is fun.  When I taught, my team would ask me for art ideas because they knew I liked hands on crafts and creativity.  And we have a rockin’ art cart (not really an cart, we just like to say that – it’s a cabinet) that is stuffed with odds and ends perfect for “kre-ay-shions”.IMG_8491

Hudson had to make a snowman for school as a family project, so we made Anna her own little guy and we sat together using a large assortment of goodies to be-dazzle their creations.  And lest you would think that Anna’s snowman is a boy with mean eyebrows (as her brother did), she will correct you and let you know it is a girl, A PRINCESS SNOWGIRL, with earrings and a crown.

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These were not made from nothing – although they turned out super cute.  I found ornaments at a local store for a dollar and I loved watching Hugs and Banana choose their placement for their pieces (one wanted to look at the picture, the other had fun with “free” flow artistic impression. :)Photo-0058These beauts are from Home Depot’s Kid’s Workshop Saturdays.  Which in the year of 2011, they are doing them the first Saturday of every month.  This day Anna built a picture frame with Daddy and Hudson built a race car with Mommy. Photo-0059 YOURSELF:

Make yourself a winter feast for the eyes and give your kids something to do.  (Thanks Kimmie!)  IMG_8483

My visually artistic husband loves the colors in this.  I like that it still looks kinda Christmas-y and could transition to Valentine’s Day when I have my kids design some hearts for it (sure to be sparkly!)  This was a super easy craft that Kim told me about…she explained it over the phone as she had seen it in a store and thought it would be something we both could manage.


Grab some of your favorite colors.  I was going to start with lots of white, red and a little black, but when I got to the fabric store, I found three reds I couldn’t do without.  You need:

-1/4 yard black

1/3 yard of each of the reds

1 yard of white

jute long enough for your desired garland



I used my quilter’s mat and rotary cutter and sliced up the fabric into 6 inch wide “columns”.  Then I put a small slice every inch to inch and a half (I eyeballed) and handed them to Hudson.  He’d rip them into pieces for me.  He really enjoyed this!

I left about 1 foot at the end of my jute rope and started tying.  Tie away in a funky haphazard pattern (if you’re like me), or pick a pattern you like (if you are a bit more on the organized and Type A-side :o).  I just went with what felt looked fun and funky.  This project took nearly no time and I had enough fabric left over that I am sending it to Kim to get a start on hers.

And that is it for “neighbors, family, yourself”.  Thanks for hangin.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Keep singing, Ariel!

Anna loves playing “Ariel” and dressing up in her Little Mermaid outfit….

Sing my Ariel–Sing!

Monday, January 17, 2011

discovery in the port

The best thing about a day off of school?  FIELD TRIP!  I’ve found that those fun activities that I took for granted when Hudson was home have turned into big adventures when he has off of school now.  We could do them in the afternoons (since he is 1/2 day AM), but Banana still naps.  Yes folks, blessedly, my daughter still naps…..Hudson still takes naps about 2 times a week too.


We ventured to the port of Baltimore (not that far!) with Aunt Dana and Katelyn in the good ole’ grandmom-mobile.  We borrowed mom’s mini so we could all go together – thanks Grandmom!  Baltimore is one of our favorite cities.  We love it.

Getting there isn’t hard, but we didn’t have the GPS and ended up needing gas upon arrival to the city.  Oops.  Not easy to find a gas station in the city.  After two directions and a cop helping us, we found the station.  Getting back to the highway or to the harbor after that?  Eeek.  Took longer than it should’ve.  Oops, again.  But the kids were troopers and I was with Dana, so it made life much better.IMG_3210

Not only is it great for adults, but we love the zoo (have a membership again – thanks Bryan!), the harbor, the aquarium and Port Discovery children’s museum!  3 levels of non-stop constant motion.  An amazing climbing structure filled with tubes, ladders, nets slides surrounded by activities of perfection for little hands and growing minds.


There were two particular stations my kids had a hard time leaving:  Tiny’s Diner (a fifties style diner where the kids had control of the kitchen – complete with a juke box, menus, booths and order tickets) and the Water Play room (provided with raincoats and crocs if you desired for super-wet play!)

In fact, Hugs got so busy making his Duplo boat to float on the river that he missed his turn on the bubble maker (below) and was so distraught that we made sure he understood we would be back to Port Discovery sometime soon. (Really.  We’ll be back.)


The theme currently is Bob the Builder and all around there were neat activity stations that matched.  Hudson loved he could be in Wendy’s trailer and this is him using the light board in Bob’s Workshop to design architecture plans for his next building project.


Another fave of the three kids was in the quiet room library.  Full of books, games and puzzles.  They had a blast water-painting rocks in the nature center.


We were so busy having fun that we barely noticed we were hungry – it was WAY past lunch….but we were prepared (they’d had snacks), we had our lunch place already scoped out – PF CHANGS!  We love the Phoenix based restaurant.  Delicious asian pacific cuisine.  The kids love chinese food and they have kid friendly chopsticks.  But the kicker of them all?  My fortune cookie, so apropos: IMG_3231

You don’t have to know where you are to know where you are going.

Well, shoot, I’ll remember that next time I’m stuck in the city and can’t get out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tubing with the Cuz-ez…

While the fam from around the country (TX, KY, FL) came to our home on the Eastern seaboard to relax and enjoy one another (hopefully!)….we also made some time for some wicked fun activities.  Actually, I don’t think relax was the best choice of words!  We didn’t stop much – we were having too much of a blast.DSCF0036clockwise L – R: beth, alli, bryan, will, matt, chris, hudson 

The younger (not the youngest!) generation were given a few hours’ pass to go tubing on a not-too-far-away ski slope; along with that gift was childcare for Anna and the chance for Hudson to join us.  While we were a bit disappointed that we had to wait for an hour to hit the slopes (there were 8 different runs for tubes), we managed to entertain ourselves with a rowdy game of “up-jenkins” (a Brethren in Christ denominational classic) and coin basketball hoops (a Matt-special).DSCF0021

After our wait, we headed for the lines for tubes, grabbed the overfilled and slippery floats and headed to the people mover.

DSCF0024  There is no other way to say that we had a fantastic time than to maybe watch this video….we all laughed so hard the many times we went because we were allowed to go down together – in a chain or in a blob. 

This is one activity that I think definitely has me won over about the Northeast – I couldn’t have done this in Phoenix. In this video we all intend to start out together….and the challenge is to pick up a mitten that was lost by a group in front of us. 


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

a nefarious foe

(random pictures will be inserted in this post…well, because they are cute…and they are what we’ve been up to!)

time…isn’t she a nefarious foe?  Inspiration for ideas of things to wax poetically upon strike me at the oddest moments.  Most often, those are moments in which I do not have the “time” to sit down and write.  IMG_8448Dr. Anna to the rescue! 

Why do I write?  I like it.  I enjoy it.  It’s a creative outlet for me.  It is a great way I’ve found to replace scrapbooking (I can still keep track of great stories and pictures and print them into a book!).  One day that foe will return my “me-time”…and then assuredly, I will be wishing that I could return to the days that I now trudge through.  Although trudging is not always the best of words….some days it is skipping, some days marathoning, and on those really long days…trudging.IMG_8310 Hudson’s elation at getting a “double” doggie – now there are 2!

I recently wrote three words on my window at the kitchen sink (read:  I’ll see them at least 15 times a day!).  Tonight, Hudson noticed them.  They are three words that I want to be reminded of this year.  Three words that I am constantly trying to keep at the forefront of my mind, because I am so oft reminded that my time with my littles is fleeting.

Stop.  Play.  Enjoy.

I don’t want that nefarious foe to win the battle.  I don’t want the words “my mom didn’t have time to play with me…she was too busy” to cross the minds of my kids when the grow up.  So my goal (and please, keep me to it)….is that when someone yells to me from across the house while I am elbow deep in a toilet, or up to my knees in laundry that I can say to myself, “Stop.  Play.  Enjoy.”

IMG_8293 IMG_8272

Reading Curious George with Uncle Bryan/Playing Monopoly Jr. with Daddy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

seeing Jesus in them

Yesterday a family in our community lost their home to arson.  While at Mom to Mom learning about “Our Father’s eyes:  Seeing our Children as God sees us” (which I just had a very eloquent post about, and my hand hit delete…oh well), a friend from church caught my eye in the hallway and she called me over to briefly tell me the quick story, and then asked to talk to our leader.

The family got out of their home with nothing but a box of pictures and the pajamas on their backs.  As they have a 3 year old girl and a boy in first grade, these strangers had my heart….and I knew I needed to tell my kids about this family.  Upon picking up Hudson from school, I told the kids the story, and they immediately began brainstorming ideas of how they could help.

Hudson had money in his back pack and wanted to give his handful of change to them.  Anna talked about giving babies and clothes.  Hudson said he could pick out some toys.

When the two walked into the house, they ran into their rooms and began gathering things…books, cars, toys, puzzles…and precious Anna had gotten her stool and was standing in her closet pulling clothes off of her hangers.  She had even laid her brand new Dora doll on her bed as an offering, because she thought it was a tragedy the little girl had no babies to play with.  (We ended up swapping out the new Dora doll, but still!)

I was so proud of them – the compassion they were having on kids they didn’t even know.  It was a moment that my heart was bursting and I was thanking God for working in my children.  Softening them.  Teaching them.  Loving them. 

He does that with all of us, don’t you think?  He teaches us, despite our hissy-fits of “why me” and our ungrateful attitudes.  He works through me, despite my self-centeredness.  He loves me – the most unlovable…and only because of His sacrifice, His grace.  ( I had to remember this “loving” part for my children later in the day when time-outs and spankings were looming…)

Yesterday was one big reminder from beginning to end to see Jesus around me.  Working.  Loving.  Being extended through the hands of His children… children….my friends….my family….yet all His.  From the verse that was in the forefront of my mind when my feet hit the floor in the morning, to the incredible Mom to Mom talk, to my children, to even the movie that Chris and I had for a date night on our couch last night;


May you see Him too….keep those peepers open.