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Friday, June 24, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

This has been one of those weeks that has had me all over the place emotionally.  And quite frankly in no mood to contemplate any favorites from this week. 
However as usual, once I get started I begin to focus on the blessings and not the frustrations.
The very act of writing this post is putting things all
back in perspective.

So here's some things that have been been sources of joy for me this week...

1. Growing things - everywhere in my yard
Our gnarly "contorted filbert".  It amazes me to see wood grow this way.

My hydrangeas that are beginning to bloom.
Loving this vibrant magenta!

2. This little guy...
even though he is eating half the growing things is my yard!
It still makes me smile to see him.

3. A fabulous dinner that I didn't have to cook

4. Bedtime with my boys
I am so blessed to get to read to them and then snuggle and talk for a bit before they fall asleep.  This is often a time when I get some real insight into their little minds.  I would not trade this time with my boys for anything!

5. My little garden
I really don't know anything about gardening.  Seriously. Nothing.
But luck has seen fit to bless us with some tomato, pepper, and cilantro plants that are thriving.
I can't wait to eat some fresh tomato and mozzerella salad!

6. This pic of me
Yes that's me, wrapped in snuggly wonderfullness.  I sleep with 4 pillows.  Two for my head (often one on top and one on the bottom (like a pillow sandwich as seen here) one for my legs, and one to hug. My husband snapped this lovely pic to show me what I look like.

7. The moment when you let go of anger and open up from the heart 
- yep, that one takes the cake

What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Approaching the throne

The bathroom looms ahead with all its mysterious power....I am a little hesitant as we approach the throne.  I've seen my big brother do this lots of times but still, my little heart is beating fast.  Can I do it?  Alas I am able to get up and sit on the potty seat with Mommy holding on "so I don't fall in".  Then I realize "wait a minute, this is not so bad after all."
No this is not my bathroom.  I wish!  Source: Pinterest  Yes, I have jumped on the bandwagon.

Potty training starts today!

I must admit for some reason I am more nervous about starting this process with my younger son than I was with the first.  You'd think I'd be at ease seeing this isn't my first go around taming the potty beast but none the less I am not looking forward to it.  I am not entirely sure he is ready but with my husband home from work for the summer, it is a good time to give it a try.  He sure was excited to get his "big boy pull-ups" last night.  So we'll see how things go.  If it doesn't work out we'll take a break and try again in a few months.  Wish us luck!

Any potty training tips you'd like to share?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kalahari Waterpark

We recently did our surprise vacation to Kalhari Waterpark in Sandusky Ohio for our kids.  It was a blast!

We've seen those commercials for Disney where people surprise their kids with a trip to Disney and thought that would be so much fun to do.  Of course, Disney is a bit much right now so we opted for Kalahari.  We have relatives that have been there and highly recommended it.  So we booked the room etc and kept our mouths shut.  That was NOT easy!  
My husband drove them to my Mother-in-laws just like any other weekday and we pretended to be going to work.  We then packed up and went to my Mother-in-law's to pick them up.  Their faces were so funny when they saw us.  I expected a confused look from my oldest but he just looked at us blankly.  My littlest one was just happy to see us no matter why.  So my husband did the build up and I said "so we are going to Kalahari Waterpark and we're going right now!"  My oldest son's eyes got real wide and he started running towards us.  I thought it was to give my husband and I a big hug....silly mommy....he went right between us and ran for the car.  That boy was ready to go!  Unfortunately, they had to suffer through a two-and-a-half hour car ride but they did great.  We crossed into Ohio and when my son saw the Welcome to Ohio sign he said "do they speak Spanish here?"  I guess we need to get him traveling more often :)

 We were welcomed by African drums beats and tribal decor.  The greeters even dress in safari gear!

I know alot of people only go to these places in the wintertime but being that we went in the summer the lines were a little shorter and it was generally a little less crowded.  They have an outdoor portion as well so the first day we got to enjoy some of that since it was nice and sunny.  The second day it rained so we stayed in but that's the beauty of it!  And I didn't have to slather my kids in sunscreen :)

Most of the pics I took are all around the Kid's slides. 
Sorry.... that's just what you get with a 5 and 2 year old.  
But the place was HUGE, no wonder it's America's largest indoor waterpark!  One of the great things for us is that they have a couple slides where 4 or more can all ride together so we got take my son with us but most of the time we were in the kiddie area or we split up so one of us could take my older son to ride some other things.  I would suggest going with a group if you have kids of different ages.  Unfortunately we weren't able to take advantage of all it has to offer this time around .  We wanted to enjoy it as a family and not be like "hey, you take the kids for a couple hours while I go and ride some of the larger rides".  But once both kids are a little older, we'll be able to enjoy everything. Don't get me wrong, even going with little kids is a ton of fun.  
They have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of things there to do.  
I highly recommend going if you get the chance....it is worth the trip!  There is one in WI also!

For more info click here.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Love will triumph - A tragic tale of domestic violence

Natalie of The Busy Budgeting Mama has been experiencing the tragic loss of her best friend Shannon who was  killed as a result of domestic violence.  She has bravely been sharing all of her emotions and experiences with the blog world and has touched many hearts, just like her friend Shannon.  To Natalie, Shannon is an angel now who is inspiring and encouraging the world to bring light to the issue of domestic violence.  I strongly encourage you to read her stories here.  It will change how you view your own relationships with loved ones and hopefully encourage you to live life with an abundance of passion and faith.

Now for the Love triumphant part....
despite the fact that an act of hate took the life of Shannon Lawrence, her story has caused their local authorities to review how cases of domestic violence are handled.  Shannon's sacrifice will hopefully bring about a change to improve the system and possibly save the lives of others suffering from domestic violence.  Natalie's efforts to bring Shannon's story to as many people as possible are sure to bring about positive changes as well.  She has already experienced an outpouring of love from the blog community and asked that as many people share Shannon's story as possible.  Another way to help love triumph is to help Shannon's sweet innocent children.  Emma just 3 and little Peter, just about 1.  These children are sure to feel the effects of this tragedy the most.  If you would like to help them out, a trust fund has been set up for them and you can easily donate via the link on Natalie's blog (sorry I could not get it to link directly from here)

From Natalie....

I want others to know about Shannon
 and her story.....
-The system failed her...
and I pray that her story makes people aware of the incredible flaws in our system and motivates them to make a change! a change to save lives that would otherwise be lost to domestic violence.
-I write this to make people aware of the victims so close to us..1 in 3 women are affected by Domestic Violence. I pray that more of us would reach out to help..
-I write this that people would join me in praying for peace in our communities, our families, ourselves and our world. 
- I write this for healing..for myself and for all mourning the loss of our beautiful Shannon.
- I write this for strength to forgive...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kids say the darndest things....

There's a book I often recall with fondness when my kids say something outrageous...Kids Say the Darndest Things by Art Linkletter.  The funny, crazy, adorable things that can come out of the mouths of babes are certainly to be treasured.  Documenting these little sayings is a great way to do just that.   My sweet friend Cory over at The Hedricks does these adorable posts of the cute little things her daughter says and so I thought I'd give it a try.

1.  My Big Boy out of nowhere says: "Mom, this is gonna be really nice for you!" 
Me: What's that?"  I'm thinking he must have picked me another flower from the yard, but no...
Big Boy: "I'm falling in love with you!"
Now where did he hear that I say!

2.  This one happened to be in the car on our way to the ER recently with my Little Boy.  It was about 12:30am.  He was sick and sleep deprived.
Little Boy:  "Mom, why is the moon following us?"
My husband and I just chuckled but never really answered him.  So a few minutes later.....
Little Boy:  "MOM!  WHY is the moon FOLLOWING US!  He was so angry about it, it was so funny!

3.  Let me preface this by stating that I have a "beauty mark" on my right cheek....
Big Boy:  "Mom, what is that?"
Me: "A mole."
Big Boy: "Why is it there?"
Me: "That's just the way God made me."
Big Boy: "We should buy another one for the other side."

4. My Little Boy has a hard time staying in his room after I put him to bed. As I was carrying my Big Boy up to bed, my Little Boy came out of his room....again.  In a VERY exasperated voice....
Big Boy to Little Boy: "GO TO BED!!!  You need your beauty sleep."

5.  While reading a bedtime story....out of nowhere...
Big Boy: "Mom, do bees poop?"
Gotta love the minds of little boys...contemplating the big questions!

6.  My husband is a teacher and my Big Boy just finished his first year of preschool.  I was unexpectedly home for the day with the boys and when my husband was leaving for work...
Big Boy: "Dad, please call me when you have snack time."
I guess he thinks everyone gets to have snack time :)

What funny things do your kids say?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wedded Bliss

I love weddings.  
I love LOVE.  
And weddings celebrate love at its finest and mark a wonderful new beginning.  
The commitment, the journey, the excitement of life to come.  
That feeling can't be beat.  If your not married yet, you can be inspired and dream about your own big day.  Or if your like me, it reminds you of your own wedding and all those great feelings come alive again.

My most prominent memory of my wedding day is how I felt as I walked down the aisle with my Dad.  The church we got married in is sort of dim where lighting is concerned but I swear as I walked down the aisle 
the entire church was bathed in light.  
Everyone looked like they were guilded in gold.  And my husband-to-be was waiting at the end with a stunning smile.  It truly was a holy experience.  I had been wanting to get married long before we actually did but God was telling me that this was exactly where he wanted me to be.  He planned it for this day, in his time.   
The absolute rightness I felt was almost 
breathtaking and I will never forget it.

A few weeks ago my cousin Ashley had her turn and married her love Joey.  The ceremony was held at the St. Joseph's.  Most of my Dad's side of the family has belonged to this church at some point.  We have a lot of history there.  I'm sure there are some great architectural terms to describe this church but I don't know them.  To me it's simply...BEAUTIFUL.

The Church

Then it was off to the reception that was held at an awesome old pump station that was converted into an event hall.  Had I known about this venue when I was getting married I may have insisted we have ours there as well.  It was THAT fabulous!

 The architectural detail of this place was what attracted me.  The industrial beams were made all the more lovely with some white lanterns and ferns suspended from them.  And she did such a beautiful job decorating (with a little help from some family of course).

The centerpieces

The cake - Classic and beautiful, just like the bride herself.

My beautiful Grandmother aka GIGI

Sweet flower girls
The bridal party
First Dance - Ashley and Joey were so relaxed.  My husband and I were so stiff and uncomfortable having everyone look at us we couldn't wait for the song to end!  We look back and laugh at it now.

Dress details - I loved the beadwork on Ashley's dress and the beautiful accent in her hair that stayed in even after the veil came off.

Party People - They did a really cute game for the dinner buffet.  You had to "Name that Tune" for your table to be able to go up to the buffet and get served.  It was a lot of fun but unfortunately our table was musically challenged I guess and we were the second to last table to eat, but we had a blast playing though!

It was a great wedding and I'm so happy for these two lovebirds!

What are some of your favorite memories from your wedding day?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Random bits and pieces

Things have been pretty crazy and hectic around my house lately.  Well, actually for about the past 2 months.  Things with my husband's job have been all over the place.  He's been working lots of extra hours and I never seem to know when he's going to be home.  Of course I see him everyday but our time together just doesn't FEEL like we've seen each other.  Been there?  I think we need a date night soon.  

Regardless of the stressful days that we have where we seem to hit the floor running and never stop til we drop in bed at night, I have been able to pause and appreciate a few things.  

Silly things? 

Simple things?  

Why yes, but I appreciate them none-the-less.

1.  A walk in the woods.  
There's a healing quiet in the woods that stills my racing brain and settles my soul.  You're surrounded by greenery and the sun peeking in through the branches dappling the floor below with glorious light. It's a great rejuvination...this walking amongst the wild.

2.  The tamed beast
Horses are like another kind of heaven.  Just ask any of the "horse people".  They are a happy serene people content to bask in the aura of these beasts.  Above is Jessie, my sister's horse.  He is big and beautiful and loved dearly by my niece.  We had the pleasure of visiting a horse show this past weekend at a local park.  Just being around the horses was so relaxing.  

They even had these "mini" horses (not ponies) there.  They were so cute and basically looked like large dogs.  It was really neat to watch them.   I wish we could have stayed much longer but it was nap time for the boys and the heat was getting to them.

3. Baby feet
I have a love for baby feet.  So fresh and new and well...fat :)  
I'm noticing my 2yr old's are thinning out and becoming less fat so I thought I'd better capture them quick before these sweet pudgy baby feet are gone for good.

4.  Angels wings
I went for a walk the other day during my break at work and the sky was just amazing.  I wish I could have gotten a better picture.  The entire sky was filled with clouds like this.  
They looked just like angel's wings everywhere.

5.  Freedom
Believe it or not I have had the same pair of running shoes for about 4 years now.  They are in horrible shape and needless to say the padding is less than supportive these days.  I am SO excited to have a new pair.  I don't usually go for something girly like this pair with all that hot pink and flower print on the inside but hey, they were on clearance and that was the only way I was getting a new pair.  But now I can run more often and hopefully with less pain in my knees and ankles!

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you find some small thing that makes you smile today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New to the Shop - Mabolo Wood Necklace, Spring Fling I Earrings, & Wood Agate Necklace

I've been busy adding more designs to my Etsy Shop including two new Unisex necklaces and a fun and flirty pair of earrings.  Great for summer birthdays and hard-to-find men's gifts!

Mabolo Wood Necklace

Yep, you've seen this necklace before in my Tough guy meets Teddybear post.  
My husband wears this one all the time :)

Wood Agate Necklace
 This straightforward/neutral design work well with just about anything!

Spring Fling I Earrings
Dangling Czech glass fringe make this pair fun and flirty!   
They are a great compliment to my Spring Fling Bracelet design.

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