Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reflection




I haven't done an I <3 Faces entry in a few weeks so I thought I would jump on board again this week.
The theme for the week is reflection. This picture immediately came to mind. Mia loves this toy and when she got it for Christmas she spent a lot of time in this position.

For more entries and lots of talent, visit I Heart Faces this week.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Our Lucky Day

A few weeks ago on Classy Mommy's blog I was lucky enough to win tickets to the Thomas the Train Live show on Broadway in New York City. I didn't say anything to Austin because I wanted him to be surprised, but I could hardly contain my excitement.

It was a gorgeous day, one the first truly beautiful days we have had this Spring. The show started at 5 so we headed up after lunch, but stopped on the way to pick up Aunt Lauren to join us in the fun.

I thought for sure Austin would fall asleep on the car ride, but he was too excited. Instead he pointed out nearly everything he saw out the window for almost two hours. The funniest thing was that all of the sudden he said, "Look Mommy, look Aunt Lauren, it's Geico!" We thought we heard him wrong until we looked up and saw a billboard of the latest ad with the stack of bills with eyes.

The trip was fine and we didn't hit much traffic at all until we were about to enter the tunnels. Of course, that is when we heard this from the back seat, "I have to go pee pee!"

It was bumper to bumper through the tunnel and I knew that even when we got through the tunnel we would still have to go find parking near the theater before he would have a chance to go potty. I prayed he would make it. He kept informing me and I kept begging him to please hold it. Finally, as we neared the parking garage, I could tell he was desperate. I told him that if he could keep from having an accident I would buy him something special at the show.



And he made it! Yay for Austin. He is now the proud owner of a light thingy that says Thomas the Train on it.


As you can see he immediately formed a special relationship with it.


Going into the theater was so exciting for him. There was so much to look at and he was eager for the show to start. By the way, our seats were fantastic. We were in the second row of the first balcony which was the perfect vantage point for a little guy.


He passed the time waiting for the show to start by having a snack which he barely shared with us.

Finally, the cast of the show started to come out to introduce themselves and the crowd, including Austin, cheered with glee.

But, that was nothing compared to when the star of the show came on stage.


I was honestly very impressed with the trains and how large and "real" they were. The excitement in the room was deafening.

The play was about the circus coming to Sodor and more specifically the farm. Austin loved the farm scene and all the animals singing.

The sheep were so cute!

There were great lessons tied into the storyline. One was that Thomas was trying to do more than he was capable of and ended up causing a lot of problems because he wouldn't ask for help.


Austin was fascinated. He told me several times that he wanted to be in the show too.

The cast was really terrific. The music and dancing were on par with a Broadway show and Austin was out of his seat joining them every time the music began.



In the end, Thomas learned some valuable lessons and everyone present was happy for him.


The circus was held and because the ring master was held up in another town, Sir Topham Hat stepped in to save the day.


Austin loved EVERY single minute of the show and I loved every single minute of seeing the joy on his face and watching him dance to the music.


I would highly recommend this show to any mommies with a Thomas lover. It far exceeded my expectations in terms of entertainment and quality.


After the show we all went to get some delicious NY pizza and had the added bonus of being near a firehouse that left on two calls.

An afternoon of Thomas, followed by pizza, firetrucks, skyscrapers, a balloon, a new Thomas toy and time with Mommy and Lauren.

In Austin's words, "I had a great day Mommy!!!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My First Video and the Bracelet Winner

On my husband's side of the family, which is large and growing larger all the time (so fun!) we started doing a birthday Pollyanna this year due to tightening budgets. My wonderful father-in-law received my name and gifted me with the Creative Vado video camera. I love it! It is smaller and lighter than my cell phone and the quality of the videos is great considering the low price tag.

For some reason Mark and I never purchased a video camera because we didn't think we were the video type (strictly photos around here), but boy were we wrong.

There have been so many moments, mostly hilarious Austin episodes, that we wished we could have captured.

And, now we can.

So, prepare yourself for our first family video.

Austin got the movie Madagascar 2 in his Easter basket so we have been doing a lot of dancing around here to the fun music from the soundtrack.

Mia wasn't going to miss out on that action.

video


Now on to what most of you really want to know.

Oh sure, you will tell me in the comments otherwise, but I know how it goes.

According to Mr. Random.org the winner of the bracelet is:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

13

Timestamp: 2009-04-19 04:02:54 UTC


And, lucky number 13 was:

Caitlin Dee said...

And I follow you! I was following you on google reader, but I added you also on my blogger acct.:)

Yay Caitlin!!!

Caitlin just had her first baby a few days ago. Her daughter is absolutely precious, but poor Caitlin (like every new mommy) is not getting much rest.

Hope this makes your day and makes you feel as beautiful and glowing as you are.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Finally!!!

It's finally here....Spring.

Today we walked out of the house and into the bright sunshine with a bounce in our steps (except Mia who is still refusing to walk). We headed to the playground to meet some friends for a picnic. It was gorgeous, and if the kids would not have eventually melted down due to lack of napping, we would have stayed all day. The next few days are supposed to be even nicer.

We have waited a long time for this.

I was reminded, as both of my kids were enjoying their time on the swings, of the sheer joy of being at the playground as a kid.

I too loved to swing.

I vividly remember the feeling of the wind flowing through my long hair, the sun shining on my face as I would lean back to pump my legs taking me higher and higher, the way my mind would wander as I daydreamed of happy, pretty things and the wonderful feeling of "flying."

I couldn't help but smile as I watched my precious children enjoying this shared simple pleasure.


I love this time of year and all that it brings.

Renewal, blossoming, warmth, color...and swinging.

Today the park was busy and swinging was not something I had the chance to do (unless I would have fought a preschooler for one), but believe me it will happen soon.



My giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight, so don't forget to enter here.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter 2009 (Part 2)

We had a great time dyeing Easter eggs with Austin the night before Easter. This was our first effort, since last year we agreed that he was still too young to really appreciate it. Not to mention that he was still attempting to eat all art related supplies back then.

He was so into seeing the eggs change color that he wanted to keep dipping them into color after color.

So...we did end up with one brown egg.

But, we all enjoyed the dyeing fun. Mark made an egg with a face on it and Austin quickly decided to name it Scott after the Imagination Movers guy. I guess I will be having to make egg salad during nap time so he doesn't have a melt down over Scott's demise.

Easter morning was great. We had hidden a few eggs around the living room and Austin got so into looking for them that he walked right past his Easter basket three or four times. Needless to say, when he finally saw it he was VERY excited. He got two DVDs he really wanted, a big bubble wand, Cars stickers and of course candy. Mia was really excited about her basket too. She got the Little People Noah's ark, a kitty puppet and some board books.

After church we headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house for another egg hunt, playing with cousins and Easter dinner. The food as ALWAYS was delicious and we all had a great time together.


It was a great Easter and the best part was reflecting on the amazing gift of a Savior who humbled Himself to come down to our level, sacrifice Himself for our sin and rise again so that we can have a relationship with Him. What a beautiful act of love!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter 2009












Don't forget to enter my giveaway here.

Flower girl




My submission for this week's Easter themed I <3 Faces contest is a picture of Mia playing with the flower headband that I bought her, mostly for picture taking. Of course she refused to keep it on her head long enough for a picture, but she loved playing with it and trying to get it on herself.

Ultimately, she looked really cute wearing it around her neck, so I shot a bunch of pictures of her that way.


To see more submissions to this week's theme click here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Worst Birthday???

If you read my previous post, then you know that Friday was my 35th birthday.

It now seems ironic that I posted about one of my best birthdays so far, because before the day was over this one would end up being potentially one of the worst.

Most of the day was beautiful. The weather report was for rain and temps in the 50's. What I got was no rain and temps in the mid 60's.

A great friend came over and brought a terrific lunch and helped me get some organizational projects brainstormed for a future organizing marathon we plan to do for the sake of my sanity. (Where does all the stuff/toys come from?)

Both of my kids napped for nearly 3 hours!!!

Later, our friends came over again to watch the kids so that Mark and I could go out.

Our evening out was set to be dinner and a movie, which we never do because we feel compelled to rush home and relieve our babysitters who are often family and friends that have volunteered their time.

I knew what movie we were going to see, but the restaurant was a surprise. I had hinted about wanting to have sushi and really hoped on a certain restaurant. Mark came through and I was thrilled!

Dinner was fantastic. The atmosphere and food was amazing and the only problem was that we finished with nearly an hour until the movie.

We decided to leave anyway and just go sit at the theater for awhile.

The road between the restaurant and the theater was a four lane road with a double yellow line as the divider. About four miles into our 8 mile drive we saw a car about 150 yards away coming straight at us in our lane.

We were in the left lane and there was a car directly to our right. The was no where for us to go as the car continued to threaten us with a head on collision.

Mark began laying on the horn hoping to startle the driver back into the appropriate lane. When it appeared that wasn't working, he slammed on the brakes and we braced ourselves for a terrible impact. My beautiful children flashed before my eyes.

My only explanation for what happened next is angels.

At the very last second the car swerved and instead of a head on collision we were side swiped. The car, we assume with a drunk driver, did NOT stop. What is wrong with people these days?

The jolt was not enough to deploy the air bags and Mark, with adrenaline pumping, made a u-turn and tried to catch up to the car to at least get a description or license plate number.

Unfortunately, we weren't the only cars on the road and by the time we made the turn we had no idea which car it was. Mark sped up and we eyed each car we passed for damage. No luck.

We assume the driver turned or pulled over somewhere.

I had called 911 by then and was giving the dispatcher the details of the accident. He asked if we were headed home and I told him that it was my birthday and we were between dinner and a movie. He apologized for my bad luck and told us an officer would be calling us soon to meet us wherever we decided to stop after giving up on finding the other car.

When we stopped, we got out and evaluated the damage while we waited for the officer to arrive. We were stunned that it was so minor in comparison to what it could have been. Still, there is easily more than $1000 in damage. And, though it is frustrating that we will have to pay the deductible for the damage, we are so grateful to be okay and alive.

After spending a brief amount of time with the officer who reiterated that there was probably nothing they could do because we didn't get a plate or much of a description of the car, we decided that we would go ahead and see the movie.

Needless to say, I don't think either one of us was completely concentrating on the movie, but the few laughs we managed from it were welcome.

On the way home it really started to sink in. We came inches... moments... from major injury or even death. The speed limit on that road was 45 miles per hour and the car was far exceeding that. That kind of impact would have been devastating.

The thought of what could have been brought us to tears.

I came home and spent quite a bit of time in each of the kids' rooms just watching them sleep.

In the morning, I felt like the funk I have been in was totally lifted. The rainy, gray skies and whining didn't bother me as much and the sadness was gone. What remained was gratitude and joy that I was present and surrounded by my wonderful husband and sweet, beautiful children.

At one point Saturday morning Austin was watching TV, and I walked over and gave him a kiss. He asked me if I was leaving. When I responded that I wasn't, he apparently didn't hear me. He asked me again, "Mommy are you leaving? Are you leaving me Mommy?" Those words hit me like a brick and through tears I responded, "No sweetie, Mommy is staying right here with you."

As scary as it was and as shaken as I still am, part of me is grateful for the perspective that has resulted. Maybe one day I will look back and see this not as the worst birthday, but as one of the most positively life altering.

Thank you God for protecting us!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway here. ***

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Best Birthday Story and A Giveaway


One of my best birthdays to date happened the first year that Mark and I were dating.

He called and told me to be ready to be picked up at a certain time and even specified what I should wear. The specified outfit was jeans and a black, button-down, 3/4 sleeve shirt that he always complimented me on when I would wear it.

I anticipated a fun night out, considering the outfit, and was wondering what he had planned.

When he showed up and I opened the door, I was shocked. In fact, I am pretty sure I was speechless for a moment. Then I said, "If you are wearing that, then I am changing right now."

You see, he was standing there looking dapper in a navy blue suit.

As I continued to protest, his response was always, "Trust me."

When we got in the car he was tight-lipped and not answering any questions thrown his way about where we were going or why I was going to look so stupid hanging out in my jeans with such a nicely dressed, handsome man.

We pulled into the mall, the largest mall on the East Coast. Now I was really curious.

He laughed maniacally as I continued to bombard him with questions.

We entered the mall and he finally divulged part of the plan. It went something like this:

You have one hour and $$$ budget to buy an outfit, shoes and any accessories you need/want for a nice dinner and another activity following.

What??? It took me a minute or two just to let it all sink in. Seriously... this man, who I love, just deposited me in the largest mall I have ever been to and wants me to play "Pretty Woman" in ONE HOUR!!!

So many stores...so many choices.

He was so patient as I ran in and out of stores that I knew I usually had pretty good luck with.

I pushed the thought of having a bad shopping day out of my mind and rushed on.

I finally decided on a beautiful red, black and white, Asian patterned silk shirt, a warm, well fitting pair of black pants with a scalloped detail on the hem and a fun pair of black heels. (Sorry but I don't have a picture of the actual outfit. The man didn't think of everything, but he was close.)

I had gone a little over my hour time limit, but I was forgiven.

We rushed to the car where I was told to stand with my eyes closed. I heard him open the trunk and I wondered what he was up to. My stomach became a garden of butterflies.

I became even more curious when he told me to stand like a scarecrow with my arms out to my sides. I was beginning to think I was on some kind of reality show or candid camera.

The next thing I knew he was draping something around me and it was rather heavy.

I was told I could open my eyes, and there he stood with a dozen roses. Further evaluation revealed that I was now wearing a fabulous, new brown leather jacket. The dressy kind, not the biker kind if you know what I mean.

We got in the car and headed to dinner at Morton's Steakhouse. It was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s and I enjoyed every moment of the fabulous food, but even more thoroughly enjoyed the company.

Upon our departure it was soon revealed that the after dinner activity was going to see "Chicago." So fun!

I am definitely one of those people who has a love/hate relationship with surprises. But, that night was one of the more memorable of my life. (Of course our engagement blew it away...by far.)

All of my friends were jealous of what a creative and fun guy I was lucky enough to be dating. I knew it was far more than that.

So, here we are years later and the birthday celebrations, though still great, are far more predictable, require a babysitter and end much earlier.

But, I wouldn't trade them for anything because there is nothing better than spending my birthday with a man that I love more than is truly expressible, and my children who have brought more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined.

And, in honor of how blessed I feel on this, my 35th birthday, I have decided to bless one of you with a beautiful bracelet.

I am a Silpada Designs Jewelry representative and if you have never heard of them or seen their stuff, then you are missing out. Truly! All of the jewelry is handcrafted of the finest .925 sterling silver, no plating or painting. Many of the pieces are beautifully accessorized with semi-precious gemstones and other natural materials. Even better, these high quality pieces are guaranteed for life from any defects. I have thoroughly enjoyed working for this great company and selling their beautiful jewelry. Now, one of you will be the recipient of one of these fabulous pieces.

I am giving away the bracelet pictured below. It is a .925 sterling silver, beaded bracelet with a lobster clasp. The beads are approximately 5mm in size, so it is a delicate looking piece that would even be appropriate for young ladies.



All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post. I am not about making things complicated. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your email is not enabled in your profile.

For an additional entry you can follow me, or if you already follow just let me know in a second comment.

The giveaway winner will be drawn using Random.org on April 19th. Good luck!



**If you are interested in learning more about Silpada jewelry, seeing a catalog or placing an order, please email me and I will get all relevant information to you ASAP.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

These help you???

Last week Austin was playing with my glasses and I noticed that he was having a little trouble focusing.

I think he secretly liked how "dizzy" they made him.

Man, I love that kid!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Musings

I haven't done one of these random posts in a while, so here goes.

**First, thank you to all of you who offered encouragement, support, prayer and hugs after my last post. The last few days have been quite a bit better and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I know that there are people praying for me and supporting me. The weather has been really sunny and nice too!

**Mia is still refusing to walk and I really want her to be mobile by Easter so she can do the egg hunt with her brother and cousins.

**We managed to get a few projects done around the house today. That always makes me feel better.

**I am looking forward to spending time this week with some teacher friends who are on Spring Break.

**I attended my cousin's bridal shower on Saturday. It was nice to see family. I took Mia with me so she could spend some time with her Gigi (great-grandma) who lives 4 hours away and hasn't seen her in months. I learned first hand why there are so many complaints online about Target's registry service. Emily received 5 crock pots because everyone that purchased gifts from Target, regardless of where they were from or what they bought, found that the items were not removed after being scanned by the cashier. It became a running joke, but I am sure it was frustrating to the people who bought the gift and now for Emily who will have to try to return all the duplicates to Target. I truly hope she doesn't have trouble returning them. I have heard that Target is really bad about registry returns and will only allow 2 per visit. What???

**I learned at the shower, that my cousin has 6 or 7 bridesmaids. Fun, but challenging for me, the photographer,who will have to fit a wedding party of approximately 16 into the pictures.

**After several days of nice weather, we are about to have several days of winter again.

**Friday is my 35th birthday and I have decided to do my first ever giveaway. So, be sure to come back.

**My brother-in-law got engaged on Friday to a long time friend of mine. I will post the whole story as soon as I can get some pictures to go along with it, but in the meantime, congratulations Ian and Leah!

**I won a great prize on Classy Mommy's blog. I won four tickets to the Thomas the Train Live show in NYC. Austin is going to love it and we are currently working out the details of who will go with us.

**I haven't gotten the kids' outfits for Easter finalized because I always wait until I have a better idea of what the weather will be like. You never know what you are going to get with Spring. So, I have a little bit of shopping to take care of this week. Shoes and tights for Mia and a maybe a sweater vest or jacket for Austin.

**We watched Slumdog Millionaire last night. What a great movie!

**I have probably bored you to tears by now, so I will end this rambling with one of Mia's cutest new "tricks". When asked, "Mia, what does a rooster say?", she responds "doodle-doo."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Slump

I'm in a slump.

Not a blogging slump.

A life slump.

For the last couple weeks, I just can't shake it.

I thought the weather getting warmer or the sun shining would help. And, though it does to some extent, it really doesn't.

I feel frustrated, annoyed and emotional most of my day.

My patience is thin to say the least.

I have cried each day.

Nothing drastic has changed in my life.

My husband loves me beyond words and I feel the same about him.

My kids are healthy, though I swear they have been whining incessantly and Austin seems to have learned how to completely tune me out.

I can see in Mark's face that he is worried about me.

I wake up each day with hope that it will be better.

I pray that it will be better.

I can't put my finger on the problem.

I hope it is just a phase and I will wake up tomorrow and feel foolish for writing this post.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Out???


Mia: Can you believe that our mommies got us all excited about Spring and getting outside and we are stuck in these strollers?

Mia's friend: Yeah, and even worse they are making us watch our brothers run around and play.

Mia: I think I better start walking on my own soon. Otherwise it is going to be a really long spring and summer.