Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It has been awhile since I have been on here, but I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!




And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people" Luke 2:10

Friday, November 19, 2010

I didn't have time to study

The other day, thanks to a link on BooMama's blog, I took an "abbreviated" yet, (according to BooMama, a very accurate) version of the Myers-Briggs personality test.

I was blown away by the accuracy of it.

Wow.

If you are interested in finding out about your personality, click on over here to take a quick "test".

Then come back and click here to read a analysis of it.

I am an EFSJ.

Reading about it was eery, really. I mean, come on, are these people living with me, or what?



(Does anyone have a number for a good therapist? Ahem.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Santa contains the same letters as Satan

OK.



Maybe that was a drastic - or dramatic - title. (Me? Dramatic? Nah.)



It wasn't THAT bad.



But still....I am ticked.



I feel that at 7 years old, L is on the cusp of letting go of some of her childhood innocence.



I agree, 7 is too young to be letting go of anything, much less innocence.



However, you can't shelter your children and you can't lock them in their rooms....but, I might have already tried that if she had a lock on her door.



(When we built our house Steven and I agreed that we couldn't think of one good reason for our children to have locks on their doors. So far, I agree.)



That being said, children often see not only the world that we present to them, but the world as it is presented to others.



L came home a month or so ago and asked me, "Is Santa really real?"



So, I asked her: "Do you think he is real?"



I could read on her face that she wanted to believe. Badly.



But there was doubt.



She looked up at me and asked: "Do you think he is real?"



I looked at her and honestly replied: "I believe."



**********************

Steven was not raised in a home that celebrated Christmas, much less, believed in Santa. He has played along, and at times, seemed almost as excited as the kids. However, there are times when he doesn't get "it". He has asked, "Why not just tell her? She knows that isn't possible. I mean, come on?"



What he fails to realize, as a child who never got the chance, is that she DOES believe. Because she wants to.



Once she gives up on Santa...there goes the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, and a large...VERY LARGE, piece of her childhood.



The part that believes in the un-believeable.



I, for one, hope that part sticks around for awhile.



***********************



This past weekend was our 3rd annual "girls weekend" in which my mom, L, Sarah and I go to Branson and spend the days, and night, shopping and staying on the Landing.



While there, L spotted Santa. I asked if she wanted to go talk to him. She did.



Now, let me tell you that L has asked for a "medium sized horse". Although this seems like a big deal, really, it isn't. We know people.



Or should I say, Santa knows people.



Santa was able to bring a pony to L four years ago.



However, the Santa on the Branson Landing, didn't get that memo. I get that. However, I can't imagine why he felt compelled to tell my daughter that he could not bring live animals on his sleigh because he travelled through cold parts of the world and they would freeze to death. Not only did he tell her this nice warm hearted story about the freezing of animals, he did it in a way that chastised her for asking for one in the first place.



Yes. He. Did.



(I feel compelled to add that L is fairly shy around those she doesn't know. She is soft spoken, mild mannered and wouldn't want to bother anyone....yet here he was making her feel bad for putting a voice to her Christmas dreams and wishes.)



(Also, I KNOW that not every child that asks for a horse, or a car, or a 4 wheeler, or go cart, or Nintendo DS, or a bike, or a pony, or a doll, is going to get one. I don't ask for Santa to make ANY promises.....but I feel like he shouldn't squash any dreams either. A simple, "I can't make any promises, but we'll see" would suffice.)



As I took note of her red face and wavering ill attempt at a smile (she wouldn't want to seem rude to Santa) I stepped forward to add that Santa must "remember that he brought her a pony a few years ago and THANKFULLY that one arrived safe and sound".



He looked at L and said that with any gift a conversation with mom and dad was in order to see if that was something that could be accommodated.



He then asked for a hug....a kiss on the cheek (that he didn't deserve) and told L that she had the most "striking eyes he had ever seen".



I walked forward, told L it was time to go, as he tried making conversation with me by asking:



"Where are you all from?"



Geesh!



You're Santa...you should know!





Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parenting Grade Card- Life Lessons: F

(Excerpt from random conversation last night with B, age 5)

Me:"........and so I think we ought to do something this year at Christmas to help others."

B: "Like last year? At church? We did the food and toys."

Me: "Yeah, kinda like last year. Maybe more, if we can."

B: "I don't like it when we give toys....it makes me jealous. I keep thinking how I might want that toy."

Me: "B, you should be so thankful at how blessed we are. You have toys, clothes, food, a warm house.... We are so blessed. Many people don't have these things we take for granted."

B: "Can't we just give them gift cards and money?"

*****************

Me: "...and God wants us to give what we have to help others. It is what we are supposed to do. I understand that at 5 years old, jealousy sneaks up on you, but you need to understand how blessed we are and that God doesn't want us to be greedy. It is a sin."

B: "What is a sin?"

Me: "You know what sin is. Sin is an action that pushes God away. Being greedy pushes God away, and he wants to be close to us....not pushed away."

B: "Well, when I was greedy, I didn't know it was a sin."
B: "OK?"
B: "OK?"
***************************

Me: "I think you would be surprised at how many kids at your school go hungry on the weekends. There are children that don't hardly have any food from the time they leave on Friday, until they come back on Monday. Their parents don't have the money to supply the food or there is some other reason that there isn't any. Sometimes neglect. These kids could be your friends and you might not even know. Can you imagine being hungry and me not being able to feed you?"

B: (after thinking awhile)....."So their parents are failures?"

Me: "What?"

B: "Failures with their money?"


*********************
B: There are probably some kids at school that are hungry, but there aren't as many kids that don't have food in our town, as there are in other places in the world."

Me: "You are probably right."

B: "......like the Gulf of Mexico....."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just a bunch of hillbillies....

This weekend the kids and I had a book signing that we attended.

A local young man had written a book that was compiled of numerous biographies from people in the area that had interesting stories to tell.


One such biography was of someone who is well known to us: Grandpa.

Yep, my Grandpa M.

Seated on either side of him were other relatives of ours. A great aunt and a second cousin. They, too, had stories to tell.

(I, however, didn't get a picture of them...too much pressure to move through the line...Sorry.)



It is interesting that in these Ozark Hills, life takes so many different turns and people in all different walks of life come together. Their personal histories were diverse...even though there was a common thread binding them all. The Ozarks.
The kids were excited that they each had a book that Grandpa signed for them.
I think Grandpa was equally excited that he was getting to sign the books.

Although not featured in the book, Donna Douglas, better known as Elly May Clampett, was also present at the book signing and signed the kids' books for good measure. Grandpa didn't seemed fazed by her though. He claimed that "back in the day" they had once shared a dance.

Who knew?


I think that it would be a tough call as to who was the biggest "Hillbilly" in this picture.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

It's been a ride.....

I can't believe how busy things have been lately.

It seems I can't find time to do the simplest things. But not that long ago......

I was spending the afternoon watching L give Mi Mi .......





....and Pa Pa a ride on the pony cart.

Then in an effort to pick up the pace we decided to head to Clinton, Arkansas.


Here we enjoyed watching a little wilder sort of ride. After we finished playing musical chairs we settled in for the show, along with thousands of others.


And it was a show.....



(In case you can't tell, those wagons are going FAST.)




And, um, this wagon is supposed to have wheels. However, there was a minor accident.



Then there were a few lazy evenings spent like this.....



Tell me, what is better than hot dogs and s'mores?


Even if your definition of a s'more is a Hershey's candybar.



Then we took in Community Days.......and spent the time with friends.



B rode his gator in the parade (again). I walked with him. Then, as we made our way back to the beginning of the parade route we met up with Steven and L. B then abandoned his momma and took off with his daddy and L. So I snuck back around and caught them on the back side of the parade route.



L had wanted to ride the pony cart in the parade. She was a little apprehensive so she asked Steven to walk beside her. He told her he would just ride.
And then B joined them.
Poor Peanut.

Afterwards L's friend Brooke bribed her with a shopping trip and $5 to get on stage and sing karaoke with her. She was hesitant at first. In fact, she flat out said "no".
It took well over ten minutes of her seven year old friend begging, pleading and pulling on her arm...... until she nodded her head in consent.





It didn't take long for her to warm up. Only about half-way through the first Taylor Swift song.
I then took the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. This show:



When the girls finished up we loaded up our "friends",


and got ready for the turtle race.




The kids got a dollar just for having a turtle. They didn't even care if they won.
OoooooooKay.......
B cared.




But he still didn't win.
L, not being a fan of 'handling' the turtles, forged ahead and rounded -up the escaping turtles and brought them back 'home'.



B, was punished after his lack luster performance at the turtle race. At five years old we thought it was appropriate to make him paint our stock trailer.
In his underwear.


Not appropriate?
Really?
Actually he just wanted help and Steven let him.
What can I say? He is a hard worker.

This kind of rigorous schedule takes a toll on a person. The only effective treatment?
Sleep.

Well.....sleep and the smile that my children, still wanting to occasionally sleep together and liking each other enough to fall asleep holding hands, puts on my face.
That makes me feel good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Like a lifetime ago....

....but it was only two years. This picture captured an innocence. An innocence that I always hoped my children would have, but the passage of time - and the fact that we are human - keeps innocence at bay.

Still, as her momma I see her with my heart, not my eyes, and even two years later, this is still how she looks to me.


And these two.....well, they have my heart also.



Instead of seeing hair that looks like Steven cut it himself.....hair that never sees the light of day because of the constant wearing of a cowboy hat, I see a man.
A very good man.

A man that loves his children more than life itself. A man who loves me. A man that loves my sister, as if she was his.

My sister requested for him to not wear his hat, during the wedding, and he obliged. This is the only time that I have ever seen Steven in public without his hat.

We have been together for 18 years.

That is a lot of love he has for her.

(Heck, he wore his hat at our wedding.)

I also see a boy. A boy that loves his daddy (and his momma). A baby in transition. In some ways he was so much a baby and in others he was already a tough little boy.

My heart aches. I wish there were a way to return to that time. A way to return, without giving up all times we have had since then, too.

Isn't that like having your cake and eating it too?

It doesn't - and can't - happen.

And so I remember. And I ache. And I smile. And I think of how blessed I am.

And, again, I remember.

Monday, September 20, 2010

So wrong.....

While sitting on my lap, B turned and patted my chest.

B: "I wish these still worked."

Me: (Laughing) "What!?!"

B: "You would drink milk and then I would drink milk......we would save money on milk that way."


We are seriously going to be in need of a family discount at the psychologist's office.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Please commentate on my fashion (or lack thereof) commentating

I fell in love with these boots last week:























My husband, who has fantasies of me being a full-time cowgirl, was happy to oblige my every (cowgirl) desire.



Because of that happiness to oblige....I ended up with this too:






But now......you see, I have boots. And a belt. But I do not know what else to add to that cowgirl equation.






I am used to boots like these:







Well, they are black like these, but more of a croc skin type of patent leather.

Yes. Croc skin patent leather.


Weird. I know. But with BLACK, I know how to dress. I have BLACK down.


But brown.... well, brown has other issues. The other pair of boots I have are what I would call an Amber color. But Amber, really? What do you wear with Amber boots? I wore a big orange sweatshirt and went to MFA, or on a buggy ride, where no one really cared.


Maybe I am the one with issues.

I found that I had three dilemmas with the boots.

  1. I have ONE pair of jeans that fit and they are intended for flip flops. Since losing some weight, I am currently down to one pair of jeans. This is because approx. a month before starting my diet, I gave up on ever losing weight and gave away all my jeans. Ahem. Now it is closing in on fall...which is also when I start wearing jeans with heels and I am going to need some jeans with some length. Jeans that don't currently have a pony tail holder looped strategically around the loop, back to the button, back to the other loop and back around the button. Yeah. I am cool like that.
  2. My second dilemma, that I discovered when trying on with aforementioned "flip flop" jeans, is that I have an issue with dark wash jeans with lighter colored shoes. Who knew? Although the leather is not light....it isn't black (which we have established I know how to work with), and the darker wash jeans seem to stop and point to the boots and say....."Look! Here are her boots!" (Of course that could be because they DID stop...right about my ankles.) I need some cohesiveness...some unity..mind you, in my outfit.
  3. My final dilemma is that I also noticed when trying on with "flip flop" jeans that you could see where the top of my boots were under my jeans. Maybe this was because of the short length and absence of "bulk"....? Or maybe it was because someone 5'2" wasn't meant to wear tall topped boots? I so hope this isn't the case.
  4. Since I was never very good with numbers I will add another dilemma....a 4th, what have you, on a list of 3. I feel that I should address the suggestion of "tucking jeans in" and "wearing with a dress" before they are actually made. I haven't ruled out the possiblity of wearing the jeans with a cute dress. However, since I have a weird body, the probability of me finding a dress that fit right, without making my hips look 3x bigger than normal, is slim. If I do, I will most definitely try the dress on with the boots. Also, I am not opposed to tucking the "britches legs" into the boots....if it is accompanied by a sweatshirt that also conveys the "'Oh, I just threw a shirt on and pulled my boots on and was in too much of a hurry to think much about my outfit' look" that is essential to pulling it all together...or a oversized shirt with some skinny jeans that says "I am not afraid of bulk on top to balance the obvious bulk on bottom".
You can see that I am in an obvious quandry. I only have one shirt that is brown and plaid (to be worn over a brown tank top -with or without the belt) and no jeans.
I think that jeans might be an essential part of this equation, barring the finding a miracle dress.
Any and all help -or links -would be appreciated!

Monday, August 30, 2010

One of those days?

Have you ever had one of those days? Maybe two?

You know the kind.

You get out of bed to what seems like a normal morning. Everything is as it should be.

And then, without warning, out of the blue...it hits you.

All of a sudden you go from thinking about how good your life is, to thinking about everything that is wrong with it.

Maybe wrong, is a little strong of a word.

In fact, even while typing it, I thought to myself, "wrong?.?.?.....I wouldn't say that anything is wrong in my life....."

But, for the life of me, at this moment, I am unsure of how to better explain it.

Rather, I will give an example.

This morning, instead of being thankful for the fact that I am able to work part time, I find myself wallowing in the jealousy pool that I wasn't able to be a full-time stay at home mom the years prior to my kids starting school.

In my mind I have romanticized "play dates" and "mommy's day out". I have envisioned going to bed at night knowing that I didn't have to go anywhere the next day. One day of playing turning into another day of playing.

Normally I am perfectly content, and in fact, feel EXTREMELY blessed that I was able to be with my children as much as I was. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would be working part time, have a wonderful husband, two beautiful kids and a warm, cozy place that I love to call home, but today, I am wrestling with the jealousy monster.

I am ashamed of this. I really am.

Normally, I tell Steven how thankful I am for our life. In fact I have told him before that I "want for nothing".

Now, do not mistake this as me saying "I have everything", because that is NOT the case. I do not. But I find that I am so content with what I have that it is almost alarming. Personality-wise, I think it would be safe to generally categorize me under the "I pick everything about myself apart" column. That is why my contentment with my life is so monumental.

Until today.

Today I am reading blogs and thinking "look at their house", or "she dresses up and stays home with her kids", "look how THEY take long walks at the park", or "they get to do this....."

I am jealous of people I don't know, houses I have never seen, and circumstances that might not even be as "picturesque" on the inside as they are on the outside. Even if they are....good for them!

Generally speaking, when I compare myself to others I see my shortcomings....but I am not jealous.

Today? Total jealousy.

So, excuse me now while I try to detox my mind, ask God for his direction and forgiveness, and thank Him for this wonderful life that He has provided me....... In the meantime? Well, I think that today I should stay away from everyone else's blog.

It will just be better this way. Otherwise I will quit my job (which won't help since my kids are now in school), want to finish my basement, redecorate the entire upstairs and try and weave together grapevines out of our woods to make baskets big enough to store all of this "PATHETIC" that I have lying around.....

Lets face it....I don't have that kind of energy today.

Hopefully I will be much more zen, and content, tomorrow.

Hopefully.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Everyone in town knows"

As you know, school started last week. Actually, a week ago today, to be exact.

I wasn't prepared when L started kindergarten two years ago and I remember the lump in my throat and the ache in my chest as if it were yesterday.

I also remember chastising myself because I never, never thought that I would be "one of those parents". Pitiful. Pathetic. Parents.

You know the type.




Parents who live through their children with seemingly no definition of self...or at least self sans kids.




Well, all I can say now is, "what did my 19 year old self know?"




Nothing. That's what.




*****************




I think that what has become ever so apparent to me over the last seven years is that, now that I have kids, and am a "pitiful, pathetic parent", my extreme sense of loss over my children starting school has nothing to do with having no "definition of self" but rather a more clear, precise and defined "definition" than I have EVER had before.




*****************


I am so often scolded for being "hard on myself" and "unhappy with myself". While both of these things are true.....there are SO many things that I would change....it is also true that I (I am actually going to 'say' it) like myself more since children, than I have ever liked myself before.




I loved being the mother of a baby.




I loved being the mother of a toddler.




I loved being the mother of a preschooler.




And, yes, I love being the mother of school age children.




However, I don't feel as if I am ready for my time to be up, as a mother of the "others".




*************************




Last Wednesday I woke up, walked into the dining room where Steven was figuring his bills, and went into the ugly cry.




The cry may, or may not, have been accompanied by me begging him to let me have another baby......and the words "I am not done", repeated fervently.




(I am not proud...but I am honest.)




He hugged me.




He held me.




He patted my back and wiped my tears.




He consoled me.




And he assured me that "we", were in fact, done.




Admitting defeat I returned to the bathroom, put on my make-up and fixed my hair, got dressed, and then went in and woke up L who was "excited" for her first day of 2nd (where have the years gone?) grade.




I then went in and looked at my baby lying on the bed fast asleep as he had so many times before.




I kissed his head and stroked his cheek.




I took a deep breath, picked him up and held him in my lap as I did when he was a baby, and whispered softly, "B....it's time to wake up...."




Then, without even opening his eyes, his face scrunched up and the tears started flowing as he turned his head into my chest and cried, "I am going to miss you SOOO much."




(It was about this time that I knew that I was going to need to reapply my make-up.)




One thing I can say about my B is that when he knows something is ahead of him, even if it is unpleasant, he doesn't try to get out of it, he wants to just go ahead and (in his words) "get it over with".




Once during breakfast, and once on the ride to school, I spotted him blinking his eyes quickly and looking upwards as if willing the tears to relocate and go anywhere but down his cheeks....each time saying "I am so nervous.".




We arrived at school and Steven, L, B and I walked towards the building. I stopped B, having him take a picture outside his new school. He showed none of the signs of nervousness that he had before.









Two of my friends, Amanda and Amy, were outside, having just taken their children in. I had pep talked myself the whole way there and had kept the tears at bay. I walked towards them, kids flanked by my sides, and smiled to them.




They then asked "How are you doing?".....and it was as if they had given the dam permission to burst.




There was no holding back the waterworks that followed.




B, however, remained steady, DESPITE his blubbering mother at his side. We walked L into class and took her proverbial 1st day pic.





I kissed her goodbye and never did the tears stop.




She seemed unfazed.




I walked, what seemed like 10 miles, down the hallway and turned the corner into his class. I sniffed and wiped and sniffed and wiped and had tears everywhere but on my face.




This was me being BRAVE, I tell you. Brave.




We put up his tote bag, found his seat and I took more pics.






He was smiling and seemed 'nervous' but steady. (Much more steady than his mother.)




I knelt on the floor next to his desk and gave him a pep talk. (Admittedly it was more to myself than it was to him.) I kissed him goodbye and told myself him that I would see him in only a few hours. Steven followed suit.




I walked a few steps and looked back to see him coloring away at his desk.




As I reached the door I heard his voice, wavering, holler "MOMMA!". (I am currently blinking away tears as I recount this.) I turned to find him running towards me and as I held my arms out to him he jumped into them, as he had a million times before, wrapped his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist, and said, "I'll miss you!".




There was no wiping the tears away at this point. They were freely falling.




I could hear his teacher, my friend, in the background, saying "B, tell your momma to have a good day..."




I bent over and started lowering him to the ground, praying silently that this departure wouldn't be any more difficult than it already had.




Once his feet hit the ground he pivoted, went back to his chair, and started coloring again.




I, however, found the nearest door, and my car, and left.




I looked at my phone and noticed that my sister had called.




I called her and blubbered incoherently. Another friend called and I tried to laugh about myself through the tears. Another friend called and I tried, unsuccessfully, to recap the morning without crying.




As I neared work (I work at a funeral home), I felt that God was gently reminding me that ANY one of the people that I would encounter at work today, would gladly, joyously, jubilantly, trade MY tears, for their tears of grief.




In comparison, I had NOTHING to mourn.




My son, and daughter, were healthy, happy children who had started school. Just as EVERY other healthy, happy child their age had.




For them to have NOT started school would have meant that our lives had taken a much different, less desirable, turn.




I should be celebrating my children.....not mourning.




***********************




I would like to tell you that my revelation was like a light through the clouds and that I skipped into work and never gave another passing thought to my aching heart, but that would be a lie.




In fact, it was after noon that day before I could even begin to speak about "it" without my throat closing up and my eyes tearing up.

In fact, when opening the "kindergarten mom survival kit" that my friends made, I still cried.

(Hey, it had a jar of hershey's kisses with a picture of B on it that was labeled "B's kisses", what do you expect?)


In fact, I cried upon picking them up from school that evening, noting how much it seemed they had grown in those short hours....and yet how small they STILL were.




In fact, I still hurt yesterday....almost a week later.




************************




Yesterday, while out with a couple of friends, we ran into another friend of ours who works at the High School. Her daughter had started kindergarten as well.




She said that her daughter was crying when she left her in her class that 1st morning, but that it didn't bother her (the mother), and she didn't cry because she knew that it (school) was necessary.




This mother is NO less of a mother than I. Just different. Probably better.




Definitely more stable.




My friends looked at me, and I laughingly said, "I didn't do that well".........to which she replied, "I know, Kim, I heard. Everyone in town knows! They were all talking about it."




So, today, I will stop crying tears for B, and start crying tears of embarrassment. Maybe even tears of embarrassment for B.




Tears of embarrassment for L, too, while I am at it.




Poor kids.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First day of school



This is all you are going to get until I can "talk" about it without getting a lump in my throat and teary eyes. It is, after all, hard to type when you can't see the screen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Party for one

I have been on vacation and return to work tomorrow. We have done so many fun things this summer...things I don't want to forget.....things I WANT to blog about.

However, tomorrow, my baby starts school. I have been in on-again, off-again tears for weeks. The lump in my throat is so large and is hurting most of the time now...not just nights.

I can't even imagine uploading pics of my babies, while they have this impending departure from my side...it would just hurt TOO much.

So...while I will post these things sometime, it won't be today, or tomorrow, maybe not even the next day.

I don't know how long before I can actually see clearly without tears clouding my vision.

Until that time, I will return to my regularly scheduled pity party already in progress.......

Monday, August 02, 2010

Blooming with love

So, last week we celebrated Steven's 37th birthday.

(cough, cough- he is SO much older than me)

Aunt Sissy and Uncle Jason came over and celebrated with us. Free. Food. Need I say more?

That morning I had to bring out the multi-tasking cape and play superwoman. You see, my steaks and chicken didn't thaw completely overnight in the fridge and I suspected that they wouldn't thaw completely during the day either. So, I loaded up my steaks and chicken and took them to work with me so that I could put them in the fridge once thawed.

OCD. It is a scary thing.

No. I will be honest. It doesn't stop there.

While baking a birthday cake at 5:30 a.m., I went ahead and rubbed down some baking potatoes with bacon grease and wrapped them in foil....ready to go to work with me as well....where I put them in the oven at work, and transported them in a cooler so that on the ride home they could continue to bake to their hearts -make that "my hearts" - content.

The OCD? It's a curse. It really is.

Anyway..........

That evening we enjoyed steak and chicken, twice baked potatoes, biscuts, green beans and chocolate cake and ice cream.

Steven dubbed it the "BEST BIRTHDAY EVER" for no other reason than that he was in a great mood as evident in the photo below.



Not that Steven isn't generally in a good mood. Because he is. However, this mood was a little "out there". It isn't everyday that he plays dress up with a do-rag and my Bon Jovi t-shirt.


***Also, please note that we bring out the good china for special occasions. The fact that the bowl resembles a plastic one from Tupperware is a mere coincidence, I tell ya.

********************************


The next evening Steven suggested that we go out to eat. Considering that I had exhausted all of my cooking mojo the night before, I was in.

B was excited.....as always.

L, after falling asleep during the ride there, was a little less enthusiastic.

However, once the waitress came along with markers for them to add their names, along with countless other names, to the floor, her enthusiasm picked up a notch.


Steven then suggested that I write "Steven -n- Kim" on the floor of the restaurant.





Seriously.





Who IS this guy? I mean, Steven is romantic, much more so than myself, but graffiti endearments?









So...I did what any mature married woman would do.



I got on my hands and knees and pulled out a sharpie.




(Did you doubt it for a minute?)




*********************
The heat and humidity outside was nothing less than oppressive this past weekend. Although we have a swimming pool, the kids never pass up on a trip to the river. In L's words, "it is NEVER too hot to go!"


Who would dream of taking an air-conditioned vehicle to the river? That would be just plain ole' absurd.



So Steven got out the ranger and the expected debate over who got to drive ensued.



L won. Her hair was proving to be somewhat of a problem as it whipped back and forth in the wind and so she asked her daddy to so kindly help.



He did.




ALL. THE. WAY. THERE.

Have I mentioned that he is the BEST daddy in the whole. wide. world?



We turned off the road and made our way towards the water.





It took the kids all of 2.4 seconds to launch themselves in the water. I, however, was on immediate snake patrol.



That is what watching Lonesome Dove will do to you. If you have seen it, you know what I am talking about.





While patrolling, I couldn't help but notice these wildflowers growing. In the rocks. In the blazing sun. And yet they were thriving.



Isn't it amazing?




It seems as if so much more would be needed to sustain it, yet it flourished. God had given this flower everything it needed.


The kids? They seemed to be flourishing as well.

Patience. Love. Guidance. Love. Faith. Love. Hope. Love. Attention.




(And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13)




These things help to keep kids afloat........ and their heads above "water". There are times when my patience seems to have run dry and I get caught up in the daily grind. (OCD, anyone?)


But there is LOVE.



Always, always love.





The kids, well....they kept busy.
Swimming.
Floating.
Conspiring.
Sharing stories.
Sharing secrets......AND dam building strategies.


And Steven?
He was at peace.
Very much at peace.



The guy who can't sit still for a minute...... who is driven to be "productive"..... took a nap.





(Steven? Nap? This is all but unheard of around here....)


So, I left him to rest, joined the kids and put Daisy on snake patrol.
And while Steven continued to nap.......



.....the kids shared their dam building strategies and we constructed a dam. A very sturdy and strong dam, if I do say so myself.




B gave it is seal of approval.


****************************
Daddy eventually woke and the kids worked their way back to the ranger. Before I knew what was going to happen, I was lovingly bestowed this gift:




Yeah. The flowers I had admired before? The ones that had prompted me to contemplate how had God provided for them.....and for us?



Yep. These were the same ones.


For me. (Sigh)



**********************


Since fair is fair, B got to drive home and this time it was me hanging onto my gift, trying to keep it from whipping in the wind.

And so, upon arriving at home, I planted the flowers in a pot that B had painted for me and I quietly "encouraged" the flowers.....and prayed for my kids.....to "bloom where they were planted".