Wednesday, July 25

Whatever Wednesdays- A Link Up

Have you ever had a moment where you wished you could hit the "pause" button on your life? 

Not so much as to "stop" everything, just to slow it all least for a short period of that your brain, which feels like it's still stuck in April or May could catch up with your body which is propelling itself towards the end of July with a speed that you find yourself shocked and surprised about. 

That's how I feel today...this week. Like I'm hitting pause and not doing ONE MORE THING until Ava starts school in September...and then maybe I'll pull my finger off the button...we'll see. 

It's been one of those seasons of life that has felt like a FLURRY of activity, and need, and responsibility and events. 

We had 8 birthdays between our two families in the month of June-- TWO parties for Ava's 5th birthday (which almost puts our tally at 9!), Father's Day, and then a fantastic trip to Disney to cap off the month...

When we got back from Disney, met up with 4th of July festivities, unpacked from our trip and then Scott scooted off to Chicago for a fiscal year end/year kick off meeting. 

We picked blueberries in there, and swam, and took the girls to dance class, have grilled a lot of veggies and chicken on the grill and have eaten our fair share of s'mores (which Scott is an EXPERT at creating on our grill since our fire pit gave out!).

We have one more trip planned to Maine at the end of August to celebrate the many Birthdays in Scott's family (namely his grandfather's 90th, which is quite monumental!) promises to be a festive and fun time! I haven't been to Maine in years, so I'm looking forward to seeing the water and the landscape of the oceanfront towns. 

In the midst of it all we've been trying to do everything we can to support my brother and his wife who are currently in Cincinnati waiting with their four month old baby girl for a liver's tough stuff. I've been attempting to keep up a blog from them to help their family and friends stay up to date on all that they are going through...Feel free to check out their story here. My sister and I just returned from Cincinnati this past weekend where we got a heavy dose of the reality they are living day to day...and where at least half a dozen people asked if we were twins, which was pretty funny! 

All that is why I haven't blogged much here...Blogging, when life gets full, is what ends up going to the bottom of my "must-do" list...for better or worse. 

So, for now, while Ava is still home with me for 4 more weeks...I'm hitting pause! 

I know there are family members and friends who were hoping to do many more things with us this summer...I apologize in advance if we say "NO"...I'm sorry... it's been a busy season, and in order to be "IN" the moment with our children, and set some boundaries around our family so that we don't look back on this time in 5 years with regret, we are laying low for the next 4 weeks (aside from traveling to Maine)...

I asked Scott if he thought I would get in trouble for saying that online...

He shrugged, smiled and said... "It's can't argue with that." 

Nope! So, LOVE you all...but if you happen to end up on the end of one of our "NO's", please don't take it personally... No worries, after a couple weeks of laying low, we're usually ready for some excitement again! 

I'll let you know when my brain has entered July and we're ready to return from "no" to "go"! 

(This post is part of Whatever Wednesdays. An opportunity to link up whatever you want as long as it is loosely related to family life, spiritual practices or ways of becoming a better mom/woman/wife!)

Wednesday, July 18

Whatever Wednesdays-- A New Link Up!

Today is the day we start a new link up called Whatever Wednesdays...I hope you'll join in the fun!

Here's the story... I love a little link love, the kind where we can all link-up together and just pop around from blog to blog. I figured there are so many topic specific link-ups that instead of adding any pressure (I'm ALL about reducing pressure in your busy mothering lives!),  I'd just open up this space to a WHATEVER YOU WANT link up, as long as it's loosely connected in some way to parenting,  (wacky pictures of your kids count!), creating a great family culture at home, and/or living your best life as a parent and how that looks in a broad range of people's lives.

Seriously, no pressure on the content. When I say it needs to be loosely connected to one of those things I just mean I'm not looking for posts about how to write stellar science fiction, or an in depth synopsis on fixing your garbage disposal...sorry, we're just not those kinds of women here!

We'll do this every week and see how far we get. I look forward to "meeting" many of you. Also, as a curtesy, please pop over to at least one other person's blog (from the link-up) and leave them a comment!

Without further adieu, I'm simply going to post a few pictures of my 3 year old here...

She is the QUEEN of WHATEVER. You might think that makes it sound like she is incredibly easy going...and in some ways that might be true, but in other ways she is INCREDIBLY stubborn! So sometimes the "WHATEVER" may mean she'll go along with whatever.

At other times...

 ...We might have a conversation that sounds like this...

"Ella, a tutu is not the best option for the playground. It is dirty there. I would think some shorts and a t-shirt would be better for you to play in."

She may not actually say it, but she gives me a look that says, "WHATEVER Mom."

And I know, that while some things are worthy of pushing further on...some things are not worth the battle.

So I, in return, internally sigh and say..."Whatever..." and we all mosey on our merry way to the playground where Ella climbs slides and runs through dirt like a zoo animal donned in pink tulle.

Here is my strong-willed, incredibly confident 3 year old...

"Ella, you have chocolate on your forehead..." I say
"So?!" she asks. 

"Ella, there might be a pair of shorts upstairs that matches your shirt a bit better. Do you want me to look?"

"Alright, if you don't want to change can I take your picture?!"
She turns and smiles....I simply say..."Whatever..."

And this, one of the most laughable moments at Disney..."Ella, look at you have a smile?"
No response...simply silence. When Ella is not being the Queen of "Whatever" she is the QUEEN of holding the world's longest pout!

Looking forward to reading your posts! Feel free to play on the word "Whatever" in whatever way comes to you or just link-up WHATEVER post you'd like from this recent post (or week to come!). 

Saturday, July 14

The Good, The Beautiful, The Hard...That's Life

(This post was written earlier this week...on a day when Scott was out of town and it was just the girls and I hanging out). 

Ella with her muffins! 

There are days, like today, when everything feels right. 

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The small pond in the backyard lays still and restless as the summer sun beats down on it.

The girls are riding their bikes, and mostly getting along.

Ella came into  my bedroom at 7:30 this morning and woke me with all the spunk and pizzazz that she is. Making spitting noises with her lips, pulling on my sheets, hitting me on the head with her small dog lovey (the worn one that she sleeps with every night). I left the t-shirt over my head to block the sun and her beckoning tactics...that is until Ava crawled in behind me on the other side. She snuggled in and gave me a hug, the way that is so typical of who she is.

We had a slow and easy morning, the kind I longed for during the preschool year when we were out the door early 3 days a week.  The kind I know I will be longing for again come late September when the newness of school has worn off. 

We made blueberry banana muffins, me in the middle, one girl on a stool on either side-- I dolled out the instructions and the ingredients while they dutifully added them and took turns stirring. Ella squeezed me with a warm hug, Ava smiled big smiles.

As they pestered me for warm muffins 45 minutes later I was full of gratitude for it all.

Full and reminded that THIS, all of this, is a blessing not to be taken for granted. A gift of health and ability that I am presently reminded daily is not always part of the experience. Because while today feels "right" in my little corner of the world, it is not "right" everywhere, something I am keenly aware of.

My brother and his wife sit in a small hospital room in Cincinnati, day after day, away from family, tired from broken sleep and wait, as patiently as they can for a liver to become available for their beautiful little four month old girl who is quite sick right now (click here to read her story). The idea of it takes my breath away. It makes me angry and sad and full of compassion and a wanting to help.

It makes me realize that I too often take all of these blessed moments for granted.

So today I will offer extra praises to my Heavenly Father for the abundant blessings in my life. I will also offer extra prayers for Cliff (my brother), Dani (his wife), and little miss Cordelia...that God would be pouring moments of grace, extra strength and love out onto them in their day.

Wednesday, July 11

What I DID Do Wednesdays...Disney Edition!

     As many of you know we took a little family vacation over a week ago now; part of the trip was spent in Orlando (four nights at a Disney hotel with two full days of theme parks) and part of it was spent visiting Scott’s cousin and his fiancĂ© in the Tampa/Clearwater area.

     We had a great time and while Disney was a BLAST…taking two children, 3 and 5, to  Disney World does NOT count as a vacation….a fun trip for sure…a “vacation”…not so much.  Bring me Bermuda and a babysitter and then maybe we can talk  about vacations, but until then, do not be deceived about what you may or may not be getting into if you decide to head to a place like Disney for a few day!  

     So, given that we just came back, had tons of fun (the tired kind) and took a lot of pictures, I thought it would be fun to make this “What I DID Do” post about Disney, with pictures!

     Also, this is going to be my last “Did DO” post for a while…I won’t lie, it was fun while it lasted but I’m getting bored with writing them and think ya'll can probably only read so many! However,  in the spirit of creating online community I would like to keep Wednesdays a link-up day…So, for this week,  if you have a fun vacation, trip or festive summer outing that you blogged about in the last month or so, link up below.

     If not, c’mon back next Wednesday. Since I’m a fan of change, and the freedom of flexibility we’ll just call it “Whatever Wednesdays”…link up “whatever” post from the past week you’ve enjoyed writing or felt was meaningful and we’ll just do a little “for the fun of it” blog hopping!

     Until then…

     What I DID DO…Disney Style (on our first park day): 

I did meet Mary Poppins who was very sweet and faked a good British accent. The girls had NO idea who she was (I mean she's WAY overdressed to be a Disney princess!), but were enamored nonetheless. 

We also met Aurora who was signing autographs in the shade on a 90+ degree day.

And Tangled (Who didn't look very much like Tangled to me, but the girls found her charming!)

And of my favorites. 

And then of course Cinderella. Alright, we won't like, we thought she had a funny eye, but we won't hold it against her. She was sweet. 

We saw a "real" castle!

And actually took a sweet picture together!

We visited the Suisse Family Robinson Treehouse and I quite liked this motto...

We smiled...lots...when we could find shade anyways...

And I certainly envied Jasmines no baby belly! (I don't know that for a fact, but it makes me hate her a little bit less than if she had had children and looked like this!)

I watched as the girls road on a "magic carpet"

And ate yummy frozen treats...I find it amusing that my veggie lover (Ava) follows suit in her choice of "sweet" treat by getting a fruit bar while my junk food addict...well, let's just say I was trying not to read the calorie information on the back of those yummy ice cream treats!

We traveled through a "small world"

And Pooh country...

And marveled at the castle at night...

We joined thousands for a fantastic parade (though we couldn't see because we were 3 people deep)

And after 12 hours, Ella demanded to get off of my shoulders in the middle of the parade...2 minutes later I found her here...

And even though this wasn't the same day Ariel was one of the cutest and sweetest princesses we met (at our very costly princess dinner that Scott will be holding over the girls heads until they are 16..."You want a what? A car? We're still paying off the princess dinner we took you to when you were 3 and 5!")

AND, at the end of day 2 Ella collapsed during the fireworks show at Epcot and tried to cover her ears because the fireworks were too loud!

But she was up and ready for her Mickey waffle on our last morning!

Well, there is much more where all of that came from...maybe later in the week I'll share a few more pictures.

As I mentioned earlier, if you have pictures of a fun trip or festive summer day you've had recently, link up below! I'd love to see some other summer lovin' family fun!

(For the record, because I'm stilling figuring out this link thing and this "free" tool I tried to use isn't my favorite, when you write your name also write the name of your blog next to it, i.e. "Lisa @ Little Writer Momma"...otherwise it's hard to tell who you are!)

Monday, July 9

Are You Ready...For Kindergarten?!

Momma with her girls on my birthday last month!

Are you reading for kindergarten?

When I say you, I mean you...the mom.

I, for one, think I'm starting to drive Ava nuts.

That is what a mom is supposed to do, isn't it?

Every couple of days I look at her-- her long legs, her maturing facial features, the idiosyncratic ways she has begun to walk, talk and gesture her hands-- my little girl...getting so BIG.

Oi. They said this would happen. You know, the old ladies in the grocery stores, the childcare workers in the nursery, my mother in law, women in my church. The one's who tell you how fast they grow.

I look at her and I start to think about the the impending beginning of school in 56 days (yikes!) and...PANIC. (Good thing she's not going off to college...I have a lot of empathy for you mommas!).

"Ava!" I say, "You're starting school in two months."

She just kind of shrugs her shoulders. "Uh-huh."

Shouldn't this be a big deal? Shouldn't she be nervous or anxious or curious?

"Are you nervous about anything?"

Lisa, don't ask her that! I yell at myself. You don't want to MAKE her nervous.


"Oh...pause...You're not wondering about anything?"



Wow. Isn't she supposed to be responding differently? Does she know what she's about to get herself into?!!!

"Mom. At that one school I visited they have pajama day and eat pancakes! Will I get to do that?"

(The school she is referring to is the local Christian school we visited. We've decided to send her to our districted public elementary school this year. More on that at a later time.)

School's starting and all she is curious about is pajama day and pancakes?!!!

"Oh babe, you'll get to do all sorts of fun things. Mommy LOVED school."

And that is the truth. For all of this nervousness about her going off on her own, about her ability to emotionally be away from me for six hours, her needing to handle new social situations and learning moments all on her own...for all of what I know she is about to encounter...I DID really love school and I'm sure she will too.

It's just that no one told me that the hardest part about sending your first child off to kindergarten might be managing your emotions not theirs. No one told me I would start to worry, two months before school starts, about all that I will not be able to help her with, all I will not be able to control in her world, all she will experience without...ME.

No one told me that all of that would make me...sad.

Now I'm beginning to understand that when they all told me that children grow up fast and that I really would miss them, that there might be some truth to that.

Me...the woman who wasn't going to stay at home full time, the woman who hated babysitting other people's children and who cringed when she saw her name on the nursery volunteer list at the small start up church we attended for several  years.

Me...the one who becomes more of a mom with each day I do this...the kind of mom who is sad to see her daughter off to kindergarten, who can't believe she is 5, who drives her daughter nuts by peppering her with questions about school because of MY insecurities. The kind of mom who needs to grow emotionally alongside her daughter so that I can learn  how to let her become more independent one little kindergarten step at a time.

I guess we both have some learning to do come Fall.

Wednesday, July 4

What I DID Do Wednesday: Round 4

Happy 4th of July!

This isn't a very festive post...Sorry. seems as if these (if you're not sure what I'm talking about you can read about my DID DO lists here) may be the only posts I end up getting around to these days...I suppose that's o.k. and kind of ironic, because while there are many things on my "should do" and "want to do" lists,  life has had other ideas lately, and focusing on what we have done instead of what we haven't happens to be quite helpful and somewhat encouraging.

I actually started a conversation with Scott tonight that went like this..."I can't believe it's 6:30 and I haven't gotten ANYthing done today..."

What I should have said was..."Well, maybe I did get some things done, just not what I thought I would/should have done...I haven't unpacked one bag (from our Florida trip) and still haven't moved some of the miscellaneous furniture and bookshelves from the playroom back into the living room (from when we had our carpet installed two weeks ago! Carpet, I might add, that I just spilled 1/2 a glass of red wine on tonight...sigh...Shockingly, it came out! Guess it pays to pay for the stain resistant stuff. It doesn't need to be kid proof, just mommy proof! I'm now sitting at the kitchen table instead of in the living room.)

After I ranted for several minutes He stopped me and I stopped myself and restarted the conversation with..."But I did..."

Here is what I DID do on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012:

- Slept in an extra few minutes with my husband after a fun, but exhausting trip to Florida (3 1/2 days in Orlando/Disney).  I'm not sure "vacation" is the right word to use for trips with young children, but it was memorable nonetheless.

I am, however, now feeling like I need a "vacation"!

-Let Scott feed the girls breakfast while I worked on a fundraising letter with my sister for a benefit my family is planning for my niece Cordelia. She is a little girl (4 months old) in need of a liver transplant and in desperate need of LOTS of prayers. For more on her story you can visit 

-Took the girls to week 2 of dance (2 hours of sitting in a dance studio-- 1 hour per child-- who knew?!!!)

-Met my sister at Target to shop for some food and supplies to send with my parents to Cincinnati (they are heading there tomorrow to help my brother and his wife who are getting very little sleep these days).

-Head home, finish lunch with the girls and take a short "nap" (i.e. close my eyes for 20 minutes while hoping the girls don't start fighting over something like how one should properly brush a Barbie's hair)

-Attempt to get the girls outside to help me with some gardening. Ella has a TOTAL meltdown. I spend the next 20 minutes trying to console her...she's tired from our travels, and Ava has irritated her by tying a string to her dress. Eventually I give her her stuffed animals, lay her in our bed and she falls asleep.

-Teach Ava how to tie tomatoes to the cage to add extra support. She has just learned to tie her shoelaces and knots and is thrilled to help me. I think this is the highlight of my day!

-Spend 20 minutes consoling a cranky 3-year old when she wakes up from her nap.

-Make dinner while Scott goes for a run.

-Take the food purchased at Target over to my parent's house to be taken with them on their Ohio trip to see my brother tomorrow.

-Grudgingly drag my  tired self into the gym and wind up running 3.7 miles...I was proud of myself I must confess!

-Read a story to the girls.

-Help brush teeth, tickle arms (one of the girls favorite bedtime requests), say prayers and tuck children in to bed.

-Make a salad for "dinner" at 9 p.m.

-Stare at the kitchen in disbelief before jumping in to start clean up at 9:35 p.m.

-Sit down to write this blogpost at 10:15 p.m.