The summer bucket list continues

Summer is glorious. For me it’s not about long days, fancy vacations, or a long-list of must-do activities with your kids. It’s just about watching them when they don’t know you are, looking in their eyes more attentively as they explain their ideas to you, saying yes when they ask to build a fort, and having a few minutes to post about it while they’re on the front porch eating pretzels and drinking water.

Not sure why I call this a bucket list? I’m recording the small, unexpected happy moments of summer – as they happen. You can read more here.

4. Completely unplanned, we took a bicycle-pulled “carriage” from our parking lot to a baseball game. The girls faces were priceless!

5. Painting. There’s been a lot of this going on. The messy table that doesn’t have to be cleaned up at night, the intent faces while working, and the excitement to show Daddy their “masterpieces” all make this mama’s heart happy.

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6. Holding Mckayla on my lap, rocking her and talking with her for no reason at all. One word for ya, margin.

7. This morning Sophia and I stayed long after breakfast to do the puzzles and games on the back of the cereal box.

8. Searching for Fourth of July breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas on Pinterest. (also with Sophia) We actually picked a few easy ones and bought the stuff, too. And made an extra trip to Walmart for skewers, cupcake liners and special plates and napkins. These things don’t happen during the school year.

9. Watch the little girls hold up five fingers as they oh-so-excitedly tell us that our tomato plant now has four tomatoes. = )

10. Get soaking wet from a sudden rain in the middle of an afternoon Bible club. Hear the child who was scared of the rain say, instead of complaining – “I’m thankful our car has a top on it!” once we were all in the car.

11. Sit on the front porch with Paul listening to the crickets after the girls had gone to bed.

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How’s your summer going? Believe it or not, this is a kind of crazy, hectic summer for us. Writing these things down helps me to find the joy and the space in the little moments instead of being overwhelmed by all that is going on. Let me know if you try it!

Summer bucket list

Today is our first official summer weekday – school is over!

I’ve decided to keep track of all the special things we get to do – things that seem elusive in the pace of homeschooling life.

So this is really a bucket list in reverse. Cherishing those sweet, small, unexpected moments as they come.

Yesterday started my inspiration.

1. Worked on a puzzle with Hope. Everyone else was either napping or otherwise occupied – it was wonderful!

2. Played Candyland with Mckayla and Sophia. Two whole games! How long has it been since we’ve done that?

This morning.

3. Watching Mckayla “read” Mayweigh for Ducklings to Zoe. (also known as Make Way for Ducklings to the non-three years olds of the world.) Zoe was more interested in the cereal Gracie was pouring, but it was incredibly sweet nonetheless.

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For family and friends: just a few

Hello.

There are so many pictures I’ve been wanting to post, but I have not been able to transfer them from my camera. Life has been rather unpredictable and busy around here lately. But as I was sitting here bemoaning this to myself -that, and my complete lack of inspiration to post anything this week- I realized that I do have a few pictures that are ready to share. And I know how much the dear Grandma’s, Grammie’s, Nana’s and Aunt’s love to see pictures, so why hold back? Besides, it will do my own little mommy heart good to look at them.

These are just a few, completely un-chronological, and random. Enjoy. = )

The girls got an idea after I finished folding some laundry (yay!) to get in the basket with all their bears and have their picture taken. What could be better on a Saturday afternoon?

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This is the only currently available shot of Mckayla’s first haircut. What???!!! P.S. She looks so cute!

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Every now and then Mommy has one of those days where there’s not much choice but to primarily rest on the couch. I’m so thankful for a huge tub of dress-up stuff that keeps the girls entertained for hours. This particular outfit of Mckayla’s was just too much.

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And her happy compadre.

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The girls often ask me to take pictures of their beds in the morning.

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And our view out the window for a few days this week.

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This is our life. Small moments, stuffed animals and snow.

For family and friends: All in a day’s adventure

Two weeks ago we had an extra fun time outside. AND, I had my camera! Hooray!

Here are the pictures!

The girls love to carry things to the dumpster. They always turn them into marching band instruments. As soon as we get out of the stairwell, they begin to march and say, "Rat-a-tat, BOOM!"
The girls love to carry things to the dumpster. They always turn them into marching band instruments. As soon as we get out of the stairwell, they begin to march and say, “Rat-a-tat, BOOM!”
On our way to the mailbox, we noticed a bunch of geese in the pond! How fun! We ran back to the house, got some bread and went back to feed them.
On our way to the mailbox, we noticed a bunch of geese in the pond! How fun! We ran back to the house, got some bread and went back to feed them.

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These two weren't so sure about getting close.
These two weren’t so sure about getting close.
This guymwas especially appreciative.
This guy was especially appreciative.
Just as our bread ran out, we heard the garbage truck! Can this day get any better? We ran back to the sidewalk to see if we could watch.
Just as our bread ran out, we heard the garbage truck! Can this day get any better? We ran back to the sidewalk to see if we could watch.
I mean, seriously, if you're a little kid, it doesn't get better than this.
I mean, seriously, if you’re a little kid, it doesn’t get better than this.
Somebody wanted to stay close to Mama. It was too loud.
Somebody wanted to stay close to Mama. It was too loud.
Then it was off to the playground!
Then it was off to the playground!

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I love this shot of Mckayla's hair.
I love this shot of Mckayla’s hair.

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Swing,
Swing,
get ready...
get ready…
...yay!
…yay!
Uh-oh, somebody discovered the mud. = )
Uh-oh, somebody discovered the mud. = )

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Look at the airplane!
Look at the airplane!

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Have you ever heard of the "Embrace the Camera" challenge? This is our second attempt. The idea is for the mom to be in some of the pictures so the kids can see her with them when they look back at the pictures.
Have you ever heard of the “Embrace the Camera” challenge? This is our second attempt. The idea is for the mom to be in some of the pictures so the kids can see her with them when they look back at the pictures.
This one's a little better.
This one’s a little better.
And because the girls looked so cute around the fire truck.
And because the girls looked so cute around the fire truck.
Sophia was still super proud of the mud on her shoes.
Sophia was still super proud of the mud on her shoes.
And one more shot with a slightly better smile from Mckayla. = )
And one more shot with a slightly better smile from Mckayla. = )

Love to all!

The oh-so-lovingly prepared yet uneaten vanilla milkshake story

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Milkshakes are pretty much the reason why Paul and I got married.

That, and the crafty conniving of some savvy staff directors, and the amazing grace and goodness of God.

But today, I’m talking about milkshakes.

You see, for two summers we were at this camp together; and one of the jobs we were “given” was being the honorable milkshake makers on Wednesday nights.

It was pretty important stuff.

So every Wednesday night we would make milkshakes together in this cozy little cabin called the “Round-up.” Okay, there were the lowly order-takers, too. But who paid attention to them?

We got to know each other as we worked, talked, joked, flirted, and raced to see who could make their milkshakes the fastest. He always cheated.

Anyways, at the end of the night, if there was milkshake leftover, we were free to enjoy it on our way back to the cabins. One small problem, we only served chocolate and strawberry milkshakes. And at that time in my life I was a very vanilla person who, as you guessed, only liked vanilla shakes. (or cookie dough, but that wasn’t an option)

So now, to tell you the rest of the story, I have to split it into two different parts. As with most of our pre-dating/dating experiences, Paul’s version of the story and my version of the story vary greatly. Ah…communication.

My version

One Wednesday night as we were finishing up, Paul asked me if I wanted a vanilla milkshake. I looked at him like he was crazy and said something like, “No, you’d have to make it. You don’t have to do that.”

He assured me that it would be no trouble, and I again reassured him that the answer was “Thanks, but no thanks.”

And went on my merry way.

Paul’s version

(as retold by me)

Paul really wanted to do something special for me. He felt so bad that I never got to enjoy the leftover milkshakes. He bet if he made me one, I would like it. And think it was so sweet. And thoughtful.

So he left the service early one Wednesday night, went to the Round-up, and made me a vanilla milkshake. I know him well enough by now to know that he put a lot of effort into making sure it was just right. Into the freezer the milkshake went to be cleverly presented later.

And the end of the night, he asked if I wanted a vanilla milkshake, probably expecting hoping that I would say, “Yes! I would love one! Oh, that would taste so good right now! I love vanilla milkshakes and it’s been so long since I’ve had one!”

At which point he would pull his oh-so-lovingly prepared one out of the freezer for me to enjoy. And possibly think he was the greatest guy ever.

Sigh. If only.

Instead he heard my reply which probably translated as, “No, it’d be silly for you to make me a vanilla milkshake. It’s dumb of me to only like vanilla anyways, and there’s no use in you going to the trouble to do that.”

And out the door I walked.

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If only I had known! It was sitting right there less than four feet away from me!

And he was crushed. He might not use that word, but I think it’s true.

Oh dear, he didn’t even tell me about it until years later when when we were dating. And then it was my turn to be crushed.

Let’s just say I’ve had a lot to learn about interpreting questions, being sweet, and learning how to accept my guy’s overwhelming love.

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Is there anything better than camp stories?

And this is only the beginning. Just wait until I tell you the bought thirty pints of Ben and Jerry’s for every one on staff just so he could give me my favorite kind and still be “inconspicuous” story.

Did I mention that this guy still surprises me by coming through the door with a milkshake after a long day of work and night of class?

Flavors vary.

31 days of training my kids: white rice

imagePardon a personal story that I need to remember next time I’m sitting at the table waiting for a child to finish something they don’t want to.

Within the last month, Sophia has made it clear that she does not like white rice. Unfortunately for her, she still has to eat it. Unfortunately for us, we have to help her eat it.

I promise: the last three times we’ve eaten white rice, I’ve given her a purposefully small portion. That didn’t seem to matter, however, while the centuries went by as she ate it.

You have to understand, when you’re sitting at the table, wishing like never before that you hadn’t said they had to eat it, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s frustration for all parties involved. You just end up questioning why you have decided that it is important for a four year-old to eat all the food given to her on her plate.

Well, white rice night rolled around again; and I again dished out a small portion to Sophia. Unexpectedly during dinner, she began making excited noises and pointing to her plate with her fork. I didn’t get it, so when she had swallowed her food she exclaimed, “I just took a bite of rice!” (possibly the first time she’s ever waited to swallow her food before speaking) = )

She continued to eat all of her white rice before anything else on her plate!

At this point, I have to postpone the celebration and interject that Paul is the one that taught them this. He always works his way from least favorite to favorite on his plate; unlike me, who gobbles up the meat and carbs and then pushes my vegetables around until I realize there are small people watching me. He’s talked with them many times about how it’s better to eat your least favorite thing first, but this was the first time any of them had tried it -willingly!

There were cheers and hoorays and praises all around. Finally, something had sunk in!

Now, as I said with Mckayla and holding Mommy’s hand, this doesn’t mean anything for next time.

But I want to remember it next time I’m growing old at the table.

The burlap wreath

It's about time I made a burlap wreath after pinning so many.
It’s about time I made a burlap wreath after pinning so many.

I finished my first wreath ever. And I love it dearly.

This is not meant to be a tutorial, but a “Yippee! Look at this, Mom, Grandma, sister, and anyone else who cares!”

I expected this project to take a while, but it didn’t at all. Two nights. Could have been one long one if I’d wanted.

At this point, I was sure it would take hours.
At this point, I was sure it would take hours.

Total cost was less than ten dollars. I used an 18″ four-ring (?) wire wreath form, three yards of burlap, two pieces of felt, and some leftover fabric from these pillows.

I love burlap.
I love burlap.

Above is my first shot of the project. Burlap makes quite a mess, but I didn’t mind. It was so relaxing to just sit there cutting up strips of burlap and listening to classical music. I wasn’t quite sure if I was supposed to tie the strips once or twice around the wire, but twice sounded like way too much effort so I went with one and was happy.

halfway done
Halfway done and sitting across from my handsome and studious seminary husband. = ) Happy night.

Back in December, I tried felt flowers for the first time and was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were. It didn’t take long to make these, and I only used the kind that I liked the best.

Love felt flowers. Especially since they're easy enough for me to do.
Love felt flowers. Especially since they’re easy enough for me to do.

Actually, the only mildly creative part of this whole thing was using the leftover fabric to make a flower. I really loved the fabric and thought the colors would go nice with the felt so I went for it. It worked just fine, I didn’t change anything from what I did with the felt.

And did I say how much I love it?

I’m not going to add links to other tutorials for the burlap wreath or felt flowers because I didn’t use any specific one and didn’t find any of them especially helpful. I normally find that just searching through several pinterest links will give you a good idea of what you need to do.

Thanks for letting me share my first wreath!!

Linked to the Inspired Room fall party