Friday, October 26, 2012


Oh yes, and an important development for Meredith.  Her long-awaited dream of having her own room came true.  I let down my defenses for a moment and agreed that she could choose her own paint color ... whatever she wanted.  So, this is what we got!  Actually, she did let me talk her down a few shades of pink. She originally wanted it much darker than this.  One night when Kevin worked late I painted the room all by myself and I do think that it turned out nicely.  We ordered a picture from the Costco image gallery--which I love!!--and hung up a few other pieces of art we inherited from a friend.  Said friend also gave us this Pottery Barn bedspread, that her daughter had outgrown.  And wha-la!

We decided to buy this trundle bed for Meredith because we still want Clara to be able to have sleepovers with her sister.  And, in fact, nearly every Friday night they have a special sleepover together.  I want them to keep the bond they developed from sharing a room these past five years.  Clara is always asking, "Is it Friday night yet?"  

Meredith especially likes her French Memo Board.

How did I get such girly girls?  They are super into nails and love to give each other pedicures.  Actually, I can't complain.  Meredith can give a pretty decent foot massage and I have been the happy beneficiary on several occasions! 
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Out and About

One of the best new discoveries this year was Hoosier Outdoor Experience, which is held near Indy every September.  We will definitely go again!  It is put on by the DNR and the goal is to encourage a love of the outdoors in kids.  We had a blast.  There were so many activities it was impossible to try them all.  

Sophia is a fearless third born.  Here she is trying her hand at rock climbing. 

And here, my lefty is teaching my righty how to swing a golf club.

One of the kids' favorite activities was canoeing. Near this pond was a demonstration of fly fishing and that was Kevin's favorite.  It was fun to meet people who are passionate about various outdoor sports and learn from them.  

And the pictures below are from a family art night where we had a dinner and learned about etiquette and then did our own paintings.  The kids loved it.  In the first picture, the kids were learning that they should wait 90 seconds between each bite of dessert they take.  Kevin set the timer on his phone to show them how long that is exactly.  It was excruciating for them! 
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Apple Picking 2012

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Fall Walk

 Oh autumn.  How beautiful you are.  How fleeting you are.  We have enjoyed a lot of fall walks these past few weeks ...

I love that Sophia rides her bike with her tongue hanging out of her mouth.  This girl has endurance and can pedal her bike for at least a mile.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Pittsburgh, Parties, and Puking

Yes, unfortunately, I have to put all three of those words in the title of this post.  I wish it could just be Pittsburgh and Parties but Puking was part of the trip as well.  

First of all, we drove to Pittsburgh in a caravan with a bunch of Kevin's family members to attend a surprise 30th birthday party for Kevin's sister Shannon.  The surprise went off amazingly.  Shannon's husband Jeff arranged for her to discover various people in various aisles as they shopped at Target.  She was completely unsuspecting and we enjoyed hearing her shrieks and screams of joy as she discovered different family members in different aisles.  Lastly, Megan and her two boys were discovered.  They had flown into town from Texas and Shannon was completely surprised.  It was super creative and really awesome.  Then we headed to their house for a fun bonfire and some family time.  The next day we toured Pittsburgh, had a family dinner, and went swimming at the hotel.  We were planning to go to church on Sunday and then have lunch with everyone before heading home.  But ... 

At 3:30 a.m. I woke to a rushing, hurried sound.  Then I caught a glimpse of Kevin carrying Sophia to the bathroom where she proceeded to empty the contents of her stomach.  There was a family member who had  been sick with the flu the week before, so we figured this was probably the flu and not just an isolated incident.  We sat and thought about our options for a few minutes and then decided we had better high tail it out of there.  We still had a seven hour drive ahead of us.  I didn't have enough changes of clothes for everyone to stay ahead of the mess.  Not to mention, there were no extra plastic bags to put dirty laundry in.  Thankfully there is that dry cleaning bag in hotel closets!  

I looked at my three children--two of them sleeping peacefully and Sophia, who was crawling around everywhere, panting like a dog, and saying, "I a puppy!"--and thought to myself, "They are a time bomb waiting to go off.  Let's go!" 

Kevin and I started feeling phantom upset stomachs.  Was it just our imaginations or worse?  I think one of the worst things about knowing you have been exposed to the flu is waiting for it to happen.  Ugh.

Let's also just say that ... this was the first time I had ever been tempted to steal a hotel towel before.  Seriously!  It was SO tempting.  Sophia's blanket we had brought from home had already been soiled.  What else could be used to cover her in her car seat?  

You will be glad to know that I kept The Eighth Commandment and resisted the urge.  

Thankfully we made it home in record time without further incident. And only I came down with the stomach bug a day later. It's not something that is fun, ever, but especially when you are pregnant.  Ugh.  But, here I am, alive to tell about it.  So that's good. 

Here are a few Pithy Pictures (love the "P" theme of this post) that I snapped on my phone.  I wish I could have gotten more family shots, especially of all the cousins together.  But, alas, we made a hasty departure and it simply wasn't meant to be. 

Meredith on the strip.  She was amused by this bear:

Clara loved walking around town with her cousin Samantha who was very affectionate and compliant (the opposite of Sophia!):

What a great view and what a beautiful city!  I love all the bridges.
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Can it be? An athlete in our family?

This year something surprising happened.  Clara turned into a soccer star!  Last year she was content to watch the corn growing in fields and never seemed to be concerned with which way the ball should be going. This year Clara put her mind, body and soul into the game and turned into this amazing athlete overnight.  It was seriously fun to watch her games this year.  She made many goals and was super aggressive in going after the ball and playing defense.  I was the crazy lady sitting on the sidelines yelling, "Go Clara Go!!"

Kevin was an assistant coach this year and I know Clara loved having her daddy there to help out.  He actually ended up running a lot of practices and some games because the head coach traveled a lot. He was really good with the kids, despite the fact that some of them drove him crazy because they never listened!! (Let's face it--kids aged 4-5 are just really tough to herd and get on the same page.  He wins the Patience Award.)

Eden was Clara's team mate and maybe that's one of the reasons she loved soccer so much!

Playing defense:

That's my girl!  Whoo hoo!!! Go Clara!
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I think I’ve figured out the recipe for my personal happiness. 

I have heard that having a sense of purpose is the common denominator of happy people.  I think this is probably true.  I also acknowledge that all my springs are in God and without him there would be no reason for living and no happiness. But when I say I’ve figured out the recipe for my own happiness, what I mean is that I have pinpointed the blessings that God gives to his children that I particularly enjoy and fill me with a sense of pleasure.  So here they are:

  1. Time to think and also write, if I have the urge.
  2. Freedom to get up and go when I have the urge. (I am very independent.)
  3. Something interesting to read.
  4. Good food to eat.
  5. A little sprinkling of random adventures and experiences.
  6. Connecting with a few good friends a few times a week (including my husband, who is by far my closest friend, and my kids).
Generally I am an eternal optimist.  In fact, Kevin has nicknamed me "Pollyanna" and calls me that when I am especially obnoxious in my optimistic observations.  

But I confess, I have been a tad down lately.  And here is why: the little time I have to carve out for myself to think/write, get up and go, read interesting things, make good food, seek out random adventures, and connect with friends, has been completely sucked up by an overwhelming need to sleep (it’s my third trimester of pregnancy and I’m paying my dues) and just the general busyness of life with a young family.  While I wouldn't trade my family for anything, and I would choose to have four children all over again if I had the chance, it’s still just plain hard some days. And I acknowledge that I have had the attitude of biding my time lately. 

When Sophia cups my face in her hands and says, “I love you soooooo much.”  Or Clara asks, “Mom, someday can you take me to that state (country) that has the kangaroos?  I really want to go there with you someday.” Or Meredith surprises me with a homemade card telling me I’m the best mom, those are all rays of happiness pouring into my life that I will miss someday.  So right now I’m trying to capitalize on those really happy times, that are so fleeting because kids grow so fast, and not focus on the fact that the things that generally make me happy are rather elusive right now. 

Have you noticed that the things that are the most worthwhile and the most valuable in life are the usually the things that involve the most work and the most sacrifice?  For example: a good marriage, transparent friendships, a deeper walk with Christ, successful child-rearing, etc.  

This weekend I am particularly reminded about how much I love the freedom to flit around and eating good food and having time to write because I have been given those things.  Kevin took all three kids camping with some neighbors and I have the next two days all to myself.  Yes, he is a very brave man!  But this will also be a great memory for all of them (or at least the kids, haha!).  Sophia, who is only two-and-a-half, was so excited that “we going camping!”  She doesn’t even know what camping is but she is excited. 

So far, I am only four hours into my “weekend off.”  I have run some errands.  I particularly enjoyed leisurely strolling the aisles at Trader Joes and choosing some fun chocolate and cheese for the weekend.  Then I went to a Greek restaurant that I have wanted to try for months and ordered a gyro to-go.  It was worth the wait!  And now I am sitting here listening to the Jason Mraz station on Pandora, eating chocolate from Trader Joes, and uploading photos while I write. 

What shall I do tomorrow?  There are so many options but I think I shall go Christmas shopping.  This baby is due in December, after all.  If Christmas happens this year, it won’t be because I procrastinated.

Maybe happiness is ultimately seeing the blessings in every day life?  Maybe that’s harder to do when you are tired and overwhelmed.  But one thing I do know: I am a very blessed lady. 

Now I need to go refill my chocolate. 

Oh, and here is a picture of Sophia "helping" me get ready for their camping excursion today.  Isn't she the cutest thing?  Ever?   

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