Monthly Archives: March 2012

Remember?

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Our family car growing up, nothin' like a massive 2-door Buick Le Sabre for a family of 5.

This post is for all you people out there who can appreciate the 80’s…

Remember when most folks drove around in American cars?

Remember when families owned station wagons before the minivan?

Remember when you used to go the video store and rent a VHS and a VCR?

Remember when your telephone had a cord?

Remember when people owned answering machines?

Remember when you actually used the yellow pages to find a dentist or a plumber?

Remember  looking up a friend’s phone number in the white pages?

Remember the aluminum ashtrays on the tables of fast food joints?

Remember when home was the place to be on a Friday night because of ABC’s TGIF?

Remember when gas stations had full and self-service?

Remember when a picture of a quilted blanket came to mind when you heard the word afghan?

Remember the first time you saw someone’s home computer?

Remember when every household had an easily accessible calculator or adding machine?

Remember when dogs used to be animals that hung out in your backyard and did not wear clothing or have designer beds?

Remember when it was stylish to wear puffy paint on clothing?

Remember when birthday parties were held at McDonald’s?

Remember when you would check the pay phones for change and scored some every once in awhile because people actually used them?

Remember when you couldn’t live without the Thomas Guide?

Recently I went to the grocery store and bought a loaf of bread that cost $5.49!  I thought to myself, since when did a loaf of bread cost more than $5?  And then I couldn’t help remembering when I started driving and gas prices were dropping and they actually went below $1!  I am pretty sure those days won’t be back.  Anyway bread prices led to gas prices, which of course, led to thinking about puffy paint and calculators!  Oh how the brain works!  Though my childhood doesn’t seem that long ago, some much has changed!  What do you remember?

Please add more in the comments!  Let’s reminisce together!

 

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Lucky Girls

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We had a St. Patrick’s Day party for the girls this weekend.  I figured that with Piper’s birthday in February and Tatum’s in April, I would just pick a day in March and have a party.  We went to the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach.  We LOVE that place and having a naturalist for an hour was amazing.  Unfortunately, it rained all day on Saturday, so we were inside.  The naturalist was prepared and had a craft, story, and a lesson on owls and bunnies which the kids totally dug (Piper has a bunny lovey that she sleeps with every night and Tatum an owl, which is why we chose a woodland theme and had a lesson on bunnies and owls).  We still had to go on a hike because the rain makes it even more fun, right?  Piper said, “On our hike we were looking for leopardchauns!  I saw one I really did!  Mom, what’s a leopardhaun?”  And then today she was telling a friend about her hunt for leprechauns and he said, “what does a leprechaun look like?”  Piper responded, “like a leopard, but longer and littler.”  Obviously, she has no idea what a leprechaun is.

something is VERY interesting

Tatum loved the little “lesson” and that night she talked about the bunny that she got to pet.  I didn’t want to do lunch, so instead, we had some themed snacks.  We had “bug bites”, ants on a log, goldfish crackers, and trail mix, along with a pasta salad made from birthday noodles.  Oh!  and for dessert there was homemade apple cake that our exchange student made and dirt cups for the kids.  I delegated people to bring snacks, not because putting peanut butter on celery is so difficult, but because it is so EASY nobody minds helping!

I love this picture because although Piper's eyes look creepy, I love how Tatum is looking at what Piper is doing and copying her pose. So precious.

I love parties and I love planning and decorating for them.  However, I never want to go overboard.  There are so many websites these days with a zillion and one ideas and then there is Pinterest, which I willed myself to stay away from while I was preparing.  I wanted it to be cute, but I didn’t want to spend the days and weeks leading up the party consumed with the details and in the meantime neglecting my house or kids or something.  Everyone looks at party planning differently, but this is just me.  I know myself and I know that I can become consumed.  The day was perfect and the set up and take down was minimal, but it still had some cute touches that made it fun for me to decorate.

Some of my favorites:

peat pots filled with seed bombs, a packet of seeds, a pencil, goldfish and a lollipop

peat pots filled with seed bombs, a packet of seeds, a pencil, goldfish and a lollipop

pom poms out of crepe paper

dirt cups, click here for yummy recipe!

bug bites (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls with pretzel sticks for legs)

The "collection box" and cards to sign that I can put in their memory books.

I made fabric pennant flags out of some cute fabric.  I have plans to redo the girls room, so I made them for the party and will hang them in their room soon.  I also made these pom poms out of crepe paper that I will hang from their ceiling.  And then the party favors.  Oh how I hate goody bags.  Don’t get me wrong for those of you that do goody bags, that’s great.  Piper LOVES them.  Her one request was that I would do a goody bag for her friends.  I just don’t like spending a lot of money on something that’s going to break, or get lost, or thrown away when they leave the party.  And if I get something really good, I don’t want it to cost a lot of money.  And so, I purchased peat pots (10 for less than $2), bought a big bag of seeds, and filled white coin envelopes with the seeds.  Piper stamped the outside of the envelopes with woodland animal stamps and I wrote “thank you for coming” on them.  We put goldfish crackers in them that I purchased after Valentine’s day, so they were in pink little packages and I paid 1/2 price!  Double bonus!  I picked up cute pencils at the dollar spot at Target, and then my one splurge were the seed bombs.  Brian thought of giving everyone seed bombs.  Apparently, there are some gumball machines around here that give you a ball of seeds that you can throw at a dirt patch.  I looked online and found an Etsy store that made us pods of 2 seed bombs in the colors of our choice for only 65 cents a pod!  I was pretty happy about that!  And then, every kids likes a little bit of candy, so I actually just raided our candy jar and found lots of dum dums from the pinata we had for my grandma’s birthday a few weeks ago.  That means less sweets in my house and a little sweet for each little sweetie :).  The favors looked really cute decorating the table, the pencils came in handy for one of our games, and I spent just around $1 per child! Not bad!  And the best part was that Piper was super excited to show the kids their favors and the seed bombs.  Our neighbor came up to me and said, “I really like these because every things is healthy and good for the planet.”  He’s now my favorite neighbor kid ;).

The nature center doesn’t want parties to open gifts on site because of all of the paper trash, so we asked that people put in to get the girls an American Girl doll.  Piper has wanted Julie.  She asked for Julie for Christmas, but instead I found Samantha at a garage sale for $5, who could pass that up!?  (shhh, she thinks Santa brought it).  So, we picked out Julie for Piper and Kit for Tatum and invited our guests to our home for Brian’s famous corned beef and cabbage.  The girls opened their dolls when we got home and were super excited.  I considered getting Tatum a baby doll, but I could just see Tatum wanting what Piper had and touching her doll and Piper saying that she couldn’t and on and on.  So, even though she is super young, she got her first American Girl doll.  And as expected, they both love them.

Tatum and Kit

Piper and Julie

It takes a village

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Sometimes things don’t go as expected.  Sometimes life throws a curveball.  I thought I was opening up my house to a German woman and I thought, that we would have BBQs and take her to the beach and go to Hollywood.  While we have had the chance to go on some outings, what I didn’t expect was that we would be experiencing tragedy together.  I didn’t expect to be sitting here in a hospital.  I didn’t expect to be in the room to hear the doctor tell her that her baby had no heartbeat.  I didn’t expect to go through the loss of a pregnancy, the loss of a life, at 17 weeks with her.  But I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in fate, or divine opportunity, or whatever you want to call it, and so I am sitting here, knowing that I can question why this would happen or just trust that it happened for a reason.  My heart hurts for Ina, and I want to be the support that she needs, but know that I am just someone she has known briefly.  I cannot replace her husband, or her mother or her best friend.  Even so, I have seen people share their sympathies with a woman they barely know.  I am so grateful for the friends and family who have watched the girls while I have been going to and from appointments, to those who have brought meals, and for the numerous phone calls, texts, cards they have shared expressing their sincere concern.  I realize that while I am being challenged to be a friend in the tough times and not just the fun times, I am also seeing many do the same for me.  I am experiencing the support of the village that is surrounding my family and me.  Thank you!  And to Ina, you are one tough cookie going through this with your “village” thousands of miles away.

Feeling Crafty, Finally!

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It has been awhile since I included a “feeling crafty” into my blog.  Finally, I have something to share!  So, a while back we moved our bedroom into the playroom.  We really only have a two bedroom house, but their is this third, kinda weird room off of the kitchen that we made into the playroom.  It is long and narrow with a slanted ceiling (definitely an add-on) and it has doors on three of the four walls, one to the garage, one to outside and then of course, one to the rest of the house.  We wanted to open our home up to this girl, Ina, from Germany, who was looking for a family to stay with as she was doing an intercultural exchange for her Masters.  We ended up giving her our room, since it was closer to the bathroom and we took the playroom.  So, my project was to make this playroom MINE!  I didn’t want it to feel ugly, or like we were sleeping in a funky add-on space (which we were) and I have always felt, since we have been married that I put my emphasis on all the other rooms and never our room.  While the room is far from finished, I have started by making some no-sew curtains!  There are so many windows in the room and the one behind the bed in particular was a challenge because the roof is slanted and there wasn’t enough room to hang a rod between the ceiling and window.  So instead I just made curtains!  I LOVE fabric and I love going to the fabric store and seeing all the cute stuff, but I don’t sew.  I usually buy material and ask my mom to make something or I use the fabric as a table cloth or basically anything that doesn’t require work.  This time, I spent some time collecting fabric for free.  My mom had some, my neighbor who was moving gave me some old curtains.  I got a swaddling blanket for free at a garage sale, I used some pants that I was going to put in the good will back and I tore them all into strips, tied them together, and knotted them onto a wooden dowel.  I did go to the fabric store and buy a few fabrics to tie in the colors I had collected.  I also picked up some burlap to include.  I call this my Anthropologie-inspired wall of rags :).  I definitely spent less that $20 on this!  I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am liking it!  Now I want to get some fun pillows to toss on the bed!  I apologize for the crummy pictures.  I took a bunch on my hubby’s iphone and when I sent them to my email most of them were too grainy or blurry.  Maybe when I do my next project to the room I will have some better pictures of my homemade no-sew curtains. 🙂

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COMMISSIONED OUT OF OUR COMFORT

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I have a friend who has devoted her live and her family’s life to being missionaries in Vietnam.  I love them dearly and I am so proud of the faith they have and the sacrifices they have made.  When we moved out of the country it was definitely a step of faith, but it was going to be for a steady income and a pretty decent life in Germany.  It felt like an extended vacation and I can remember crying out of homesickness only one time.  I had been there over a year and I was sick and pregnant, had a sick toddler and Brian was out of town.  I longed for a nearby family member to help me out.  My friends had young kids and couldn’t risk getting their families sick.  And that was it.  One time.

Brian has been feeling the desire to go.  Go somewhere, anywhere, just to get out and travel and possibly live somewhere else again.  I just can’t see myself going anywhere at the moment.  I loved Europe, but I feel my life is so much more effective here.  I lived for myself there.  I was able to socialize with my English-speaking friends, travel and chat with my neighbors that spoke English.  I didn’t meet many people at the parks, or stores or anything like that.  I was bound by those who spoke English.  I took German classes, I learned enough to buy groceries, go to doctors appointments, and get by, not enough to build relationships.

One year ago I started this blog with an intention to live my life intentionally.  I wanted to my daily life to be an example of not wasted moments, but intentional efforts to live a life that at the end of my years could be defined by purpose. And here, right here in Costa Mesa, right here right inside and outside the walls of my home I am being used to create community.  I have built relationships with neighbors and have helped create friendships between strangers.  My home has become a place where people feel welcomed and place where friends and neighbors can stop by and visit.  I told a friend to knock on my door the next time she went to the park across the street and she said, ” you’re door is always open when you’re home isn’t it?”  It is and I like it that way!  I would love to go and see another part of the world, but I feel that I am being used right here, right now.  Perhaps even more so than I was ever used in Germany.  Today at church, we looked at a familiar passage to me Matthew 28:19, the great commission.  “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  I used to think of this verse as a call to go and leave!  I could see myself living a life similar to my friends in Vietnam.  But today, it struck me a bit differently.  I saw it as a call to go and step out of that which is comfortable.  When I had my first “neighborhood movie night” it was uncomfortable and I was nervous.  For a year, I had let neighbors come and go without meeting them and getting to know who they were as individuals.  I think that while some of us may find ourselves in other parts of the world, we all have a sphere of influence that surrounds us where ever we are.  It takes a conscious effort to look at our lives and make choices knowing that we have the ability to influence and change the lives of those around us.

I don’t think I have let you know this, but my neighbor, the one who was diagnosed with a disease and was dealing with a break-up at our first movie night (click here to read about it) came over about a month ago and wanted to take our family out to dinner.  She said, “I just want to let you know that my test results have come back with no traces of the disease.  I know you have been praying and I just thought that maybe that had something to do with that.”  I was so excited that she shared that with us.  I was so happy that I had stepped out of that which was comfortable to get to know her to be saddened by her grief and to also be able to rejoice with her as she shared this news with us.  We are no longer just strangers who wave to one another as we get our mail, but we know each other and the moment of brief discomfort was so worth it.

Cupcakes and Cap guns

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I am now the parent of a five year old and it just doesn’t feel right.  I can remember having a small baby and meeting women with “older” children, you know like 4 and 5 year-olds and thinking that that phase seemed so far away from where I was.  And now, I am there.  Now my baby isn’t a baby.  She loves the movie Soul Surfer, American Girl dolls and books, and Taylor Swift.  We have definitely transitioned at some point to “big girl” interests.  I love watching her grow and mature, but I just wish it weren’t so fast!  The morning of her birthday, I thought to myself, she is never ever ever going to be four again.  Duh.  Right?  But somehow it still is mind boggling.

I was so unprepared this year!  I didn’t even get her a present!  She really wants the American Girl doll, Julie, and so I made a card before Brian got home and taped $20 in the inside.  I told her they were DOLLars and that she is going to be getting other money for her birthday and that we will take her to the American Girl store to pick out a doll.  I hope this doesn’t get “Bad Mom” Award.  With our exchange student here, and Brian off the week before Piper’s birthday, it just arrived too quickly!  Monday morning, I woke up before her and made an attempt at a special birthday message.  I spelled out “Happy Birthday Pi” on the carpet using flashcards.  Cheesy maybe, but she’s five and thought it was great.  And I will even admit something else…my sister gave me a bag of hand-me-downs that day from someone and I wrapped up a pair of used pajamas.  That sounds so bad doesn’t it?  I just thought maybe she wanted something to open.  She had a gift from my grandma and one from Ina, but they were cute and so I wrapped them up and gave them to her.  Go ahead and judge, it sounds really bad I know.

Piper's last minute birthday message. She is wearing Tatum's pj's, by the way, I am not that bad of a mom who doesn't buy her kids pajamas, it is just a new phase she is in.

 

On Sunday, while I was watching the Oscars with Tatum, Brian took Piper out to see a play at the Laguna Playhouse for her birthday.  This is what she wore.

Brian lets her pick out her own clothes and since he doesn’t care and since I don’t have to be walking into the theater with them, I let her do it.  She has two massive flower hair clips sitting on top of her head.  Nice.  She has been known to wear pajamas to school performances at Brian’s work.  This next little get up is from a daddy date night last year.  Always very interesting. 

My five year-old is one-of-a-kind and I love her!  Here’s the lowdown on how we celebrated.  I asked her if she wanted to eat breakfast at home or go out to breakfast.  We rarely go out to breakfast, and so I thought it would be a special birthday treat, especially considering we weren’t going to be going out to dinner.  She sang, “It’s my birthday so I get to choose!  Home!  Home!  Home!”  She is such a homebody.  And so her birthday breakfast of choice was the same thing she has almost everyday.  A bowl of plain yogurt, muesli and granola, and honey drizzled on top.  Just like every other day.  Her Aunt Stacy took her to get a cupcake at 10 in the morning and then my mom brought cupcakes to the park after soccer practice to share with our friends.  And my friend showed up with cupcakes too.  Once a year, I guess it’s okay to have multiple cupcakes in the same hour (she has more self control than some of us.  She picked one mini cupcake since she had already eaten one).  She got a cap gun and a Barbie from two different friends, which pretty much describes her eclectic personality.  I should have got a picture of her shooting her “capital gun” donning her tiara, that would have been a good one.  The afternoon was rainy and after I bundled the girls up in their rain gear we headed to Pearson’s Port (click here to read the post on Pearson’s Port) to pick out a fish for dinner.  Ruby’s Diner is her favorite, but since we were going their the day after her birthday with family, we decided to make a special dinner for her at home.  She wanted fish and when we went to pick it out she said, “I want to get one that has skin and eyeballs.”  She is so not like me when it comes to that!  I have to eat animals that do not look anything like the real thing.  Give me a boneless skinless chicken breast please!

Tatum and Talia wearing their soccer shirts, hilarious. I should have gotten one because I kick the ball more than she does.

Say "hello" to dinner! (I didn't eat it)

super cool birthday card

 

And so, even though I didn’t have anything planned ahead of time for her birthday, things worked out just perfectly and we truly got to celebrate our special girl.  Happy birthday to my very special Piper Lee.  I love you more than you will ever know.