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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Money Jar

Have you seen the movie Up!? Super sweet movie!

Carl and Ellie had a dream, so they placed their change into a money jar to save for that dream. Life happened in many ways and they depleted that money time and time again. Ellie passed away without them ever living out their dream together.

For St. Patrick's Day I made Rick a Pot 'o Gold. He came to me {after all of his gold coins were eaten} with the jar and said that he wanted me to make a little sign to put in it that said "Mediterranean Cruise". That's our dream vacation. So, I made the jar and put it in our office, in between our desks.

The jar is not really supposed to be the way we save for the vacation, it's more a symbol of working towards a dream, together. In fact, we go on a nice vacation every year, and our vacation of choice is a cruise. We're going on a Hawaiian cruise this summer. So, money is not really the issue.

The issue is that as a married couple, we have dreams and aspirations of things we want to do together. We should work towards those dreams, together, and then do them! Don't wait too long, and don't let life get in the way.

What dream do you and your husband have? Work towards it together and do it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nicole's Daybook

Outside my window... it's going to be 80 degrees and sunny today! Yea, yea, yea!!!!

I am thinking... a lot about myself lately, and who I am deep inside.

I am thankful ... for good talks with my husband and kids and seeing understanding, sometimes my own.

I am wearing... my jammies right now, but I'm going to don a pair of shorts and bikini top later this afternoon and try to get some sun on this pasty white body!

I am remembering... the Saturday nights we used to spend at my grandma's. We'd play double solitaire, and then watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island before bed. We took turns sleeping with my grandma. And she would get up before dawn on Sunday morning and sit at the kitchen table and prepare her Sunday school lesson.

I am creating... new Easter memories for my family. I want my kids, especially my little kids, to really hear the Easter story and have some understanding of it. We will go see The Resurrection (a live production at a large Tulsa church) on Saturday evening. When we get home we are going to make Resurrection Cookies for the first time. Then on Sunday morning we are going to check on our cookies and then do that pagan Easter morning stuff (which we love, by the way!) After donuts and baskets, we'll hunt eggs. This year I am preparing special Resurrection Eggs (making them myself) for the kids to find during their hunt. When they come in we'll go through the eggs and get the third lesson on The Resurrection. God always did important things in three's. We will too, this Easter. Then we are going to head into town for an early lunch out. Sunday evening we'll have an Easter dinner of ham, homemade mac and cheese and green bean casserole and an Easter egg cake. Then we'll end the evening watching the Charlie Brown Easter movie as a family.

I am going... to lay out in the sun this afternoon and read some of my book (see below).

I am reading... True Colors, by Kristin Hannah.

I am hoping... that Rick gets that call this week for that appointment.

On my mind... is the conversation Rick and I had the other night where he told me that he didn't know if this was the best our marriage would ever be, but if it is then he is totally happy with it. Things are just so great right now.

From the learning rooms... we only have eight weeks of school left. There seems to have been a refocus occur, so everybody seems to be ready to work hard for the rest of the semester.

Pondering these words ... "You can't always protect them. Sometimes you have to prepare them." ~ From the movie, How to Train Your Dragon.

From the kitchen... I'm back in the saddle this week.

Around the house... are weeds that need mowed down and empty flower pots begging for life!

One of my favorite things... are dates with my husband.

A few plans for the rest of the week... this afternoon I'm taking Kyndal to get her hair cut, and then coming home to await the return of my husband who was on a business trip yesterday. I'm planning on trying to get outside every afternoon this week to get some sun and fresh air! This weekend is Easter and, as you read above, we have a busy weekend planned. Really, I'm just wanting to spend time with my family this week.

From my picture journal.

Having some cake and ice cream at a birthday party in the VIP room at the movie theater. We saw "How to Train Your Dragon." Great movie!

Get to know other special women at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not One of Those Families

I don't want us to be one of those families.

I don't want to be a family who only goes to church on Easter Sunday.

We aren't attending a church right now, and haven't for almost a year. (Strangely enough, Easter Sunday last year was our last regular Sunday of attendance.) So, if we dressed up and went to church this Sunday morning, we would be one of those families.

Although I don't want to be one of those families, I do want to be one of those families who celebrates the resurrection of our Lord and Savior on Easter Sunday. And, I want our children to acknowledge it and understand it.

So I have a plan. And it's a plan that I am so excited about!

We won't be dressed in our Sunday best. We won't be matching, like we have been for several years in a row. We won't be sitting in a pew.

But, we will be together. Our celebration of Easter this year will start on Saturday evening and continue through Sunday.

Honestly, it will likely be the most meaningful Easter we have ever had.

I am so looking forward to spending it with my family.

I'll post all about it later in the week.

Menu Plan Monday

Ah, I finally have a real menu this week! Two weeks ago was Spring Break, and we were in Missouri at my parents'. Last week I had a touch of a stomach bug, so didn't plan like I usually do.

But, this week there is a plan ...

Monday ~ Biscuits and gravy (a special request)

Tuesday ~ Taco salad

Wednesday ~ FFY

Thursday ~ Cheesy chicken and rice

Friday ~ Beef stroganoff

Saturday ~ Chicken quesadillas and homemade guac

Sunday ~ Ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole and cake

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blog Following

I've pondered something and made a decision. I have decided to stop following blogs of anyone I know personally, who lives here in my town. It feels wrong to know you so well, yet only find out things if I read it on your blog. I feel like if we are not close enough for you to be sharing it with me personally, by phone call or over a cup of coffee, that I really don't need to know about it.

Because of this, you will probably stop following my blog.

But, you probably don't read it anymore anyway.

It's kind of like with my mom ... when she was reading my blog I didn't have any reason to call her up and talk to her, nor her me. She was reading everything on my blog which left nothing for us in our personal relationship. She now has stopped reading my blog, and I now call her to keep her updated on things regularly.

That's how close relationships are supposed to work, right?

I am sorry if I have offended you. That is not my intent.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Date 13/52

Rick and I headed out for Date 13 of 52 last night. First we went into Tulsa to go to my son's favorite store to buy him some t-shirts for his Easter basket. The store is called The Refinery. It's a Christian skater store. So cool! We got him two NOTW t-shirts (Not of This World) that he wanted. I highly recommend that if you have a child who likes skateboarding brands like Hurley and Element, you (as a parent) will love this store!

Then we stopped at Toys R Us to get Eli a Mario Brothers action figure pack for his Easter basket. {We had already gotten Brynne a pink Razor scooter for hers}. I plan to get Kyndal some more of her favorite shower gel and then take her to the movies to see The Last Song.

This Easter will be different for us because we are not attending a church. We are thinking about taking our family to see the live production of Resurrection at Victory Christian Center during that weekend. Then on Easter we'll just spend the day together.

Back to our date. After we picked up all of our Easter goodies, we went to a new restaurant {and had the most amazing S'more dessert, after a large meal of course.} It was so yummy!

We spent a lot of time talking about the last year of our marriage and what a wonderful place we are at now. We discussed the hardships and how they have made us stronger. We talked about our future.

The older kids are into watching scary movies, so we stopped at the video store and rented a couple of horror movies, and then The Blindside and Planet 51. We came home and ended the evening watching one of the scary movies with the older kids. The little guys went to bed.

It was another really fun and relaxing evening.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ Because He's the FEMA to my Hurricane

I am a hurricane.

I start a project, complete what I intend to, and typically leave a disastrous mess behind.

For instance, last weekend I steam cleaned the carpets. Then I left the steam cleaner for a full day, untouched, upstairs (still with the dirty water in it). On Sunday Rick brought it downstairs and completely cleaned it up and stored it away. I didn't ask him to do it.

Then I also cleaned out and organized our office supply closet. When I was done with my part I had a large box full of trash and three boxes that needed to go upstairs to the storage room. He came behind me and finished all of that. Although I did ask him to do it, he would have done it anyway.

This is how we roll. I come into a project like a hurricane. Rick is my FEMA who comes up behind me and cleans up what I leave behind. Without him the disaster would likely remain forever.

Rick Rocks ~ Because he's the FEMA to my hurricane!
(This was his analogy. He said it with a smile.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whew! I'm done!

Some days I just need to get it all out! It's really more for my benefit than it is for yours. But, if you get something out of it, then that's just bonus.

I'm done thinking for today. It's time to get some things done.

Have a wonderful, insightful day! And if you're in Oklahoma, stay dry!

I Have a Lot to Say Today ...

My really tough year started almost a year ago.

It's been a tough year. It's been one of those "one thing after another" kind of years.

Many times I couldn't grasp how God would use those bad times for good. I knew that He would, but I just couldn't see it. Sometimes we don't get to. Thankfully I am seeing it. And I am reminded that it's not just for my good, but for the good of His Kingdom. That is His foremost motivation anyway. It's always, ultimately, about Him.

One of the areas where Rick and I have really struggled is in the area of church. We have been hurt the most by those who call themselves Christians. Isn't that the way it usually goes?

What has become abundantly clear to me is that the church doesn't want anyone to have or go through a bad time, or maybe they only want them to if they get to be the ones to take credit for fixing them.

That is what has happened to me. I have had a hard year, one where I can honestly say I have conjured up a lot of anger and bitterness and frustration. Some of it was thrust upon me. Some of it I brought on myself.

I was given permission by the church, and my Christian friends, to feel that way for about a week or two, and then they were done with me. It was time to straighten up! Well, actually, most of the church just ignored that I was having any problems. But, the ones that acknowledged it told me that they were there for me and they weren't giving up on me, which is exactly what they did when their agendas with and for me weren't being accomplished.

So I have been driven into more anger and bitterness and frustration.

Rick and I have not actively attended a church in a year.

I never, ever, ever thought it would happen.

I just don't want to be sitting in any pew when God finally says, "I've had enough! You have used Me for your own agenda long enough and I am done with you." Of course God isn't going to do that, but you get the point.

I cannot think God is very pleased with the state of his Church. Is this really what he intended?

I know there have to be churches out there that are doing it right in God's eyes. Where are they? I pray they are out there.

I know for a fact that I have made others feel badly and abandoned during periods of their bad times. I have been judgmental, frustrated and have given up on some. And I have done it all in the name of being a Christian. I have read through some of my journals from my past and really wanted to punch myself when I read what a judgmental jerk I was.

After experiencing the abandonment I have from the church this past year, I see clearly what I have done to others in the past. And I see clearly that if being a Christian means I make anyone feel the way I have been made to feel this year, then I don't want to be known as a Christian. I deserve the Hell that God created.

If I have made you feel abandoned because of your tough times, I apologize. If you have made me feel that way, I am still working through the area of forgiveness. I'm not there yet. If you are a church who genuinely loves the Lord and wants to do His will, then I hope I find you.

God has used all of this to, hopefully, change the heart of one woman in His Kingdom towards those going through tough times .. whether those tough times are self-imposed or thrust upon them. It really doesn't matter.

If I have been silent this year, and haven't given you the attention you have felt you needed, then I am sorry. As you see above, I've been having a tough year.

Random Thoughts ~ Part 2

The next set of kids is up and one is off to school. Here are more thoughts I'm having today:

* Why are our "followers" and comments so important to us? Have you ever thought that you really wanted to stop reading a particular blog, but then didn't remove yourself as a follower because you didn't want to hurt that person's feelings? Have you ever had someone stop following your blog and feel offended? Have you ever realized that the person who has stopped following your blog was who you have called your best friend for many years? Yeah.

* When is the last time you wrote an actual letter to someone? I have decided that I am going to start writing a letter to my grandmother once a week, including some pictures of the kids. Letter writing is a lost art with the onslaught of texting and blogging and e-mailing. I think my grandma might appreciate hearing from me this way.

Maybe I'll have more thoughts later. Maybe not.

Random Thoughts

Its been a whirlwind morning of taking puppies potty (it's pouring here, so this has been a challenge), cleaning up the potty messes I didn't avoid and making breakfast and coffee for two teens and sending them out the door. I now sit for a moment with my laptop and my own coffee, watching all the puppies chew on their rawhide sticks, with fifteen minutes before the next round of kiddos get up.

I am having lots of random thoughts today ... well, this week. So, here goes:

* What can a parent of teenagers expect when they have the following genes to battle ... one parent with a problem with authority (how I would love to blame that one on the other parent) and another parent who only does the minimum in his life to get by. What will become of these two poor kids.

* I am a mother cougar when I feel like my husband is not being appreciated in his workplace. We went to a retirement party for the former owner of his company last night. He was a good man. Unfortunately, he has since sold the company to a big corporation who could care less about their people and Rick is one of those people. How badly I wanted to have "a few words" with many of those executives who were there last night. I stopped drinking whiskey sours just in case they started giving me liquid courage to do just that.

* In 2 1/2 months, Rick and I leave for Hawaii for a week. Wow, I am ready for that!

* I need to get a pedicure. My toes look atrocious!

* Rick and I have fun together no matter what we are doing. We had Date 12 of 52 last night (courtesy of his money-hungry, sorry excuse for a company). We had a wonderful dinner, a couple of cocktails, and {as usual} tons of laughs! He is a funny man!

* Why specifically do you love your spouse? If you were talking to somebody about your spouse, and were telling them what you love about him or her, what would be your specific reasons? Rick and I have been pondering this and talking about it. Sometimes I think we just know we love him or her, and never really think about the reasons why. This little exercise has caused us to have to give more than an answer of, "You complete me." (And, yes, Rick actually said that!)

* I am a terrible texter. I think it's funny that I sent my daughter a text last night that said, "Uhankr" {instead of Thanks} and she immediately responded, "You're welcome."

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to get up Round 2.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amazing Ideas Needed!!!

I have been wanting a bench to put at the foot of our bed. My mom had one that she was planning to sell in a garage sale, so told me I could have it.

The lump in our bed is our cat, Clifford!

But, it's not exactly the style, and definitely not the color, I was looking for. But, it was free, and it looks good where it is.

Here's where I need your creative ideas. Our bedroom is paprika, butternut squash and chocolate brown. We have lots of woods and metals through our whole house. I love copper. What would you do with this bench? I need creative ideas!

I think that recovering it with another fabric will be too much for me because of the lines of the bench. I'm not sure I am talented enough to nip it and tuck it where it would look better than a 4th grade art project.

How would you change the color? Would you add embellishments? What would you do with this bench?

Our style is pretty traditional, but I am certainly open to something fun.

And I know there are many of you who are great at this kind of thing ... Dina, Kendra, others????

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nicole's Daybook

Outside my window... after our 30 degree, blowing, snow-filled weekend, it's now a sunny, warm 70 degrees.

I am thinking... about contentment.

I am thankful ... for not having to work outside my home.

I am wearing... black yoga pants, a long-sleeved white t-shirt layered with a gray short-sleeved t-shirt and my Nike's.

I am remembering... how vibrant my grandma used to be, and how much she has deteriorated over the last several years.

I am creating... wooden scripture blocks for the Mother Daughter banquet.

I am going... to do some housework this morning and then lay on the couch after Brynne goes to school and watch Julie and Julia by myself. I am still feeling a little cruddy today.

I am reading... True Colors, by Kristin Hannah.

I am hoping... that Rick gets a new job so that he can leave behind a company that does not appreciate his talents and work ethic.

On my mind... is how different my kids are from each other and how one thing works for one, but would be impossible for another.

From the learning rooms... we are now beginning the last 9 weeks of our school year. It has gone by so fast! It's also time to enroll Brynne in kindergarten. Unbelieveable!

Pondering these words ... "Papa, I want you to come to my birthday party and make my cake." ~ Brynne to my dad when he was putting the icing on the angel food cake for my grandma.

From the kitchen... I still haven't come up with a menu for this week, which is not like me. I have dinner planned for tonight, and tomorrow night it's Fend For Yourself (Rick and I will be at the retirement party). I need to get it together and plan some meals for Thursday night, Saturday night and Sunday night. Maybe I'll just let three people pick their favorite meals and fix those.

Around the house... is almost every sock we own needing to be sorted and folded.

One of my favorite things... is all of the signs of Spring ~ the big fat Robin in the backyard, my herb seeds sprouting.

A few plans for the rest of the week... this afternoon I have to go meet with Kyndal's counselor at school to plan her remaining three years of high school (can you believe that?). Tomorrow night Rick and I are attending a retirement party for the former owner of his company. On Friday we're taking the puppies to the vet for their next round of shots. Then Rick and I have been invited to go out to dinner with a large group of friends. We're undecided if we are going yet, though. On Saturday Eli and Brynne have a birthday party to go and Rick's golf season officially starts.

From my picture journal.

Eli and Brynne celebrating St. Patrick's Day with their Great-grandma Alice. It was also her 87th birthday.

Get to know other special women at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I have meals planned through Wednesday. But, with a touch of a stomach bug that hit me last night, the thought of food and/or planning for it makes me want to ...... yeah.

So, maybe later.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What You Do On A Snowy Weekend In March

First of all ... enough all ready! It was 72 degrees on Friday and 32 degrees and inches of snow on Saturday.

Anticipating this, Rick and I rented a gob of movies for us and the kids to get us through the weekend.

(Speaking of movies .. have you seen Nights in Rodanthe? Kyndal and I watched it at my parents this past week. I loved it!)

I spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday doing the following:

* Steam cleaning the upstairs carpet ... grody!!!!

* Sending Rick to town to get Drano for the bathtub I clogged upstairs because of all of the gunk I dumped down it dumping out the steam cleaner (oooops ...).

* Making a table runner for our entertainment center. (This was $50 per yard fabric that I bought for $7 a yard. That, plus the trim, made it a $20 table runner. And all I used was hem tape and hot glue.)

* Putting away all of our clothes and things from the mini vacation at my parents'.

* Changing up our planned menu to include a pot of potato soup on a freezing cold, snowy day.

* Taking a break for a real snow cone while wearing jammies you have worn all weekend.

* Completely reorganizing the office supply closet and moving things from my craft cabinet in the garage to the new organization system. (I have wanted a closet that was organized like this for years!)



I love it!

* Cleaning off your office desk so you can actually see the surface of it.



So, basically, I didn't have any fun this weekend. But, I did accomplish a lot!

An Apology

Wow! I owe you an apology .. that is if you have ever walked on, sat on, layed on or (God forbid) ever allowed one of your children to play on any of my carpet!

When the kids and I got back from Missouri yesterday, it was obvious that we had not been as diligent in cleaning up puppy potty accidents as we had thought. It was stinky in our house!

A few years ago we had lived in a rental house, while our house was being built, and the doggy occupant before us had generously used the playroom as a bathroom. I owned a Bissell ProHeat carpet steamer, so I ran vinegar through it instead of carpet solution. It worked like a charm. Our house smelled like vinegar for a couple of days, but the doggy urine smell was gone.

My Bissell had an early demise last year, so last night I begged Rick to buy me another one. (By the way, we went on date 11 of 52 last night .. dinner, Lowe's, Walmart, The Dollar Tree, Blockbuster and Brahm's for milk. Don't be jealous.)

Last night after the kids went to bed I cleaned the downstairs carpet areas with the vinegar and water solution.

Our downstairs is primarily stained concrete. We have carpet in the three bedrooms and a large carpet rug in our living room. That's it.

After I cleaned the carpet rug, I was mortified! The water was nothing less than sludge! It was brownish black, thick, full of hair and other particles. Gross!

So, if you have had the misfortune to even step onto one of my areas of carpet in the last couple of years, I sincerely apologize for the bacteria you took home with you.

Today I am tackling the upstairs. It's all carpet. I am frightened.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ Because He's the Best Girlfriend a Girl Could Have

What qualities do you look for in a best girlfriend? For me, it's someone I trust. It's someone I can vent to, and share my dreams and secrets with, without worrying that she will tell someone else. It's someone I can shop with, and talk about meal planning with, and talk about our favorite shows with, and vent about my kids with. It's someone who knows that I'm perfectly imperfect, but still likes me and wants to hang out with me anyway. It's someone I like to go out to eat with and go to the movies with. It's someone who I can say, "What do you think about this?" and she tells me what she really thinks without making me feel like I'm a loser for asking.

Those are all of the qualities I have looked for in a best girlfriend.

And I haven't found her.

Although, I have found him.

Rick is that perfect girlfriend for me.

I can tell him my dreams and secrets and know that he's not going to tell anybody else. He is the best shopping partner (plus, he pays!), we like to plan our meals together (and even go grocery shopping together). We are constantly watching shows together and talking about them. And, God knows, I can vent about the kids to him. He knows I am imperfect and still wants to spend every waking free moment with me (unless he's on the golf course). He and I love to go out to eat together, and do it often, and like the same kinds of movies. And I can always expect an honest and well-thought-out answer to my questions about what I should do about something.

And there are so many more things in addition to these!

Why are we trained to believe that we must search for a girlfriend to hang out with? I've always struggled with that, and the fact that by doing so it takes time away from my husband and kids .. the ones I really want to hang out with anyway.

I'm done searching for that best friend .. I already have him.

Rick Rocks ~ Because he's the best girlfriend a girl could have.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Me and Tricia

I was in the nail salon about five minutes on Monday before I realized it was her. Tricia Yearwood was getting a pedicure about 3 feet from where I was getting my nails done.

If you don't know this about me, I live in the same town as Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood. Garth's ex-wife, Sandy, grew up in our town, and she still lives there with their three daughters. Their oldest daughter goes to school with Kyndal.

It's weird, you know, when you run into them somewhere because they look so ordinary, sometimes more than ordinary. I think it's nice that they can live in a community where they are respected as just regular people and not harassed by the townspeople.

That's why I didn't take a picture of her while I was sitting there, even when my mom and sister asked me if I would. (I had texted them while my nails were drying to tell them.) Besides, Tricia would have been mortified if I would have taken a picture of her looking like that!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Luck of the Irish

It's a blessing that almost every year we get to be in Missouri to visit my family on St. Patrick's Day (because it falls over Spring Break). We are The O'Neals, thus enjoy a fun Irish holiday! I always make sure we all get new St. Patty's outfits, and we have a fun day!

St. Patrick's Day is also my grandmother's birthday. She turned 87 years old today.

My grandma is slipping, and isn't the vibrant woman she once was. In fact, most times conversations with her are very difficult. She hardly leaves her house, except to take trips to the doctor or the store, and doesn't drive anymore or even walk to her own mailbox to get her mail. It's so hard to see her like that.

So, it is important to me that I make a point to go spend some time with her on her birthday, even if it's just for a few minutes.

We stopped by Dollar General and I had Eli and Brynne pick out green gifts to give their great-grandma. Eli picked out a green flower garden stake. Brynne picked out a green wind chime and a small green crock with an apple candle in it. They each picked out a card for her, which was funny because neither of them had me read them before they picked them out.

We brought her a small cake and flowers, visited with her for a while and sang "Happy Birthday" to her (at Eli's suggestion). It was really cute to see them singing to her.

So, grandma, May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go ~ Irish Blessing.

We love you.

Hope you all have had a nice St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nicole's Daybook

Outside my window... it is a little cloudy, and still a morning nip in the air, but the weather has been beautiful!

I am thinking... about all of the love I have in my life. How much I love Rick and the kids. How much I love these silly dogs. How much I love the promises that Spring holds and the budding trees and bushes. How much I love the excitement of the changes in our lives. How much I love the idea of teaching Dawson and Kyndal starting to drive and Eli excelling in school and Brynne becoming so smart.

I am thankful ... for the lump sum check I received in the mail yesterday that couldn't have come at a better time!

I am wearing... my jammies, but am getting ready to get dressed for a morning of cleaning, errands and packing for Spring Break.

I am remembering... how unreasonable I thought my parents were when I was a teenager, but how right they really were about most things.

I am creating... thoughts and ideas for my mom's church's Mother Daughter Banquet.

I am going... to get dressed, clean out my car, do some laundry, pick up the house, go get my nails done, get gas, come home and pack, make lists for Rick and Dawson and then drive 4 hours to my parents'.

I am reading... True Colors, by Kristin Hannah.

I am hoping... that the men-folk of my house are able to hold down the fort (and keep the puppies from destroying it) while I am gone for a few days.

On my mind... is how all of the "loss" this past year has all lead to the same result: drawing me closer to my husband and children and reminding me that they are who I want to spend my time with, and giving me ample opportunity to do it.

From the learning rooms... we are on Break!! But Brynne did go through an entire Kindergarten workbook in one day this week already, so I went and bought her 8 more Pre-K and Kindergarten books to do (along with all new supplies: markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, tape, index cards, sketch pad, school word flashcards).

Pondering these words ... I can do anything with your support, and nothing without it ~ paraphrased from a conversation with my husband (at least, that's what I heard him say.)

From the kitchen... it's all man food this week ~ ramen, frozen burritos, sandwiches, hot pockets, hamburger helper singles, etc. The little guys and I will be eating it up at grandma and papa's!

Around the house... are little messes everywhere that drive me crazy! I hate leaving for a few days with the house looking like this!

One of my favorite things... is my comfy robe.

A few plans for the rest of the week... today the little kids and I are going to Missouri for a few days. Kyndal is already there. We are leaving Rick and Dawson and the puppies here. While in Missouri, I plan to go play cards with my mom and her card group, get my hair done, go to my mom's church group with her, sleep in, be completely lazy, let the kids be completely lazy, and then pack up and come home on Friday. This weekend we have nothing planned. I am sure I will have a house to put back together, and a husband, son and puppies to snuggle with.

From my picture journal.

St. Patrick's Day last year celebrating my grandma's birthday, that is on March 17th.

Get to know other special women at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

No real plan this week, girls! That's the beauty of Spring Break!

The kids and I will head to Missouri tomorrow evening to spend a few days with my parents. We'll be back for the weekend. Rick will be here all week, but when I'm gone he just wants easy stuff like sandwiches, ramen, frozen burritos, etc.

Tonight I'm going to make salmon patties and fried potatoes. That just sounds good! Then I'll pull together some plans for next weekend, probably some of the kids' favorites like easy chicken cordon bleu sandwiches and chicken fettucine.

That's it for us this week in the menu department. Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nicole and Brynne ~ How Does Your Garden Grow?

Last year Brynne and I planted herb and vegetable seeds in our little inside greenhouse. Our oregano and basil and marigolds grew. But, our green beans, peppers, tomatoes and rosemary were duds. We bought tomato and rosemary plants later in the spring, transferred our herbs and planted a container garden. It was a good first attempt!

This afternoon she and I started our herb seeds. We decided to skip doing vegetables from seeds this year, and will just plant them as plants. We'll transplant our herbs to containers on our back patio, and are going to plant the rest of our garden in our garden box that Rick built for us last year.

We planted cilantro, basil, oregano, sweet savory, rosemary and sage.

Really, we just have fun doing it.

If we actually end up with some fresh herbs to use, that's just bonus.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Break Plans

Today marks the first day of our Spring Break.

We were certainly ready for a break!

Kyndal left right after school to go spend some time with her dad and grandparents in Missouri (and to go on a double date with her boyfriend Kevin and his parents -- she's not allowed to go on dates alone with him yet).

Dawson went to his best friend's lakehouse with their family. He'll be back later today.

Rick and I took the little kids to Chick-fil-a for dinner last night. He and I were able to sit and have a really great talk while they were playing. We talked about how our roles as parents is changing now that we have teenagers. He is such a good encouragement to me in my perception of myself as "mom". He provides me with much-needed balance of thought.

This morning Rick got up and went to play a round of golf. The little kids and I are enjoying a lazy morning in our jammies with the puppies and watching cartoons. Later today we are going to run into town to replenish Brynne's "school teacher" supplies.

Rick and I are hoping to get in a date night tonight. Dinner out with him alone would be so nice, specially since the kids and I are all leaving on Tuesday evening to spend a few days in Missouri with my parents.

We always have such a great time on our Spring Break visit! My grandma's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, so we always dress in our green and celebrate with her. I'm going to get my hair done (which is WAY overdue), and even go with my mom to play cards with her card group at their local Country Club. My mom is also in a church group that is responsible for the annual Mother/Daughter Banquet this year. She has asked me to help with a theme idea. And, I may even be leading their devotional at the end of the banquet. I would love to do that, and feel honored and privileged to be able to share some of my testimony with my childhood church. We'll be meeting on Wednesday night to make some of those plans.

We usually spend the entire Spring Break in Missouri, but this year we didn't want to leave our puppies for a full week. While Rick is at work they will all have to stay in their rooms. They aren't used to having to do that all day. He's planning to come home for lunch every day to let them out for a bit. We will miss them so much!

I will miss Rick so much, too!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ Because He Dares to Dream!

Don't fall in love with a dreamer .... Remember that song? I've always been a fan of that song. Mostly, it's because I'm a control freak. I have this little overriding need called stability. So, unless my dreams, or anyone else's, coincide with a guarantee of complete success, they get shot down.

Rick is a dreamer, and I am in love with him.

I strongly drill into the heads of my children that they should have constant consideration for what they are passionate about, and move in that direction when looking for a life career. That's because if they are passionate about it, it will drive them to get out of bed every morning and strive for excellence. And, they will be happy and fulfilled. Money and prestige mean absolutely nothing.

And I want the same for Rick and I, but I also want financial stability, a nice house, a running car, a closet full of fashionable clothes for both me and the kids, and food.

Rick has a real talent in engineering. In fact, I think he is quite revered in his industry. He's good at it, he's respected and he makes a better-than-good income.

But, he doesn't wake up in the morning with a hoot-and-a-holler, ready to take on the world with his engineering skills. He doesn't feel purpose in his career as an engineer, although he {gladly} does it as a way to challenge his mind and provide for his family (both of which I am eternally grateful.)

Rick has a dream. It's always bubbled on the surface. He tries to do something with it, it doesn't go "as planned", so he stuffs it.

And it rises to the surface again.

Rick loves golf.

He is passionate about it.

But, he's not just passionate about playing it (although he loves to). He's also passionate about the technical side of it. In fact, he has often said that he isn't sure he would want to really play on a tour, because he's not sure if he could handle being on the road all the time and away from family.

But he can't get golf out of his blood. And, he just doesn't feel that it's intended to only be an area of recreation for him.

This is where engineering and golf merge. He has been working on an idea for a long time, something that he can turn into a side business (and maybe even a full-time business someday with God's blessing). It's something he can do while still providing for his family in a conventional way. He can take his analytical and technical engineering skills into the field of golf, and provide a valuable service!

And, it's got him excited!

It's got him very excited!

And I am excited for him! I'm glad he hasn't let my fear and lack of ability to dream hold him back from moving forward with something he really, really wants to do. I am so proud of him for stepping outside the box to take something he's passionate about and find a way to mold it into his life. I am excited to see where this leads him!

Rick Rocks ~ Because he dares to dream!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lost in Transition

What a strange place to be .. in a state of transition in almost every area of your life.

Although nothing drastic is going on, you can almost feel the changes boiling on the surface of your soul.

That's how I feel right now. I don't feel bad. I just feel strange. I feel like I should be worried, but I have an overwhelming sense of peace.

Nothing is moving along the way that we want, so that just means that God is in control. That means things are moving along in the way that He wants.

It puts me in a state of expectation, and excitement! But, if I'm not careful, I can get anxious and impatient.

It's funny how God will allow you to make certain decisions in your life and go a certain way. But, then there are those things that He is just going to control, and He prevents you from making any decisions in your own power. That's because He has you in His power, going in the direction where He wants you to go. He probably knows that in your own power you will likely screw it up.

Rick's job is in a constant state of flux. But, an excitement is there because it feels like something is happening for him. We just don't know what. So, we wait.

Our house isn't selling. But, an excitement is there because we know that God will sell it when He's ready for it to sell. So, we wait.

We have no church home. But an excitement is there because we are learning to just love and rely on God, instead of looking to a fallen Church to get us there. We don't feel any pulling to do anything but what we are doing. So, we wait.

Our children are growing and changing and all moving from one major stage to another. There is fear and excitement there, even though we don't know what to expect next. So, we wait.

Rick and my marriage feels stronger than it ever has. I don't know about him, but I feel an excitement because I know He has great things in store for us as a married couple. I know that He is using us to break generational bondages and heal our families for generations to come. We don't know what He wants us to do specifically. So, we wait.

Although we wait, we know He is here. He is working things out for our good, and for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

Lord, give us patience to experience what you have in store for us. Help us while we wait.

... but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength ... Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it ... Luke 17:33 (ESV)