A Month of Thanks Wrap-Up

Wow! A month of thanks has flown by! The last few days, I have been thankful that I have been so wonderfully busy and happy that I haven't even had time to blog!

The past long weekend was one of the very BEST Thanksgiving weekends I can remember!

It's almost midnight, and my iPhoto is acting nutszo, so I'll share my thanks-sentiments and the pics from Thanksgiving with our family tonight and share the rest of the pics later. Stay on the edge of your seat because there's some good ones! (I'm biased though ... my kids rock!!)

THURSDAY: I am thankful that it snowed Thanksgiving morning. We were expecting family, and I had a list of chores to do before they arrived. But who can do chores when there's sledding to do?! So I didn't clean the toilets, and I didn't change all the sheets until later, and I didn't fuss around. I played in the snow with my kids!!! The result was that I had a fantastic morning and spent the afternoon in a home that looked exactly like it is - like four kids live and play there - and I was very happy with that! (We're pretty neat people anyway, so it's truly just my OCD nature that I had to suppress. The snow allowed for that, and it was delightful!)
(Above) Eli and Grandpa Sharing Stories .... while (Below) Grandma read stories with the older kids!
Seriously, I was jealous of Collin in this moment Thursday. Next year I'm not holding back. I'm loading up an olive per finger and enjoying them one-by-one too! I LOVE doing that!
Mmmm ... goodness. Mmmmm.
Clockwise: Kate, Grandma J, my brother Zac, my sister-in-law Carolyn, my new little niece Greta, my dad/Grandpa J, Collin, Owen
Again, playing with his food ... it's a hat! No, it's a roll! Nope, it's a hat. ; )

Kate was very thankful to be licking the spatula after Grandma whipped up the homemade cream to top the pumpkin pie! Kate is also a very good sharer:

Kate is wearing "the dress my Grandma made to me!"
Owen took nearly 80 photos on Kevin's iPhone. Wonder where he learned that? (Super cute!)
Baby Greta - 2 Weeks

FRIDAY: I am thankful for patience. We drove out to our Tree Farm Friday, and (despite the general lack of good trees due to some bug that turned them all brown - ugh) we picked out "the perfect Christmas Tree" for 2010! Once home, we pulled out the ka-zillion boxes of decorations and ornaments and started Project Decorate. The kids were so excited! They were pulling out ornaments and ripping the packing paper, tearing through the boxes. If I reminded them, they'd slow down, but the excitement was just bubbling over! I cringed as they pulled out the ornaments and decorated feet 1 to 3.5 of the tree (I did the top, and eventually rearranged a few decorations because the middle was seriously full!!). I pictured each ornament breaking, one by one. OH!!! But then I took a deep breath and kept smiling. I reminded myself to have patience, to bust in the box myself and rescue the ones that I really cared about, and to remember that they are just ornaments ... big deal. Telling the kids to stop wasn't even an option! Nothing compares to the joys the kids had as they took the ornaments out and examined each and every one in delight and discovery! I was truly so pleased by how many of them they remembered from past years (some they'd made, some bought, etc.) and the connections to stories and emotions they have already made with them. It's the kind of response I've been hoping for ... the reason I believe ornaments are so cool. If you listen, they tell stories of years past. (Which is sort of also why I don't want them all to break.) So, yes, I am thankful that my patience was excellent that night. We had a blast decorating the tree and laughing about past Christmas moments! *In the end, only one ornament was broken; i don't even remember which one or how. must not have been too important. so cool.

SATURDAY: I am thankful for good friends, tacky glue, good brew, and burn cream! We spent Saturday with one of our favorite families, crafting gifts for the kids to give for Christmas (you're gonna love them! and so simple!), brewing what became appropriately and awesomely labeled "Third Degree" beer (our first experience brewing), and nursing the dads' burnt hands while we watched Disney's new Jim Carey "Christmas Carol." I am thankful the dads' hands are ok (a few serious blisters, some missing layers of skin -- ouch!), thankful that I don't own that movie (I don't recommend it - not because it's scary like people said -- it's not scary -- but I don't recommend it because it's slow, not funny like you might expect from Carey, and clearly drawn with 3-D effects in mind, not for viewing in a living room), and thankful that most of the beer survived "The Big Spill" and is currently fermenting!

SUNDAY: I am thankful for the opportunity and good fortune to attend Sunday's Seahawk game vs. Kansas City Chiefs at Qwest Field! Wow! What an experience! It was LOUD! It was ENERGIZING! And we had awesome seats, from which we could see each and every play AND watch the ferries come in and out of the terminals in downtown Seattle. So cool!! The boys LOVED the game, followed the plays, and lived it up! Me too! I think we'll have to save up and try to make it an annual tradition. ; )

MONDAY: I am thankful for sleep. I need to get more of it.

TUESDAY/TODAY: I am thankful that I posted regularly for the past month! I feel so accomplished! It is amazing how little time it really takes when I just sit down each night and start typing. (Tonight was a little longer because I took a few nights off ... which just lends right into the argument that I should do a little each day!) I know I'll always treasure the time I spent tracking our many moments. *Thanks, Katie K! You're a swanky inspiration! ; )


My Family

Eli, Kate, Collin, Owen, Kevin, Me
Today I am most thankful for my family. I have a fantastic husband, who makes me laugh, refuses to hold my hand for longer than a few seconds, makes amazing meals, works hard for his family, enjoys his friends, and chooses his family over everything else. And together we have created four truly amazing children, each unique and wonderful, with whom we get to experience so much joy. I couldn't ask for more!!
*I took this pic before bed tonight. It is SO typical! With four kids, I do a LOT of laundry around here, and nearly every day, the kids are digging through the dryer for their favorites. So, I didn't plan it but I am not surprised to see that tonight each of our kids is in his or her favorite jammies!

-- Art by Owen 11.17.10 --

First Snowfall of the Season

I mentioned earlier that we got home late last Friday because we'd been in Seattle that evening. Well while we were there, our house was dumped on! Our neighbor Nick G built this snowman to welcome us home, and Kate was thrilled to wake up, put her hat and boots on, and find him out front in the morning:
Needless to say, jammies weren't cutting it in the brrrr, so we bundled up and went back out for more:
Snow Fight!!
By mid-morning, the snow was melting, but the kids hardly cared! Kate and Owen were out for hours, each trucking their sleds up the hill over and over and over:
They were not alone:Kate and Ava:

To allow them to enjoy every last moment, Daddy delivered breakfast sandwiches to our sledders:
At the end, Owen was practically surfing down the road:
Kate tried so hard to keep going, scooting her bum and inching along, but eventually the snow was no more:
Awesome morning!!!

Owen and His Mini-Me

Owen and His Mini-Me



Today I am thankful for music and its power to inspire.

I drove to work this morning in Kevin's car, listening to "Stan" by Eminem. It had a decent rhythm, and I started off enjoying it. I got caught up in the lyrics and was even impressed by the creative liberty. Except it was incredibly depressing. I can't remember the last time a song took me so low. When I got to my office and ran into Lisa at the elevator, she stopped short and looked so worried: "Are you ok?" "Oh, yeah. Sorry. Just got wrapped up in the lyrics of a everything's-gone-wrong song."

Wow. Music is so powerful!

So I spent the afternoon with jazz in the background, keeping my spirits lifted and inspiring brief interludes between emails for dance with Eli.

Then I drove home to Country - good ol' hometown, kick your heels up, country. Gotta love a happy beat!

And tonight, to wrap up her night, I sang with Kate her favorite song: "Skidamarink" (which I just looked up on Wikipedia ~ neat! I am thankful for Wikipedia!) Singing that song inspires hugs and loves and bright, big smiles! Such great inspiration!!

Off to hum a tune! Tra-la-la!

[*I just remembered the last time music hit me low like that: every time I hear Darryl Worley's "Have you forgotten?" or Alan Jackson's "Where were you when the world stopped turning?"]

Four Months

Happy Four Months, Eli!! You are so amazing! You are always happy and present your happiness to everyone, sharing your big smile, deep dimples, and glistening eyes! I love snuggling with you, playing peak-a-boo with you, dancing with you (you laugh!), and sharing every day moments with you. You are a wonderful addition to our lives!


Today I am Thankful for Snow Days!

I had court this morning at 9 a.m. As always, I dropped the kids off at school and headed in to see how my day would pan out. After an hour and a half in the courthouse, I headed out of the building with full intentions of hitting the phone and a few motions hard. ... and then I saw the snowflakes falling, and I became a little kid again, praying for the teachers to call it a Snow Day! And it hit me like lightening!! I'm a big kid now! I am the teacher in my scenario, and I can call a Snow Day!

And so I did!! I raced (ok, drove very slow in the snow and ice) to the kids' school and scooped up my happy, gleeful children, and began planning out a new day! Collin immediately requested grilled cheese and soup "to warm us up!" due to the 20 degree weather, and Owen couldn't hardly stand to wait until after lunch ... he and Kate were bundled and out as soon as I excused Owen from the table. (He'd barely eaten a thing, but he just couldn't focus at all!!) The snow had continued to fall while we'd "eaten," and we were stoked! Eli and I watched the kids go up and down the hill over and over! Such excitement and thrill!

*We had our first snowfall Friday night, and although we got 4-5 inches, it melted on the roadways quickly Saturday (although we got almost 3 hours of snowfun in, so it was ok with us!). Today was much colder (as you read above), so the snow stuck around! No sledding turned surfing today! Woohoo! It was all fun and games until ... the sander arrived. I must know: Who do I call to cancel his run on our cul-de-sac?!

**My computer is being funky, and I can't upload pics - but I have some, and they are great - so when I can make it happen, you'll get to see them here. If you don't want to wait though, they did upload to Facebook! Friends, enjoy!


Today I'm Thankful for SNOWcones!

Must of us agree that on a hot summer day, snowcones are fantastic! The shaved ice, the sweet syrup. Such a simple treat and so novel! With real snow from the backyard, Kevin served up cherry snowbowls this cold, winter day! Now THAT's novel! And SO excellent!! Sure to become a new tradition! ("Would you like hot cocoa or a snowcone?!)

Above: Eli, Owen, Collin, Isaac

Good Times!

Yesterday I was thankful for so much! The first snow dump, neighborhood sled runs, and snow tires to name a few! Thanks to Natalie and Daniel for braving our hill and watching the five kiddos (including Baby Piper!) so Brannon, Kim, Brian, Christi, Kevin and I could go out to Boundary and Bowling! Good times!


GGG is 80!

Today I am oh-so-grateful for my grandmother! We call her GGG (pronounced "Triple G" for Great Grandma Groom), and today we celebrated her 80th birthday!
I have so much I would love to say about her, but for now (because we just got back from a quick trip to Seattle for her birthday dinner, and it's nearly 1 a.m.) I'll suffice to say that my grandmother is one of my very best friends, confidants, and cheerleaders. She is quick to point out when I'm being foolish or smart, and her never-ending support is like sunshine to my soul! I am so loved by her and she by me ~ it's a treasure!
Happy 80th Birthday, Grandma!!! We love you!!


First Snow Dusting

We awoke this morning to a fine mist of snow all around! It was crunchy and icy and could have easily been confused for heavy frost but for the investigation that showed it had settled even on fence posts and yard furniture! One look and Kate said: "It's messy, Mom! Let's go clean it up to-ge-ther!" Funny, I tend to think the white snow - before it's been rained on, sanded, or driven on - looks clean! Messy! I love it!

Note: "Together" seems to be Kate's "word of the week!" She wants to do everything "together"!



Today I am thankful for my family's health! We are blessed beyond measure, and not a day goes by that I don't express gratitude at our good fortune.

Today Collin had his yearly check-up, and he "looks great!" He read the doc a book, showed off his climbing skills, displayed his big brother love towards E, and braved his flu shot. He weighed in at 48 pounds and stood tall at 45.5 inches!

Eli had his two-month check-up (ok, late, but they gave me a pass since he's healthy, and we have four kids!), and I filled out the four-month Ages and Stages Questionnaire (early on that one!). He scored "above average" (got highest marks possible!) on each of the expectations for four month developmental milestones! Woohoo, E! He weighed in at 16 pounds, 5 ounces and was 25 inches tall!

Twins Separated by Four and A Half Years?

I confess: I mistakenly call Eli "Owie" at least twice a week. It was making me a little bananas until I ran across some old video clips. I've posted a few links to E lately; here's one of O at E's current age (just under 3 months). Click here to see what I mean: Owie Video!


Mid-November Already?

It is amazing to me that it's already mid-November. Thanksgiving is next Thursday! Apple Cup is just around the corner! And let's not forget the Christmas Holiday Season! And then (sadly), Eli will start school instead of go to work with me. What a whirlwind the past few months have been, and, yet, it's been an amazing ride! Having a large family, a full time job, and being committed to both certainly keeps me happily (albeit sometimes wearily!) on my toes! Speaking of weary, I've been "planning" to run on my treadmill nearly every morning this month, and I've hit the "off" button on the alarm each morning it went off. One day I ran for 15 minutes. I have aspirations of another marathon some day! And I have "baby weight" to shed! More importantly, I love to run! But I also have four kids with runny noses and nightmares and midnight potty runs and late night nursing sessions. So I do what I can ~ and cherish all of the moments along the way. I'll get there. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. In the meantime ...

Today I'm thankful ...

... that I got to see Kate on the big yard at school today! ~ Owen *Kate's transitioning to the preschool class and that class has opportunities to play with Owen's class during outside play times!

... that I get to see Marley and Taylor and Uncle Jared again soon and that you came to lunch for Stone Soup! ~ Collin *Each student brought ingredients, the class spend yesterday dicing the veggies, and today the teachers hosted a Stone Soup Luncheon for kids and parents! So cool! Collin said he mostly chopped potatoes and carrots and rutabaga! Wanna see my reminder invitation from Collin? I knew you did! Here:
"Ston Soup Tomroe. I hop yo r thar. To Mom"

... for Aba! And Rikki! And Uncle Jared and Aunt Janae! Can they come to my house soon, Mom?! ~ Kate

... for Stone Soup Luncheons and moonlight runs! I was SO glad to get out of Everson Municipal in time to make the second half of the luncheon! I missed the story reading, but I got to sit with Collin and enjoy the feast! I think Collin was double stoked because I'd told him I wasn't sure I'd make it, and then I did - without Eli even (he still had a sitter). "I knew you'd make it, Mom, so I got extra fish crackers so we could share!" Oh, Collin, I was so glad to be thar! I also laced up my shoes and headed outdoors for a fantastic run and great girl time around the lake tonight! See?! I'm going to get there! Girl time and a run while Kevin puts the kids to bed. Now that's a winning combination!! : )


Seahawks Sunday

We watch football; the kids make stunt films (*sometimes they finger knit, do creation station, play hockey, paint, build with Lego, watch the game and barter football cards ... sky's the limit, really). Sundays are fun! Here's the best of Owen's footage from yesterday!

Then I told O to pass over the camera: Owen's Quick Jump (so I can get back to my documentary)

Each kid ultimately took it to the next level with long jumps and crazy stunts! Kate even jumped multiple times from the top step, Kai jumped down backwards, and Kevin - the big kid - jumped like a bunny and tucked his head down and pulled his feet up so he wouldn't crash against the ceiling level! Fun times!

Peak a Boo, Eli!

I haven't been able to capture a full on laugh fest yet, but this Peak a Boo Moment is adorable!!

It's Working!

Today was a breakthrough in our Month of Thanks! We jumped in the car after school, and Owen - without any prompting! - said:

Today I'm thankful for Brannon! [Then, I prompted: Why?] Because I'm grateful for good friends! - Owen

I'm thankful that today is the first day of the Read-a-Thon! [Why?] Because I love reading! I'm going to raise lots of money! [You know the money's for your school, right?] Yeah, well, right. We're going to buy new toys and a balance beam and stuff though.

I'm thankful for Trick-or-Treating! - Kate [Then later at dinner:] I'm thankful for dinner!! Thanks, for the good dinner, Daddy!

I'm thankful that my month of focused awareness (really 10-15 minutes a day!) is proving to be a success! ... I'm also thankful for power! Go electricity!! The wind is seriously howling, and I'm typing as fast as I can in hopes that I finish this post before the power goes out! It's already flickered twice! ; )

*If you're interested in supporting the kids' Read-a-Thon to Raise Funding for their school (new board books and floor pillows for what will be Eli's room in another month and a half and a balance beam and other gym equipment for the bigger kids, etc.), please contact Collin or Owen! They are accepting donations at a flat rate or per book for a two-week reading period. (Common numbers are $10-$20 or .25 or .50 cents per book.) Each boy is aiming for 25 books total (~2/day). [I put a rule on Collin: a level 2 reader or above = 1 book; two level 1 = 1 book. He read 7 books tonight, for a total of 5 books in the count.) Kate's aiming for 1/day plus she's listening in as Collin reads and when we read with Owen. We're not going around or making calls, so this is my one and only solicitation (unless you're a grandparent, in which cases, you can be expecting a call soon!). Thanks in advance!!


Today I'm Thankful for ...

... long weekends, good champagne, enticing foods, quiet getaways, my brother and sister in law (who watched our kids so we could enjoy the quiet getaway + Eli!), and Seahawks Sundays with the Schillingers! *I think that catches me up since I missed a few "thankful" posts the last few days! ; )

I'm tired and need a nap now that my vacation is over! G'Night!


Four Seasons Rock!

Today I am thankful I live in the Great Northwest! We enjoy every season up here, and it's absolutely wonderful! In the summer, we bake in 80-90 degree weather (only for a month or less); in the autumn, the leaves change colors and fall! In the winter, we usually get a dusting of snow - enough to sled on once or twice, but rarely enough to block us in or require an SUV (I should be knocking on wood!). And in the spring, it's beautiful too ~ flowers bloom, the days get longer, and the birds and neighbors all come out!

It's a blustery day today ~ the kind that makes you want to curl up with a movie and eat comfort food for dinner! So, that's exactly what we did! Mmmm ... meatloaf and mashed potatoes! *I also saw a rainbow, dashed between raindrops from Costco to the car, and laughed at Collin's pantlegs drenched up to his knee from playing tee-ball with his friends! "That's why I want to wear shorts to school still!"

Note to Kate

Kate, you are beautiful - inside and out!
At two and a half, you have a sweet, deep, raspy voice that sings to me - sometimes quiet and squeaky like a mouse and other times loud and show-stopping like an elephant! You have a large vocabulary and very articulate sentences, and you speak directly to your audience. "Look at this, Mom." "Can I do that,Mom?" "I wear my new boots, Mom!"You are sensitive to others and almost always ask before you touch something, get on something, or do something. For example, when I am in my favorite chair with my legs up, feet on the ottoman, you'll come up and say, "Can I get up there, Mom?" I'll nod, and you'll climb on my legs, facing me, and do all kinds of acrobatics and tricks - falling between my legs, flipping over my legs, tickling my feet and seeing how long I can still hold you up!

You love to be a helper:
You have fine, silky hair with a touch of curl ("like you, Mom!"), and you love to have it in "two ponies" or "three ponies, like Miss Amanda do" (two up front then all of it together in the back in a third band). You love to put barrettes and bows in, but they don't tend to stay in too long -- sometimes you take them out, but more often they fall out in a wresting or chasing event!

You love to play with your brothers! They chase you around the house, and you yell, "Chase me, Owen! Come get me, Collin!" and you laugh and laugh! And they chase you, staying just one or two steps behind you, which makes you squeal around the corners! Then you'll run to me or Dad, seeking sanctuary - until you've caught your breath, dart off, and beg them to run after you again!
You love temporary tattoos; your arm is currently covered in them! (Trick or Treating was good to you!) You call them "hat-toos" and you put them on yourself with a wet wipe, always asking me to "set the timer, Mom!" so you'll know when the application is complete.

You have a couple of favorite outfits: a teal hoodie dress that you wear either with matching teal knee-high socks or with matching striped teal leggings. Sometimes, like today, you wear the leggings with a teal long sleeve top on the socks. You check every day to see if I've washed any piece of the ensemble "Is it clean, Mom?"
You also love to wear anything "that my Grandma made to me." Currently, that's a long floral-print dress, with a big red bow in the back and a red jacket with polka dot lining. You love it! You also love anything with polka dots!! Almost every outfit in your closet has polka dots somewhere! Even the bow clips for your hair have polka dot ties! Each set of jammies is covered in polka dots, but your favorite is your Hello Kitty nightgown. You hardly ever wear pants (sometimes leggings); you're almost always in a shirt or dress - sometimes with tights, sometimes with leg warmers! I can count on one hand how many times you wore jeans since you started dressing yourself! You also love shoes - lots of shoes. You have more shoes than anyone in the house. But you are also constantly misplacing them because you prefer to go barefoot and because you love to change them throughout the day (sometimes with other people's shoes)! Speaking of changing, on the weekends you might change your outfits 3 or 4 times a day!

You think everything is "purple," but tend to pick things pink and green. You know how to use your fork, but I have to remind you because you know that you can eat
faster if you scoop with your hands! You don't like to be the smallest at the dinner table -- you're always standing in your chair. We remind you "knees or bum," and you comply but are back up on your feet in no time. You've never fallen, and you stay in your seat, so for the most part, it's a battle we don't fight at home. (Just realized that you don't do it in restaurants or other people's houses ... hmmm.)
You have your own big girl bed in the room you're sharing with Eli (although he's never yet stayed a whole night in there with you), but you rarely sleep in your bed. You are great about going to sleep - but you prefer to set up your blankies at the top of stairs and sleep the night away there. Sometimes if people are over, you sleep in your doorway instead, so I know you won't accidently get stepped on.

You don't really like for me to cut your fingernails and toenails, but if I promise to put nail polish on, you sit perfectly still. I put clear on your fingernails and pink on your toenails; you love it! "They are pretty, Mom!" I can see that your salon bills will be high when you're older! *We'll go together - how fun!!

Your favorite show is Curious George. You also enjoy the Cat in the Hat, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dinosaur Train, and Bob the Builder.
You love your dollies and love to wrap them in blankies and put them to sleep. So far, you haven't mastered getting their clothes ON, but you know how to take them off so they are "Nakey Baby" all the time!

You love blankies - have lots of them every night, morning, snuggle time! But your favorite is your "polka dot gankie" that Great Grandma Marshall made for you.

You are very girly amongst all these boys, but you're a total tomboy compared to, for example, the Gonnella Girls!
You are contagiously sweet and happy! Frowns, sadness, and tantrums pass quickly ~ almost like you recognize that you'd rather just spend your time having fun and being happy! *I love this so much about you!

I love you, Katelyn / Picnic / Kate-a-rina / Katie-Kate / Kate / Pumpkin! (If we call you a different name, like Missy or Princess, for example, you'll say, "I'm not Princess, I'm Picnic!"


Today I am Thankful For

... books ... they help you learn to read! - Owen

... toys!! - Kate

... that you picked me up late tonight (at 5:30) so I had lots of time to play! - Collin

... coffee. Venti, bold, with cream, every morning and again in the afternoon. - Me


Eli's Rolling from Front to Back ~ 3 1/2 Months

Eli's rolling! To watch, click this link! Fun times! I caught it on camera almost immediately!


Today I am thankful for my marriage!!
Today is our 8 year wedding anniversary -- the day we celebrate our first step together on this fantastic journey! I am thankful that our marriage is joyful and steadfast! I am thankful that instead of our marriage being challenged, we love each other in every thing we do and, quite consequentially, we get to enjoy many, many of life's great and wonderful challenges! (*We have four kids, after all!)

I am thankful that our marriage is not defined by our daily routines or who unloaded the dishwasher (or didn't), who changed the last diaper (or didn't), who picked up the groceries last (or who forgot to), or who paid the bills this month and with what money. I am thankful that our marriage is defined by our commitment to tackle each of those tasks together - taking turns, supporting the other, getting it done - and enjoying each other and our moments together along the way.

For me, it really is about doing the small things so that we can live out our big dreams. For example, Kevin told me not to do the dishes tonight; said he'd do it. It was a sweet gesture, and I know he meant it with sincerity and generosity when he said it. He then - unexpectedly - went up to ease Kate's night struggle (she's been having night terrors). So I went over and finished up the dishes (the rest of the kids were in bed asleep already). I didn't have to. But I wanted to. I wanted to in part because I know that if he didn't do them like he promised, I'd be totally charged tomorrow and I'd probably end up doing them anyway, but begrudgingly and bitterly (the food's dried on by then - ick!). But the second part of the reason I did the dishes is that I realize it's not about who does what when. It's about team work. I knew that he also had to work from home tonight, and, after comforting Kate for over a half hour, I knew he really shouldn't be spending his time on dishes or he'd cut into his sleep or not get his work done as needed. On the other hand, my plan for the night included a pot of tea, blogging, and a book. I still have time for all of that - just maybe a little less reading. And my only tradeoff is that I can now sleep in peace, knowing the dishes are done and won't be waiting for me and Kevin's getting his work done, won't feel guilty at the sight of a full sink in the morning, and will be to bed sooner than later. Not a bad tradeoff.

I believe our marriage has resolve because of these types of acts: daily acts that make our marriage work and keep our journey bitter-free and open to love. I looked up marriage on Wikipedia: it's a legal contract, a social union. But to me, it's so much more than that. It's the opportunity to share joy, to experience love, to support another and to feel supported as you engage in living in the spirit of teamwork and unity and the joy that brought you together! Kevin and I married because we were committed to each other and to a future full of that opportunity. This is our journey, and I want it to be the best! So I try to always give him my very best. And he does the same for me. And I am so thankful for that quality in him. It's one of the many reasons I married him! (*I think he's sexy as hell, too, so there is that as well! ; )
Here's to giving it our best ~ always ~ so that we enjoy every step of this amazing journey we're on together!! Happy Anniversary, Kevin! I love you!!


Polka Dot Tights. Red/Pink/Orange Striped Skirt. Blue and White Hooded Sweater. And over the top - Outfit #2 - Gray and White Sweater Dress. Then she accessorized! She added a necklace, a ring, two pretty bows, knee high boots and a pair of gloves. Kate's making quite the fashion statement today!



Today I am thankful for my job - for the diversity it entails (criminal misdemeanor prosecution and parents' representation in CPS cases), the flexibily it provides (I have my own practice) and for the opportunities its presents.
For example, I enjoyed much of my day snuggled with this cutie or fighting hard to hide my smiles as he squealed in conversation with my colleagues in the back of the courtroom while I was up at the table addressing the court about a case. He was escorted out of the courtroom twice - not because he was disturbing the proceedings with his cries but because his delightful banter was causing everyone to grin (not always appropriate considering some of the topics discussed)! In the pic above, which I snapped with my phone, Eli and I were strolling back to the office, enjoying the crisp fall air, after our afternoon hearings in the courthouse.

Childhood Joys & Fairy Tales

Do you remember catching snowflakes on your tongue? Raking leaves into a huge (wet) pile to jump into? Sunday I watched the boys dart around Bloedel Donovan Park, catching falling leaves! It was exhilarating! The wind was blowing just enough to rustle the branches and cause hundreds of leaves to fall for the catching!
When the winds died down, the boys started shaking fallen branches (Collin) and gathering leaves and tossing them in the air again (Owen) so that they might fall again and have a second chance to be caught! It was delightful!

Cute Story: We went to a 7-year-old girl's fairy-themed birthday party Sunday. My boys and two-and-a-half-year-old Cody were the only boys present. While the girls (and Cody) fluttered around in wings and crowns, waving pixie wands they each got to make, my boys watched from the sidelines - present indeed and enjoying the party but NOT partaking in the fairy fun. *They did however LOVE the "fairy mist" - the water bottles each had holes in the lids so the water could be sprayed out into the cups! Their end of the table had all of the cups filled to the brims! But I digress ... Anyway, as soon as we got in the car, Collin asked: "Did you grab fairy wings for us, Mom?" Me: "No, you said you didn't want wings!" Owen: "What?!" Collin: "Mom, call Lisa! See if she still has them! We do want wings! We just didn't want the GIRLS to SEE us wearing wings!!" And so it begins ... we don't care what most people think of us, but girls' opinions - now that's a whole different story!

We headed home without making the call, but I had worn wings at the party, as had Kate. Plus Kate had an extra pair of wings at home. So the boys joined Kate, doned pink and green wings, and spent the evening, according to Kate, "flying like a bird in the air, Mom!" around the house.