Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Christmas in July

Sometimes when the kids were younger I would torment them by humming Christmas carols in July...or even break out in song in the kitchen.

"Mom! It's July!" they would admonish me.

So now sultry, hot July has arrived, and my mind drifts back to Christmas.

The first Christmas in our new home in Indiana made special by a visit from with my parents. 

The kids shopped (aka schemed) carefully for each other. Kiahra cleverly boxed Kade's present in a Victoria's Secret box much to her delight and Kade's surprise captured in this photo!

Kade found the perfect book for his little sister...

And he knew that his big sister (well she was taller than he was at Christmastime anyway) loved snow globes.

Our annual Christmas puzzle was unwrapped by grandparents!

Photo bomb.

And special framed photos with daddy brought lots of smiles!

Boots. I soon would discover these are the most comfortable boots ever! I didn't take them off for the entire winter. Seriously.

Hubby's smile is my favorite. He wore it all night watching his delighted kiddos.

And the biggest surprise of the night~a carefully wrapped scarf and hat concealed the "real" present.  The utter delight on her face will not be forgotten. This little bug is hard to surprise...and did I mention she is snoopy??

It was Christmas Eve filled with laughter and smiles wrapped in the comfort of our living room where the fire crackled and my heart danced.

I cannot explain why it was so special to me...was it because it was our first Indiana Christmas? Or that we shared it with grandparents? Or that I managed to surprise the kids? Or all of those things? And more?

Always I will recall Christmas 2014 with fondness~and treasure these photos of unabated emotion.

Monday, June 29, 2015


I even missed seeing his stinky socks laying all over the house.

He was gone that long...exploring Washington, DC with his scout troop.

I swear he grew another inch while he was gone...and then his sister commented that it seems like he is taller too. Did he grow? Or is he walking a little straighter?

Just listening to his stories is almost better than seeing it myself. 

And his photography is my favorite, so I made sure I packed his camera prepped and ready to go. He has a perspective that always intrigues me. The places he went are oft photographed, so I have seen them before, but I couldn't wait to see his trip through his eyes.

Father's Day at the Vietnam Memorial


Holocaust Museum


I love our son and the way he looks at the world.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


23 years together today.

Recently, we hung our wedding pictures on the wall in our bedroom again. 

Our children don't recall seeing them before, as many pictures have stayed tucked away safely in a box amidst all the moves. 

And all these years later, I gaze at the pictures, wondering where those young kids are?! 

In our hearts, of course.

In the early years, my sweet husband often bought me red roses on special occasions 
or even just because.

Amidst the chaos of raising our family, flowers arrived less frequently, but I really didn't notice.  Instead I noticed when he would take our little kids for a drive in the old truck in Montana. The kids would be grinning from ear to ear waving goodbye to me (almost too willingly) in anticipation of an adventure with daddy. 
I noticed as he taught the kids how to build a campfire and then helped them roast marshmallows, and he would reach over and give me a quick squeeze, eyes twinkling as we watched our kids together.

More recently, I love the boisterous banter around the table, as the kids chatter about whatever is on their mind. Their dad often teases them, but just as quickly offers love and encouragement, 
and often he meets my eyes and winks or smiles.

These moments always make my heart flutter. 

But so did the delivery this morning!

Growing together for the past 23 years...but young at heart. Always.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Night brings a cacophony of sounds from the pond. 

Night is great for frog hunting, as my son is teaching his cousin!

Two toads and a frog came knocking on the door, anxious to meet my 7 year-old niece, so I consented to an introduction.

Now, as I have mentioned before, our yard is a catch and release refuge ONLY; however, I forgot to clarify that the release is outside, as tonight the bullfrog leaped across my kitchen~and you should have seen my leap! 
Apparently it was highly entertaining. 

Do not be swayed by the charismatic grins.

After my heart rate returned to normal, I heard a cautious tapping on my door...and I agreed once again to admire their frogs...OUTSIDE.

Due to my increased vigilance around the famous jumpers, I cannot recall what I was told about these two little fellows.


In the event I need to identify any errant frogs.

Friday, June 5, 2015


"Mom, it finally feels like summer vacation now that Aunt Lisa and the rest of my cousins are here."

Nothing says summer like sliding down the slip and slide with your cousins...

in a cool mist of water on a hot afternoon!

Summer is a couple boys drifting in the pond~discovering where the turtles, snakes and crawdads live!

Summer is swimming in the pond with a "big" cousin!

Summer is family fun and dreams of it lasting forever!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gifts for Mom

Gifts from nature...
the ones my children share with me always come to mind when I think of Mother's Day.  
I don't know why, as it isn't like the gifts arrive on that day~rather they arrive throughout the year.

Last week this handsome fellow visited me.

Frogs this big explain the consumption of frog legs.

Last  summer, this praying mantis intrigued me until he jumped on me as I was trying to take his picture~evidently he is not photogenic.

The crawdads live in muddy holes at the bottom of the pond, and evidently I need to appreciate this gift as it is reported crawdads pinch hard~shocking news!

The bass doesn't intimidate me as much.

Kade caught one of every critter in and around the pond on his first day at his new home late last summer~including this water snake. Water moccasin country is new to me, so this snake upset me until I could identify it.

The toads hang out near the trees, and Chayse loves to catch the plump amphibians.

My stipulation?  The backyard is a catch and release sanctuary.

I do appreciate the skill of catching the critters and the understanding my children have of the pond ecosystem.  Through those eyes, I appreciate all the gifts my children share with me, and the adventure of discovery brings bright smiles to their faces that makes me smile too~even if my skin is crawling!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


"One of the prettiest birthday cakes ever!"~our 17 year old proclaimed.  It is a good day when a seasoned teenager is happy with my carefully selected cake from the bakery!

And the great thing about birthdays with family...the youngest cousin is keeping his eyes peeled as he moves in on the cake.

But alas...so is dad!

All our kids...

All those candles burning bright...but not as bright as the smile of an adoring cousin!

"What do you mean, I can't blow out the candles yet??"

He is easily placated waiting for the next cake!

She insisted that 19 candles would melt her ice-cream cake, so she lit a few less candles. 

I love that beautiful smile of hers~unchanged through the years!

And she gets much needed help blowing them out!!

An authentic storyboard that captures the essence and chaos of birthday fun!

Happy Birthday, girls!!

May your wishes come true in the year ahead!