Last night I fed my family a dinner so lacking in nutritional value or substance that it makes the time we had ice cream for dinner look healthy.

I kid you not.

We’ve been burning the candle at both ends round the circus parts the past week… finishing up projects at the old house, organizing the new house, having company, throwing a birthday party…having more company… somehow yesterday it ended up 8pm, the Olympics were on and we’d all been looking forward to watching them… we hadn’t eaten dinner. I had ZERO plans for dinner and so we went down to the basement, sat on the couch and I brought down dinner.

A bag of Doritos

A package of white Oreos

and in an attempt to slightly assuage my guilt, a bowl of grapes.


Yes, I know, I can just go ahead and toss that notion of ever getting nominated for Mom of the Year out the window…

She’s my free spirit.

My morning girl.

My glass half full child. 

She loves to create… always drawing, writing letters or pictures, doodling on any paper she can find. 

She’s very verbal.  When I put her in her room for quiet time, I often think someone has snuck in there with her b/c I hear her talking away—only to discover she’s talking to her self, or reciting things she heard on the radio or TV.

She loves music and will randomly break out in song and sing whatever thought pops into her head. 

She’s my peacemaker. 

She loves to dress up… loves skirts and dresses and color… lots of color.

photo (17)

She loves to perform. 

She participates in gymnastics and soccer and whatever else she does because she enjoys it, wanting to do well, but I don’t see a competiveness about her.  She loves games- Old Maid and matching are two of her favorites.


She is self confident.  I’ve heard her say “Well, I just don’t know how to read like so and so even though she is younger than me”  or “Well, I can’t ride my bike down the hill like you can” and she says it very matter of factly.  She is sure of who she is, she knows her limitations and they don’t bother her.  Conversely, when she sets her mind to something, she catches on rather quickly.  She just has to want to do it and she can ride with 2 wheels, stop sucking her fingers, learn to read… all of which she did rather quickly when she decided on her own she wanted to do them.  I guess she is self motivated.  Or works on her own schedule.

She def marches to the beat of her own drum.  IMG_2649

I see so much in her at 5 that I hope I can somehow foster and nurture so that it is there in a more mature form at 15.  I don’t want to squelch her creative spirit by telling her to color in the lines.  I love her self confidence and boldness.  I love that she isn’t afraid to be herself, even if it is different from those around her. 

I also love her dimple and her sweet sing songy voice… please tell me it won’t go away when she turns 5 b/c it is far to precious for her to grow out of it!


The tooth fairy is pulling over time here at the circus… luckily, someone has forgotten to put his teeth under his pillow, so he’s cashing in tonight with all 3 he lost in the last 2 weeks… I love his new Jack-o-Lantern grin…however, I am not so keen on how grown up he’s looking these days.  Though that seems to be a ongoing refrain round these parts. 

I’ve written before about the crazy places and positions I’ve found my kids sleeping in.  It appears child number 4 is no exception to the random sleeping locations of the circus crew.

Last night, when I went upstairs for bed, I found him asleep in his door way like this.


Today at nap time, I again went up the stairs to find him out of his room. IMG_5694

It appears he’s taken a preference for sleeping in the hallway/landing area of our home.   Because, really when you want comfort, who doesn’t think Berber carpet?


I feared however, this would prove a problem when his sister came out of her room before he was ready to wake from his nap, so I moved him back to his bed before it was too late.  Thankfully, my timing was pretty good as he stirred slightly and settled back to sleep. 

His favorite thing these days is Choo Choos.  He was so excited at Target the other day when we went down the Thomas aisle.  “Choo Choo right there”  he pointed excitedly, over and over. 


He always sleeps with at least one choo choo in his hand and is super thrilled with the choo choo mattress sheet his Grandma made for him.  He also LOVES to wear his choo choo shirt, or bathing suit.  And is thrilled with his choo choo book from the library.  He literally jumps up and down if the kids turn Thomas on the tv.  He will point over and over “Look choo-choo!”  “Choo Choo right there!”


It’s so fun for me to see him enjoy something all his own.  He fell in love with trains on his own right, not because his brother or sisters liked it and it’s really the first thing he’s latched on to like that. 


I love seeing him grow into a little person with his own likes/dislikes/opinions/passions.

Years ago Aunt Karen gave our oldest child a Life is Good soccer shirt.  Because the color and theme were gender neutral, I ended up passing it down to my daughter a few years later.   It actually became that perfect shirt for younger siblings to wear to soccer games so she could feel like she was a part of the team too.  By the time my third child wore it, it was worn with shin guards and sometimes even cleats TO WATCH the older 2 practice.  Naturally, I had to hold onto it for child number 4 and he’s now old enough to sport it himself.  It will def be one of those “sentimental clothes” I add to my box of clothing that for some reason or another I just can’t part with. 

August 2008

check out his new wheels

September 2009

(this would be the time we met the Star Wars gang at the Library after a soccer game)


September 2010


June 2012photo (16)

Life is indeed good, very good.

I love to read.  I love when you get to that point in the novel, where you literally can not put it down and find yourself speed reading/skipping words just to quickly make it to the next part and find out what happens. 

One of our goals in educating our children was to make readers out of them.  This was hard at first with our son as reading didn’t come naturally to him.  He hated it at first and we had many a battle over reading.  During this stage, I was eagerly seeking out incentives to motivate him to read.  I remember that first summer hearing about a book store that would give you a free book if you had read X amount of books and turned in the required paper work.  His response, “Why would I want to read to get a book when I hate reading books?”  We skipped that incentive that year and instead took advantage of the Library’s Summer Reading Club. 

When you register your child for the summer reading club at our library they you a bag full of coupons and prizes.  Free Kids Meal at Chick-Fil-A, free doughnut, free Rita’s Italian ice…the prizes tend to change from year to year.  I pull out these coupons and assign values to them so my kids can earn them for rewards.  This values have changed over the years based on the reading levels of my kids.   This year, I had the oldest 3 read 5 books to earn a free kids meal.  To keep it fair though they each had to read 5 books on their reading level.  We set a goal for when we wanted to go to lunch at CFA and celebrate our prize.  We didn’t make our first goal. photo (13) One child was still behind a few books, so we set a new goal for the following week.   This child was literally finishing up the book just before we were to leave for Chick Fil A.    But, it worked.  Each child read 5 books and we enjoyed our meals at Chick Fil A afterwards.  In fact, these summer reading lists are what inspired my almost 5 year old to want to learn to read this summer.  She started in on Bob books and eagerly reads them aloud to me and herself. 

I am so, very thankful for all the companies that sponsor summer reading programs.  We take full advantage of them and they really work to motivate my kids to read and to help encourage them to take time to read during the busy days of summer.  This week we are reading to earn tickets to the Baysox (local minor league baseball team) game which were given to us by our local library.    Left to go this summer are a free book from Barnes and Noble (this year the kids are so excited about earning a free book and have already picked out the ones they want from the list), a free ice cream cone from CFA, a kids meal from Bob Evans, chips and dip from California Tortilla and the grand prize—A Day at 6 Flags Adventure Park with Mom!  During the school year we also took advantage of Pizza Hut’s Book It program. photo (15)

While these prizes help motivate and inspire, I gotta tell you a little secret.  Somewhere over the last few years, my son stopped caring so much about the prize.  Sure he still gets excited to go out and celebrate, but he reads EVERY SINGLE NIGHT in bed whether there is a reward in it or not.   And his love for reading is catching.   Even our 2 year old asks for his Thomas the Train book to take to bed with him and pretend to read.  photo (9)

And that, truly is the best prize of all, when reading becomes the reward. 

One of the things I came across while packing for our move was a bottle of jewelry cleaner.  As soon as I found it, I scrubbed my wedding rings.  As I did, I realized it had been quite awhile since I had cleaned my rings.  As I scrubbed,  the grime became more and more apparent.   I couldn’t believe how brilliantly they sparkled after I cleaned them. 

When Scott first came me my engagement ring, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  I cleaned it every day.  I would get distracted gazing at it as it sparkled in the sun.  Even as a new bride, a year later, I was still so careful about cleaning it weekly.  Never wanting any dirt of grime to build up and dull my beautiful rings. 

Now, I am not so careful.  Sure, I’ll take my rings off if I’m mixing up some ground meat or delving into something truly dirty.  But, the day in and day out grime of life seems to slowly cake on them.  And even though I hadn’t noticed, it started to effect their shine.  They didn’t quite sparkle like they used to. 

And I wondered if there might be a little lesson about marriage as I cleaned my rings that afternoon.  Am I letting the day in and day out grime of life slowly cake on to our relationship also?  Do I take the time to make sure it sparkles?   I don’t want to take Scott for granted nor do I want to let our marriage dull over the years. 

The 4th of July kind of reminds me of Thanksgiving.  I think the two go hand and hand really.  Because as we celebrate the birth of our nation, our independence and our freedom, how can we not give thanks?  We have so much that we’ve grown to believe we’re entitled to all of it and more.  

In the midst of a fun filled day of family and friends, of parades, and flags, burgers and hot dogs, fire works and red-white-and-blue, I want to pause a few minutes to reflect. photo (14)

We have so much.  So, very, very, very much. 

I’m educated and have the right to educate my children how I see fit.  I am allowed to worship whomever I want, however I choose without fear of my life.  I feel safe.  In fact, pretty much most of the time, I feel safe.  I have a voice which can be heard.  For so many woman in the world, this is not the case. 

I am thankful.  Thankful for the sacrifices of men and women now and in the past to preserve our freedom.  Thankful for our forefathers who founded this great nation with such wisdom.  Thankful to be an American.  Not because I think Americans are better than the rest of the world, but I do think we have it easier than the rest of the world. 

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee.”