Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Back

Here I am almost 2 months later. For some reason I have had an aversion to blogging. Sadly, I had wanted to do this follow up post 2 months ago to share the artwork inspired by the touching photo of Brendan helping his daddy. I wanted to try to do scratchboard again since I hadn't attempted it since high school. Scratchboard is a board covered with a thin black layer. You use a sharp tool to scratch away to the white, sometimes silver underlying layer. It was difficult for me to demonstrate texture and depth, but I had fun trying! So here is my rendition of one of my favorite photos on scratchboard.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Captured Moment

I am definitely a sentimentalist. Sometimes to a fault. I have a hard time getting rid of things, because I'm afraid I'll be letting go of memories. I'm so wistful sometimes, it is sickening. So I have to share this captured moment. A picture snapped during such a simple task between father and son. I look at this, and I want to weep. Weep for those days, several years ago when my oldest, Brendan was a toddler. Some days I wish I could just rewind....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sweet Joy

Ordinary Day

Old truck holding something special

Can't hold back

Must express himself

Explosion of pure joy

Sweet Relief

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quality Time

Since my husband has been working long hours, he has been trying to spend one-on-one quality time with each of the kids. Each child has different interests and values their time with their daddy in a different way. For Nolan, he took him to wash and put gas in his truck. And Nolan loved this! He even "wrote" about it in his journal at school. Alaina is content with riding in daddy's truck to go get ice cream. One Sunday afternoon, Brendan wanted to build something with his dad, so the two of them went up to the lumber store and whipped this up from scratch. Of course, it's nothing to my husband who is a carpenter. But I was impressed, because I could never do this.

Notice the sad eyes because this was taken right before my husband went back to work. Brendan has a hard time every week when he leaves to go back to work. But, it won't be like this forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

On another note, can I just say that parenthood is so hard sometimes! I am really struggling right now with making the best decisions for my kids. It is so hard to know what to do for them. I just pray daily that I make the right choices for them so that they can learn to their full potential and grow up to be the men that God intends for them to be. I know He has a plan for them....I know that full well.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gas Stations

Okay, I haven't posted for awhile, so I'm dusting off this blog to write about a very important subject in our house these days. You ready....gas stations! Yes, we talk about gas stations all day long here. And we also talk about them in detail when we drive by them. And we drive certain routes to drive by our most favorite gas station which happens to be Phillips 66. The one in our town is deserted and closed and I get to hear about it ALL of the time. Every week Nolan chooses the gas station to get gas at and washes the windows while the gas pumps. Don't worry folks, I have him step away from the toxic fumes. Let's just say it is the highlight of his week! And being the uber cool mom I am, I took him to the working Phillips 66 in a town nearby to pump gas as a reward. He informed me that there was another Phillips 66 in this town over on Iowa street. And sure enough the other day I spotted it. He's an AMAZING kid who takes an AMAZING amount of patience, but he sure does make me chuckle every day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Woes

We have really done a lot of fun things so far on our Summer break. I love being off with my kids and just enjoying them.... truly I do. However, some days are harder than others. I'm not a Pollyanna, Peachy Keen, Hunky Dorey type of mom, so let me just lay it all out there. They have been fighting like cats and dogs! And fighting kids+more fighting+more fighting=CRAZY MOM. I know it's completely "normal", but by the end of the day I'm at the end of my rope and can't take another quarrel. The other evening I was telling Brendan how tired I was of all the fighting. And he looked at me and said, "We fight all the time." Then he started wailing, "But I still love him!" I am so impressed by these statements. Statements of love that do come out of my kids' mouths. My sister wouldn't admit she loved me until after she left for college!:) Hee, hee. But I do know without a doubt she loves me now. So I just try to focus on the fact that they do enjoy each other even amidst these seasons of fighting. And I have proof...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Organization....or Lack Thereof

Recently my workaholic husband took a WHOLE week off. And during this week he went on a organizing frenzy. In one day he purchased a label maker, binders, and paper shredder. In my opinion, a label maker is a true sign of an organized person. I feel that in a marriage there needs to be lots of compromises. One of the compromises in our marriage has been that he needs to let go of some of the organized clutter going on in our house, and I need to try a little harder to stay organized. Honestly, I just don't think that way. I am a scatterbrain! I can't help it. But I do try. However, sometimes I just don't see things the way he sees them. For instance, we were putting the groceries away one evening and as we opened the cabinets he just shook his head and pointed out the obvious, which I didn't notice. I just laughed and of course, took a picture. Maybe he just faced way to many shelves at the grocery store where he worked as a teenager.....or maybe it's just me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A New Medium

For our last art project for our art club the theme was, "Something is Missing." I've been wanting to try mosaics for a while now and thought I would give it a try. So I asked my husband to build me a frame for a mirror. He cracks me up, because I always have a simple idea in mind. And being the perfectionist carpenter that he is, he always exceeds my expectations. And he takes my projects very seriously. We make a good team! I enjoyed doing this mosaic mirror for Alaina's room and will definitely be working with mosaics again very soon. And the "Something Missing" is a pattern. I was going to make a picture out of the glass, but the tiles that I purchased didn't cut very well. So I just chose a random placement and I think it turned out nicely. Alaina was so excited for her new mirror and enjoys making silly faces in it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Highest

While on our visit to New England last Fall I was just in awe of all of the Church steeples everywhere. And I immediately felt at home when I saw them. I've been wanting to write a poem about them ever since my visit.....

I traveled home and there you were,
An unexpected treasure.
Everywhere I looked, your graceful white steeples,
Soaring and peeking over treetops,
Reaching elegantly towards the Heavens,
As if saying, “Here I am. I will not be forgotten.”
These villages were built around you.
In a time of radical change and turmoil,
Firmly you stood and still stand.
A comforter in a time of need.
I saw your beacon of light and felt a warmth flood through me.
I was home.
And there you were, my Inspiration, as always.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My 2 Different Little Boys

From what I've been told by SEVERAL teachers, this is how Nolan is at school most of the time. They say, "He's always so happy." I am so thankful for this! This is truly an answered prayer. Now, depending on the week, this is what I see at home AFTER school.

Last week was one of those weeks. We had a meltdown every single day after school, sometimes on and off into the evening. He has therapy 4 days a week after school and I know he's already been working hard at school all day long. Having taught myself, I also realize children act differently for their teachers and parents. It's still frustrating though. And I can only take so much. So after holding it together and remaining calm for awhile, I can reach my breaking point. That is when I just pray...out loud. And it helps so much! I am so thankful that God is there for me in my EVERY need. And I am so thankful for my little boy, every little bit of him, grumpy and happy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cruel Joke

This is what I found after rushing upstairs in response to blood curdling screams. Now how did Brendan's remote control tarantula end up in Alaina's bed? Hmmmm. Could it be perhaps her older brother torturing her due to the fact that she is deathly afraid of anything creepy crawly? Oh how he truly does love his little sister....but he just couldn't resist.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running Plans

Because of illness in my running buddy's family, we are not doing an organized half marathon now. We are however, going to run our own private half marathon. We are still training, we will just have to bump it back a few weeks. We are looking for fun names for our race if there are any suggestions? Tomorrow I am running 10 miles by myself while my children are at school. Thank goodness for my IPOD which, by the way, has a wide variety of music on it. I have Christian alternative, celtic, folk, bluegrass, and rock. The only criteria is, it-must-keep-me-GOING! I do plan to Gu up halfway at mile 5 and hopefully the wind is not a deterrent. Next weekend I am running in a relay race and I am running 2 legs, AND I am the slowest one on the team. Hope they don't think we're breaking any records! I am just thankful and grateful to be out in the Spring air. I truly enjoy it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Big Girl and Her Bitty Baby

For her 3rd birthday, we bought Alaina her first American Girl doll. We decided on the Bitty Baby because she is younger and it was much more affordable. Plus, she LOVES to play with babies. Several family members went in on the gift with us, which included the baby with the same eye and hair color as Alaina, a backpack to tote the baby in, a blanket, matching pjs for the baby and Alaina, a bottle, a bib, and two extra outfits. These dolls are of really good quality and Alaina loves having matching pajamas. She chooses this doll over every other doll she has, and she has several dolls to choose from. When she gets older, if she wants, we would like to get her the larger doll version which is quite pricey. I foresee many fun years with this doll. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Don't Worry, It's Not Child Labor

If you walk into our elementary school, you may see a jolly, freckly-faced little fellow pushing a mop down the hallway alongside the school's custodian. Mr. Muskodian is what Nolan calls him. He's had a fascination with both the custodians all year long. So his teacher had the brilliant idea of having him help "Mr. Muskodian" as a reward for working extra hard. And Nolan has been thrilled! Since typical rewards don't interest him, this is right up his alley. He is currently involved in a research study at KU, involving teaching social skills to children with autism using different teaching strategies. So the students working with him asked me what motivates him. I promptly said, "Ceiling fans." They thought I was joking. Uh....not. As I was walking down the hallway at school today, I introduced myself to "Mr. Muskodian" as Nolan's mother. He was so pleased to have Nolan help him, and I think he is really enjoying being useful in that way also. I am so thankful for Nolan's Kindergarten teacher. She is so creative, supportive, and resourceful!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


A little boy in a black cape
Leaping tree houses in a single bound.
Pure joy bursts from this superhero
As he flies round and round.
With his freckly face and bouncy step
He brings smiles to whoever he sees.
He dreams of touching the stars from heaven
And meeting the Doctor of Peace.
He's quirky, moody, fast-paced, and flighty
As all superheroes can be.
He's not worried what others think
From his own world it's hard to flee.
He saves people by being a light
And shows them a unique way of living.
This superhero is a gift from heaven
Direct from the Father of giving.

March 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Boo to Me.....

After one week of not sticking to my not eating after 9, I have gotten nowhere. Ugh, my willpower is very sad. Oh well, I'll keep plugging along, cutting back here and there and see what happens. In the meantime I'm dragging those 10 pounds along every time I run. Our 7 mile did go very well, so we'll see...

On another note, a month ago I took a class at The Merc, a whole foods store. It was a class on natural options for children with ADHD and Autism. Even though it was an overwhelming amount of information, I learned many useful things. They gave us a list of the most and least contaminated fruits and vegetables and suggested buying the most contaminated ones organic. So I thought I'd share:

12 Most Contaminated Fruits & Vegetables (Buy Organic)

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Pepper
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes-Imported
10. Pears
11. Spinach
12. Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated Fruits & Vegetables

1. Onions
2. Avocado
3. Sweet Corn-frozen
4. Pineapples
5. Mango
6. Sweet peas-frozen
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwi
9. Bananas
10. Cabbage
11. Broccoli
12. Eggplant

Since this class, I have started giving my boys pure fish oil, magnesium, and B-6 vitamins. All of these promote brain function. Specifically, the magnesium acts as a calming agent. I must say in the last month I have noticed an increased focus/attention and calmness in both of my boys. Nolan will now sit through any book I read to him. He doesn't look at it the whole time, but he gets something out of every book I read to him. He will also sit and write for a longer amount of time. This is very exciting for us! The challenge has been getting them to take their "cocktails", as I refer to them. I have mixed the cod liver oil, magnesium powder and B-6 in smoothies, V-8 Fusion, and Sprite. Brendan prefers to take the cod liver oil in a chewable soft gel form. Nordic Naturals makes them in a strawberry flavor. I also give Alaina the gummy fish bites which aren't as natural. I will try every little bit I can to help, and would recommend a class like this one to anyone who has children who struggle.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Here We Go Again

This weekend I started the official training for a half marathon. It is in April, and this will be my 6th half marathon. Fortunately, I am training with two fun ladies which is so much more motivating than training on my own. I am excited to be working towards a goal. However, I have a slight problem. I'm dragging around a load of extra weight. I can handle the mileage I'm doing, I just feel like I'm running with my legs in cement. So, I'm officially committing to losing 10 pounds. I could definitely stand to lose atleast twice that amount, but you'd be surprised how much difference 10 less pounds can make when you're running. First thing on the agenda, no eating after 9:00. I am horrible about snacking on chips, crackers, cheese, and chocolate all hours into the night. Isn't that just awful?! So, I am going to snack on nuts while I'm doing my nightly reading instead. Wish me luck! So maybe I'll be carrying around a few less pounds next weekend when we do our next long run which will be 7 miles. I'll let you know....

Monday, February 2, 2009

He Has a Dream

As I'm on the phone with a friend this afternoon, I hear the oh so pleasant sound of Nolan's screeching coming from the backyard. I high-tailed it outside to find him frantically lining up some lawn chairs to give his "speech". Lately he has been just a little bit obsessed with Martin Luther King Jr. He says, "Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of peace." And he asks, "Is MLK Jr. in heaven?" and "Does MLK Jr. wear a watch?" The list of questions and comments goes on and on. So needless to say, he was upset that the neighborhood kids did not want to sit in the lawn chairs and listen to his "speech". He's been carrying this book around for 2 weeks and is extremely upset whenever it turns up missing. I even caught him the other day standing on top of a wooden table getting ready to give his "speech" on his "stage". All I have to say is what a wonderful role model for him to have right now! Nolan has a be Martin Luther King Jr.!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


My son Brendan is the proverbial trash collector, always hoarding leftover boxes, bottles, and other used trinkets. He uses these items for his "inventions". And he feels like he is contributing to the recycling cause by using these items in a new way. He does have a point. For this particular "creation", as we call them around here, he made a list of items and collected and stored them around the house like a squirrel scavenging and storing nuts for the winter. And finally one day, we had ourselves a rather large robot which he promptly hid in while serving a pop tart to his father through the hole which you will notice in the front. Daddy is smarter than that son. Now who am I to squash the ambitions of a 7 year old boy, regardless of the trash...I mean treasures... that lay in waiting around our house for the next inventions? So I came up with the idea to take pictures of his inventions and creations and to put them in a photo album where he can journal about them. Then when trash day comes our little robot friend can march on out to the curb and Brendan will have the photo as a memory. He is by the way, currently reading a biography of Thomas Edison right now, which I'm sure is very inspiring to the young lad. He recently asked me if there were still new inventions today, and I brought up the oh so clever "Snuggie", the blanket that you wear. He said, "Ah, that's a boring invention". I have to say I agree with him. His inventions are much more interesting and clever!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Major Breakthrough

I am so excited to say that Nolan has written his name independently 3 different times now! Yeah!! This is a HUGE accomplishment after over 2 years of practice...laborious practice. I have yet to see him in action because he saves it for school and once he gets home I have a very difficult time getting him to practice schoolwork. I'm sure it's because he works extremely hard all day at school. This is an answered prayer because I have been very worried about his writing skills. This is a huge step forward for him to become a writer. I am so proud of him and I am looking forward to all of his achievements, little and big!