Friday, September 6, 2013

Clocked 43 Years

I turned 43 on Wednesday.

I was very blessed by several people on that day.

I bought myself my first fall-ish thing at Hobby Lobby as usual which was a delightfully autumn spicy scented candle.

I posted on Instagram that I was born at 5:34AM in 1970.

I was given the cutie bundt cake from our regular server whom PandaPop and I have become friends with over the last year or so of frequenting the place so much for our breakfast dates.

I was blessed with a dinner of Chick-fil-A at church that night from a sweet friend. The rest of my family was jealous to watch me as they ate the regular Wednesday night meal at church.

I had an incredibly blessed day and ended it with more chocolate cake, a happy birthday song from my family and the chance to blow out my candle. PandaJoy insisted I have a candle to blow out. It was only the right thing to do.

I am clearly not in a writing mood, hence the short and sweet albeit late birthday post.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Little Sun & Surf

Yesterday at church we were asked to go out on the boat of some friends' of ours. We did this two summers ago with them and had a blast! We've tried at least three other times, but schedules messed up the plans. One of those times being the first Friday night of summer when I sliced the top of my thumb off with a mandolin slicer. OH! I haven't even posted about that. Ewww. Maybe I will. I do have pictures, ya know.  Hey, I'm a photographer.....there's a photo opp in everything. Miss Thumbkin had quite a summer of healing.

We were all good to go yesterday, packed up some drinks, snacks, our towels and sunscreen (for me, of course!) and headed for the lake.


My birthday is coming in the middle of this week. I have always considered the Labor Day weekend "my birthday weekend"milking it for all it's worth. In that vein, my family took me to Red Lobster for lunch yesterday to get myself my favorite coconut shrimp with their yummy pineapple sauce. Mmm. So worth it.

Again with the calorie intake! Ugh!! I swear last week was supposed to get me back on track with my healthy eating choices, but PandaPop and I ended up going out to lunch three times plus those divine strawberry limeade cupcakes I whipped up from my last've gotten myself back on the bad choice track of thinking that the foods I pop in my mouth don't really "count" at all.


Get it together, PandaMom.

As I type this we are headed out the door to breakfast of our most favorite things to do as a family....and will more than likely eat a pancake with syrup. The upside is I'm hopefully coming home with new workout shoes since I've worn mine down to little tread and a hole in the side. I'll use those this week to work off the gain.....and make better food choices. Tomorrow.

Happy Labor Day (and PandaMom's Birthday) Weekend!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Once in a Blue Moon--Domestic Diva Day

I'm a little bit in love with these cupcakes.

Little bit.

The plan this morning was to quickly hop on to Pinterest to find a cookie recipe that I could whip up later in the day to have warm and ready for the girls when they got home from school since we seemed to have successfully made it through the first week of 5th grade and Kindergarten without too much drama. Some drama, but not toooooo much. Hey....I gotta celebrate the positive.

If you've ever jumped off the boat and into the ocean of photos on Pinterest then you know full well that the quick minute turned into about 20 minutes before I could even blink! The cookie pins then led me to the cupcake pins where I saw several variations of cherry limeade cupcakes. I prefer to have a strawberry limeade when at Sonic where they are known for their great cherry limeades (at least in Texas they are) so I decided to make strawberry limeade cupcakes.

But not just any old cupcake would do after oohing and ahhing over all the cuteness on Pinterest. My prior attempts at cupcake making and frosting the things haven't gone so well making me just downright giddy over these cuties this afternoon.


Could these be any cuter?

Nope. Pretty much nailed it on this one.

Somehow I even managed to get an amazing BBQ pulled pork from my crock pot that cooked all day along with homemade coleslaw. Thank you again, Pinterest. It's about time something I print off from you actually worked.

Every now and then I somehow pull out the Domestic Diva card and appear to be doing wonderful things in my home. I love it when this happens. It's not often.

I mean, I'm creative and have a million ideas and lists lists lists lists lists lists and more lists of things I want to accomplish........

but you know how that goes.

Nothing gets done.

Today, all came together and I am one happy little diva. It was super fun to bless my girls and hubby with this labor of love. We had some friends pop by for a little taste, too. Awesome.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, though that it's not me.

It's the sufficient grace extended to me from my Maker. He's so good like that. I needed this. Needed it. You have no idea how much I needed this in my heart.

I am just super glad that I worked out this morning because I've eaten two and a half cupcakes.


With milk.

And maybe a little bit of the icing.

That accidentally was left in the bowl.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Third Day's a Charm

The first day of school was Monday. I have a pic of the same crosswalk with the morning sun shining down on PandaGirl when she started Kindergarten, 1st grade, maybe 2nd grade, not sure about 3rd grade, 4th grade....uh...., 5th grade she appears to be darting away. PandaJoy has gone to this school for the two years prior in the pre-school program for half days so it wasn't totally shocking for her to be heading off to school as she started Kindergarten.

I snapped their pics and practically skipped out the school's double doors with not one single glance back.



No way.

I love those girls dearly, but I was and am ecstatic over having six and a half hours in a day to accomplish something of value.....or not without interruption from little voices. The voices that are constantly in need of something. (I'm saying only 6 1/2 because the drop-off and pick-up carlines do not count as time off. Those have been known to bring out the worst in me because of selfish, oblivious parents who cannot follow directions. Or use their brain.)

Thank you, Lord for allowing me to become a mommy. Yes, THANK YOU!!!! I begged for years and years traveling down a very broken road to get these two in my arms. YOU delivered!!! 

Though I'm not alone in my age bracket with young children, I feel so old while having a five year old!! Had things gone the way I'd wanted way back when, we would be having kids in college now and be empty nesters. Some days that sounds amazing. I know, I know......don't rush it. I'm just coming from the perspective of seeing all the years I spent trying to actually get the children which now makes me so much older than many of my peer parents with children of the same age. Maybe they keep us young? Yeah. I'll go with that one.

No matter the how's and why's of my family, it is what it is therefore I want to make the most of it.

After leaving my babies in the care of the professional educators I bolted for my favorite breakfast spot: Corner Bakery. Love the rich bold colors of brown wood and hearty brick with a lofty-like feel. Great coffee and so love the tasty crispy-chewy sweet crisps.

As for the book....I read a few chapters. Delightful. I rarely get to read because I just don't during the day when I have children around and by the time I get to it at night I'm too tired and my eyes begin to close after a page or two. I hate that. I so want to be one of those readers who start and just can't put the thing down. That's PandaPop and several of my friends. Not me. Eyes close. Goodnight.

Cannot wait to actually have daytime segments of uninterrupted time to read a book. And finish it.

After a bit of time in the Bakery Loft I headed to meet Reckless for a pedicure.  I may have had five in my whole life. I paint my own toe nails all the time so the thought of paying someone to do it makes me ill. I even have exfoliating brushes in my tub to get the yucky skin off, but there's something great about those little clipper/tweezer tools they use at the salon with the precision of a surgeon to get to places on my little piggies that escape my skills. That's worth it every now and then.  The camaraderie is certainly worth it.

Left there with sparkly candy apple red toenails then purchased new shoes for PJ then met PandaPop for lunch.

I was astounded how fast the six little hours of freedom were vanishing.

Once the girls got home, had a snack, a little TV and filled me in on all the details of the day we ended up ordering pizza for dinner. My day got away from me and it was the easiest way out.

Gotta plan better. The next day slipped away just as quickly since I started it out with a trip to the gym then grocery shopping. Whew!! Who knew those six hours could fly by so dang quickly?!! Even now on day three as I type I have a long to-do list that is screaming my name.

So thankful for this season of my life. Getting organized in several areas is top priority. Otherwise I'll be a jumbled mess with no excuse since I now have time to get things done.

Time that slips away too fast! 

***side note question: today I noticed that the pic on the sidebar of PandaJoy is all of a sudden smaller then the rest. I changed it with a brand new pic, but it remains smaller on my screen. What does it look like on your screen? Thanks!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer 2013 Wrapped Up with a Bow---or Three

I was not looking forward to summer vacation. That sounds negative at best, but it's the truth. Due to myriad of reasons motherhood has been a bear for me. My woes are not worse than someone else's. I have been greatly blessed with two very healthy, beautiful daughters.

Perspective is reality.

Even if our perspective is skewed or completely is still our own lens through which we see circumstances therefore making every single decision in our day reflective of our view of things. Please say that made some sort of sense. I know I'm right on this one. Our actions and reactions are a direct relation to our own foundation.

Everyone knows that the foundation of any building must be strong, secure and done right or else it cracks, crumbles and can even implode. PandaPop built houses for a bit during our seminary years. He was the construction manager overseeing the workers, making sure all the tiny details were attended to or else the beautiful end result of a very expensive house would be compromised later on by faulty work making that house even more expensive and heads were on the chopping block.

Foundations are vital.

I'm getting the vibe as I type that I'm not really ready to expound on all of this quite yet. Let's just say that me and the girls alone at home everyday was not something I was excited about. The past year had PandaGirl in a new place with the beginnings of some hormone changes that escalated her disrespectful attitude while PandaJoy is the bossiest, stater-of-the-obvious child I know. Add both of those along with my own parenting issues and some other personal struggles with which I've dealt the past couple of years and the sum was looking like the aftermath from the perfect storm.

Lightening things up....... At the end of May I knew I had to steel myself for the coming dog-days of summer so I made sure to first ask God for help then I set some boundaries, made plans for outings and home projects, etc. In the middle of summer I found an idea on Pinterest for making technology tickets that were for the girls to use with blocks of time they could choose to use for video games, Wii, TV, computer and movies. Too much screen time makes both of my girls brain dead or even sassier and disrespectful. I was astounded as to how this ticket system really changed both of them which in turn made for happier momma and more peaceful home. Nice.

As school is starting on Monday and we wrap up this Friday as the last official day of summer vacation sans the weekend, I look back on our dog-days realizing it really was a great summer. Certainly there were bumps and potholes along the way, but we made it. Not only did we make it, but I feel that my girls and I are each closer in our bonds. Sweet. Since my babies did not come from my womb and both were at least 15 months old before I met them, our bonding has been intentional and difficult.

We've had a great summer.

Don't be fooled, though. I still can't wait for Monday to arrive as I wave goodbye with a huge smile on my face while they are walking into the school building. Only three more sleeps. Three tiny sleeps!!

The pic below of PG and I was yesterday. The girl is surely going to be taller than me, but I'm thinking she may be eye-to-eye with my by Christmas at the rate she is growing. We already wear the same shoe size and she's just going into the 5th grade!!  This girl has read more books this summer than maybe I have in my whole adult life! She is a voracious reader and story writer. She's also the queen of funny one-liners. She just has to learn when to use them and when to keep them to herself. She's fabulous.

I adore the pic of PJ at the bottom. A random shot on the swing so carefree and innocent. That baby girl went through things at such a young age that cause her to still freak out in panic and fear laced eyes that I cringe wondering what exactly her subconscious remembers. Sweet little bitty. She drives me bonkers with her incessant chatter and bossiness, but she is tender, loving, observant and genuinely joyful. Has a gorgeous voice and the ability to sing along with any song even if it's the first time she's ever heard it. Precious.

I am so thankful for these beautiful girls. God chose me to be their mom and I literally question that choice every single day. He really must have better plans for me and them that I cannot comprehend. There's no valid reason I can find as to why he'd pick me for them except that there are some issues I will one day be able to share with them that we all three have in common. That's it. Otherwise it baffles me as to this road we three girls (and PandaPop, too!!!!) are on together.

As I finish up this post we are headed up to church to visit PandaPop at his office. We have done this many times this summer. Gets us out of the house and blesses him with his girls.

All three of us.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Light Gets Brighter

With each passing year I wonder 'how have the years added up so quickly?'. PandaPop and I are celebrating twenty-one years of marriage today.

How blessed we are.

How incredibly blessed I am.

Our meeting and engagement was 100% God orchestrated. Neither of us could have planned it the way it all panned out. I've blogged so long that I have forgotten if I've written out the story of how it all came about back in the fall of 1991.

At the perky age of  21 that I'd just turned in September, I was in my junior year at Baylor University having finished my first two college years at our local community college when my cousin who was in 8th grade told me about her youth pastor saying that I should meet him. He happened to be the part-time guy at a tiny country church where I had previously attended for a few years and the place I met Jesus when I was eleven and was dunked in the waters. She was also playing match-maker by telling her youth pastor that he should meet her cousin. This went on for about a month or so with both the youth pastor and I telling my cousin the time wasn't right and not interested.

Around mid-November she asked permission to show him a photo of me. I reluctantly gave in out of curiosity. My past was painted with brushstrokes from a previous two year relationship and a few other dating attempts that had me leery of getting involved with anyone else for awhile even though I really couldn't wait to be married.

If memory serves me correctly, the next week I was attending the funeral of a distant older cousin of mine. After the funeral we were eating at our church with our family which included the mother of my 8th grade match-making cousin, my aunt. It happened to be a late Wednesday afternoon. My aunt would soon be headed to the other church to pick up my cousin from the youth group activities that evening. Thinking I would be nonchalant, I graciously "offered" to go with my aunt to pick up my cousin thereby allowing myself to get a peek at this youth pastor guy without actually disclosing my identity. I thought it was only fair since this guy had seen my picture, but I had no idea what he looked like.  For Pete's sake.....I didn't want to go out with an ugly guy. Admit it, ugly guy with a stellar personality who could be fabulously wealthy would still be an ugly guy.  I wanted to know if he was cute!

My aunt was all for it. We hopped in the well-known-around-the-community red Suburban of my aunt and headed to "pick up my cousin". That was my story and I was sticking to it. We pull into the parking lot making our way back to the youth building when all of a sudden a hoard of teenagers come running out to the Suburban surrounding the windows with huge smiles and giggles. I'm wondering what the heck is going on while my aunt is giggling, too.  As her window is down I hear from my aunt's side of the red bus several teens saying, "she's here! she's here!!!!" I'm dying. Up to my passenger window strolls the youth pastor donning a baseball cap and a nervous smile. I push down the little button to roll down the window where my whole life changed.

The youth pastor and I meet.

We exchange names and some sort of nice surface words. I didn't even re-do my make-up or hair from the funeral earlier that day. The youth pastor claims that I looked like I'd been crying, but that cannot be true since I didn't know the older cousin who'd passed very well so crying wouldn't have been part of the day. What did happen, however was that in trying to wrap up an awkward first time meet-up the youth pastor fumbles in his pocket for his business card, passes it through the open window to me to take hold of and says, "you can call me and maybe we can get lunch or something."

Uh-----No. You can call me, youth pastor.

Cute youth pastor.

I really like your gorgeous smile, youth pastor.

I'm thinking I like your stature, too, youth pastor.

Oooo, I hope you call me, youth pastor.

Long story short:

The youth pastor was intrigued with me as well, but due to his past experience of a relationship where his girl he'd dated off & on was just about to get super serious with her after Christmas in 1990 when she was killed in a car accident December 21. Devastated him. That's the main reason he had no interest in meeting anyone when my cousin was trying back in October to get us to meet. He told God that if he wanted him to pursue me then he (God) would have to put my phone number in his hand. Lo and behold, the next day my cousin went to the church to see the youth pastor only the door was locked on the little country church causing her to go knock on his office window. He opens the window to greet her where she proceeded to place a slip of paper printed with my phone number on it in his hand.

Yeah. I know.

The youth pastor called me that Thursday night. We talked for six hours straight. He asked me out for that Saturday.

I said yes, for as long as we both shall live. (lol....not really. That's one of our favorite lines from You've Got Mail when Tom Hanks' character says that to Meg Ryan's character).  After our long and easy conversation we both knew that there would be more than one date.

We went to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the movies then to Wendy's for a burger and fries. The six months prior to meeting I had been working out consistently at the gym 4-5 days a week and had given up Dr. Pepper for a year. I knew I looked good and felt great. That night I drank a Dr. P as well as my gym contract was up. Dang this guy! There went my no soda phase. (I'm trying to remember everything correctly and as I think of the Dr. P I'm wondering how accurate it is because Wendy's always offered Mr. Pibb in place of Dr. Pepper which is so not even close to the same taste. Hmmm. Irrelevant.)

I dipped my french fry into his ketchup.

On the first date.

He was astounded.

I was hooked.

After that night which did include a wonderful kiss under a gorgeous autumn moon out in the country under the stars, we went out pretty much every night sans a few days at Christmas until he asked me to marry him on January 23, 1992.

Calculate that math on the calendar.

Two months.

TWO MONTHS later he surprised me with a proposal and we got hitched seven months after that. If either of my daughters come to me saying they are getting engaged to a guy after only meeting two months prior? There may be some serious double-standards going on. Our story makes sense to us because of how we saw God's hand all the way through it.

Don't glamorize us, though. Please. Once we got engaged all hell broke loose in other areas of our lives and I was miserable. He was miserable. We were fabulous together. Outside forces made things hellish. That is a long story that would ruin the beauty of all the words above so I'll stop here.

We are best friends. I could not have asked God for a better man to be my husband. He so knew who I needed better than I did. I just couldn't have thought up all the ways I have needed him. No doubt in my mind that God orchestrated our meeting and marriage. I have failed on so many levels and am so thankful for true unconditional love from God and from my husband. Twenty one years is a long time to share an intimate life with another person. Of course, there have been ugly hard moments. There have been countless wonderful ones. The good ones far outweigh the bad.

In ways I didn't even know existed back at age 21, God has used my husband to truly help me see the light....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Tiny Details

This poor little cicada met his Maker the other day in PandaJoy's kiddie pool in the backyard. Not sure how long his (or her, I guess) life lasted. All I know is that PJ would not share her pool with him so he had to go.

Texas heat can be scorching in the summer. The past two summers left us wanting to move to Alaska with most temps resting around 105-114 degrees. Fahrenheit. That's the kind of hot that makes your eyelids burn a little when you blink upon stepping outside. There is no use for make-up of any kind since that kind of heat instantly melts it off your skin. Sitting on a leather seat in a pair of shorts in a vehicle that's been locked up for a bit...even with cracked sure to burn the back of your thighs bad enough for a skin graph. Then just try touching the steering wheel. Might as well stick your fingers right on the bacon in a frying pan to hold it down. 'Bout the same.

That was for two summers in a row. 

This year has been relatively mild in comparison with us only logging a few days just over 100 degrees. We've even had several rainy days. Glory. Our church camp had us wearing rain boots and toting umbrellas for the first three days. Kept the temps down to what seemed fall-like. I took a pic with my phone of the temperature showing on the rearview mirror in the Tahoe on the way to camp the Sunday before all the campers arrived the next day and it was literally sitting at a nice and cool 67 degrees at 3:00 in the afternoon!! Even more glorious. Except for afternoon rec time when the pool was closed or the kids just opted to swim in the rain sprinkles sans any lighting, of course. Safety first.

Every year about the end of July through the end of August I always swear that I want to move from Texas to somewhere else. This is my 42nd summer here. No plans to move yet. I still love Texas. Maybe because it's all I've ever known. I've traveled here and there, but this is home. Hot summers and all.

There hasn't been a summer that has passed that I haven't seen a dead cicada or locust or grasshopper or beetle or june bug just like the one in the pic laying somewhere on the ground, feet up, no movement left. When I picked up this particular little guy I was intrigued by the attention to detail on his wings. It made me think of how intricately he was formed and how God made him.

God made every single detail of that cicada.


I have NO idea.

When I start thinking about how God chose to do things or make things or allow things to happen in this world my brain starts to hurt. I get all wonky trying to figure out how dinosaurs really fit into the mix. I think about all the different skin colors and facial distinctions between races. My mind gets super-blown when thinking about infinite space, planets, stars, galaxies, etc. Then when I contemplate how everything in my body works and how our thumbprints are all unique (how He did THAT one is just beyond comprehension) I just sit dumbfounded.

When I'm driving down the highway and happen to look up at a billboard at some word at the exact same time as someone on the radio is saying that very word. Or having learned a new word then SEEING it the very same day in a bizarre random way. Makes my head hurt.

Don't even get me started on my 11:11 occurrences. Nuh-uh. I could have a whole different post about that. Googling it made me wonder why in the world I have my own set of stories about it when it seems that the New Age people have a stake in it. Weird. Made me think outside my bubble.

Anyone who knows me in real life and has seen me not be able to handle something because of how random it is can vouch that I'm telling the truth. I have been known to fall off my chair, lay down on the floor, fling my arms aimlessly around in awe and maybe a few other over-the-top reactions when my brain cannot handle the random incident. Things that appear to be coincidences such as seeing a person I haven't seen in years, but just had a random dream about them the night before seeing them in person. Crossing paths with someone one day then having them pop up unexpectedly shortly after that in a completely different way. Or someone you knew in 2nd grade is somehow fb friends with someone you know currently that lives on the other side of the world....and you see you are mutual friends. (one of my college BFFs had a guy comment on her page and it popped up that he was friends with my BROTHER---none of us live anywhere near each other!!) So random. So detailed.

Here's what really makes me freak: deja vu. I don't even know how to get the little marking above the e, j, a and u on here much less how it works. PandaGirl and I were talking about it just yesterday. She's experienced it already so I was telling her how it sizzles my brain cells trying to figure it out. I love the music artist Chris Rice. His lyrical tales are fabulous. He has one song called Questions for Heaven where he wants to ask God some things once in heaven and one of those is "and what about deja vu?". Like he's saying, "What's up with that, God?".  My sentiments exactly. Probably won't matter an inkling once we're there, but man I'd love to know what the heck it is and what its purpose is. I'm thinking it's God's sense of humor. I am aware scientists or psychologists think they have it figured out with some kind of brain glitch, but then I'm not a robot so that theory holds no merit with me. It has to be more detailed than that.

Mentioning a glitch leads my train of thought to computers. Talk about detail!! Only how is it even possible that all the teeny tiny details of pixels and computers' abilities for details are solely based on zeros and ones?

0011000000010001000000111000111.......<<<<< I just wrote the Declaration of Independence right there. In ones and zeros. I don't think I can buy that logic for one binary minute.

One more thing that bakes my noodle: dreams.

I mean, really. What in the world happens during REM sleep that can stir up such musings? Everyone dreams differently, I'm sure, but we can all attest to the weirdness of them, right? One dream will be about something from the day before and make some sort of sense while another can be made up of ethereal, surreal, bizarre, non-sensical images and happenings. At least in mine. Dreaming of someone from my past that hasn't entered my mind in many many years? Stressful dreams that twist a bit of truth into something that just makes no sense at all? Exhilarating dreams that you don't want to end? Flying dreams? Terrifying dreams where you are screaming but no sound comes out?

Oh. ya dreams.
That one.
Oh my word.
Those are w-e-i-r-d.

Maybe I'm revealing too much about my dreams. Never mind.

Well, whatever dreams' purpose are whether we ever find out or not it can be said they are detailed.

Should I mention how thinking of angels and demons in the spiritual realm constantly duking it out over me totally freaks me out, but in a good way? Nah. I won't even go there.

Wow. I chased a rabbit. One thought leads to another.

The details. I am so astounded as to how God has painstakingly paid attention to the minute details of me. Me. He knows me better than I know myself.

Maybe with the same precision that he made that cicada's wings he orchestrated how our two daughters would come to us. That took some serious attention to details in many people's lives in order to make those two adoptions happen.

Countless details every single nano-second. Intricacies we never see happen all around us. We are so mindless to how important these details matter in who we each are.

When I get to the places where I doubt God I must remind myself of the details woven together that make up who I am. They just cannot be random. Cannot be. When my experiences cause me to feel ignored by God, forgotten by him, tricked by him, left out from his great plan, betrayed by him.....I have to trust his Word to be true and his attention to the details of who I am and what roads lie before me is for my benefit. God loves me. He detailed every single piece of me. The seen and unseen.

So really, the details of Mr. Cicada's wings and the very core of who I am aren't really all that different. Neither had anything to do with it's own creation yet every detail is precisely how its designed to be.

Ending with this detail from Romans 8:28 brings me great satisfaction and peace......

And we know that in all things God works 
for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Six Little Sleeps

Do I love my daughters?

Of course!!

Do I enjoy their cuteness and laughter and one-liners and creativity and giggles and beautiful naturally tanned brown skin in summer swimsuits and taking a few thousand pics of them and reading together and coloring together and watching movies together and eating popcorn and riding in the Jeep and.... list goes on???

Sure I do!

Did I long to be a mommy for years and years and years and lost so many tears over that deep longing for children to be in my care begging God for my own?

You better believe it!

Am I the kind of mom who gets all weepy and sad at the thought of her children going off to school leaving her alone through the school day?

Heck NO!!!!!!

I cannot wait until next Monday.

School starts. Fifth grade for PandaGirl, Kindergarten for PandaJoy.

Really and truly. I am beside myself with excitement as to how my life will open up to a whole new world. One that I haven't really known. I have been a stay at home mom since PandaGirl came along. She was with me the whole time. A few mother's day out jaunts then on to pre-school a couple of days a week, but I worked at the pre-school along with her in the same building for two years. Her Kindergarten year I worked full-time as a speech therapist in public school and got the taste of that kind of full-time working mom routine which gave me an appreciation for being a SAHM. Then I started being so focused on trying to get child number two through adoption that it was like a dang job. So really, come next Monday when both girls are in school from 7:45-2:45 I can actually discover me on a whole new level.

That excites me. 

I'm hoping my extra time will allow me to focus on the many things I need learn about my camera, my photography business and editing software along with a whole slew of other things I've been putting off while having a child underfoot for the past oh-so-many-years.

Though we are always on a tight budget (and blow the budget) with PandaPop being a children's minister I have been blessed to be a stay at home mom.

My dream.

Dreams tend to not work out in real life as fantastically as they appear in one's imagination, now do they?

I think all jobs are challenging at some level no matter what you do. Even scooping ice cream can be stressful. I know. I asked the 16 year old girl scooping up my fat-filled ice cream at Ben & Jerry's this summer if her arm hurts from all that scooping and she replied with a slight disgust in her tone how only her one arm was getting the scooping work-out.  So, there ya go. Any job can bring its own set of obstacles to the table. Who wants one arm muscle to be firm and the other flabby? No one.

Being a stay at home mom is challenging. Let's say it's hard. Not working-for-the-FBI hard or holding-a-scalpel-steady-in-someone's-brain hard or frontline-military-work hard but more like the old Chinese torture of dripping water on one's forehead in the same spot over and over until the person breaks kind of hard.

Unless you are the kind of mom who genuinely adores being around your kids day in day out all day then you understand exactly what I'm saying. I know I'm not alone due to the amount of fb posts with begs, vents and pleas for school to start so that life can go on without the slaying (pretend, of course) of all the little children in the homes of my friends.

Clearly we are not the first to be elated when school resumes as I recall Bing Crosby singing the whimsical lyrics to It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas with...

A pair of Hop along boots and a pistol that shoots

Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again

And that song has been around forever.

So as I have enjoyed many moments with my beautiful daughters and have bonded with them even more (quite important in our family of adoption) I must say that the thought of making it through the next six sleeps is invigorating. 

The pic above is me last night as I hopped in our Jeep with the doors off and top down, ear buds blaring away some tunes in my ears and wind blowing my ponytail all over creation and zoomed away to the store via the long scenic route. 



Monday, August 19, 2013

We enjoyed taking the girls to the hot air balloon festival this weekend in our area. The weather this summer has been mild for Texas so into the Jeep we hopped at 7:30am, even needing light jackets, and headed towards the balloons in the sky. Swinging through Waterburger for some healthy breakfast options, ahem, we then made our way toward the kick-off of the weekend festivities.

Back in college I made it to one of the hot air balloon events and it was just as beautiful and over-the-top then as it was now. Those things are just incredibly HUGE when up close to them. We hung around the kiddie games for a bit then went home for the rest of a busy Saturday, but made our way back at sunset for the "glow".

All the balloons light up the night sky in a glorious twinkle of fiery lights as the ginormous glowing poofs fill the space in front of us at the park. They don't actually lift off at night so my dreams of seeing them like the floating lanterns scene in Tangled didn't come to fruition, but it was quite spectacular none the less. It was a great experience for the girls. Frankly, I am amazed that my phone and a tiny little filter from Instagram makes that first pic above look very professional.....even if I did take it myself. ; )

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 16, 2013

I Live With Cinderella

Not really sure how this child's foot didn't get smashed in the door of the Tahoe. Can't imagine how this even happened. Figuring the odds of catching the yellow flip flop in the door that nano-seconds before the close of the metal housed a human foot while not getting cut off are beyond my 4th grade math skills.

All I heard from inside was, "My shoe!! My shoe!!" followed by {giggle...giggle...giggle} and "Mom! I'm just like Cinderella!"

Why, yes, Little Bitty I guess you are just like Cinderella.

Her 5th birthday was celebrated a couple of weeks ago with a full blown princess party. So cute. PandaJoy's actual birthday was in the middle of children's camp last month so we had to party down at a later date.

*I have to make a disclaimer on the collage below for the sparkly pink and purple Jello shots princess putty. Borax, glitter glue and water made for some gooey fun for the girls as they made their own putty to take home. Little did I know that the containers that I used (just like the Pinterest post I copied) are the same ones used for distributing Jello shots at parties or the beach or your back yard until several friends told me so from posting pics on fb and Instagram. My bad. Rest assured, I did not give out Jello shots as party favors to five year olds. The moms might have snagged them if I did.