Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Half Marathon

I am "training" for a half marathon.  I can't believe I am actually putting this out there.  But, I have been "in training" for about 5 weeks now so maybe it will really happen.

Quick back story:  A good friend of mine, who is a runner, was diagnosed this past January with a brain tumor at the base of her skull.  She went to the eye doctor because she was having trouble seeing.  And within a few days was diagnosed with a brain tumor sitting on her optic nerve.  Within weeks she was scheduled for surgery and has since been through 5 weeks of radiation.  And she is on the mend!

On the day of her surgery she had been signed up for our city's half marathon which, obviously she did not run.  So, a bunch of us had this great idea to celebrate recovery and life and health and our friend by running the city's half marathon with her this coming February.  That is why I am training for a half marathon.  I had wanted to start exercising for a bunch of different reasons and this was the motivation that I personally needed.

Slow and steady wins the race.  Well, I don't anticipate winning any races but my goal is it just finish.  And to celebrate life with a great group of ladies.

My sister in law, who trains triathletes gave me great advice and a plan to build endurance.  The whole family has been pretty encouraging.  I even bought some exercise clothes!  I take the time to pray and thank God for my many blessings during my "runs."  I even try to memorize Scripture during that time.  It all helps me push through the more difficult parts.  At the end of our runs, a bunch of us text each other our runs for the day to help encourage one another.  (It is next to impossible for a bunch of homeschooling mamas to run together.)

I need to exercise.  I want to be a part of this celebration.  So, we will see how the next few months go . . .

Monday, July 21, 2014

Yesterday's Dance

Yesterday my big girls and two of their friends danced in our church service to a wonderful woman singing a beautiful song.  Thankfully a wonderful lady videoed it.  But, I have no idea how to get the video off youtube and put it into my blog post.  So, if you would love to see them dance and hear the beautiful song just click below.  I love, love, love to watch them dance . . .

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ballet on the Big Screen

Recital week I received an email from the Admin Assistant of the girls' ballet program.  The email was telling everyone that the local college's film school was producing a film about the story of a dance mom and daughter who moved to a different city.  And they were looking for extras to be in the film.  The girls had to dress like dancers, black leotards, shoes, hair in a bun etc.  And to bring costumes to wear if we had them and extra ones to use as props, if we had them.

I didn't tell the girls for a couple of days that I was contemplating taking them.  Hubby had to work the days they were needed so that meant all of us had to go.  I explained to the director's assistant or whoever it was that I called what my situation was and she was more than accommodating.  She even asked if I wanted to be a ballet mom in the film!  (I didn't.)  So, I decided to take the girls.  As long as they wanted to.  And of course they did.

We had no idea what to expect, although I had heard that our film school was pretty well known.  Anyway, we were needed for a couple of hours on the first day.  We brought snacks and stuff to do.  But, honestly, it was a well oiled machine and they had people who were constantly making sure we were OK.  The girls only had to shoot about 20 minutes total and we were there for at least 3 hours.  When they were needed, I think they just kind of stayed backstage while the film crew shot the stage.  So all you would see was them just standing there waiting for their turn to perform.  I am totally guessing because the littles and I did our best to stay out of the way.

The next day was much more hectic.  They used them in the dressing room and walking down the hall with a rolling hanger full of costumes.  I think Little Mama even got to pretend she was talking to the girls next to her!

It ended up being a lot of waiting and doing things over and over.  I think the girls got a real dose of what it would be like to be an actress.  Not quite so glamorous all the time!  They had a fabulous time though and they were glad they did it.

Someone from the film school called Sunday and asked if they would be interested in being in another film.  I told the girls about it and they didn't get all excited.  I think they enjoyed the experience but didn't need to do it again.

The film comes out the second week in December and the film school will invite us all to come watch it.  It will be interesting to see just how much they really ended up in the movie . . . .

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


About a month ago now, Nature Girl had an awesome opportunity to go to Orlando with her youth choir to record a CD.

Every year the youth choir puts on a citywide event with 2 or 3 other churches.  In the beginning of the fall (I think) each member of the choir receive a CD of songs that they are to learn and then, at some point, perform in a group youth choir concert.  Well, this year, her youth choir was able to record that CD with about 500 other kids.  And they had a great time!

My original plan was to chaperon.  But, by the time we got our schedules worked out etc. a couple of the more musically inclined moms were able to go.  (Which made way more sense.)  It was a tough decision for us to make.  To let our baby girl go so far away without one of us.  But, this is the gang that goes on the bike trip which NG has been on twice before and daddy knows all of them pretty well.  And he was more than confident about supervision etc.

So, at noon, on a Monday, I waved good bye to my little/big girl and watched her go on an adventure of a life time.  I love our youth choir director.  He made the otherwise expensive trip so much more affordable.  The kids slept in a church for the week and they brought all their own food.  The moms that went, not only chaperoned but cooked as well!  

They played games and hung out in the mornings and in the afternoons did different types of missions work.  Yard work at a children's home, handing out VBS flyers and packing hundreds of food boxes to be given to those in need.  At night they would rehearse and sing and then go home and have devotions (under the big cross outside.)  They played and went to the beach and listen to a concert by Meredeth Andrews.  And, of course, sang!

On Friday, they spent the afternoon recording the CD and, from what I understand, it was quite a tedious thing.  Doing parts of songs over and over until they got it right.

I was sad I did not get to be a part of it.  But, thankful that NG could have such a great experience.  Our youth choir has been a round a long, long, time and this was the first time they had the opportunity to go.  Although they had been invited many times before.

I am so thankful for the leadership at our church.  And thankful for so many of the kids.  Young and old.  And for the parents who willingly invest in our youth. . .

Monday, July 14, 2014

Foodie Post

I am totally not a foodie.  But, my hubby is.  Sort of.  He loves food and he loves to eat.  Over the last year or so, because of cooking through the PW cookbook and needing to find recipes for our garden veggies, I have become way more comfortable in the kitchen and almost enjoy the challenge of trying something new.  Almost.

We have tomatoes.  Lots and lots of tomatoes.  We have done the canning thing and we don't have soooo many tomatoes that it is worth all of that hassle.  We did spaghetti sauce and froze it last year and that worked out much better.  This year we are using them as we go.

Last week was Ina Garten's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup.  (A recipe shared by my sister.)  And it was a hit, although a little spicy hot for some of my crew.  (Note on recipe card, use half of the crushed red pepper called for.)  It was crazy easy and didn't take that much time.  It had all the things we love:  tomatoes, onion, garlic, 4 cups of fresh basil, salt and pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes.

What is better with homemade soup than homemade Ezekiel bread.  We will definitely do it all again. Next up, tomatoes au gratin . . . . 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Recital Time!

We had such a crazy spring.  And, of course, at the end of all that was the girls' recitals and I was a bad mama.  I didn't take enough pictures!  I did mange to get some of EG but not a single one of the big girls!  (Thanks to friends I was able to at least crop these and hopefully our babysitter/photographer will get some great pictures before the summer is over.)

It never fails, every year, I sit in a chair and watch my beautiful girls dance and I am thankful for the opportunities that they have been given to practice and grow and hone their gifts and talents.  I am mesmerized by them.  I could watch them for hours and am just amazed how much they have grown as dancers and as girls.

There are so many choices to make with what to do with our valuable time.  And right now their ballet dance company provides so many opportunities for growth and service.  Many of their wonderful long time friends are there, they have met many new ones.  I have watched students become teachers.  I have seen the program go from just  few classes to a vision of a ministry that desires to love and serve the local community.

Anyway, I am enjoying the break from ballet but I know my girls are getting anxious to get back.  And, I guess, I can't say that I blame them . . . 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Our church had a Mother's Day banquet and it was really, really nice.  It was great to see the JoyDome filled with women of all ages.  Some new moms, some expectant moms, moms who had been around awhile, grandmothers and even some who weren't moms but just wanted to celebrate being a woman.

We had a great speaker and good food.  And we got to have our pictures taken.  It isn't normally something I like to do.  I don't know why.  But, I was really glad we were all able to go and spend some time together . . . 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I don't have any pictures, but Little Mama was not only willing to go to TeenPact by herself she went away to camp for a weekend by herself!  I was a nervous wreck!

She was confident she would know someone and she did.  Her theory about going by herself is then she can do some of the things she wants to do.  She is such a people pleaser and has such a servant's heart, that when she goes with other people she usually will do the activities that her friends are doing so she can be with them.    So, if she goes to camp and doesn't know any one it is OK because then she will do some of the things she would like to do.  I don't think I can argue with that!

Anyway, after dinner on a Friday we drove her to camp about an hour away.  Both daddy and I have been to training there.  And I have volunteered for a weekend last year.  So, it isn't totally unknown.  We support the camp through our church and a lot of our youth are workers and a few of our church members are on the board.

I knew the mom who was cooking for the weekend and she said I could text her if I needed to.  And I did.  Once.  Well, maybe twice.  She assured me LM was having big fun!  LM didn't know her counselor but her junior counselor was a girl NG does choir, youth and the bike trips with and I have known her since she was about Boop's age.

So what is the big deal, right?  Well, we made it though the weekend.  And she had a ton of fun.  She informed me that she definitely wanted to go for a week in the summer whether she knew someone or not.  Daddy and I talked about it and we agreed she could go.  She leaves Sunday and she is super excited.  She already knows a couple of girls going.  That makes me feel better!

My little girl is growing up . . .

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Teen Pact

One of the events we have in our capitol city is called TeenPact where kids from around the state come to the Capitol and learn about God and government.  A bunch of years ago we stumbled upon it and have enjoyed it ever since.

It sort of sneaks up on us and so by the time we got around to registering this year, Little Mama was the only one able to go.  No siblings.  No friends.  Just her and a bunch of other kids she didn't know.  One of the things I love about her is that doesn't bother her in the least.  She was adamant about going!  And I loved the time with just her.

The kids learn how a bill becomes a law.  And how, even though we may not agree with the government in place, the people in authority, in our government, are still deserving of respect and prayer and that we are commanded by God to obey those in authority over us.  (Unless the law is contrary to God's law - whole other blog post!)  Romans 13:1; 1 Timothy 2:2

They take a tour of the Capitol and pray over the offices.  They have a scavenger hunt and sing songs.  One of the best parts is, each kid gets to create and propose his/her own bill.  They go to committee and some get selected to present their bills to the "legislature."  It is neat to watch the kids handle the questions and learn the lingo.  Then the "legislature" gets to vote on the bill.  Little Mama got picked the year before (or maybe it was the year before that) but she didn't this year.  This year her bill was about recycling and she was ready if necessary!

We got to see Sissy for breakfast and lunch.  So that was an added bonus.  

I was proud of my sweet LM.  And a little bit surprised she was willing to go by herself.  She is growing in to such a confident, beautiful young woman . . . 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

One of the really great things about living in a college town is being able to watch some great college sports, live, every once in awhile.  Our baseball team made it to the regionals on the road to the College World Series.  It happened to be played in town.

I got a wild idea to go.  In fact, the whole family went including grandma and Sissy.  It was beautiful night.  One of the really great things for the kids was Jameis Winston, the Heisman Trophy, winner plays on the team.  And before the game he spent at least 10 minutes signing the kids balls.  (The two pictures in the middle.)  So we have two in the house now!

Also, Boop left our seats in the bleachers to hang out with the kids under the seats to catch foul balls.  And he caught one!  I am pretty sure that was icing on the cake for him.

Unfortunately we lost two games and didn't advance to the CWS.  But, we had a great time at the game anyway . . . 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Great Gifts

My hubby is a great gift giver!  About 3 months ago, maybe longer, I saw this great Vitamix at Costco (it was on sale.)  As a demonstration, they made a quick and easy spinach ice cream that the whole gang loved!  I mentioned it would be great to have considering I am blending/mixing something almost everyday and our blender had issues.

Hubby made a polite nod and let me know that it wasn't happening.  No biggie.

Then, about a week before Mother's Day he asked if that is what I wanted.  I was like "heck ya!"  So he picked up an extra detail and taaa daaa my new Vitamix blender.

We LOVE it!!  I know I haven't used it to its fullest potential but we make all kinds of healthy smoothies and kefer.  Usually including spinach.  They actually ask for spinach ice cream for dessert!  

I have made broccoli cheese soup that turned out fabulous and my sister just sent me a recipe for a tomato soup which I am anxious to try out as soon as our tomato crop comes it.

Today my plan is to make guacamole and I have hummus on the menu.

I don't deserve all the wonderful gifts he gives.  But, I sure to appreciate them!!