Friday, November 30, 2007


Today is a special day. And since I have so much to say about this one person, I figured I would only give out one FF today instead of my standard five.

The favoritism might have been too obvious.

This whole affair started out sooo innocent. The conversation went something like this a couple of weeks ago.

Friend (and you know who you are!): "So Stace, what are some of your favorite blogs to read?"

Me: "Oh, I try to keep them listed on my sidebar, but I really enjoy reading X and X and X."

Friend: "Do you read Pioneer Woman?"

Me: "Uh, not really. I know who she is and I looked at it a couple of times, but no, not really." (Me thinking: "I need substance and a chance to be nosey, but all I ever saw were pictures when I would stop by.")

Friend: "I love looking at her pictures and she has some really great recipes."

End of conversation.

Let me go ahead and apologize right now. To those whose sidebars held this greatness that I so casually ignored. To you, PW, for ever engaging the notion that there was not any substance. Shame, shame on me!!

Now, if any of you already read Pioneer Woman's blog, then you totally know where this whole thing is leading.

If you don't, then let me go on and tell you more.

So just this Monday, as I was over visiting another blog, I decided, what the heck, why not click on Pioneer Woman and take a stroll around.

And around.

And around.

I won't share with you exactly what I emailed to my friend, but suffice it to say, she knew exactly what I was talking about.

PW hooked me with a few good ranch life stories, then totally reeled me in with love.

And just to make it easier on you, you can find the epic here and continued here and ongoing here. Just go to her home page for the latest chapter.

And can I just say PTL for chapter books!

No, really, you need to go there!

For a girl that read Harlequin romance novels in junior high (don't go there!), thus beginning a life long search for love with my head crammed in the clouds, THIS is way better. And it is real!

Oh yea, there is more!!

Not only does she make you feel all gushy inside with her tales of Marlbaro Man, but the food!

And then those pictures! Since I just purchased my first digital 10X optical zoom camera, I will try not to covet her Nikon too much. Just aspire!

And who can resist her cute "punks"!

However, I would advise you to pass on any stories related to "calf nuts". Um, there are usually pictures involved.

Want to know the other best parts?

She hails from my native land, we share the same birthday month, and we both love Starbucks!

That makes us practically BFF's, right?

Now if I could just figure out exactly where she is....

Oh, hi Ree! Who me? Stalking you? Oh no, I would never do that!

Who am I kidding, they would spot me a mile away as I made my way to the house!

So here's to you Pioneer Woman!

Your very own Friday Fuzzy!

Now I have to go get back to her archives! I am only to March 2007 and want to catch up before we ring in the new year!


p.s. Thanks for making our "hineys tingle" with all your great stories!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turkey Trails

Ok, I have no idea why I chose my title. No turkeys leaving little deposits around here.

Unless you count the two turkeys that came from my womb.

Cuz then we can talk about all the deposits around here!

Just needed a catchy phrase to discuss the Thanksgiving break and all we did.

For posterity.

And cuz my memory is shot!

And for all you fellow list-makers out there, here is your fix for the day!

* Arrived at in-laws that night.

* Ran some secret errands with FIL.
* Had a secret lunch date with another man.
(Relax, totally on a professional level.)
* Hung out around homestead and ate all meals presented before me. Although I did pretty good and tried to keep it healthy for the most part. I think I might have escaped without gaining weight or at least just a pound or two over the course of 5 days. My in-laws live on acreage where they built their home over 3 years ago. L was in my tummy at the time which is the only reason I remember the time frame! There is a barn, a fire pit, a sand box, a deck, a big pond with a dock and a island, and lots of windows to enjoy the scenery. The kids always have fun cuz they can fish, hunt down the stray cat Felix, ride Papa's tractor, and go in endless circles around the big driveway on their motorized vehicles. And, of course, have doting grandparents who feed and cater to them.

* Ate and piddled.
* Started going through my 3 big bags of stuff that needed my attention. Papers, mail, little pieces of paper with important info that needed to be put in the right place, kids' books to read, my books to read, my organizer that needed updating, etc.
* Started my Christmas to-do list in its very own spiral notebook.
* Visited with friends they had come over.
* Disregarded ALL over-rated football (oh, all you college and professional football lovers just stop foaming at the mouth!) which took up WAY too much TV time from the men.
* Missed Oprah's favorites show AND the NEW Grey's Anatomy that night. Thanks to football.
* Finally got to watch "Music and Lyrics"; my Netflix movie that has been at my house a LONG time! So, so cute! I love Hugh Grant. It almost rates up there with "The Holiday". And don't tell me you haven't seen that one!
* Scoured newspaper ads and prepared list breakdown of all items to be purchased the next morning. I was uncommitted about shopping on Friday morning. I have only done the early morning thing twice. I have shopped on Black Friday before, just not before 5 AM! But in a small town, what else is there to do!
* Went to bed with clothes on.
(Just kidding!)

* Left the house at 4:15 AM to arrive at Wal-Mart. It takes about 3 minutes to drive there from their house. The parking lot was deceptive because it is a 24-hour super store. So, everyone was already lining up INSIDE the store. You can read about my shopping experience here.
* Collapsed for awhile.
* Cleaned and organized my MIL's pantry.
* Cleaned and organized my MIL's fridge. Bless her heart. She can cook a mean meal but what gets trapped in that fridge afterwards with just the two of them is a wonder! It is a well-known fact (and running joke) that my FIL has cleaned out the fridge numerous times with results once being 15 salad dressing bottles and another time being almost 10 jars of pickles!!
* Prepped for holiday pictures.
* Finished holiday pictures.
* Fiddled with and ordered cards from Shutterfly. I took forever. I only had about 6 card choices prepped before finally making a decision. Results coming later for your viewing pleasure!
* Realized that tomorrow was only Saturday, not Sunday since it felt like the longest week ever. Not in a bad way.
* C and his Dad worked on bringing down a rotted tree with the tractor. The kids thought that was the coolest thing ever as they watched from the window. As the tree came down, they were screaming for "Daddy" to run and get out of the way! Yea, we would have firewood.
* Went to bed at 8:30 pm!! We all did!

* Have I already mentioned eating?
* Took the kids to a dollar store to shop for the Shoebox Project our school is participating in. It was a nice opportunity to discuss kids that have so much less than we do. They enjoyed picking out stuff for a boy and a girl each around their age. Of course, they were not to be left out. They had earned $2 each from Gigi for "napping" the previous two days. I would say that was questionable napping!
* It was pretty much rainy and yucky so the rest of the day was spent inside.
* Enjoyed a fire all evening.
* The kids convinced their Daddy and grandparents to a rousing addition of Go Fish.
* I worked on finishing up some projects that needed done before next week.
* And snuck in some laundry to prevent the pile-up for next week.

* Church
* Went out to eat. Poor Gigi was probably so tired of cooking!! And my kids like "mesican" food anyway!
* Packed car.
* Headed home in the rain with two drowsy kids in the back!! L did not even make it onto the main street out of town before he crashed! Poor Mommy was tired too!

Here are the projects I worked on:

This is for A's Christmas dance performance on Friday. If you live near me, the holiday festivities are being held in our town square with lots of activities for the kids. The last pic stinks b/c of poor lighting and I left my digital camera chip at my in-laws so was stuck with camera phone again!!

This is the class basket donation I put together for my son's class. It is being donated for our school's auction tonight! It is a SPAlicious Basket!

And if you hung in through the end of this post, YOU deserve my sincerest gratitude!!


p.s. DON'T miss my nomination for Friday Fuzzy tomorrow! That is right, ONE BIG nomination!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I "shutter" to think how time does "fly"

Last year, we had a friend take many wonderful pictures of the kids and us as a family. I used 9 of them for our Christmas 2006 card and plan on enlarging and framing many for our home. You can see some of them embedded here and here and here

This year, time was limited as far as scheduling with someone, so I decided we would do it ourselves over the Thanksgiving break. We would have natural scenery available (with a few extra additions from me; that is unless you believe candy canes grow organically!) and time on our hands while we visited his parents.

If you didn't know it, I have a secret desire to be a beloved and in-demand photographer. I am hoping that my new digital camera will at least allow me enough practice that my friends will want me to take their pics for free. After that, the possibilities are endless ;)

I did ok on my first run with the new camera. Actually, I took spectacular pictures. It was the subjects who kept messing with my vision.

They actually did great for awhile, but things fell apart quickly due to cranky kids (ok, it was mostly a cranky little boy), dropping temperatures, and too many backseat photographers.

Anyway, for those that came back from yesterday to discover my tackle for the week (which I teased about here), this was it!

Taking family pictures for our Christmas 2007 card!!

For those that are here to find out about my WFMW contribution, well Shutterfly it is! Probably not a new concept to many of you, but one I only latched onto last year. I love Christmas and I pretty much send out A BUNCH of cards at Christmas. I just feel that it is my only connection with so many of my friends and distant family, that it is the least I can do. AND, I love getting news and photos from all of them as well!! For years, it was "the letter" and an occasional photo if it was warranted. With kids, the annual picture became mandatory! I have done everything from letter + photo to my favorite year where I took old cards (DON'T even ask how many I saved over the years!), tore off the front, added our picture on the back, then mailed them in old extra envelopes I had purchased from a card store for like a penny piece. Cheap but lots of work!

Shutterfly is easy, creative, and can be pretty inexpensive depending on how many cards you need. Right now, it is 20% off. And while I really wanted to do my cards here, I couldn't get the cost past my husband!! Maybe you can cuz they are so cute! I ordered my cards this weekend and they will arrive in just a few days!

It works for me!

I will show you my final product once they arrive, but for now, I hope this sneak peek will work for you!! And by the way, I am a big b&w kinda gal, so I can't wait to get creative with the ones for my b&w wall!


I have a new interest in PhotoShop and would love to play with this picture once I find out more!

Here is where I start trying to direct a little! We had to practice several times to get the timing right!

We FINALLY captured the secret surprise look!

Probably killing somethin'!

You would never think it, but these next two shots reveal the upset of the century for my little man. For some reason, my wild man did not want to jump down and when I went for it anyway, he LOST it! Like I said, he was cranky! So, there would be no more creative posing for him! Can you see how cold A is getting? I had to wait until later in afternoon to deal with shadows which made tempertures a factor!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HoHoHoping for a good one

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

"Hey, wanna know what Mommy is tackling this week?"



Be sure to come back tomorrow to find out exactly what I tackled and what works-for-me this time of year!


Monday, November 26, 2007


Last night, I tried and tried to figure out why the heat was not working. Of course, we had been gone for 5 days, coming home to rainy and cold weather which did not help. At first, I didn't pay too much attention since I was busy unpacking and preparing for today. But as the kids' bedtime approached, the chill got a little more brittle.

He was still out of town and we were unable to figure it out via phone.

So now, you can just call me Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I layered L with blankets and tucked him into his bed. I did the same with A and then proceeded to snuggle with her last night in order to survive.

Or at least get warm.

We were gone all day today, so when I got home this afternoon, I sweetly asked a neighbor fella to help me discover our problem. Thankfully, it was just a breaker that I could not figure out last night.

So, we have defrosted a bit thanks to the heater working and a little sunshine today.

At least we saved a few bucks on our gas bill this month!

And personally, I sleep with covers all year long, so I enjoyed the extra bundle to snuggle under.

Now I think I am going to go milk a cow and make some butter.


ice ice baby


mmmmorre latttter if bbbrrain ddddefffrosts.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

She shoots! She scores!

Yes, last night I DID go to bed at 8:30 PM.

On purpose!

Cuz lordy I was dragging all day after my 4:00 AM adventure on Black Friday in a small town!

You know, I am a nice person. Really, I am. And truly, I went with a calm spirit. Reminding myself that it was no big deal, enough to go around, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

But when the redneck girl threw me some attitude as I patiently waited for my loot, could have been ugly.

But it wasn't. I.just.kept.breathing.

My MIL and I started at Wal-Mart where we immediately had to part ways in order to get in our respective lines for waiting. She went to toys (which was in cosmetics) and I went to electronics (which was in....electronics; go figure since all the other special blitz items were stacked in odd places all over the store). In each section, the areas were roped off with yellow tape until 5 AM sharp. And they were indeed guarded by the law!

So! I got in LINE like we were SUPPOSED to do like the nice lady TOLD us to do while she also TOLD us to relax, DON'T rush the counter, DON'T be grabbing, she would be handing electronics out ONE.AT.A.TIME otherwise someone or something was going to get hurt!

And then a funny thing happened.

SOME people started making their OWN lines. Their own lines that were in no way part of THE LINE I was in. Oh, I could feel my chest start to tighten. So, I politely asked the stranger lady behind me to watch my cart and purse (we were tight like that!) and casually walked up to politely ask the officer for a clarification on the line issue. He.wasnot.helpful! OH, but the nameicantsayoutloudhereonthisfamilyfriendlyblog WAS MOST CERTAINLY HELPFUL as she threw her uneducated wordicantsayoutloudbecauseyoumightthinklessofme opinion of my question back my way.

Thank you. Thank you very much for your ignorance!

So, I continued to wait where I was supposed to wait and quietly wondered to myself if the saying really was true that "the first shall be last and the last shall be first and the meek shall inherit the earth" (paraphrasing one of my favorite books, of course!).

And yes, yes there was the mad cow rush to the counter. And yes, yes I did have to get a little assertive. In a kind way, of course!

Because, in my humble opinion, this was worth it.

I would like to introduce you to my new little friend

Kodak EasyShare Z710 Digital Camera

And she was willing to be my friend for the mere price of $149. She liked me enough to not make me pay the regular retail price of $229 for her friendship. (And if you got a better deal on this item, please don't tell me cuz it might make me cry that she gave herself away cheaper to someone else!)

This is indeed my first digital camera, so y'all better stand back from the bright light of greatness you will start seeing around this here blog real soon.

Cuz I have been getting to know my new friend real well!

And while the friend I really wanted could not come play with me cuz she was asking over $600 for her friendship, I am happy. And maybe one day we can all be friends!

OH, back to my shopping!

We did well. My MIL went totally overboard on her only grandchildren. My 2 kids! I was able to get gifts for my MIL, my mother, my kids, my niece and nephews, and the kids in my coop group plus a few other special kiddos in my life.

We then went to Goody's (small town y'all!) where I took care of my kids, my FIL, and myself ;)

And finally, we headed to Staples two doors down in hopes that few others had mad rushed in to grab my other two new BFF's

Brother PT1010 Handheld Label Maker!

Oh, indeed, did my organizing self need this! And after the discount and the rebate, only $9.95! Retailing at $39.95!


HeatSeal® H212 9.5" Jam Free Series Pouch Laminator

I am going to be a crazy picture-taking, labeling, laminating momma! And this baby, only $39.99 after discounts and rebates! Retailing at over $140!

Shhhh, don't tell my kids, but they got




The Vtech Nitro Notebooks (which I scored for $15 each!) were instead of the

Kidz Digital Camera Kits

I had already purchased which I will be returning to the store on Tuesday. I have read mostly bad reviews on them and most digital cameras for kids, that I decided to try it another year. Guess they will continue to enjoy my phone for taking pics. I really wanted to get them these handheld DVD players for car trips which were super duper cheap, but I was vetoed by someone who doesn't regularly make long trips with the kids!

And while I really want to share my frustrations about trying to find the kids the few items I really wanted to get them this year without supporting China, I will save it for another day! I will just say that we need some serious electronics making going on here in the USA!!

Along with the stories I have stored in my brain from this long holiday week!

See you Monday!


p.s. I wasn't trying to be greedy. I considered my purchases to be gifts from the husband and kids for both Christmas AND my birthday which falls in January! And yes, the need to purchase my own gifts due to past experience could be another story itself ;)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Only time will tell....

you how crazy I am!!

I hope y'all will forgive me for bailing out of another FF; for real this time cuz it won't even be coming later.

Last night, I was sitting around planning my last meal of the day.

Or otherwise known as my Pre-Shopping Day Meal.

I needed to plan wisely; making sure I had a sufficient ratio of protein and carbs to fuel my Shopping Day race.

Although I do tend to try and hit a few Black Friday sales each year, I don't go all crazy about it. Only one year was I one of those hard-core shoppers with spikes strapped around my elbows and wearing roller skates for speed. This year, I have a list ready in hopes of snatching a few good deals.

We are in a small town for the holiday, so my choices are limited to Wal-Mart, Goody's, Bealls, CVS, and Staples. And since they all exist on one street, at least our travel time won't impede us.

So anyway, I went to bed early in anticipation of my 4 AM arrival at the entrance of Wal-Mart.

I will check back in later this weekend to let you know how successful I was. Oh, and to share some other stories from the week!


Thursday, November 22, 2007



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No time to talk...gotta go!

Apparently, his face was a little chapped!

Free entertainment at Cabela's!

Practicing her Christmas dance for next Friday!

Oh, I couldn't even tell you! Take your pick...either practicing to be a Sonic roller hop dude or a flashback from his previous life with strobe lights and Donna Summer on the P.A.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007




hee hee, i couldn't help myself!!

i hope you have the best day ever!


(we will celebrate next week!!)

Monday, November 19, 2007

In case of unraveling

I must say that we are nearing my favorite time of the year!

Oh, how I wish Texas saw just a tad bit more change of color which would nicely precede a little more white around here!

But as much as this season can bring so much joy, if you are like me, you might find it bringing on a little more stress as well.

Which reminded me of a few things I have been meaning to tell you about for several months now.

I wanted to share with you a couple of places to visit that make life a little easier to handle. Maybe for you. Maybe for someone you know.

TighterKnot and TeenShrink are sites that were individually developed by people that I know and trust. And while at this point I have not used either service personally, I can TOTALLY AND WITHOUT RESERVATION recommend these sites just based on the incredible integrity of these two men.

TighterKnot is online marriage enrichment. I know Scott and know that he has worked hard over the last year to develop this program. His passion was great enough to quit a lucrative employment situation to make this happen. Boyish grin and salesman tone of voice aside ;), he has a true heart for down-to-earth and compassionate ministry that reaches out across boundaries of any kind.

TeenShrink is accessible teen counseling that fits our busy life styles. Koy is another incredibly Godly man that believes in the power of serving both in his personal and his professional life. He is passionate about making God real to those he meets and I have no doubt this will be a ministry with great impact on many lives.

If you or someone you know ends up using either of these services, be sure to tell Scott or Koy that I said "Hi!". They did not know I was going to introduce them to you and I am getting absolutely nothing to say all this nice stuff about them! ;)

I just thought it was worth sharing!


Sunday, November 18, 2007


Um, it is still Friday, isn't it?

Just a brief synopsis so you won't think I have lost my mind. Or maybe I have! I prepped this post on Thursday evening before heading out for my much-needed GNO. Although it was actually a girls' night in, we had a glorious time! home around midnight (that would be friday morning!) and went to bed in order to rise at 6 am the "next" day. Friday included a vendor show until 11:30 am, packing up and driving home, managing kids and house, taking dtr to birthday party, going to dinner with husband and son, picking up dtr and getting kids to bed, AND falling asleep while putting kids to bed! Saturday included working at a hospital, coming home, changing clothes, taking kids to coop, out and about with husband during coop hours, putting kids to bed AND falling asleep while doing so! we are on Sunday morning with your latest addition of FRIDAY FUZZIES!

I am nothing if not efficient and timely!

Actually, I am, but it was just one of those weeks!!!!

However, these ladies deserve some kuddos, so we are all just going to pretend that it is still Friday!

The FlipFlop Mamma
She is young and hip. Yes, there are tattoos involved, but I will let you read about those yourself! She has 3 gorgeous kids and is striving to live a healthy life. She also supports her husband in his role as a pastor. Go check out her cute site!

BonBon Boutique
Christy is a work of art. Or is it that she does great works of art? Both! She has a cute site where you can learn about her and ALL the super cool stuff she creates! Don't miss out!!

A Mei Mei for Mallory
Adele's site is such a wonderful online "scrapbook" about her life and her beautiful daughter. You will feel happiness and love the minute you arrive. You can tell how dedicated she is to her family and we can all pray for next addition they will have one day. Warning-if you have a young daughter, you might pray now for God to suppress your desire to covet super cute outfits with matching bows! Go enjoy!

Rose Cottage Lane
"Grace" found me during the giveaway and I am looking forward to learning more about her through her archives. She has a beautiful old-charm site and I was so happy to learn about her love of shabby chic on a budget. Maybe I can get some more great ideas for my home decor file folder! And my new friend lives in Oklahoma, so maybe I can sneak in a visit some day when I am back home!

Black Friday Ads
And in preparation for next Friday, be sure to check out this site for a head-start with all your holiday shopping. Plus, sign-up for their email list so you can learn about the great deals faster!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

For when I forget

Confession time!

This post has been patiently waiting for me to finish it for, well obviously, 2 months now! I just kept getting stuck wondering if I was remembering all I wanted to say to them. Then I just got distracted!

So, read it knowing that some of the details are the past, but the feelings are forever! And I needed to remember how I really felt after wondering if my place has been in the fiery furnace lately! :)

Even though I am not currently writing about them by name, I decided to leave the names in with this one because it feels more personal and meaningful. The verses below are displayed respectively in each of their rooms.

Thanks for letting me share them with you!



I already told y'all the long story of how we got where we are, so today I will just share a few thoughts about the kids and the pictures I took on our first day. Just so you know, I had to round them up and manage pictures and a smidgen of video on my own their first day. In case you can't tell by the past posts, I love taking pics and recording history of my kids. This day was such a special day, but I just couldn't manage to get all the pictures and video that I really wanted. And of course, I had to stay behind the camera on this day as well :( And then on top of all that, our good camera's lens is broken (has been for a long time) which means that pictures are coming to ya courtesy of my cell phone (or my "mobile" as I like to call it; my friend makes fun of me cuz when I leave messages for someone to call me, I always say "I am on my mobile" and apparently no one says that!!) or our video camera's picture-taking component. Just not the same!!

The kids were so ready for the day. Well, sorta, as you will soon see! The night before, I had prepped folders, backpacks, lunches, extras, camera, you name it! I got up early and put my cute-Mom look together! Some days, these people are lucky to see me with make-up on before 9 am since I usually put it on in the car after I drop the kids off!

Good morning Anysa! She is eager for Kindergarten!

Dressed and ready! She looks a little peaked to me, but it is just the stinky lighting and my phone. And it didn't help that all she would settle on is a ponytail. I would have much rather utilized on the millions of giant cute bows in her closet, but she is soooo over those!!

Luke, or Mr. Sunshine as we like to refer to him around here, was not so ready to greet the day! I seem to recall something like "Leave me alone! I not going to school!"

He is telling me to turn off the light and go away!!

On his terms, he is a totally happy and eager boy who is also not camera shy!

This picture of them cracks me up! I so want to photo shop a leather jacket and jeans on him. Doesn't he look like a cool biker dude with his Pink Lady by his side!!

I love kids' feet!! And besides, you have to go your first day with just the right pair of shoes. His shoes zip up and have little baseballs and bats on them. And Anysa, well, who can resist a little sparkle!

While at a stoplight, he requested this picture of him and his "map mat".

Anysa settled in quickly and really had no use for me or my camera. I was trying to control Luke and my camera at the same time plus the room was too chaotic with kids and parents to ask for someone to take our picture. That is why 2 parents would have come in handy that day.

As we got closer to Luke's classroom, I got a little more nervous. He is hit or miss; either he separates with no problem or he has an attachment attack. Well, he was a trooper. He marched up, we found his mat and name star, he put is star up and headed straight over the table were one of his "girlfriends" was sitting. He said "Hi, R....", sat down, and started attacking the play dough. So proud of him!

Luke- I can hardly believe how much you have changed over this last year, and especially these last few months. You are just like your sister with your "terrible three's"; so opinionated and moody! Oh my, and the whining and "me do" seems so prevalent right now!! You try to make up for it with your infectious laugh, the way you share in exclamation points, and your general zest for life! You want to do everything Anysa does or at least irritate her while she is doing it. You two have become such good playmates; you have learned such neat play skills from her and I always love listening in on your conversations. I am always amazed by your imagination and your thoughts. And, of course, they don't always come out the way you mean to say them; such funny phrases! You don't mind playing by yourself sometimes, often zooming your cars across your car track rug. Unless it is a big mess that you have created, you love to help me :) Cooking seems to be your favorite thing to help with, although I personally think you just love running the mixer. Oh, and vacuuming! It must be an engine thing!! You are such a speedy fellow on your Spiderman bike; just the other day, you pretended to drive your bike to "Chifla" while we were stopped at the "circle street". You love your friends and are really trying to learn to play nice and share. Funny though, you have learned the fine art of letting me know it was an "asident" before I can scold you. Having an older sister has also meant you are learning other things quicker than I prefer; teasing, claiming it is "her fault" or calling her a mean name, fibbing! We have had to watch Flo, the Lyin' Fly and Buzby, the Misbehaving Bee for more than entertainment value lately! Getting the hang of underwear has taken longer than I wanted but you are really trying and have mastered it mostly! The other day, you disappeared, and when I found you in the bathroom on the toilet, what you did all by yourself made this momma proud!!! Bedtime is not your favorite time and nap time is starting to be a distant memory for us. Despite our best efforts of a routine, it is a hard time for you. It has been fun reading with you at night. Lately, you are so into Jonah (VeggieTales style) or to be more specific, "The Pirates Dat Don't Do Anyfing." You can practically tell me the whole story yourself, and with expressions that are so humorous. Speaking of expressions, I must take a picture some time! You have this face when you are really trying to get your thoughts across. You tilt your head slightly, squint your eyes, scrunch up one side of your mouth, nod your head, and share your thought or idea. Love it! You love to sing and hearing you try to sing praise songs and your Sunday school songs so tugs at my heart. You have been willing to say dinner prayers for awhile and your bedtime prayers are simple and to the point. "Dear God, tank you for Mommy, and Daddy, and Nysa, and my family, and Mommy." Yea, I score twice!! My favorite is when you stop, open one eye, and say "What else?", then keep going. Or when you slip in thanking God for your food, then stop yourself and say, "No, no, no.", then get back on track. You love to play ball, cars, super heroes, dress up, pretend, sing, color, paint, and you are starting to learn board games that I play with Anysa. Of course, when Daddy comes home, the gloves are off. It is chase, hide-n-go-seek, chase-tag-tickle, playing ball. You seem so big these days; taller, leaner, longer legs, more mature face, advancing skills, an ear-to-ear grin with a big dimple! I am so glad you still have a tender heart for Mommy and I am the one that can make you feel better and who gets the best hugs and kisses. Just the other day while at the library, you leaned into me and Anysa, put your arms around us, and said, "I love you guys.". I am so proud of you and am waiting to be amazed by the plans God has for you! I love you Lukey!

Psalm 119: 9-16

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

Anysa-Ah, my special girl! I am almost at a loss as where to begin! I kept pretending you were not starting kindergarten this year. It just didn't seem possible. See, right before I blinked, you were a precious infant quietly napping in your Moses' basket. And now, you are an emerging young girl. Your eyes sparkle most of the time and you always have wonderful ideas to share with others. I loved watching you try gymnastics again this past winter. You were taller, leaner, and even more brave. You so have gymnast thighs! Then summer brought you one of your greatest joys-swimming!! You can never get enough of the pool. I was so proud of how hard you worked during lessons-watching you learn those amazing strokes-wow! And now, as you are about to try dance again, I know you will be even more graceful and lovely as you were the first time! Your imagination has exploded this past year! There is pretend, drama, re-enactments, music, singing, accents, costumes. OH.THE.COSTUMES! You have even matured in how you take care of your baby dolls. Along those lines, you so creative with your drawings! You love your movies and a good snack while watching them. And although you shed a few tears, you also shed the training wheels on your bike!! Now all I see is smoke coming from those tires at the speeds you are reaching! My favorite part is how you just sing and sing as you ride your bike! You have no problem grooving to your own words if you can't think of the originals! You are not fearful of higher and faster; your toes tickle God when you swing! Like Luke, you love to help me bake. You could play all day long, but you still get overwhelmed and upset when clean up time arrives (it is like we have dumped one hundred pounds on your shoulders!), but you are getting better. And no one even had to teach you the stuff and shove method! I am very proud of your bed-making ability; you shame your momma! You are a true nurturer, and though sometimes a tad bossy, you love and care for those around you. Maybe you will be a famous director one day! As you fast approach 6, you have yet to let me forget what I promised you on a whim 2 years ago. A puppy! You remind me often and tell everyone you meet that "when I turn 6, I get a puppy!". I love listening to you; your phone conversations and prayers are so much more mature now, you are learning about riddles and jokes, you are asking what more and more words and everyday phrases mean, and you still have one or two words that just don't want to come out right. I love watching you sleep at night with one hand clasped tightly around the corner of your pillow. You told me one time that it kept the bad dreams away. Mostly, I love what an incredible big sister you are! And that is NOT always easy with you-know-who! And while there are days you cry out, "WHY.DID.YOU.HAVE.ME.A.LITTLE.BROTHER!", more often, I hear you asking him to play, teaching him how to do something, sharing bursts of laughter together, and assuring "little buddy" that it will be alright. I know you will continue to love him, teach him, laugh with him, and protect him for many years to come. I love most when you run to me for "just one more huggy and kissy" and I must remind myself not to let those moments be less special than they truly are. I know God is preparing you for great works! You make my heart burst with pride and I love you so very much my sweet girl!

Psalm 139: 13-16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

As you grow, I pray that each of you know the fullest favor of God's richest blessings throughout your lives.