Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

A letter to my sweet babies;

Christmas is over, the presents are unwrapped.  The tree is empty and the lights are off.  I am writing you this letter as you are contentedly playing with all of your new toys.  I hear cars rolling across the floor and happy voices calling back and forth.  I have been going through all the pictures I took a couple of days ago and picking some to share. 

Things have changed so much for Mommy over the years.  It seems like forever ago, but I was once a little girl excited for Christmas morning.. waiting to dive into the presents under the tree and rip into the paper hiding my presents.  But now it is you, Maddy, Travis and Peyton that I look forward to seeing on Christmas morning.  I wait with impatience to see your faces light up when you come around the corner and see the tree FULL of goodies.

This year was no different!  I actually had a hard time falling asleep on Christmas Eve in anticipation for the morning.  I heard the first peeps from you, Peyton and hopped out of bed faster than any other day of the year!  The looks on your faces did not disappoint and I was given the gift of watching the Christmas magic unfold in front of me that morning. 

Here are just a couple of the moments I captured.  I cherish them and look forward to the years ahead with you, my sweet children. 

Love you more than you can ever know,


Daddy reading you The Christmas Story Poem before bed, Peyt watching the Grinch, Grandpa, Daddy and various children and Cookies for Santa and celery for the Reindeer.... Christmas Eve at our house!  


Reading about the birth of baby Jesus before presents, and then stocking time!!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eight Days til Christmas!

This past November, I was wandering around Target with the boys and found a cute little foam Christmas Tree countdown.  I picked it up compulsively, thinking it would be something fun the kids could do to keep track of the days until Christmas. 

I actually forgot about it and it stayed in the Target bag in the back of the truck until the last day of November.  When I remembered it, I brought it inside and the kids were instantaneously all over me asking questions.  I pulled it out, assembled it and explained what it was and what we were going to do.

Bright and early the next morning, Maddy bounced out of bed and immediately asked who go to do the first day.  And so began our new tradition.  The child who doesn't get to change the date, gets to plug in all the Christmas lights... a system that will only work until Peyt wants in on the action....

We are 17 days in, and both of my older children can tell you what day it is and how many days until the big day... It was definitely a good $5 spent!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Deck the Halls

It's December already!  With a chill finally back in the air, Brian and I decided that it is finally time to start decorating for Christmas.  Brian pulled the boxes down from the attic last night and we promised the kids that today, we would pick out the perfect tree.  We are going to do ornaments tomorrow, but things are already christmasy around here!!  The smell of Christmas tree is wafting in the air, and I am typing this post by the soft Christmas lights wrapped around the tree. 
tree lot fun!

Miss Maddy at the tree lot         

Watching excitedly as Daddy brings in the tree!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Clean Plate Club

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you will already know this, but my youngest, Peyton is my picky eater.  Always has been.. Probably always will be.  The battle over getting food in his belly has been making a change for the better, however, and the end result is shown by a nursery worker calling him "a solid little guy" in nursery this past Sunday..  This in my world is an actual relief seeing as when he was an infant, I lost sleep over his lack of weight gain. 

As usual I digress...  Peyt's eating has improved to the point where he now wants to be a big boy and feed himself.  He actually gets mad if I try to help him.  Tonight was no different..  I sat right beside him at the table and had to let go and let him do his thing... His thing is pretty much to spread rice from here to the other side of the house.. but whatever!  He spent a good 45 minutes working on getting rice from his little orange fork to his waiting mouth.  A feat that he accomplished... even though he was still hard at work as his bubby and sissy cleared their seconds. 

His method was varied as he began by scooping from the plate, but moved finally to dropping the rice from his plate to the table and then picking up individual pieces of rice.  Either way, he cleared his plate and squealed loudly ( his favorite form of getting what he wants ) to get down from the table.  We had more to clean up after he was done than what he probably actually ate, but he felt successful and he is a proud member of the clean plate club...  Another sign that my lil man is growing up....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Story

** Please excuse the random thoughts that you are about to read.  I have this funny thing that happens to me when my brain tries to wrap itself around certain thoughts, notions and life truths.  They roll around in my brain, crashing like waves over and over until I finally give in and take pen to paper, or in most cases, finger to keyboard...  At that point it is a form of self preservation.  I write these things down to get them out and stop the pounding of these mental waves that keep crashing.  It is a supreme relief when it is out, and afterwards when it is in written form, sometimes it is even worth reading or even sharing.  If this makes me crazy... well... yeah..**

Life is made up of a collection of everyone's personal stories.  If you really think about it, life is the ultimate story.  You have a beginning, a middle and of course, the end.  This pattern for us humans doesn't every really change much. 

The AMAZING part of this thing called life, is that for the most part, we get to write our own story!  We of course cannot choose our parents, our backgrounds or where we grow up... but after the beginning of every story comes this beautiful part called the Middle.  It really IS beautiful by the way... God gave us these bodies... with brains in them that give us a chance to make choices for ourselves.  If we don't like where our lives started, we can make up our minds to completely change the course of our story.  We make our Middle whatever we want it to be... Amazing.. right??

The middle.. the place in every story where the action, the drama, the horror, the heart break.. well everything really... HAPPENS.  Like in writing any story, you, the author of this particular story get to pick the backdrop, your cast of characters and the general flow of events.  Unlike a work of fiction, you cannot control every event that happens as the story unfolds.  That lack of control is what makes things a bit scary or at the very least, unnerving.  But that's just life..

Now in your story, with the characters picked and your backdrop ready, the Middle really starts moving faster.  You are shuttling down a path, an unknown path that you will only discover as you go along.  You have your choices.. right or left.. or even straight.  You make your choices and follow where the road takes you. Unlike the author of a book, you have NO clue where you will end up.. Maybe it will be a happy place full of sunshine, love and flowers.  Maybe the path you choose sets your life on a story path that is much darker.. filled with regret, heartache and gloom.  But most likely it will be a mix of these two extremes.  Times of unspeakable joy, days or months of complete normalcy and then those times of unhappiness that just cannot be avoided.

IF I still have you reading, I want to apologize for my ramblings.  I told you at the beginning I had to get it out..  I am almost done.. I PROMISE!!

What this all boils down to is just a couple of things.  You choose how to write the story of your own life.  You choose the characters you place in your story.  You choose how to act, and those actions can either bring sweet moments of love and joy, or in some cases, those actions bring regret, loneliness and discord.  The beauty of this is that God gave us the ability to choose for ourselves! 

Our WORDS, our ACTIONS build our character.  That character is what people will forever remember about us.  What they remember about our character can change other people's lives for better or in some cases for worse.  This story we call life is irrevocably powerful one way or another.

Words are strong things.  They can change an opinion, the can build a person up and just as easily tear a person to peices.  The words you use ALWAYS outlive you and the situation you use them in.  The wish and hope for my life is that my story is filled with love.  My actions should show love, and my words should be spoken in love.  Not just any love, however.  The love of my Savior.  My Savior who loved and forgave all.. Those who cursed Him.  Those who abandoned Him.  He forgave me for my wrong choices, he loves me.. sinner that I am.  THAT love is the love I want coming from me.  That love will never falter, never break and always stay true.

If my story ends there, then my life, MY STORY will be one that is worth remembering.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Traditions and Memories

Last night I saw a perfect opportunity to make a sweet memory with my TOO quickly growing daughter.  Yesterday was her last day of school before break and she has been begging me to stay up late just to see how it feels... So after the boys were tucked into bed, I snuck into her room and ushered her to the kitchen.  Every year for the past three years, Maddy and I have made the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving.  It's a sweet tradition that I hope my daughter will always want to keep. 

This year, we decided to make little mini pies using the mini muffin pan as well as the regular muffin pans.  Maddy was super excited about even the smallest process going into the baking project.  Spreading the flour on the countertop, cutting small disks of pie dough, and shaking the evaporated milk for the pie mixture all took on a fantastic glow for my sweet girl. 

It brought back so many memories from growing up.  My momma always made sure we were in the kitchen if we wanted to be there.  She took on the extra time and work to make sure we were involved in the process.  I can remember the warm feeling of pride as I surveyed a batch of cookies or a cooling cake.  Those feelings are exactly what I hope Maddy will remember one day. 

Maddy got to relive some of my greatest baking disappointments.  She tasted both the flour and pumpkin mixture eagerly as she was curious about the taste of what looked like very yummy things.  Her face wrinkled quickly as she realized that flour is NOTHING like sugar.. and even though pumpkin might smell good, it definitely needs some sugar before tasting...**

After the pies were in the oven we filled the time by reading some of her favorite books, The time sped by so quickly and it was soon time to pull out her little masterpieces.  She of course had to test taste them to make sure they were tasty enough for everyone else to enjoy on Thursday.  She had to try two different pies to get a thorough opinion on the matter.  She decided that the pies from the mini muffin pans were better due to the pie to pie filling ratio achieved.... her exact words were something like, "the bigger ones have too much pumpkin mommy... I like the teeny ones"   What a sweet moment to savor.  Long after the pies are gone, the memories will remain.  God willing, I have many more years of pumpkin pies and sweet Maddy time..

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's that time of year again already!!??

With just a few days until Thanksgiving, and my mind full of kids, family, friends and holiday plans, I cannot believe that it is already been a year!  Maddy attended her first PCS Pow wow last year, and has been eagerly looking forward to this one since November began...  My Mom and Grandma helped me pick out the perfect Indian Princess "outfit" for Maddy at the thrift store, and Maddy impatiently waited for me to finish fringing and beading her shirt.

Waiting in line to sit down for the program, and then enjoying her "Thanksgiving Lunch"

She confided in me yesterday evening that she was one of the Indians that says "shh" in her class song.  I was able to witness the skit this morning and she did a FANTASTIC job "shh ing" 

Maddy and her friend :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Maddy,

Today was your sixth birthday!!  You have been looking forward to this day for... well since the day you turned 5!  The day finally came and sweetie, you had it planned to the max! 

Today was a school day so the night before you poured over all the dresses in your closet to find the PERFECT dress to wear today, then you picked out your hair accesories and insisted that I straightened your hair.  After I finished you made sure I had gotten every strand and sighed with happiness as you went off to bed. 

This morning you popped out of bed early ( something that almost NEVER happens on a school morning..)  You got dressed and bounced around excitedly waiting for Grandpa to take you to school.  You also doubled checked the Scooby doo cupcakes to make sure they were ready to go for lunchtime.

I headed to school this afternoon to bring your cupcakes and then take you to the nail salon for your manicure.  You picked a bright BRIGHT purple and honestly I wasn't surprised... you have a new favorite color everyday and I love that about you.

You decided we should have Olive Garden for dinner... a decision I definitely agreed with!  When we got home, you enjoyed another cupcake while you finished your reading homework (it is a school night you know) 

Sweet girl, I just want you to know how much I love you and am grateful for the oppurtunity to be your mommy.  You are a gift that I treasure so much.. even though you sometimes stretch my patience.. :)  I have had a blessed six years with you and I am sooo excited to see what the next year brings.  You are a beautiful, vibrant, outgoing little girl and I know that God has amazing plans for you and your life!!  I am so thankful for the chance to be a part of your journey!  Happy Birthday Maddy Lynn!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time Change Sunday

The joy of time change Sunday during fall, is the fact that time falls back and you get an extra hour of sleep... if you don't have kids that is...  I remember "fall backs" before kids were in the picture.  An extra hour to sleep in was a delicious indulgence that I just never quite appreciated until I had it no more. 

My sweet boys share a room.  My Travis has started rising every morning before the sun.. and then proceeds to wake Peyt up so he has company.  I knew it was coming last night.  I even mentioned it to Brian last night before I went to bed... My lil guys were going to be up at an unimagineably early hour this morning... and yep.... 4:30 am came wayyyyyy to early.

There was no going back to sleep... so I took some good advice and decided to embrace the early morning and get some housecleaning done.  After feeding the boys breakfast and getting them settled in with cartoons, I proceeded to do laundry, dishes and even some sweeping... I had my morning coffee... and some Mariah Carey Christmas, and I actually surprised myself by NOT being miserable at 5:30 in the morning! 

One day all of my babies will be teenagers and I won't have the sleeping problem.  Well... I probably will have a sleeping problem... getting them to actually get up and going.. So I am going to finish my cup of coffee, fold some more laundry and listen to Mariah croon about Christmas... this to shall pass!!
The coffee maker clock had not been changed yet.... and YES I know my laundry is out of control!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Liberty Weekend

A few months ago, my sister, Holly asked me what I thought about taking a weekend and going to Lynchburg for Liberty's homecoming.  I said... OF COURSE!!! Its sad, but I jump at a chance for kid-free adult time.. and we were going with Miriam and Trina as well.... All of this added up to a fun weekend that we were all really looking forward to. 

We set out last Friday afternoon after everyone got off of work.  We didn't do anything that evening, but were excited about getting up early to meet our Vicki for breakfast!  We all have had Vicki as our second mother while we lived in Lynchburg.  She has been a blessing in all of our lives.. and we LOVE spending time with her whenever we get the chance!  After prying ourselves away from Vicki, we went shopping for awhile.  I revisited my manager at Payless and even went through good ole River Ridge Mall to see my friend/coworker, Melissa!

Our plan for the afternoon was to rest for a bit and then head to the football game, but after realizing we would have to pay $20.00 each for tickets... we decided to get some exercise and walk the campus instead.. ( Yes we are cheap.. but we used to get into all of those games for FREE... so it hurts to spend THAT much money... LOL )  Here are some pictures of our wanderings around campus!

The Jones sisters in front of the fountain in the courtyard

Our adopted sister, Trina!!

Demoss 4th floor... a thing of legend when I roamed the halls, and us girls taking our picture with Jerry in his museum.
Us in front of the dorm we called home.. the girls were on 25-2 and I lived in 25-1 for 2 years... the ROCK!!  the boys in my brother dorm painted it for my 18th birthday.. and the top picture is from the run Trina and I took EARLY Saturday morning.

After resting for awhile, we headed out for dinner to our FAVORITE restaurant in Lynchburg, Osaka's.  My friend Zaneta introduced it to me while we were there, and when Holly and Trina came to college, I made sure to let them know about how AMAZING the food was...

Chicken and rice, NO vegetables with plenty of yum yum sauce...

After dinner, we headed straight for Scaremare, we knew the lines would be long, so we wanted to get there as early as possible... we DO have a sister in her THIRD trimester :)  We had to get her back to bed before 1am!

There were creepy guys on stilts dressed up as slaughtered pigs and bunnies... I had to get a picture of it!

Trina and I got up with the sun to go for a run around campus Sunday morning.. It brought back so many memories and helped us stay on track for our 10K coming up next weekend.  We were then planning to go to campus church, but we found out that they have changed it to Sunday nights... Bummed we headed to Starbucks to chase our blues away... lol.. The last thing we did while in Lynchburg, was meet with my good friend and old roomate, Krystal at Macado's for lunch.  It was sooo great to catch up and remember all the fun times we had soooo long ago...

The weekend we spent at Liberty was so needed for all of us.  We got a chance to step out of our current lives and remember how life was at college.  We all came to the consensus that although we look back fondly to our days at Liberty, we wouldn't trade it for our current, busy but wonderful lives.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Those three little words

 Brian and I have been married for almost 7 years.  We have been dating since 2003.  That is a long time to get to know one another.. but sometimes I feel like I have only just scratched the surface of truly knowing this man. His thoughts, his dreams, his goals in life, those are things that change and evolve and that I want to know and share with him.  That was the whole point of marriage right? 

Brian doesn't always make sense to me.. and I know for sure that I almost NEVER make sense to him.  But he does know how to show me that he loves me.  Random texts during the day, running through the store on his way home from work, and watching the kids for me when I just  need a break.  These little things show me every day just how much he really loves me. 

Tonight he decided to make us cupcakes for dessert.  Is there anything cuter, or sweeter than a man in the kitchen, cooking for you??  I think not!  Here are some shots of my sweet hubby making a sweet treat for us to share!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Enjoying a "First"

Maddy holds the firstborn status in our household.  With this status, she has certain rights that all firstborns hold.  She has the right to be bossy to her younger siblings, she has the right to try almost everything first.. and she has the right to ALWAYS know more than Travis and Peyton.  ( At least in her opinion...) 

Tuesday evening marked another first that Maddy gets to enjoy before her brothers.  It is something that not ALL people would actually enjoy, but I am raising little kids that LOVE to read.  I have been called a nerd before ( usually by my husband ) due to the fact that I would rather curl up with a good book than do most anything else.   I have shared and fostered the love of books in my kids, and I am proud to say that they "seem" to be following in their nerdy Momma's footsteps, and they LOVE to lay on the couch and crack open a book.  As usual, I digress... Tuesday evening, Maddy and I left Daddy at home with the boys and snuck off to the magical world of reading otherwise known as the Library.  We had some serious business at hand... Maddy's FIRST book report!! 

The assignment was to read any Arthur book, and color a picture of all the characters in the book.  Then she was to circle the most important character in the book and tell why she thought that they were the most important.  Maddy could hardly contain her excitement as we passed through the library doors.  We moved swiftly to the kids section where we looked up the author of the Arthur books, and found the right section.  She excitedly combed through the choice of Arthur books and honed in on one entitled, Arthur's New Puppy.  "Mommy!!! we have a new puppy!  We should read this one!," she said in a whispery voice.  I agreed that it was the perfect book for her and we settled at a little desk to read the story of Arthur and his Puppy, Pal. 

With the book read, she got on with the important business of working on her report.  We discussed the characters as she drew each one on her paper and then the all important task of deciding WHO was the most important character in the book ensued.  She decided on Arthur, since the book was an ARTHUR book.  I asked her if it should be the new puppy, but she was determined on Arthur.  So she circled him and that was that! 

I know you might be wondering why in the world I would wish to chronicle such a boring everyday evening such as this.  But in Maddy's eyes, it was ANYTHING but ordinary.  The shine in her eyes as she browsed the books, the bounce in her step as she walked out of the library with her chosen book cradled in her arms.  These are things I WANT to remember.  She might not always be so excited about school and assignments... who knows.. She might be the nerdiest of nerds like her mom, but she might take another path.  I can look back at this moment in her life and remember a first... that's enough for me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

10K Training with T.G.

Its the end of September.  Fall is here and the Wicked 10K is right around the corner!!  Team Glitter has started up training and we are working towards our winter running goals.  10K race the end of October, 10 miler in November and a Half Marathon Distance the week before Christmas. 

We are down in numbers since last year, losing Em and Holly to some sweet little baby girls.  We gained Trina and are ALWAYS accepting new TG runners!!  We can't wait to get Emily and Holly back soon as well! 

This week the goal was four miles.  The assignment was 4 miles however we wanted to break it up during the week, and a 4 mile run this afternoon.  The weather wanted to stop us with a steady drizzle of rain, but it didn't stop this group!  It was a good run and ( in my opinion) made us official hard core runners, since not everyone chooses to run in the rain :0)

Some love heels, some love flip flops, but these girls love their Running Shoes!! 

4 miles down, 2.2 more to go!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

This thing called Happiness

The smiling faces that make me happy!
Happiness...  It's an ever changing feeling. I have been thinking about this word alot this week.  What makes my kids happy, what makes my husband happy, what makes my friends and family happy.  Happiness is a state of mind.  You can have it one minute and lose it in an instant.  Time, circumstances, people and places all play a role in this feeling we call happiness.  The birth of a child, the change of a job, the time spent with people we love.  All of these things trigger these feelings. 

As a perpetual people pleaser I tend to over think this very thing.  I rush to cuddle my one year old when he falls flat on the floor from running too fast on his chubby legs.  I LOVE to send money to school with Maddy so she can order her lunch like all the rest of her friends. And yes, I will watch Cars five times a day when my Travis is not feeling well.  I do and feel this way because the happiness of my family is something that I treasure and covet all at the same time.

I have been struggling lately with some things I cannot fix.... It hurts when I can't help.  It hurts when no matter what I do, I can't get a smile.. Some things can only change with time and prayer. Handing it over to God is all that we can do in all situations, a lesson I need to learn.  I was reading and came across this verse today and it totally struck a chord. Ecclesiastes 7:14 says, "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other."  The other day I was talking to a dear friend and she reminded me that we go through the fire to be refined.  When we come out on the other end of it, the "junk" is burned away and what is left is those things that are pleasing to the Lord.  Instead of being a "people pleaser" I should be working on doing what is pleasing to my God.  What an "aha" moment!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Musings of a Mommy who made Meatloaf for Dinner...

It is the fourteenth of September... payday is tomorrow and dinner consists of what I rummaged out if the freezer and spice cabinet.  I defied my family and made the dreaded .... meatloaf... That's right folks, the lowly ground hamburger meat can be used in many delicious ways, but for some reason when you mix it with egg, breadcrumbs and seasonings and press it in a bread pan it becomes a divisive dinner that can polarize a table in mere seconds. 

I paired it with Maddy's favorite, lemon pepper roasted potato's, and corn steeped with butter.  I even made makeshift dinner rolls for the carb lovers in my family... but the star of the show, tonight's protien is a source of dread for the entire family.  When Brian sent his almost daily text question of, "whats for dinner?" I only got a sad face as a reply to my answer.  When Maddy came home from school with an expectant look on her face and a loaded question in her mouth, her almost immediate groan sounded through the house.

This of course got me to thinking... what is WRONG with meatloaf.  It is hamburger, and egg and breadcrumbs.  In our case I have topped it off with a ton of Barbeque sauce and baked it off until the edges are crisp and the inside is juicy.  So far so good right?  So where does meatloaf go wrong?  Is it the school lunches that we all have suffered through as children?  Is it the fact that there are soooo many other options of yummy things to do with ground meat?  Or maybe... just maybe it is the name... Meatloaf.  Shakespeare once wrote, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."  Does Shakespeare have it right?? Or, is the combination of "meat" and "loaf" so very off putting that people cannot get past it?

I have said before that my mind works in mysterious ways.  Please excuse this evenings ramblings on dinner at the Rustay house... But I wonder, if meatloaf was called by another name, would it taste any better to the "loaf haters" of the world?
Just some of the "loaf haters" in the Rustay family

Monday, September 12, 2011

Raindrops on Roses....

My birthday is a few days away and my Dad and sister asked me yesterday what I wanted for my family birthday dinner... a Jones family tradition.  This got me thinking... I will be 27 this year... 3 years till I hit 30.  When I was little I envisioned 30 as so old... ancient in fact.  As I steadily barrel towards this very age, it makes me reflect back over my past. 

My brain works in funny ways.. I know this and I will be the first to admit it!  As I found myself looking back, I started comparing the things that made me happy as a little girl to what makes me happy nowadays... I am embarrased to admit it, but in the shower this morning, as I was thinking about my favorites, and Julie Andrews voice starting singing the famous song from The Sound of Music.. "these are a few of my favorite things.." ( I TOLD you my mind works in funny ways...)

Age 7 pictured with my monkey George...
When I was 7, my world was very small..  Friday nights were TGIF on TV and ice cream after dinner.  Sundays were church days, dressing up and rushing to find our bibles, then heading off to Sunday school. During the week we would get off the bus and hurry with our homework so as to play for the longest amount of time with our friends down the street.  My life cycled around  these things.  It was a comfortable cocoon.  Predictable and complete, nothing in life was lacking.  I had the love of my parents and sisters.. ( even if we did fight..)  I had food to eat, clothes to wear and did not have a care in the world.  My list of favorite things back then would include:  the color pink, reading books, catching bugs ( of the lightening and lady bug variety)  playing with my barbies, legos and play doh, and happy meals from McDonald's. 

Age 17.. ready to take on the world!
Fast forwarding 10 years, I was 17.  A senior in high school and feeling like I had conquered the world.  That year was of course an important one to me.. but also to the rest of the world.  On September 11th, 9 days before I turned 17, our country came under attack and thousands lost their lives.  Nothing was the same after that, but I was still in a comfortable cocoon.  I went to school, hung out with my friends and worked part time at a pizza place called Rita's.  The money I made from that job went solely towards my shoe addiction and going out with my friends.  My dad gave Miriam and I a car to drive and a gas card to fill it up when needed.  Life was good.  I had my first boyfriend, and consequentially my first heart break.  I took senior pictures and worked on the school's yearbook staff.  The future was bright.. the world was my oyster.  My favorite things at 17 were:  (still) the color pink, my class ring, going out with friends, driving around for no reason.. just because I could and SHOPPING!

Now here I am.. 10 years after that.  Soon to be 27, I have done MOST of what I expected to do.  Graduated from college, married to an amazing man, and the mother of beautiful children.  We work hard to scratch out a living in this uncertain world and uncertain times.  My comfortable cocoon is no more however, due to the fact that I found out a secret well kept by my parents.  Life is HARD.  Life doesn't always work out the way you want it to, and EVEN if you do everything you can, it isn't always enough.  These were hard truths to digest over the years.  My easy, predictable life is no more.  I have worries and nagging doubts and even lose sleep over the hard knocks that life sends our way.

I was talking to my Dad the other day, bemoaning the fact that we just cannot seem to make it... I was feeling like a failure in fact... and my dear dad just shook his head. " Rachel, you are judging by the wrong standards." he told me.  I needed that reminder.  I needed it badly.  By the world's standards, yes we are struggling... just as so MANY others are.  But by God's standards, what a wealth we truly have!  God is supplying our EVERY need... how could I forget that fact?  God will not judge me at the end of my life for how big of a house we live in, or how much money was in my bank account, but by how I lived my life.  He will look to see the fruit of the spirit that bloomed over the span of time and how I let my light shine to the world.

Brian and I during the first month of our relationship <3
I got sidetracked there.. sorry :)  I DID tell you my mind works in weird ways!  Back to my favorite things!!  I guess it all fits in, because my favorite things now, at 27 are not really the materialistic and shallow things that they were at 7 and 17.  My cocoon might be gone, but the love isn't!! I still have the love of my parents and sisters, but added to that I now have the love of a truly wonderful man, and three beautiful babies!  My favorite things now are:  Spending time with the afore said wonderful man who I am blessed enough to call my husband, hugging and kissing my sweet children, getting together with  my dear friends ( you know who you are!!) ( I do have some frivilous things..)  COFFEE and running are now on the list as well.. lol

I am now looking forward to compiling another list at 37.. :)  I wonder how ten years will change this list- or if it will at all.. I guess I will just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Days......

I cannot believe my Maddy girl is in K5 this year!  She has been looking forward to this day since the end of the school year last May.  She would come up to me all summer and say things like, " Mommy when I'm a big girl that means I will be in K5 right??"

Well.... the day finally arrived!  She was up bright and early ready to wriggle into her new clothes and pushing me to put product in her hair and fasten back the way she likes it with her favorite barrette..  She had carefully assisted me with the packing of her backpack last night and watched happily as I slipped two cookies into her lunchbox.  She pranced back and forth in front of the mirror wearing her backpack and holding her lunchbox.  The girl was READY for school. 

We waited for Grandpa to come over.  He watched the boys while I took her to school for the all important first day.  She eagerly showed Grandpa her new outfit and her bursting back pack.  With these important items taken care of and a picture snapped of the group on the couch... we were OFF.  On the way to school we sang disney songs and talked about the coming day.  We finally made it to school and she was litterally bouncing uncontrollably from the excitement. 

We made our way to Mrs. Warren's classroom, two doors down from her old K4 classroom.  She peered in and we found that we were the first ones there.  We organized all of her school supplies and found her seat.  After numerous hugs and kisses, I pulled myself away and headed back to take care of the boys at home.  I did allow myself one more fleeting glance as I walked out the door.  I couldn't be prouder of my baby girl.  I will treasure that last sneaking glance I saw of my Maddy as I left her to face her first day of Kindergarten... What a moment to remember!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Run Maddy!! Run!!!

My sister, Holly came out to go for a short run with me this morning.  I really need to get my act together because my next race is right around the corner!  While I was getting dressed and waiting for Holly to get out here, Maddy sidled up beside me and with her beautiful big brown eyes working overtime... begged me to let her come with us.  I knew she couldn't handle 2 miles, but I told her after we got back she could go for her first run with me.  Her face lit up and she ran off to get her tennis shoes and socks.

Needless to say, she was waiting at the front door for us to get back.  She rushed us back out the door after we got something to drink and she was off!  I ran beside her the whole time, keeping her at a steady pace.  She wanted to go in a full on sprint, but I held her back telling her she needed to save her energy... Something she has PLENTY of!  We went .25 miles down and headed back towards the house.  She did fantastic.  I was soo proud of her. 

When we were almost home, I challenged her to a race to the drive way.  With a twinkle in her eyes, she shot off ahead of me and I had to actually kick it up to catch up to her.  She reached the driveway and was bouncing up and down in triumph!  She had done it!!  Her new goal is to run her first mile race next year.  I truly think we have a runner in the making!