30 Days of Me Photo Challenge: Day Sixteen

Day Sixteen: Post a photo of someone who inspires you. Why does this person specifically inspire you? Can you tell me a story about this person?


my cousin, Kelly

We all have those people in our lives that, when we watch them, you think, "when I grow up I want to be like him/her!"  For me, one of those people was Kelly.

You know how someones mood and demeanor can affect a whole room?  To me, Kelly was always like a ray of sunshine walking through the door. 

I am quite a sensitive person, and was a very sensitive child.  To me it always seemed everything said to me was negative.  It made me very introverted and withdrawn.  Then I would go to school and be picked on for thinking I thought myself better than others, because I wouldn't talk.  I would begin to think, honestly, that there can't possible be a God.  The world was so cruel.  Everywhere I turned to I would be slapped with a label.  Stupid.  Ugly.  It.  Dork.  And so on.

Just when it would seem I couldn't take one more cruel word, Kelly would show up.  Seriously.  One day I was curled up in a ball on my couch, I think everyone else was in town.  I was there on the couch hating my life.  Hating the world.  Feeling like I didn't have a friend in the world (it was around 5th grade so pre-Angie).  Then the back door opened, and in walked Kelly.  She sat down and she asked me how I was doing, said she was glad to see me.  And the biggest difference from everyone that had ever asked me that question?  She sat and looked me in the eye and waited.  She was sincere.  From that day on I decided I wanted to be like Kelly.  I wanted to be a sincere and caring person.  Not just to adults, but to children.  I wanted to grow up and look kids in the eye and show them they are valuable too.

It's more than that I want to learn from her.  She is also patient.  She had to have been patient, because I don't know for the life of me why she sat there, that first day, for so long waiting for a response.  lol.  I was terrified.  I was so afraid she wouldn't like me because I was wearing dorky clothes.  I was so afraid to speak because I was afraid to say the wrong thing, and afraid to see disgust in her eyes if she saw my teeth.  (they were quite crooked).  And there she sat.  It all seems funny to me now, how I behaved that day, knowing now how caring and accepting she is.  haha.

She is faithful.  She is courageous.

I remember one time, being at our Grandma's house, and her young daughter misbehaved.  Rather than berate her child in front of everyone she excused herself to a different room, got on her knees and talked softly to her daughter.  Then she said a prayer with her.  That was the day I decided I wanted to be faithful like Kelly.  I wanted to talk to God with my kids, and I wanted to speak softly to them, even when I was angry.  I'm still working on all that.

Kelly is the least selfish person I know.  I decided I also wanted to be like Kelly and adopt children.  Then I learned, as of right now, I am too selfish.  I enjoy what free time I get, and I don't want to give any of it up.  Yet, anyway.  Selfish, I know.

She has to be courageous.  To have 3 beautiful daughters, then welcome 6 more into their life, through adoption over the years, for a grand total of 9 children.  That takes courage.  Courage and a whole lot of love.

The story of her courage that sticks out most to me though.... when we all were gathered around Grandpa as he took his last breaths.  Most people are afraid of death and shy away.  I don't know about the others gathered that day, but for me I, in addition to being afraid of him dying, was afraid to approach him and say things I wanted to say.  I was afraid.  Afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve.  Afraid to cry in front of everyone.  Afraid of how I might look or sound.  Kelly wasn't.  She climbed right up beside Grandpa and gave him her full attention, and wore her heart right on her sleeve.  After he took his last breath she prayed.  Then she sang.  All by herself she sang.  Not afraid of looking silly, or sounding silly.  Not afraid to stand out.  Not afraid to do what she felt she should do.  Not deterred when no one else was brave enough to join in.

She inspires me to step back and take a look at myself.  Am I being the best I can be?  Am I following where God is trying to lead me?

Thank you Kelly, for all you have inspired me to be.

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30 Days of Me Photo Challenge: Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen: Post a photo of something you want to do before you die. Why did you choose this? Do you have a plan set in action so you can accomplish this? If not, what can you do to be sure you do this before you die



Obviously this is not my photo, I got it off the Cruise North Expeditions Blog.  If it were my photo then it wouldn't be something I still wanted to do right?  

I don't know why I want to, other than the sheer beauty I would be sure to see.  I have a great fear of deep water.  I have a greater fear of deep cold water.  So what better thing to do than take a cruise in the Arctic, right?  Maybe I'm insane.  Maybe I love photography and beautiful scenery just that much.

I want to see Northern Lights.  I want to see icebergs.  I want to see polar bears and penguins. 

We don't have a plan set in motion.  Money is always an issue.  So this is on my "someday" list.  Hopefully, anyways.


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30 Days of Me Photo Challenge: Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen: Post a photo of a person you could never live your life without. What is special about this person? Tell me the ten things you love most about them.


I could talk about SO many people for this one, but I think it's more of  people I don't want to live my life without.  However, we all have to say goodbye to loved ones eventually, at one time or another.

Then of course, I think it goes without saying that I love my kids.  I would need some intense therapy if anything ever happened to them.  Seriously serious therapy.

One person I don't talk often of though, my husband.  So, for this prompt I choose him.  Since I would never want to lose him either.  I would be lost.

The things I love about him (not necessarily what I love the most, and not in any order)

  1. He is patient
  2. He is forgiving
  3. He is very helpful with the kids (for a guy)  =]
  4. He helps out quite a bit around the house
  5. He has been known to cook a meal or two
  6. He rarely says a harsh word to me
  7. He is kind to others
  8. He works hard so that I can stay home with the kids
  9. He has the same views as me on the most important things to us
  10. He loves me



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30 Days of Me Photo Challenge: Day Thirteen

Day Thirteen: Post a photo of your favorite band or artist. Why do you love this band/artist? What song(s) in particular do you love & why? Post the lyrics to your favorite song by this artist/band & bold the ones that hold the most meaning for you.



me with Justin Hines, Oct 2008
 I am the kind of person that has a new "favorite" song with every new season in life and it has to fit my mood of the day/week too.   There are SO many singers that I only like one or two songs from their album.  There aren't many I'll listen to the whole CD thru, and put on repeat.  Norah Jones is one.  Jack Johnson.  Justin Hines.

I was watching TV one day when a commercial came on.  It was for Wal-mart Walk for Miracles.  It was so cute.  It was this mom chasing a toddler boy around a house and the lyrics playing in the background caught my attention. 
No darling, I can't take your thirst away
but I can show you to the sea.
While you're walking on your path unknown, say, will you think of me.

Well time will tell
I wish you well.
I was instantly in love with the voice and the lyrics.  I wanted to know who the singer was.  It took what seemed forever to find out who he was, online.  Justin Hines. I started googling him trying to find more information.  At the time his first CD was just out or about to come out, I can't remember, so it was hard to find information.

I was shocked to see him and read his biography.  He is a man in a wheelchair - and he can belt out tunes like that!?  wow!  What an inspiration!  He has Larsen Syndrome.  One of the symptoms being incomplete development of the lungs.  I don't know that he has that symptom or not.  All I know is his voice is amazing.  Amazing!

I watched a video of him singing April On the Ground.  This guy has passion.  True passion.  You can see it in his face when he sings. 

Justin is so inspiring and upbeat.  Definitely a "glass half full" guy.  He is so utterly optimistic.  You can't watch an interview with him and not be happier after it is over.  You can't!

After finding his website I went to see where he was from and if he was doing tours.  As luck would have it he was coming to our area in 3 months time.  We immediately bought tickets.

He sounded even better in person.  As an added bonus he was so funny and charismatic!  There was an encore after the concert.  He finally, after much clapping from the audience, came back on stage and said, "Thank you so much.  oooohh.  How embarrassing would it be if we didn't have any more songs to sing? ...  Frère Jacques anyone?  ooohhh, I'm a dork."  Honestly, I love the guy.

Afterwards he stayed in the lobby and signed autographs.  You won't catch Bieber doing that!

We loved his show so much we bought tickets to one just a month later but then had to miss it due to the flu.

I haven't been able to find a show near us since, but you can bet I'll be going when there is!



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the Paper Mama Holiday Card Challenge

I have been getting in the Christmas spirit and songs keep randomly popping in my head.  This week I keep humming "Santa Baby".  While it's a 'lover' song I couldn't help but make a holiday card with my little 'Santa Baby'. 

I have made 3 different holiday cards over at Picnik, so far.  I am getting a little bit obsessed.  Seriously.  Too much fun.  This one is my favorite:




The Paper Mama

30 Days of Me Photo Challenge: Day Twelve

Day Twelve: Post a photo of something you love. Why do you love this? What specifics can you give me about why you live this item/person?



As usual with these photo challenges I struggled with what to pick.  Obviously I love my kids and I love my family, so I wasn't going to go that route.  But I do have a mad love for chocolate.  Mad I tell ya.  I love chocolate!  Love it!  I even took a picture of it, and will share because it's chocolate and I love it.  But that's all I can talk about with it.  What else is there to say?  It's yummy.  The end.  Right?  Boring.  Except I love chocolate and it's yummy.  Here is the picture of yummy-ness.


Did I mention I love chocolate?

Since it makes for a short and boring blog, I chose a new love.  Cloth diapers!  I was so surprised with how much I love them!  I was with most of society in thinking that it's something of the "old days":  how complicated, cumbersome, time consuming and annoying! 

I was only first interested because it's better for the environment.  But convenience always won out.  How convenient are disposables!?  Except that they leak.  AllTheTime.

The last straw for us was when we were all packed up, ready to go, and went to pick up Emma out of her bouncy seat.  For the 'hundreth' time she had exploded out of her diaper, all over her outfit, and out onto the bouncy seat.  We were just about to leave the house!  Instead we had to do a complete wardrobe change, diaper change, and dismantle the bouncy seat.  Allan was so upset he announced we were going right then to the store to get cloth.  Because we had heard it holds in the mess.  At least it would be worth a try.

I was excited yet nervous.  How inconvenient would this be?  How expensive??  And pins.... I don't want to use pins near my baby!

We got to the store and I asked for help.  There I learned that we don't use pins anymore.  There are Snappi's to use instead.  It's fast.  It's practical. 

I'll spare the details of what we bought and why and how many and so on.

I love cloth!  Soooo much easier than I ever imagined!  Not a nuisance at all, and not inconvenient.  I mean, think of it.  It's cold outside, below freezing and snowing.  The diaper pail is full and it is trash day.  I have to throw on all my gear, dig the bag out of the pail, make sure the kids are safe and go drag this smelly plastic waste to the curb.  Or :  I stay in my jammies with my hair a mess, drag the entire washable bag full of smelly diapers down to my washer, toss them in, turn it on, and go lounge around for an hour while they wash.  Talk about convenience!!  And when I get low on supply... I don't have to lug the kids to the store to stock up.  I just do the actions previously mentioned.  I don't even fold the diapers after they are dry.  I just stack them up and bring them to the nursery.

Really.  Washing is easy.  I promise you I don't hike 2 miles to a river and smack the diapers against rocks to get them clean.  I don't even have to use a washboard.  I swear.  It's just like the clothes I wear every day.  I throw them in the same machine and go through the same motions as I would if I were washing my clothes.

Easy peesy.

And the best part?  We haven't had dirty messy explosion all over everything since we switched.  How is that in any way inconvenient?

(and just so you know, don't go buying Wal-mart diapers.  Find a nice store that specializes in cloth diapers)


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30 Days of Me: Day Eleven

Day Eleven: Post a photo of something you hate dislike. Why do you hate dislike this? What is it about this item/person that you despise?


Today, I really wanted to talk about my neck.  It has a kink in it and it is very annoying.  I very much dislike kinks in my neck.  But.... how do you take a picture of a kink?  If anyone wants to send me balloons for my pity party, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks.

Then I wanted to take a picture to show how much I dislike that it is Thanksgiving and I am here and my family is there.  How do I take a picture of distance?

Really, all these thoughts of things I dislike was to postpone one of my greatest "dislikes", which is also a fear.  I won't and can't even take a picture of the real deal, so I took a photo of the toy ring version.  Will.Not.Take.A.Photo.  So there you go.  That's how much I dislike it.  And fear it.

It's silly really.  Have you even noticed I have even named it yet?  Yeah.  That's because it is my blog and I don't want that name on my blog.  So there.  Rhymes with "rider" though.  lol.

I don't even know what it is about "rider" that I dislike so much.  It's gross?  It's creepy?  It moves too fast?  It stares at me while I sleep?  It jumps down my shirt while I am driving and nearly causes me an accident?  You pick.


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30 Days of Me: Day Nine and Day Ten

Day Nine: Post a photo of the person who has gotten you through the most.

Day Ten: Post a photo of the person you do the most crazy/silly things with.

not Gumby or Pokey, but their owner

Now, before you go thinking I talk to inanimate objects to get through my bad days.... well, ok, so maybe I do sometimes... but that's a different story.... anyways, Gumby and Pokey aren't my top choice.  Their owner is.  Or ex-owner I should say.  They have now moved on to the landfill, poor things.  How cruel.  Maybe I should re-think who I go to in my troubled moments?  Barbie's line in "Toy Story 3" is coming to mind:  "I can't believe she'd just throw me away!"

Anyways.  To get back on topic.  For privacy sake I don't want to post a picture of my bestest friend, and also, more importantly, because I haven't asked her permission to post a picture.  So, for now, Gumby and Pokey will do as stand ins. 

The subject of both Day 9 and Day 10 happen to be of the same person.  So in order to save my blog from becoming a two day shrine to Angie, I'm combining them.

Angie has been there for every major event in my life, from the bad to the good.  She's seen me at my worst, and she has seen me.... well..... I don't know that I've hit my best yet.

She is the one person I can call and expect good honest advice from.  The one person not afraid to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear, and all with a gentle heart.  She never talks down to me, talks angry.  She has a knack for saying what is needed, and gracefully.  For that reason she is the person I go to first when I am troubled.  She knows the difference from 'I need advice' and 'I need to vent'.  And the most important:  she doesn't judge me.  I can tell her anything.  While she may not always approve, she has always loved me and accepted me.

As for the silliness..... the one and only person I can ever be truly myself around while remaining comfortable... Angie.  Hands down.

I mean... how many of you would spend your New Year's Eve outside building and naming a snow head, and loving every second of it?  Well, we would, and we did!  Now, a lot of people would think that is lame, or boring or maybe stupid.  Not us.  (Keep in mind we are silly, not wild).  We both have the same humor, and that's what makes our friendship so great. 
 

we even gave him hair
 
We got many odd looks from her parents.  I mean... here we were, 20 years old, acting.... well.... younger than our age.  A lot younger.  It's as if we check "maturity" at the door when we get together.  But, don't get me wrong.  We can be serious too.  For example, we are very serious about our chocolate.

Then, when we get on Skype we can't just talk like normal people.  No.  The conversation is not complete until we turn on the features that make our eyes bug out, or or chin hang down.  Then we laugh.  And that is how it always is with Angie.  We laugh.  A lot of times we laugh until we cry.  We have fun.  We can laugh at each other and ourselves and all the while remaining embarrassment free.  Well, embarrassment free of each other.  I think sometimes others are embarrassed for us.  haha. 


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Red Bubble

I occasionally upload my photography to Red Bubble.  Then I usually forget about it for awhile.  Today I logged on and seen a new challenge up in the group "Candid Photography".    Take a peek at the page.... who is that little cutie they used as an example!?  Why.... it's MY cutie!! 

30 Days of Me: Day Eight

Day Eight: Post a photo that makes you laugh. What made this moment so funny?


I could pick any number of photos that make me laugh.  But I don't want to embarrass myself or others, so I'll pick a character friendly one.  haha! 

I don't think it needs any words to explain why it is funny...


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30 Days of Me: Day Seven

Day Seven: Post a photo of your most treasured item. Why is this item special to you? How did you come to own this item?


"Look at this photograph.  Every time I do it makes me laugh"
- Nickelback
At first I couldn't think of anything for today's challenge.  I'm not really into material things so couldn't pick one item I truly treasure.  Sure, I thought of my Great Grandmother's rocking chair.  I thought of the Hummel figurine that was my Grandma's.  I thought of the nursery books my Grandpa read to us.  How I love those books.  But really, I kept thinking of the memories those "things" brought to me.  I kept thinking of how I treasure my memories.  Since a memory isn't an item, and I certainly can't take a photo of it, I was stumped.  Then I repeated that line in my head "can't take a photo of it."

Ok, ok, I'll admit it, I thought of my camera next.  My beloved third eye.  I feel lost without it, when I leave it home.   However, it's the photos that my camera produces I love even more.  The snapshot of my babies, frozen in time.  It's not just my photos I love either!  I love the shared memories my family has captured to.  I so very much enjoy going to Grandma's house and seeing that she has all the old photos strewn from wall to wall  It doesn't happen often, but I love it.  I can settle for pulling out the photo albums.  I can spend hours looking at photos from my childhood, and even before I was born.

Photos, to me, bring forth those memories I love so much.  They're like a jumper cable for my brain.

I can look at a photo and remember what my Grandpa, now passed on, looked like.  I can remember his one of a kind smile, and his baby blue eyes.  I can look at the photo of my sister, just having gave birth to her daughter, and remember how much my heart grew that day, and remember just how fast 10 years goes by.  I can look at my wedding photo and see just how little I looked.  Did I really look that young when I got married!?  I felt so "old" (for a bride)!

I can look at an old photo and remember just how fun my family (and friends) can be.  I can see old inside jokes, silliness, and so on.  They stir up so many emotions in me.  Laughter, sorrow, joy.....

I love my photos.


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30 Days of Me: Day Six

Day Six: Post a photo of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day. Why did you choose this person? What do you admire most about their life? What can you do to make your life more fulfilling?

my little Mad Hatter
This challenge was particularly hard for me.  How do you chose just one person to trade places with!?  First I thought of Kate Middleton.  Not because I swoon over Prince William.  I'm curious how it would be to a Princess bride.  Is it really all that Disney makes it to be?  I'm sure not.  They're just an average couple.  And by average I mean human.

Sure, I could go the route of..... say.... Johnny Depp's girlfriend.  Wait, did I say that out loud?

Then I was thinking how cool it would be to be a singer, like Norah Jones.  To have that voice!  Or maybe a dancer.  Or maybe I could pick to be rich. 

Then I thought, the most I'd be curious on would be the one person that hurts my feelings the most.  Gosh, to understand that person!  What in the world did I do or say to deserve such treatment!?  I would love for some insight.  I would love to understand why this person is this way.  I'm a people pleaser.  I'm sensitive.  I really can't understand how I can't provoke such anger in a person.  Understanding this person would give me so much more compassion I think.

Next I thought of a person I also won't name, for privacy sake.  Someone I greatly admire.  This person has had the kind of life we dream about - in our nightmares.  To hear what he heard, to see what he heard, to endure what he endured.... and in the end..... he has the kind of faith that puts me to shame.  Very humbling.

Thinking of his faith brought me to my own and to this: 
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”  Proverbs 3:5-6
In the end... I don't want to trade places with anyone, even for a day.  Not because my life is so superbly awesome and I think we're the bee's knees, but because I am on the path I am supposed to be on, and I am who I am supposed to be.  That, and because I love my kids just that much.  If I traded places I would have to give up my kids.  No can do.

But for the sake of the challenge, I chose my son, Connor.  I would love to see me, through his eyes.  Where can I improve?  How can I be the best mommy to him?  What am I doing wrong, and what am I doing right?  I would love to have those answers. 

I would love to see the world for one more day, through the eyes of a child, and not just any kid, but this kid.  This child has so much character!  He doesn't care that most of the world doesn't wear top hats, and certainly not every day all day long and never with neon green rubber boots.  To be so carefree!  To be so full of life!  To see everything so brand new again, and so magical.  What a treat that all would be.


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30 Days of Me: Day Five

Day Five: Post a photo of your favorite memory. Why is this your favorite memory? What made it so special?


It's an awful photo, quality-wise.  But it's my favorite memory.  The day my walls fell down.  June 20th, 2006.

When I was a little girl people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I would say a mom.  Usually I'd get a response, "But what do you want to do, what do you want to aspire to?  You can be anything, do anything, don't you want to be a doctor or something?"  (I'm paraphrasing of course)

A mom.  That's all I wanted.  Sure, I wanted other things, but the highest on the list:  a mom.  Being a young girl with the ambition to be a mom.... you don't realize that it may not happen.  As a child you don't look in your future and ever see problems.  You always make the "happy ever after" in your head as you dream.

It took us three long years.  In that three years I hardened myself.  I lied to myself and convinced myself I didn't want kids anyway.  Just three days before the test I was at my mom's house playing with my nieces and took a photo with them.  I remember thinking, "They can be enough for me.  I can give them my all.  I can be the 'cool aunt'!"  (all the while carrying a secret!)

It's funny how things work out.  Just when I come to terms with not ever having a child of my own.... I take a test, really to "prove them all wrong".  I was tired of all the questions of when we'd have kids.  Tired of people taking my every ill feeling to "oh! you must be pregnant!"  So I bought a test.  "I'll show them!  I'm not pregnant and won't ever be pregnant"  That's what was going through my head.

I peed on it, threw it on the bathroom counter and then walked away.  I honestly forgot about it, since I was no longer actively trying to get pregnant, and knew I wasn't and couldn't ever get pregnant.  (I was a bit bitter)

An hour or so later, I walked back in to use the bathroom and saw it there.  Two lines.

I froze, and my eyes were glued to that one little extra line, as if it were an illusion.  So I stared, waiting for it to go away, because I couldn't be, and didn't want to be.  (I was a good liar to myself).

Then the brick wall I had built up slowly started to chip away, and this incredible disbelief and joy came over me.  I couldn't contain myself.  I was up, I was down, I was hopping, I was skipping, I was crying, I was laughing.  I did want this after all.  I wanted it more than anything.

Through all the pain and grief I had lived with, looking back, I wouldn't change it.  I was one of the lucky ones that, upon finding out I was pregnant, had no doubt what-so-ever that it was what I wanted.  I didn't have to grow to love him, while he grew in me.  I was hooked from the second I saw that little pink line.

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30 Days of Me: Day Four

Day Four: Post a photo that best sums up the night you've had tonight. What did you do? Why was it fun?



Ok, to be honest, yesterday I was confused thinking it was my day 4 and I took this photo.  But really, nothing has changed except for the wardrobe.  Most evenings are spent with the 3 of us on our ultra hip and modern living room rug, otherwise known as a foam play mat.  Emma watches Connor play and I watch them both play.  I can't get enough.  Ok, that's a lie.  I do get enough when the tantrums start, but that's a different story.  haha. 

This photo actually works well though.  Usually Al would be somewhere visible, but for this shot he wasn't.  Perfect, as he is out tonight learning to do the PowerPoint projector for church.  He made dinner for us before he left, he's great like that.  I'm not sure if he does it to help or because he wants to be fed.  (haha!)

When he gets home we'll be watching Modern Family.  We don't have cable (our choice) so we watch it on the computer the day after.

I love not having cable.

Instead of shushing the kids and gluing ourselves to the TV we spend our evenings on the living room floor.  A typical night in the West household.  Dinner is done, dishes are not, and the kids are both vying for my attention.  And they can have it.


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Daily Coffee.... or Hot Chocolate.

I used to be a daily coffee drinker.  Ok, so maybe it was more of a daily hot creamer with a splash of coffee.  Regardless, I had my hot drink.  I switched to tea when I had to wean myself for surgery (gallbladder) and when I became pregnant. 

Now, I drink hot chocolate, since I am nursing.

We have a small house with little kitchen space, so I got rid of all but one mug, my favorite mug.  That's all you need when you don't have a dish washer and need to do dishes daily anyways.

However, I came across a new mug while browsing the Photojojo Store.  A mug I need to have.  Ok, I don't need it, but I want it!  Very much want it!

it's a thermos!

How flippin' awesome would this be to use everyday as my mug!?  Pretty awesome. 

30 Days of Me: Day Three

Day 3: Post a photo of the cast from your favorite show. Why do you love this particular show so much? Who is your favorite cast member & why?


Why do I love this show?  What's not to love?  I love comedies, and this makes me laugh.  I love the diversity.  I love it's not like most sitcoms- that it is set up like a reality show.  As if it's a "real" family on TLC or something. 

My favorite character, hands down, Cameron.  (the one on the bottom of the photo, right side.)  The guy is hilarious.  So full of life.  I love everything about this character, and Eric Stonestreet does a fantastic job at portraying Cameron.  Funniest part to me:  he's straight in real life.  h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s.  Now there is a good actor.

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30 Days of Me: Day Two

Day Two: Post a photo of you & the person you have been the closest with for the longest. Why is this person special to you?

me and my twin
We aren't close in the sense of typical best friends joined at the hip.  But close in the sense that she is my sister, and my forever friend.  I often think of the "what ifs" with her.  What if I still lived in Michigan?  Knowing how wonderful it would be is upsetting to me, we could watch each other's kids, go Christmas shopping together, have weekend dinners.  Maybe not, but it's nice to dream.

She may not be the one I talk to the most or see the most, but she's been there the longest and the "friend" I love the most.  I mean... how much longer together can you get than by sharing a womb together?

Of course we had our fights, what sisters don't!?  But she was always there to play with on our good days.  The one I talked with and giggled with at night until we fell asleep. 

To be honest, I think being twins hindered our friendship in the later years of our childhood - once it became important to define ourselves as individuals.  Even though we're fraternal (we don't look the same) we would get looped in as a single unit, even away from home.  The twins.  The girls.  Becky&Debbie (as if one word).  So I think we would sometimes make points to not sit near each other.  But at night, in the privacy of our shared room, we would talk and giggle like young girls do.

It was a comfort to always have someone there for everything, going through everything at the same time, and never having to do things alone.

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The Duties of Parents

A while ago my brother shared a link to a free book.  (The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle) I always try to make a point to read what he shares, because it is always worthwhile.  However, I'm not "normal" (by today's standard) - I prefer to read an actual paper, versus from a phone or computer screen.   So I read the first few pages then saved the pdf to my pc with the intent to read later.  I then forgot about it. 

Yesterday I was doing a little bit of cleaning up on my desktop and opened up this pdf file that I didn't remember.  Once opened I remembered how interested I was after reading the first few pages and immediately set it to print, so that I would actually read it. 

Am I ever glad.  I even made it fun by getting out my highlighter (yes, I am a dork).

It really sets you back on the right path and back in focus on what's important; and I can assure you that what it says is true.  I can especiallly assure you about the truth of the second point he talks about, "Tenderness, Affection and Patience."

Of course, all of it, not just the second point, is great advice.  I couldn't soak it all up fast enough.  It's a great read.  It's only 36 pages. 

The paragraph that most woke me up:

"Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if you love
them, think often of their souls. No interest should weigh with you so
much as their eternal interests. No part of them should be so dear to you
as that part which will never die. The world, with all its glory, shall pass
away; the hills shall melt; the heavens shall be wrapped together as a
scroll; the sun shall cease to shine. But the spirit which dwells in those
little creatures, whom you love so well, shall outlive them all, and
whether in happiness or misery (to speak as a man) will depend on you."

Please, for the sake of your children if nothing else, read this small book.  And what better price than free?

30 days of me: Day 1

30 Days of Me Photo Challenge
Day 1: Post a photo of yourself and 15 facts


15 facts about me:

 1.  I kinda hate thinking of things to say about myself.  lol.
 2.  I will get very red in the face embarrassed for other people.  As well as myelf.
 3.  I have a twin.
 4.  I have two spleens.  Yup, I said it.  I'm a freak.
 5.  We don't subscribe to cable.
 6.  I try to avoid reading or watching the news as I will have uncontrollable hyperventiating sobs if I come across a sad story that involes a child.
 7.  My feet grew with each of my two pregnancies.  yikes.
 8.  I very much dislike the taste of pepsi and coke.
 9.  I wore braces for 5 long years.
10.  I have an intense fear of spiders that seems to get worse as the years pass.
11.  I have a serious addiction to chocolate.
12.  We own 5 different versions of Monopoly.  And I want more.
13.  I like to color.
14.  I'm finding it hard to come up with 15 things.
15.  I'm hungry.  =p

30 Days of Me Photo Challenge

My progress with the 30 Days of Me Photo Challenge:

The List:
Day One: Post a photo of yourself along with fifteen facts about you.
Day Two: Post a photo of you & the person you have been the closest with for the longest. Why is this person special to you?
Day Three: Post a photo of the cast from your favorite show. Why do you love this particular show so much? Who is your favorite cast member & why?
Day Four: Post a photo that best sums up the night you've had tonight. What did you do? Why was it fun?
Day Five: Post a photo of your favorite memory. Why is this your favorite memory? What made it so special?
Day Six: Post a photo of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day. Why did you choose this person? What do you admire most about their life? What can you do to make your life more fulfilling?
Day Seven: Post a photo of your most treasured item. Why is this item special to you? How did you come to own this item?
Day Eight: Post a photo that makes you laugh. What made this moment so funny?
Day Nine: Post a photo of the person who has gotten you through the most. What did this person do for you during your troubled time? What made you turn to them out of everyone else in your life?
Day Ten: Post a photo of the person you do the most crazy/silly things with. What is it about this person that makes you able to be crazy/silly? What is your most favorite crazy/silly memory with this person?
Day Eleven: Post a photo of something you hate. Why do you hate this? What is it about this item/person that you despise?
Day Twelve: Post a photo of something you love. Why do you love this? What specifics can you give me about why you live this item/person?
Day Thirteen: Post a photo of your favorite band or artist. Why do you love this band/artist? What song(s) in particular do you love & why? Post the lyrics to your favorite song by this artist/band & bold the ones that hold the most meaning for you.
Day Fourteen: Post a photo of a person you could never live your life without. What is special about this person? Tell me the ten things you love most about them.
Day Fifteen: Post a photo of something you want to do before you die. Why did you choose this? Do you have a plan set in action so you can accomplish this? If not, what can you do to be sure you do this before you die?
Day Sixteen: Post a photo of someone who inspires you. Why does this person specifically inspire you? Can you tell me a story about this person?
Day Seventeen: Post a photo of something that has made an impact on your life recently. Why did this impact you? Was it negatively or positively? What did it make you change in yourself?
Day Eighteen: Post a photo of your biggest insecurity. Why are you insecure about this particular thing? What can you do to change it? Do you want to change it?
Day Nineteen: Post a photo of someone close to you who has passed. Write a letter to them.
Day Twenty: Post a photo of somewhere you would like to travel. Why this location? Is there something special you would like to do there? Describe for me what you imagine your perfect day there would be like.
Day Twenty One: Post a photo of something you want to remember forever. What is special about this memory? Describe the smell, sounds & tastes of that moment. Who were the people with you? What did they do to help make that moment special?
Day Twenty Two: Post a photo of something you wish you were better at. Why do you want to be better at this particular thing? What can you do now to help yourself in being better?
Day Twenty Three: Post a photo of your favorite book. Write down a favorite paragraph. Why did you choose this paragraph? How has this book influenced your life?
Day Twenty Four: Post a photo of something you wish you could change. Can you still change it? What about this would you change & why?
Day Twenty Five: Post a photo that best sums up your day today. What did you do today? What was the best part of your day? What was the worst part of your day.
Day Twenty Six: Post a photo of someone/something that means a lot to you. Why does this item/person mean so much? Tell me the story behind the item & if it's a person, tell me your favorite story about them.
Day Twenty Seven: Post a photo of yourself & an extended family member. Why did you choose this photo? What is so special about this family member? Tell me your favorite memory about them.
Day Twenty Eight: Post a photo of something you're afraid of. Why are you afraid of this? Do you have any irrational fears? If so, what are they? What can you do to try & overcome these fears?
Day Twenty Nine: Post a photo that always makes you smile. What about this photo makes you smile? Is there a story behind it? Who is in the photo? What makes them special?
Day Thirty: Post a photo of someone you miss. Why do you miss this person? Tell me the three things you miss most about this person. Why are they special to you?

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Tiny Dancer


My tiny dancer is 5 months old now.  Funny... I didn't remember this until I edited the photo and thought of a title.... but, when I was pregnant with her I used to think maybe she was a dececdant of the Riverdancers.  About 40 seconds into that video is what I would envision in my head when little 12 week fetus Emma would get to kicking my bladder.  She was very active.  Very.

First Snow

November 5th.  Today it snowed. 

I was in the nursery, feeding the baby, and Connor was running around playing, wearing a robe since he was fresh out of the bath.  He looked out the window and seen the snow and flew down the stairs.

I kept calling to him, "Connor!  You need to wait for mommy!  You need to get clothes on, and boots on!"

Don't worry.  He listened.  Sort of.  He put his boots on, then unlatched the lock system on our patio door, and out the door he went. 

I imagine he got pretty cold.  He didn't stay out too long before racing up the stairs, eyes all aglow, "Mommy!  I got snow on it!", gesturing to his speckled robe.

I finished up with Emma and took way too long getting my own shoes and coat on.  At least Connor thought it was too long.  I dressed him proper and we went outside quick.

Poor Connor. He was beyond excited.  He raced back outside with a little play hat in tow.  "Let's find Frosty and put on his hat!!"

see little hat in his left hand?
I tried to explain to him that we need a whole lot more snow.  He says, "Ok!" and patiently waited at the side of the house for at least 5 minutes.

Poor babe!  The snow will come soon enough, don't you worry!

Cranky baby is cranky!

I am completely new to all of this public blog mayhem, just signing up today.  I don't know where to begin, so I think I'll just jump right in.

Emma has been very ..... cranky lately.  So not her normal self.  I'm trying to keep my humor, not to mention my sanity, and found these cute little socks in the box of hand-me-downs from her cousins.  Onto her feet they go!

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