Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall's Forty

Simple, easy, breathtaking.

That's my kind of afternoon.

My mom is in town for the week and yesterday after much catching up on the laundry, finishing up of the costumes, and cleaning out of the junk-- we just had to get out of the house.

First we made a quick pit stop for about ten bucks of, ahem, necessities.

My first and probably last Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season... so worth the wait. Chocolate dipped sugar cookie leaves... literally the icing on the trip. Since we had not showered or really even brushed our hair, Mom wasn't too keen on getting her happy face picture taken. Me? No shame, I'm afraid.

With the girls munching away in the backseat and the car full of a warm pumpkiny spice smell, we set off to drive the parkway at dusk. It didn't make for the most beautiful pictures, but the same cannot be said for the memories.

Our Creator has impeccable taste, even in fuzzy light. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taxes & Raisins

So I’m spending a precious Sunday doing my taxes . . . again for 2008 . . . and 2007 because Turbotax missed a HUGE deduction both years. At some point late in the afternoon, it appeared that Turbotax had decided to strike again by erasing all the information that I had been entering over the past several hours. I threw my hands in the air, looked up at the ceiling (why do we do that?) and yelled a guttural,

As it turned out, this outburst was a bit premature as a simple click of the “back” button restored my work. However, my exclamation did not go unnoticed by my precocious daughter, Hope. She cutely came into the room—as only a two-year old girl can—and started asking me questions that immediately got me smiling—even though I didn’t really feel like smiling in the midst of my taxes. Our exchange went something like this:

H: “Daddy, why did you say, ‘Noooooooooo?’”

Me: “Hope, because these taxes are driving Daddy crazy.”

H: “Daddy, are those taxes baaaaaad?”

Me: (Talk about a softball. I wanted to knock this one out of the park and rail on every government official I knew by name, but I recognized this was a teaching moment. So with every sinew of restraint, I replied) “No Hope, it’s not that the taxes are bad, it’s just that they are very complicated.”

H: “Daddy, are those taxes trying to get you?”

Me: (Ok teacher hat is off now and I’m smiling from ear to ear.) “Yes, Hope. These taxes are trying to get me.”

Thinking that our exchange was over I resumed where I had left off, trying to figure out how to handle my passive activity losses for the past two years. A few moments later, Hope re-emerged with three snack-sized boxes of raisins. “Here ya go, Daaaaad.” I plopped her in my lap, we cracked open those snack boxes and enjoyed our raisins as only a father and daughter can. These are the moments you treasure forever, and the ones you can’t get back. Guess who got two boxes of raisins?

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." Psalm 137:5.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Defining a Week

It's been a good week.

And it's been a week. Know what I mean?

Runny noses, lots of redirection, late nights of work, and a mama feeling somewhat off her game.

Still, it been a good week, especially in the generosity of new friends and the willingness to be God's hands to someone in need.

Then there are the girls.

There have been snuggles and kisses. Thankfully not just for Peter Rabbit.
There has been joyful creativity. You should hear the elaborate plots going on, and I just about hung up the etch-a-sketch when Hope told me to look at the thwee yittle pigs and the big bad wolf. Though she requests a wolf-less version these days, why, there he is with the trio of brothers. I really see them!

But best of all, there have been moments. Quiet, little moments where I watch Hope take Maddie's hand and they circle the house together. Funny, little moments where Maddie tries out a new word and we all laugh hysterically. Sweet, little moments when I sneak in with my camera to catch them at peace with the world.

I change my mind.

It's been a really good week, come to think of it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More of That Fall Stuff

At last... one of my favorite fall in under forty splurges! This year we found a pumpkiny corn-maze adventure less than ten minutes from home.

Let me not forget the gigantic slides, which you see were a real drag. :)

Between the cost of admission, our pumpkin picking tradition for the girls, and the necessary hot chocolate to get our chilly selves through the stalks... it inched up to half of our budget. We brought a picnic dinner from home to save a little. Besides, doesn't food always taste the best after playing hard in the great outdoors? All in all, we expect this to be the most expensive of the fall fun and it's worth it to us.

Wagon riding-burlap sack scooting-bbq sandwich munching-tractor tire playground romping-hay ride bump bumping-toboggan refusing-maze time laughing under the stars-worth it, to be more exact. :)

It's so fun to see every one's pumpkin patch pictures across blogland! We might sneak in one more patch adventure to my favorite place of all that we've been going to since Hope's first fall (also, the best place for sweet photos!) Until then, hope you enjoy carving up your big orange beauties!

I can almost see the tiny, twinkling glows from here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Signs of Growing Up

1. Giving up her night night paci. Are you reading that?! Giving up the night night paci! Thank-you, Paci Fairy, for taking it to a baby who really needs it.

2. The incentive being a new big girl bed (or the twin bed that's been in storage... shh!) No more "cwibs for babies!" Bigger incentive-- Dora the Explorer, tacky but beloved, sheet set and a wicker shelf of books nearby some happy little hands....

3. Being shooed out the door after story time with, "Uhh, it's time to go now guys. I need to be in my big giwl bed all by myself!"
4. Finding out the reason for being booted twenty minutes later when Joe hysterically whispers, "You have got to come peek in on this!"

A bit past two and a half going on... well, going on all grown up.


And sigh.
We are so proud of you, big girl! We know what a challenge this was for you, but you rose to meet it! Now if we could just work on the getting back up for water, for one more stowy, for one more gweat big hug...

Okay, maybe we'll keep that last one. :)

Mama for Daddy too

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guess Who Came to Visit?

The Paci Fairy, people, the Paci Fairy! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then stay tuned. We'll leave you with the happy thought that miracles really do happen and that our pixie of choice looks like Tinkerbell... since that's who we googled when Hope asked for a picture.
Oh and that part of the miracle is the fairy leaving behind these chunkily delicious cheeks and thighs.

Her loss, we assure you. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mom of the Year...

Why, thank-you!

You shouldn't have.

No, really. You shouldn't have.

Unless of course you meant for me to win the prize for the hamming it up competition. Because that, my friends, has reached all new levels in one day flat.

Take for instance that just a few nights ago a gracious neighbor sat with Joe for-ev-er in our downstairs bathroom fishing for, what we believe is, a spring out of the toilet. The little twirly thing that holds the roll of toilet paper on the hook. Yeah, that thing.

To be totally fair to myself, Joe left a certain two and half year old alone on that one. And in her defense, we've never known any faulty flushing to go on before now. Either way, it seems we have contenders in both the mama and daddy divisions.

But, then again, mine takes the cake. The carpet, actually. For it stood no chance to Hope's recent cosmetology license. (Or at least the one she thought she earned since learning about "beauty parlor" at a small group meeting!)

Let me back up. Earlier in that same day the girls were happily playing upstairs together, so I thought I'd run to the kitchen and put in some pizza. I waited a few minutes for the oven to preheat and made a quick Caesar salad. Then I heard a stray giggle, followed by silence. That's a good thing... or not.

Since I was met at the top of the staircase, on the other side of the gate, by these glamorous faces...

I would go with the not, how about you?

Maddie was the best. She just giggled and laughed as if to say, "Look, Mama! Hope did me up right!" My mind flash forwarded to two 14 and 15 year-olds making each other beautiful and having the best of times. Because I saw no signs that anyone had ingested anything, I kinda started thinking how sweet this was. You know, in a you-almost-gave-me-a-heart-attack kind of way.

Then, I saw the carpet and all such warm emotions ceased. The look on my face must have said it all because Hope ran for "other blanket" and her paci. But Maddie, she just kept smiling adoringly at her big sister.

I had a nice, long talk with them about how dangerous that could have been and why we should never do it again. I reminded them that when I close doors what that means. Hope apologized. Maddie looked a bit confused, yet still fond of the lipstick turning her blonde hair a nice shade of cotton candy pink.

Then I gave myself a lecture about what kind of mother would allow something like this to happen!

A normal one, you say?

Why, thank you!

Hopefully, you really should have.

This is linked up to Kristen's Blogoversary Carnvial. Her blog is amazing, inspirational, and so real. Not to mention, a real hoot!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall in Under Forty... I Think?


Mid-week we got the sad news that the long awaited visit from Uncle Russ, Auntie Ellen, and a fabulous trio of cousins was to be postponed because of their having a nasty stomach flu! Bummer in every way.

Then Saturday morning we missed our long awaited trip to the free "Biscuits and Bluegrass" festival on the grounds of an old, historic hotel near the big city. We were all dressed up (and cheesing it!) with no place to go.
Unless you count brush hauled off to the dump, laundry, grocery shopping, mail catch-up, and napping for the girls on a very damp and chilly Saturday.

We didn't, really.

So, once the girls woke up we decided to let Hope plan how she'd like to spend her five dollar potty money from PopPop and Nana. She thought out each dollar carefully with our help. Finally, she decided upon a quesadilla kids' meal from Moes and a trip to pick two surprises from the Dollar Store. We picked up the tax, being the loving parents we are and all. :) The look on her face when she got to pay out of her own purse... it was a ball!

Does any of this really have to do with fall?

No, really.

But, thanks to another beautiful fall birthday bash on Sunday, we got our fill of bonfires and giant pots of chili and outdoor (scary face!) fun after all. Yep, another awesome family with inspiration to share!

I'm already dreaming about next weekend's pumpkin patch come brush or laundry or bills or... :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Mail Day

Hope your weekend is full of such simple joys!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Fall in Under Forty

This past weekend, we went to an amazing free fall extravaganza about five minutes down the road. In fact, we skipped the $10/car festival in town because this one had all the makings for a great time.

Plus, it had the sweet added bonus of celebrating a lil' cowboy's first birthday.
There was goat and rabbit petting, pumpkin picking and painting, pony riding, BBQ eating, upon the hay joyriding, and trampolining. We even left with personalized coloring books of farming life.
Especially if you have an autumn born babe, this is some kind of inspiration for sure! The family really outdid themselves to be sure we all had a wonderful time.
Mission accomplished! :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ham on the Menu

Last night we had a rare treat, thanks to a great coupon, to enjoy a "nice" restaurant (read: no playplaces or plastic toys in sight). More wonderful still, the girls were mostly well behaved. After being particularly endearing, I looked at Hope and had to comment.

Me: Hopey, sometimes I just can't believe we made you.
H (in a you-should-really-know-better voice): God made me.

The girls happily sampled olives, grapes, cheese, croutons, and sweet peas from our heaping salad bar plates. But Hope had her mind fixed on the grilled cheese platter they were about to share. It finally came.

H (at first sight of the platter and quite loudly): Whoo! It's finally hewe!!!
Waitress (quite startled): Uh, uh... here you go.
H (with serious satisfaction): This is so gweat! I just yove to eat!!

Two pudgy filled bellies later, Hope was ready for a story. I guess after weeks of the same old folktales, she was also ready to spice things up.

H: Could you tell me the stowy of "The Thwee Yittle Pigs Go Swimming?"


H: Could you tell me the stowy of "The Thwee Yittle Pigs Go to the Pawk?"


H: Could you tell me the stowy of "The Thwee Yittle Pigs and the Baby?"

Then, still...

H: Could you tell me the stowy of "The Thwee Yittle Pigs at the Growcewy Stowe?"

All the way from the table, to the potty, to saying goodbye to all the other tables on the way out, to in between singing Veggie Tales songs in the car, to bedtime, to the church nursery today. That would be where her teacher greeted us in stitches over the fact that Hope had been "reading" to the class all morning, book after book.

Teacher: The part that really got me, though, was when she told us the story of Pharaoh's army falling into the Red Sea and she said, "And that guy. He got really wet because he forgot his bathing suit!"

When we told her that we certainly have one passionate little girl, she echoed our parents' hearts by adding...

Teacher: Oh, but she has such a sweet heart. I mean at one point she was practically preaching, but she is a real sweetheart! I just love her.

Couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Hope may give us a whole lot of ham, but she's also a pretty fine taste of dessert.