have a holly . . . Jolly . . . Christmas!

like many families, we had a fun visitor this past Christmas season . . . the elf on the shelf!  on Thanksgiving morning, the kids woke up to a special gift left by Santa.



the kids (Lily) decided to name him “Jolly”.  we were just happy that she didn’t name him one of her made up names like some of her imaginary friends . . . Kerndern . . . Lim . . . etc.  anyway, Jolly immediately showed that he was a mischievous little elf . . . tricking our family and hiding in peculiar places.  a few times he even left presents for the kids  . . . like Christmas lights for outside of our house, a cardboard gingerbread house to color,  flannel blankets for the trip back to Ohio, and a few sweet treats too.  we found him in many different places but one of our favorites was in the bathroom . . . in a marshmallow bath, wrapping our toilet in christmas wrapping, and inserting himself on our photobooth strip wall!  he even managed to find us all the way at Walt Disney World when we stayed for the weekend!

we know that Jolly must have been tired after the holiday season, so we were happy for him to go back to the North Pole and get some much needed rest . . . he’ll need it for when he comes back next year!!

check out the slideshow to see all of his antics!

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holding out for a hero!

this morning at 6:45 am my alarm went off and this is was my train of thought

yawn . . . i’m tired . . . i could sleep for another 6 hours . . . i should get out of bed . . . i need to make lunch and breakfast for lily . . . lily . . . i hope she has a good day . . . oh crap, it’s spirit week at her school . . . what was she supposed to dress like again? . . . oh, yeah her “hero” . . . oh CRAP!  now i have to come up with another costume! . . . well i guess she can just be willy wonka or an astronaut again . . .

then i hauled my tired self out of bed and ran downstairs to get things going.

when lily came down for breakfast i reminded her that this is spirit week and that today she is to dress like her favorite hero.  take it, Bonnie Tyler!

mom:  lils, you can either be . . . willy wonka, bert (from mary poppins), mary poppins, an astronaut, or an army guy, since these are the costumes we already have.

lily:  well, i don’t really want to be any of those.

mom:  well then you don’t have to participate because i don’t have time to get another costume together!

lily:  (looking defeated)  well, what i really wanted to be is God.

leave it to my daughter to come up with the perfect hero that not only doesn’t have a costume, but one that layers on the guilt if i don’t deliver!  i didn’t want to disappoint her though, and since God really is the greatest hero of all, i quickly set my mind to figuring out what i could put together to represent Him.  i did ask lily’s input and she said that she wanted a beard . . . actually, this is what she really said . . .

lily:  mom, i want to have a brown beard.  i mean, i kind of already have a beard i think . . . it’s right here under my chin (moves her finger under her chin).  at least i think that i do . . . it could just be a scratch!

brown beard?  check.  i hope i didn’t throw out my old mascara!

anyway, within a few minutes i realized that this would be easier than i thought.  i mean, given that it’s God, and since we don’t really know what He looks like, i can pretty much throw together whatever i want!  so i grabbed a t-shirt that she had splattered  with multiple colors, my great aunt gene’s old white pool cover up, and gus’ gold pirate sash, slapped on a mascara beard . . . and voilà . . . GOD!


i love my girl.  though i admit that i sometimes struggle because she has such a strong personality and because she is so different from what society says a girl should be (all sparkles and princessed out) . . . she is a unique being and is exactly the way that He created her to be.  what an honor it is to be her mom and that He handpicked her especially for me!  while helping her get dressed i had the opportunity to talk with her about why God is her hero.  she told me that it’s because he made everything.  it sounds so simple of an answer but it is so powerful.  He did make everything!  from the world . . . to each person in it . . . every animal . . . every flower . . . etc etc etc.  He is perfection!  i think Bonnie was right,  we should all be holding out for the One true hero!


Filed under life lessons, lily, lily-isms

out of the mouths of babes . . .

this week while driving lily to school . . .

mama: oooh, i like this song! (on the radio)

gus:  dance mama, dance!

(mama and gus both start “dancing”)

lily:  just don’t forget to drive too, mom!

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i WILL be in the picture!

i know this article has gone viral . . . but if you haven’t read “The Mom Stays in the Picture”,  do yourself a favor and read it now.

i LOVE this article.  i know that i often don’t feel worthy of having my picture taken when i’m feeling less than “beautiful”.  however, after reading this article i am absolutely convicted of how i should and will proceed going further.

this summer, when lily learned to ride her bike without training wheels, i couldn’t wait to break out the camera and capture the momentous occasion.  i wanted to have this milestone documented to show her in the future.  who wouldn’t want to see a picture of themselves as a child,  unsteadily pedaling as their daddy runs beside them?  this is what i believe every child should have . . . only did you notice i said daddy and not mommy?  i don’t know how it is in your house, but in ours i am the photographer.  this isn’t to say that my husband refuses to use the camera.  it’s just that i tend to be a tad bit neurotic when it comes to documenting memories and milestones.  rarely do i ask to be in the photo myself.  this is mostly because i’m not so thrilled with how i look and because i don’t want to have my less than stellar body recorded for time and all eternity in these important moments.  however, on this day i do remember asking tom to take a few pictures of me with lily.  admittedly, i was hoping that i might get a good enough photo to post on my facebook page!  when i loaded the photos on my computer that evening, i was saddened by how i looked, and quickly went about deleting all but two of the pictures . . . only one of them being facebook worthy.

this is the photo i chose to post.


while the photo above shows a mom running beside her daughter, beaming with pride at what she has just accomplished, deep down i know that this is how i wanted lily  (and the facebook world) to see this moment.  in my heart i knew that i was putting on a show for the camera.  yes, i was genuinely happy for what lily was doing, but i was also genuinely sucking in my stomach as hard as i could so the camera wouldn’t see my flab!  i was trying like hell to make running beside her look as effortless as possible, when in reality, i was sweating profusely and completely out of breath!

at the end of the article, they ask you to submit a picture of yourself with your kids.  immediately, i thought of the “good” picture.  but the more i thought about it, the more i realized that i need to break myself of the goal of seeming perfect . . . so i submitted the following picture instead.


here i am at a terrible angle  . . . no makeup . . . not sucking in my flabby tummy . . . and sporting my pajama jeans!  as crappy as i look in this moment, i’ve come to appreciate this picture for what it is.  this is who i really am . . .  a mom, running after her child and ready to catch her if she falls.  yes,  i need to be in the picture so that lily can see what true motherhood is really like.  it’s not a show for your kids or anyone else, but a real life!   i’m going to start handing over the camera  more often so that i can be included in the memories too,  with or without full hair and makeup!



Filed under family, life lessons, lily

out of the mouths of babes . . .

this exchange happened just before bedtime tonight.


lily:  mom,  i need to ask God for a big favor.

mom:  what’s that?

lily:  i’m going to ask him to teach all of the other countries to speak our language.  because if they don’t know our language, then they don’t know God.  i mean,  they have to know our language like in Michigan and in our country.  because if not, they’re just like “blabbity blah blah blah”, and it doesn’t even make any sense!  they can’t know God if they don’t know our language!


um … i think i need to do a bit more explaining about foreign countries and mission work to sweet lil.


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milestones and missions to mars


sigh.  lily is now officially a kindergartner.  where did the time go?  i know that everyone says how fast it goes, but you never really believe it until you’ve experienced it for yourself.  i once heard someone say that life is like a toilet paper roll.  at the beginning it seems like it will go on forever . . . but soon you realize that the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.  i’m no where near even the mid-way point, but already i’m wanting it to slow down!

anyway, she is wrapping up her second week of school and is loving each and every day.  i knew that she would.  she was ready.  admittedly, i was ready too.  lily is a smart girl and i knew that she would flourish under instruction from a dedicated teacher.  i couldn’t be happier with our choice of school too.  tom mentioned to me the other day how impressed he was walking around the halls and seeing signs on the doors reminding boys to hold the door for the girls.  this school will not only academically challenge my kids, but also build their character while emphasizing a relationship with the Lord.  i couldn’t ask for more.

one thing i am noticing though is just how stressful parenting a school-age child can be.  i knew there would be some work involved for me.  i wasn’t ignorant and thinking i’d have to do nothing.  however, i guess i wasn’t ready for it to hit me all so quickly!  nightly homework (ok, so they’re only handwriting and coloring pages, but getting her to sit and do them is a bit of a chore!), weekly memory verses, and then all of the extras too.  these things add up!  for example,  i was notified last weekend that today (thursday) would be “career day” for the kindergarten class.  each student was asked to come dressed as what they want to be when they grow up.  simple, right?  sure, if you are a parent of a little girl who wants to be a ballerina or a princess.  (both of which were in abundance, or so i’ve been told by my girl)  not my lily though.  no.  she wants to be an astronaut!  so of course, i start to panic about my limited costume choices.  i quickly put the word out on facebook, but couldn’t find anyone that had a spacesuit i could borrow.  luckily, a friend did have a helmet, so i lucked out there.  anyway, i immediately went into hyperdrive figuring out what i was going to do.  thankfully, my bestie suggested finding a buzz lightyear costume.  those should be in abundance since he’s popular and i basically live in disney’s backyard!

huzzah!  i did find one and in her size!!  now to alter it to look like a real astronaut instead of a pixar cartoon.  well, after a trip to joann’s fabric and staples, i was ready to take on the challenge.  after a failed attempt at painting it (who knew you can’t easily paint on pleather?) and shedding some tears about how it wasn’t looking “right”, i did finally finish.

here is the before and after . . .


overall, i learned some things during this process . . . like how great duck tape is . . . expensive, but worth every penny in a pinch.  also that sometimes stickers work just fine, not everything needs to be sewn on to make it look “authentic”.  finally, and most importantly, if your child is pleased with the end result, leave it be!  it’s for them to wear anyway, not for you.  even if that means you have to push the perfectionist feelings way down deep . . . don’t lose sight of what’s really important . . . like your daughter happily saluting you as she goes off on her mission to mars!  



Filed under life lessons, lily

out of the mouths of babes . . .

poor lily.  she seems to have inherited my propensity to having the hiccups.  she’s now having them for the fourth time in the past 24 hours! 


lily:  mom, how do you write “go away, hiccups.  i hate you?”

mom:  oh, lily, i’m sorry you have the hiccups again.  that must really bother you.

lily:  i’m going to send it up to God and tell him that i hate hiccups and to make them stop!

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