Sunday, April 26, 2009

Make A Wish

A few days ago I mentioned the birthday card I got from Don Johnson. It was 1986. Just at the height of Miami Vice mania. I watched that show every week and had a huge crush on the star. I loved his pink shirts and rolled up jacket sleeves and loafers with no socks. I loved his fast cars and even faster boats. I loved that he had a pet alligator. He was cool. Very cool. Well, very cool in 1986. I even bought his record when it came out.

That year I was turning 14. We had moved away from all of our extended family and when my birthday came and went without even a card from anyone, I was disappointed. I told mom and dad this. But what could they do? Call grandma and ask her where my card was? So I resigned myself that I was out of sight, out of mind. Oh, well.

But a few days later I got three cards in the mail. I don't remember if there was any money in them. It's obviously long gone if there was. (Probably spent on the Don Johnson record.) But I still have the cards. The first was from my grandma and grandpa complete with gram's shaky handwriting. The second was signed by all my aunts, uncles and cousins. There was even little messages from each one saying just what they would say if I saw them. And the third, oh my goodness, the third was from DON JOHNSON. How did he know it was my birthday? How did he know my address? What was I going to wear on our first date?!?! I remember being so excited. Not just about the Don Johnson card, but about all three.

I'm not sure how long it took me to figure out that the cards, all three, were sent by my dad. He had gotten three cards and taken the time to sign each one. He even disguised his handwriting and used different color pens. He had addressed them and stamped them and mailed them. At the time, once I realized what had happened, I thought that what he had done was such a nice thing. He cared that I was disappointed and did what he could to fix it. And now, after all these years, I still have those cards. Not because of whose names are on them, but because of who really sent them. And because of the love behind them. What he did was so amazing and wonderful. Those cards represent 37 years of all the things dad has done for me to make me smile and encourage me and heal my broken heart. 37 birthdays that he has wished me happy birthday in ways that no one else could. And even more than that, it was just one example of thousands that I've gotten from him of how to love my own children. One of these days, when Josh or Adam or Julianna are hurting, maybe I'll remember those three cards, that simple, sweet act, and do something for them that they will remember always like I remember this.

So, yes, I got a birthday card from Don Johnson. I couldn't sell it for the autograph, though. Not because it's not real, but because it is priceless.

Thanks, dad. And happy birthday. I love you.

Friday, April 24, 2009

And the winners are...

I feel like I should tell you before I announce the winners of my amazing Avon giveaway, that I have mastered the skill of rigging drawings. I acquired this useful talent over my years of being an elementary school teacher. There are some things that need to be manipulated just the tiniest bit. For example, my second year of teaching I had a hamster for a class pet. She was a sweet little tan and white teddy bear hamster named Madeleine. At the end of the year I decided to give her to one of my students. So I told them that if they brought a note from their parents, I would put their names in a drawing to win Madeleine. The next day, three of the boys in my second grade class brought in their notes. Now I knew that if she went home with two of them, poor Madeleine only had a slim chance of surviving the night. But the other one I completely trusted to take care of her. So, when it came time to get ready for the drawing, I wrote especially hard when I wrote his name so that I could feel the indentations through the paper. And surprise, surprise, he won! He got to take Madeleine home with him.*

Over the years, I have used this skill a few more times when it was called for. But I want you to know that this drawing is totally legit. I am pretty sure that you can all adequately care for lotion and lip balm. :) And to insure complete honesty, I even had Julianna draw the names.

So, with no further ado, the winners are....




Congratulations, girls. I know where to find you to deliver your prizes. And thanks to all who commented. It was really fun. I'll surely do more giveaways in the future.

*Even with my meddling, Madeleine did not make it through the summer. She escaped from her cage and was found weeks later under the dryer. Oh well, I tried.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things about me that you might not know...

1. I don't like cucumbers.
2. I do like sugar on my mac and cheese.
3. I said (until I was 16) that I would never get married.
4. I always eat fries two at a time.
5. I try to make sure the two fries are the same size.
6. I lettered in high school.*
7. I got the third place prize for "Best Speaker" in my college speech class.
8. I graduated 17th out of a class of 317.
9. I once got a birthday card from Don Johnson from Miami Vice.**
10. I write stories in my head. (Now if I could just get them down on paper!)

*The first person to guess what I lettered in gets a prize!
**I'll have to blog about this soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Yesterday I was driving into town and glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the faces of my three children. I said, "You know, I think I have the three cutest kids in the whole wide world." To which Adam replied (because he always replies), "Julianna is cuter than Josh...and I'm cuter than both of them." Typical Adam. :)

Thanks to all of you who have commented on my giveaway post. If you haven't commented yet, you have until Friday at noon to be entered in the exciting Avon gift bag giveaway! Keep commenting!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who Are You People?

I have this little stat counter thing on my blog that tells me how many people visit my blog each day, where each viewer is, how they found me, and lots of other information about my blog. Well, last week I had an average daily page view of 36 with the highest being 50. (Thanks for front paging me, Dave.) That might not seem like a lot in the world of a million page views, but to me it's something. But even with my staggering numbers of viewers, my weekly comment average was only 1.2. My question is, "Who are you people?" In an attempt to find out, I am going to have a giveaway. I've noticed that when other bloggers give stuff away, they get tons of comments. So I'm going to try it. Here's what you'll get if you win:

A sample of Avon Bubble Bath,

A tube of my favorite Avon lip balm,

A purse size Avon spring lotion,

along with a few other Avon surprises and a book from my extensive collection.
You don't even have to really comment. Just say "hi" and you might win a fun little Avon gift bag. I'll randomly choose three winners on Friday. Good luck! And thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


My sister has started a blog! Actually she started two! Check them out here and here. And add them to your favorites, because they are going to be good.

Friday, April 17, 2009


There are days in my life that are turning points. And when those dates come around each year, I think of those times and how my life has changed. September 16, the day I was baptized. July 11, the day I got married. October 10, May 18, June 2, the days I became a mom of one and two and three children. And of course, there are many others.

Today is one of those days. April 17 was the date of my car accident. Three years ago. It seems like a dream sometimes. Like it didn't really happen. Or like it was a scene in a book I read or movie I saw. Those few seconds of rolling over and over in a metal box. Those few seconds of wondering what was happening and what would happen the next moment. Those few seconds of praying like I've never prayed before. Those few seconds changed my life. That evening in the ambulance and hospital room and the painful days that followed were just the beginning. That event caused me to look at life in a whole different way. I've always felt that I have to learn things the hard way. And that day was the beginning of a long, painful journey to where I find myself today.

A lot of bad things happened because of those few short minutes in my life. Physical pain like I'd never felt before. Fear of cars and driving and loss. Long hours of physical therapy that left me physically and mentally drained. Months and months of severe anxiety and panic attacks and depression. Sadness, guilt, worry, doubt, pain inside and out. I wasn't getting better no matter how hard I tried. No matter how much I cried. No matter how much I prayed. It was, in fact, getting worse. It finally got bad enough that I had to finally face it and fix it. So in January of 2007 I got help. And the good news is that I'm better. Not back to "normal." I'll never go back to who I was before. I've hurt too much. I've felt too much. I've thought too much.

But what I've very slowly learned is that this bad thing that happened has helped me grow. I've grown in my faith. I've grown in self awareness. I've most definitely grown in my compassion toward others. When before I'd think, "Why don't they just get over it? Why can't they just move on?" Now I understand. It's not that easy. It's a brain thing, not a heart thing. I've also learned a whole lot about post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks and anxiety disorder. I have been able to use what I experienced and learned to help others. I can't count how many people have told me that they went through the same thing or who have come to me to share their own struggles. That has been a blessing for me and for others. It took a long time for me to see it that way. For a long time I couldn't get past "why me." But once I did, I could see the whole thing more clearly.

Other good things have come from this one bad one, too. I started this blog to distract myself from the panic attacks. (At least I think that's a good thing.) I pray more. And I pray for strangers more, especially if I see an accident or hear a siren. I am able to see what is really important in life. And that life is short. Too short to waste it.

I don't want to pretend that I've always been okay with what happened. I wasn't and still have days when I'm not. I've been angry. So angry. And I've had times when I haven't been able to see any light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, I was lost in a very long, dark tunnel for a long time. I did not get better on my own. I had help. A lot of help from above and some from here on earth.

So, am I glad it happened? Absolutely not. I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone. And absolutely. There is a reason. I've seen part of the reason already. And as hard as it was, and is, to deal with, I know that God has and will use what I have learned to help others. So, today, on this day, I will praise him. I will be thankful that I am here and healthy and whole. I will thank him for the bad and good that has happened since that day three years ago. I will willingly allow him to use me to help others. I will look at the sunshine and blue sky and the faces of my children and thank him, with my whole heart, that I am here to enjoy it.

P.S. If you are struggling with panic attacks or anxiety and need someone to talk to, I am here and would be happy to be able to talk to you and share what I have learned.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things in my refrigerator right now.

1. fresh strawberries
2. homemade potato soup
3. 1 and a half gallons of milk
4. 2 half jars of baby food (peaches and chicken veggie)
5. pink stuff*
6. 8 colored Easter eggs
7. a jar of artichoke hearts
8. a variety of cheeses
9. a half eaten hamburger
10. leftover fry sauce

(There's more than that, but it is called 10 Things Thursday.)

*Pink Stuff recipe

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can crushed pineapple-drained
1 can cherry pie filling
1 16 oz. container of Cool Whip

Mix it. Chill it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

That Counts

When we do school, we mark each lesson that we complete and also count hours that we spend doing learning activities. We can also count things like swimming lessons for PE hours. And concerts for music hours. And pumpkin farm field trips for science hours.

But my question today is, what should I mark for this morning? The boys have spent most of their school time building and watching a trap meant to catch a chipmunk under the front porch. It consists of a box, a stick, a string, and a saltine cracker with peanut butter on it. During this time, they have also discovered a dead mouse, caught some kind of weird looking beetles, found a tiny seedling tree growing next to the porch, and worked/played together without arguing once.

Could be science (animals and plants). Could be math (angles and probability). Could be health (don't touch a dead mouse and effective hand washing). Could be history (old fashioned trap). I think I'll count time for all of them.

And now I'm going to go sing them a song so that I can count music, too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Party Time

Adam's birthday is only 15 days before Julianna's. His is in just over a month, so I've been thinking about party plans for both of them. He picked out Pokemon for his theme and I picked out a cute, girly 1st birthday butterfly theme for Jules. Yesterday I was looking at the calendar trying to decide on dates for the parties. If I do it right, I can have the parties 3 weeks apart. Since mostly the same people will be coming to both parties, I want to make it as painless as possible. But today, I considered something that I wanted to avoid since we found out when Julianna would be born. I considered, for just a minute, having a combined party. The truth is, Adam would probably be fine with it. He adores his sister and would be happy as long as there was cake and presents. And of course, Jules wouldn't know the difference anyway. But I would know. So after that brief thought, I decided that they each need their own parties. Their own special days. So we will have two parties. One in mid-May and one the beginning of June. Two cakes. Two Saturdays. Two songs. Two sweet, cute kids.

But if you get an invitation, you will get both in the same envelope. I won't be using two stamps.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I am always learning about being a mom. I've been a mom for almost 10 years and yet it seems that everyday brings a new mommy lesson. This week alone, I have learned several things. Here are a few.

1. Do not wait until the week before Easter to buy your daughter's new tights. There will be none to be found in a 15 mile radius. And she will have to wear her old ones with the knees that are gray from crawling around.

2. Do not wait to put on your daughter's cute little shoes with the butterfly buckles until you get to church. Just because they fit two weeks ago doesn't mean that they will fit this week. And she will end up spending the day shoeless.

3. If you dress your daughter in a cute little pink polka dot dress complete with tulle bows, people at church will ooh and ahh and smile at her cuteness even though she has on old tights and no shoes.

4. Do not be late for an Easter egg hunt. Once they say "GO," it lasts for exactly 23 1/2 seconds. We were not late and the boys and even Julianna found some brightly colored eggs filled with all kinds of goodies.

5. Never count on the weather to cooperate in North Idaho. It rained and was so cold during the egg hunt. I'm not sure which was worse, this year or last when we had a foot of new snow on the ground.

6. If little boys get new weapons (toys, of course), someone will end up crying. And the amount of crying is proportional to the number of weapons. (This one I already knew, but was reminded of it yesterday.)

7. Sometimes kids can surprise you. We had a mini egg hunt at my mom and dad's house yesterday after lunch and I was prepared to have the three boys divide the eggs equally. One found 11, one found 13, and one found 18. I waited to see what would happen and none of them said anything. They were happy with what they got. Maybe they are learning some of those "life's not fair" lessons. Or maybe they were just distracted by the quarters and chocolate.

8. I always think that Abby and Julianna can't get any cuter. But then every time I see them together, they do! (Abby is so sweet. I can't believe how happy she makes me.)

9. Girls are NOT less active than boys. I thought I was going to have it easy with a girl this time. Umm, no. She gets into everything and is moving unless she's asleep. She is curious and adventurous and silly. And wonderful, even though I can no longer sit through a movie or church service.

10. Being a mommy gets better over time. I have loved every step--theirs and mine. Even the difficult ones. There is absolutely nothing like it.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ten Things Thursday

Ten reasons why I love spring...

1. melting snow
2. sunshine
3. new grass
4. 70+ degree weather
5. not having to wear a coat
6. not having to dress the kids in coats
7. evening walks
8. days at the park
9. open doors and windows
10. seeing the end of the school year approaching

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sock It To Me

I can't believe what I just did. I went into the boys' room and borrowed a pair of socks. Yes, my sons' socks fit me!!! Yikes!

(They were brand new, by the way. I'm not sure I'd borrow used ones.)

Saturday, April 04, 2009


I had one of those moments today when I looked across the room and there was this little person cruising around holding onto furniture as she circled the living room and it took me just the briefest second to remember that she is mine. This tiny little girl with fuzzy brown hair and sparkling blue eyes is my daughter. The last 20 months have been a sort of surreal flurry of days filled with morning sickness and a growing belly. Then her birthday and diapers and sleepless nights and getting to know each other. Now we share days filled with new skills and smiles and pink sweetness. I sometimes have this strange feeling of disbelief that I have a baby mixed with a keen sense that I've known her forever. There have been moments of me wondering if I'm absolutely crazy for having another baby when I was 36. There have been moments of extreme happiness that I did. But there has not been one moment, not a single one, of regret. This little girl has brought so much to our family. She has made me a better mom. She has brought out the best in the boys and proven, just as I suspected, that they are great big brothers. She has softened her daddy's heart as only little girls can do. And she has captured the hearts of all who know her.

As amazing as it was to have Josh and then Adam, it's different somehow with Julianna. I'm not sure if it's because she's a girl or because I have almost 10 years of mommy experience or because I'm older this time and just more comfortable with the whole thing. I just don't know. But I do know this. God was right. (As if I needed proof.) He led me to this moment in my life as he has done so many times before. He put Julianna in my heart. Then he made her real. This little person, this little pink person, was meant to be here. And meant to be mine.

Last Sunday at church, she fell asleep on my lap with her head on my chest. She rarely falls asleep at church anymore even though it's right in the middle of her nap time. She's afraid she might miss something. She's nosey, I mean curious, like her mom. So I was surprised that her eyes closed and then stayed closed. I sat there looking down, awed by her sweet little face. And then this memory flooded into my mind from a year ago when I was pregnant with her. I remember sitting in church in the very same spot staring down at my bulging belly watching for an elbow or tiny foot to make it's way across under my shirt. I always loved watching my babies move in my belly. As I sat there thinking how quickly the last year has flown, I sighed with the knowledge that the next years will go just as fast. Josh and Adam, sitting on either side of me, were proof of that. So there I sat, with my daughter snuggled in my arms and my sons at my sides, treasuring the seconds, knowing all too well how fleeting they are.

So. Am I crazy for having another baby at 36, seven years after my last one? The answer is yes...and no. I am a little crazy, but it has little to do with my children and when they were born. But no, because this surreal part of my life is like a Picasso painting. It looks a little strange at first, but in the end, it's priceless.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ten Things Thursday

Ten things about Julianna.

1. She has three on her tummy, one on her left side, and one on her left knee.
2. She makes the cutest faces ever. Especially when she crinkles up her nose and smiles.
3. She is a thinker. I just wonder what she's thinking.
4. She loves music and will almost always stop to listen to anything she finds interesting.
5. She looks adorable in pink. And it's a good thing because 98% of her wardrobe is pink.
6. She does not sleep as much as all the books and magazines say she should (like Adam).
7. She loves to snuggle for a while right after she wakes up (like Josh).
8. She is a mama's girl...which I love.
9. She has the most beautiful blue eyes with the longest, darkest eyelashes.
10. She is 10 months old today.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The One With The Smoky Voice

Remember that episode of Friends where Phoebe gets a cold and when she starts to sing Smelly Cat at Central Perk, she sounds good. She loves her new, cold induced, smoky, cool voice. And for once, others appreciate her voice, too. Well, I thought of that Sunday when I started to sing at church. This cold, that I hate having, made my okay alto voice sound all smoky and cool like Phoebe's. It was kind of weird singing hymns and worship songs in that kind of a voice, but it was cool none the less. I do hope, though, that next week I have my plain old healthy voice back. I will not, like the desperate Phoebes, go around licking sick people's coffee mugs to regain my smoky, cool voice. That would just be weird.