Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pink TuTus and Blue Ribbons

My girl has had quite an exciting few days this week. 

Mondays are ballet days and this week she received her excruciatingly long awaited costume for the spring performance.  We ordered this thing back in December and she has asked every single week if it was the week that she'd get her costume.  Well, Monday was the day!  I won't post a picture of it just yet, I'll save that for the performance, but I can tell you that she is very excited about the color!

Every month Emerson's school holds an assembly to honor a number of students who exemplify certain character traits.  Each month features a different character trait and only a few kids from each class are honored for their outstanding character in this area.   This month's character traits were graciousness and courtesy.  And guess who got an award this morning?  You guessed it!

I'm so proud of this girl! 

And finally, tonight Emerson's artwork was displayed at the school art show.  Remember this post?  My parents as well as our great friends, Matt and Shelly with their boys, came to see her art displayed. 

Tonight her piece along with other students creative and beautiful artwork were showcased, judged, and then awarded based on originality, design and composition, technique and use of medium, use
of value and/or color, presentation and emotional impact.

And would you believe she got Juror's Choice (which is the highest honor - even above first place)?!  She did it! 

Here are a few pictures from the night.

 Unfortunately the ribbons that were ordered for all the students who placed didn't get here on time, so she didn't get her blue ribbon tonight, but will in the coming days. 

It's such a beauty to see her hard work awarded and be recognized with her family and friends to cheer her on. 

Way to go, Emerson!  I'm so proud of you (today and everyday)!

Monday, April 25, 2011

How Great Thou Art... Absolutely Incredible

I heard about this performance, but only saw it tonight on Youtube.  Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill sang at Academy of Country Music’s Girls’ Night Out: Superstar Women of Country   this past Friday night.

How often have you seen an audience so moved by a performance that they are in tears and are so moved to give them a standing ovation in the middle of the song?

If you haven't seen this, you should.  And if you have, it's worth watching it again.  It's truly worshipful.

Absolutely incredible.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Just some pictures that have nothing to do with Easter, but I thought they were funny!

 I hope you had a very blessed day filled with time with ones you love!  And, of course, that you remember why we celebrate... He is Risen!

Our day began with the presentation of the Easter baskets.  All three got their own box of Peeps (which Landen calls, for whatever reason, poops.  Hee hee!), a few small toys (though useful ones, like sidewalk chalk and nail polish :) ), and a book. 

And this year, because Emerson is getting older (and is a pretty proficient reader!), Jon and I purchased her first NIV Bible.  She's had little kids' Bibles, but not a full fledged, real one!  She loved it (it doesn't hurt that it is pretty girly with flowers on it!).  Pretty special for her.

And then onto the Easter egg hunt!

After the initial Easter activities there was church where SO many heard a great retelling of the miracle of the tomb and what it means for us.  

And then Easter dinner with Jon's family.   This was actually the first time I cooked a holiday dinner by myself (and I must say it turned out really pretty well!).  It included the regulars as well as Tomb rolls (where the kids got to make a tomb with croissant rolls, with a marshmallow inside that represented Jesus which was dipped in butter and then covered in cinnamon and sugar (like he would have been prepared with oils and spices for burial) and then sealed in the tomb.  Once the croissant rolls were baked the marshmallow melted leaving an empty tomb!  The kids loved it.)

And then tonight, after tucking my boys in, I got to snuggle with my Emerson for a bit while her little body relaxed and she retold me the best parts of the day (her Bible, how she found the eggs this morning, and how happy she was that she got two types of cakes today).  Easily one of the best parts of the day.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." -- Matthew 28:5-6
 Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You Capture - Spring

This is the first time I'm linking up to I Should Be Folding Laundry that many of my friends, including Jon, have followed and link up to weekly for a long time.   Each week she hosts a meme called You Capture with a weekly theme and your "assignment" is to capture a picture to fit the theme.  Jon encouraged me to get in on it as I'm learning more about using our new camera!  It's proving to be a fun adventure for me - learning to snap good pictures and edit them afterward (if you have any tips or pointers, please share them!  I'm eager to learn!).

This week's theme is Spring.

As I've said before, Spring has not fully arrived in my neck of the woods.  Matter of fact we had snow (and lots of it) only last week,  temperatures have barely touched 50 degrees, and there's almost no green to be seen.

So my first You Capture was proving to be a little tough.  Fortunately, my mom and dad came to the rescue when we received a great big package yesterday. 

As they do every year, they filled a box FULL of Easter goodies.   There were marshmallows, chocolate bunnies, candy, and fun Easter decor as well as a few spring clothes and the more favorited by my kids - spring pajamas (thank you so much, Mom and Dad!)!  The box was very excitedly and eagerly opened and as soon as the pajamas were pulled out and in sight, the kids were already changing out of their clothes to jump into their new pajamas!

And more importantly with Easter approaching, I've been trying to be more aware of the meaning of the days leading up to the day of the resurrection .  I've purposed now and in past years to celebrate the days leading up to Easter with meaningful, fun activities with my kiddos.  I want to instill in them the fun of Easter, but also the truth of day, as well.  The meaning of Easter is full of hope and renewal and life; and a beautiful picture of Spring to me.  
Yesterday, we created an Easter Tree. 

Since there are no green blades of grass, or fresh buds on trees, or flowers or leaves to capture Spring, here was our current version of spring this week!

New Spring Pajamas

Easter Tree


Monday, April 18, 2011

Sitting on the bench

I LOVE to  open our front door to let the light pour in through our screen door in the afternoons.  However, every time I do I have to keep my eye on Landen.  He's an escape artist and knows exactly how to unlock and open that door.  When we first discovered this, I kept a tight reign and would either skip opening the door (which is a bummer because it lets in so much warmth in the afternoons) or only open it when he was asleep for his afternoon nap.

But as time has passed since this discovery, I've let go of my reigns a little because I began to notice that every time he went out side he never wandered far.  Matter of fact, almost every time that boy goes out,  he makes his way (a little unsteadily) down the stairs and climbs up onto the bench to sit.  And he just sits!  He's still as he watches the cars pass by and shouts out every time he sees a bird overhead.
On this rainy and drizzly morning, it was a perfect spot to sit out of the rain and watch it fall.  And so I let him.

As he made his way out, I decided to grab my camera and sneakily (is that a word?) snap some shots. I wasn't sneaky enough and he caught me, but thankfully he was willing to oblige my picture snapping and sat in his usual spot for me. 

(Sorry about the weird watermark.  I was trying to play with it the other day and couldn't figure it out, but of course, after I made my collage, they showed up - and were all cut off!)

Braeden soon realized what he was doing and began begging to take some pictures of his own.  I like to encourage his creativity, but I'm still a little possesive and careful with our new camera, so we ran inside - all the while Landen sat in his spot on the bench - to find our old point and shoot camera.  It was found and Braeden and I each had our photo sessions with Landen.

It was a sweet little time outside as the rain was falling.  We had fun "capturing" Landen.   It was so pleasant and good to get some fresh air.  And see the little bit of green grass in the corner of the last picture?   Spring is getting nearer in our neck of the woods!

And last, since getting our new camera, it's been fun experimenting with taking pictures and then playing with them on the computer afterward, so here are two of my experiments with the color from our session this morning.

Oh, and yesterday was Palm Sunday, which means only a week until Easter!  It's possibly one of my favorite holidays!  I've been planning and am excited to do some fun and meaningful Easter activities this week with my kiddos!  What kinds of things do you do with your kids to celebrate and prepare for Easter? 

Happy Monday!  :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Friday!

I've been feeling a little "checked-out" today, like I'm running on auto-pilot.  I think it's a mixture of being a little tired and in need of a break in routine,  or maybe just some spring weather to finally grace us... and stay... so we can get a little fresh air without choking on it because of our 50 mph winds.  I wish I were joking! 

BUT, tonight Jon and I are headed to a much needed date night with friends!  Woo hoo!  It isn't often that we get time alone and away from home, so we're looking forward to some food not prepared by our hands and some adult conversation.  
And tomorrow we have nothing at all planned, so plans are to stay in pajamas for a while, eat pancakes for breakfast and play games with the kids (since, again, it's going to be crazy windy and possibly rainy).   Blah!  I know the sun will come again someday...

Oh, and yesterday I started a new volunteer job that I'm going to be giving my time to a few hours a week.  I am so excited about it and after my time in training yesterday it confirms that it's a great and very meaningful place for me to be.  I'm excited to see how God moves!

Have a great weekend!  Enjoy your nice weather (since it's usually springy and sunny anywhere but here these days - I'm not bitter.  ;) )!  

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alopecia Areata - How I feel about losing my hair

Image via Women's Hair Loss Project at

Alopecia Areata.  It's an auto-immune disease (which, briefly, means that my immune system gets a little whacky sometimes and attacks my own body.).  This auto-immune disease, in particular, attacks my hair. 

Over the past few months, I've noticed numerous strands of my brown/auburn hair falling out with just a comb of my fingers through my hair.  An unusual amount. So much so that I now have a good sized bald spot on the left side of my head.

And enough to shed a few tears over it in some moments.

This isn't the first time.

It began falling out when I was in early elementary school and by the time I was in 5th grade I was almost completely bald.  I wore hats to school.  And kids were mean.

And once, the way my little 10 year old mind stored it in my memory, my teacher took me out into the hallway and asked impatiently, "Sandra, why don't you just get a wig or something?  It would be better for you if you did."  Oh, I still cringe when I think of how embarrassed I was!   Of course, it didn't help that I was going through that an awkward time where I had huge buck teeth and was tall and scraggly looking! 

Thankfully, by 8th grade, my hair had grown back and stayed there... until I was 22 years old when I had my first baby.    Then grew back.   Then coincidentally - or not - I lost it all again after I had my second baby... then my third... I'm sensing a pattern.

That experience growing up had a deep impact on me on several levels.  I became self-conscious and had a low self esteem.  I learned how important appearance can be for some people.  And I've carried some of that heavy load into adulthood.

But what I've also carried with me is an empathy for others that suffer under the hand of physical issues due to our sometimes wacky bodies and immune systems. 

I'm thankful for the ability to connect on a different level with others who have experienced the same and who have felt the pain of being "different".  And amazingly, I met a girl in college who was also suffering from alopecia - and she was such a beautiful person.  I connected first with her because of that fact and then our friendship grew over our love of music and Jesus.  It's something I think Jesus used to comfort each of us in some ways. 

So here I am again losing my hair... and it kind of stinks.  Besides being an adult and having braces (which is another uncomfortable medical story for another day!), I'm now losing my hair.

I hold handfulls of hair every morning as I wash my hair in the shower.  Sometimes it's a hard reality as I hold those handfulls as society places so much emphasis on our hair and beauty.   And sometimes it doesn't bother me much and I'm so, so thankful that I'm not suffering at the hands of a more painful and dreadful disease.   Things could be much, much worse.

I do have to figure out every day how I'm going to hide the bald spots (if you ever find yourself in this situation, and hopefully you don't, putting dark eyeshadow on the spot helps it to blend in with the thin hair that hangs over it!).

A plus?  I don't have to shave my legs!  That's a big Woo Hoo for any girl!  Also, I have a husband who encourages me and tells me I'm beautiful every day, despite losing my hair.

I was recently at a Priscilla Shirer simulcast and she talked  about the "interruptions" in our lives.  They can be painful or hard or annoying or overwhelming things that have announced themselves in our lives, but given the chance, God could be using it for good.  It could be where He's placed me for a time to grow and a chance to love on and connect with others.

Right now, I'm choosing to believe that God is using this to place beauty in my life where most of the world would find anything but beauty.

Some days it's harder to choose that truth than others, but I'm a work in progress!

If you or anyone else you know suffers from Alopecia, I'd love to hear your story.  I've not met many others with the disease and I'd love to connect with you and hear your tricks and methods to treat and deal with it or just to hear your story and know that we're not alone!

P.S.  If you want to know more about Alopecia Areata you can go to , the National Alopecia Areata Foundation to learn more about the disease.


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