...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I hope you enjoy time with family and friends, eat your fill of delicious food, and remember all the wonderful things that make this life amazing.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Things I am MOST thankful for in my life (in no particular order)...

Being a mom.

A Father in Heaven who loves me and watches over me (and you too)

Silliness and laughter.

This guy.

And the rest of my plus sized crew.

I could also add measuring tapes, bicycle pumps, sewing machines, hand lotion, towels and bug spray to the list today, but lets just leave it with the concise little bit of grateful from above.  Those things matter very most to me anyway.  Everything would be off kilter without those sweet life treats.  I'm so glad to have them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Of leaves and porn...

The other day I went out into the front yard to rake the leave before it rained and snowed.  We don't have a huge yard and we also don't have any really big trees (yet) but we still get a fair number of leaves that build up along our cement wall as they blow through the neighborhood.
As I was raking, it stuck out to me that no matter how hard I worked and how persistent I was, I never managed to get every single leaf out of the grass and into my pile.  I could scrape and scrape my yard rake along my verdant turf, but bits of broken leaves still matted themselves into our lawn.

Now, I am fairly realistic and I don't expect to get every single piece of tree waste when I am raking.  That isn't practical.  And that is where I started thinking about porn.
No, not in a nasty way.
But the issue of prevalent porn problems have been on my mind lately and while I continued to rake a few things occurred to me.
I'm sure you have seen the petition circling the internet lately about the "opt in" idea for online porn.  I am not here today to push you sign this or tell you it is worthless.  That is for you to research and decide on your own. 
I have read many opponents of this idea who say there are unresolvable issues with this plan.  I'm not going to disagree with them.  There are absolutely logistical and financial and political and a bunch of other 'als' that rear their heads in the body of such a thought.  There are glaring problems with this proposal.
However, does the fact that I cannot clean up every single leaf perfectly from my yard mean that I should just give up and not even bother trying at all?
And that's where I think these people are right on track.
Agree or disagree with the specific solution they present, at least the proponents of this are doing something about the problem.  They are opening a dialogue to address a plague that mutilates families and individuals.  I am not saying they are right or wrong -- I am not really sure about this specific scheme one way or the other -- but I love that they are saying something.  I love that they aren't giving up just because a perfect solution is not readily available.  I love that they are fighting for a cause that needs more attention in this world. 
What I am here to say is that pornography is a sinister trap.  It is insipid and venomous and highly addictive.  It degrades souls and corrodes relationship.  Its destructive tentacles have a way of winding around its victims and clutching them relentlessly.  Its grip is nearly impossible to entirely escape.  It is ugly and rancid.
And it is readily available EVERYWHERE!
I would imagine that most people who read this blog know someone whose life has been afflicted by pornography addiction.  Over the years I have known several people who have fallen prey to the poison of porn.  I would bet that there are more people in my life that fight this addiction and I just don't know it because it is a personal and embarrassing battle.
Some of those I have known have been adults, some have been teenagers.  Their ages and social standings and religions and home lives are different, but the crushing arms of pornography constrict tightly around them all, sometimes nearly suffocating them. (This is one of my favorite articles about the dangers of online porn.)
Did they initially choose to indulge in this toxin?  Generally, yes. 
Like all addictions, it starts small.  But as it is invited into a persons life it takes stronger and stronger hold on them until they have trouble getting away from it at all.  It follows them everywhere they go whispering to them and seducing them to sink further and further into its filth. 
Do they now regret the unending pull that it has over them?  Almost universally, yes.
But getting away from it isn't so easy.  When the pollutant is stored inside your mind, how do you weed it out?  How do you pull images and scenes from your brain once they have been recorded there?  How do you function in a world where a few simple clicks can sate your yearning for something you know you shouldn't indulge in?
This is not just a problem for the individual.  This is not a victimless decision.  Families are torn apart by porn and its influence.  Porn has a deep and steady relationship with violent crime.  Its reaches go far beyond any one single mind.
And what about when our young ones are exposed to such smut before they are old enough to really know how to handle it?
I want to share a personal experience.  One of my sons was in the elementary school computer lab when he was in second grade.  He and the members of his class were instructed to type in the address or a particular website which had some educational games.  My little seven year old typed in the address, but misspelled a word and when he clicked enter several lewd images filled the screen.
He was shocked and embarrassed.  He tried to get off the site, but the more buttons he clicked the more images flooded the monitor.  And this was in school with filters upon filters where our kids are supposed to be safe from this stuff (I am not blaming the school here, what I am saying is that no matter how careful you choose to be you cannot completely let down your guard when evil is involved).
Finally he called over the teacher who turned the whole system off, rebooted and helped him access the correct site.
When he came home and told me what had happened, he was in tears.  He knew we didn't approve of those types of images and that he wasn't supposed to look at things like that.  But now what?  He had seen them.  Those pictures were locked inside him and he was having a hard time NOT thinking of them.   And he was in second grade.  An accidental key click could have polluted my little boy in a way I could not repair.  It took us a lot of time and effort to work through that one.
We had a similar experience when we went to Vegas on a family trip and ventured onto the strip to watch the Belagio fountains.  Another son was haunted by the "trading card" images that littered the sidewalk and were in full view of our little ones despite our best efforts to avoid them.
Not every leaf that I have to clean up comes invited into my yard.  Often they wind their way onto my grass from some far off place with no encouragement on my part.  It is the same with porn.  Our children WILL be exposed to it to some degree even if we don't invite it into our homes.
As parents, it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect and teach our children.  We MUST be open with them about the dangers of pornography, about its addictive nature and seductive pull.  We must also be open with them about the fact that they will be drawn to it to some degree or another because sexual desire is natural and normal and even -- lets admit it -- good when used appropriately. 
But erotic fantasies posted on websites are NOT an appropriate use.  They also aren't realistic and they aren't natural or normal.  They lie.  They set up false ideas and expectations (among other things). 
And by sitting around and doing nothing the problem is growing and spreading and infecting more and more people day by day, moment by moment. 
If I ignore the leaves moldering in my yard they don't magically go away on their own, they get more and more disgusting.  They get wet and goopy, they grow mold and slime each other together and when I finally address them in the spring they have become a much more grotesque chore than they were before.  Ignoring filth only allows it to mature and spread.
Famed Irish orator Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."  I believe that is true.
And that is why I feel like it is intensely important that we fight this filth.  We must step forward and do something or evil will continue to grow and will subject more and more victims to its insistent and foul appeal.
I don't know exactly the steps that should be taken.  I don't know all that should be done.  I'm new to this venue. 
I do know that whatever we do, it has to start at home.  We have to teach virtue and strength and the power of faith. 
We have to protect our families.  We have to keep their little eyes from being the accidental conduit for allowing pornographic grime to seep into their young brains to be stored for further review.
And as they get older we need to take on the weighty responsibility to do everything in our power to protect them from images and acts that will poison and ensnare them.
But it can't end there.
We can't sit by quietly hoping that if we protect them at home then everything will be ok.  There is a whole world out there and if voices for good do not call for action then voices for evil will surely allow drivel to ooze into every available corner.
Say something.
Find a way to support this fight.
There is something you can do, if only that you open your mouth and voice your opinion, that is a start. 
And maybe together we can begin a cure for this plague running rampant in our nation.  Not that every piece will be swept away, that is not how it works.  That isn't realistic.  But little by little if we will each do something we can see the world change for good.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Yesterday marked the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg address. 

This concise snippet of verbal history may be no more than 272 words, but its powerful message has helped to shape a mighty nation. 

Anyone can string a bunch of words in a row to create a speech, but when those words are woven together in a simple and yet emotionally robust way their weight speaks to the soul rather than just the ear.  When that happens, we still care 150 years later that a humble man -- whose words were originally labeled as unimportant and an awful failure -- took less than three minutes to say some of the most poignant words this nation has yet to hear. 

This dedication of a hallowed field transformed into much more than just a speech at a political event.  Over the years that followed it became a hearty cry to arms for the American people, a rallying call that all could stand behind, a reminder that this country is built on something more than just laws and party lines and the absence of a king.  This nation was built on the backs of those who envisioned a place of freedom and power.  It is a nation of the people, by the people, for the people. 

That is something worth remembering.  Even after 150 years. 

Aubrey's class in school presented a program about President Lincoln and the Gettysburg address.  It was beautiful.  I honestly had tears in my eyes by the end.  I am so grateful for teachers who help my children learn about the things that are truly important.

My little confederate soldier with her friend Mr. Lincoln (aka, Will).

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Nutcracker

My daughter, Aubrey, is part of a dance group.  She has been for about three years and she loves it.
She is actually part of two groups, a dance class and a musical theater group which performs all over the valley.  I am really pleased that she works so hard and dedicates herself to practice and improvement. 
(P.S. if you are looking for a great dance group for your child to join check out Miss Margene's Creative Generation.  Margene is AMAZING.  Believe me, you want this woman as an influence in your child's life.  She is loving and kind and expects her students to take care of each other and act as a family.  She also has high standards when it comes to modesty so costumes and dance moves never push the lines of inappropriate.  We are immensely grateful for her, she is wonderful!)
Anyway, right now Aubrey is prepping for a performance of "The Nutcracker" which till take place in early December.  (If you are interested in coming to the performance -- and I think you should, it is a lot of fun -- learn more about the event by clicking this Nutcracker link.)
Aubrey will be performing as a toy soldier in this piece and she is super excited.  I love it when my kids are happy about the things they are involved in.  I love it when they work hard to learn something new or master a new skill.  I want them to learn to stick with something even, or especially,  if it is hard.  I used to have a volleyball coach who said, "It's the hard that makes it great," and I agree with that.  It is working through the hard that really gives you that triumph that you did something worthwhile.
As a side note, while we try not to let them be involved in too many classes and events, with six of them each participating in something it still gets pretty crazy driving them here and there and everywhere.  We like our children to feel the influence of home in their lives and not be stretched too thin, but I guess their time at home does not necessarily also correlate to Mom's time at home.  If we are all running each other around in the car can that count as an extension of "home time" as well?  I hope it can.
So hooray for Aubrey, hooray for "The Nutcracker" and there you go.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Choose Happiness

While I was growing up my mother used to regularly recite a bunch of quirky, if insightful, if cliche phrases to us kids.

Her offerings were things like "a stitch in time saves nine" (I'll be honest, until I was a teenager I pictured a ragged,ripped hole in the fabric of time that someone wanted me to stitch up and I didn't really understand what that one was trying to teach me) or "don't let school interfere with your education" (meaning that while classes were important, there was more to learn than just the classroom lessons).  The quirkiest of these may have been her regular call of "can't dance and it's too wet to plow" (essentially saying, might as well, you got nothing else to do).  But the one that stuck with me the most was when she said "fun is an attitude, not an activity."

That phrase rang true with me.  Fun has much less to do with what you are actually doing and much more to do with your feelings and attitude about it.  Some of the funnest times I have had in my life involve activities that are far from the definition of fun.  Now, that's not always true, sometimes activities are lame despite our best intentions, but even the funnest activity can be horrible and boring if your attitude stinks.  

I've tried to teach this concept to my kids and show them that even the most mundane thing can become fun if you approach it right.  Think Mary Poppins, if you will.  

Anyway, a few months ago I was in a store looking for a thank you gift for a couple of ladies I love and I saw this sign and I HAD to have it in my home (and since it's cute little price tag was only $3 I didn't feel guilty for investing).

This little scrap of colorful wood spoke to me (even though, in all honesty, yellow is not my favorite color).  It reminded me that happiness -- like fun -- is not something that happens to us, it is something that we decide in life.  Happiness is not up in the air floating around waiting to bestow itself upon us or not if we are lucky enough to bump into it, it is inside us waiting to get out and waiting to see if we will let it free.

No matter the circumstances around us, we can each choose for ourselves what our attitude will be and whether or not we will allow happiness to flood our lives.

Now, that doesn't mean that we will never feel sad or lonely or afraid or upset or whatever else.  I don't think what we are aiming for here is some false sense of "everything is roses and candy canes every moment of every day.  (Insert cheesy grin)!"  But, we can choose to live our lives from a base of happiness and build up from there.  Problems and trials and struggles will come and they will sting, but if our foundation is built on the choice to be happy we will better be able to deal with those and move forward to handle the problems instead of allowing them to swallow us up.  

I think everyone who is alive gets depressed from time to time.  I know that feeling to some degree.  Depression and I have met on several occasions.  For example, I remember the weighted pain I felt the first time I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and was given the list of the things I COULD eat (which seemed dreadfully small).  I remember feeling like I was going to starve because breads and pastas and fruits and starchy vegetables were suddenly NOT ok and that was a large part of my diet.  I cried and felt like I was going to starve (let's face it, you get between a hormone ridden pregnant woman and her food and there will be tears shed... On a side note this diagnosis at this time made it easier to handle the much less temporary diagnosis of Crohn's disease several years down the road).

I was grateful for a husband who scooped me up and pored through the grocery store with me reading every single label until we found things that I could eat (including a carb smart type of ice cream that didn't taste awful) and we could make do.  He also climbed on the diabetes diet truck and ate only what I could eat (at least while he was at home...he may have cheated elsewhere, I don't know).  He helped me choose to be happy despite what, for me, was a difficult issue to handle without feeling hobbled.  Diabetes became a bit of an inside joke to us (even though in reality there really isn't much that's funny about it) and we laughed about some of the day to day issues it brought into our life

Sometimes the choice of happiness means recognizing that we can't handle all the problems around us on our own and we need to seek help in one way or another.  Maybe that help is a lunch date with friends or maybe it is saying no when someone asks us to do something that will overload us or maybe it is seeking for someone with experience to talk to about it and work through it all.  That does not make us weak, that makes us humble and humility brings a strength that few other virtues can match (for more about that idea, this article is AmAzInG!).  Choosing happiness means that we don't let the ugliness of the world make our choices for us.

Now, that said, I also want to put out there that despite the verbiage we sometimes use in an almost trite way, no one in this world can "make" us happy.  People can support and love and care for us and help us through our struggles and trials, but no one -- no matter how amazing he or she is -- can force happiness upon us.  Happiness must be chosen, it cannot be bestowed.

We all see videos and read stories all over Facebook and Youtube about people who, despite the rottenness life has thrown at them, choose to be happy by finding a way to conquer that rottenness and in essence say, "My life is more than you, problems.  I am more than my struggles."

I'm sure you know people in your very own little world who have done this exact thing.  As I think on this I can picture a friend who lost both arms in an electrical accident who has devoted hundreds of hours to volunteering with teenagers to teach them about positivity and faith, a woman who after surviving a death-defying car accident and later seven strokes still jokes and laughs and buys candy for neighborhood kids even though she has trouble functioning, a grandmother struggling under a crushing depression who still takes time every single week to scoop up a group of four year olds for two hours and make them feel like the most important people in the world, a beloved man watching helplessly as his wife slips deeper and deeper into the pit of Alzheimer's disease and yet he stays by her side moment after moment as her caretaker and friend and speaks about her as though she was the most beautiful thing in the world even though she doesn't even much like him anymore and on and on and on.  

These people aren't super heroes.  No one will be handing them a cape or a medal or a key to the city any time soon.  In fact, outside of their sphere of existence probably no one really knows the struggles they face and the choice to be happy they are making.  Sometimes they feel like they can't do it anymore, I know they do.  Sometimes it would be much easier to give in to despair and doubt.  But they don't wallow in that.  They let themselves sink into sadness for a moment or two and then they yank back against that pressure and choose to smile -- not that everything around them is happy, because it isn't -- but that they don't let the sadness define who they are.

They choose happiness. 

They choose light.

And that choice defines them.

That's who I want to be.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hockey? Yes, please!

The other night we took the kids to a hockey game.

I really love hockey, I always have.  

Now, that doesn't mean that I'm a pro.  I'll admit that I pretty much never watch it unless I am AT a game and I don't know the rules much beyond offsides and icing and you get a penalty if you slug someone.

But, thanks to our friendly neighborhood Pass of all Passes, we get to attend a bunch of games throughout the season and we super love it!

(If you are looking for a great way to involve your family in a lot of different activities for not very much money this might be just the right thing for you, it is for us.  I paid $30 per pass and got a $20 gift card to Walmart for each pass I purchased -- which is where I grocery shop anyway so it was like money to me -- meaning the passes essentially cost me $10 per person.  We have made that back already this year going to Hollywood Connection and the Grizzlies game.  Last year we also attended Real games, Bees games, did the water park once **which was not my favorite**, played at a family fun center,  saw movies and trounced a trampoline facility.  Click here to see all the things included in the Pass of all Passes if you are interested in checking it out.  It is a perfect fit for us.)
Anyway, we went to the hockey game.  It was a great game!  My boys were excited that there were a couple of fights (while I sat there toning them down with my steely "fighting is not cool" glare) and the game went into overtime and then a shoot out so really it doesn't get a lot better than that.   We had a great night (except Ellie who wanted to go home pretty much the whole time but save the moments when we were dancing between the periods).

Hooray for hockey!!  Fun for the whole family...or, well, 7 our of 8 ain't bad.

Monday, November 11, 2013

No, Friday, you are not my favorite -- and the struggle with small hair

Friday is pretty much everybody's favorite day of the work week.
It isn't mine.
That's right, I said it.  Friday -- dis-affectionately known as short day around here -- is not my favorite day.
Our schedule on Friday is a gigantic web of running here and there and I simply do not love it. 
It's not like there is nothing going on any other day, mornings are forever hectic and harried, but Fridays just don't stop.  
We all get up at 6:20, Bryce is out the door at 7:25 (this particular Friday also included a bonus trip to the jr high because someone forgot his homework -- and I hadn't showered yet after my morning work out so lucky jr high kids that got to see that...NICE!), the elementary kids head out at 8:20, I leave to take Ellie to pre-school at 8:45, I shoot back to the elementary as a classroom volunteer from 9:00 - 10:30 pick Logan up from kindergarten at 10:35 drive over to pick Ellie up from pre-school at 10:50, go home and finish up laundry, dishes etc that need attention, get lunch for the small ones then pick up jr high kids at 12:30 then head home, put the littlest littles to bed and get ready for everyone else to get home at 1:10.  Once the kids are home it is piano lessons times four (my kids get Friday lessons as it is the day with no dance/sports practices or scouts or mutual to interfere) and then the calls of "Moooom, can I invite (insert name of some child's friend) over to play?".    
By the time Josh gets home I am exhausted. 

Don't get me wrong, I am happy to manage this plus sized puddle of kidlets, but Friday do push me to my limits more than most other days.
Last Friday I got a surprise.  As I was waving to our elementary crew, I told Ellie we needed to do her hair before it was time for school.  Now, Ellie loves school, but you would never know it when we are getting ready to go because she cries every week about how she doesn't want to be there and she sobs when I drop her off.....every.....single.....week.  When I pick her up she is all smiles and hugs for teacher, but I never see that version of the child while dropping off.  
So, hair.
I ask her what she would like me to do with her hair (she hates having it flop around in her face, but she is a bit of a picky pants about things like clothes and hairstyles so I try to let her choose whenever feasible).
She very matter of factly told me she wanted princess hair. 
I looked at her, befuddled.  What the heck is princess hair?  I said, "sure" and plunged into her tresses assuming that whatever I did we would just label as princess hair and there you go.
I finished and sent her to look.  She came back moments later with a disgusted "sly brow" look on her face (see previous post) and let me know that was not princess hair.  So I asked her what princess hair should look like.  She considered for a minute and then walked out of the room.  I thought maybe I was done.  Maybe I won by default.
She came back with help for her inept, princess-dunce of a mom.

"Mom, I want hair like this."
Uh, yeah. 
We gave it a try.
It didn't turn out perfectly, but Ellie was happy so we were good.

It is a bit rumpled after a run in with a rogue jacket, but you get the idea.

Despite my lack of understanding of royal hair stylings, we both made it out alive and Ellie made it to school....where she sobbed as I left.  Guess princess hair or no some things just don't change.  Good thing I love that little sprite.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sly Brow...who knew?

Last night, Gavin was goofing off with his dad when he suddenly had an idea.
"Dad, let's have a sly brow contest."
Josh sheepishly asked what that was since he had never heard of it before (neither had I for that matter...have you heard of this? ...is it a thing??).
Then, Gavin made this face.
He explained to us that you have to hold the "sly brow" look as long as you can while looking at each other and whoever breaks first loses.  Sounds like a good time.
And so the contest began...

Gavin completely smoked his father who couldn't keep a straight face while looking at our "sly brow" son for more than a few seconds at a time (seriously, you should have seen how he cocked his head and whipped his neck into place each time...he looked like a suave, twitching turtle).
Gavin could not understand why his dad was such a horrid "sly brower" and proceeded to demonstrate for us how he could easily "sly brow" while reading a book, while playing the piano, while walking around the room.
Imagine Gavin with the face from above tottering around without really moving his head and neck at all doing random activities.  It was pretty much the funniest thing I have seen in a really long time.
Josh chuckled and said, "Gav, you are so weird." 
To which Gavin replied, "Yeah, I know."  He was smiling. 
It was pretty fabulous.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Encouraging our kids to be who they are, even if it is a sk8er boi

I read a quote a while ago that said, “Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.”  I am on this band wagon. 

Now, while I am also a big proponent of helping our children learn and especially teaching them to make good choices (which comes with allowing them to actually make choices and can result in a fair amount of correction on my part) I also REALLY identify with this idea.  I want my kids to be who they are, not what someone else says they should be.  I want them to explore and try new things and fail sometimes so that they become confident in the person they choose to become. 

As part of that idea, I have spent a fair amount of time these last months at local skate parks.

I have a son who is determined to become a skate boarder (not professionally, necessarily, he just wants to master the skills).  I LOOOOVE it when my kids decide they want to learn something new and are willing to work on it and practice their little hearts out so YOU BET I am going to encourage him in this.

Parker works for hours on his ollies and fakies and spins and is trying to learn to kick flip.  He watches "how to" videos on Youtube to learn new tricks or improve his skills.  He has become much more confident and controlled in is riding these past months and I love watching him grow.

Now, I have heard some comments from other parents about how skate parks are full of bad influences and the skating world is not a place I should encourage my child to be.  I know there are problems in that arena sometimes.  I promise I am not blind to that possibility and I'll be honest it does concern me (I can be fairly overprotective at times).  I also know there are problems in dugouts and on sidelines and in orchestra pits and backstage and that bad influences will pop up EVERYWHERE because that is how the world works. 

Instead of being hostage to that, I choose to encourage and support my little ones in the things that interest them (within reason, I'm not going to help them become the best little drug dealer on the block) and then do my best to teach them about goodness and virtue and step back to allow them to make choices.  It takes courage on the part of the parent to do this because you never know what will happen, they just might fail or head into something you don't think is right for them. 

But VERY often I end up surprised by my children's integrity and am thrilled in the way they stand up for what they know is right (not every time, mind you, but mistakes can be great learning opportunities and I'd rather they make those mistakes and learn those lessons while under my wing then when they are off on their own later on).  I expect my kids to make poor choices sometime, but if I teach them how to make choices now, while they are young, when I can be right there with them to help them repair the damage and come back to center then hopefully they will have learned that good choices generally equal good outcomes and more happiness in life.  If I, instead, make all their choices for them then they will not have mastered the skill of positive decision making and their failures will be in a much less forgiving world than the one we have created here at home.

I would rather let them learn to make their own choices while the choices are fairly small and the outcomes essentially harmless than wait for them to experiment with decision making when the outcomes could be much more painful.

Enough of my rant.

So, anyway, skate parks.  Fun for the whole family and encouragement for a son who is branching out in his own way.

(And as a side note, we have been very fortunate to run into wonderful people when we have been at the parks, many of whom can do incredible things and who often take a moment or two to encourage or teach our youngsters something new.) 

Ellie loves to ride her bike down the ramps.

Gavin likes to "shred" on his scooter.
 Parker just doesn't quit.  He tries things again and again until he starts to conquer the skill.  I think it is an amazing thing to see. 

Gavin and Ellie normally get tired of the park long before Parker does, but they are normally pretty patient while we give him a few extra minutes.

My little sk8er boi.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Secret Love

Last night when we got home from visiting Josh's parents there was an envelope on the door addressed to Gavin.

He slunk off into a corner to open it in secret and we didn't think anything more of it.

Then, a while later Ellie came running out of her room.  She was smiling for all she was worth and was holding a small, paper heart.  The front held a sweet red design and the back had a hand-written message telling her that she was loved.  She was thrilled.  She packed that heart around with her for the rest of the night.


Two more such hearts showed up in other rooms, and Gavin looked more and more amused as these little love notes continued to pop up.

Finally, he came to me secretly to admit that he had been the culprit in our little cupid fest.  He was so pleased with how it had turned out, and so was I.  What a wonderful little experiment to bring into our home.  I think these hearts may have been part of Gavin's earlier special delivery, but either way they were a fabulous addition to our evening and they turned my sweet little boy into a secret agent of kindness.  It was a great thing.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall Photo Op

In the fall we usually find time to take a family picture to put in our Christmas cards.
We also take advantage of our captive audience (meaning our vibrant and lively crew of small humans) by also taking individual pictures for our living room.
However, since not everyone has time to come and explore my living room to see our updated pics, I thought I'd share them here.  After all, I am particularly proud of these people and I love showing them off.
We didn't manage to get a full family picture because I forgot the tripod (hard to snap a shot of everyone without that little baby), but we did get some great single shots of our favorite little people.

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