Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Three Little Birds

For the first time this summer I have had two solid days where I have not heard one kid proclaim, "I'm bored!" How is this small miracle occurring, you ask? They've been busy looking out the front window.

All-a-boy, Allen the Younger and Hubba have all had to build birdhouses for scouts at some point. And that means the younger kids see them and they want to build one, too. Some fall apart after a few days and some last for years, but we currently have 3 birdhouses in our tree out front. Earlier, in the spring, we had some doves nesting up high in the tree. That was neat, but this is even better. Some birds finally decided to take up residence in one of our birdhouses!

They brought all sorts of leaves and pine needles and miscellaneous items to the house to build a nest. And then we saw 3 little eggs in the nest. And now? Three little birds. And a busy mama bird, bringing them worms and bugs and who knows what else, all day long.



Aren't they adorable? The kids love watching as they occasionally poke their little heads out of the birdhouse and call for their mother. We love to narrate what we think they're saying.

 But moooooooom! I'm still hungry!

 Hey lady. Stop taking pictures. I'm serious.

Mooooooooom! The human keeps taking our picture! 

Leave us alone! We're hungry! 

Where's our mom?


It's like having the nature channel on 24/7, but even better. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kid Playlists

When asked to name their top 3 favorite songs right now ("Only three, Mom?"), here is what my kids said...

Little X:
Shake It Off (T-Swift)
Boots and Cats
Jesus Wants Us For A Sun-Bean

Little O:
Scripture Power
Happy (Pharell Williams)
Everything is Awesome (The Lego Movie)

Good Time (Owl City)
anything by Piano Guys
Seize The Day (Newsies)

anything by Owl City, but especially Fireflies
Final Countdown
Separate Ways (Journey)

L (They Might Be Giants)
Apologize (One Republic)
When Can I See You Again? (Owl City)

Happy (Pharell Williams)
Some Nights (fun.)
Fight Song (Rachel Platten)

Everything is Awesome (Lego Movie)
Emmett's Morning (Lego Movie)
What Does The Fox Say? (Ylvis)

Everything Is Awesome (Lego Movie)
Separate Ways (Journey)
The Scientist (Coldplay)

Elle (still on her mission in Louisiana):
Power of a Prayer (Matthew West)
It's Alright (Brandon Heath)
Arms That Hold the Universe (33Miles)

Allen TY:
Blank Space (Taylor Swift)
Time For Me to Fly (REO Speedwagon)
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing (Aerosmith)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oh, Happy Day!

This was my birthday ice-cream-cake. Total awesomeness! 

Allen the Younger seemed to have something of a curse on him for a while there. Every time he would bring a girl to our house she would stop answering his calls and texts. We're not sure if we scared those girls off or what. But let me tell you - good... no, AWESOMELY FANTASTIC things come to those who wait! Because once Allen t.y started bringing this beauty around, we all fell in love with her. And when I say beauty I'm not just talking about looks. This girl has beauty coursing through every ounce of her and a light in her eyes that speaks volumes.

Meet Kia! Allen the Elder and I were ready for these two to be engaged before they were and I was really proud of us for not saying anything about it. But once Allen the Younger asked us what we thought, we were ready for him! A THOUSAND TIMES YES! Every time she comes over we love her more.

They were officially engaged the first week of June and will be married at the end of the summer. And to say that I'm happy about it would be putting it lightly.

This is all so crazy-happy to think about. I am excited beyond description and can not wait for Kia to officially be our daughter!

At Kia's brother's wedding

Monday, June 22, 2015



Back in April I was able to take a quick weekend trip to California to see Newsies again! (That show never gets old, you guys.) And since I was going to be in California anyway, I made plans to spend the time there with my almost-a-sister/friend Julie and her/pretty-much-my mom and her two cute girls. When I left the airport in Utah, we were in the middle of a snowstorm. 

This created a one-hour delay while they de-iced the planes and waited for the chance to get a spot on the runway.

I sat next to two really fun and interesting women on the flight there, which made the delay insignificant. When we landed in Los Angeles the skies were (mostly, please ignore the haze) clear and the weather was BEAUTIFUL.

I was able to get in a couple of trips to the ocean while I was there. Oh, man - I forget how much I love those salty breezes and the sound of crashing waves!



Newsies, as always, did not disappoint. In fact, I had no idea that the traveling production has an EXTRA SCENE AND SONG which helps tie in Crutchie's time at the refuge. I LOVED IT!!
Newsies is a real kick in the head. See what I did there? Ha!

There is no such thing as too many pictures when you go to see Newsies.

I was also excited to visit a couple of Little Free Libraries while I was in California. I found one on the map that was close to Julie's house in Orange County and another that was close to Julie's mom's house. I brought books from our Z Library to share and brought home a couple of books from the libraries I visited.


And since we were right by Redondo Beach, the beach where I pretty much lived every summer when I lived in California, I had to stop off there to watch the sunset.

As they say, time flies when you're having fun. So I had to say goodbye to these cuties and head home to my own.

I need to get to California more often. There are so many things about that place that speak to my heart in ways that nowhere else can.

However, despite its lack of ocean breezes, there is no place better than home with my family.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Remembering Dad

This afternoon I came home from church with a million thoughts about my dad. I pulled out my photo albums and enjoyed reminiscing about his life. 

Dad played basketball and football, ran on the track team and even did cheerleading when he was at the Iowa School for the Deaf. He performed on the stages of more Deaf Clubs than I can count and was the president of numerous clubs and groups. He was a member of many competition bowling teams. He went on a tour back east when he was a young adult and has an amazing postcard collection from his trip. He lived in Australia for a year and then moved back to the states and built himself a house. He helped lead a strike when things were unfair at work. He swam across the Mississippi River when I was young as we, his family, watched from a nearby lighthouse. I remember my mom being scared that he might now make it but my own thoughts were more along the lines of, "Of course he'll make it! My dad can do ANYthing!" Despite his deafness, he supported and encouraged the love of music and singing that my little brother Chip and I were born with, often blaring the radio or MTV and dancing around the living room with us. When Dad would come visit his grandchildren he always had a treasure in his pocket for them, whether it was a quarter or a piece of candy or some little trinket he'd picked up somewhere, he was always the bearer of gifts for the kids. He worked hard his entire life to make sure that our family was well cared for and loved.

Seven of my ten kids don't remember him at all, and that is hard. But I like to think that he hand-picked the six who were born after he died, that he made sure we were sent the best of the best.

Man, do I love and miss my Pop.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dirty Laundry

Yesterday as I was doing the laundry it took me at least a half hour to try to salvage a few of Allen's white shirts by scrubbing at various stains. And I'll admit, I wasn't exactly being cheerful about it. I kept thinking things like, "why can't he change into work clothes?" and "who gets their white shirts this dirty?"

Then it hit me.  Allen's white shirts are stained because he loves to serve people. As he walks home from church and runs into someone who needs help with something in their yard or on their car or in their house, he doesn't hesitate or worry about what he's wearing - he just jumps right in and helps where it's needed. When he's visiting someone in their home and they need help with a messy problem, he's happy for the opportunity to serve.

With that change of perspective my thoughts did a 180 degree turn and I was feeling teary and thankful to have the husband that I do. Suddenly I was grateful for the chance I had to do for him what he does for so many others. He is the living, breathing example of the saying: Service is love in action.