Saturday, June 7, 2008

What's On Lisi's Mind

Lisi: "Mom, do farmers have pigs?"
Me: "Usually."
Lisi: "I hope Unky Alex likes pigs."
Me: "Why???"
Lisi: "Because he is going to be a farmer."
Mark: "No, he is going to be a pharmacist!"

I wonder how long that thought has been running thru that sweet little mind of hers???!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Isabella & Lisi go to Disney World

Man, oh, man have I been negligent in posting these pictures!!!
Grammy & PaPa (my parents) took our sweet girls to Disney World a month ago, and I am finally getting caught up on my blogging...thankfully Isabella & Lisi are STILL talking about the trip!  (And Grammy & PaPa might still be getting caught up on sleep & rest...hee,hee,hee)  But according to all, it was a GREAT time, and I think they are already planning their next trip!!

PaPa with Iz & Lisi in front of Magic Kingdom







Isabella, PaPa & Lisi
(I do not know where this picture was taken, but it is just one of my favorites.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Disney Pix

Isabella, Lisi & Grammy















Isabella, Grammy & Lisi


















Lisi, Isabella, PaPa & a GIANT ant (I think from "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids")





Isabella & Ariel...signed by Ariel, too!!!













Isabella & Lisi getting hugs from Mickey & Minnie...and signed by them, too!  (Lisi is in LOVE with Minnie...this is her favorite picture and memory of their time at Disney World.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

a 'wickedly' good time




...was had by Heather, Nicol and I as we enjoyed a hip and de-lish dinner @ Geisha House in Hollywood, followed by an AMAZING production of Wicked at the Pantages.  Technically, we were 3 moms going out to dinner before the show, and then home before midnight, but while we were out that night, we just felt like we were 3 friends out enjoying a beautiful evening in Hollywood.

Emma

If my own sweet girls get their own blog post, then so does this sweet Emma girl.  Can I just tell you that I LOVE her!!!  I met her when she was only days old, and had the privilege of caring for her the first week that she was home.  Honestly, privilege is only the best word that I can come up with, but it does not even come close to how feel about that experience.  When Heather was pregnant I loved "zoom lenz" because, well, it was favorite cousin Heather's babe!  But caring for Emma allowed me to fall in love with her, and forever feel tied to her.  The fact that she is just stinkin' cute is a bonus!  Now she can talk and tell her own little stories, 'make tea' for her Mommy and I, and takes amazingly good care of her own 'babies'.  She and her parents are also great hosts when you visit them in CA...I know I will be back!
Emma and me
Amy, Emma and favorite cousin Heather at their home
good times!
a playdate at the park

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lisi Claire's Spring Program

There really is just nothing like a 3 year old pre-school program. And for our family, this one just takes the cake. The 45 second video at the end of this post is just a snipet of Lisi singing her heart out front and center. That sweet, squeaky voice that you will hear belongs to our own sweet Lisi Claire.

Lisi walking in and waving to her fans
(Her Mom & Dad, Isabella, PaPa and Pastor Lori)

Isabella, Pastor Lori and Lisi after the program @ Des Moines Christian

Iz, PaPa & Lisi

sweet Lisi muckin' it up for her Momma on Mother's Day
video
THE VIDEO...I only wish I had thought to tape all of the program
Enjoy!

catching up with Isabella

It has been such a long while since I have blogged regularly, I have lots of catching up to do. So I will dedicate this post to Isabella...

at the all-school art fair standing next to the 3 pieces of her artwork her teacher picked to display

art class on a sunny spring day...sidewalk chalk!

coming home from school with a Mother's Day gift for me: flowers in a bag decorated by Isabella

last day of Daisy Girl Scouts~ this experience has been a high light of the school year and she is already excited for Girl Scouts in 1st Grade!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It Needs To Be Jenn's Birthday More Often!

Yesterday was Jenn's birthday, and I cannot remember the last time I celebrated so much!! All I can say is, "It needs to be Jenn's birthday more often!"
An impromptu party at our favorite lunch-time gathering spot: Happy Joe's!
They were kind enough to indulge a Mom's birthday celebration with balloons (weighed down with packets of taco sauce...gotta love a classy joint like that!)
Then a 'clown cone'...and the sirens, too!!!
Lisi & Cale with the scary teeth they won from the game room
Ending the day at our house with angel food cake (OK, and a margarita, too)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENN! I enjoy you and our friendship!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Isabella's Calculation

Isabella: "Mom guess how many days I have been in school?"

Me: "How many?"

Isabella: "161. That is more than years PaPa is old!"

Monday, May 5, 2008

sickly

I have SO much to blog about my time in LA, and the girls' trip to Disney World, but Lisi and I have been sickly since Saturday. bummer. Keep checking back; the pictures are good!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

earthquake

It was only a small earthquake (4.2), and it was about 1 1/2 hours outside of LA, so I will just keep it all in lowercase.  Nonetheless, I do think it was the 'aftershock' that woke me up in the middle of the night.
Fires, earthquake...if it were not for the gorgeous sunshine and AMAZING hospitality, I would think I should head back to the midwest:)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fire in LA

If the mountains are not on fire (which they were...just 5 miles West of where I am staying), then iconic Hollywood is on fire.  We woke up this morning to the news that the restaurant where Oceans 11 was filmed, at Hollywood and Vine, has been on fire for hours.  And this is just blocks away from where we are going to dinner tonight at Geisha House.
You can check out more info from TMZ.com here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's A Small World


...but it sure is feeling awfully big with our sweet girls at Disney World in Florida, and me being minutes from Disney Land in California.  (And my cutie husband back home just a workin' away.)
My parents got all excited at the thought of taking their granddaughters to Disney, and then got brave enough to really go for it...and now the 4 of them are enjoying a magical vacation.
And as I am traveling alone, staying with favorite cousin Heather & her family, and enjoying the sunny days of CA, I, too, am having a magical vacation!
As much as I miss Iz & Lisi, it is kind of nice to be responsible for just myself, and when I need to cuddle with a little person, I have Little Miss Emma here to keep me company:)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy 60th Birthday, Dad!

As much as I would love to acknowledge my Dad's birthday in a new and creative way, I cannot think of a way to top last year's "birthday blog" for him. So be sure to check it out here.
At the end of his big day this year, he said to me that driving to work that Thursday morning, he was pretty sure it was going to be a quiet birthday for him. Boy did those around him have different plans!
His office was decorated with signs, pictures, confetti and balloons, lunch was brought in from George the Chili King, Isabella's entire grade sang to him (see blog post below), and when he thought just our family was going out for dinner afterward, he was surprised to see the table set for 18!

Mark, Mom, Lisi, the birthday boy, Isabella, Amy
Happy Birthday, Dad!!!

Happy Birthday Dear PaPa, Happy Birthday to You!

What do you give a PaPa who conceivable has everything (except that new Corvette, of course!)?
How about a gaggle of Kindergartners singing "Happy Birthday" to him????
Isabella's school program was ON my Dad's 60th birthday, so I asked the music teacher if there was any way that could be acknowledged. And I have to say, she exceeded my expectations, once again. Here is a quick video clip of the kids.
My friend Alicia got the entire song, as well as my Dad's reaction, but for whatever reason, I am having trouble up-loading that to blogger.
My Dad was totally surprised by it, and later told me it was a great gift to him:)

video

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kindergarten Music Program


This past Thursday was Isabella's Kindergarten Music Program, and as with most things at school, it exceeded all expectations. The 50+ Kindergartners sang "OBEY" and "without complaining" and "I will praise You 7 times a day", but the one that just blew me away was when all 50 of them recited ALL of Psalm 23. Had I realized it was coming, I would have recorded it all. Simply beautiful.
Isabella was especially blessed to have not only her Mom, Dad and sister there, but also Grammy, PaPa, Grandma Nancy, Aunt Cindy & Pastor Lori there to encourage her. Pastor Lori was so sweet to bring flowers for Iz, Adele and Macy...love that!
This has been such a great year for our family, and as much as I have documented in this blog, I still feel like I have not captured it all.
These video clips are each about 10 seconds long. The first one is of "OBEY", and the second is Psalm 23.
Enjoy!
video video

Friday, April 25, 2008

when Bells came to our family

Just LOOK at that sweet face! This was Isabella at her 4th birthday party, more than 2 years ago. If you look closely, you will see that while she is 'reading' this book, and cuddling a new puppy named Bells, there are many unopened presents around her. She found what she liked...why go any further???
A favorite 'party pic' with Khanh, Bells, Isabella and Neil...the givers of her beloved gift!

Bells Goes To...Kindergarten!

This post is as much for the grandparents, as for anyone. I am SO proud of Isabella...she READ a book to her class yesterday! The book that she chose is one that Khanh & Neil gave her a couple of years ago, Bells Goes To The Fair by Susan Knapp. It is a story about a (real-life) golden retriever, Bells, who got lost one day as their family was visiting the Iowa State Fair.

The book references the sisters in Bells' family, Anna & Sarah. And it just so happens that not only has Anna made prize-winning desserts at the Iowa State Fair, her bakery is located down the street from us in Booneville!


Isabella read the book to her class, and allowed Bells to be passed around to all of her classmates. I surprised everyone with mini-cupcakes from Anna's Cakes & Crumbs.
This is a 30 second clip of Isabella reading...

video

Days like this are what I dream every day of motherhood will be like:)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Anonymous Commenter

A few posts ago I really hammered down on my belief that a professed faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and an eternal life with God, our Father.
That post began an exchange with "Anonymous", and the distinction between faith in Jesus Christ, and needing to have repentance in conjunction with that faith.
I believe that professed faith alone is enough for eternal salvation.
"Anonymous" believes that without repentance, salvation is incomplete.

I think this is a GREAT discussion, and I invite any of you to join in!
Read here for the background.
To be clear, I do believe that repentance is part of the life of a Christ follower.
However, I see repentance as a gift (Acts 5:31).
When I realize the need for repentance, and I humble myself to repentance, I am separated from my sin as far as the east is separated from the west (Psalm 103:12).

PS: If this post interests you, I encourage you to also read this post.

Lisi in bloom

Just when I thought this sweet girl could not get any cuter:)
Lisi's pre-school classmates each decorated their own flower with a picture of themselves in the center, and then the flowers were 'planted' along the hallway. What a wonderful way for this Mom to begin each day!
I was inspired to take this picture because this was the day of Lisi's FIRST school bus ride. Her class went to the public library, but I was told that riding the school bus was MUCH more fun than the library itself:)
And as much as Lisi is our 'fearless' girl, she was VERY apprehensive about the bus. Thankfully her big sister, and our friend Ellie, were able to clue her in ... all based on the 1 time that they have ridden a school bus:)

Our "Neighborhood" Art Studio

Our neighbor began construction on a new art studio about a year ago, and that studio has been calling Isabella's name ever since.
This past week, that call was finally answered. Our neighbor, Karen, called and invited the girls to come over, and not only were they there for hours, they came home happy, and with beautiful new artwork.
LOVE THAT!!!

Mom's Group

Just had to document this super-cute pix from Mom's Group last week. For the full low-down on how much fun we had, check out Jena's post.

Eli, Lisi, Cale and Ava

Friday, April 18, 2008

a joke from Lisi (age 4)

Lisi: "Knock, Knock"
Me: "Who's There?"
Lisi: "Orange."
Me: "Orange Who?"

Lisi: "Knock, Knock"
Me: "Who's There?"
Lisi: "Orange."
Me: "Orange Who?"

Lisi: "Knock, Knock"
Me: "Who's There?"
Lisi: "BANANA."
Me: "Banana Who?"

Lisi: "Banana Aren't You Glad I Didn't Say Orange?"
(and for you parents of pre-schoolers, you will totally get why this is so stinkin' funny)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

longing for 67*

yesterday 67*, sunny, and all was right in the world.
today 45*, raining, and only rain in sight for days to come.
longing for 67*.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What Does 67* Mean To You????

I'm taking a poll....
Does 67* in April mean "woo hoo, spring is here, and time to pull out the shorts!"
or
Does 67* mean "ooooh, chill in the air and time to grab a sweater"

When you cast your vote, let us know in which of the 50 great states you live!

New news from Mike Huckabee

If you know me, you probably know that I support Mike Huckabee for President.
I know John McCain is the likely Republican nominee, but in keeping with one of my many favorite Huckabee quotes, I believe in miracles, not just in mathematics.
Today I received the following e-mail from the Huckabee camp re: a new PAC to seek out and support candidates who have a vision of smaller government, lower taxes, stonger military, and the sanctity of family and life.
I encourage each of you to see beyond what the media touts as facts and imminent outcomes. Dig a little deeper, and believe in what could be. WORK to make the future of our country what 'could be'. Personally, I am believing in the 'could be', and am working to make it the 'WILL BE' for our future. As a country, we are headed in a poor direction for leadership, spending, education, and on and on and on. As citizens of this great country, we are the ones who were intended to be in-charge...not those who we elected to represent us. That is the KEY...those who govern us were elected to that position by us, to be our voice and to accurately represent our desires for our nation. Are they doing that????
Maybe you think they are. And if so, then continue to do what you are doing.
But if not, then WORK for a change!!! That IS the only way to change direction.
Whew. Allow me to carefully step down off this soap-box, and re-gain my composure. If you do not want to do anything, then don't complain. But if you feel the need or desire to complain about our current state, then DO SOMETHING about it!



Don’t you wish April 15 were just another spring day? I know I do.

Everyone, (that is everyone that isn’t a Democrat), knows that Americans are over-taxed and over-regulated. As I campaigned for President over the last fourteen months I heard that same complaint time and again when I sat down with families and individuals eager for change in Washington.

Many of these voters also felt that their Party needed to get back to its core principles: less government, lower taxes, a strong national defense and unwavering support for the family and the sanctity of life.

I campaigned to be the agent of that change and while we may have come up short, I remain (and I hope you do as well), undeterred and eager to make a difference.

Enter Huck PAC.

Huck PAC is founded on the principles that make America great: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And because we believe! our Republican Party embodies these ideas and is best suited to lead America forward, we are committed to supporting Republican candidates nationwide.

We will identify candidates who hold firm to these principles, promote their campaigns and financially support their efforts.

Today I hope you will join us. I ask that you first sign up for my Huck PAC email updates on our new website and then make a contribution of $25 or more in support of our efforts.

You can be certain we will invest your support efficiently and in the most effective manner possible. We were known as the campaign that did more with less and we plan to bring that same innovation and spirit to Huck PAC.

Now I know the skeptics say the FairTax and massive tax reform is impossible to enact.! We will see. What I also know is that we won’t have a chance if we don’t have the courage and the leadership in Congress to see the task through to the end.

That is where Huck PAC comes in, because the path to a FairTax or additional tax reform is far more certain when you walk into a room full of small government, tax-cutting Republicans.

Help me make April 15 just another spring day. Support Huck PAC and tell your friends and family to do so as well.

With deep gratitude,

Mike Huckabee

Monday, April 14, 2008

What Do I Even Call This Post??? (hint: it is about Lisi)

So this morning Lisi was walking from her room and thru the kitchen. And as she passed me, she casually says, "since I am getting a new dresser in my room, it is OK that I wrote on mine".
WHAT??????
At this point, I have to say that I channeled every bit of parenting advise that I have ever had come my way, and I stayed really calm. I got down at her level, I told her that I love her VERY much, and I will always love her very much, but I was not loving the choice that she had just made.
Then I asked her to show me what she had done. And this is what I saw:






At this point I asked her to go in the other room while I worked to clean it up. She was very teary-eyed, but obeyed and went in the other room.
What I did not tell her, and may never tell her, is that her marker of choice was a wet-dry marker, and cleaned up in a cinch:)
Aaaaah, another day in paradise....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The ABCs of Me

I've been "tagged" by my friend Angela. She apologized for "tagging" a few of her friends, but, honestly, I love these things. If nothing else, it lets me break out of my normal topics for blog posts:)

A- Attached or Single: happily attached
B- Best Friend(s): gotta have them!
C- Cake or Pie: good cheesecake with a thick graham cracker crust
D-Day of Choice: Monday~ love a new beginning!
E-Essential Item(s): family vacations
F-Favorite Type of Music: all things 70s
G-Gummy bears or worms: bears, but, really, jelly beans
H-Hometown: Kirkwood, MO & West Des Moines, IA
I-Indulgences: Ho-Ho Mint Mocha from Caribou, massages, quiet computer time
J-January or July: ooooh, the coldest or the hottest....can I go with September?
K-Kids: love my own 2 sweet girls!!!
L-Last movie: absolutely no idea (oh, Mark just reminded me that it was "Snow Buddies")
M-Marriage Date: September 18, 1999
N-Number of Siblings: 2 brothers
O-Oranges or Apples: apples, specifically Honey Crisp
P-Phobias or Fears: I am not fond of crowds and lots of commotion
Q-Quotes: "Nothing takes God by surprise." ~ I have to thank Angela for that one, and, at times, it is a daily mantra for me
R-Reasons to Smile: do you need a reason??? Wake up and smile, my friends! Surely a reason will come your way!!!
S-Season: Fall
T-Tag: Jena, fc Heather, Jen Mumm, JHo
U-Unknown Fact About Me: anyone else's wet hands or feet touching me simply CREEPS ME OUT
V-Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,[1] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” -Genesis 1:26
Guess that makes me an "Oppressor of Animals"
W-Worst Habit: e-mail, for sure
X-X-rays or Ultrasounds: odd question, but I will go with 'ultrasound'
Y-Your Favorite Food: warm bread with real butter
Z-Zodiac: Leo

If "it" is not about you, and "it" is not about me, who IS it about?

It IS about JESUS!
This is really just a post-script to my previous post. After reading the comments that were left, and, by the way, I REALLY appreciate all of the comments!, I realized that I neglected to hammer on this final point:
So many people believe that 'if they are a good person and care about others', that will get them into Heaven.
Not necessarily so, my friend.
A professed faith in Christ Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
And it is that faith in Christ Jesus that leads to a Christ-like life, which, in turn, leads to a life of striving to 'be a good person and to care for others'.
Caring for our fellow mankind is the by-product of being a Christ-follower; it is not the definition of a Christ-follower.

To sum up...it is not about you. It is about Jesus.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Is It Un-American To Say...

that Oprah has it wrong???
I mean, really, in this society, in this culture, has it become un-American to say that Oprah has got it wrong??? That question could apply to any area, but specifically to her new book-club selection of A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Let me be clear, I have not read the book. I do not want to read the book. The book that can change my life, and has changed my life, is The Good Book...The Bible. Read it is any version, in any time span, in any chapter order. It will change your life.
What got me started on this blog was a you-tube video with Oprah talking about A New Earth.
Among other things, she talks about 'your life, your spirituality, your authentic self'. Contrary to this way of thinking is the first sentence of Rick Warren's book, A Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For, which says, "It's not about you". Bottom line- it's not about you or your authentic self- we were created by God for His pleasure.
Oprah also has it wrong when she (incorrectly) talks about how she cannot believe that God is a jealous God because if He is omnipotent and omnipresent, then how could He possibly be jealous of her, or any of us? HELLO!!! God is not jealous of US; He is jealous of us worshiping someone or something other than Him. He will not tolerate that. He cannot tolerate us worshiping money, television, an athlete or even our own family. We were created for worship- by Him and for Him. The Bible says that if we fail to worship Him, then the rocks will cry out in worship. But that is NOT what the rocks were created to do. We were! If we fail to do the job we were created to do, we are, in Oprah's words, denying our 'authentic self'.
Now do not get me wrong, God also created family, work, and even athletes. It is OK to partake in all of these things, and to pursue them with excellence.
But we must stop short of worshiping them.
And if you are choosing Sunday morning as your time to worship, and it is a beautiful day, so you choose golf instead, then where is your worship? I'm just sayin'....
Oprah also has it wrong in saying that 'spirituality is not believing, but a feeling'. YIPES!!! God's word also commands us to 'continually re-new our minds' but the heart (where we feel) is the great deceiver.
In today's program, Oprah also said that she has recently come to understand that Jesus did not come to die on the cross, but to show us the way to live a Christ-like life.
WHAT???
It is not about 'us'; we cannot save ourselves by what we do. It IS all about Jesus dying on the cross, being the perfect, sinless sacrifice, seated at the right-hand of the Father constantly pleading on behalf of those who believe in Him.
Jesus the Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament.
He HAD to die and be resurrected!
Some of those most quoted scripture of the New Testament, the guideline we use to live a Christian life, was written by Paul, who did not even come to know Jesus until after His death. Paul's teachings are not a first-hand account of how Jesus lived His life.
The New Testament is not about the apostles, or Paul, or even about you or me. It is a wonderful example of how to live out a Christ-like life, but the New Testament is all about Jesus, and what He did for us on the cross.
I am also going to add that because of Jesus' sinless sacrifice on the cross, when we come to know Him and ask Him to abide in us, our eternal life with Him begins at that moment. My eternal life is not going to begin after I take my last breath on this Earth. My eternal life has already begun! Even on the worst of days, I do not despair. (I might have a good cry and go back to bed, but I know that when I wake up again, it IS a new beginning!)

This post has gotten long and deep, (or deep and wide, as the case might be), but I do hope it has struck a chord with you. What I am finding is the more I have to dig deep to understand what it is about my faith in Christ that I so firmly believe, the more firmly I believe in my faith in Christ. And I think that is exactly what God intended when He commanded us to continually re-new our minds.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Last Run of the Season

Literally...the last run of the season...Afton Alps closed for the season just hours after we left. And it was a great run. Warm and slushy, but a great run!! Isabella and Lisi took a quick, and in their words "not boring" 2 hour ski lesson, while Mark and I were able to ski on our own and break in our new skis. Such fun!! Then we joined up with the girls, grabbed a quick lunch, and went to ski as a family. We were SO proud of them for successfully using the chair lift, and despite the slushy conditions, both girls did a GREAT job. And once again, we had to coax Isabella off the mountain...she loves to ski!Isabella on the chair lift (with her instructor)
Lisi on the chairlift (with her instructor)
"I think I ski better with my tongue sticking out."~ Isabella, age 6
(pushing herself along in the slush by using my poles)
Isabella taking a break from Spring Skiing
(with a little, bitty snow man in the background)
Lisi taking a break from Spring Skiing at Afton Alps

Izzy's Ice Cream, St Paul

Not only did we have a GREAT day of skiing in Minnesota, we also toured the St Paul area...and found "Izzy's Ice Cream Shop"!!! One of the unique aspects of Izzy's, is that every scoop of ice cream is topped with an "Izzy Scoop"...a little, tiny scoop (of a different flavor of your choosing) on top! Izzy's also creates unique flavors, and the shop utilizes solar power!!!
order an Izzy, Izzabella, Izzadae...the list goes on and on!
Our Izzy had a complimentary "double Izzy" just because of her name!!
Lisi enjoying an Izzy-size in an Izzy's cup!