Thursday, June 28, 2012

And the winner is....

By a landslide....#10- The creepy hugging naked baby dolls. Yikes! :)

I owe my friend Diane a treat. :) She was the one who spotted the creepy babies.

For some reason I think she'd rather go to the wineries than go for ice cream. After all, she WAS the winner. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Your Vote Is Needed- The Creepy Creeperton Contest

What should two bored moms with four bored kids do on a hot day?

How about heading down to Old Town to take your kids to the root beer bottling company for cold sodas, the candy store for a bunch of sugar, and the antique shop for a creepy contest?

The contest:

Find the most weird/creepy thing in the store. 

Here is where we need your help. We each think our "find" is the creepiest. We need a vote. Please add a comment, voting on which picture YOU think is the weirdest thing. The winner  (whoever found the creepiest or weirdest item) will be choosing the treat of his or her choice. :)

The contest will close on Tuesday 6/26 at 8:00 PM. :)

CREEPY WEIRD THING #1: Dusty, twisted necked baby on a high shelf

CREEPY WEIRD THING #2: Smirking Camel

CREEPY WEIRD THING #3: Doll holding a doll


CREEPY WEIRD THING #5: Demented Shirley Temple

CREEPY WEIRD THING #6: Tractor (not sure this participant knew "creepy" didn't mean "cool")

CREEPY WEIRD THING #7: Statue of a pump/well thing

CREEPY WEIRD THING #8: Porcelain asparagus

CREEPY WEIRD THING #9: Sparkly Lamp with polkadot bow tie

CREEPY WEIRD THING #10: Naked hugging babies. (I personally think the doll in the metal container behind them is also creepy...)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Scrumptious, Silly, Sublime Summer

 Giving our lemonade stand $$ to the Animal Shelter.
 These two are just about the sweetest pair I've seen in a while!
 Out to lunch with the ladies.
  Blanket forts!
 Homemade waffles....
 ...with chocolate chips!
 Pink Toes and striped Toms
 Swingin' at the park

Thursday, June 21, 2012


 We followed the directions...
 Wore our aprons...
Why, oh why, did our cookies come out looking like flat, brown discs of disappointment?

Why, when Jeff Smith makes cookies, do they turn out looking like moist, luscious pieces of Heaven?

....Even when he detours away from recipes, adding a pinch more here and there...

...Even when he allows his greedy girls (including me) to eat the dough incrementally....


Super Pets!!!

 Bored? In a summer funk? Why not get out the project stickers and Dad's bucket of garage rags and change your regular, ordinary, every day pets into SUPER PETS?

 Are they happy? They don't have TIME to be happy. They are too busy figuring out how to save the world.

 The Super Pets have work to do.

Olivia and Sophie are ready to fight against evil.

 Gus plans to use his magic basket to fly out of town and confront the bad guys. (Gussy Boy loves nothing more than a basket.)

 You may think he's mad, but he's not. He just takes his job VERY seriously.

Super Pets!!!!!

*No pets were harmed in the making of this blog.

**Costume ideas and implementation by Emma Smith, Pet Fashionista.

*** Many thanks to Augustus, aka Gus, Ginny Weasely, Sophie the Roc, and Olivia Lou Pie for their cooperation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cousin Interview: Version 2.0

Four years ago I interviewed Ian, Emma, and Grace about marriage.  (Click here to see: Marriage Survey: June 2008 )

Here is version 2.0.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you want to live?

Ian: The beach.

Grace: Uhhhh...anywhere by ranches and beaches.

Emma: I want to La Cresta or somewhere.

When do you think you will get married?

Ian:, 21 or 22.

Grace: In the future. Um...25-ish.

Emma: Uh...I don't know. No...I don't know.

What are the things you need to look for in a boyfriend/girlfriend or a future spouse?

Ian: Ummm...what's the of humor. Uh....nice. They have a good sense of humor.

Grace: Ummmmmm...ummmm....ummmmmm...hold on, I'm thinking. Ooooh...somebody who likes my duct tape creations.

Emma: I don't know. Niceness.

How many children do you plan to have?

Ian: Two. One girl and one boy.

Grace: I'm planning to adopt three children.

Emma: Two adopted.

What is your future career?

Ian: A firefighter

Grace: Ummm...something with animals and something with duct tape.

Emma: An animal cop.

As you enter middle school/high school, what are you excited about? What are you nervous about?

Ian: Excited about water polo. Nervous about classes like math.

Grace: Excited about a day with no homework. Nervous about homework. Ian said they have really good chocolate chip cookies.

Emma: Excited about the teachers. Nervous about if anybody will like me.

Describe your perfect day.

Ian: ummmm...You wake up, you eat food, you go swim, and you hang out with anyone. (Danielle: "With your mom?" Ian: "Maybe.)

Grace: Ummmmm....I have a couple perfect days. Going to Disneyland and going around in an electric wheelchair or something. Riding dolphins in the ocean. Finding a time machine and going to different times. Oh yeah. uh huh....

Emma: A day at the beach or at the ranch.

What would you like to tell your future self about your self today?

Ian: Can I give them"Stay Golden" or "Never read Bradbury or whatever his name is again?"

Grace: Uhhhummmm....stay strong and keep working on duct tape stuff.

Emma: always be kind to people.

Ohhhh....boy. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Booklights and Blanket Forts

 We had a good old fashioned power outage on our street last night. It lasted from 6:30 until sometime in the middle of the night.  
 Digging out all of the candles, we lit up our house like a cathedral and listened to the quiet creaks and hums of the neighborhood.
The girls decided to make blanket forts in the living room. We opened the windows for some fresh air and allowed the flickers of the tiny flames to dance on our walls. Jeff Smith declared that his flashlight/headlamp made him the coolest of all. We retrieved our book lights and read. Softly, slowly, our house settled into the quiet night. Afraid of lighting the neighborhood on fire, we blew out the candles and went to sleep.
Morning came. The fans blurred with activity. The digital alarms flashed red numbers. The microwave clock beeped. The coffee grinder growled. The quiet softness of the house was left behind as the machines took over once again.

Or did they?

The girls were not ready to give in to the pull of technology.

Emma remained in her cozy nest reading.

 Grace stayed burrowed in her blanket fort making clever creations with her collection of duct tape.
 The world got back to its busy whirling while my cozy nook remained untouched.
 Even Olivia knew that the house was changed as she watched us all with a pensive glance.
And then Mama got on the computer and blogged about all of it, ironically relying on the very technology she so enjoyed being without for a short span of time.

The end.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Love x 3!

Oh how I love these ladies! (Danielle, my sister, on the left, and Toni, my mom, on the right.)

Every time I am with Danielle, I laugh so hard my cheeks hurt. She is so funny. She makes voices for animals, and is able to make fun of herself (and me) in a way that points out our flaws while showing love at the same time. That is just the beginning, though. Danielle is the most caring person I know. She loves animals and children, and her passion spills into her every day life. Some people talk about saving the dolphins or helping orphans; my sister SAVES the dolphins and HELPS the orphans. :) Her non-profit, Salvation International, raises money for couples who wish to adopt. She works tirelessly to promote Salvation so she can give money away. Although she would like to adopt herself, she knows that helping others adopt is a way she can contribute. Children LOVE Danielle. Whether they are her former dance students, her nieces, or her kids' friends, young people like to be around Danielle. Actually....everyone likes to be around Danielle. She accepts people for who they are and never judges them. God's love shines through her. I've learned a lot through my sister. (Who knew that the little sister would teach the big sister?) She enjoys each moment of her life, whether the smallest walk or the largest get together. She has true joie de vivre!

My mom taught me the most important thing in life: love never fails. (One of the most important sentences in the Bible, in my opinion!) Her grandmother, (Grandma Otti's mom) taught this to my mom. She loves me and my sister unconditionally. If you are in the hospital, my mom will drop everything and accompany you. Just recently, when Jeff had surgery on his knee during finals at my high school, it was my mom who drove him there, got the information from the doctor, and waited in the waiting room during the surgery, texting me updates. She is truly "there" if you need her. When I had the girls, my mom stayed with me for three weeks, helping me with their first baths, feeding schedules, and housecleaning. She even let me sleep when my lack of sleep caused me have a new mommy meltdown. My mom treats people who aren't in our family as if they are a part of the family. I know that we have many "adopted" siblings who crave the love that my mom has shown them. :) I'm glad to share.

How did I become so blessed? I hope I tell these ladies how much I love them on a frequent basis. I hope God knows that I know that He has blessed me. I hope I am as wonderful a sister and daughter to them as they are sister and mother to me.



Me: Girls! Smile!

Them: See above.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What 40 Has Done to Me

I don't know how it happened, but I'm 40.

It's just another year. I'm only two months away from 39.

But I'm different.

I'm different in every way.

I used to be melancholy. I would spend time longing for things in the past and wishing I could touch those moments again. (Baby videos...childhood photos....yowzas!) Now, I realize with ferocity that these ARE those moments. Every single moment is to be tasted, savored, enjoyed, and loved. My once Kindergarten-aged daughters are 11-year-olds, and I need to squeeze every beloved ounce of enjoyment and quality out of 11. I will do that again with 12, 13, 14....59...80. I will do it until my time on this earth is over.

I've learned to forgive completely. I don't hold grudges or hate EVER. I'm not saying I was walking around a few months ago with anger and hatred, but what my late '30's taught me was that in the Bible, where it says to "love one another" and to forgive others, it's not just a suggestion. It's a commandent...Jesus's most important one. I get it now. Thoroughly. I let things go.

This is cliche, but I worry a lot less over what everyone else thinks about me. I feel confident having an opinion. I trust my gut, and spend a lot less time second guessing myself. I don't feel like I have to justify my decisions or explain myself. This is a big one for me. Growing up with a pretty strict dad caused me to respect authority, but also to feel like I was "in trouble" a lot. I questioned everything. Did I make the right decision? Did I do something wrong? Was I bugging someone else? Now, not so much. I still have a healthy respect for authority, but those feelings of insecurity are gone.

I've learned not to worry. I was a worrier, and I never understood why that was a problem. (As if any of that worrying ever helped anything!) A profound truth I've embraced is that worrying is selfish. It tells God that you think you are in control, when in actuality, HE is in control. I release it to him. This has had a major effect on me. It's so freeing to trust God and to know he's got you covered. I'm not a tattoo person, but if I were to get one, it would be Luke 12:24-28:

          "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds
            them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a
            single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the
            rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon
            in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
            which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you,
            O you of little faith!"

More than ever, I've become a Bible reader. For too long, I carried it to church and wrote in the margins during the sermon. Now, I use it as a toolbox of help, support, knowledge, and beauty. It's my most important book.

Phew! Isn't 40 wonderful? It has been an awakening for me. Years of reflection and knowledge have stacked up to this moment, and WOW. I get it!

At 50, I may think what a naive youngin' I was at 40, but somehow I doubt it.