Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I have a friend V who, like me, has only sons - she has two, to be exact.  Sometimes she'll text me when she's shopping to get my opinion on an outfit or shoes, and I'm more than happy to let her know what I think, especially when I'm asked!  My friend is also a stay-at-home mom, so we both try and spend as little as possible when shopping.

Here was our recent conversation (via text):

Me:  Maybe you can find a skirt at Target.
V:  I have two maxi skirts.  I'll send a pic tomorrow.  I have a Kohl's gift card.
Me:  Gift cards rock.
V: Oh yeah.  However [my son] has 2 Target gift cards...
Me:  Lol I've done that before.
V:  So sad...  1 toy, 3 skirts!  Lol
Me:  How did 1 toy get in there??  I'm like "We need shampoo.  I'll pay you back next month."
V:  Well I'm being nice.  I'll buy him a toy with his gift card and I use the rest for me.  Aha I'm glad I'm not the only one!!!  Lol
Me:  Because you can't buy shampoo at Toys R Us so they get to keep those.
V:  Darn Toys R Us.

Fist bump, high five, shout out to those moms who keep it real and use their kids' gift cards for themselves.  We'll pay them back next month, right??

Monday, April 27, 2015

19 Years and Counting

Hi!  It's me again!  Only a one year and three month gap between posts!  That has GOT to be a record!

In a nutshell, the family is fine.  Justin and I turned 43 this year.  Jonah is 13, James is 10, and Jed and Jack are 8.  Since it's been so long, I decided to go back in time and read some posts from 2007, the year the twins were born and the same year we started this blog.  After scrolling through only a few posts, I immediately regret the long lapses between updates that have occurred since about 2010 or so.

That's because I am a super bad record keeper.  Jonah's baby book is half full, James has a baby book that only has his family tree filled in, and the twins each have a new and unopened baby book to call his own.  I also have tons of photos in the hard drive and so many Shutterfly coupons for free photo books that have gone unused.  Yay, Mom!

So I am renewing my dedication to this blog because there is still plenty of good stuff.  I have no more excuses about not having time to blog or being too tired.  I am letting too many fun memories go undocumented, and I need to share them with you so I don't forget them myself.

Hmm... where do I start?  Well, today is Justin's and my 19th wedding anniversary.  Not such a milestone like 10 or 20 years, but still worth celebrating.  Justin brought home two dozen roses ("I wanted to round up", he said) and I wrote him a sappy card.  AND I made a point to blog about it.

More to come.  :o)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


When I graduated from high school in 1990, I had the outlook that most seniors have when they graduate:  I was idealistic.  I was headed to college in the fall and I was most eager for independence.  I appreciated the education I received from a small, private high school, but I looked forward to wearing what I wanted, studying what I wanted, and exploring the bigger world.  It should be of no surprise, then, that Dead Poets Society was my favorite movie at the time.  I could relate the the uniformed school boys who were expected to be conservative in thought and action, but who desired to explore beyond their parents' rules and the rules of their boarding school.  I soaked in the words of Professor Keating, whose lessons in literature provided a gateway for them to intellectually grow.

When Apple released this commercial for the new iPad Air, I was struck not by the images, but by the audio.  It took me a while to recognize it.  I knew the voice, then the words came back to me, then the movie scene when it was spoken.  Apple used a key monologue from Dead Poets Society to promote the iPad Air and their vision of life as "poetry, beauty, romance and love".  When I saw and heard the commercial, I was taken back to that time when those were my aspirations, too.  Here's the ad:

If I compare my priorities as an 18 year old going to college to those of a 41 year old stay-at-home mom, I still see the "poetry, beauty, romance, and love" in my life.  The poetry is now that of the Psalms, meant for us to lift up and let out our hearts toward God.  I also know that "beauty is passing", but my goal is to be "a woman who fears the LORD, [for] she shall be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)  And, ah, the romance.  After 17 years of marriage to my college sweetheart, yet still "I am my beloved's, And my beloved is mine." (Song of Solomon 6:3)  I am completely blessed to love and be loved by a faithful man and four rambunctious sons, and to know the love of Jesus, for "We love Him because He first loved us." (1John 4:19)

So thank you, Apple, for taking me down memory lane.  You have reminded me that my life is this "powerful play", and by living it for Jesus I may "contribute a verse".

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I know many people choose January 1 as the start of their "something new" or "something better".  As for me, I'm just hoping to accomplish what the Lakers did by winning the NBA Championship in 2000, 2001 and 2002:  I'm going for a three-peat.

For the past two years, I have set a goal of reading through the entire Bible in a year.  The first year was really hard - when I got to Exodus 25-27 and read through the specifics of building the tabernacle, I glazed over at all the details and thought organic chemistry was easier to follow.  Then when I got to 1Chronicles and nine chapters of genealogy (yes, nine!) starting with Adam himself, I questioned why I would ever need to know that Ram begot Amminadab and Amminadab begot Nahshon.  But as I continued concurrently through the Old and New Testaments, I realized that it all came down to God's faithfulness.  He can give instructions so specific that we need not doubt what to do.  He lists generations and generations of people He has used for His will and His glory to assure me that His promises never fail, and that "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  (Romans 8:28)

Last year, I was more familiar with the time commitment and remembered which parts weren't, say, so exciting.  I forced myself to find one new thing about those parts of Scripture, something I had never learned before, "that all may learn and all may be encouraged." (1Corinthians 14:31)  As I checked off the days, I would remind myself to thank the Lord that I could even read the Bible freely, whenever and wherever I wanted.  Now, let's be real - in no way did I always stay on schedule.  Some days it really is a lot of reading.  Or, of course, I didn't make enough time to keep up.  In fact (confession looming), I read through the assigned chapters for the last five days of the year just THIS MORNING so I could say I did it!  (Fine, I know it's January 1 and not December 31, but I'm giving myself props anyway.)

Now that I'm starting my third year of reading the entire Bible, I thought I'd share about it, because maybe it's your time to start.  If you are seeking some kind of New Year's resolution, or for those of you who need a gentle reminder, we are called to be in the Word of God:  "you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it." (Joshua 1:8)  I am still trying to make it a habit, and I know there are will be times when I miss my daily or nightly reading.  But I know my efforts will draw me closer to Him, which is something He desires of us whatever time of year.

So come on, say it with me:  "Three-peat!  Three-peat!"

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

(W)Rap Artist

Christmas Eve is also my mom's birthday, so this day has had a hint of sadness since she passed away almost 19 years ago.  There are so many things that come to mind when I think of my mom and Christmas, but I have the most memories when it comes to wrapping presents.

I remember how quickly she could do it herself, always perfect in the amount of paper she used and the amount of ribbon she pulled off the spool.  Her organized mind was evident in the pre-torn pieces of tape she would have stuck to the back of her hand, or stuck to the side of the table where she was wrapping, ready for immediate use at each fold of the paper.  I noticed she never tried to wrap an odd-shaped toy or mug or whatever without putting it in a box first - this ensured the neatness of the package.  And she never left a present without a bow - she had a bow maker when she wanted to be fancy, but she wasn't beyond using the stick-on kind.  She just wanted it to be nice.

When I started choosing presents on my own to give to others, the first thing my mom did was to teach me how to wrap them properly.  Of course, teaching me to use the right amount of paper and ribbon involved lots of eyeballing, which I was bad at doing.  Many times I'd cut too much or, even worse, too little.  In the latter case, my mom told me to save that piece that was cut too small, because inevitably there would be another gift of appropriate size to use it on.  I still make that mistake to this day, so if you look inside the tubes of gift wrap in my closet, you'll find many rolled scraps meant not to go to waste.  Folding the corners on the present wrapping proved to be even more of a challenge.  Whereas her corners were always so crisp, mine left wrinkles and bulges that made the gift look like it needed a facelift.  But she assured me that, with practice, the corners would get more snug and the edges more flat.  After 30 years of wrapping my own presents, she was right.  And, per her example, I never forget the bow.  For any of you who have received a wrapped present from me, you know my fallback is curling ribbon.  Curly is about as fancy as I get.

Now in no way am I against gift bags, in case you were wondering.  I just feel like I'm honoring my mom when I wrap at Christmastime.  I value what she taught me and I don't want to forget it.  And I think the way I wrap presents is a good reflection of my mom:  simple, considerate, and nice.

"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."  Luke 2:7

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

4 Minutes

Every minute counts in a house with six people.  We do our best to start our days with some quiet time with the Lord in Bible study.  We have to be efficient in our daily work and make sure to leave room for quality time with each other.  On school days there needs to be time for all (ok, most.  Some?) subjects, and after school we need to be aware of the clock in order to get the two oldest boys to basketball practice on time.

After stopping at a few stores after school and on the way to practice today, I just HAD to make time for coffee.  We stopped at Starbucks, and, after ordering a grande Christmas blend, I was told it would be 4 minutes till the brew was done and the barista asked if I wanted to wait.  I looked at my watch and we STILL had 30 minutes until practice.  I had to take the twins to the restroom.  Jonah and James had to go, too.  We had time to wait, so we did.  Then I got my coffee.  :o)

I had promised the kids I would get them a snack on the way to practice, so after Starbucks we drove through Wendy's and I placed four orders of the six piece chicken nuggets.  I got my total and pulled up to the window and paid.  At that point, I found out that only three of the four orders were ready.  The cashier told me it would be 4 minutes before the last order would be finished cooking and asked if I wanted to wait.  I looked at my watch and we ONLY had 20 minutes until practice.  I also figured fresh nuggets would be super hot and that it would take too long for them to cool.  We didn't have time to wait, so I got three orders and was refunded for the fourth.  Jonah ate 4 nuggets and the other three boys had to share the 14 remaining.  I know that meant 4.6 each, but they were bummed at not getting all 6 and their own nugget container.  But they still got their snack.

So now I'm wondering if I gypped my sons.  We arrived at basketball practice 5 minutes before it started.  As I sipped my coffee, I saw the look of disappointment on all of their faces.  I felt bad for the extra 4 minutes that I took, and now I realize it should have been spent on them.  Let's see... if I do my math correctly, I owe them 1 minute each.  In that minute I can't go back to Wendy's and give them their own 6 chicken nuggets, but I can give them a 60 second apology filled with hugs and kisses.  Now THAT would be time well spent.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Shop Till You Drop

Back in the 80s, I loved going to the mall.  Like all teenagers, I had the most fun hanging out with my friends and going to my favorite stores like Contempo, Wild Pair, and The Broadway.  We would coordinate whose parents would drop off and whose parents would pick up, and it was always exciting when we could walk around on our own and didn't have to be chaperoned by an older sibling.

Since then, God blessed me with four sons, which brought my desire AND my ability to go to the mall to a screeching halt.  My boys are classic boys, born with the absence of the "shopping" gene and double the dose of the "runs around stores" gene.  At the mere mention of the mall, they begin a tirade of complaints, and I am positive that they the only humans who literally melt into useless blobs upon stepping into a Macy's.  But over time, I have come to accept and somewhat agree with their opinions on mall shopping.  It can be crowded and parking is usually bad.  I no longer understand the teenage culture, so communicating with a cashier who has to pull up his saggy pants every 30 seconds, or with a salesperson who asks me to wait as she finishes her texting, is a bit frustrating.  

As a result, I have come to enjoy online shopping.  Maybe a little TOO much.  It's so convenient now to scour the internet for the exact item I want, or to compare prices and item descriptions with just a few clicks.  I know blogging about internet shopping is nothing new (I might as well tell you about the advantages of push-button phones), but with the comings and goings of four boys, I have my favorite sites:    Justin discovered this site a few years ago for Black Friday deals.  This site actually updates the most recent online deals every few minutes, so checking it every hour or so always produces something new.  It covers all categories of items, from clothing to home items and jewelry to electronics.  I always check this site first when I shop online, but I must admit that the main thing I look for on this site is a great deal - impulse shoppers beware!    If you didn't know already, is the outlet for Zappos.  They have some of the same current items as Zappos, but the selection of sizes or colors may be fewer.  They do have a wide selection of clothing and shoes from past seasons.  I've been wearing lots of the same clothes since the 90s (fine - the 80s), so finding a bargain from something that came out last year is still a bargain worth buying.  Also, always has special sales to celebrate certain holidays, and, from experience, sometimes it's worth it to wait a few weeks for an item to be reduced even further. is a hit and miss, but they usually have new things on sale every few days.  Shipping is not always free, so that's something to wait for, also.    This site is growing in popularity, as it provides extra discount codes for online sites.  If I ever order anything online, I always check first for any other code I can apply.  I have also used this site a few times to double check whether a retail site is legit.  If I can't find it on, I don't order from that site.     My friend told me about this site that is all about rebates.  Before I make an online purchase, I check, THEN I check lists cashback percentages and once you sign up, you can shop the regular sites through the ebate link and you'll automatically earn money back if the site you're shopping on has an ebate offer.  This is a great site because it doesn't require racking up points and you don't have to get others to sign up (but if you do decide to sign up, let me know because I get a bonus).  :o)  I have already received two checks in the mail, and gives you a running total of your rebates due and pays out quarterly.  Free money?  Yes, please!

So there you have it:  how to shop wisely and quickly while saving money AND making money.  I no longer need to be in the mall where, as a mom, I'd mostly focus on my kids not getting kidnapped.  I have changed out the company of my junior high friends for the company of my sons, and, ironically, I now have them to thank for making my shopping experience the most efficient and it's ever been.