Friday, June 28, 2013

Her Highness, The four-year-old

Our sweet princess turned four last week.  For the second year in a row we were out of pocket for her big day.  This has been hard for me because I so love making a big deal out of my kiddos' birthdays.  And after her heart-breaking declaration last year of "all I wanted was some cake on a princess plate" as she went to sleep disappointed on her birthday...I (with the awesome help of my Momma) was determined to not let her down this year.  Never fear.  She was certainly celebrated.

We kicked off the celebrations with the delivery of her new bicycle before we left town.  This is a four-year-old rite of passage at our house.  She's not nearly as confident on it as the boys were at four...probably because she rarely even peddles her tricycle long before she asks to ride in the stroller.  But she did LOVE the idea of the basket on the front for her babies and she L-O-V-E-D the bell.  And of course loved that it was pink.

I'm going to choose to continue my practice of honoring my husband on this blog.  And NOT even go there on how much he looked for the perfect bike for his princess.  I'll give him credit, he found this (usually quite expensive) one used.  But in comparison to the length of time and effort we put into searching for the boys' first like I said...I better not go there.  Let's just leave it at- she certainly has her Daddy wrapped around her finger.  Love you, Babe.

Next we celebrated with grandparents as well as Aunts & Uncles in Tennessee.  She had cupcakes at the park and lots of fun playtime with some of her favorite people.

Then when she got home, she got to have more fun with more favorite people- family at Grammy's house.  Another great celebration.

She got princesses, babydoll clothes, sparkly pink shoes and cake.  She was one happy four-year-old princess.  And I was so thankful that those who love her worked so hard to make her feel special.  THANK YOU!

Sweet princess girl-
I feel quite certain that the Lord looked at our family, knew we would need some sparkly pizazz, and promptly sent you to us.  He knew you'd be so full of girly life that we would only need one princess in our family.  And He knew how much joy you would bring.  I couldn't be more thrilled that you are part of our team. 

You are one-of-a-kind in so many ways.  But especially in your confidence.  I just wish there was a way I could bottle up some of your self-confidence now and hand it back to you in about 10 years.  You absolutely believe that you can do anything you set your mind to.  You come down the stairs after getting dressed in even the most ridiculous of ensembles fulling believing you look like a million bucks.  You bounce into a room just KNOWING that everyone there will be delighted to see you.  And you sit down next to me, cross your legs, and ask "what would you like to talk about?" like we are grown women meeting for coffee.  I love it!

I've often commented that while your brothers would help me with just about anything I asked them to, you are the only one perceptive enough to realize when I need help before I ask it.  You love to set the table, rinse dishes after we eat, help me with baby C and remind your bigger brothers of the rules.  This is just one of what appears to be many differences between the boys and you, the only girl, in our family.  Another way you "notice" is that you always tell me that I'm beautiful and sweet.  "Momma you are the sweetest Momma" is one of your favorite phrases.  That and "I like your shirt/hair/shoes/earings (or whatever else you happen to notice)"  In that way you SHARE some of the confidence which you seem to have in such great supply.
One other thing I love about you right now is your flare for the dramatic.  This sometimes comes out in very positve ways like "This is the best (fill in the blank) IN THE WHOLE WIDE WUHLD".  But sometimes it also presents itself as what we affectionatly refer to as "Lou ailments".  Things that hurt or ache or are frustrating are absolutely the end of the "whole wide wuhld".  And OH WOW when you see a dog coming.  I'm pretty sure our neighbors in ALASKA can hear you scream.  Oh you make us laugh.

But while most of the times these characteristics are quite endearing.  Sometimes.  Well, sometimes they aren't.  Mostly because I just want you to know its ok to just be FOUR.  I pray so often that I'll be able to mold and shape this confidence and perceptiveness and maturity you have in a way that doesn't squash it but just directs it.  Honestly, I'm at a loss most of the time as to how to do that.  Thank you so much that you don't seem to notice this huge gap in my parenting.  Thank you for teaching me that on my worst days you think I'm "the sweetest" and thank you for teaching me to seek the Lord in parenting in so many new ways.  Really, thank you.

And this year that is my prayer for you.  That our relationship as the two girls (or "guhls") of the house will continue to florish in a way that teaches us both.  That teaches us about being female, that teaches us about confidence, that teaches us about having an zeal for life that is disporportionate to our true circumstance.  And mostly, that our relationship will continue to grow in a way that brings glory to the one who made us each, down to the tiniest detail, and placed us in this family together.  To learn.  To grow.  To love.

I absolutely love you.  More than the stars. 
And more than anything in the whole wide world.
You are my very favorite princess!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Change is Comin'- Try Bloglovin'

I'm not sure I've mentioned it.  Probably not. 
Except we don't say HATE at our house...

Which is why my cell phone looks like this

*Don't be fooled by this stock photo.  Mine is way more "loved" as evidenced by the scratches.  AND i have no idea how to get to a map.  I'm sure I'm not paying for that.

Some call it outdated.  I call it vintage. 
Reliable (at least reliably unreliable). Not too many buttons.  Not too connected. Perfect. 
And I plan to keep it (or its replacement which will be obtained for free from a facebook friend who has considered it trash after upgrading to a smart phone) until AT&T calls me personally and tells me that my vintage phone can no longer be supported by their hi-tech-convoluted-market-controlling-network.  But I don't have a very strong opinion about it.

I also really liked Google Reader.
Until they took it away.
Or made plans to.

Google Reader was my answer to keep myself from clicking mindlessly from one blog to another and just being able to follow the ones that I really wanted to read.  I could keep them all in a nice neat list.  That I could check off.  My happy place.

If you are looking for an alternative to Google Reader (you should be, it will be officially extinct on July 1st) or if you haven't ever used a reader to follow the blogs you like, try this one- Bloglovin. While I actually prefer the clean lines of Feedly, I didn't find it especially user friendly.  It didn't offer me as many options, especially since I do more reading and writing from my PC (reference vintage phone discussion above and then picture my laptop).

I don't know if anyone else actually cares about this, but just thought I'd tell you what my (less than one hour) extensive research yielded - I'll be using Bloglovin' as my new reader.  Try it out and let me know what you think and while you are there you can Follow deeprollingrightfield with Bloglovin to keep up with the cutest blonds on the planet. 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Studying the Gospels in 2013 (and probably 2014).

Check out this link, where I initially wrote about my plan to journey through the Gospels this year.
I haven't shared too much about that journey...YET.  I've talked about Joseph's role and about the compassionate redeeming power of Christ.  But not much else here on the blog about this journey.  Hope to get to that soon.

For now, I did want to throw out the second half of the year's schedule in case anyone is following along.  Never fear if you haven't been keeping up- I'm several weeks behind, too.  Don't let the "schedule" rob you of the opportunity to dive into scripture. We'll just change it to "Studying the Gospels in 2013 AND 2014."  Great, glad I could take that pressure off for you. It is never too late to (re)start this journey of learning more about Jesus through the Word.

I'd also really encourage you to make this a family project.  Memorize scripture, tell your kids what you are reading, ask your spouse to join you.  Our family has been learning the Beatitudes together.  Isn't it always true that you learn more when you are teaching?  It has certainly been the case for me.

If you are interested in an excel version of this schedule with the scripture references, just leave a comment with your email address.  Or email me.  

And if you are starting, restarting, or already fully immersed in this study plan, I'd love to hear about your journey!


26 Wk 1: 102-104
27 Wk 2: 105-108
28 Wk 3: 109-111
29 Wk 4: 112-115
30 Wk 5: 116-120

31 Wk 1: 121-124
32 Wk 2: 125-127
33 Wk 3: 128-132
34 Wk 4: 133-135

35 Wk 1: 136-138
36 Wk 2: 139-141
37 Wk 3: 142-143
38 Wk 4: 144-147

39 Wk 1: 148-151
40 Wk 2: 152-155
41 Wk 3: 156-159
42 Wk 4: 160-162
43 Wk 5: 163-166

44 Wk 1: 167-170
45 Wk 2: 171-175
46 Wk 3: 176-179
47 Wk 4: 180-184

48 Wk 1: 185-189
49 Wk 2: 190-193
50 Wk 3: 194-198
51 Wk 4: Review and Share

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's Your Turn: Karate version

One campus of our church host's a summer sports camp.  The camp takes tons of volunteers in each of the areas: cheerleading, art, karate, soccer, drums and basketball.  They need so many volunteers, in fact, they'll pretty much take anyone.  Wanna know how I'm so sure of that fact?
I emailed the volunteer coordinator two days before camp started and offered to help.  Minutes later (on a weekend), she emailed back, asked zero questions about my "skills" and said "YES, we do still need helpers." Then promptly assigned me to


Ok, I'm exaggerating.  She asked very nicely and acutally she gave me a choice:
cheerleading, art, karate.

let me think about that.
Cheerleading- screaming girls learning "stunts". no, thank you.
Art- need I remind you?  I'm an accountant.  An accountant who was not always a welcome sight in my childhood camp's craft cabin.  The very idea of all that thinking outside the box stresses me out.  So, no, but thank you.
Which leaves Karate.
Or should I say


Here's a little recap of my week:

Night 1:
Headed out the door, I asked KJ "Do I look like a Karate coach?" He responds "Um, mom, you know nothing about karate.  No, you don't."  He was absolutely right. 

I arrived to find that there were actually 5 girls signed up to do Karate.  Turns out, none of them knew anything about karate either.  Awesome, I'll play the encouraging "empathizer" and we'll all learn together.  This is going to be easy.
However, after one of my empathizees met me she snuck out and switched to "drums" before our first lessons even started.

As class began there was some good news for me- there is one Karate instructor, who stands at the front leading class. The rest of us just stand on the edges, try to follow along in case anyone happens to be watching us instead of the really cool guy at the front and we help maintain some sort of crowd control.

I learned a couple of blocks, punches and kicks.  But I did have one major roadblock to being a successful demonstrator at any of these things.  Apparently it is quite necessary to know your right from your left to do Karate.

Finally, on night one, I learned that while no particular equipment or protective gear was required to attend this Karate class...if you have had four babies and are going to try to do many jumping jacks, you're going to need something.  We'll leave that there.

Night 2:
I came better, um, prepared for jumping jacks.

And I figured out if I just listened to the instructor and didn't try to watch him I got less confused about right from left.

I think I might be getting sore.  And I didn't even do the sit ups.

"Cheryut!" means "Attention!" And it works.  Might start using that one at my house.

I learned that the first rule of Karate is always "Take no action" and that it is braver to stop a fight than start one.  I was telling KJ about this on our way home, and even showed him my fancy "STOP" hand position.  To which he responded:
K : "You learned that in Karate"
Me: (beaming with pride) "Yes"
K: "Do you realize that you actually just took both hands off the steering wheel? I'm not sure that is safe"
Me: (deflated) "Right"

I absolutely did not practice "blocks" in the mirror before bed.

Night 3:
It's undeniable now.  I'm sore, like really sore.  And after subtly asking the other "coaches" about it, I'm starting to realize it is not from how hard I've been working, but how wrong I've been working. 

I'm also wondering how wrong it would be to forget the whole "take no action" thing and use my new moves on a couple of the boys in Karate class.  Seriously, I can absolutely wait for my boys to be in the range of 8-10.  I can wait a long time.

Tonight I learned my ace-in-the-hole with KJ, the flying kick.  Although I actually didn't practice it in class and I'm 100% sure that my best efforts were far short of the goal (and you'll never see any picture or video evidence of those efforts), he was very impressed.  And asked me to teach him.  Score.

Night 4
It's "show-off night" for my Karate darlings which = no major exercise for me tonight.  My body thanks me.  I did have the opportunity to practice my jumping kicks again (or flying kicks as I've taken to calling them).  Which is more fun than I'll admit here.

They did their demonstration and I was like a glowing teacher (as if I had anything to do with their successes).  I told a couple of the girls (my "empathizees") how proud I was and even hugged one of the boys that I earlier wanted to try some Karate blocks on.

The end.

In summary
I realize I've just written way too many words about my (short-lived) profession as a Karate coach.  Trust me, if you'd been there you would see the humor.  Then again, if you know me well, it won't take much stretching of your imagination to picture it.

The theme for the camp week was "It's Your Turn".  Your turn to be confident.  Your turn to make good choices.  Your turn to be fearless.  And your turn to be forgiven.  It was a great series for sports camp!

But apparently it was my turn to try something new.  And I believe that I was exactly where I needed to be this week.  If for no other reason, it was great exercise.  And I met some fun new friends (Cyndi-shout-out). And I have to admit that a good "hi-yah" is some awesome stress relief.

I'm not sure how helpful I actually was to our real Karate instructor (who was awesome with these kiddos, by the way).  But, at the beginning of the week I made a choice.  If I was assigned to Karate, I was all in.  One thing I hope to always teach my kids is that the sidelines sure are comfortable, but I've never regretted leaving them behind to jump into the game.  Even when, at times, it means failing miserably.

And even then, it makes for a great story.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

First and Last Days of school

So it only took me until the last day of school to realize I never blogged about Cbug or Lou's first days of school this year.  Ah well.  Instead, may I present a comparison...

KJ looks so big to me now.  It is like overnight he is officially seven.  He was so excited about the last day of school and ready to be a first grader.  KJ is also looking forward to being back at home more this summer after having to be at school EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  He can't wait to just play at home with his siblings and has grand plans for how he will fill that time.  And I can't wait to have them all four together some during the days.

Cbug will always be my clown of a picture taker.  I can definitely see a lot of change in him this year, though.  His teacher has really cultivated in him a love of learning.  I could hardly even talk to her today when picking him up because I knew I would melt into a puddle of tears if I tried to thank her in person for the way she has loved this boy.

I can see the biggest change in Lou's pictures recently.  In fact, RRL sent me a picture of her today from her end of the year party and I was shocked at how much older she looks all of a sudden.  Lou has had an awesome year with a teacher that really nurtured a class full of girls.  Her sweet teacher atentatively cared for each of Lou's "ailments" as well as taught her so much about loving Jesus.  What a great year!

So- I loved seeing pictures other friends took of their kids in the same clothes at the beginning of the year and the end of the year.  I thought this was an awesome idea UNTIL I realized just how much my kids had grown.  The boys shirts barely fit and Lou's dress definitely required leggings this time. 

AND those of you that know me well can easily imagine the near panic that ensued when I realized I had swapped the boys shirts (from first day vs last day).  I realized as I was looking back at their FDOS pictures to make sure they stood in generally the same place (type A, much?). I actually said outloud to console myself, "It doesn't matter, its not a big deal, they are just different colors".  And from across the room RRL was cracking up, laughing at me.  He knew that I was all talk.  It totally mattered to me.  BUT HEY, I'm making progress.  I did stop myself short of making them change and just went on with our day.  Aren't you proud?

As it turns out, we've all done some growing and learning and changing this school year.
And I'm so proud of all of us!
Here's to another great year and the start of an AWESOME SUMMER!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Soaring into Seven

KJ started his big day with some birthday Kolaches and opening a fun present- his scooter!

But the real fun was still to come.
For his birthday party, KJ:
1 - LOVED that school was "cancelled" on his big day and wanted to have a party on Memorial day
2 - Requested that he be able to invite his entire class plus a few other of his favorites.
3 - Wanted to have icecream sundaes with "lots of topping choices"
4 - Wanted to have a contest flying paper airplanes

This seriously was the best/easiest birthday party ever.  I did stay up super late the night before (with sweet RRL) taking care of some details that didn't get started until too late (translation: I had done NOTHING for this party before 9pm on birthday eve), but the party itself was so simple.  And because it was seriously the EASIEST party, it made it the most fun EVER for the hosts.  I'd hate to keep such fun to ourselves, so momma friends take note- here's an easy recipe for birthday party success:

1) Choose a park location with a field or tennis court for your run-ways and pavilion for eating.  Call me lazy, but it is like 100000000 times easier for me to not have to clean and prepare my home for a party.  Plus, if you find the right park - it is FREE!  AND BONUS- icecream on the ground at the park = food for animals (but icecream on my floors = not so fun times cleaning up).

2) We had the icecream sundaes (technically custard sundaes) catered thanks to a genius idea from RRL.  The verdict is still out as to whether this was actually $ cheaper than buying all of the icecream, toppings, papergoods, etc ourselves.  But I can guarantee you that not having to do any food prep or cleanup, not having to keep icecream cold, making exactly zero trips to the grocery store (other than water bottles that RRL picked up), and doing zero food serving at the party = totally worth it.

3) We found an ap for our printer that would print out plane designs with instructions for non-creative types.  We also found a few simple paper-plane-making-instruction pages via google to print and tape down on the tables as decoration.

4) We took a bunch of paper, crayons, colored tape, scissors, glue sticks that we already have in our kids' craft area in a couple of plastic bins.

5) We spent like 30 minutes just letting the kids "create" as many planes as they wanted.  We asked parents to get involved, working with their kids to make and decorate the planes.  This made for some fun family time for our friends and also took all the pressure off of RRL and I to be solo-entertainers.

6) We enlisted help some AMAZING help from two of our favorite 8th graders!!  They wiped hands, helped set-up and clean-up, ran the competition, awarded prizes for the flying contestants and generally just were their fun kid-entertaining-selves!  I loved the creative awards they came up with to ensure that every kid won something (this was how we gave out party favors). Mind you, there were 20+ kids so this was no small task for these AWESOME teens.  If you ignore every single other part of this post- do not plan another party without fully implementing this strategy of enlisting younger/cooler people to help.

7) Because we invited so many friends, KJ certainly did not "need" to receive that many toys as gifts.  So we worked together to come up with a solution that fit with the theme.  His friends all brought him paper to help donate to his school.  He loved getting to take it and give it to his principal. 

as a quick aside: She said she'd never, in all her years of working in schools, seen anything like this.  It made me incredibly thankful for the church family that we are part of that cultivates giving.  We have learned so much from our teachers and leaders there as well as our friends who model for us how to turn just about anything into a lesson of giving.  We are so blessed!!

See!  Seven easy steps to fun, right?
And a huge hit with our seven-year-old!
This would make an awesome block-party or just summer family activity, too.