This is my life...a series of dreams come true on a daily basis. Join me as I run down my dream - maybe you will find your dream in the process.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just a few more photos...

Scarlett on Appalachian Trailhead

Mommy and her baby girl

Clingman's Dome - Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cool barn/shed in Smokies

Jackson and his Pappaw

Mom and Pat

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

Monday, September 26, 2011

This past weekend, my mom treated our family to a weekend at the Fryemont Inn in Bryson City, NC.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Mom and Pat in NC.

Saturday, we took a train ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.  Our tour was four hours long, and wound through the Eastern Carolina mountains up to the Natahala Gorge.

The scenery was breathtaking and the company sublime.

Can you believe Scarlett took this photo?  She is quite the little photographer at 7 years old.  This is at Clingman's Dome, Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Jackson is getting so big.

The fireplace in the Fryemont Inn is huge.  Scarlett looks dwarfed next to it.

All in all, it was the perfect way to spend a weekend.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kicking cans

I've been working hard the last few days trying to get things ready for a yard sale with everyone on my mom's circle.  I would love to get rid of a lot more things, but find I am getting push-back from everyone in the house.  Apparently, I do not put the same value on their "prized possessions".

I would sell everything we owned and start from scratch if I could.  I suppose it is a good thing I can't.  I suppose.

I told my husband the other day that I was beginning to feel bitter about using up the best of me at an office and having little left to offer the children and him once I came home.  I feel like if I could simplify my household, I would have more time for the people and things I want to send my on - family, friends, writing, crafts, GOD.

My mom always tells me that I just need to kick a few cans down the road - just keep kicking them until they are where they need to be.  I might have to kick some more than others, but they will all eventually get to their destinations.  I need to keep reminding myself that life is not a race, but a marathon.

So, I am off to kick  few cans.  Wish me luck.

Friday, September 2, 2011


1.  listening to the sound of doggie nails on the floor.
2.  eating some red hot candies that my thoughtful husband brought home to me.
3.  wishing that I had more time to spend with my family and less doing "drudge" work.
4.  wearing my Columbia cargo shorts, Skechers, and sea foam green tank top.
5.  feeling excited about moving some items out of our house.
6.  weather is humid, warm and partly cloudy with temps in the upper 80's.
7.  wanting to be a stay at home mom.
8.  needing to work because right now we need the funds.
9.  thinking about a young couple who recently lost their baby girl.
10.  thankful that God is merciful and still in control.
From giant glass sculpture at Indianapolis Children's Museum.  No reason for it being here other than I like it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I want to go back here again.  Time seemed to stand still.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wow.  I just realized it has been almost a month since I last posted anything to my blog.  Hmm. Well, let me fix that right now.

July has been a very busy month.  My husband and I celebrated 17 years of marriage (I don't know he has managed living with me that long without killing me!), attempted to go on a family camping trip (note: you are suppose to spend the night on those - not just show up, eat and leave - which is what we did...honest!), took a trip to Indianapolis to meet with some dear friends who traveled to China at the same time we did in 2005 to meet their daughters for the first time, and on top of all that, had out-of-state family staying with us for 3 weeks. 

I've been a little busy.

On top of all that madness, I had to go to work.  Or I wouldn't get paid. 

On the upside, our little garden is producing tomatoes like crazy, we have three tiny watermelons that have popped up, and our dog has kept the backyard squirrel-free for almost an entire month.  Except for when the varmints sneak in under cover of darkness.  Oh, and getting ready for school to begin in two weeks.  Aahhh! I am not ready for that!

So that has been our summer thus far.  I hope to have some photos soon of some of our summer shenanigans.  Hope yours has been great!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Getting stronger

I have decided that I want to live a healthier lifestyle.  I guess part of the impetus is that I have two kids under the age of ten that I would dearly love to see grow up, marry and have children of their own.  I have never been over weight, but I am definitely far from "in shape".

I intend to change that.

I don't believe that fad diets work, but I do believe that eating foods that are not so far from their natural state (i.e not processed to death!) is better for me.  So I put myself on a detox diet - no starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, white bread - no chocolate, colas or other high fat foods.

Instead, I am going to focus on lean proteins, more green veggies, low sugar fruits, cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir and eggs/egg whites.  

I have already lost five pounds from changing out what I eat.  I feel that I have more energy now.  My mood is more upbeat as a result.  A win-win in my opinion.

I look forward to continuing this lifestyle!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Staying Orgaznized

As anyone who knows me knows (because I blather on and on about it) that I am attempting to follow the 31 Days to Clean challenge that can be found here.

One of this week's challenges was to have a plan, develop a schedule that works for you, and use it to stay organized.  Probably my biggest challenge is staying organized.  Like many people, I am a pile-it-up-and-figure-it-where-to-put-it-later person.  Not the best plan for an organized life.

Just this week, I jumped the gun (again!) on a home project, and James had to pick up a lot of slack. In an earlier post, I decided to tear out all of the wallpaper in the master bath.  I had not planned this very well, and we have had to use the hall bathroom for all four of us.  Not the best arrangement, to be sure.

That said, I suppose I am on track for the bathroom challenges this week - reorganize the bathroom closets and clean the baths.  I guess my master bath is just getting a major face lift in the process.  We should have it complete this weekend.

Anyway, James suggested that we sit down and organize and plan out what projects we want to do in our home, when we will do them, and also make a general schedule of how the household should run.  Notice I wrote should run.  As everyone knows, schedules need to be flexible when you have a family.

We are working on the schedule(s) now.  I hope to post once we get them nailed down.  Organizing is HARD!

How do you stay organized?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Potty Training Boot Camp

Yes.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  I have placed Jackson in Potty Training Boot Camp at our house.  And, it is kinda fun, but a lot of work!  I don't remember having the struggles with potty training our daughter Scarlett.  She was basically trained in day using a popular book by the same name.  Here is a link to it if you're interested in learning more:  LINK!

I have often heard that boys are tougher to potty train than girls, and I am finding that, at least for me, this is the case.  I planned out my boot camp attack early.  I went to Walmart at purchased a few items to act as enticements (read: bribes) to using the potty seat regularly.  I picked up some Cars flushable wipes, fun liquid soap (the kind that changes colors!), Elmo and Thomas the Train pajamas, a Thomas the Train shorts outfit, Thomas the Train briefs, a water gun, a dinosaur egg bath fizzy, and a Thomas the Train DVD set.  Oh yeah, and a bag of M&Ms for me.

I took off work Friday so I could have a full day head's start working with Jackson.  He did really well the first few hours.  Only had one boo-boo all day.  We blew through a lot of the goodies quickly.

Which is why I had to get James to make an emergency trip out with Scarlett for more provisions.  They picked up some puzzles, Pez dispenser (Thomas the Train!), water cannon, a couple of books, some Ring Pops, coloring books, a yellow visor and yellow sand pail.  I am hopeful that these will get us through Monday, when Potty Boot Camp officially ends.

Today we had a couple of accidents - it is hard to remember to go potty when you are having such a good time playing at a sand/water table.  I am hopeful that tomorrow will be as good, if not better!

Off to throw in another load of laundry.  Potty training tends to increase the amount of laundry to be done!

Friday, May 27, 2011

What day is this again?

I am working on the 31 Days to Clean challenge.  I am really not sure what day I am on - I think the challenge is on Day 19.  I think I fell off the wagon on Day 4.  Anyway, today's challenge is all about the self-disciplined life.  You can read all about it here.

Day 19 exhorts us to commit to goals, complete these goals, but more importantly, to never give up.  I like that.  Just because I failed to keep up with the challenge goals, I am giving myself permission to try, try again.  Just because I am behind doesn't mean that I should quit.  The turtle in the story of the "Turtle and the Hare" was slow and behind.  But as the moral of the fable goes, slow and steady wins the race.  So I am not giving up.  Slowly and surely I will meet all of the goals in the Challenge.  I am encouraged by reading the blogs of other like-minded ladies who are similarly struggling and refusing to give up.  We are a sisterhood of turtles!

Today's challenge: Clean out and organize my bathroom closet and update my first-aid kit.  I can start anew there.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Latest Home Improvement Project - Anything but clean!

I am excited about the latest home improvement project we have going.  So excited, that I have embraced it over cleaning on my 31 Days schedule right now.  Which is fine, because sometimes you just have to do something else to keep from going insane.  Learn about the 31 Day Challenge (that I am behind on) here.

We live in a nice, unassuming brick rancher in a nice, suburban neighborhood.  We bought it several years ago as a fixer-upper, and we have been fixing up ever since - new roof, new HVAC - you get the idea. 

Now we are to the fun part - decorating.  I decided to start on the master bathroom.  I decided that was the place to start for two reasons:
  1. It was small and could be completed quickly, giving me the mental boost to continue in other rooms; and,
  2. while I was sitting there watching 3 year old Jackson play in the tub, I started absent-mindedly picking at the outdated wallpaper.  Half an hour later, I was into full blown wallpaper removal before I knew it. So I kinda had to finish it.
Here is a photo of the bathroom before:

Pretty bland, huh?

Of course, being the Type A, bull dog personality that I am, I of course had to purchase some new things for the bath: rug, shower curtain, towels, and new light fixture.  I drew the line at the toilet cozy, because, well, I really don't like them. 

Here are the goodies I bought:

Yes, the pink poodle is mine.  What of it?

I am really pumped about the new light fixture.  After seeing the old one, wouldn't you agree a change is in order?

I am keeping an eye out for a good deal on a vanity.  All of our old vanities are the 1970's Formica-type.  Utilitarian, but definitely not beautiful.  

I do plan to get back on my 31 Days to Clean.  Honest!  Just not today.

Monday, May 9, 2011


My sister-in-law and I have this on-going joke. Whenever we start to do something and it seems to  inevitably not get done, our go-to excuse is, "I got distracted." In my case, it usually is a child wanting something, the phone ringing, or just walking out of one room into another and forgetting why I am there.

I get distracted.  A lot.

Which is why I like to make lists.  Lots of lists.  I even have an app for my lists on my iPad.  I call it my list of lists.  (Let me go on record as saying, iPads are AWESOME!).

Sorry. I got distracted.

My inability to focus on things make the Challenge a challenge.  That is why I particularly got excited about the List of Six in the Martha/Mary Challenge for Day 6.  Prioritize the top six things you need to accomplish on any given day.  Put them in order of importance.  Only list six things.  If you don't finish one, put it at the top of tomorrow's list.  Easy peasy, huh?  You can read more about it here.

My list for today (and I had to revise it already) is:
  1. Get my hair cut (may throw in an eyebrow wax and totally get pampered).
  2. Find my old resume or create a new one (I want to make some extra income by becoming an adjunct professor at a local college).
  3. Write a new blog post.
  4. Sit in the sun.
  5. Do my Martha/Mary Challenge
  6. Clip 3 year old's toenails.
I have had #6 on my to-do list for about 3 days - I keep forgetting!  So far, I have completed 1 - 4.  Feeling pretty good about my progress!
    Do you keep a to-do list?  What would your list of Six Things be?

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Already behind

    I started this 31 day challenge to gain a clean house and not lose my soul to it last Sunday.  I can honestly say:  I. Am. Behind.  BIG TIME.  You can read about the Challenge on Joyful Mothering.

    Obviously the challenges were made more for stay-at-home moms and not moms who have jobs outside the home.  I am finding it nearly impossible (not impossible, just nearly so) to meet the Martha challenges.  For those of you who are not aware of what the Martha Challenge is, it is basically a chore assignment for each of the 31 days.  For instance, the first day was to clean your 'fridge.

    Anyway, when I come home from work the last thing I want to do is housework.  I want to play with my two kids. I want to have a real conversation with my husband.  But failure to do housework makes my home chaotic.  And I've already determined that chaotic makes me anxious -   anxious does not a fun wife/mama make.

    So I try to do everything that I can to keep up, but still miss the mark.  Is this failure? No, I don't think so.  I just consider it a revised plan.  While some followers of the Challenge may do all of the challenges on schedule, this girl is making up her own schedule.  A lot of my work will, by necessity, be done late in the evening after kids are in bed or on the weekend.  Either way, I will come out ahead.  As long as there is improvement, I am content.  And isn't that all we really need? Contentment?

    Praying for contentment for you!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Thirty-One Days to Clean - a Challenge

    A couple of weeks ago, I was reading through a friend's Facebook page.  She had read that a new eBook about house-cleaning was about to be published called, Thirty-One Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way, by Sarah Rae.  The premise of the book intrigued me.  You can check it out here.

    It bring to my mind the story of Martha and her sister Mary from the Bible in Luke 10:38-42.  Jesus and his disciples were traveling among several towns when they came to the village of Martha and Mary.    I can just imagine how the story would read in modern times: Martha invites Jesus into her and Mary's home.  It is a mess!  How could she let Jesus see her home in such disarray?  She immediately sets to work cleaning, fluffing pillows, picking up Mary's shoes (she always just seemed to walk out of them the minute she came through the door - was it too much to ask for her to put them away?).  Meanwhile, Mary is sitting in the living room listening to Jesus teach.

    When Martha complains to Jesus about Mary sitting there while she did all the work, Jesus replies: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)

    This gets me thinking.  Why I am so anxious about my house being clean and neat, or more aptly, not being clean and neat?  Was I going about this all the wrong way?  Why do I snap at my family when they mess things up or don't help out as much as I think they should? Moreover, why is it so important to me that I keep our house neat and clean?

    I feel like I put a lot of undue pressure on myself when it comes to home and family.  I cannot seem to balance these as well as I would like.  I started searching out others who seemed to have found that balance.  In my search, I found Christin's blog, Joyful Mothering.  She is farther along in her journey to find that balance.  Her blog is inspiring, uplifting and, most of all, hopeful.  I highly recommend it.

    It was on Joyful Mothering that I discovered Christin's 31 Day Challenge using Sarah Rae's book.  You can read about Christin's challenge on her blog.  I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking the challenge.  A good friend from church is taking the challenge as well, although she won't be blogging about it.

    The challenges are relatively simple.  Perhaps the most difficult challenge is the very first one: deciding why it is important to me to keep a clean and neat home;  I thought a lot about it, and came to this conclusion:

    I need order around me so that I have a sense of calm.  If my surroundings are chaotic, messy and disorganized, I am anxious and unable to focus. 

    My friend that I mentioned above, Debbie, did her "Mission Statement" so to speak. I liked it so much, that I asked if I could include it in this post. 

    Debbie's Mission Statement
    I have begun my mission.  May those of you embarking on similar missions have success!

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    The Easter Bunny came!

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    I've been thinking a lot lately about the paths that I have chosen and whether or not I want to continue down these same paths.  Some paths have been perfect just the way I've travelled them:  For instance, I would definitely choose my husband and kids all over again. I would choose the narrow way and not the wide path. I would not choose the convertible car, but I would choose the minivan (even though it is SO non-sexy!).  I would choose the English/journalism major again.  I would not the law degree.  Do you get the idea?

    The cool thing about paths is that you can always deviate from them.  Just be sure that in your trailblazing you keep you eye on the final destination.  In my case, I am not sure of the path, but I AM sure of the final destination: that place where I am able to give my God and my family the best me that I can give.  I can see that place.  I am not sure of its name, though.

    I am not on the right path yet, but I have my maps, books and a good GPS.  I have every intention of finding my way.   And I am looking forward to it!  Happy Trails to you!

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Change of Direction

    I have decided that I need a change of direction.  I have felt the gentle (and sometimes, not so gentle) nudge in my spirit to simplify, declutter, and toss things that are draining to me and my family.  In doing so, I hope to get myself and family to a healthier place.
    A big part of getting there involves reworking this blog.  I am not the speediest person on earth - I tend to move slowly on techno stuff.  BUT, with that said, stay tuned for changes...'cause they are a'coming!

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    I didn't expect that!

    I am about 3 weeks into Project 333.  It has not been as difficult coming up with 33 pieces as I had first thought.  I didn't expect that.  I discovered that I actually have fewer than 33 pieces that I regularly wear. I also found that I need to add some key pieces to my wardrobe in order to have some variety.  I didn't expect that, either.

    I also did not expect that I would have such fun coming up with outfits!  I have stretched my comfort zone in some of the outfits I concocted.  Some were hits and some, well, not so much.  Probably my biggest fashion mistake (according to my fashionista friend, Debbie) is wearing extremely casual khakis with a nicer blouse.  But that is a minor faux pax.  I can live with that. And I did expect that!

    I am enjoying the process of finding my style.  It is not something that I will discover overnight, but over time.  Maybe I will get the nerve up soon to post some outfits - but I expect that will be a long time coming.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Project 333

    Project 333 - It sounds mysterious, doesn't it?  But it isn't a nefarious plan by aliens to overtake the world.  It is really a lesson in simplicity.  Simplicity in dressing.  (More can be found on Project 333 by clicking --

    Several have taken the challenge to make do with fewer number of garments.  I admit that less is not a word normally found in my lexicon.  I am a "more" kinda girl.  If one is good, two are surely better.  It has taken me quite some time to rethink my idea of what a well thought out closet should look like.  Used to be that I thought I had to have a different outfit for every possible event.  Three to four outfits for church - ten different outfits for work - clothes to work out in - clothes to knock around the house in.  You get the idea. 

    In comes Courtney with her Project 333.  Three months wearing 33 items of clothing.  Not 33 outfits but 33 items of clothing.  The idea of winnowing my clothing choices down to just 33 items seems daunting, if not plain impossible. Thirty three

    I started making a mental checklist of my closet.  The number of slacks I had.  How many blouses, tops and shirts were hanging in there.  Belts, scarves, jackets and what-nots.  There were items in that closet that I had not worn in months, if not years.   I also discovered treasures I had long ago forgotten - like my cowboy boots!

    I am taking stock now to determine by 33 pieces over the next three months.  If you should decide to join me in doing the same, I would love to hear how it is working for you!

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    It's a Brand New Year

    Every January 1, I reflect on the previous year.  A lot has happened in our family in just 12 short months - some really small changes, some really big changes, some really small things that WERE big changes.  Here is 2010 in review:

    • Received news that our family had been approved to adopt Jackson.  We were so happy!
    • Celebrated being a family with our dear Scarlett and preparing to become a family of four.
    • Welcomed our son Jackson into the family.  Having two children is something I always wanted but never dreamed that would come true.  We are complete.
    • Learned about cleft lips and palates - as well as the obstacles that Jackson would encounter along the way.
    • Saw our daughter off to First Grade.  Our little girl is getting so big!
    • Crossed the biggest hurdle of  palate surgery.  Glad that is behind us.
    • Celebrated Jackson being able to use a straw for the first time!  So happy!
    • Hearing TWO children laugh and play - priceless!
    • Added a small Yorkie to the mix.  Sarita is such a fun dog!
    • Celebrated Scarlett's 7th Birthday with several parties given by friends- she is so loved!
    • Saw Halloween in with two kids more interested in giving OUT candy than going Trick or Treating.  
    • Thanksgiving - so much to be thankful for.
    • Mourned with our brother-in-law, who lost his mother 3 days after Thanksgiving.
    • Mourned with my step mom and sister, who lost their mother/grandmother a few days later.
    • Rejoiced remembering the Christ Child who was born so that He could die and pay my debt.  
    • Enjoyed a rare Christmas snow.  Magical!
    • Ate way too many cookies.  But man, the were good!
    • Enjoyed spending time with family and friends.  God has been good to us!

    I am looking forward to 2011.  I generally don't make resolutions - I never like to see them broken! :)  But I do want to try to be more organized and write more.  I hope to spend more time having fun with my children - they grow up way too fast!  I hope to grow even closer to God.
    But most of all, I hope that my friends and family remain healthy and have a wonderful 2011!