Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm With You ...

Have you heard this song? "I'm With You", sung by Nichole Nordeman and Amy Grant is one of those songs that just latch right on to your heart. Based on the Bible story of Ruth and Naomi, it is a beautiful combination of lyrics, music, and pacing.

Ruth happens to be one of my favorite books in the Bible. First, it's so short (4 chapters!), I can actually say I've read it from start to finish :-); and second, it depicts the story of two strong, independent, brave women who have lost everything (and, yes, one of them becomes very bitter for a while as a result), but work together to put the pieces of their lives back together in the face of great adversity.

It is the story of hope and trusting in the support of family and friends.

And, isn't that what we all strive for ... to be hopeful in the face of challenges, big and small? To be a supportive friend and family member? And, to know we have family and friends that we can rely on when we need it?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Have you heard of Amy Krouse Rosenthal?  She's one of my writing heroes ... she writes brilliant, unique children's book and entertaining adult books, AND has an inspiring and uplifting blog .... Mission Amy KR. Her most recent Thursday Thingy blog was titled, "Kairos and Chronos" (click on Mission Amy KR and it will connect you). When I first saw it, my mind immediately went to my work in Human Resources and Payroll. KRONOS was our timekeeping system for non-exempt employees ... simply because of that, I knew of the word and its Greek origin .... basically meaning 'chronological time'. But what was this 'Kairos'?

As you'll see if you read the post, it is also the Greek word for time ... but very different than Chronos time. Kairos time is special ... literally. It is the time in which something special happens. It's different for every person, depending on what is special to you, and you often don't recognize when you're in the midst of it.

In the blog post, Amy references another writer, and what she wrote - specifically with regard to a child wanting her mother to just stop and look at her - made me catch my breath.

We live in a world where, it seems, it is important to show how busy we are. Someone asks us, "How have you been?" We reply, "Oh, so busy!" Our attention is divided ... we are working, raising children, blogging, Facebooking, e-mailing, texting, trying to meet deadlines, attempting to get to practice on time, and the list goes on.

But, are we experiencing the Kairos version of time? Are we giving our children the Kairos version of time? For me ... sometimes, yes; sometimes, no. It is a great reminder for me personally ... to not just live each day hoping to check all the 'to do' items off my list, but remember to stop and experience all that is beautiful and special in life. So much so, that it becomes a natural part of me. Living the width of each day as much as the length.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait ...

Waiting. I don't think I'll ever be very good at it. For me, it is one of the hardest parts of the writing profession. Not just waiting for any response ... waiting for a positive response! So, once again, I'm turning to the outdoors for a little lesson in enjoying and appreciating the wait. Granted, my garden provides a much more colorful and gratifying perspective on waiting than my e-mail in-box and mailbox. Daily, there are beautiful berries needing to be monitored for ripeness; tomatoes, corn, peppers, and cukes sprouting from blossoms; and new blooms opening on the hydrangeas. It's easy to see that good things await ... and I'm certain that will be the case for the writing as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Inspiration ... Kid Style!

Every so often, they hop off their bikes and scooters, or take a break from playing basketball or flag football, and impress me with their creative side. Whether it's a city of roadways and parking lots made with just chalk and Hot Wheels; a tea party, complete with miniature utensils; a "special breakfast" served on a doll highchair tray; a bouquet of blooms collected from the ground (or, sometimes, from the plant itself! :-)); or a colorful PlayDoh "cake" ... it's a great reminder to me to keep creating characters and writing stories (and not be afraid of NOT creating perfection on the first try!).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It Was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

I'm quite certain I was even more excited than my children that we were going to see the musical, Mary Poppins. They had never heard of Mary Poppins, nor were they familiar with any of the famous songs.  Given that the show we attended was on a weeknight and started an hour before their bedtime, I was banking on the hope that it would be an energetic and awe-inspiring performance.

And, oh my, was it ever!

The cast of Mary Poppins is amazingly talented; and the special-effects and 'mechanics' of what's happening on the stage are mind-blowing!! What an incredible production! We were so happy we went ... and, thankfully, our 9-year old son and 5-year old daughter LOVED it and were entertained throughout the entire production (mostly! :-)).

Our favorite moment was the tap dance number, "Step In Time", by Mary Poppins & the Chimney Sweeps ... including Bert walking up the wall and tap-dancing (and singing) on the ceiling! Incredible. It made me want to learn how to tap dance.

The kids have been attempting to sing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" ever since. Since it's a new word to them, it has been entertaining to hear the variations they come up with. :-)

If you have the chance to go see the Broadway Across America tour of Mary Poppins ... do it! And, enjoy! :-)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Remembering Grandpa ...

This past weekend would have been the weekend that my little family traveled to my hometown to celebrate my Grandpa Don's July 1st birthday. His daughters, sons-in-law, granddaughters and grandsons and their spouses, and great-grandchildren had traveled from near and far every year since he turned 90 to celebrate his life. He would have been 95 years old this year. We lost him, rather unexpectedly, last September ['For My Grandpa' Post] and have missed him every day since.

This year, we thankfully had another reason to gather and celebrate on this very special weekend ... a reason that would have made my Grandpa Don so very happy. This time, though, the focus of the celebration was a sweet, little 4-month old girl. Grandpa Don never had the joy of meeting his youngest great-grandchild - oh, would he have beamed at the sight of her - but, she was baptized on what would have been his birthday weekend. Watching over us from heaven, I'm certain he was thrilled beyond measure.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When Your Child Gets Published Before You Do...

My son's third grade 'Young Authors' assignment was to write and illustrate an ABC book. He chose 'Vehicles' as his subject ... one for every letter of the alphabet - from Ambulance to Zamboni!

It was a long two months of researching facts about each of the vehicles and creating the final drawings. Somewhere around Ice Cream Truck, my usually eager illustrator was clearly considering the illustrations to be a cumbersome task; and the idea of typing the words on the computer - originally such an exciting prospect - became dreaded. But, he (and I!) made it, and was thrilled with the end product.

One evening, not long after turning it in, I got a call from his teacher. She loved his book, and wondered if she could buy it for her grandson, a fellow admirer of anything with wheels.  I joked with her, "My son's going to be published before I am!"

We created a second copy for her grandson. My son received his very first payment in exchange for his first 'published' book. And - after overhearing my comment to his teacher - he now tells everyone that he published a picture book before his Mom! :-)

Which is just fine with me. I was, after all, one of the people to whom he dedicated the book ... and, really, what more could you ask for?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Awesomeness .... and, How Vas the Vod-ka?

A HUGE congratulations to my sweet friend and writing club partner, Rachel ... who just finished the first draft of her novel!  Such an incredible milestone!  She has turned a fabulous idea into a future bestseller, I'm sure of it!

I first met Rachel in Vienna, Austria, of all places.  We were exchange students ... she was from Texas; I was from Washington.  I have such fun, fond memories of our adventures there.  In her honor ... I'm re-posting "How Vas the Vod-ka?" below, which recaps an exhilarating and equally hilarious hike we took together in the Alps. 

How Vas the Vod-ka?

One of my favorite memories of my exchange student days in Austria involved a trip to Innsbruck, Austria.

Admittedly, I’d label the majority of Austrian towns as ‘gorgeous and amazing’, but - oh my - is Innsbruck ever cool. It’s situated right in the midst of the Austrian Alps, which makes for great hiking, especially when you’ve been blessed with stunningly beautiful weather.

We visited the Alpenzoo first. Situated 727 meters above sea level and nestled into the mountain, it is the highest zoo in the world. And, as its name would indicate, it is home to animals that originate from the alpine region, showing them in their natural habitat. The Alpenzoo, in and of itself, could be considered a hike for many.

After visiting the zoo, our group split into two and my dear friend, Rachel, and I decided to hike up into the Alps. It was my absolute favorite day in Europe … exhilarating and incredibly beautiful.

Halfway up the mountain, we were joined by Marco from Germany (I couldn't resist snapping a picture of him during one of our hiking breaks ... he's the one on the left, in the bushes!).

We had no clue who he was, but he stayed with us for the remainder of the hike. He seemed nice enough, as did all our fellow-hikers that day. I guess back then crazy stalkers weren’t as prevalent on our minds. I’m still quite certain he was a bit enamored with Rachel!

We made it above the tree line and, after a few moments of sitting and taking in the beautiful view and brilliant blue sky, decided to commence the joint-pounding trek down the mountain!

Towards the end of our descent, we passed another hiker who was headed up the mountain. As he passed, he greeted us and asked, “How vas the vodka?”

You know how you respond when you don’t really know what someone has said, but you still want to reply in a friendly and jovial way? You kind of do a hearty laugh and throw your head back like you ‘get’ the joke or the funny comment even though you haven’t a clue as to what they actually said?

That’s what we did. And, I think we added something like, “Gut … sehr gut!”

We giggled as we tried to figure out what had possessed him to ask us about vodka. I mean, we knew these particular hills were alive with music, but not vodka-drinking hikers.

It wasn’t until a few laughter-filled minutes later, that it dawned on us what he had really asked.

“How was the walk up?”

To this day, Rachel and I still laugh about that story. And, it just goes to show that the hills are alive … with music, yes … but also with fresh air, exhilarating views, and very friendly German-speaking hikers. No vodka required.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wind ...

I'm having a little photography fun today, and entering a contest with ...

This week's photo challenge theme is “Wind", and this is one of my all-time favorites ... a windy Easter Egg hunt.  I love her serious expression, the wind-blown hair, and the bright colors of the eggs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Different Kind of Beach Experience ...

I've written before about my love-hate relationship with deep water (http://crossyourts.blogspot.com/2010/05/deep-water.html).  Add in the fact that - after the Japan tsunami - news in our region focused repeatedly on the fact that our beautiful coast was in the same geological boat as Japan - but less prepared - and I must admit to some lost sleep in the nights leading up to our coastal Spring break vacation. 

So much for relaxing. 

Instead, my head was spinning with all the possible ways my hubby and I could quickly get the children out of harm's way in the 15-20 minutes before the big wave hit, if an earthquake were to happen.

It's not that I think I have control over the situation ... I know I don't.  But - as a mother - I need to at least feel like I have some semblance of control over how our family would respond.  As in ... "Kids, if you feel the earth shaking while we're on the beach, don't worry about your toys. Leave them there. Grab Mommy or Daddy's hand and run as fast as you can."  I didn't want to freak them out, but I wanted them to be prepared for how to react ... just in case.

So, with that ... we went to the beach.  It was cold (thank goodness for extra hot mochas!), but gorgeous.  I took lots of deep breaths.  I enjoyed myself immensely ... especially once we broke out the baseball, mitts, and our trusty beachwood bat! :-)  I even felt some tension slip away. 

But ... it was different.  That feeling of needing to be on alert and prepared was constantly tucked away in the back of my mind and, sometimes, it was right at the forefront of my thoughts as we drove by signs that read "Tsunami Hazard Zone".

I would never want to deprive my family of experiences because of fear or because of my desire to protect them. The coast is one of our favorite family destinations and always will be.  For me, though ... while the ocean has always been awe-inspiring in its beauty; I am now so very awestruck and aware of its destructive power.  Maybe that feeling will soften with time. Maybe it won't ... and that's OK. Either way, my choice will be to enjoy the experience, appreciate the beauty, and - knowing that each member of my family is on the same page with how to respond to a 'just in case' situation - trust that all will be well. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

{I Heart Faces} Slice of Life Photo Challenge

I'm having a little photography fun today, and entering a contest with ...

This week's contest theme is “Slice of Life”.

A slice of our life is checking on our kids before going to bed each night. And, with our daughter, we never know what we're going to find!  Usually, she has surrounded herself with stuffed animals and books and toys, and adorned herself with jewels.  We often find things hiding under the blankets as well.  On this particular night, she was wearing the Simon Chipmunk glasses she had received at a birthday party earlier in the day.  This shot brings a smile to my face and - even though she's sleeping - shares a bit about her "I'll do things my own way" personality!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little {and Big} Things ...

Sometimes, it's the littlest things that succeed in bringing a smile to your face and making your day out-of-the-ordinary and special.

Like, finding these fluorescent post-its on our bedroom door.  Little notes from my 5-year old, learning-to-read-and-write-words daughter.  No, they do not match the decor. But, I will let them hang there until the magical stickiness wears off, because they make me happy.

And, walking into our local Starbucks to find this sign!  Yes, that is my drink.  Yes, it is long.  So long, in fact, that they had no room to list my hubby's drink. :-)

Of course, every once in a while, there are the BIG things that make you smile ... like this sweet thing:

My new niece, born last Saturday to my youngest sister.  I'll be heading to Missouri in just a couple weeks to meet her.  Can't wait.

What little (or big) things are bringing a touch of special to your day?  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sweet Spring Surprise ...

I've gushed about my neighbors before ... and here is just one more reason.  Two of these sweet, little spring treats were delivered to my kids today. How clever and creative is that ... a little Peeps Chick guarding its eggs in a nest made of chocolate-covered noodles! So very thoughtful. Such kind gestures are one of the little things in life that I treasure - whether giving or receiving.  They never fail to bring a smile to my face {and guaranteed squeals of delight from the kids!}.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sun Flare

This week's 'I Heart Faces' photo challenge is titled 'Sun Flare'.  When I read that, I was thrilled ... and immediately went to my two favorite sun flare pictures ... before it dawned on me that neither of them shows a face (one of the main criteria!).  Ah well ... I still like them and thought it would be fun to share them despite their not being challenge-worthy!

Both were actually just shot with my Droid phone. 

This picture does show a face ... it's just not human! :-)  We came upon this dove while we were out on a walk in our neighborhood.  I was dumbfounded as to why a dove was wandering our streets.  And to capture a dove with those brilliant rays raining down from the sky ... it's as if I planned it that way.

With this next picture ... again, no face.  Well, sort of ... I can see the side of my son's face, but it's mostly the back of his head.  This was taken in Cannon Beach at sunset.  We had just finished dinner and I didn't have my regular camera, so I took a quick shot with my Droid, and loved the way the sun's rays surrounded my son.

Do you have any favorite sun flare photos or memories?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Glimpse of Spring ...

I resisted this table at Al's Garden Center in early February (except to take a picture ... how could I not take a picture of all that gorgeous color?!).  I just couldn't justify purchasing spring flowers in the winter when the threat of snow still loomed large (well, I could ... but I resisted the justification too!).

But, this past weekend, I had to give in and buy a few primroses.  Sure, it did snow just two weeks ago ... but, Spring is now just a couple weeks away.  It's totally justifiable.   

Don't you think?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Favorite Things ...

There is a little store in a small beach town on the Oregon Coast that, for the past two years, has displayed beautiful lighted blossoms in their storefront window. All colors of blooms ... vivid white, brilliant orange, stunning red.

Every time we would visit the town, we would walk by that window and I would comment how much I loved those blossoms. Sometimes, I'd stop and run in to check them out up close and peek at the price. But, I never purchased them.

Several months before Christmas, I discovered them at a local gift store in a gorgeous deep burgundy color (that just happened to coordinate well with our living room!).

Not only did my sweet hubby surprise me with them for Christmas (living room - check!); but, on Valentine's Day, as well (woohoo ... a set for the bedroom!).

Now, as the skies darken outside, these beautiful blossoms bring a touch of light, warmth, and charm to the house.  Love them!

Have you been surprised recently with something you've been wanting for a long time?

Monday, February 28, 2011

{I Heart Faces} Anything But A Face Photo Challenge

I'm having a little photography fun today, and entering a contest with ...

This week's contest theme is “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes … Anything But A Face!”

This was taken at a little friend's birthday party, where the kids got to decorate their own cupcakes {you can imagine the excitement!}. At the time, I was playing around with camera focus, and my hubby encouraged me to get a shot of our son holding his cupcake, with the focus on the sweet treat! I have loved this colorful shot ever since!

Doesn't it make your mouth water?! :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little Projects ...

Projects, sketches, and papers are always coming home with the kids from various places ... school, Sunday School, daycare, the gym, etc. Sometimes, it feels like we are drowning in little trinkets and half-finished art projects.

Other times, it feels like we've found a special treasure.

My son formed this bowl out of clay in Sunday school, and my daughter made the little heart during a children's choir practice break. They brought them home and each project went its separate way for a few days ... the bowl to dry, the heart to sit on the counter waiting to be 'mended' (two of the beads still need to be ironed back on!).

One evening, my daughter placed her heart in her brother's bowl and declared, "There! That's pretty!", and slid it into a place of prominence on the counter.

I have to agree ... it is pretty, and adds a simple splash of color and charm to the kitchen counter. So, this one will stay on display on the kitchen counter for a while. It makes me smile ... and who doesn't need to begin and end their day with a smile.
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I Heart Faces Phone Photo Challenge

I'm having a little photography fun today, and entering a contest with ...

This week's contest theme is 'Cell Phone', and this is one of my absolute favorite pictures taken with my Droid ... to me it's a picture of absolute joy and fun (and a bit of surprise!). My last words to them before snapping this picture were, "Just don't get wet!" :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine Love ...

Such fun yesterday ... Valentine's parties and kids dressed in red, pink, and white barely able to contain themselves as they peered into their Valentine's treat bags!

Our school's high schoolers sell Val-O-Grams as an annual fundraiser. Parents can write a sweet note to their child that is delivered during the school day, accompanied by a treat, balloon, and/or a song ("So Happy Together" by the high school boys Acappella choir!).

I thought my daughter's preschool classroom was a sea of red hearts, after the high schoolers made their deliveries. But, it was nothing compared to the school day's end. If only I'd had my camera ... kids streaming out of their classrooms to the carpool lines ... the majority holding red heart balloons! What a sight!

My son's class made Abe Lincoln hats to hold their Valentines, and learned a bit of a history lesson along the way ... apparently President Lincoln kept his mail in his hat!

Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day, filled with smiles.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

G. Williker's ...

Do you remember the charming, boutique bookstore owned by Meg Ryan's character in "You've Got Mail"?

I loved that bookstore. It made me want to own a bookstore. It was charming and welcoming and successful. Well, until Fox Books showed up! :-)

For my birthday, my family took me on a little weekend trip to Hood River, a charming little town nestled in the shadow of Mt. Hood and situated right on the Columbia River. Gorgeous!

The downtown area is bursting with unique shops and hip restaurants ... including our family favorite - G. Williker's Toy Shoppe!

I've never been so taken with a toy shop. Every inch housed something new to look at ... toys we had never seen before at other stores. It was completely enchanting. It made me want to own a toy store.

We decided we needed to schedule a quarterly drive to Hood River, armed with a list of all upcoming birthdays and holidays, to purchase gifts from this hidden gem!

Have you made any fun discoveries lately?!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beware the Fleas of Italy

Friday marks my 40th birthday ... and, I must admit that I'm a bit in shock that - in response to the 'What is your age?' question on surveys - the box I'll need to check is in an entirely different decade than before.

Five years ago, my hubby and I each shared what we wanted to do for our 40th birthday. I decided I wanted to celebrate it in Italy. Fast forward five years ... with school and work and extracurricular schedules and a pesky lack of funding for such a trip, it is clear this particular wish is not going to be realized. Maybe we'll aim for 45.

Anyway, I've been feeling a bit wistful for Italy ... and, so, felt the need to remind myself that the last time I was there, it wasn't all glamorous. I posted the story below a couple years ago, and thought this would be the perfect occasion for a re-post.

Thanks to the creative mind of blogger/author/illustrator, Douglas Florian, this time around we'll rename the post, "Flearence"!
Some might find it surprising that I have such an obsession with Italy considering what happened to me while vacationing in the beautiful country a few years back. Hubby and I learned, after our trip, that the weather we thought to be normal for the late May/early June timeframe was very much non-typical. In fact, they had been experiencing a somewhat unusual heat wave. And heat waves can, apparently, bring on infestations of certain pests, namely fleas.

I should note here that I have an allergic reaction to flea bites. There’s a back story to that … I’ll share it at another time.

Our first stop was in Rome. There, I accumulated five or six flea bites. Thinking it to be a fluke, I grinned and beared the bites as they grew into large blisters. I was slightly miserable, but thoroughly enjoying the historic and culinary experience that is Rome.

Florence was the second stop of this dream vacation. In an effort to be frugal, I had found a wonderful Florence apartment on-line, boasting a gorgeous view of the Duomo. The owner was going to be traveling while we were in town, and had made his flat available for a reasonable price to gullible travelers such as myself.

The flat, with its musty stench and jungle-like plant arrangements did – in fact – have a view of the Duomo. Yes it did. If you went into the bathroom, which measured approximately 3 feet by 5 feet, and stood on your tip-toes to look out the 1 foot by 1 foot window, you could see the peak of the Duomo perfectly. (See that little bug, strategically located on the picture above? That's the bathroom window of our flat, as seen from the top of the Duomo! :-))

The bathroom – view or not – brought me to tears. Upon arriving in sizzling Florence, with my ever-so-itchy blisters, all I wanted to do was wash away the itchiness with a shower. After standing on my tip-toes to view the Duomo, I turned my attention to the task at hand. Unfortunately, a shower did not appear to exist in the 3 by 5 foot bathroom space.

Sink? Check.
Toilet? Check (sort of).

Oh, wait … there is a water tank mounted over the toilet; a floor drain in the middle of the room; and a hand shower of sorts propped near the tank.

Super … the bathroom is the shower.

I had exactly four minutes to wash, relax, and get my mind off my growing, itching blisters before the tank of lukewarm water emptied. Certainly, though, things would start looking up soon.

The next morning, I awoke to oodles of new blisters. It was then that we pulled back the covers to find fleas dancing on the sheets.

Day’s Agenda:
1) Visit the Ponte Vecchio and the Piazza della Signoria;
2) Buy hydrocortisone and bulk supply of Band-Aids; and
3) Eat lots of gelato to numb the pain and itching.

That night, in the midst of an Italian heat wave, I went to bed wearing socks, sweats, and a sweatshirt. Certainly they wouldn’t be able to attack me through so much clothing.

They did.

Our dream vacation was quickly becoming a flea-infested nightmare. Second only to my hubby, Lenirit Idrocortisone Acetato became my close and constant companion. My main goal as I dressed each morning had become attempting to disguise the increasing number of Band-Aids and hideous blisters under the diminutive selection of warm-weather clothing I had brought along for the trip. “Certainly, I can make these capris stretch down to my ankles!”

In a heroic effort to keep his bride from going insane from the incessant itching, hubby suggested we ditch our next intended stop – Venice – and head north to the cool, fresh air of Zurich, Switzerland. Forget trying to be a good sport … I jumped on that bandwagon and, with a sigh of relief, concurred with the suggested change in travel plans!

By the time we left Florence in a mad dash to escape the heat-seeking fleas, I had 32 blisters lining my body from neck to foot … most of them concentrated on my legs, some measuring the size of a dime.

At this point, frugality was a distant and silly thought. I found and booked a room at the Zurich Best Western, where - upon arrival - I wept with joy at the beautiful tub and shower, and the gorgeous, fluffy down beds. We emptied the entire contents of our luggage into the bathtub, ensuring no fleas had hitched a ride north with us.

Dream vacation saved, though bite scars still remain as a bittersweet reminder of our time under the hot Italian sun.

We do plan to eventually make it back to Venice …this time, however, we’ll be a bit more mindful of timing, in the hopes that we don’t arrive during an Italian flea-infested heat wave!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Neighborly Love ...

We were the first house built in our subsection of the neighborhood ten years ago.

We had no idea who would be our neighbors.

We also had no idea what we needed in a house, given that it was the first for both of us after years of apartment living and we did not yet have children.

While we could use more space and maybe a bit more yard, our little house has served us well and we treasure it.

As for our neighbors … if we had it to do all over again and – this time around – knew about each of the families living in the homes surrounding ours … we would buy this house in a heartbeat.

Our neighbors are our friends; our children are all friends; we watch out for one another’s homes and families.

And, as if that weren’t enough ….

In the days leading up to Christmas, wonderful treats arrived on our doorstep … from a gorgeous poinsettia to scrumptious plates of beautifully-decorated cookies.

Around Halloween, our dear friend and neighbor was taking a cake-decorating course. And, brought over these amazing cupcakes which I didn’t even want to touch, for fear of ruining hours worth of work in one bite!

Before the craziness of the holidays even arrived, this lovely plate of gingersnaps was delivered ‘just because’ … and on a day when we REALLY needed it, given a homeowner’s nightmare scenario that concluded with us finding – under the house – both a leak in our main water line AND a dead possum being eaten by maggots {no joke … the smell was horrid!}.

Then, there was this little tea party … Hello Kitty-themed as you can see. Thrown for my daughter by a talented, former-professional-caterer neighbor who happens to be the only female in a house of boys. My daughter had lamented that she was sad that she never got to go to their house and play with the boys like her brother, so our neighbor kindly offered my daughter her very own tea party. Imagine my awe and my daughter’s squeals of delight when we walked in to find this waiting for us (not pictured ... a nice little spread for the boys too!) …

It is true … you can’t choose your neighbors. However, even if we could ... we would choose no differently.

Are you blessed with fabulous neighbors that you treasure?!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Missing the Glow ...

{click on picture to enlarge}

I must admit ... I'm missing the lights and sparkles and warm glow that Christmas brings.

I adore the month of December, when homes - inside and out - are so bright and cheerful.

Don't get me wrong ... once all the lights and decorations are packed away, I love that my house seems, suddenly, bigger and cleaner and more open than before.

But, I do miss the lights.

So, I thought I'd reminisce with photos of our annual trip to ZooLights ... so spectacular!

Is there anything about the holiday season that you miss?