Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Magnum Birthday

Magnum? That's what Chris called it, don't love it but he's the author in the family. He's also the witty one so maybe I should accept his title as good. Yes, I turned 44, as in Magnum 44. I don't mind the number of years, each one of those years has helped shape me into the woman I am today. So why wouldn't we celebrate...all month long? 

Starting October 1st I begin reminding my family, "it's my birthday month!" I don't really get any special treatment but I sure try. Finally a few days before the big day, I do kick it into gear. Since I am the one who is behind the camera typically, there are very few pictures from my birthday celebration. We have one more birthday celebration this Friday night so one more chance for a family picture.

Below are some of the hightlights of my birthday week(s)!

Chris and I had a late night chips and salsa date.
You may be able to see Trump's red tie on the television in the back ground. We tried to avoid the nastiness of our childish presidential candidates. No such luck!

VIP party pre-opening of the Container Store
I have been so excited for the Container Store coming to Omaha. The grand opening was my birthday weekend. Thanks to my friend Mary who is well connected, we got in to the party. This event was hysterical. [Band, Bar, Amazing Food, Dance Floor and Browsing but NO PURCHASING] I was in my happy place and my husband was thrilled to know my credit card did not see the light of day.

Laurie introduced me the "Growler" of my fav brew
Sharing my birthday celebration with Lexi
On the DAY of my birth we had a late breakfast at my favorite little hometown spot then soccer and finally dinner at Carrabbas. Spending time with my family makes me so happy! After all this my favorite moment was reading notes from my girls. What a blessing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Spooky Orchestral Outing

Vala's Pumpkin Patch is a big deal in Omaha. Back in 1988 the Vala family opened a little pumpkin patch (I am assuming) to off set their income as farmers. Fast forward almost 30 years, that little patch of land with a few fall activities has turned into an amusement park of sorts. I love fall and pumpkin patches but this place is way too commercialized for my liking, not to mention the $18 entry fee is ridiculous! None the less, if we can find discount or free tickets, we partake. 

Last night the Millard elementary orchestra students performed a couple scary pieces. Liv and I enjoyed a little extra time at the patch, sharing stories, hot cider and a popcorn ball. One on one time with any of my girls is always very special.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!

October is one of my favorite months of the year. Fall just makes me happy! The weather, the lack of humidity, the colors, the flavors and the birthdays. Dad and I share a birthday month. His is early and mine is late in the month so by now he probably doesn't even remember he had a birthday celebration while I try to celebrate the whole month. For example, today I am meeting a friend for birthday lunch because I have a birthday reward on PinPoint. (if you don't have PinPoint you've gotta get it)

Chris and I took the day off to meet mom at the nursing home to celebrate another year with dad. To be honest, I don't know how much he understood. For starters, he introduced me to his son-in-law, Chris. I get it...I get it! It still hurts.

Dad doesn't need things but I love to give gifts so I brought some of his favorite items. We had smoked ribs with all the fixings and a yummy cake that mom made but he really wasn't interested in eating. I bought dad two lottery tickets, one chocolate covered cherry and a senior picture of Emma. I can't say that any of those things meant much to him either. Oh the first two items may sound strange to most people but dad LOVED playing the lottery and eating those nasty cherries. Conversations tend to be difficult so we enjoy watching the birds in the aviary down the hall. I realize this picture doesn't show any birds at all but there are about 16 in there. All colors, flying around at speeds that I guess my camera on the phone can't catch. 

The girls weren't able to make it to see dad. It's hard on them to go and also to stay home. I pray that God gives us the wisdom to know what is best for Dad and strength for Mom. Lord, be merciful.

On a side note, as I am writing this post a week past dad's birthday, today would have been his sister's 77th birthday. Oh how I miss Aunt Delma! Maybe we will eat cake at our house tonight. 

Happy Fall! 
Recognize and enjoy the beauty our Creator gave us. He cares about the little things too!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Freshie at Fifteen

Birthday Breakfast
I don't see big smiles early in the morning all that often but on birthday morning she's a pretty happy kid. Birthdays are fabulous! Celebrating is what I do best. We have all our traditions: balloons on the bedroom floor the night before, donut or muffin for breakfast, lunch at school, favorite meal, extended family dinner and some kind of friend event. Prior to this year I have also made treats for school and soccer but that ended this year. It's a relief and yet I have to admit I missed making something creative to share.

Her Favs: Cherry Brownies & The Parents
I remember thinking when I was a kid that my birthday should be a major holiday, as in no school or activities as should the first day of the month. Not sure where that came from, maybe it was the celebration of January 1st that gave me that idea. When your birthday is on a Tuesday in September you still have to go to school, do homework and attend practice but it also means you get to eat cake late at night after. Reagan picked my mom's recipe of Cherry Brownies...they are pretty awesome!
What a Goofball!!

Undercover Decorators
Soccer fills many weekends in the fall which makes celebrating with friends pretty difficult. I found a crack in the schedule, made a few phone calls and voila, a surprise party had been created. We managed to distract Reags with Starbucks while the girls decorated her bedroom. This school year has been a tough start for Reagan. Leaving all her friends from middle school has certainly left her out in the cold a little but when she is with her soccer team she has a great crew around her. Hearing the laugher, snorts, jokes, punching, screams and pure joy from my girls and their friends fills my love tank.

Happy 15th Birthday Reagan. We are so blessed that God trusted us to be your parents. 
Our love for you will only continue to grow. Make it a great year!

We praise God because you are fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful, we know that full well. Reagan, you were fearfully and wonderfully made!
Psalms 139:14

Raising Girls: Bullies

As a mother of three girls and no boys I have limited research to base any comparison between raising the two sexes except for what I hear from my friends, see in the classroom and observe in play groups. So I will speak of only what I know to be true with my three daughters.

A few years ago our family moved to a different part of the city which meant my youngest had to change elementary schools. Remember in the 80's when Chicago sang, "you never know what you have until it's gone." I miss that school. The new school isn't terrible, it's just cold. Now Liv rides the bus every morning. ( I LOVE IT!!) You won't understand this unless you have gone through the drop off/pickup lanes around ANY school. YIKES! Take your vitamin B so you won't yell at someone. But that is where the benefits end for me. Sure Livie has met some new friends who live close by and for the most part that is a good thing. One neighborhood girls is exceptional, she's the mean little bully who lives up the street, let's call this child "Jenny". "Jenny" is intelligent, determined, bold, fearless, driven and even cute. I'm sure she will make a great CEO some day but for the last 3 years I have watched her manipulate, ostracize and dictate her little friend group. While in our home she has criticized my older daughters and even my husband and me. What in the World? With all that said, my daughter is still drawn to her. Why? Is this a girl thing? Is this a self-confidence issue? Is she trying to just make it through the day? Is she oblivious to the ugly behavior of her neighborhood classmate?

This morning, just like many others, I watched Liv approach the line at the bus stop. She joined the little group of 5th grade girls talking and giggling. Instead of making room for my daughter, this girl turned her back to Liv to keep her out of the circle. Sadly, this stuff happens even in adulthood but here is the kicker. Friday after school "Jenny" knocked on our door to play at our house. I guess all the cool kids were busy. "Jenny" sends mixed messages, one day you are in and the next you are out. What a bully!

There are several challenges...
1. Remember that I am an adult and she is a child. It's not right for me to feel so negatively towards this child. Adulting is hard.
2. Teach my child that friendship does not look like that and yet she still needs to be kind to "Jenny".
3. Teach my child that God has given each of us gifts, talents and personality traits. They shape us into who we are daily. We are to use those gifts to bring glory to Him, not tear down others.
4. Remember this too shall pass.
5. I need to pray for "Jenny" and her parents.

Here's the deal, this isn't my first rodeo. First of all I was a brat but turned out to be a pretty compassionate adult. Second, I have two other daughters who have each dealt with bullies and they have come out on the other side better for it. Third, I KNOW that I may not see everything that happens. If any parents are reading this, let me say that again. I MAY NOT SEE EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS. It's true in parenting and it's true in kids' relationships. Our most precious docile children can be little turds when we aren't looking. God loves "Sandy" just like he loves my Olivia. Thank goodness He loves us when we aren't lovable and He sees the goodness He created in each of us. Let's remember to love one another, especially those we feel don't deserve our love.

Now that I have vented a little I can move on with my day. It's beautiful weather in Nebraska, what a perfect way to start my week.

Blessings to each of you reading this blog of a mama.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
1 John 4:16