Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here we go...

This week is going to be crazy!!

I just know it.

I have spoken to my children about my state of mind, and requested (well, let's be honest, begged) that they cooperate with me and each other.

My stress tank is full so any little thing just might send me over the edge.

I think if we all understand that, we can try to work together.

The house is still a total disaster. I am not sure if that is really going to change.

We are down to the wire on our supply purchasing and packing.

The washing machine and dryer will be going non-stop for the next 3 days.

I am checking things off my list at warp speed.

We are renting lots of movies to keep kids occupied.

Blizzards and sweet tea are becoming essential for sanity.

A rock star friend has stepped up and arranged some meals for us this week!! Thank you, Hosanna!! My family thanks all of you who are participating. Who knows what they would be eating without this blessing!

I have a notepad by my bed that I continually add to throughout the night. It goes something like this: sleep, wake up, think of something that needs to be done, add it to the list, repeat the cycle several times throughout the night.

The idea of an 18 hour plane ride sounds heavenly to me right now. At that point everything that is going to be done, will be done.

Wow!! 1 week from today I leave for Swaziland!! Can't wait to see you, Swazi friends!!!

I better get to work!

Even in the midst of all the craziness, I feel it is a HUGE privilege to be a part of what God is doing in Swaziland!! Thank you, Lord!

Monday, May 30, 2011

One to 1000

I have a big opportunity to share with you.

It will cost you no money, only about 5 minutes of your time.

The impact it will make could be enormous.

You see, as one person, I can only do so much.

As 1,000 people, we can literally change the world!!

My friend, Jody Landers is doing just that, I would encourage you to join her. I set up my profile and it was oh, so, easy!!

I believe in Jody and what she stands for. Her life has deeply impacted mine. She is the real deal.

So, go here to read about it. Her words are so much more eloquent in explaining it than mine will ever be.

If you have questions, they have answers. On their website, you can see a quick video to show you how to sign up for your about.me account. I promise, it is really easy. If I can do it, you can.

The African people are near and dear to my heart. Helping African Farmers is something I believe in.

I can't think of a better way for you to spend the next 5 minutes of your life.

Will you join me?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Laila's Hair Trials

I mentioned in a previous post that I spent about 7 hours this week taking care of Laila's hair. It was quite the process. I am glad we only have to do it every 6-8 weeks. Both of us were exhausted by the end.

I left off at the point where all of her braids were out. This is what she looked like after I took our her braids:
She reminds me of "Heat Miser" from the Claymation Christmas movies
Next step was to wash all the gunk out of it
It has really grown a lot in braids
The worst part of the whole process was blow drying it out. She was crying, screaming, and at one point, she threw up. She does that. If she gets too upset, she throws up. Her brother used to do that, too. It was awesome!
Here she is with it all blow dried and ready to be braided
The view of the back
Braiding process
End result: Side View
I love how Marjorie braided it like it was parted on the side
Happy and relieved to be done
End Result: Back View
These braids are even smaller than the last ones. Add the length in and who knows how long it will take me to get them out. I am choosing not to think about that right now. I have 8 weeks of easy hair.

In order to make the braids last as long as possible, I put a sleep cap on her at night. She never makes it through the whole night with it. For all I know, she takes it off right after I leave the room. Oh, well. I am trying.
We like to call her "Chef Laila"
The day after she got her braids, she decided to smear oatmeal all over her head. I just about lost it at that point. I had to pick every piece out and clean it very carefully.

This has been such an ordeal that last night I had a nightmare that the braids were already coming out. It was frightening!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Glimpses of Sweetness

I realize my last post was pretty negative.

I will say just writing it brought some relief to my spirit.

Thanks for sticking with me through the no-so-pretty expressions of life that I share.

We are in full "Paper Plate" mode around here. (I have threatened the children with, "if you use a real plate, you will have to clean it!")

You remember those Mother's Day coupons and the organizer I got from Lauren and Abby. Well, yesterday, I thought, "Maybe I should use some of those coupons to help me out right now." Lauren then proceeded to tell me that they had expired. I reminded her there was no expiration date on them. She obviously doesn't realize that it is not wise to mess with me in my current state of mind.

My life right now is contained in one little notebook. Pray that I don't lose that thing. Planning a trip to Africa for 19 people is quite the task to accomplish!!

I wanted to share the sweetest moment of my week. To finish out first grade, Sam's class did "Camp Learned-A-Lot" to review and celebrate all that they have learned. Rick and I sent in cards for him to receive as "mail" at camp. He also wrote us a letter from camp. I had to share it. It really melted my heart in a way that only Sam can do:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I love camp learned a lot. I miss you so much and I love you with all my heart. I almost killed myself by stepping in the fire. I wouldn't trade anything for you. You never let me down.

That little note is what has gotten me through this week. Sam has such a sensitive spirit. He has struggled greatly with his place in our family. I feel like I let him down a lot. It was so encouraging to see in the midst of all of my mistakes that he is being impacted. I love that little guy so much.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


WARNING: I am going to vent in this blog post. I will not be offended if you don't want to read it

This week has been one of those weeks.

There is so much to write about.

There has been so much frustration.

For the last 2 days, in addition to the 100 other things that are driving me crazy and going wrong, my blog has not been working for me.

I haven't been able to post.

I think we have it figured it out.

I have spent over 7 hours this week on Laila's hair alone. It was not a pretty process(let's just say there was screaming, crying, vomiting, and lots of lollipops)

My house is a complete disaster. No, really, an "I wouldn't even want my best friend to see it" kind of disaster. If something happens to me during this upcoming trip, Rick has strict orders not to let ANYONE in our house. If someone happens to sneak in, he has to deny that I had anything to do with the mess. It was all done by the kids!!

In addition to the piles that already existed, we now have school supplies coming out of our ears, school uniforms to sort through, a year's worth of art projects multiplied by 4 kids, and report cards that I haven't even looked at yet(for some reason, our school does a 4-page report card for each kid).

The spiritual realm is in full attack mode as we approach this Swazi trip. Major disruptions in the process of getting ready seem to be coming from all directions. The supply bags are missing, our VBS order was lost by the company, and I am trying my best not to drop the million balls that I am juggling to make this trip happen as planned.

I think I have decided I need to change my diet to liquids for the next 2 weeks. It is much quicker to drink than eat, and I can take it on the go with me.

That is how busy I am, I don't even feel like I have time to stop and eat.

Oh, and remind me next year that going to watch the Thunderbirds after the Air Force Graduation is not all it is cracked up to be. It is cold, windy, and my kids don't really even watch it. Why do I go to all the effort to pack that lunch, load the blankets and chairs to sit on, and then sit out in the cold?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Travel Troubles, Rockstar Husband, and Hair Adventures

A lot has happened since I blogged on Saturday. I am exhausted and pushing forward as we now get the kids finished with school, get the supplies and team ready for Swaziland, and get our family ready to travel!! I have to-do lists coming out my ears.

On Sunday morning, my dad, mom, and I went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. What better way to end my time in KY than at Cracker Barrel?
Granola pancakes, Yummylicious!!
My travels home were complicated. I flew from Nashville to Dallas. That part was fine. I had a 3-hour layover scheduled in Dallas. That 3 hours became 6 hours when bad weather hit TX. It was exhausting. I wasn't sure if I would get home that night. Actually, it ended up being early Monday morning when I got home!! If I had known I was going to be in Dallas for 6 hours, I would have been calling up friends and eating some Tex Mex!! I arrived in Colorado Springs at 1:15 AM. After getting off the plane, getting my bag, and arriving home, it was 2:30 AM before we got to bed. Rick's 5:37 alarm and my subsequent 6:43 AM(We only set our alarms on 1s,3s, or 7s. The explanation of that is another blog post entirely!) came WAY TOO FAST!

Yesterday began with greeting the kids after being gone for 4 days. It was interesting to try to reconnect while also getting them out the door for school.

I have to stop here and talk about my amazing husband!! He truly is a rock star!! He managed our household of 6 children, carted them around to their various activities, played soccer with them, wrestled with them, made sure they were fed and clean, got them to church for 2 services, led a Swazi team meeting, and even made Churros with Cody for the fiesta in his Spanish class!! He did it and in the midst of it chose to take advantage of the opportunity to really engage our children. I love you, Rick! Thank you for your willingness to give me a break. Thank you for doing what many men would never attempt!!

Monday consisted of bread baking and hair unbraiding for me. I baked 12 loaves of bread and got about 1/3 of Laila's braids out. Here are some pictures of that process:
Before: Laila armed with her Swazi doll, ready to go!
Can you believe how long her hair is?
Abby wanted to give it a try!! She did great!
I am thinking the next time we do this, I will put her to work for sure!
Just love Laila's little expression
After: today after about a combined time of 3 hours(from today and yesterday)
You can see the dustiness and yucky pieces in it. The next steps: Washing, Deep conditioning, and getting it ready to be braided tomorrow. I will share more pics as we proceed through the process! We have an appointment schedule tomorrow to get it braided again. I am not able to do that and don't really know if I ever will be. For now, I am leaving that to the experts!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another Full Day

I slept until 9:30 today. I sat on the porch again this morning. The weather was absolutely beautiful.

Being able to get up and get ready slowly are really so nice. Only having to get myself ready is really so nice. I took a nap this afternoon, heavenly. I have been eating out a lot, one of my favorites. We have done lots of bargain shopping, love it! I read for at least 2 hours, without interruptions.

Even though it is nice, too much of this, for too long, without my family, and I would be bored. I love my children. I miss my hubby. I will be glad to see them again. I love the break. BUT, I also realize that I have a calling and when I am not a part of it, I realize how thankful I am for it.

We all need that at times, don't we? A break from our normal lives. Even when we are right where God wants us to be and living the calling God has placed on us, there comes a time when a change of scenery is just what we need to regroup and jump back into that calling.

How can my kids drive me so crazy sometimes, but I love them so deeply!? Even as I have this time away, I miss them. I think of how they would enjoy what I am doing or how much that friend that I have just seen should meet them. You see, they are a part of me. When someone asks about me and my life, I can't help but tell all about them.

I spoke to the kids on the phone today. They seem to be doing just fine, which is how I would have it. I did tell Rick that he shouldn't be too nice to them so that they miss me and are thankful when I return! My mom and I were out shopping when we talked on the phone. Isaiah could not understand why he could not talk to his Papa. He kept saying, "just take the phone to him." I said, "he is not shopping with us." He did not grasp the concept that I could be here and not with Papa the whole time.
Speaking of Papa, he planted his garden today.
I sure wish I was going to be around to eat some of those yummy veggies!
This is Papa's new ride.
It is so green here. In CO, the trees are just starting to grow their leaves. Not here, they are all full and lush and green!!
The view from my parents' back porch
Now you know why I like to sit on the porch.
I arrive home tomorrow night. I won't see the kids until Monday morning when I jump right back into the routine with both feet, not much of a transition. I am so glad they only have 2 1/2 days of school left!!

We will have only 18 days before we take our team to Africa. Wow!! That is coming soon. Thankfully, it is all coming together.

Friday, May 20, 2011

KY Living

Apparently, I am on a field trip. That is what Isaiah told Andrea today when she came to get them.

I slept until 8:00 today. I took my time getting up. I stayed in the bed for a while, reading and catching up on emails.

Then, I went to the screened-in porch to relax. I was rocking, drinking coffee, listening to the birds sing, reading my Bible, the stuff country songs are made of.

I have already had enough sweet tea to float a boat. I gotta get it while I can. It's just not the same in CO.

It is so green here. I forget how brown Colorado is until I see how green it is here. I miss these trees and rolling, green hills. Second only to Palm trees, I love Weeping Willows.

I have been called "honey," "darlin'," and "sweetie" by strangers all day long. It kind of warms my heart.

Everywhere we go, I see someone from my past. I love seeing them and hearing how they are doing. I love showing off pictures of my family. Our family is definitely unusual to most that live here.

One thing I don't miss: the bugs. Evidently, the cicadas are back after their 13 yr. hibernation. The pictures on the news tonight were frightening. I do not miss crunchy bugs in my life. I do miss the lightning bugs, though.

Today for lunch, we got together with my mom's friends, Joyce, Jeri, and Pat. It was so much fun. These ladies made me laugh so much. They have all been a part of my life in some way over the years. Being around them and knowing how their friendships have endured through the years makes me want to keep pursuing those lasting relationships in my life.
We had some yummy Italian food at a new place in town, Gondoliers
They sang to Mama(Sorry about the sun)
Seven Sins Chocolate Cake
We spent most of the day shopping. We checked out every consignment and thrift store in town. We literally shopped until we dropped.
I treated Mama to a pedicure. So relaxing.
My first pedicure of the season.
Now, I need to buy some new sandals!!
The day started kind of cool, so much so that I needed a sweatshirt on the porch. Thankfully, it warmed up nicely. It eventually made it to the 80s, my favorite temperature. Just feeling the humidity on my skin is refreshing. I am soaking it up!!

I am looking forward to another relaxing day tomorrow, sleeping in, sitting on the porch, you know the drill.

I have to say that I absolutely love that my mom always has cookie dough in the fridge for me when I visit.

There is something about being known. There is something about having history with people. It feels like home.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mama

Today I flew to KY to spend the weekend with my family for my mom's 60th bday. I love traveling and the opportunity for a weekend away to relax and enjoy the time with mom was a welcomed break.

I had an hour layover in Dallas. Just knowing that I was in TX even if I couldn't leave the airport and visit friends made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The kids sent artwork they had made for their Grammy's bday. They are all counting down the days until they get to come visit.

Tonight my dad, brother, sister-in-law, mom and I went out to dinner to celebrate.
Little Taste of Texas Restaurant
We had a bloomin' onion, oh yes, we did.
I drank some sweet tea, oh yes, I did.
We ended the night with a blizzard cake!
The weekend holds lots of fun!! Lunch with friends, pedicures, shopping, homegrown vegetables, more sweet tea, sleeping in, and very little that HAS to be done.

Right now it is only 7:30 for my body, but I feel like it is midnight. I think I will turn in for an early bedtime with a good book to get me ready to sleep. Getting up at 5:00 this morning may be part of the reason I feel like I am about to collapse. Having a crazy life every day might be the rest of it.

Happy Birthday, Mama!! I hope it is your best one yet and you feel as special and loved as you really are!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just What I Needed!

Rick took the kids to school this morning.

I slept until 8:00.

I went downstairs and got my computer to bring up to my bed to work in comfort.

At 8:30, I got Isaiah and Laila up and brought them into my room.

We have been in the bed all morning.
-me working on the computer trying to finalize the million details of this Swazi trip.
-them watching Sprout and drinking their rice milk.

It is now 10:00. I think we will head downstairs.

I feel so much more able to tackle this day with the slow start that it had.

Thank you so much, Ricky, for giving me this break!!

I do have to share two funny things that Isaiah and Laila said last week.

We were listening to the Chipmunks sing hit songs. They were singing "Put Your Records On." In one part it says, "just go ahead let your hair down."
Laila: Mommy, I want to let my hair down.
Me: You mean like the song says?
Laila: No, like in Tangled. I want hair like in Tangled.
I am going to need to get this chick a wig to play with. She LOVES that movie and does not understand why her hair can't be like that.

The next song was "Shake Your Groove Thing."
Isaiah: Mommy, I am going to shake my groove. I am going to shake it A LOT!
Me: You do that, buddy.
A minute passes.
Isaiah: Where is my groove? Is it in my tummy?
Me: (chuckling) Not really. Shaking your groove just means you dance a lot.

I love the way their little minds work. I could tell he had been sitting there in his car seat going through the different parts of his body. He was baffled when he couldn't figure out which one was his "groove."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


On Thursday, I will be flying to KY for the weekend to celebrate my mom's 60th bday!! I am so looking forward to the warm weather that is being forecasted, the sweet tea, the sleeping in, sitting on their porch in the morning, southern hospitality and accents, and some special time with my mom and extended family. A few days away from my chaos will recharge me to tackle the next few weeks before our Swazi trip.

I am not leaving our house clean. Why would I do that? It won't be the same when I return. If it looks better when I return, well, then, bonus for me.
A few random pics:
Cody is such an artist, an ability that he did not even remotely get from me. He always impresses me with his work. Here is Marvin the Martian:
Isaiah and Laila went to a Princess bday party. Since we didn't have American Prince and Princess clothes, we decided to use our Swazi clothes and make them a Swazi Prince and Princess.
I absolutely love Laila's smile in this picture.
Isn't she so beautiful?
Sharing the love
As I think ahead to my trip, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to fly on a plane and eat out!! I LOVE flying. I love being able to relax and read or listen to music. I LOVE airports. It is so fun to watch people. I will have a short(45 min) layover in Dallas. I am just going to soak up a little bit of Texas while I am in that airport. I wish I was going to be there long enough to meet up with some friends. I will wave and say, "Howdy," to all of you as I walk from one plane to the other

I know this is for my mom's bday, but it kind of feels like my Birthday!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life Happenings

Yesterday was a pretty insane day.

We had church at 9:00.

50 people over to our house for a BBQ from 1:00-3:00. The forecast for the weather went from a high of 70 a few days ago to a high in the low 40s. We woke up to snowflakes and I am not sure if it ever really got warmer than 40 degrees!

Everyone was so amazing and just took it in stride. Let's just say we were really cozy in our house!! Thankfully, kids don't care how cold it is so they just played outside anyway.

About an hour after everyone left and things settled down, we headed to Life Group. It was our turn to provide the meal. That lasted from 5:00-10:00!

I have to say, despite the craziness of it, it was a good day. I was tired, but it was a good tired.

Today, I am making 20 loaves of bread. I know that is a lot, and I am sure I will be tired when it is over, but I am thankful. Each loaf represents money towards our Swazi trip!! Yay!!

We are 25 days away from leaving for Swaziland!!

Between now and then, I have to do the following:
1. Get the kids finished up with their school year and all that involves(field trips, teacher gifts, parties, special days, etc.)

2. Go through the supplies we have collected for Swaziland to see what we still need. Shop for needed supplies for the ministry of our trip. Pack all of our supplies into 18 supply bags!!(Thankfully, we have a team that will help with this.)

3. Get 8 people packed to go on a trip cross country.

4. Get 4 people shopped for and packed for a trip across the world.

5. Get haircuts for everyone in our house.

6. Take out Laila's braids and have them redone.

7. Make sure the Swazi team is ready to go.

All of this is in addition to all of my regular duties. I am pretty sure I am forgetting some things. I feel tired just typing it!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

What in the World?

*UPDATE - Now, all of sudden, my Mother's Day post has reappeared. Oh, well, at least I don't have to redo it. I have not idea what that was all about!!

So, I did a Mother's Day post a few days ago and now it is nowhere to be found!!

What is up with that?

I posted it, people read it and commented on it, and now it is gone.

I even linked it to Facebook, and when I click on that link is says the post does not exist.

Does anyone know how I can find it? Or, am I just going to have to start over and redo it?

This really does feel like the story of my life lately.

So many times when I go to do something, I have so many obstacles that sabotage me.

2 steps forward, 4 steps back.

It really is frustrating. My time is so limited already. Why does everything have to be so complicated?????

That last week has been full of activities. I guess I will have to repost the Mother's Day stuff, but here is the rest:
Last Friday, Lauren had Colonial Day
Sam had a field trip to the Denver Museum. It was a big day for him. He got to ride the bus for the first time. He was VERY excited about that.
I let him play some games on my iphone.
Listening with animal ears
The part he was most looking forward to: The Egyptian Mummies
Learning about animal poop!
What 1st grade boy wouldn't LOVE that?
The view from the museum
He looks like he is in pain here!
Dinosaur bones
We had a great trip. I was really glad to spend some time with Sam and his classmates. I learned from his friend that Sam is strongest boy in his class. Sam also gave me lots of hugs and kisses throughout. That was his way of saying he was glad that I was there!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was a day of celebrating around here! Rick and the kids did an amazing job of doing the things that speak love to me. My day started with a Mother's Day Theme Interpretation to the song "Just the Way You Are," performed by Sam, Lauren, Abby, Isaiah and Laila. It made me laugh. It made me feel special that they chose to do something they knew I would LOVE. The song they chose was really special, too!!
Rudolph was also a part of the performance
The Big Finish
After the entertainment, Lauren and Abby made omelets for breakfast. It was a yummy breakfast!! Then, we went to church together. After church, they took me out to one of my favorite restaurants:
Sam and his tortilla chip beard
After lunch, we came home and I got to take a nap! The thing that made this nap so special was that Rick had put the air conditioners in the windows the day before. That made me really happy. I had switched out our bed to our summer bedding. It was a beautiful day outside. My nap was glorious. It was nice and cool in our bedroom, and I slept like a baby.

After my nap, the kids had gifts for me. I got some awesome pictures, letters, acrostics of my name, and poems. The girls gave me some money(another one of my love languages). I got Starbucks gift cards from Sam and Isaiah and Laila. The girls also gave me coupons for cleaning and spa services.
Lauren and Abby like to make coupons for me. I tend to lose them and never use them, so in addition to some new coupons, Abby made me a coupon holder so that I can organize them and not lose them. It was the perfect gift.
I am so thankful for my children. They truly are a blessing in my life. I cannot imagine our home without these 6 little people that make it so exciting every day. They really worked hard to make this day special for me!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


-I feel tired and unmotivated today. Everywhere I look around me, I see work that needs to be done, but I just don't have it in me today!

-This last week was crazy busy and took it out of me. Next week feels more manageable. I am trying REALLY HARD to keep my schedule open. There is so much to do getting ready for this Swazi trip. I just can't fill every minute and expect to get it all done with my sanity intact!

-Laila has had a rough week. She has thrown lots of fits. She has opinions about everything. It makes me sad. I don't like my baby growing up. There is something so special to me about babies. I can solve their problems. They laugh, smile, and love me. They don't talk back. It is something I am going to miss so much.

-Tomorrow is Mother's Day. It is my favorite holiday to celebrate me. I like it way better than my bday. It represents me fulfilling the calling God has placed on my life. I have decided that I should get a day for every child. 6 days of Mother's Day, now that sounds delightful. I am not expecting that to happen.

-The weather is finally giving us some nice days. I can't tell you what a different that makes in my attitude. There is just something about cold weather and snow in May that sends me over the edge.

-At Wal-mart yesterday, I rented a Red Box movie for the kids. Isaiah was insistent about holding onto it for me. He lost it, and now if no one finds it and turns it in, I get to pay $25 for a movie that Wal-mart sells for $15. To top it all off, it was a "free" rental, and we will never get to watch it. These kinds of things drive me crazy!!!!

-My girls have told me that I can go in my room today and relax while they clean the main level. They have given me "the bell" to ring any time I need something. That sounds glorious to me. It really doesn't take much to please me these days.

-My one request on Mother's Day has been that I don't want to cook or clean up after meals.

Time for me to go relax!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Littleton Historical Museum Field Trip

I went with Abby on her class field trip to the Littleton Historical Museum. Thankfully, we had great weather because much of the time was outside. I enjoyed seeing the school, farm and homes from the 1800s. I would NOT want to have lived back then, but the simplicity of their lives is definitely appealing!!
Abby was not so sure about getting this picture next to the mule!
This woman was demonstrating the gardening that was done in that time period.
The one-room schoolhouse.
Abby was the teacher!!
Proof that I went on a field trip!!
I just liked this view
My sweet, Abby girl
2-seater out house, awkward!!
I guess if you gotta go, it is better than waiting!!
We got to talk to see them milk a cow
We also visited the Blacksmith shop
Inside the museum
This was a field trip that I enjoyed quite a bit. It was fun to experience it with Abby. I love getting some one-on-one time with my kids. This day was a great way to do that.