Friday, July 27, 2012

Getting Dirty

Before I became a mom, I didn't really love dirt or mud or anything that made me feel dirty or sticky.

But being a mom of a boy changes things.  My world now revolves around dinosaurs, cars, and dirt.

Connor's two favorite outdoor activities are: 1) digging holes and pouring the dirt all over his body and 2) splashing in the muddy puddle created by rain in our driveway.

As much as my instinct is to tell him to stay clean and neat, I have learned that it's okay for him to get dirty.  He will wash, and there is nothing like his smile when he is making a mess.

I have come to love seeing that dirty face run up to me with pure joy in his eyes for no other reason than I have let him splash himself and his cars in the mud for an hour.

Connor has taught me that it's actually fun to let it all go and get a little down and dirty sometimes.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July Photo a Day Challenge -- Week 1

With a new month comes a new photo a day challenge from the blog Fat Mum Slim.

In case you aren't playing along, here are the new prompts for the month of July:

And here are my photos for week 1:

Day 1 -- Self-portrait

Day 2 -- Busy (always)

Day 3 -- Best Part of my Day (seeing Connor enjoy time with a friend)

Day 4 -- Fun (4th of July fun in the pool)

Day 5 -- On the Floor (our projects for the day -- artwork and playing with dinos)

Day 6 -- Chair

Day 7 -- Garden (We don't have a garden, so the closest thing would be our backyard flowers.)

See you next week for more photos!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Today I turn 29.  I'm not sure when I turned around and became an adult, with a husband, a son, a career, a house, and all those other "adult" responsibilities, but here I am.  And as I look around, there is no place I'd rather be.

my first birthday (I'm on the far left)

Some days it feels as though I have been an adult forever (probably because I'm pretty boring).

Some days, though, I still feel like the middle school me, walking around the track with my friends, listening to a portable DVD player, singing Spice Girls, and drooling over Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo and Juliet (Well, I still kind of do the last one.).

(not my most attractive phase, let's be honest)

I could never have imagined that I would be as blessed as I am today, and yet there is something a little sad about 29.  It seems to be the last birthday people happily and openly celebrate, and I like birthdays.  So maybe I can just be 29 again next year.  :)

90's fashion at its finest right here

For today, I'll be enjoying time with family and hopefully eating a delicious cupcake or maybe two (if my mom comes through for me).  :)

last year's birthday

So long 28; hello 29.  Bring it on.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I have waited nearly two weeks since our return to write about our annual trip to Chicago, but it isn't because the trip wasn't memorable, but because, as always, I was blessed more than expected.  I think I've probably waited this long to write about it and share photos because looking at the pictures makes me miss the city, the food, the fun, the kids, and especially Pacific Garden Mission.

If you aren't familiar with the purpose of PGM, you can check out their website here, but in short it is a homeless shelter which gives more than food, they give hope, help, and the message of Jesus to those in need.

For ten years now, my parents, sister, Jason, and some conglomeration of kids/teens have gone every summer for a week to volunteer at PGM.  Over those years we have heard many stories of hard times, but also of redemption, love, and hope that this place brings to so many.  For 10 years we have gotten to spend a week with the workers at the mission, including Chef Turnbull and several others.

Most years our time is spent in the kitchen, wiping down tables, serving food, making sandwiches, etc..., but this year, due to another group providing extra help, we also spent this year making hundreds of beds, stuffing envelopes with the mission's newsletters, and I even had the opportunity to help archive scripts from the 1950s of the mission's radio program "Unshackled".

Each year I go hoping that I can be a blessing and a help to the workers and overnight guests at Pacific Garden Mission, but I always leave as the one who has been blessed by them.  It is one of the most transforming experiences of my life, and I hope that I won't ever miss a summer volunteering there for many years to come.

This year was extra special because besides Jason, Dad, and Connor, all the students we brought along were young ladies, and that made the trip even more fun for me.  They were (almost always) on time, excited to walk around the city, shop, and were just overall so pleasant and wonderful.  It is on my list as one of my overall favorite Chicago trips, if not the best ever.

Love these people!

After all the work is done, we do make time for fun (and especially food).

first night in the city -- pizza on the roof

best pizza ever (Giordano's) and one of my favorite things about Chicago

pool time

Sydney last came along with us when she was in 5th grade -- one of my favorite parts of the trip was having her back with us as an adult

While everyone else headed to the mission for the first day, it was my turn to stay back with Connor, so we had a little date at Gino's East (not as good as Giordano's, but pretty yummy).

Navy Pier

Connor 'building' a Chicago Cubs bear

ice cream at Navy Pier

mustache while eating at Grand Lux Cafe

silly daddy

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lego Store at Water Tower Place

Oak Street Beach

Millenium Park (another one of my favorite parts of the city)

one last trip to enjoy Giordano's pizza

Besides Giordano's, my second favorite food in Chicago: Sprinkles Cupcakes

I am already looking forward to next year.