Saturday, March 31, 2012

April Fools' Day

Those who know me well, know that I can't resist a really good prank. It's in my blood. I understand it's a little twisted (evil laugh), but it really does make my heart happy.

My poor kids.

They are the best sports and make it fun. They can definitely hold their own, at my expense, so don't be feeling too sorry for them.

With April Fools' Day approaching tomorrow, I wanted to share some fun ideas that I have found on line.


To encourage you to be a tricky little prankster too, of course!


Until you've pulled a really good prank, you just can't appreciate where I'm coming from. So, here's your chance. Have some fun.

10 Kid-Friendly April Fools' Pranks: Really cute ideas, especially if you have younger kids.

More Kid-Friendly ideas.: There are even a couple for your big sweetie. Plus, it's, so it makes me feel like I'm a REALLY good mom for being a little prankster! :)

Turn the water blue and other fun ideas.: Martha Stewart has some fun ideas too!

33 Harmless Pesky Pranks: More really fun ideas. 

Here are some other really funny ideas.
April Fools' ideas for Parents: She's a feisty one with some twisted little ideas. 
And now for Big Daddy and all his counterparts.
(oh....those darn gut giggles)

Are you inspired yet?

And if that is not enough ideas for you, you can go to my board on Pinterest and find MANY more ideas.
You have all day to plan some new fun memories.

Happy April Fools'!
Now go plan your foolin'!

Be Different

There are so many funny little things that our kids do every day that make me laugh. They are all so different and bring their own unique dynamic to our family. I have to apologize in advance for so many posts on Noah. (Noah.....I'm sorry. I can't help it.) Noah is just always full of surprising, funny things that he does. He is one of my favorite little creatures on the earth and I love him for always making me laugh. It's hard to explain Noah. just Noah.

He's quirky, funny and, well.....he's just Noah.
 There's no other way to describe it.

He was ironing one day, and I walked by the laundry room and something caught my eye. As I turned to get a more careful look, I was caught off guard and just started laughing.

There was Noah, serious about his ironing, very methodical (THAT is a whole other post), taking his time to get every little wrinkle,

.....all while wearing Luke's Thor hat.

You have to admit that no one could resist that cuteness.

Noah is a daily reminder to me that it's wonderful to be "YOU". 

Noah doesn't try to be anyone else. He is comfortable in his own skin. He feels no pressure to "fit the mold". He is unique, and I LOVE that about him. He keeps life fresh. He makes me laugh. He gives me the unexpected all the time.

I love people like that. 

I love HIM.
I love that he's just Noah.
I love that he's different.
In my eyes, it really does make him one of the most beautiful things on earth.

(there will be much more to come on Noah)
hee hee hee.....

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tender Mercies

Over Spring Break, we had a great time. I always love extra time with our kids. Being with them is my favorite thing and because there are so many, we usually just hang together. But, this Spring Break, thanks to my friend (and exploring buddy), we went to Gatlinburg, TN, up in the Smokey Mountains. And it was WONDERFUL. Thank you Rebecca!

The Smokey Mountains are beautiful! We decided to take an auto tour up a mountain before sightseeing in town began. I don't know how impressed our kids were with our drive through the mountains, but I loved it. As we were headed back down the mountain, Rebecca's brakes started smoking and burning. We decided to stop and let the kids get out and run around and explore so the brakes could cool down. 

We found our way to the river and the kids got right in. It looked like a great spot. Safe for the little ones, but fun for the older ones as well. We played hard. Kids were laughing and fun was had by all.

Luke loved it. He is an adventurous kid and loves to explore. But he loves to follow his buddy Zach around even more. So, he moved closer to where Zach was. It still looked like a good spot for him, but it was what I DIDN'T see that caused my heart to completely stop a few minutes later.

Luke was playing. He had his stick. He had stripped down to his cute little Superhero underwear and was having the time of his life. Zach was a bit further out than him.....also with his stick.

 The next few seconds were a blur. I turned my head to check on the little girls, and in that few seconds, Luke had decided to go a bit further out to be with Zach. As he stepped on a rock, his foot slipped, and he fell. He grabbed the rock and tried to hold on. What I couldn't see from where I was standing, was a strong current behind the rock he had been standing on. And in a split second, I watched as this current tried to take my son. I felt so hopeless. I couldn't get to him fast enough and he was holding this rock with everything he had in his little body. He was looking at me with this panicked look and was screaming, "MOM!!!" It was one of the worst moments of my life. It makes me shake and cry again by just typing it out.

Then, in a split second, Zach came flying. I still don't know how he got to him in time, but he did. He grabbed him and didn't let go. He saved Luke that day, and I will always be grateful for him.

After we got back to the bank of the river, I sat and looked at that current. The realization of the seriousness of the situation started to sink in. If Luke had let go, if Zach had not been able to get to him in time, none of us would have been able to catch up with him. The current was so fast. And my heart was filled with a mixture of terror and complete amazement and gratitude.

I had miscalculated how safe it really was. I was not prepared. I let him go too far out of my reach. 
I had made some serious mistakes as a mom.

But, my heart was full of gratitude as I recognized the tender mercies of the Lord. I believe we were protected that day, in spite of my mistakes. I believe that Zach being in the right place was a miracle. I believe that Luke was given extra strength to hang on. I don't believe that these were just coincidences. We needed added help that day, and it was there.

I can't prove it. 
But, my heart doesn't need proof. 

We all have those unseen currents in our lives as well. Things that suck us in, things that can cause harm or damage in our lives, things that take us from other things that are more important, unexpected heartaches and trials, and things that we're not prepared for - many times due to our own weaknesses and mistakes. I'm grateful that we will always have added help when we need it. I'm grateful that we're not expected to go through this life without it.

I know that the tender mercies of the Lord are real.
I know that He is aware of each one of us, at all times.
And I know that He stands by ready to help, to save, to protect, to lift, to comfort and to guide.

I'm grateful for tender mercies. very grateful.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mistaken Identity

My sweet Lucy.

My little Lucy Lu-Lu brings joy to my life in many ways and I am very grateful for the chance to see glimpses of the world through her eyes. She is full of wonder and excitement as she learns new things. I watch her as she sees the moon in the morning sky with the sun.....and then I see the wonder in her eyes as she tries to make sense of it. I see her learn about her own personal sense of humor and watch as she tries her sense of humor out on her family.....having her own little gut giggles. I see her watching people and learning to interact with them. She is a very warm and trusting little girl and she LOVES people. And she decides in her little mind who she loves, who she feels safe with and who will be planted in her heart.

That brings me to this post.

We have a very special friend named Ron Wade. He has been our bishop at church and our family loves him dearly. 

Lucy loves him.

Every time Lucy sees him, she says, "MOM, it's Jesus."

The first time, I was confused and asked Lucy, "Who?"

And she replied, "It's Jesus."

Every time Ron Wade sees us at church, he always comes and shakes our hands and says hi. And he always makes sure to do the same with each of our children. He's loving, he's kind, he smiles and then takes time to talk to them. 

Lucy has been taught about Jesus and she knows that He loves her. In Lucy's mind, she knows that Ron Wade loves her too.

I firmly believe that she feels something special when he is around. He is a godly man and I believe that she feels his goodness. No wonder she's confused.

In Lucy's sweet world, she is learning to recognize good people. She is learning that there is something special she feels when she is around them. I am proud of my little Lucy Lu-Lu. I'm so happy to know that she can sense goodness in people and that she is drawn to that. 

I hope it will always be so.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Giveaway Sneak Peek

Someone mentioned that it would be fun to see some of these "Lovely Little Things" that you may win in the GIVEAWAY.

Without giving away all my surprises to come, this will show you ONE.

I love making earrings. I'm no pro, but I love doing it. 
(they are much cuter in person)

I love making other fun "little things". 
You'll have to enter the GIVEAWAY to win it!

Go to the previous post and leave a comment.
Soon, you'll have a fun "little thing" of your own.

Lovely Little Things

OK! I'm really excited about my "little things" this week. (see previous post) My mind has been whirling with ideas of things that I can do for my kiddos, my friends and my family!

And it's making me so happy.

It has started me thinking about how easy it really is to show love and appreciation to others. It really doesn't take much time, and I believe that we are blessed more than anyone on the receiving end.

What can we do?
There are so many simple things.

For example, the other night I was sitting on the couch with all my cutie-cuties and Big Daddy enjoying a movie, and out of the blue Keely reached over and held my hand. It was a sweet gesture that spoke louder than any words she could have said.

Isn't she a little beauty?
YES! It's blurry....but you can still see her cute little face!
She's the one who never wants her picture taken, so I'll take what I can get.

Back to the topic at hand!

Need another example?
Someone at church gave me a hug, but attached to that hug were some very sweet and tender words. And my heart needed to hear those words. I felt loved and strengthened.
Another "little thing". And it only took a moment.

The other night Big Daddy sat down beside me, took my aching feet in his lap and gave them a great little massage. Something so small to him, but it was so big to me.

A sweet little old lady stopped to talk to Luke and Lucy the other day. She was so tender with them and we had such a wonderful little conversation. By the time we were done talking, I just wanted to hug her and bring her home with me. She was kind to my children.....and it didn't take any time at all.

Get the idea?
Do your own "little thing" today.
Don't put it off! Just think of something small.

Grab your child, hug them and tell them how much you love them.
Grown children? Give them a call.
Pinch your sweetie's tush and tell them they make you happy.
Write a note to tell someone how wonderful they are.

Woohooooooo! Let's have some fun!

Back to my whirling brain.

I've been thinking.....
that it's time for another GIVEAWAY!

I had so much fun on the last one, so I wanted to do another one. But, I wanted it to be a little different.  Here's what I have come up with.

I'm going to make this an ongoing GIVEAWAY.
I'll let you know when we're doing it, and all you have to do is take a minute and leave a comment.
These will be "LITTLE things"...but cute little things.
I'm keeping them a surprise though! I think that makes it more fun.

And who doesn't love a fun little gift every once in a while?

So, today to be entered to win a "Lovely Little Thing", take a minute and share a "little thing" that someone has done for you, that you have done for someone else, or some really fantastic idea that you're going to go do as soon as you get off this blog! :)

Let's all go make a big day for someone!

(Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered for the GIVEAWAY!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's the little things...

I got the sweetest note in the mail this week. 

It's very personal so I won't share it, but it meant a great deal to me.

It wasn't anything huge or spectacular.
It was just a "little thing".

And I'm very touched that this special person took time to do a nice "little thing".
Her "little thing" was a big thing for me that day.

It was a wonderful reminder that we can all do "little things" and that we never know when those will be "big things" for someone else.

That got me thinking. 

Why not do some more "little things"?
We could all do them.

Little things are just that...they are little.
They are small, so they are easy to accomplish.

I love that.

So, I'm going to commit to do some "little things" this week. 

And I'm really excited.

Anyone want to join me?
Come on! 
You'll feel so happy!!
Make your plan!
Do your "little thing"!

Thank you, my sweet friend for the sweet note. You know who you are. I love you and thank you for sharing with me a piece of your heart.

Off to start on a "little thing".
Let the fun begin.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Simply Sunday: My Birthday

Well, it's official. I'm another year older and it was a wonderful birthday.
Can I just say AGAIN how wonderful my family is?
Big Daddy treated me to a wonderful dinner out and my kids were very good to me.
Every year I get the best homemade cards from them and to me, they are treasures. A lot of our kids are boys, so they don't tend to be all mushy and gushy like us girls. But when they make me a card, they always try their best to communicate what they are feeling. It's such a special treat and I keep every single one. 

Having birthdays in the middle of your life is an interesting thing.
On most days, in my confused brain, I still feel like I'm 18. 
My memories from growing up are still so vivid in my mind, and those moments don't seem as far away as they really are.

It's strange.
Emotionally and mentally, I don't feel 44. Some will laugh at that. But, I just don't. Not that I know what 44 should feel like. But, I thought that when I hit my 40's, I would have it all figured out. Because when I was growing up, the people in their 40's had EVERYTHING figured out! They were perfect in my eyes! 

Now I'm here and I see how ridiculously untrue that is.

While there are many things I'm still working on, there ARE SOME things that I've figured out.

My childhood myth: I planned my life. I knew where I would live, how many kids I would have, had my list of the PERFECT qualifications that my husband would have, and just KNEW that I would have the perfect life and that everything would go according to plan. 
My Reality: Life really, honestly is what you make it. It's not perfect. Things don't always go the way you plan them. And you have to be flexible, patient and accepting of your life to really be happy with it. There are really hard things that we'll go through. And I've learned that with each hard thing, I am a stronger, better person. I've learned to really be grateful that my life didn't turn out exactly how I planned as a child. It's so much better.

My Childhood Myth: I think I really almost believed that money grew on trees. I had awesome parents, who had 10 kids, and I don't remember doing without the things that were most important. If we needed something, it was there!
My Reality: As I got older, I realized that there was no magic money tree, but magical parents who made every sacrifice necessary to take care of the family they loved. And I love them for that. I WISH money grew on trees. But, I'm also surprised at what we can actually do without. It's been an amazing experience to have this many kids. Very difficult at times as we try to meet everyone's needs, but they ask for so very little. We have learned that wordly things don't bring happiness. But, these nine kids sure do.

My Childhood Myth: That I would marry a perfect man and that I would be a perfect wife. We would be in love, and live happily ever after.
My Reality: Well, I didn't marry a perfect man, but he is perfect for me. I am also not the perfect wife. But, I believe that I am perfect for him. We make each other better. We make each other stronger. And we make each other happy. But it is hard work. It's a choice we both make every day. Marriage is definitely work. It's requires constant focus and effort. But, I do still believe that I will live happily ever after.

My Childhood Myth: To be as valuable as others, I needed to be as skinny, have the best clothes, be as pretty as them, sing as well as them, be as smart, etc. etc. etc.
My Reality: That I am just as valuable and as loved.....just the way I am. I'm not the skinniest, the prettiest, don't have the newest, most stylish clothes, don't do many things as well as others, and I'm definitely not the smartest. But, I really like ME. I've worked really hard to be ME. And although I have insecurities like everyone else, I'm so much more comfortable and content being just me.

My Childhood Myth: I would be the PERFECT mother. I would never lose my temper. I would have fun crafts and games ALL THE TIME, I would cook elaborate fancy meals, I would be the perfect teacher of everything good and important, my kids would be perfectly well behaved, they would think I was the COOLEST mom EVER.....all the time. And in our home you would never hear a cross word, because I, the perfect mother, would know how to solve all things.
My Reality: Well, it's just that. It's reality. There is no perfect mother. And I am no exception. But, I love the chance to try to be a really good mom. I have days where I do better than others, and other days when I feel like I totally blew it. My kids have challenges, some of which I know how to help with, and others that I have no clue. But, I try every day. And on some days it's really hard. Harder than I ever thought it would be. But, worth it. Soooo very worth it.

So, although my reality is so different than I pictured when I was growing up, it's wonderful. It's challenging, it's hard, it's filled with many things I have to struggle to figure out, but it's also really great. My life is filled with happy and joyful moments that balance everything out. If I let it. I'm grateful to have been on this earth for 44 years. It's been a crazy 44 years, and I hope I have many more. 

It's been a very happy birthday.

I'm so happy I'm here living this crazy life!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Introducing Moses!

Well, his birthday week has come and gone, and I have not yet introduced him!

This is Moses!

I know I'm biased, but isn't he such a CUTIE-PATOOOOOOOTIE??!

He is so very special to me. It's wonderful to me to see how my relationships with each of our kids have developed and evolved. I have a different and very unique relationship with each one of them.

My relationship with Moses is something that is so important to me that it's hard to put into words.

Moses is 22 now and is attending college studying all the computer stuff that is so foreign to me. He's very intelligent and I have no doubt that he will do something really great with that fantastic brain of his.

Since he's in college, it's means he is no longer sleeping just upstairs every morning, nor is he sitting down with us on the couch at night watching tv and talking to us. 

And I miss that so much that it hurts.

How do I describe Moses?

Well, he has a very loving nature and is not afraid 
to show it (which I LOVE!).
He has a funny sense of humor and is always laughing.

He has always been willing to help.
He's my little Mr. Fix-it around the house and can just about get anything to work, or put anything together. 

He's also the oldest. 
Being the oldest in the family of 9 kids is a WHOLE OTHER subject, one which Moses would probably love to talk about! :)

But, he is the oldest, and has unfortunately been 
our little guinea pig in many ways. 
He has worked hard over the years to be patient with us as we've made mistakes and tried to figure out how to be better parents.
Thank you for being patient and forgiving Moses. 
We love you for that!!

Being the oldest has also put him in the position of being looked up to by his younger siblings. They hang on his every word, they talk his ears off and they follow him around like little ducklings. It's wonderful to see that they love him so much. But, I've realized that they love him, because he has loved them.

He talks to them, he teaches them, he laughs with them and wrestles with them. He has been a great brother to his siblings. They all miss him and get so excited when he comes home to visit.

How can you not think he's just absolutely wonderful?
Any guy who can love his siblings like that is very special in my book!

Moses was older when I got here, and had some big adjustments to make. But, Moses made a choice to open his heart and let me in. We have had so many great conversations, just the two of us. We share memories that are very special to me. Over the years Moses gave more than love. In many ways, I feel like he has taken care of me. I have felt protected, encouraged, strengthened and uplifted by Moses. On some days, he found ways to cheer me on and to let me know that he was aware of me. He has a special way of doing that. And it has made me love him so dearly. 

Moses is amazing.
I don't think he knows how amazing he is.
Pardon me while I tell him.

I think you are AMAZING! I love your girly giggle. I love the goodness that is anchored deep inside you. I love that you are working hard. I am so very thankful for you and for the influence you've had on my life. I've always felt extremely close to you and very safe with you. You are one I can talk to about anything, and I know you will just sit and listen. And I love that you have trusted me enough to talk to me about so many things over the years. Your ability to communicate is a great strength. It reminds me of Dad. Use that talent to bless the lives of others.

The thing I miss the most is being able to hug you every day. No one hugs me like you. You always seem to know when I need a hug...and then you don't let go. I can't tell you how much that has meant to me over the years. It has brought me peace, has calmed my fears, has given me a sense of reassurance that has been needed, and has made me feel very loved. 

I have always felt loved by you. And I have always loved you.
You really are amazing.

So, that's our sweet Moses.
We love him.
We miss him.

I miss him.

There's a huge void without him here.
But we are all so very proud of him, and are hoping for every good thing for him.

(Moses and my hilarious dad)

I love you Moses.
In some ways it's so sad that you grew up. But I know that's purely selfish of me! I am so very proud of you. where's my darn box of tissues again.

Friday, March 23, 2012


We have a lot of fun in our home. 

Because of this, we laugh a lot. 

We laugh at each other,
we laugh at ourselves,
and sometimes we all laugh together.

See this face?

Can you hear the giggles?

Well, last night, we knelt down for family prayers.
It's one of my favorite parts of the day.

And last night was no exception.

Noah was asked to say the prayer.

He started.....and so did one person's giggles.
And then someone else's giggles.
And even more.

Look back at the face above.
Now imagine all of our cute little faces that looked just like his.

As we all tried to get our giggles under control, 
Noah was bound and determined to say his prayer. 
So, he giggled and prayed away!!

We even had a little pooter in there at one point....which brought on even more giggles.

Last night we had family prayers that no one will forget.

I love my family so much. I love sharing my life with them.
I love that we can laugh.
It makes life really happy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Aidan...the coolest kid around!


I wanted to take a minute today and
introduce my amazing nephew Aidan.

He is the greatest kid.

He loves his family.
He loves to laugh.
He's very funny.

And he has Mosaic Down Syndrome.
If you're curious about it, you can read more about it here...

He has been a complete joy to our family since the day he was born.

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.
I know this post is very late, but I've thought about Aidan a lot today.

I've also thought about his amazing parents.

This my sister Stephanie.
She is as sweet and as good as she looks.

And this is Stephanie with her awesome husband Peter.
He's by far one of THE coolest guys I know.
He also has some mean dance moves!
(just a random fact)

Aidan is a very lucky boy to have them both.

He's darling.
And I love him so very much.

From day one he has made me laugh.
And then I want to just squish him.

I was talking to Stephanie about him today and how I've always felt something very special when I'm around Aidan.

As a mom, she doesn't see Aidan in any
different light than the rest of her kids.
I'm so proud of her as a mom.

She has worked hard to help him have a full and very happy life in a home where he is loved and encouraged to be the best he can.

He is  confident.
He is charming.
He is funny.
He is a cutie-patootie.

But, best of all.....
he's happy.

So, today, I love Aidan!
He's one of the coolest kids I know.
His parents have taught me by their example,
and he teaches me by his.

It's a blessing to have him in our lives.
Yes, he's just like the rest of his 36 cousins in many ways.
But, he will always have his own special little spot in my heart.

He reminds me that life can hand us challenges,
but life can be anything we make it.

Thank you Aidan!
I love you!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Simply Sunday: Do Not Run Faster


Today I've been thinking about a lot of things. 
Lately we've had a lot of sick kids, crazy schedules, stressful "stuff", 
and life has just seemed a bit more out of balance on some days.

I even stopped taking time to post things on my blog to try to find some balance again.

I grew up in a home of 10 kids.
8 of those 10 kids were girls.
And 8 of those girls are over achievers.
We all have a struggle at times finding our balance.

And it's mainly because we all love to give.....and we all love to give the best we can.
And then after we give the best we can, we sit and kick ourselves for not giving more.


I have sisters who will read this and they will KNOW that I speak the truth! 

And then they will laugh.

There are some days when all that I want to give and all that I need to do, just isn't possible.
 And that can be discouraging.

I was sitting the other night, with 20 gazillion things that I needed to do...and wanted to do. But, then Lucy came up to me with her book and wanted to read it. I told her, "We'll read it in just a little bit", but she came back.....and then came back again. I stopped and looked at her and realized that nothing at that moment was more important than sitting down and reading a book to her. 

So, we sat and read, "Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama".

I don't want it be "Lucy, Lucy, Mad at Mama", so I'm grateful for the little reminder to re-prioritize what I was doing to make time for that which was most important.

I love this saying. 
To me it's a reminder that I need to have balance. 
I need to be patient with what I CAN do.....and patient with what I can't. 

On some days, what I have to give is an awful lot. And I can do great things. But, on the days when I can't do as much, I'm grateful to know that it's ok. That I'M ok. That what I have to give really is enough. And that even on those days, I can still do great things.

Reading to my Lucy was a great thing.
Sitting and having a conversation with Charity on my bed was a great thing.
Taking some time to go to the boy's room and talking to them about their day was a great thing.

The laundry didn't get finished, the kitchen floor was still sticky and my desk is STILL a mess.
But, what I COULD do, was enough.

And I'm grateful to know that.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Hidden Birthday Cupcake

The Hidden Birthday Cupcake

Well, birthday joy is in the air!

I love birthdays. Mainly because I love any reason to
make these kiddos feel special.

When I know someone's birthday is coming, I look online and see these INCREDIBLE parties, decorations, handmade gifts that take 2 years to make, etc.

I always have my own grand plans.

Sometimes it works out.....
and sometimes it doesn't go quite the way I plan.

But, I always want to have fun little things that they can count on.
And fun little things that I CAN DO, no matter what.

That's why I love the Birthday Cupcake.

It's simple.
It's inexpensive.
And it takes very little time.

The night before their birthday, I tuck a sweet little treat inside
 and hide the Birthday Cupcake.
In the morning, the hunt is on.
When they find it, the birthday fun begins!

It's just a cute little ceramic cupcake that I found at Hobby Lobby.
I don't know if it's supposed to be a cookie jar or what.
But, it works for me.

It's a fairly new tradition, but it has quickly become one that I love.

Charity found it way too fast this year.
So next year the hiding is going to be much harder!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Introducing Charity!

This is Our Sweet Charity!

It's her birthday week so I thought it would be a fun time to introduce her.
Charity is number 7 of the 9 crazies.

The best thing about Charity is that 
she really is as sweet as she looks.
She is such a special young lady and makes our 
home a very happy place.

 There are so many things I love about Charity.
You know those kids you meet
who are just good, through and through?

Well, that's Charity.
She is just good.
Through and through.

 She is loving, gentle and has a built-in solid desire to do what's right.
She is smart, funny and incredibly forgiving.

She loves her family and loves serving us with thoughtful actions.
She is clever and creative.
She loves to bake and loves any little art project you can think up for her. Everywhere you look, you can find samples of Charity's artwork. My favorite is hanging in our entryway. It's a large painting she did at school, and when I see it, I can't help but smile.

She is thoughtful of others and is my most helpful buddy when it comes to doing random acts of kindness. She is an absolutely amazing little girl, who teaches me and helps me to be a better person.

The best thing about Charity is that she truly is an example of everything that her name means.

The happy faces of Charity.

One of the things I love most about Charity is that 
she is the "little mother" in our home. 
She reminds me so much of myself when I was her age. 
All Charity wants to be is a mother, and she has gotten a lot of practice with Luke and Lucy.
She's very good to them, and tries in her best ways to teach them and guide them to do what's right. She is gentle and loving with them and they seek her out. 
There aren't words to describe how grateful I am for that. I believe that she will always be a powerful influence for good in their lives. 

She really is wonderful.

I am also so grateful for the way she has loved Keely. 
She made a decision from day one that she was going to love Keely. And she hasn't waivered. She has been patient with Keely's struggles and in many ways has taken care of Keely. She forgives, she loves, she encourages, she protects and has been one of the greatest blessings to ever enter Keely's life.
And I love her so much for that.

She's also a total Daddy's girl.
She loves him.....and he loves her.

All she has to do is smile and his heart melts.
As a parent, you don't love any child more, but you love them all differently. And there's something very special that Charity and Big Daddy share. It's a special connection that is very unique to them. And it's just theirs.
No matter how old she gets, she will always be his little sweetie.

When I first got here, Charity was 4 years old.
It's strange to think that she was that young.
I look back at pictures and I realize how much time has gone by.

Look how little she was!
She was absolutely darling then.
And she is just as darling now.

I can't tell you how much I love this little girl.
But, she just turned 11 and I'm realizing that she's not so little now.
She really is becoming quite a spectacular young lady, and it's been fun to watch her go through that process. I have watched her grasp on to things that are important and have seen her actively make choices that are good. Not because she's told to, but because she really wants to. 

One of my funniest memories about Charity happened when I first moved here. She was only 4 years old, but had spent all day, every day with Big Daddy driving around town. He was a builder, so she got to know the town very well. On mornings after dropping everyone off at school, Charity and I got to spend a lot of time together. I was completely lost on a regular basis, and as soon as I would go to take a wrong turn, Charity would yell from the back seat, "Stepmother! STEPMOTHER! You're going the wrong way! Turn THAT way!" I would just laugh and laugh. Eventually, she learned my name. But, it has never been "Veronica"...... it's been "Vronka", said lovingly with her cute little accent.

Oh how I love this little girl. She has firmly planted herself right in the middle of my heart, and I am a better person because of it. She is a very important part of my life and I am very grateful for who she is. She is a treasure to each of us and plays a vital role in our family. She loves everyone.....and everyone loves her.

Today, I'm thankful for Charity.
And I'm so thankful she is in my life.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm Feeling Lucky!

Well, the month of February is over. And so is my month of love.
And I will miss it. 

My sister-in-law Angie said it's like reading my gratitude journal, and in some ways it has become my gratitude journal. It kind of took on a life of it's own. I have had so much fun sitting down every day and thinking about the things I love. When you do that, it makes the things you DON'T love seem a bit more bearable. So, thank you for sharing my month of love with me.

I'm not quite sure what to do with this blog thingy now!
I will still have to do days of love every once in a while.

I was talking to Charity today and we were talking about the blog. As I explained my new dilemma to her, she said, "Well, March is the LUCKY month. Write about the ways you are lucky." 

I don't think I'll do a whole lucky month, but maybe a few.
She got me thinking. I really am a lucky girl.

I'm lucky that my gray hairs have not completely out-numbered 
my horse-poop-icky-colored-brown hair.
I'm lucky to have a great hair stylist who is really good with bleach.
Now, if I can just hold on for one more week.

I'm lucky that although the tv is going out, 
and everything is turning blue, 
I still can see the picture and the sound is GREAT!

I'm lucky that although my body is getting older,
it still functions and gets me where I need to go.

I'm lucky that even though Luke blew slimy green boogies all over me today, I had a bottle of antibacterial goo close by.
I'm also lucky that I have LOTS of medicine in my cupboard to battle those green boogies.
I'm lucky that only 6 of us have been hit with this yucky stuff. 
That means we still have some healthy ones!

I'm lucky that 4 out of 11 of our birthdays are this month.
My bank account never really feels
very lucky this month, but I sure do!

Plus, Luke just pulled a quarter out of my ear,
so I REALLY must be lucky!

It's all about perspective!

This month, I'm going to have some fun. 
I've got some fun ideas to share.
I'll also be introducing more of these amazing kids of ours.

So, let the month of March begin!
It will be a crazy month in the Blaylock home, but a very happy one.
Maybe.....even a lucky one.