Wednesday, February 10, 2016



According to some, I am now officially "over the hill." Although, there appear to be several other proverbial hills that I will hopefully have the honor of going over along this crazy journey called life.

So, I am standing here at the precipice of this hill. And I have to say, I am enjoying the view.

Behind me are years of insecurity and self-discovery, years of sleepless nights and dirty diapers.

Ahead of me I see miles and miles of not caring as much if I am cool or fashionable or liked. I see the confidence to let loose and just be me. I see a light on the horizon as my children grow into young men who are both capable and independent. As they grow, so will I. I will once again have a little time and energy to devote to my own interests. I can even bask in the fact that for now at least, the munchkins need me less and less but still like to have me around. It's a glorious balance.

Once upon a time FORTY seemed like an impossibly large number. That I would be OLD. That the best years of my life would be behind me.

But from what I've tasted of 40 so, it's pretty sweet. In fact, it has hints of coconut and rum.
if you like pina colada...for your Jamaica
Jamaican birthday with cricket
birthday coconuts
birthday giggles
birthday bouquet bigger than my head
birthday cake with one sweet boy
birthday snow with the amazing twins...squint to make them both appear
birthday shopping spree with my personal fashion consultant
birthday tiramisu
birthday coconut with friends
Here's to the next decade and to ageing like fine wine.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Embracing their Unique Learning Styles

I told the little artist to read and write his phonics words.

His brain interprets "write" very differently than mine does.


At least I know his comprehension is pretty high.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sprinkles, Sprinkles Everywhere!

Our tree is still up. We were listening to Christmas music just yesterday. Around here we like our Christmas to linger at least until Epiphany.

It's just too much fun to end it all early.

Besides, then we would miss out on the chance to dump all our leftover sprinkles on the Epiphany Cake.
And every kid needs a few more sprinkles in his life. Every grown woman could use some extra sprinkles, too, come to think of it.

The boys performed a puppet show of the magi bringing their gifts to Jesus, complete with all the verses of  "We Three Kings."

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Sounds through the earth and skies

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

If you look closely, you can see a few tiny fingers peeking over the top of the table. I heart these boys.
After the little production, we offered our own three gifts through the World Vision gift catalog. Each boy got to pick one thing to give: water for one person, clothes for children, and a rabbit.

The most anticipated moment of the day is always the slicing and devouring of the cake. Whoever finds the hidden candy piece is crowned Epiphany King (or Queen) and gets to choose dinner and our evening activities. For the past 3 years, a grownup has earned the crown, so it was much coveted by the littles.

Mr. W was ecstatic when a Rolo tumbled out of his slice and onto his plate!
He chose macaroni and cheese for dinner, followed by an evening of video games. Sonic the Hedgehog must be exhausted after all the running they made him do tonight!

It wouldn't be the end of the Christmas season without a rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas. The boys made this version up all on their own for your reading (or singing) enjoyment:

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
12 cups of eggnog
11 stockings fallen
10 ornaments hung
9 presents opened
8 rainbow sprinkles
7 nutcrackers
6 candles lighted
5 bowls of candy
4 Mitchell boys
3 cookie cutters
2 Christmas trees
and a night full of video games!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 15

When the sun went down, we headed out on a Christmas lights scavenger hunt. We drove through several neighborhoods, a drive-through display, and found THREE different houses with lights choreographed to music. Even though we never found ice skates, carolers, or a nutcracker, it was a fun adventure!

December 16

It was a day to deliver the Christmas cookies! We made a list of some places to which we wanted to deliver, in addition to our neighbors. We visited the nature center, the police station, W's speech therapy center, the library, our leasing office, and the fire station. The guys at the fire station were fantastic, letting the boys climb all over the trucks, giving them a tour of their living quarters, letting them experience the lights and sirens, and giving them some activity books. One guy even took pictures for me and sent them to my phone, since mine had died. That led to a funny discovery that he has some friends from the same little town in Illinois where we used to live! Small world.

Later we delivered goody bags to our neighbors. We knocked on 7 doors up and down our hallway, but only 2 people opened up for us. We left the bags for the rest to discover. One sweet lady said she had heard us, but was happy to meet us. Ha! Sorry, neighbors.

December 17

We headed to the dollar store and loaded up some care packages for our car. We were able to put together 8 different bags with gloves, socks, scarves, wet wipes, granola bars, and McDonald's gift cards. Our hope is that, as we see people in need this winter, we will be able to help them stay warm and get a hot meal. We've given away a few already, and the boys are becoming more aware of others. W wanted to ask the scruffy-looking guy who was checking us in for an oil change if he was in need of anything. Thankfully I stopped him as he was rolling down the window but before the words escaped his lips.

December 18

The Nutcracker is one of my favorites. It makes me nostalgic for my own childhood. I remember sitting around our living room watching Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland dance on PBS while my mother shouted things like, "look at that! look at him jump! look at his legs! look at her toes! watch her spin!" Now those same things come out of my mouth. Also, I made the boys try to pirouette.

Having a houseful of very boyish boys, the ballet is not necessarily their favorite Christmas tradition. So we spice it up with crafts and a few different tellings of the story throughout the day. This year we made nutcracker candy jars. The idea was these adorable little coordinated jar toppers. Two thirds of my boys, though, just wanted to glue a little nutcracker on top of the jar. So. They did.

December 19

Cowtown was having an old-timey Charles Dickens-inspired Christmas celebration, complete with Santa Claus, Ebenezer Scrooge, parlor games, and Christmas carols. It was the perfect opportunity to watch The Muppets' Christmas Carol and then get bundled up for some old-fashioned fun. After all, there'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago! The boys' highlights were the crafts, printing their own bookmarks on a printing press, and playing pass the slipper. Enough fun was had that they were even willing to stand next to Santa and Mrs. Claus for a picture!
December 20

This was our Kansas Christmas! We woke up to discover stuffed stockings and piles of presents under the tree. After breakfast we gathered around to open them all up and spend a few hours playing with our new toys. We enjoyed ham and yams for a late lunch and then hunkered down for a Star Wars movie marathon! We may have started a new Christmas tradition.

December 21

This was a busy day as we tried to get everything ready for our trips east. We had visits to doctors and dentists, a grocery run, and an oil change. Not to mention packing and laundry. I didn't want it to be a complete wash as far as fun stuff goes, though. We spent some time looking back over all the fun that we have had in 2015 by going through photo albums. It was actually a lot of laughs as we retold the stories. It was a warm fuzzy way to end our day.
And now we are about to drive off into the sunrise for the rest of our holiday adventures!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The best way to spread Christmas cheer...

We are still trucking along on our countdown to the birth of Christ. This was a week loaded with crafts and music, movies, lights, and goodies.

December 8:

The symphony orchestra here put on a family-friendly Christmas concert. So we went. We tapped our feet and bobbed our heads as they played. We sang along to the sing-along bits. We might have even sung along (although much more quietly) to the not-so-sing-along bits. Because it's how we roll. We like singing. And songs.

December 9:

This was our bad day. The boys misbehaved. I misbehaved right back. It was ugly. In between the ugliness, we cut about 100 paper snowflakes to liven up the classroom. Later we made snowman luminaries and decorated our patio. Before bed we enjoyed hot cocoa and marshmallows. Even the bad days can be redeemed.

December 10:

We made "stained glass" Christmas trees for the sliding glass doors. Then we met Daddy for dinner and went out together to choose this year's new ornaments. At first the kids were disappointed because I didn't go to everyone's favorite big box store. They might have been eyeing some Star Wars ornaments there a few days prior. And I might have avoided it to force them to think outside the galaxy far far away. In the end, they were thrilled with what they found. N picked a golden-sequined nutcracker, W picked a panda, and L picked a kitty. So them. I love it.

December 11:

This one always tops my list of best days. We snuggled up for a movie marathon and slumber party under the tree with a few of our favorites: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This year Elf graduated from a Mommy/Daddy movie to one for the whole family, and the laughter was loud and contagious. Okay, so it didn't end up being much of a slumber party. All the men in this house are night owls, so there was no chance of any of them falling asleep during the movies (although the same cannot be said for me). The grown up boy and 2/3 of the littles immediately decided their beds sounded way more comfortable than the sleeping bags on the floor. They abandoned me and Thing 2. At some point in the night, we each retired to our rooms also. We are lame, and I wouldn't change a thing.

December 12:

The kids and I headed to the Aviation Museum to see the miniature train, grab a candy cane from Santa, do some airplane crafts, and practice our skills in the flight simulators. It's so pretty there, and it's not crowded, so we get plenty of personal attention from everyone. It was lovely and low key. The perfect end to the day was a Christmas gathering of our friends from church.

December 13:

The light rain all day kept the crowds away from the Christmas lights at the botanical gardens. No complaints from us! It was beautiful. And what's a little damp and chill when you can just pop into a pavilion for cocoa and popcorn?

December 14:

Cookie Day! Another favorite. We made our list of favorite treats to bake and eat and give away. From there to the grocery store for all the ingredients. And an afternoon of baking and decorating and sampling with my little helpers. Deliciously fun.

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