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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December

It has been a wonderful December!  
I think this was my favorite Christmas Season ever.  
Here are a few things that made it such an fantastic Christmas!

1.) We got our tree later than usual......


 We all enjoyed the entire process so much more.  No rushing and stressing.  Plus the tree is beautiful and still has most of its needles, today on the 6th day of Christmas.  Last year it was a dry fire hazard by the time Christmas morning arrived.

2.) We made time for things that we wanted to do but might have otherwise felt selfish for doing....


For me that meant two Christmas movies at the Hi Pointe and keeping up with my running.   I don't usually run in December, I get too busy and just can't justify the time.  Until this year.

  For Kevin this "selfish time" meant a day off in the middle of the week to take a long bike ride.  

Overall these acts meant happy, relaxed people who were more prepared for the expectations of the holidays. 

 3.) We went to Columbia to celebrate before Christmas rather than after.....


Which meant that we were festive and happy rather than tired and sick.  I loved this change! 

4.) We enjoyed long held traditions, even though things are changing in our midst.....


Blurry but you can still see our Emma in her last holiday sing.  


Teddy Bear Tea.  


5.) We spent as much time as possible at home eating waffles and drinking hot drinks from the Keurig...



Above picture not at home but it is at a home we love and the waffle maker is being used so it still proves my point :)!

We worked this year to make blank space on the calendar to just be.  Such a gift.


5.) We spent as much time as possible with this guy....

and the rest of our family.  Yay!!  I feel so blessed to have the family I do.  I love them like crazy but I like them too!  The older I get them more I am reminded that what we have is a very special thing.

 Some things that are not pictured but also helped...
*Having Eleanor's birthday party with friends in mid December rather than after the new year. Similar to the feeling we had in celebrating Christmas in Columbia earlier, having Eleanor's birthday in early December capitalized on the festive feeling of the month.
*Not sending Christmas cards.  I'm not saying I'll never send them again but I haven't missed sending them the last couple of years.
*Our Want-Read-Wear-Need gifts to the kids.  I LOVE THIS!  It has made such a difference in our gift giving.  We've never been extravagant in our giving but this has helped us to be even more mindful.  The kids make lists with these categories in mind and it is so much fun.  They know they'll only receive 4 gifts and they are content.
*All 3 girls have discovered sleeping in!


Merry Christmas to you!  
I hope it was full of family, friends and a message of hope and love from Christ, the Newborn King!






Sunday, November 30, 2014

In November


Tonight I'm particularly thankful for Christmas pajamas.  
I'm thankful that I get to be the momma of these 3 girls.
I'm thankful that our house is warm and our bellies are full and we'll all sleep tight tonight.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

With a broken heart


We've all been waiting for this.  
A palpable sense of anxiety has been present for weeks
throughout our city.
Even though I knew what the announcement would be it didn't stop my tears.  
I've prayed along with so many others that peace would prevail, it did not. 
Mental preparation for this chaos has not stopped my tears either.
I have a lot to say but no words to use.
Instead I'll continue to pray without ceasing for peace and justice.  Once cannot come without the other.

Heavenly Father, I ask your presence to surround
each and every
Police Officer and Fire Fighter as well as his or her family
Protestor 
Rioter
Looter
Fire Starter
Clergy Member
Business Owner
and most especially Lord in your mercy I ask you protect every child.

O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God's dear Son.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Another week and still thankful


This is a photo of Emma and Eleanor and our friends Amanda and Darryl.  
We met them in August and have been blessed by their friendship ever since.  
Amanda and Darryl are both bakers at Bridge Bread and because of their work at the bakery they are no longer homeless.   
 Knowing Amanda and Darryl and their stories changed our hearts.  It hurt but it also moved us to action.  

Bridge Bread provides jobs to homeless residents of  The Bridge, a shelter in St. Louis.  Through working at the bakery, bakers learn a skill, develop a work history and earn money with which they can use to eventually move out on their own!  
Churches purchase bread from Bridge Bread and then sell the bread to their members. 

 The girls wondered why we couldn't sell Bridge Bread at our church.  
Within a week of finding out about Bridge Bread we met with one of our pastors and were told that while the church was very excited about the possibility of a bread ministry there were all kinds of road blocks.  
These girls were not deterred and we kept pursuing the project.  
It took some patience but we figured out a way to do a Thanksgiving pre-sale of Bridge Bread with help from our kids ministry.
  Do you know what?  
Over the last two weekends the folks at The Gathering bought nearly $3000 worth of Bridge Bread. 
What an incredible experience this has been for our family. 

I am thankful:
for friends who stretch us
for children who believe they are called to service
for a community that will pass out bread samples, collect order forms, count lots of money, double check my spreadsheets, pick up bread and organize all those orders 
for an opportunity that showed my kids that all is takes is a couple of girls believing that they can make a difference to actually make a difference.

   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Really, I'm still thankful

I'm just behind, which is nothing new!  
So much to be thankful for...

For Aldi reopening after a month long remodel!  
For snow in November.  I LOVE WINTER!
For Gordon.  
We celebrated his 70th birthday last weekend and we all feel lucky to have him in our lives.  He is an amazing example of love.   
For a couple of new easy recipes that had all around rave reviews!
For our fireplace, it makes everything cozier.
For this girl who just hung in there and after so much work became a reader.  In her own time and on her own terms.  
She's been able to read since early in kindergarten but she never liked it.  She struggled with this and this year was determined to read what she wanted and oh. my.  She reads to me in the morning as I'm packing lunches and making breakfast and sometimes I have to stop from making a great big fuss because she doesn't love that.  But if she did, oh! the fuss I'd make.
For a neighbor that brings us fried rice on a Saturday night on her way home from work at her Chinese restaurant.  Just because she knows I love fried rice.
For a great Girls on the Run race! 
It was a beautiful day for a run and I felt inspired by all those strong, hard working, committed girls!  






Saturday, November 8, 2014

For running

I love to run!  And run!  And run!  
I'm grateful for a strong body.  
I'm thankful for a good friend to keep me company and help the miles just click by.
I'm thankful for an amazing community to run around which includes city streets and the best park.
 Plus, I'm so grateful a family who understands my need to get out there!

This is my good friend Laura, who is a self proclaimed non-morning person.  She still gets up at 5:30am and runs with me.  She's a champ.  This picture was taken at about 6:00 one incredibly hot summer morning after we found a spray park on the Wash U Campus.  Early morning temps this week look like they're going to be in the 20s.  Oh boy, no spray park this week!




Friday, November 7, 2014

Grateful still!


Today I'm thankful for Lucy's school and the opportunity to volunteer in her classroom earlier in the week.

One of my biggest concerns about our country is our lack of regard for early childhood education.   We spend so much time and energy lamenting our educational system, tearing down teachers, blaming kids and parents and in general just sort of moving chairs on the deck of the Titanic.  I certainly don't have the answers to all of the problems that plague our schools but I do know that if every child had the opportunity to attend a school of the caliber that Lucy attends, what a wonderful world we'd live in.  Her teachers are knowledgable about people Lucy's age!  They know what to say to make her little mind scoot and turn.  They give her lots of space for safe exploration and time for PLAY!  Lucy loves school and for that I'm so thankful!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Grateful Day 5

Every Wednesday for the next few weeks Emma and I are taking a class together.  Tonight we made a real night if it and had dinner out, just the 2 of us, before the class.    Am I ever thankful for this amazing girl!  Spending time with her makes me laugh and think and feel so deep down to my toes proud of the person she is.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Grateful Day 4

It's impossible not to say that today I'm thankful for the right to vote.  What an amazing country I live in that affords me the ability to have a say in our leadership.  I disagree and am disappointed with plenty but that doesn't change the fact that I'm thankful to live in the USA.   


And someday this munchkin will vote!  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Grateful Day 3

Today I'm grateful for funny texts.  
Eleanor identified herself because she was using Kevin's phone.  It was really no mystery since Kevin doesn't use multi colored emojis.  It was a long haircut and color and I enjoyed every minute!  It was nice to be missed though and really nice to come home to hugs and compliments.   So thankful!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Grateful Day 2

Today I'm grateful for a pot roast to end a super weekend.
Take this as a sign of a winner weekend.... I've only worn pajamas.  
Though I really love cheering the girls on at their games, no one had a game this weekend.  
It was awesome.
 After a fun Halloween night, I haven't left the house.  
It felt like a reboot and I really needed to be rebooted.
Plus we got an extra hour!  
Bring on the week....right after that pot roast!







Saturday, November 1, 2014

Grateful Day 1

It's the first day of my favorite month of the year.  
I love using this month to focus on gratitude and writing my thoughts here is awfully fun. 
 And helpful!  
It's easy to say I'm going to focus on gratefulness and then lose track of the days and end up knee deep in November without much thought to my blessings.  When I make a commitment though to post a few thoughts here I become more focused and I do notice a difference in my spirit.  
So, I'm back for the month!

Today I'm thankful for traditions.  


This is Emma's last year of Elementary school.  Her last year of dressing up for a school party and parade.  She may still dress up with her friends next year and maybe even trick-or-treat but it won't be quite the same. 

 Last night Emma went trick or treating with some friends and their parents in a group that did not include Kevin or me. She slept over at a friends house and sorted her candy there.  Without me picking out the Heath bars and a few peanut butter cups and wondering who on Earth gives out Good and Plenty?  It all happened naturally, the yearly Halloween planning and it made good enough sense.  She was happy and 
 I didn't have any trouble with it until last night when I was going to bed.   I realized that last year, 2013, might have been my last time to do those little Halloween traditions with Emma.  I felt a tiny bit sad and was hit with a wave of...where is the time going?  
I remembered back over so many Halloweens before and felt thankful for the years of Halloween traditions.  

This morning when Emma came home I recounted my little heart ache to her.  She said--I felt the same way.  So I ate a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup in your honor!  
What a girl!




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seasons

I find a lot of joy in chronicling the daily doings of my family. 
 I think it's a good reflective practice.  A reminder of all I have to be thankful of and maybe best of all a way to recognize seasons in the life of my family. 

 It seems that over the last year or so I'm feeling less free in my writing.  
 I live with a tween and an almost tween and they deserve a great deal of privacy. 
 They don't need me writing out the details of their frustrations, or amazing discoveries, or funny antics.  

 I am so often tempted to write these stories because they are real and beautiful and full of the magic that is life in a house with my girls.

Though, these are their stories to share if they wish, not mine. 
And because I know that change is inevitable and indeed seasons change, 
 I've decided it's time to stop sharing my blog publicly.  
I'll continue to write my version of their stories privately because this really has become such a special place for me and I know someday, a gift for my girls.

Maybe I'll start a Days with Lucy and Teddy Blog! They are still up for anything, including me posting our crazy 20 minute selfie session.  Getting Teddy to cooperate was futile! But fun!







Anyway, thank you so much for reading my blog over the last 6 years.  Remember,  like my Nana always told me, write your stories down, you think you'll never forget, but honey, you will!



Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall Quote


Over the summer my guiding quote was:

Treasure the doing a little more and the getting done a little less.

That quote made my summer.
Honestly.
When I'd start getting all keyed up about some plan I had which was not working out or about how every single spot my eye fell around the house yielded something that needed attention, I'd remember the quote.  And I'd take a deep breath and decide what really needed doing.
Rarely was it the plan or the house.

This fall my chosen quote is the one I shared on Monday:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you've imagined.  As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

 You've probably seen that one a million times but maybe only part of it.  The "as you simplify...." part is often left off. 
Because, boy is that ever hard! We tend to get super excited about the confidently going in the direction of our dreams part and forget about the part where we have to make room for those dreams.
Which is exactly why I chose this quote.

It's fall.
 I have 3 kids.
They are all involved in sports and extra curricular activities.
Yes, even Lucy.
To put it bluntly, we are crazy busy.

It may not seem like it from the outside looking in but right now my life is all about simplifying and helping my girls to learn to simplify as well.  

It is a daily choice to say no.  No to great things, no to opportunities, no to fun.  It is also a daily choice to say yes.  Yes to great things, yes to opportunities, yes to fun.
The trick is figuring out which things are leading us in the direction of the life we've imagined.
We're working on it.
We're getting there.




No, we didn't sign Lucy up for a bowling league.  But that face, and those legs and those shoes!  It's enough to make a person consider it.





Monday, September 1, 2014

It's September!


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teddy is 2!

It's no secret I'm not the world's biggest dog person.   I may actually live with the world's biggest dog person so I knew it was only a matter of time before I'd be a dog owner again.  Over the last year I've definitely warmed to the idea of a dog and about 6 months ago we found Teddy, our practically perfect dog.

A practically perfect dog-
1.) doesn't shed
2.) doesn't smell
3.) doesn't yap or bark constantly
3.) doesn't jump
4.) is excellent with kids (can withstand lots of pulling, cuddling, hugging, loud noises, sudden movements, sticky hands and general chaos)
5.) is cute
6.) is housebroken
7.) doesn't chew on furniture
8.) doesn't cost a fortune
9.) is over a year old

With the above list in mind we narrowed our search to a Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, or a Wheaten Terrier.  I found several but always moved too slowly and they were adopted before we had a chance.  I felt relieved each time.  Then one Thursday night, as had become a regular part of my routine,  I checked Craigslist for a dog.  For the first time in my search I found a Wheaten Terrier.  An adorable little guy that made me feel excited about the prospect of getting a dog.  I responded to the ad immediately and began a back and forth email conversation with his owner,  an exhausted mother of a newborn and a two year old who loved her dog but just couldn't handle it all.  She wanted him to have a family with kids who had time to love and play with him.  I went to bed knowing that we'd found our dog.

Teddy has proven to be absolutely awesome.  He is a solid 8/9, he's a terrible jumper with everyone but the five of us who live with him.  But, he's about as close to 9/9 as I could hope for.  He doesn't shed, or yap, or bark, is unbelievable good with the kids (he endures so much with his number one fan and has never even thought about being cross with her), is super cute, is housebroken, no chewing (except for an occasional plant!), was on the expensive side but not unreasonably so, and just turned 2 yesterday.

I'm so glad to have Teddy in the family!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The weekend!

I always love the weekend but oh, weekends in late August!  They are really something.
Last week was the first full week of school,  Kevin was traveling most of the week, and by Friday afternoon it was clear this group was WORN out!  Everyone was in bed early and I slept for over 10 hours.
I awoke on Saturday rejuvenated!  
Our weekend has been full of the swimming pool, birthday parities, long talks with good friends, a massage, great meals, books, church, a bike ride, plan making, lunch with friends, so much sleep for everyone, coffee both iced and hot, a nice long walk, lots of tomatoes, and good preparation for a great week ahead.


Ferguson still weighs heavy on my mind.  As it should.  I know as a Christian I must remain uncomfortable, constantly seeking a way to be used to better this world.  When I stop feeling pulled I have stopped listening.   This piece is an excellent example of why we're nowhere near finished and I have a role to play.  



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The sun will come out tomorrow.....

Almost a week into the new school year and the kids are settling into a good routine.  School definitely agrees with these three!

I've adapted just fine to having Lucy in preschool.  Her days are as follows:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8:45-noon
Tuesday and Thursday 8:45-1:30
She loves it!  It is an incredible place and so good for her.   I feel so blessed that we have such an amazing school to attend.

During the four days since Lucy started school, I've worked around our house and worked outside our house (I am working a few hours a week as an instructional coach) and spent some time in Ferguson.  
Ferguson. 
Honestly, that's where most of my mind is most of the time.
I am heartbroken. 
I am mad.
I am disappointed.
The judgement. The complete lack of understanding of others in situations we don't understand. 
The hate.  Why must we always make everything about US, how we'd react, why we don't think someone deserves our love, why we never trusted those people anyway?
My only refuge is my faith.  Which is oddly the same faith that many of the people that make my heart hurt so much say they are clinging to.  So I pray because we are in this together.  All. Of. Us.   
Also, my kids, well they are just the best thing for my heart whenever it hurts. And they don't even mean to be :)! 
Tonight as the girls were cleaning up the kitchen I was in the laundry room and overheard a sweet voice singing....

The sun will come out tomorrow, so you've gotta hang on til tomorrow, come what may!  Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow, you're only a day away!

And I cried.  Folding underwear and crying and thanking God for all the good things in this life and asking him for guidance on how to help because indeed the sun will come out tomorrow.




Sunday, August 17, 2014

For Shirlene

  My 4th grade class in the 2002-2003 school year was fun and energetic.   One of the amazing children I was fortunate enough to have as a student was Shirlene.  She was spunky and happy and loved me from the moment we met.  I  adored her from moment number one as well. Shirlene had to work hard in every subject area, nothing was easy but she never gave up.  Her smile was easy and she was the first person with a word of encouragement whenever one was needed.  In kindergarten Shirlene lost her mother in a car accident yet she wasn't bitter or scared or sad.  She was absolutely full of life and dreams.  She loved art and singing and dancing. She hugged me often and told me she loved me, which is one of the highlights of being an elementary school teacher....the people you work with like you!  She even helped orchestrate a baby shower for me on the last day of school.  


In early June of 2008, while sitting in a car at a convenience store waiting for her cousin to return with a soda, Shirlene , age 16, was shot in the forehead and murdered.  Her murderer has never been found.  


I think of Shirlene often.  

This week, as the events in Ferguson sat heavy on my heart I thought about Shirlene even more than usual.  
She mattered.
Her death mattered.
Yet you'd never know if you based that on the media coverage it received.
Since she was  
African American
and  poor
and from the wrong area of town
it wasn't really news.
But she mattered.
She was just like my girls...she loved art and singing and dancing.
She had dreams.  





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day 2014


School started today!  
It's hard to believe Emma is a 5th grader and that this is her last year of elementary school.  
Our school is absolutely amazing.  I couldn't imagine a place I would love more and it felt good to be back this morning.


Emma with two of her very best friends.  I sure wish Jessica had her eyes open because this just picture just captures what sweethearts they are!  All three of them are the nicest, hard working girls.  They are in class together this year, for the second year in a row!


Eleanor with a few of her good buddies.  Another awesome group of girls!  I am so thankful for that!
Eleanor is not in class with many of her closest friends, she does have her first choice of teacher though and it will be fun to hang out with some new girls.

Lucy and I visited her preschool together this morning.  She will begin tomorrow and is really excited!  It was very fun to be back at the Family Center again, after a few years away.  We saw some old friends and felt right at home!

It's going to be an amazing year!






Monday, August 11, 2014

4!

 Lucy is clever.
She is persistent.
She is loving
She has a temper..
She loves to play with friends.
She is creative.
She is strong.
She loves animals.
She is helpful.
She loves sweets.
She is a problem solver.
She is funny and loves to laugh, except when she's mad.
She is a force. An amazing intense little being.  
Thank You Lord, when 4 years ago you sent us this special girl to make our little family complete!





Thursday, August 7, 2014

The countdown has started!

Less than one week until school starts. 
Our days have been full! 


  We're working to fit in fun things like trips to the zoo.


While doing all of the things that need to be done before school begins again.  Haircuts, new shoes, school supplies and braces!


We've also been working on getting out of bed and getting ready for our day a little earlier so next week doesn't hurt quite so much for these guys!  And let's be honest, me too!  Even though I've been mostly sticking to my early wake up time (until this week when these rainy mornings have made it just too perfect not to sleep in!) I've gotten very used to a laid back, slow moving morning!  

School Year 2014-15, we're almost ready!




Friday, July 25, 2014

The Flamingo Mystery







If there were ever any doubt of just how cooky our street is,  Art Holliday of KSDK put an end to that question. 
Which is exactly why I love where we live. 
Plus the proximity to the park and the phenomenal schools. 
But the people who share this block with us are pretty great too.

I love our block because
not everyone is the same
we have lots of different family configurations
single parents
grandparents
two parent families
one neighbor is an immigrant mother who owns a restaurant and rides the bus to get there every day
we have a wide range of ages on our street
there are empty nesters
plus houses with lots of kids
and young people too
there are renters
and owners
there are engineers, writers, retired teachers, nuns, office workers, artists 
we have tidy yards 
and overgrown spaces
one neighbor smokes a cigar and reads his paper in his car every single morning
it's an eclectic place where we all fit.


ec·lec·tic
i╦łklektik/
adjective
  1. 1.
    deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the quiet


We arranged for an SUV with a carseat, to pick us up when we arrived late on Wednesday.  Henry, our driver, was a kind New Yorker who made the trip a breeze.  Emma and I sat in the third row and she excitedly chattered as we drove from LaGuardia to Brooklyn.   I cannot remember exactly what she said but she said but she was talking the World Trade Center and September 11th and how creepy it was that she was born almost exactly two years later and how glad she was not to have her birthday on the 11th.  I whispered that maybe we should talk about something different.  I wanted to be sensitive to Henry and for whatever reason it felt like the way in which Em was talking was not so sensitive.

Though we hadn't planned to visit the 9/11 Memorial, on Friday we found ourselves there.  It was impossible not to be moved.  I felt myself repeatedly stopping tears, which made me thankful for sunglasses.  Though the girls have heard about September 11th it was clear they'd never really thought about it.  

Their questions tumbled out as quickly as the falling fountain water.  
Who? 
Why? 
Didn't they know the towers would fall? 
Were there kids?  
Were there moms?  
Were there dads?
It was right here
Where were you?

Later that day as we walked down a quiet street in Brooklyn Emma squeezed my hand and asked "Do you think Henry knew someone who died on 9/11?".  I answered honestly, that I didn't know but it's possible.  She shook her head and it was clear that in those moments at the memorial she'd grown up just little, right before my eyes.  


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When the going gets tough....

A friend told me about a study which stated families who camp feel closer than families who do not.  We talked about that study with a good dose of skepticism. The take away from the study was, when camping, families face difficulties that they have to solve together thus eventually leading them to a close bond.   I didn't read the study but I think this could be extrapolated to include families who vacation together.  Vacations=difficulties and we faced a few.

Problem #1...3 hour flight delay, after we'd arrived at the airport and parked the car.


No one complained.  They played games and kept themselves happily occupied without any devices (though if things had gotten rough I'd not have had a single issue with handing over an iPad) until our plane left at 8pm.  Of course the pat down I endured at security provided a nice long laugh for them put them in a jovial mood.

Problem #2...Huge disappointment at American Girl

I won't go into the details of how we ended up going to the Isabelle movie premier but it was not originally in our plan.  Though we were promised it would be a great time complete with an opportunity to meet the actresses from the movie and real New York City Ballet ballerinas.   The girls were so excited!  We arrived at the American Girl store at 4pm and waited for 45 minutes for an American Girl shuttle to take up another 35 minutes to a theatre.  By the time our shuttle (chock full of other excited girls) arrived the ballerinas were gone and the actresses were seated.  We saw them from afar but whoopee, the girls thought they'd meet them.  We watched the movie and then took the subway back.  There was no way we were waiting for another shuttle.   We had some blue girls on our hands.
However it was amazing to watch them as they felt it, they named it and slowly they moved on.   I on the other hand was still fuming inside but I smiled on the outside and began to mentally compose a sternly worded email to American Girl.  That helped and then I moved on. 

Our whole evening was off kilter.  We walked to Rockefeller Center, exhausted and starving.   Past any smart level of hungry and in the danger territory.

We found Magnolia Bakery!  Carrot cake was the cupcake flavor of the day.  My favorite, unless there is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream.  Things were looking up. We were one spot away from ordering our cupcakes when I noticed just one little carrot cake cupcake in the glass case.  My name was all over it.  The woman in front of us in line did not notice my name and ordered the very last carrot cake cupcake of the day.  
No more in back. 
Eleanor looked up at me with her sweet little eyes--sorry mom!
Every other cupcake seemed to pale in comparison but I had to snap out of it.   Foucs, these are just cupcakes!  We ordered a few flavors, which were all amazing.  
We found some sandwiches which nobody was all that excited about but ate them anyway.
 Our hanger vanished and we started talking about the night we thought we were going to have versus the night we did have.
We laughed about how really bad it was in comparison to our anticipated night and somehow I felt so happy. 
I felt really proud of our girls.  
They can handle disappointment! 
 Feeling gratitude in spite of a letdown is key to happiness in life and it felt so good to see a real life example of how they handled a little sorrow.
I still wish Emma had met a real ballerina and I'd had a carrot cake cupcake.  
Someday.







Monday, July 21, 2014

Back home

Wow, what an amazing trip!  Too short but just wonderful! 
Traveling with kids is never the easiest and sometimes as we're getting ready for a trip or even right in the middle of a crazy adventure I wonder if it's worth all the money and exhaustion. 

 It is.  

The time away and the opportunity for all of us to see something different, to get out of our own little world for a bit is worth it all.  On this vacation I learned a lot about my whole family and this week I'm hoping to write about a few of those lessons.  

One lesson I learned is that Lucy is awesome.  Oh sure, I already knew this but she was just amazing!
You don't see tons of kids under 6 or so in Manhattan.  There is so much walking!  And it's busy!  
Lucy was totally unfazed.  




For instance this is Lucy on the ferry on the way back from the Statue of Liberty.  Yes, that's the ground and no, I'm not freaking out about germs.  Everything in New York in germy and just plain dirty.  She was worn out and so she just figured out what to do for herself.  


She found things all over that she loved and made friends everywhere!  This was at an ice cream shop in Williamsburg.  She wants that backpack.  Right before this she'd seen a picture of Jesus eating ice cream and yelled..."Momma!  God eating ice cream!!!!".  The woman behind us in line grabbed my arm and said "oh my gosh!!!  she is soooo adorable!"  We heard variations of this all weekend.


On the last day we brought a stroller because her little legs were just worn out!  She figured out a way to rest.  


 I hope I remember exactly how this moment sounded and felt forever.  We'd just had a picnic and we walked over to a pier to look at the city.  Along the pier there were men fishing and Lucy was insistent that we join.  And here is the part that was amazing.  Her desire to fish led us to a conversation with the fishermen.  She draws us to people everywhere.  We talk to fishermen, and drivers, and janitors and just about everyone because of her.  She's curious about everything and wants to talk to people about who they are and what they do. 
Lucy is awesome.






Friday, July 18, 2014

New York so far


It has been great.  A little crazy and utterly exhausting but fantastic!  A quick overview....

Our flight out of St. Louis was delayed 3 hours and so we left at 8pm instead of 5pm.


  The kids were as close to perfect as travelers can get and we felt so thankful!  It did mean that bedtime though was 1am and that was a bummer!


We slept in a little the next morning and enjoyed the incredible apartment where we are staying.  It is amazing.  Right now Kevin and I are relaxing upstairs



and the kids are watching a movie on a huge projector screen downstairs.  

Anyway, after a pretty leisurely morning we headed to Central Park. 

So much fun!

Later in the afternoon we went to the American Girl movie event and I'll just say it was a bust. 


Just look at poor Kevin.  

Today we woke up tired but we weren't about to let that stop,us, today was our day for the Statue of Liberty! 


El and I grabbed coffe for us in Brooklyn and away we went!



Here we are on the ferry.  May be the only family photo we get so I'm just going to be happy with it!



Blake is here and that is making everything even more fun!

After lunch at the Shake Shack we visited the 9/11 grounds. 


It is unbelievable and I felt pretty emotional.  Emma had a million questions. 


And then there was Lucy who tried to swim in the fountain.  


We are back in Brooklyn now resting up for a little while.  Lucy was the only one who fell asleep on the subway but honestly we all looked like that.  

I love New York!