"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

~Robert Frost

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ye Lords and Ladies....

This weekend was the annual, highly anticipated Camelot sale! More accurately it was many, many Camelot sales -- Camelot is the rather colorful name of an old subdivision, populated by streets with names as creative, if somewhat predictable: Guenivere, King Arthur Ct., Lancelot.

So Saturday morning Lamont and his girlies had some fun catching-up play time at home after his week in New Orleans, while I went to hit up Camelot! Found some good deals, enjoyed a little sun and exercise, and mostly just had a blast hanging out with my mum and sisters. For your viewing pleasure, here are just a few of my fun finds!
My favorite! Fisher Price, barely worn, $3. Made for some very happy little girls. :-)
Am I the only one who falls in love with pictures of little girls having tea parties??? Well, I don't care. Since I'm a little too old to have pictures like this in my room anymore, I'm awfully glad I have little girls who aren't old enough to protest my decorating style yet! And it was only 25 cents....
My new summer diaper bag. :-D Brand new and oh-so-cute, and 5o cents.
Hannah is happy with her stylish new purse, which makes her feel fancy and maybe even a bit more grown up than Ashley, whose purse isn't faux leather! 25 cents again....
Ashley's adorable feet...in brand new Northside sandals, for $2. :-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On Being Without My Man

This week, the girls and I are fending for ourselves -- Lamont is in New Orleans for a conference. His flight left Monday at 6 am, so I had to kiss him goodbye at 4:30. *sniff* *sniff* And I've been realizing since then that this amazing man of mine has four girls who absolutely adore him, and feel his absence very keenly! There is a definite shift of energy in the house as we approach dinnertime and the time of day when he usually arrives home from work. A tinge of anticipation colors the air, to be slowly replaced by disappointment (and crankiness!) as dinnertime gives way to evening, and finally to bedtime, and Daddy still hasn't walked through the door. Honestly, there's been a lot of extra crankiness. Grrr. I try to offset it by extra cheerfulness on my part with the girls, and lots of fun activities to keep us busy, but I can feel how much they miss him with their little girl confusion about why life just doesn't seem as happily in order right now.

We have been staying very busy, partly with a big project that I've done which will be a surprise for Lamont. I would put pictures on here, or at least tell you about it, but he might read this! So you'll have to wait.... :-) And beautiful weather has contributed to fun activities that make the time pass more quickly. We've been outside every day for hours!

At the end of the day, though, I really miss my best friend to cuddle and laugh with as we talk about the day. And a king size bed is ridiculously huge to sleep in by myself. I miss him listening to my rambling thoughts at 11:30 pm, and laughing at me when I interrupt myself because I'm too caught up in what I'm saying to finish one thought before I go on to the next -- and knowing what I was going to say anyway, so he can still follow me. Lamont makes me stronger by letting me borrow his strength, and more patient by helping me see through other people's eyes what I get too worked up to see through my own. Our whole home is happier when he's home. I can't wait to get back to evenings of piercing shrieks and giggles as little girls are chased through the house and tossed into the air by their knight in shining armor, who brightens their days and their smiles with extra fun and energy and cuddles. We miss you, babe!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Hamlet and Whales...

Ashley has recently decided that it is necessary to close her eyes when posing for a picture....Here she's proudly modeling her new summer sandals, which she wants to wear every time she goes outside now -- yes, even if it's freezing or raining!

This morning I looked up from the breakfast dishes to the sight of Ashley wearing her bright pink blanket wrapped around her like a robe, strutting rather ferociously around the livingroom. To my startled look she announced dramatically, "I am Hamlet!" Yes indeed, you read that right. My three year old daughter doesn't pretend to be a princess when she plays make believe, she pretends to be Hamlet. Is that...good?

Next question: is it possible to tell too many Bible stories to your children?? This morning while the girls played, Ashley kept laying out precise, detailed instructions, which Hannah kept ignoring while she did her own happy thing. Ashley grew more and more indignant and finally blurted out, "Hannah, if you don't help me spread these blankets out right now, I will throw you into the ocean and a big whale will come and swallow you!"

Monday, April 12, 2010


I have exciting news -- my girls and I have been selected to become spokesmodels for Holly Clouse Photography! Holly is one of my dearest friends and adopted auntie to my little girls, so I am thrilled that she picked us as models for her work. For the last two years Holly has been an on-location photographer serving the Spokane area and polishing her amazing photography skills. I'm so excited for her as her business expands this year to include engagement and bridal, and she is also booking more and more maternity and newborn sessions. Above is one of my favorite pictures of myself, which Holly took a couple of weeks ago. And here are some of my favorites that she's taken of the girls over the last couple of years....

Can you see why I love Holly's photography?! Her talent has captured such beautiful pictures of our girls and I feel rich to have these memories caught on film with such skill as they grow up. I hope you'll take a look at Holly's website at http://www.hollyclousephotography.com/ and remember her next time you're ready to have family pictures taken. Do you have a senior graduating this year, or a baby on the way? She also has great gift card options for Mother's and Father's Day! Holly's prices are reasonable and she is a blast during the sessions -- very easy going, fantastic with children (she has two little ones of her own), and really captures true beauty and personality in her pictures. If you've never tried on-location photography as an alternative to Penney's or some other traditional indoor studio, give Holly a try; I'll never go back to those studios, and neither will you after you receive your pictures from her!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Mish-Mash

In the spirit of my last post on putting out fires, here is Ashley-the-extremely-happy-fireman! We got to spend the morning with new friends, which of course means new toys. The girls had a blast playing dress up, but sadly, Hannah-the-adorably-fierce-pirate was feeling a little fierce toward the camera so I don't have a picture. *sigh*

In other news, spring quarter started up for me today. I only have one class this time around, and it's online, so hopefully it will be low impact for my long-suffering family. I have the exact same professor that Lamont had for this class TEN years ago when he took it. Does that make him sound old, or does it make me sound young? Or is it just weird?

Finally, at naptime today Ashley revealed her brilliant plans for an improvement on our daily routine. She told me, "Mummy, I know you are sleepy and so you can have my nap. I will sing two songs to you and then you can fall asleep. And then I will close your door and you don't need to worry and I will make supper and it will be pizza."

Ah. I really can't decide if that's incredibly thoughtful or incredibly sneaky!

Friday, April 2, 2010

On Putting Out Fires....

We were all taught the little catch phrase when we were little, probably before our 5th birthday. I remember a homeschool fire station field trip of some kind, where a burly fireman with kind eyes and a mustache lifted me onto the high step of the fire truck and had me repeat it after him: "Stop, drop, and roll." We've all heard it so many times, and we know that is what we're supposed to do to put out a fire on ourselves.

So what if it's not our clothes, but rather our emotions that are going up in flames?? You know the days: every little thing has gone wrong, from the moment you swung your bare feet out of bed onto the freezing cold floor, to the Starbucks barista completely leaving out the flavoring in your vanilla latte (which really, there ought to be some sort of prosecution option for this because there are no words for the bitter disappointment that results!!), to the ketchup bottle exploding in your hands and painting 2/3 of your kitchen bright red (this one is hypothetical. really.), to the moment you finally thump your weary head onto the pillow late at night -- only to discover that your children decided sometime during the day that it would be great fun to stuff your pillowcase with hard plastic play food. On days like those, sometimes it feels like your emotions have become so volatile that one more little spark of unpleasantness will unleash an inferno inside you.

As the stay at home mom of one year old, two year old, and three year old daughters, I have become pretty familiar with fiery emotions. Let's just say there is a lot of estrogen in our house. When I think about the years to come when all three of them are in the midst of teenage hormones, I can actually feel my blood pressure rising. I don't know how we will put out the emotional flames that try to attack us during those years, but for now I tackle them using our own modified catch phrase: "Stop, drop, and sing!" Yes, when the heat is rising around here I'll literally grab my girlies, pull them into a circle with me right on the floor, and we'll launch into song. I got the idea from my mum, and you know what? At these ages, at least, there are few fires that cannot be put out by a well timed chorus of Jesus Loves the Little Children, or The Wheels on the Bus. Sometimes we'll throw some Ring Around the Rosies or Hokey Pokey in there too. It really helps the girls and myself equally, and we've diffused many a fiery situation by taking the time to stop, drop, and sing.

Well, it's always a good feeling when you realize your children are watching you and learning from you....

So this afternoon I entered the girls' room to find they had taken their dozen or so brand new wooden puzzles from my mum, and shoved every single piece from every single puzzle under Hannah's bed. We're talking maybe 150 puzzle pieces here. All pushed to the far wall under the bed and promising an annoyingly long sorting and replacing time. As I took stock of the situation, Ashley took one look at my irritated face and grabbed her sisters' hands, declaring anxiously,

"Ok, now we're going to sing If You're Happy and You Know It!"