Monday, December 27, 2010

A Merry Old Soul...

Last week, December 22nd to be exact, Allison turned 12.  I wanted to post something on her actual birthday, but I couldn't.  It wasn't because I was too busy or too tired or that I had a case of writer's block.  I just couldn't find the words to describe what this child means to me. 

Twelve years ago, I would've never imagined that the tiny brown-eyed baby I held in my arms would become a beautiful, wise young woman.  The fact alone that I can describe Allison as a "young woman" ages amazes me!  Allison has always been an "old soul".  I forget sometimes when we're having a conversation that she is only 12.  I often ask her advice and opinions on things, because I know she is guided by God and that alone weighs heavily on her way of thinking.  I know she seeks God's wisdom and counsel and I am always inspired by her example.  It may sound a little strange, but I look up to her. Her little sisters do everything they can to be "just like Allison", in their words.  They want to dress like her, act like her, talk like her.  I try so hard to teach my girls to be themselves (how do you teach a five and three-year-old that anyway?!) but even they see that special something in Allison that makes them want to imitate her. She is the kindest, most compassionate person I know and it pains her to see anyone suffer.  I sometimes find her teary-eyed after seeing a commercial for an animal shelter or the Salvation Army.  Some may call that being a drama-queen, but I think her tender heart is what will make her great in this life.  I've noticed that Allison wants to make the lives of those around her better, whether it's by making them a card or baking them cookies.  She just wants to let people know she loves and appreciates them. 

Even as I type, I'm still struggling to put the words together to accurately describe how much I love her.  Don't get me wrong, I love all four of my babies beyond words.  Just when I feel like my heart can't hold any more love for them, it finds a way to.  I have a different bond and different connection with each of my daughters.  I treasure each of them for their unique personalities and for what makes them "them".  I think what makes my bond with Allison special is that she made me a mother first.  The moment she was born, my life was forever changed and I will always be grateful to her for that.  The second I held her, I felt love that I had never felt before.  I didn't know it was humanly possible to love someone to the depths that I love her. 

In her 12 years, Allison has brought more joy, more happiness and more love than most people have in a lifetime.  She is our blessing and everyday I thank God for that precious, wonderful girl. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

That Perfect Little Face...

Our sweet Laurie turned three today, and I can't believe how quickly time has flown.  When I was pregnant with her, I tried to imagine who she'd be like.  Would she be like Mary Carolyne and Ryan; outgoing with a big personality, or would she be like Allison and me; a bit more on the shy side?  Never did I guess that she would be the perfect "mash-up" of everyone, with a million times more energy than all of us put together! 

When she was born, one of the first things I noticed was the dimple on her left cheek.  I think it was God's finishing touch on that perfect little face.  It wasn't long before her personality began to develop.  She was such a busy baby, always on the move.  I never had to baby-proof our house until Laurie came along!  She was so curious about everything and everything she did was different than the way her sisters did it.  Even her straight hair is a stark contrast to Allison and Mary Carolyne's spiral curls. Laurie is our child that we never know what she's going to do.  Before her, I never had to clean crayon off a wall, or call 911 because a child jumped off the bed and knocked herself unconscious, or tell a child to stop splashing in the toilet water.  I've learned never to ask Laurie why she is sticky, wet, or where all my gum went.  The answer may be downright frightening :)  I've learned to just clean her up and send her on her way.  We affectionately call Laurie, "Pigpen" after the "Peanuts" character.  She attracts dirt and mess wherever she goes, but I wouldn't recognize her otherwise.  The child is more comfortable when she is messy, and I love her for that.  Laurie has made me appreciate the differences in all of my children.  She, in her three short years, has made me realize that a home is meant to look "lived-in" and that crayon marks on the walls are just a sign that kids are present.  That being said, thank goodness for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers :)

Our three years with this sweet baby have been a learning experience, to put it mildly.  She has brought more light and love to our family than we could ever imagine.  She has kept us on our toes and kept our lives interesting.  That perfect little face has blessed our lives in more ways than we thought possible.  Happy birthday, sweet Laurie Beth :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Well, At Least You Make Me Laugh...

Tonight, Ryan was trying to help Allison with her math homework.  The lesson was on discounts and percents, and Allison was really struggling with it, to the point of tears.  We told her to take a little break and Ryan could help her finish it later.  She walked out of the room, and I said to Ryan, "Poor Allison, I remember having a hard time with math too."  Ryan replied, "Yeah, I never had a hard time with math, but I could never memorize stuff.  Like when I was asked to memorize all ten continents!"  I laughed so hard!  Ryan, unamused, said, "Lindsey, I tell you my deepest and darkest and you just laugh at me."  I couldn't help it though.  I'd rather have a fella that makes me laugh than one who knows all "ten continents" anyway :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Crown to the Aged...

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 17:6, "Children's children are a crown to the aged."  I love this verse because it makes me excited to be a grandmother.  Now, I hope I won't be a grandmother for YEARS to come, but the thought of having grandchildren eventually makes me so happy.  I think it's because I have such good grandparents. 

My dad's parents passed away within the last few years.  They were what I call "Classic" grandparents.  Grandpa Glen was a gentleman, in every sense of the word.  He always wore some kind of button-up shirt, even when he was farming.  I loved the little "twinkle" he had in his eye and the way he would greet me when I saw him, "Well, hell-o there, Lindsey!"  His hands were rough from working in the fields for so many years and he always smelled like Lava soap.  He was somewhat short, a fact that I didn't realize until I was much older.  He always seemed so tall to me I guess because he carried himself that way.  I remember him teaching me how to jump rope when I was four and I remember him tap dancing.  He was what, I think, every kid wanted in a Grandpa.  When I think of him, I picture him on his old Ford tractor, in his green "work slacks" and a plaid button-up shirt with a black pocket protector peeking out.  If Grandpa was a gentleman, then Grandma Avis was a lady.  She was always dressed to the nines and she always looked flawless.  She smelled wonderful; a combination of freshly baked cookies and Balm-Barr handcream.  I remember her keeping a hankie up the cuff of her blouse and when it rained, she wore one of those clear plastic bonnets.  She would sing the song, "A Bicycle Built for Two" when I was little and since she couldn't be at my wedding, I chose that song to be part of our wedding music.  She was an English teacher and even when I was very young, I remember her correcting my grammar.  Maybe that's why poor grammar is one of my pet peeves!  When I think of her, I picture her waiting at her front door for me to come in.  I can see her in her apron, holding a dish towel and feeling her sweet, loving hug.  I'm pretty sure I can smell cookies...

My mom's parents are different in that I feel like we are the same age!  My Granddad is 80, yet he has the energy of a 30 year old.  He is by far the most Godly man on this earth, in my opinion.  I believe he is one of the smartest men too.  I don't think there is a problem that Granddad can't solve.  I love that he and I share a love of reading and I love that he has given me so many of his favorite books.  I love his singing voice and his stories.  He and my Grandma have been married for 57 years, yet he still looks at her as if it is the first time he's seen her.  By his example, he showed me what I deserved in a husband and father for my children.  My Granddad is also one of the best preachers I have ever heard.  Hearing a sermon by him is like receiving a present.  He radiates faith and wisdom.  I can't wait to hear the Lord say to my Granddad, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," because there are few on this earth who deserve to hear those words more than him.  One of the few who I know will also hear those words is my Grandma Drue.  She is the definition of a Christian woman.  I know she is what God had in mind when he created a "helper" for man. In my overly active imagination, I picture the angels telling God, "Hey, great job on Drue!" when she was created.  I am convinced that my Grandma has never met a stranger.  She is the most personable, fun-loving little lady.  I love that she gets my sense of humor and I love to make her laugh.  She has boundless talent, from writing to photography to organizing family reunions.  I am amazed at how young at heart she is...she had a Facebook page before I did :)  I remember her playing basketball with us when we were younger and I know if I asked her to play now, she would.  She looks at my Granddad with stars in her eyes and her example makes me want to be a better wife.  There is nowhere on this earth that she wouldn't follow my Granddad, and she proved that through their years of mission work.  She looks at everything as an adventure and a new experience.  She truly puts God first in her life and she lives by his example everyday.  I am thankful that she is not only my Grandma, but my close friend.

I hope I am a combination of all four of my grandparents when that time comes for me.  I am thankful that I've had four very different, but very influential people in my life.  I hope to take the best from each of them and pass it along to my time in the near future though :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

When the Moon Hits Your Eye...

It was pizza night at the Bells tonight!  We rarely make homemade pizza, and when we do, the girls (and their mom) end up eating most of the toppings before they make it onto the pizza :)  Despite the cat fights between Laurie, Mary Carolyne, and the last pepperoni, we had lots of fun.  The final verdict on the finshed product:  Ryan said it was underbaked, Allison said it was okay, Mary Carolyne (in her infinite tactfulness) said it was gross, and Laurie licked her plate clean (keep in mind, this child would eat brick mortar if we let her).  Oh, and $20 to the first person who understands the title to this entry :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Hear Me Out

Being the mom of four daughters, I feel like I am constantly filing little bits of advice in my brain to share with them at the appropriate time.  I am by no means an expert advice-giver.  I constantly second-guess even the tiniest decisions.  Nevertheless, I scraped together what I think is some of the best advice I can give my girls.  This is not all of it, because I'm still learning too.  Hopefully, they'll consider it...or at least humor me and pretend like they are :)

~Keep God first.  Always.  No exceptions.
~Stay in church and be involved in it. 
~Marry a Christian.  That doesn't mean your marriage will be problem-free, but having God in common makes those inevitable problems easier to handle.
~Be nice to everyone, but don't be a doormat.  People will respect you a lot more if you stick up for yourself.
~Appreciate what others do for you.
~Give people the benefit of the doubt.
~Keep your toenails painted :)  Everyone loves cute feet :)
~Clean up after yourself.
~Learn how to keep a house clean, but don't think that it's your "job" just because you're a woman.  Make it clear to your husband it's a 50/50 thing.
~Defend people who are defenseless. 
~Don't allow people to spread rumors.  Try to be the one who stops it.
~Take the time to do your hair and make-up, but feel good about yourself even if you skip a day doing it :)
~Know how to balance a checkbook.
~Know how to fix a toilet.
~Know how to put air in your tires and jump start your car.
~Laugh at yourself.
~Before you get married, live alone for awhile.  It may be the only time in life when you have your own space :)
~Love and appreciate your husband and tell him that everyday, several times a day.  They need to hear that :)
~Make sure your children know you love and appreciate their daddy.  They also need to hear that :)
~Don't wear tapered jeans.  Just don't.
~Make your bed every morning.
~Don't act dumb just to impress a boy.  They appreciate a smart girl.
~Don't get upset when your dad and I won't let you do certain things.  I promise it's only because we love you.  I also promise you'll grow to hate that reason when you're a teenager :) 
~A 16 year old boy usually isn't as safe a driver as you think.  That's why we've already decided you're not getting into a car with one.  Ever.
~Choose a career that you really love and give it everything you've got.
~Be well-read.
~Know that the kids at school who are "nerds" are just millionaires in the making.  Be nice, they may be your boss someday :)
~Be nice to waiters and waitresses.
~Be sweet to your sisters.  They will be your best friends someday :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ahhh, I Love the Smell of Brut in the Mornings...

So I've blogged about my mom, my siblings, my Ryan, my kids, but not about one pretty important fella in my life, my dad :) 

When I think about my dad, lots comes to mind.  He is by far the hardest worker I have ever known.  I remember him working in the fields of our farm from sun-up to sundown and never missing a day.  I remember him watching "Magnum, P.I." while eating a big bowl of popcorn and laughing his head off while watching "Cheers".  I remember how wonderful he smelled after coming in from the field and taking a shower.  I loved curling up in his lap in his hideous brown La-Z-Boy recliner and inhaling the classy smell of Brut Cologne and I knew it was a special occasion when he would splash on a little English Leather instead of Brut :) I loved when he would read the book of Ephesians to me and because of that, Paul has always been my favorite person in the Bible. 

My dad and I live miles apart now, but I don't feel like he's that far away.  Little things that I come across during my day make me think of him.  Whenever I hear any song by Journey or Hall & Oates, it makes me smile because it reminds me that I inherited his bad taste in music (sorry Dad, it's the truth!)  Whenever I chew cinnamon gum it reminds me of how he always kept a pack in his pocket.  Whenever I hear Allison begging Ryan to not embarrass her in front of her friends, I have to laugh because I remember being in her shoes.  I can't tell her enough though how much she's going to miss that someday. 

I'm so thankful for my sweet dad and the relationship we have.  I'm so thankful that he's just a phone call away and I love that he still answers my calls by saying, "Hey, Wincey-Pooh!"  It melts heart...okay, so does the smell of Brut :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That's a Whole Hand!

I was awakened bright and early this morning by a little voice in my ear that said, "Guess who's five today?"  I opened my eyes and there Mary Carolyne stood, so proud and so excited that her fifth birthday had finally come.  She has been looking forward to this day for quite some time.  Turning five is a huge deal for her because, in her words, "That's a whole hand!!"

All day long, I've been thinking back over the last five years with her.  I remember going into the hospital to have her and holding her the moment she was born.  I remember hearing her first cry and crying uncontrollably myself at hearing that sweet sound.  I remember Ryan being so taken with Mary Carolyne that I hardly remember him putting her down in the first few days.  I think the reason their bond is still so strong is because he refused to put her down during that time :) 

Mary Carolyne has grown into probably our most unique child.  She definitely marches to the beat of a different drum.  She says the most embarrassing  unpredictable things!  She can make us laugh so hard at her witty observations of "her" world. She has mastered the art of using her sense of humor to stand out from her sisters!  Mary Carolyne's imagination is, at the very least, wild.  It's amazing to see her channel that imagination into her drawings. She is very detailed, very observant.  She sees past what is at surface level and sees the "unseen". 

Everyday, I am reminded what a blessing this sweet child has been to our family.  I love that every night she thanks God for her family, her "pretty pink house", and asks God to "put the devil on a fire cloud with storms all around it".  Mary Carolyne is already her own person at five years old and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us. 

Happy birthday, sweet Mary Carolyne :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I think that one of the reasons I have always wanted a big family of my own is because I came from a big family.  There are five of us kids and just about all of my happy childhood memories involve at least one of my siblings.  Each one of my siblings is my favorite for different reasons.  I feel like I am very close to each of them and I hope they feel the same way about me :)  I've learned so much from them and I can only pray that my children will feel the same way about each other when they are grown.  Since I'm awful at verbalizing my feelings for people, I'm going to "blog" it for the entire world to see.  Chances are, my siblings will never read this :) of my earliest memories of you is "pulling the rope" while listening to "Axel F".  How 1980's is that? I loved listening to MC Hammer in your room with you and Stewart and watching you play basketball on your Nerf hoop :) I have always looked up to you and I find myself still seeking your approval.  I always ask for your advice on everything and I take it to heart.  You are the epitome of common sense, in my mind.  Your work ethic and the way you raise your family is such an inspiration to me.  You have taught me more than you know, just by me observing you.  Not only do you talk the talk, you walk the walk.  I can say that about very few people.  You have never told me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear and I appreciate that so much.  Thank you for having a marriage that I can look up to and thank you for treating Jill with love and respect.  Your boys will thank you for that someday, and so will their wives :)  You are an awesome big brother and I miss you so much...but watching you on TV every week helps :) have always been like a second mom to me, mainly because you protected me from Meri when we were kids!  Ha ha :)  I always thought you were so cool and so pretty and I wanted to be just like you.  I even had Mom give me a perm so I could look more like you :)  You have been through so much and yet you have stayed sweet and kind.  You are patient and loving with your kids and everyone else's for that matter!  You are such a great teacher because you have such a big heart and you genuinely care about others.  I have so much fun with you, especially when we're watching "Friends"!  I love that we laugh at the same parts :)  I love that we can relate just about every life experience to a "Friends" episode! I like to think that because of your relationship with David and Laura, Ryan and I are married.  Thanks for being their babysitter all those years! You are such a sweet, gentle person and I love you for that. There aren't enough kind words to describe you. You deserve nothing but the best things in this life.  You remind me of the woman in Proverbs 31 and I know your children will think that too when they are older. I am so happy you live so close now and remember I am always here...especially when you need a "baby fix"!!

Meri...even though I'm pretty sure I can outrun you, I'm still scared to death of you.  Ha ha!  I only say that because I know how mad it makes you :)  You are one of the toughest people I know.  I love that you are as honest as you are and you don't take any mess from anyone.  You are one of the most loyal people I know and one of the most generous.  I know if I needed anything, you would be the first one here.  You have the perfect balance of toughness and soft-heartedness.  You don't allow people to walk all over you, yet you are quick to help those in need.  You share your talents with others, like your baking and cooking, and you have made it your ministry.  You took it upon yourself to help take care of your friend when she was sick and you raised money for another friend whose son was sick.  That speaks volumes of your character.  You have been through some of the most trying times anyone can ever experience, yet you kept your sense of humor and came through it as well as anyone could.  You hate to see people suffering and you always do your best to take care of others.  I love how you put your heart and soul into everything, from raising your family to baking a wedding cake for someone.  Your love knows no bounds, no conditions.  I love that you were with me when I had Anne Claire (and I love that you cried because it hurt you to see me in pain...THAT is love!) and I love that you and I can sing any Lionel Ritchie song.  You are "Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady".  Ha ha...I had to do that :)

Stewart...there is no one on this earth who can make me laugh as hard as you can.  You can take any situation and turn it into something hilarious! I like that you get my sense of humor and I have so much fun with you, no matter what we do.  You truly are one of my best friends.  I feel the overpowering need to protect you, even though you are an adult :)  I want to scratch someone's eyes out when I feel they've done you wrong, but I know you have to fight your own battles :)  You are such a good uncle to my girls and I know you will make an awesome dad someday.  I love that you can play pretty much any song by ear and I love that you picked out the notes to "Blackbird" for me a few years ago and let me sing along in the most tone-deaf voice!  I appreciate that you let me watch basketball with you at your house, even though I know I talk too much during the games.  Thank you for always being there for me and for stopping me when I give you unecessary details in a story!  You are a good, kind person and I know there is a girl out there who is going to love and appreciate you.  And just know if that girl ever does you wrong, I'll be there to break her legs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Is Not a Bucket List...

I am really annoyed by the term "bucket list".  I just think it's kind of dumb.  So this is just stuff I want to do...eventually.

-Learn how to say the alphabet backwards.
-Do a back handspring
-Run a half-marathon (a full one seems painful)
-Speak a foreign language fluently (knowing a few phrases in French is no longer impressive)
-Learn how to cook good enough where Ryan doesn't say, "Here, let me finish cooking that chicken up for you," as he's gently pushing me away from the stove. 
-Get through a pedicure without giggling and pulling my feet away.
-Stay caught up on laundry
-Do karaoke
-Learn how to grow a garden and keep from killing everything.
-Learn how to walk on my hands
-Dance like John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever."  Awesome.
-Go to a Dave Matthews concert (come on, Stewart...let me tag along next time.)
-Get a basketball goal in my yard and yell, "Jordan!" every time I slam it.
-Master the Moonwalk.
-Have long legs (okay, I'll never have long legs, but I'll never learn to cook either, so whatever)
-Play the banjo.
-Live in New York City (maybe when the kids are in college and Ryan and I have nothing else to do)
-Jump off the high dive at Point Mallard.
-Finish college
-Read Braille
-Be on Jeopardy and win big.
-Find the perfect shade of lipstick.  Years of wearing make-up and I still can't get it right :)
-Go to Switzerland and Austria and ski.  I hear it looks like a snow-globe there.
-Visit every state capitol. 
-Have nice handwriting.
-Go to bed at 9:00 pm every night (Again, maybe when the girls are in college)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Was Running!

One of my favorite movies ever is "Forrest Gump".  I love everything about that movie;  the actors in it, the soundtrack, the way it moves through the different decades.  What I love most about it though is the movie's resounding theme...running.  In fact, my favorite line from the movie is, "From that day on everywhere I went, I was running!"  I just love how he says it.  You can tell Forrest loved to run.  Now, I'm nowhere near the runner he was, but I do understand his love for it.  I understand his excitement when he got a new pair of running shoes from Jenny.  I understand how he had the urge to run to nowhere in particular.  I had that urge today, tonight actually, about 8:00 pm.  I have taken a long break from running, due to housing a human being in my tummy for 38 weeks.  I knew getting back into it would be tough, after all I am lugging around a little extra weight since the last time I laced up my Nikes, but I was determined to do it anyway.  I've been telling myself that I'd start today, but today always turned into tomorrow and then before I knew it, two months passed since having Anne Claire.  I couldn't think of any more excuses tonight, so I changed into my (snug) running t-shirt and my (even snugger) running shorts and got out the door.  I began slowly, mainly because I wasn't sure if I'd remember how to run.  Then I began to hit my stride, a painful, shallow-breathing stride, but a stride nonetheless.  I sped up, realized that was a mistake, and slowed my pace a little.  It was getting darker by the minute, and for a moment I thought that running this late was a bad decision.  That passed when I realized I had forgotten, shall I say, a particular undergarment that ladies should wear whilst doing any sort of strenuous activity.  Darkness in that capacity had become my friend :)  I gave myself little milestones like, "Just get to the yield sign and you can walk for thirty seconds."  Then I would give myself a little mental "high-five," and say "Way to rock it out, you super-athlete, you!"  Okay, the second part is untrue, but I may try that next time.  By the time I reached my house, I was sweating (sorry Mom, glistening) and I felt like my lungs were about to explode.  I staggered through the front door and Allison said, "Mom, what happened?"  All I could spew out was, "Uhhhgghhhhh."  I sat down and felt my lungs fill back up with oxygen and downed a bottle of water.  Despite the side cramps and charlie horse I could feel developing in my leg, I felt awesome.  Sure, I may be able to speak in only one syllable words for the next 12 hours, but it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You and Me in the Summertime

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a swimming pool in the backyard.  Anyone who knows me better knows that I have not been in that pool, or any pool for that matter, in the last two years.  It's not that I don't know how to swim, or that I don't like swimming, because I do.  I just don't want to stuff myself in a bathing suit, nor do I want to get my hair wet.  Shallow yes, makes sense to me and my frizzy hair, absolutely.  Five years ago, pre-Mary Carolyne, Laurie and Anne Claire, me and my 125-lbs self wouldn't have thought twice about putting on my bathing suit and jumping in.  Now, me and my no way am I gonna say-lbs self get nauseated at the idea of putting on a suit and having adjust certain areas so as not to offend neighbors or scare children. That being said,  I love our backyard pool and I was glad that Ryan had the girls in it when I came home from work today.  They looked so cute splashing around and jumping off the diving board.  I decided since I won't get in, I'd take a few pictures....

Friday, June 4, 2010

How Do I Love Thee?

In light of our six-year wedding anniversary, which will be June 19th, I thought I would share some of the things that I love about my sweet Ryan.

1.  I love that you love God.
2.  I love that you love me, no matter what.
3.  I love that you love our babies, no matter what.
4.  I love that you think I'm the prettiest girl in the world, even when I have on no make-up and I haven't slept a wink the night before.
5.  I love that you put gas in my car.
6.  I love that you understand how important my Sunday afternoon naps are :)
7.  I love that you let me use up all the DVR space on my shows.
8.  I love that you separate your clothes in the correct laundry bags.
9.  I love how you can organize drawers and cabinets.
10. I love that you laugh at me/with me, whatever.  I love to hear you laugh and know that I can make you laugh.
11. I love that you wanted a big family (I think we got one faster than we thought!)
12. I love that you have the best of both your mom and dad.
13. I love that you respect your parents.
14. I love that you are willing to cook supper nearly every night.
15. I love that you record shows that you think I'll like.
16. I love that you call me "Linds" even though I pretend I don't like it.
17. I love that you get me the most thoughtful gifts.
18. I love that you help me with housework.
19. I love to hear you sing/rap.
20. I love that you have nice feet :)
21. I love that you know the words to every Little Mermaid/Beauty and the Beast song and you sing along with the girls.
22. I love that you don't say anything when I run up a tab at the coffee shop.
23. I love that you smell like Old Spice :)
24. I love your hands.  They make me feel safe...mainly because you can throw a mean punch.
25. I love that you like to cuddle on the couch with me.
26. I love that you can eat a Krystal in one bite.
27. I love that Mary Carolyne loves you so much, she even wants a beard like yours :)
28. I love that you take the girls out for Daddy/Daughter time :)
29. I love that whenever you order a salad at a restaurant, you say, "And I'm gonna want a bunch of crackers."
30. I love that you are to the penny on our checkbook.
31. I love that you brought me and my mom flowers when we went on our second date.
32. I love that reading makes you sweat :)  It's cool, reading is not for everyone.
33. I love that the first time you told me you loved me was on the beach.
34. I love that you drove over an hour to my house when we were dating, just to bring me a pumpkin for Halloween.
35. I love that you bought me a Christmas Tree to put in my apartment when we were dating.
36. I love that you told me you check the messages at work, just to hear my voice on the outgoing message.
37. I love that you said, "Do you mind if I live vicariously through your shoes?"  So funny :)
38. I love your "fake laugh".
39. I love that you like to have people over to our home.
40. I love that we played poker at your 10th birthday party.
41. I love that you taught me to swim when we were nine and you didn't make fun of me for being nine and not knowing how to swim yet ;)
42. I love that you are sweet to children.
43. I love that you agree with me that we have no business having a dog right now!
44. I love that you don't get mad at me when I mess up.
45. I love that you expect our girls to treat me with respect.
46. I love that you laugh at me when I try to moonwalk.
47. I love that you can figure out math problems in your head :)
48. I love that you are sweet to my momma.
49. I love that you vacuum under the couch because I always forget to.
50. I love how you always stand up for me.

Happy Anniversary!  You are my sweet, sweet Ryan and I love you more than you'll ever know!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Smells like...

I think my favorite sense is the sense of smell.  I know it's unusual to even have a favorite sense, but so many of my memories are triggered by smells. 

Ryan bought me a candle for Mother's Day.  Not just any candle though, a Votivo candle.  They are the best candles ever.  I've only had one Votivo candle the whole time we've been married because they cost as much as a few packs of diapers.  I can't justify spending that kind of money on scented wax.  Since it was a Mother's Day gift, I made an exception.  I first smelled that candle at one of my bridal showers six years ago.  Everyone went on and on about how great that candle was, and my mom bought me one soon afterward.  It didn't last long because I kept it lit all the time.  When Ryan bought me this most recent one, I promised myself I'd only light it every once in awhile.  I find myself picking up the unlit jar and smelling it several times throughout the day.  Today, I reached an all-time low though...I was smelling my candle for the 1000th time and I heard myself say (very seductively, might I add), "Ahhh, I love you so much."  It was then that I realized that perhaps I'd taken this love affair a tad too far.  I had to ask myself why I love this candle so much.  My answer was easy, it reminds me of Ryan.  I know that sounds weird, but it reminds me of our first few months of marriage.  It reminds me of eating off our wedding china and writing sweet little notes to each other.  It reminds me of being so excited for him to come home from work and watching TV together with no interruptions.  It reminds me of us seeing the positive sign on the pregnancy test when we found out we were expecting Mary Carolyne.  It reminds me of a clean house that was always calm and quiet.  With this "second candle", the smell takes on a new meaning to me.  It now will remind me of celebrating Mother's Day as a momma of four sweet girls.  It will remind me of a house that is no longer clean and quiet, but filled with laughter from the girls as they play dress-up or hide and seek.  It will remind me of watching Allison quickly turn into a teenager (YIKES!!!) and Mary Carolyne and Laurie trying so hard to be just like her.  It will remind me of holding my sweet Anne Claire into the wee hours of the morning because I just don't want to put her down.  It will remind me of Ryan and I not getting watch a show in it's entirety without someone coming in for "one more kiss".  I think I like this "second candle" a lot better.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Guess I Drank the Blogging Kool-Aid

I'd never considered blogging before a few days ago when I realized I needed an outlet from the everyday crazy that goes on in my life.  I don't like keeping a journal because my handwriting is atrocious and journals don't have a spelling/grammar check.  I would've never been able to spell "atrocious" correctly had I been writing in a journal.  Anyhow, I like to keep a record of what's happening on a regular basis and since I hate handwriting, blogging seemed like my only choice.

I always pictured myself being the kind of mom that had perfectly dressed kids that never argued, a spotless house, a clean car and having energy to burn at every minute of the day.  That all seemed pretty attainable until babies two, three, and four came into the picture.  Don't get me wrong, one child kept me pretty busy, but nothing like four little girls in one house!  Now my days are filled with changing diapers, dropping off and picking up kids at school, listening to at least one hormonal meltdown from our 11-year-old, breaking up a fist fight between our four and two-year old, dishes, laundry, etc.  Some days I really can't remember if I brushed my teeth that morning.  Thank goodness for Extra Sugar-Free gum.  My clothes are wrinkled most of the time and the only time my hair looks decent is the day I get it cut.  I remember to mop the floor when the bottoms of my girls' feet are black and I remember to dust when I turn on the ceiling fan and dust flies everywhere.  I always thought I'd be like June Cleaver.  Her house was spotless and her laundry was always washed, dried and put away.  She vacuumed in high heels and pearls, which is insane.  Supper was always ready when Ward came home (sorry, Ryan!).  Truth is, I'm nowhere near J.C.  I go to work at my office to get a break from my work at home.  My job as a mom is much harder than any office job and it's even harder when I try to live up to the J.C. standard.  I think about my mom and how she handled five kids. She was no June, either. I don't ever remember her vacuuming in heels and pearls and I remember piles and piles of laundry eating up our couch.  But, I remember her cuddling up on the couch with me to take a nap.  I remember her always being happy to see us kids when we came home from school.  I remember her always being cheerful and in a good mood, even when she probably wasn't.  She made me think she was.  I like to think about her rocking my little brother to sleep at night and how warm and cozy her hugs still feel.  I like to think about how pretty her hands are how she's used the same blue comb since the late 1980's.  I love that she tells me I have a beautiful singing voice, even though I'm so tone-deaf that it embarrasses me to even think about how awful my voice is!  I know to her ears it's beautiful.  I don't care that our house was messy from time to time growing up.  I don't care that my clothes rarely matched when I was a kid.  I like that my mom didn't care about that stuff either.  That gives me hope that someday my girls will look back and not care that their momma was no June Cleaver.  Thanks, Momma, for teaching me to keep things in perspective. I love you.  Happy Mother's Day :)