True Love and Barf-cicles

Each and every morning my three-year-old rushes into my room with one very important question:

“Can we make Popsicles today?”

And let’s be honest, popsicles in the middle of the winter are not my priority.  It is FREEZING outside.  I am freezing.  I want to take a shower and shave my legs and drink warm cinnamon milk.  Let’s not make Popsicles today.

I take a deep breath and try to plaster a happy-mommy-smile on my face.

Sure kiddo.  Go for it.  I’ll be in the shower.

While I lather, he dreams of frozen cream.  Sometimes he mixes water and chocolate chips in a cup with a spoon and shoves them into the back of the freezer.  Oranges and water were a big hit for a couple days.  Frozen apples didn’t go so well.  I like to think that I am fostering independence and creativity by refusing to assist in his Popsicle parade.  DID I MENTION THAT IT IS SNOWING OUTSIDE?

But hold the phone because he has invented what I like to call the “Barf-cicle.”

Looks yummy… right?

Crushed animal crackers soaked in water, frozen in a cup with a spoon.

When his newest creation had served it’s time in the freezer, my three-year-old instantly fell head over heels.  I’m not kidding.  He marched that Popsicle all around the house with pride echoing in each and every footstep.

I laughed.

And then I cried.  Because being a mom makes me cry about every little thing.

In the book The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coehlo, a man wakes in the middle of the night with his heart pounding.  While sleeping on a rock, his destiny had called to him in his dreams and told him of a treasure waiting for him. The man quickly packed up his belongings and left to begin his search.

The adventure of the quest takes the man across the world, teaches him new skills, and introduces him to amazing people that change his life.  In the end, the man discovers his treasure to be buried under the rock he had dreamt upon many years before.  His treasure had always been waiting for him – right at his beginning.

The adventures of the search taught the man wisdom.  Having combed the earth for his treasure, the man appreciates the wealth and security it provides – so much more.

When my legs are hairy and my kitchen messy, I dream of a treasure.  Sometimes my treasure involves glittery nail polish, silence, and a really good book.  Other times it is fresh air, time to write, and/or a girls night.  Date nights are always a treasure – no doubt about that.

But each and every time I leave to return home, the echoing of eight little legs running toward me with their arms outstretched fills my heart with joy.  Sometimes I need time away to remember that my treasure is right here.   Filling my freezer with barf-cicles and loving me more than I deserve.


Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

I need a bigger library bag.

One with some serious wheels.

I can never tear myself away from the sanctuary of books without thirty (or more) books crammed inside my bag and twenty more stacked against my arms.  As a general rule, my kids come to keep me under control.  I can’t very well chase my kids around while transporting sixty books in my two arms – can I?

I wish I could.


Beverly Cleary’s book Henry Huggins found it’s way into my bag last week.  And I am so glad that it did.  It was amazing.

Henry’s life transforms from dull to exciting when a strange dog begins begging for his ice cream.  Together they raise a million gupies, ride in a police car, catch 1,300+ worms, and develop a friendship that is true. They learn how to handle arguments with the girls and boys on their street, solve problems, and create a little mischief along the way.

We don’t own this book yet, but I have a feeling that we will soon.





Little Pear by Eleanor Francis Lattimore

BA15-lIf you judge a book by it’s cover, you have no time to love it.  I am embarrassed to admit that I almost judged Little Pear by Eleanor Francis Lattimore.  One look at the cover made me believe that my boys wouldn’t like this book.  

News flash – my boys LOVED Little Pear!

And I did too.

Little Pear is a compilation of stories about a five-year-old Chinese boy and his adventures.  He learns the importance of communicating with his family, not wandering off, and problem solving with his friends.

Some children’s books fail to communicate the consequences of lying, running away from home, and stealing.  This isn’t one of the books.  Like the book Ping, this book creatively teaches values and introduces vital conversations between parent and child.

I don’t own this book yet, but it is on my ever-growing-list of books to buy.  I love owning books with values and goodness in my house for little hands and growing minds to explore.

Mathematicians are People Too – Volume 1

51P4BWJW2FL._SY300_ My kids seriously love this book.  Mathematicians are People Too – Volume 1 is all about the famous mathematicians and scientists that made math what it is today.

Archimedes was found running down the street naked while yelling “Eureka!”  He had been stewing over a math problem while in the bath and was so excited he forgot to get dressed before running back home to write it down.

Pythagoras paid his first student to listen to him teach.  Later, he loved teaching so much that he created his own school.  People of the city were scared of his mathematical developments and set fire to the school.  It was said that his students created a human bridge in an attempt to save their teacher.  Students and teacher were all killed.

Young Newton created trouble when he decided to fly kites at night with a lantern attached.

And Thales looked for patterns in everything.  Patterns allowed him to solve his problems creatively – even with his stubborn donkey.

This fun book shares stories about Galileo, Hypatia, Pascal, and many more.  While reading the book, we learned that math didn’t always come easy for everyone but it is worth the work.  Math and numbers and science can be fun!  Love this book!

Fictional Couples I’d Invite Over for Game Night


My husband and I love a good game night with friends on a Friday night.  And because some fictional couples are just too much fun to leave on the page, here is my list of fictional characters I’d invite over for game night…

  • Jake and Maggie from HandyMan  – Jake is a handyman with specific instructions from a well-known psychologist for a building remodel.  When Maggie stumbles into the office, she mistakes Jake for the therapist.  With tears falling down her cheeks, Jake fails to “set the record straight.”  Is Jake the right “handyman” for Maggie’s heart? For Jake and Maggie, I’d pull out Settlers of Catan.
  • Matt and Kate from My Stubborn Heart  –  When Kate and her grandmother hire Matt for minor construction work, he falls fast for Kate. Will he have the courage to open his stubborn heart to love and life again?   Bubble Talk might be our choice.
  • Marianne and Phillip from Edenbrooke  – Can you say “hello” to the most wonderful book in the whole wide world?  Phillip has the “hots” for Marianne and he is discretely trying to tell her.  When Marianne’s sister comes to claim Phillip as her own, will Marianne have the strength to fight her sister for the man she loves?  This book is Jane Austen plus so much more.  We’d play the game Clue.
  • Anna and Rupert from A Countess Below the Stairs  –  Anna’s wealth and status have been destroyed by social unrest in Russia.  Rupert, on the other hand, is on the brink of establishing a marriage to save his wealth.  When Anna comes to serve in Rupert’s household, she fails to “blend in.”  Rupert can’t help but fall in love with the new servant in the house.  You should read this book. Chess would be the game of the night.
  • Molly and Baily from Love in the Balance  – “Molly and Baily sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.”   Molly and Baily like each other.  A lot.  They want marriage and babies and a life together but their match is not approved by Molly’s parents.  When a strange man with unlimited financial funds comes to town, will Molly find love and a match worthy of her parents admiration?  Sorry!  all the way.
  • Annalisa and Carl from A Noble Groom –  Annalisa’s – newly pregnant with rent to pay on her land – is spontaneously widowed.  Out of pure survival, her father decides to send a letter to the Old Country requesting a new husband  for his daughter.  When Carl arrives, he is mistaken for the groom requested.  Will the two of them find love before the “requested husband” arrives?  I’m thinking Blokus or SkipBo.
  • Calla Lily and Tuck from The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder – Calla Lily and Tuck were forced apart by family members with “so-called” good intentions.  After spending a lifetime apart, fate brings them together again to find that the love they once felt is still strong.  After years spent apart, they get to try again.  Phase 10.

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The 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The_Hundred_DressesWhat do you do when someone claims something you know to be false?

And what do you do when this person continues to “lie” about it?

This is the predicament found in The 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes.  A girl that comes to school in the same faded blue dress, day after day, has just claimed that she owns 100 dresses.

The girls at school ruthlessly continue to tease the girl about her dress collection on the way to school, during recess, and on the way home.  The so-called-owner of the 100 dresses never sheds a tear and the girls think the teasing is okay.

Until one day…

The day of the school drawing competition proves that the girl wasn’t lying.  100 beautiful dresses painted upon sheets of paper hang around the room in all shades and styles.  The pictures, drawn by the faded-blue-dress-girl, are amazing.

The girls are ashamed when they realize that the girl did have one hundred dresses. Instead of cloth, her dresses hung on sheets of paper.

The pictures of the dresses are good, amazing, and award worthy.  The girl never comes back to school to receive her award.  Faced with the consequence of their teasing, the girls feel awful.  They try to make amends with the girl but she has moved away.

I love the discussions this book started in our home.  Contrary to the popular playground saying – sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me – our words and actions do affect the people around us.  Sometimes words hurt more than a fist.  We talked about finding the courage to stand up against people “poking fun” of others and the importance getting to know people.

The girl with the faded-blue-dress simply wanted to be accepted and loved.  She “dug deep” as Brene Brown would say, and chose to Dare Greatly.  She chose to share a part of her heart with the people – in hopes of connecting with others – and her heart was bruised with their words.  The 100 Dresses has a powerful message for young and old alike: love before you judge.

I think it is easy to believe that we can only be friends with people who are “just like us.”  In reality, we can love and connect with everyone in the world if we are willing to put down our differences and acknowledge that everyone is lonely.

In conclusion, The 100 Dresses is a beautiful book, worth the space it will take on your bookshelf and in your heart.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

nateandangieoriginalMy husband and I just celebrated our 10-year anniversary on December 30th.  We carted the older boys off to grammie’s house and kept the five-month-old with us.

We visited the outlet mall in search for a suede jacket.  My husband, Nate, is graduating with his PhD this fall and it is a well known fact that PhD’s need suede jackets.  Plus, ten-year anniversaries are exciting.  Suede jacket exciting.

We went to dinner, ate while passing the baby-that-hates-the-car-seat back and forth and picked up a movie from Red Box.  We are so exciting.

We had plans to watch a movie while I nursed the baby, play a game or two, and cuddle in bed. Such activities are a commodity when you have four kids running around.

We popped Lone Ranger in the DVD player and sat back to relax when the phone rang.  Ignoring it, we turned the volume up.

It rang again.

It turned out that our seven-year old had the stomach bug.  He was pale and ready to lose everything he had consumed since the beginning of time.

We kissed for a minute and then hurried out the door to pick up our son.  Our kid puked on the highway and wanted to puke again when he got home.

We tucked all four kids in bed – with pots and buckets near by just in case – and climbed in bed together.  Exhausted.  Cuddle time happened, but it was interrupted on regular intervals.  It reminded me of that Phil Vasser song: Just Another Day in Paradise.

Even though our day was interrupted and not what we planned it to be, it was wonderful.  Perfect because I spent the day with my best friend.  The last ten years of marriage have been a dream come true and I am so happy that he chose me.

indexBut not everyone gets their happy endings.  I’ve mentioned before that my favorite kind of books are the books that make me appreciate my life for what it is right now.  Julie Kibler’s latest novel Calling Me Home, did just that.  Based on a true story, the book takes place in the early 1900’s in Kentucky.  The fight for love is real when Isabelle falls in love with a black man.  Fighting against heaven and earth, the two of them try to find a place where they can simply love each other in a world that calls it illegal.  The ending is both happy and sad but extremely powerful.  The line we draw in the sand separating us from those we believe to be different is so hurtful and wrong.  In the end, all that matters is love.  Destroying those imaginary lines is worth any obstacles we might encounter.

Throughout history, happiness has been sacrificed for power and control – over and over again.  I think it is important to acknowledge that power and control never breed happiness.  The two of them together create an internal hunger that can never be satisfied.  The addiction grows until one day we abandon those we love for a hunger that never goes away.

The book left me with a renewed gratitude for the life and love I have every day and a desire to love the world a little more.  I am grateful for the ten-years I have had to love my husband and family comfortably and I dream of a world where everyone else can do the same.