Sunday, July 31, 2011

Farewell Hogwarts

With tears in our eyes we have taken our final departure from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Even though I can't find it, I am certain I have shared here before that the kids and I have been working our way through the Harry Potter series.  (Feel free to look through the blog and locate my previous post about it.) (Oh wait, I found it!)

We have loved every second with Harry, Hermione, and Ron (amongst others).   As Summer Break fell upon us, we found more and more time to read about our favorite people.  We completely fell in love with them, and found that we could not bear to spend too much time away from reading all about their latest adventures.  In short:  We became Harry Potter Nerds this summer.  (I feel like singing "And if lovin' him is wrong, then I don't wanna be right.").  As the release of HP 7 part 2 quickly approached, my kids (OK, and I) found that we really wanted to see the movie in the theater.  However, I had a steadfast rule: You may only watch the movie IF you have read the book.  That meant this past month we have been up to our happy little eyeballs in Harry Potter.   We successfully covered half of book five, all of six, and all of seven in 26 days.


I think, at one point this month, my sister called me and asked where I had been.  I had no answer except, "Hogwarts."

Am I sad that we spent an ENORMOUS amount of our summer break reading and living in a fictional world instead of enjoying the great outdoors and other summer type activities?  No.  This has been one of my most favorite activities the kids and I have done together in, well, in forever.  We have had the best of times reading, watching, and working through the stories, events and characters in this series, and I don't think I will ever forget it.  My hope is that they won't either.  That they will fondly look back at the summer of 2011 and lovingly call it the "Summer of Harry Potter". 

OK.  That probably won't happen.

However, I have fond memories of my parents reading aloud to me, so I do hope that some of this sticks in their little memory banks.

As we took in the last movie, and the last few pages of the last book, there were tears that can't be described.  Not that it was so intensely sad that I can't put words to it, but that it was so difficult to describe.  Happiness, relief, exhilaration, sadness, and mostly a longing that it wouldn't really be over, but that we could continue being apart of these characters, whom we fell in love with, lives for just a bit longer.  If I sound sappy, I am.  I loved every part of this experience.  Not just the books (however brilliantly written, they were), but the time I spent with the kids, the movies, the discussion, the excitement as we anticipated what might happen next, and watching my kids fall in love with the same characters and stories that I was.  We shared a common interest.  It was like I was hanging out with good friends instead of supervising an activity in a motherly fashion. 

And for that reason "The Summer of Harry Potter" will always have a tender place in my heart.

Even if no one else refers to this summer in the same way.

Friday, July 22, 2011

R.I.P. Calico

It was a sad day yesterday.

Well, actually all week.

Except we have been having fun all week, just with the sad in the back of our hearts/minds.

Somehow, our sweet Calico grew ill.

And when I say sweet, I mean she was sweet to have lived for over a year, which spanks any record previously held by me in keeping a goldfish alive.

Anyway, she tried very hard to hang in there.  I'm not even exaggerating slightly by saying that she lay on the bottom of the tank, upside down, for a week.  She was breathing the whole time, and would sometimes flip her little fins around. 

I thought it was cruel to keep her in that state, but you try explaining to a six year old that we are flushing his fish down the toilet while she is still alive and "might just make it".

Finally, for Calico's sake, the time came last night when she went to goldfish heaven. 

There were tears.  Sobs.  Wailing.

It wasn't easy.

Just to make things worse, as if I could take anymore of my boy's broken heart, as we prayed last night, he poured salt on my mommy wounds.

"Dear God and Jesus, would you help my heart to feel better (sob, cry, sniffle).  My fish calico died tonight, and I am so sad.  Thank you. Amen."


Heavy hearts.

She was a good fish.

Or he.

We never knew.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Good Reminder

As I have become more and more lazy about Scripture Memory, I decided that these next two weeks I should remember why it's so important that I have scripture buried into my heart.

"My child, pay attention to what I say.  Listen carefully to my words.  Don't lose sight of them.  Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body." -Proverbs 4:20-22 NLT

Mediation and memorization is necessary for penetration. 

And when these precious words penetrate my heart, they bring life and healing to my whole body.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Which my Blog Becomes a Photo Album

In my attempt to make sure that I am photographing my own children more, it seems as though I now have a lot of pictures to share.  Also, I am trying to be very intentional in how we spend our time this summer, since this winter was a total blur, and I now realize how precious our time is together.  So, about once a week, we have been going on little "field trips".   Being more intentional about taking photos + being intentional about how we spend our time = LOTS OF PICTURES OF OUR ADVENTURES.

On this, here, blog.

Since I can hardly wait to tackle the "Blogger photo Uploader Monster" let's get at it.

First up: The Fourth of July.

Yup, just a little behind.

The Little Man came up with the idea of going to a MLS game (that's Major League Soccer for all you non-sport watching types)  (Oh wait, that's me), and then watch the fireworks after the game.  I have to say, it was a great idea, and the firework show was probably the best I've ever seen.

Two thumbs up, Little Man!

We started with a dinner that is reserved for special occasions.  Not only because it's one of my most favorite burgers around, but because the calorie and fat count are so astronomical that it's a wonder we don't instantly clog an artery.

Look, all things good are going to cost ya, right?  That's why we like to practice moderation when it comes to Smash Burger. (Note: I think the look of pure pleasure is clearly written all over The Girl's face in this pic):

Back to pure goofiness:

The man with the plan:

You can't go to a game with out Dippen' Dots.  Plus, it was a little toasty out...even in the shade.

While the game and the side show (see above photos) were fun, this is what I came for:

It was after this night out that I was gifted with the whole family sleeping in until 9:45.  It all started in the car:

The next day we enjoyed "hangin'" with our friends at the annual 4th of July picnic our church throws.

That's all I got from that event as I spent the afternoon eating my own body weight in potato chips and french onion dip.  Hey, I was trying to make a healthier choice and avoid the hamburgers and hot dogs (I think I already mentioned the calorie count of the Smash Burger I so thoroughly enjoyed the night before).  Moderation, people, moderation.


Later that week, we headed a bit out of town and took a tour of the Celestial Seasonings Factory.  It was actually fairly interesting to see how they organized things, how all the machinery worked, and to see the mass amounts of tea.  Seriously, I never knew that much tea existed in all the world let alone just in this factory.  But our favorite parts, as if I have to tell you seeing as how I've already exposed you to my eating issues, was the free tea sampling.  We got to try all sorts of teas, hot and cold, and for free.  And not for free were some pretty amazing Biscotti.  Perfect.

That's The Girl enjoying her tea time snack.  What?  You don't usually enjoy your tea with a bag of potato chips?  Well, if you had a peanut allergy, that might be the only thing you find that is safe.  So, you just roll with it.

OK.  Here's the deal.  This is a working factory.  With food.  That other people eat.  There is no risking hair contamination.  The only thing funnier, was the men with the beard protectors AND hair nets.  Awesome.  (That's my mom.  She's been joining us for our little "field trips"  and I'm sure she's thrilled to see herself, hairnet and all, on the blog.  Way to be a good sport, Mom.)

Some souvenirs.  If you know me in real life, you should ask me about my chap stick obsession.  These little beauties joined the collection, and I'm fairly certain that they are rare finds:

Next up: The Aquarium.  Little factoid for ya: I've never been.  I know.  How many times have I been to the zoo or the museum?  Well, too many to count, but somehow I've passed up this place.  So, since it was our first time, you know there are going to be a TON of pics.  Here's what I whittled down to:

They each had a turn in the dive suit:

What's she looking at?

Oh!  Well, hello.

We went with our cousin, aunt, and our field trip buddy, grandma:

I found out on this trip that The Little Man is fascinated by sharks.  So when we saw this guy swim up to the glass, after freaking out for a bit, he had to have his picture taken.  Not a great shot, but they swim fast.

"MOM!  LOOK A SHARK!" Considering we were at an aquarium, I heard this a few times today.

The Girl taking in the hugeness of this fish:

 This picture just makes me laugh.  All three of them looking up into a tank:

Both kids were ecstatic to be able to touch a starfish.  The Little Man was proud of how brave he was.  Those starfish are frightening, I tell ya.

MOM!  Look at this big fish with big teeth!

Oh, hi Mr Barracuda.  Nice of you to show us your teeth.

You too, Mr. Shark.

Jelly fish are so beautiful to me.

The Girl was dying to get her pic taken with this fish.  I'm not sure why, I just obliged.


Every once in a while we would see a large sea turtle swim by the glass.  This one came by just as I had my camera out, and like The Little Man, The Girl told me to quick take her pic with the turtle and sat down next to it.  It quickly swam away.  She then asked, "Did you get it? Did you get my picture with the sea turtle?"  As I took a look at the LCD, I just looked up and said, "Yup.  Sure did!  You're good to go!"

I think she totally had a silhouette in mind when she asked.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just a Few of my Favorite Things

My most favorite thing of this summer?

I mean besides the goosebumps you get when you walk outside into the warm sunshine after being inside an overly air conditioned building.

Or the pool.  That my kids can swim in without me having to watch over them like a hawk.

Or flip flops.

Or sundresses.

Or all the fresh fruit.

Or my little garden.

Or Harry Potter.

Or all the new recipes the kids and I have been trying out...have mercy.

Or the fact that the sun doesn't set until after 8:30.

Or ice cream.

What I am loving more than anything else this summer is the fact that my kids have learned how to sleep in.  It is a love gift from God to me.  Over the weekend, they weren't waking until after nine.  NINE O'CLOCK.  Actually on the 4th, the kids were not up until 9:40.  It's like I have teenagers.  I had to go and wake up The Hubs who decided he was going to join them. Do you know what a momma can get done in a just a few hours if the house is totally quiet? 

The time has been so precious. 

And I have loved every second of it.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Oh, Summer!  How time does escape me when you are here!

So three days ago I was due for another Scripture Memory Verse


I was struggling to find the most perfect verse that would encompass my feelings of praise, awe, and thanksgiving as I have been learning about the different attributes and names of God in my summer Bible study.  This study has opened my eyes to attributes of God that I have never considered, at least not to the depth in which I have studied them.  My love and awe of Him have only intensified.  I wanted a verse that expressed praise and thanksgiving for who He is: Forgiver of my sins, healer, redeemer, good, loving, and merciful.

"Let all that I am praise the Lord;
      may I never forget the good things he does for me.
 3 He forgives all my sins
      and heals all my diseases.
 4 He redeems me from death
      and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
 5 He fills my life with good things.
      My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!"

-Psalm 103:2-5 NLT

Let all that I am praise you for who you are.  May my praise for you always be on my lips.  Constantly remind me, Lord, of all the good things you have done.  You Lord are my redeemer and healer.  While on this earth you do bring relief from my diseases and struggles, however, this relief is only a foretaste of what you have promised for me when we I am with you in Heaven for all of eternity.  My heart is filled with joy at the thought of what lies ahead.  Thank you for the gift of salvation and eternal life with you.