Thursday, September 30, 2010


Some days you simply have to stop and breathe.  Some days you have to *force* yourself to do this.  Today was one of those days for me.  I won't bore you with all the details that led up to this point...

I made a choice to ignore the still nagging to-do list in my head  and simply *play*.  I sat on the floor, just me and my babe.  I grabbed the basket of blocks, determined not to take it personal as he knocked down, with great glee, every block tower I made.

Everyone else was out for the evening.  I did not rush. I did not think about all the other things I should could be doing.  I simply stacked blocks, again and again.  He got hungry so I filled a little dish with cheese and grapes...again and again.  I squirted him with grapes and he laughed and laughed.  Then I showed him how to do it himself.  I threw a crumpled paper ball at him and he laughed some more and threw it back.  I lightly blew on it and showed him how it could fly.  He promptly tried to blow it back. I rolled wooden cars.

I helped him take off his socks when he'd had enough of those...then his shirt.  I think you can figure out where this is leading.  I was able to get all the laundry folded while he rolled around on the floor. 

Finally, at his initiation, he took my hand and led me to his bed to put him to sleep.  It was earlier than usual but I figured I probably shouldn't fight this rare moment.

The entire time I knew I would never regret these lovely moments.  I realized all the hecticness I had been feeling earlier, was gone, replaced with peace.

Play is a lovely pastime.

Monday, September 27, 2010

sidewalk chalk, owls and birthdays

It's such a pleasure when I am able to witness my children excel at something they love.  My kiddos were involved in a local community event on Saturday.  They entered a side walk chalk art contest. They were the only entries but they had prepared for weeks in advance to produce a design that matched the theme: Good Neighbors, Strong Community.

The annual event is called the Good Neighbor Festival.  Isn't that a lovely name for an event?  The weather was very warm but it was tolerable since the company was so pleasant. Oldest design was chosen but everyone received a very nice prize.

Before that my oldest middle had his first football game of the season.  Last minute of the game, he intercepted the ball, ran down the field, to score the tie breaking goal and win the game for his team! He loves sports and I  enjoy watching him, enjoy playing.

Afterward we went to the drive-in to celebrate. We invited friends and enjoyed a family friendly movie. (The Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of  Ga'hoole)  We hadn't been for awhile and it was so enjoyable to not be freezing, but rather, comfortably warm.  We take the back seat out of the adventure-van.  The middles hang out in the back and my husband and I sit on the car bench seat on the asphalt.

After that it was off to join a party already in progress, to celebrate a few birthdays. We were fashionably late but it was ok and we still had fun.

All day all I could think was how awesome my life is. I have a lovely family with talented children.  We have fun together.  We support each other.  When we really take a look around us, there is so much to be thankful for, on a daily basis.

I can't think of a more lovely way to have enjoyed a Saturday. Can you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

walking & talking

My husband and I have been taking a walk every morning this week, so far.  It is really nice.  We get almost an hour of uninterrupted time together.  Besides the health benefits, we have lovely conversation.  It's been a bit chilly but by the time we are finished we are warmed up and ready to take on the day.
It's so important for couples to be intentional about their relationship.  Otherwise it is too easy to let it just slip away.  I could choose to sleep in longer, yes.  The trade off is not as rewarding though.  I really value the time I have with my husband.  He is home most days because he does not work a traditional 9-5 job.  That does not  mean though, that our time is not divided.  

We still must put in the effort to be intentional and lovely to each other. Walking together gets the blood pumping, wakes us up and another unexpected perk are the other people you run into.  There are lots of people in the neighborhood who apparently, wake up and take walks.  After a few days, we've noticed some regulars. Now, isn't that a lovely way to get to know your neighbors?

This morning was extra nice because upon our return home, my husband started breakfast for he and I, as I started the ktbunch on their school work.

Starting the day with intentional spousal attention, really sets the tone for the day.  Making your spouse a priority, is a lovely priority to have.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a pocket full of sea glass & a heart shaped rock

Today was our first designated family day.  We've chosen to be more intentional about it.  We really enjoy being outdoors so that is what we are going to focus on while the weather is still cooperative.

We went to a beach we've never been to before and oooohed and awwweeed over the tide pools.  We saw sea anemones and sea urchins.  I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between them.  There were gorgeous purple ones though.  We also found plump orange and purple star fish and lots of crabs.  I might have gotten a bit sunburned too.
It was a rocky beach and there was lots of sea glass to collect.  The neat thing about sea glass is that you know it used to be trash.  What started out as someone's discarded glass bottle, with sharp edges, has been roughed up into a barely recognizable version of itself.  Small pieces, sanded smooth by waves and sand, rounded soft edges, now become cherished treasures to collect.

When I am in a rocky area, I always like to search for a heart shaped rock.  I can usually find at least one.  Today was no different and it was my daughter who found it this time.  It's amazing to see how my kids flourish when they are out in nature.  Suddenly my middle son, the 10 year old is Mr. Adventure.  Climbing over giant rocks, out to discover and conquer the world, unafraid.  It's a wonderful transformation to observe.

Finally we headed home.  Relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on another week. Not only did I carry home a pocket full of sea glass and a heart shaped rock, but lovely memories to add to my collection.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

adoption day! adoption day!

Imagine running around your house yelling that, filled with excitement.  That was what we all were able to witness and experience together with some lovely friends.  Our friends had experienced many ups and downs along their 2 year journey and we as a church family, real family and friends were right along side them in love, support, prayer and friendship.

It wasn't just *their* adoption, but *our* adoption as well.  So much so that many of us woke up early to accompany them to the courthouse to witness them take their official oath to adopt their children into their family, to be treated and cared for as their *natural* children, forever.

The courtroom was surprisingly small.  We filed in anyway and there was barely standing room only.  So many of us had cameras it was like paparazzi!!  The court gave their two little girls the softest little bear, each.  They also gave the other children in attendance, bears too.  Wasn't that nice?

When the judge spoke those final words, we all cheered, whistled, hooped and hollared.  It was quite a day of celebration.....and happy tears. 

Lovely, lovely, happy tears.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


is a very valuable commodity. It can bring warmth and reassurance, show love, care and concern.  On my intentional journey to live lovely, I want to remember the value of touch.  I believe we should touch those we love way more than we probably do.

When you have a baby, it's easy, right? Then they squirm off your lap never to be seen again? Ha! The older your children get, there are less and less opportunities to offer a lovely act of affection.  I believe many marriages suffer from a touch deficiency as well.

I found this:

We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth —Virginia Satir, family therapist

Therefore, I proposed, for myself, as well as anyone else, to intentionally touch the ones you love *every* time you pass them.  Passing by in the hallway, put a hand on a shoulder. Passing through the kitchen, tousle your fella's hair.  I've taken extra time to brush my daughter's hair, her love language *is* touch, so I must be more intentional with her anyway.
What about your spouse? How far apart do you sit on the couch at the end of the evening? Or your teens, when it can suddenly be awkward to hug....? I give an encouraging pat on the back or shoulder with a positive comment. It has been scientifically proven that hugs release tension and reduce stress. If you are having  an extra difficult or trying day, call the family together and have a group hug, If you are frustrated with a family member, before speaking to them, take a deep breathe and give them a hug....see how it changes your emotional state and theirs!

It may sound silly because it's so simple....there is no need to over complicate life. Return to the basics, greet one another with a hug, especially those you love.

Hugs are lovely. 
Be intentional, be lovely.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


A smile is the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to dramatically increase your lovely quotient.   The bigger the smile the better.

Scientific studies have shown that the facial expressions we make can influence the emotional response we experience. The more you smile, the more positive you feel.  Instead of focusing on the negative day you may be having, take a deep breathe and smile.  It really will change your outlook. 

A smile is contagious.  Here are some lovely quotes about smiles and smiling.

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
Mother Teresa

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
Joseph Addison

Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo F. Buscaglia

Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.
John Ray

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
Mother Teresa

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.
Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.
Maya Angelou

Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.
Greta Garbo

One who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.

Japanese Proverb

The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.

Leo F. Buscaglia

Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other -- it doesn't matter who it is -- and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.
Mother Teresa

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.
William Shakespeare

You're never fully dressed without a smile.
Martin Charnin

Smile and be lovely, today.  Don't just have a lovely day, make a lovely day! ;-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


We've added this lovely poem to our morning repertoire. We have already memorized the initial one, the daily prayer and we also do a Bible verse a day.  We will include this poem for the entire month.  Birdy's syllabus contains a large collection of poems and rhymes in the back, including one for every month of the year.  This one is not too long, so it's a good one to start with.

September brings the ripening sun,
   The clear sharp morning air,
And asters in a border wide, 
And daisies for the garden's pride,
   And foxgloves everywhere.

Among the rushes and the reeds
   Long purples bend and sway,
Between the water and the land,
Beside the shining stream they stand
   Till Autumn fades away.

Plant crocuses and tulips rare,
   To bloom in next Year's Spring,
And crown imperials rich and fine,
To stand up in a glorious line
   Amid new blossoming.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


is one of the loveliest seasons, isn't it? Today, we got an early sneak preview.  It was cool and there was even a drizzle this morning.  It was a perfect day for the homemade chicken soup I made yesterday. It was also a good day for a nice, big, warm cup of tea. But seriously, isn't it always a good day for tea? ;-)

It wasn't particularly cold.  Definitely cooler though.  Almost crisp.

You could feel the cool breezes blow through the summer's open windows.  It isn't time to close them all the way yet, just a little more. We stayed inside most of the day but I did take K for a short walk in the stroller and wore a sweater and a hat.  One from my stash of crocheted hats and scarves. 

I really just wanted to curl up with a big blanket and read a book.  I did read to the middles before bed...that counts right?

I'm looking forward to Autumn. Autumn is my anniversary, older middle's football, orange, red, yellow.  Autumn is... an absolutely lovely season.

Monday, September 6, 2010

well trained children

are the loveliest sort.

It's never to early to begin training your children to be lovely. Even toddlers can be taught skills in loveliness like picking up their blocks and putting them back in their basket. The task that is my favorite, I am practicing with my 17 month old right now. I am training him to make a smiling face upon command.  Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?  You may even wonder why you need to train a child to smile...

Well, children do have lovely smiles, naturally, don't they? The training is actually obedience and a change of attitude. I've been trying it out and it's working splendidly.  When my little guy begins a hint of bad attitude, let's say when he thinks he is too busy to stop for a diaper change, I smile and command him to smile.

It's like a stunning technique. He might begin to fuss but when he hears me tell him to smile, all he can think about is smiling.  Who doesn't want to smile? Of course, I'm sure it's encouraging when your momma is also smiling at you, right? Loveliness begets loveliness, I think.

I've also began to train him to put his hand over his mouth if he is fussing too much.  I have not been as consistent with that technique because, well, I'd much rather just see him smile. ;-)

*I am not that brilliant, therefore I did not think of this myself.  I am humble enough to recognize the voice of other's experience.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


While my husband is working, the kidlets and I watched an old movie tonight, The Harvey Girls.  Lots of singing. I allowed them to stay up a little later than usual and now they are snug in their beds.....reading.

Inspired by a lovely shade of bright yellow nail polish, I decided to treat myself a bit.  I am treating myself to a relaxing foot soak.  When we pay for it, it's called a pedicure. ;-)

Here are my supplies:
hot water
rose petals
coconut oil
a fresh sprig of rosemary
brown sugar
soy candle
pumice stone
warm cup of tea ;-)

I used what I had on hand, which really makes it all the more lovely.  I filled a little tub with the nearly hot water.  I added a sprig of rosemary from my garden for freshness, but I bet mint would have been delightful.  A few spoonfuls of coconut oil to moisturize, along with the rose petals to make it feel 'fancy'.  

Once the water begins to cool down I will use the brown sugar to scrub and exfoliate my feet from toes to ankles.  The pumice stone will be used on the heels. The soy candle is the equivalent of a paraffin treatment and will feel absolutely lovely as I use it to massage my feet.  Normally I would have simply used the coconut oil but I only had the unrefined left, which is unscented.  I thoroughly prefer the coconut scent so the soy will have to do for now.  I will finish off with the yellow nail polish. (I am already enjoying my cup of tea.)

What a lovely way to end a Saturday, don't you think? Every wife and mother (or woman, period.) needs to take proper care of herself.  Even something as simple as a foot soak can ease away the stress and cares of the day and refocus ones mind on all things lovely.  Think on all your lovely blessings, {especially the ones that are sleeping ;-) all you have to be thankful for, take some deep breaths and enjoy yourself.  Relax. Today is coming to a close.....and it has been lovely.

Matt 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it's own.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a little spot

I cleared some spaces on our wall shelving unit.  Each middle now has their own little spot to place their school supplies, books, papers and curricula.  This has reduced the before school stress level dramatically.  It was ridiculously simple to achieve, much of a no brainer.

I had tried other methods but nothing ever 'stuck'. Now all their supplies are easy to find and easy to tuck away.  It's a small thing but it has had such an impact on our daily lives, truly.  No more frantic searching for school items.

All it required of me, was to reexamine my collection of books that were already taking up those spaces.  It was quite liberating to reduce the collection.  Quite freeing to admit that there were books that I had never read and really never intended to.  I gave up some of my own space, to allow them space. It was the perfect trade.By giving up some of my own personal space, I actually gained much needed personal peace.

Sometimes giving up your own spot, allows more room for loveliness.