why home is important to me.

sorry folks.  this is one of THOSE posts.
where i spill my heart out and either it repulses you or it makes you love me more.
so you have been warned. 
the good news is that i have some CUTE posts coming in the next few days  so hang in there ok?

so can i tell you that i am worn out from this selling a house stuff.
we keep our house super neat so it can be cleaned quickly.
we have BOXES of our stuff in the attic.
the exhilaration of having a showing. 
and the let down that follows when they choose somewhere else.

the last people to see it actually made an offer.  we countered and then the husband wanted to see it.
the wife had made an offer WITHOUT her husband seeing it. WHAT?!?!
he did not love it as much as she did.
we are pretty sure it is because we live in a racially mixed neighborhood. 
which doesn't bother us one bit but was enough to convice this would be seller that his work equipment would be stolen out of his car.
he said this to me.
terrible. TERRIBLE.

so we wait a little longer.  and hold fast to hope that we will be moving soon.
the bittersweet part is that in this journey i have have the joy and honor of praying for others in the same situation...living in a city/town/country that is not home and counting the days until they get to return.  so many of you have emailed me to share your story...and i love you for it.  the bittersweet part is that others prayers are being answered.  i have lost count of how many people are well on their way home...or are already there.  and i am SO happy for them.  truly. 
and with each one i pray "my turn next Lord?".

some people still don't get it.  WHY is a place SO important to us?  to me, maybe even more so.

i'm a little nervous to talk about this next part...but here goes. 

you may notice that i never mention my family on here.  of course there is doug and my boys and my wonderful amazing in-laws who ARE my family.

i'm talking about my parents and siblings.  and everyone connected to them.
the bottom line is that i don't have them anymore.  not now nor in the foreseeable future.

for reasons that i won't go into here...a year ago in march i was forced to make a choice between my real family (doug and my boys) and the people i happen to share blood with. 
it was not an easy choice.  it was not fun.  it was hard and covered with a lot of prayer.  it still is.

some will say that family is forever.  that that is the only source of unconditional love...like somehow sharing DNA will ensure acceptance, love of the unconditional variety and a relationship.

i disagree.  acceptance is a choice.
unconditional love is an action you CHOOSE. 
relationships are a choice.

as a result of the choice to move forward without any contact from my parents...almost all family followed suit.  i'm pretty much an orphan. there are a tiny few who still talk to me.  most are not "allowed".  many, i think, cannot comprehend my choice...see reasoning above.  i still love them all and miss them.  but i've had to make a choice that i feel protects myself and my family.  and for the record doug totally supports this choice.

the point?  blacksburg has family.  and friends that ARE family.  and it takes us closer to other family.
i want my kids to grow up near their aunts and uncles and aunts and uncles in law (hi amy!) and cousins.
i want them to have memories of their family in their life.  i want those relationships for them that will keep them accountable.

i want to be part of a community that knows my children and keeps them in line when i'm not looking.
i want an endless supply of people i can trust with my kids.

i want dinner parties and cookouts.  and real, deep friends for crying out loud.  i want people who can look at me and know that i am not ok.  

blacksburg has what we don't have here.

and i am totally believing that God is going to take us there.  some great way.  some great how.

but some days my heart is heavier than others.
the days that i want those things for my kids and us.

i know and believe our prayers will be answered. 

some days are just harder to wait through than others.

xo
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fathers day interview {for doug from moses}

for fathers day this year, i thought i would interview moses and ask him a few questions about his favorite person.  welcome to endless spout that is moses' train of thought. :) 

what is your dad's name?
doug.

any other names he goes by?
douglas.

where does your dad work?
at target.

what does he do there?
good jobs.

do you like your dad?
yep.

why do you like your dad?
because i love him a lot.

what's your favorite thing about your dad?
i like to play baseball.
that's all.

what is your dad's favorite food?
norwegian pancakes.

what is your dad's favorite color?
blue.

is your dad funny?
yes.

what is the funniest thing he has done?
walking on his hands.

is he a good dad?
yep.

why?
because.

because why?
because he likes lunch.

can you tell me a story about you and daddy?
actually yes.

i don't know what it's about.

my skateboard.  i got a bat for myself.  so i could play baseball with daddy.  we like to eat norwegian pancakes.  he likes blue and i like green.  we go on a special date to see cars and two.  and we also like cars one.  and that is all.

do you think your dad was a good boy when he was little?
a good boy.  he liked to smile a lot at his mom and his dad.  he like to play games with his mom and his dad.  his favorite brother was uncle eric.  he likes him because he likes cars and two the best.  and uncle eric could do whatever he wanted to do.  he cried when uncle eric hurt him. 

what does daddy think about jesus?
i think he likes him.  because i like him a lot and he likes me a lot.

what is your daddy good at?
he is good at basketball.  and he is good at making muscles.

he lived in new york city when he was little.  is new york city in the united states?  but i can tell a story about that.  uncle eric banged on the door when he was little.  he was also a little sister.  then he changed into a boy.  then uncle eric growed up.  then daddy growed up.  and then they were big kids.  and daddy likes aunt caroyln because she is his sister.

there was a little kid named doug.  and then he rode on a boat to go on his bocation.  then he went on a plane and then a bus.  then he went to uncle eric's house.  he had to ride on a plane to get there because it was way far away.

what do you want to say to daddy about fathers day?
i want to give him a skateboard, a cars and two toy and an orca.

are you glad that he is your dad?
yes.  because he loves me a lot and he likes me and likes me and likes me.

how much do you love him?
enough for 14 dump trucks of love.

happy fathers day to the best dad a moses and an aaron could ask for!
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summer awesomeness {part two}

on the wet days of summer (the rainy kind) or in the bleak days of winter...
our fun sprinkler has another life as a little tent.
i propped it up on a set of bed lifts (the kind college kids buy for their dorm rooms)
and the boys played in it for over an hour.
therefore making it worth. every. penny.
 to make the tent i took a 60in by 83in table cloth that i got on clearance at target.
measured 31in from the center and sewed a little pocket to slide a pvc pipe for.
since i didn't glue the sprinkler together i can 1)make sure it's dry to bring it in and 2)store it.
 even playing potato head is more fun in there where mom can't see you.
 simple. easy fun.  with lots of room for imagination.
 even looking out the door is more fun if you do it from a tent.
do you see this precious moment here?
playing quietly together.  makes my heart patter.
i totally plan on letting them use this outside as well...it just happened to be rainy the day i got it done.
the boys loved it.  and i see this getting a lot of use.

but you know what?
that's not the end of it's use.

stay tuned to see how we got one more awesome toy out of it. :)

xo
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summer awesomeness {part one}


want to be the fun mom this summer?
or at least for the day.
or every time you pull this out.
doug and i barely had this made before the boys were stripping down to play in it.
on the coldest day we have had in a while.
see hoho in the background running to the house with his shorts around his ankles to go get a swimmy diaper?
now i didn't invent pvc pipe sprinklers. 
but this one will be more than a sprinkler...more on that to come.
but for now, let me share the how-to when it comes to making a sprinkler that will make the neighborhood kids come out of the woodwork. 
here is what we used. plus a drill.  i do not know the names of any of the parts.
here is my meager description of them.  or you could print this photo and take it to lowe's. :)
a = an elbow shaped piece.
b = an elbow shaped piece with a third outlet that had thread on it.
c = an adapter that you screw into two of the b's to make it a smooth...umm...entry?
d = THIS PIECE. you need this to hook your hose into the sprinkler.  screw it into the third b.
a b and c all have ends that are not threaded.  so you can slide your pipe in.
you need five 5ft pvc pips.
we used 3/4in.
you can use any small size you like.
just make sure your other parts fit with it.
cut two of the 5ft pipes in half.
they will be the upright parts from a to b+c.
and assemble as above.
we just dry fit it together with no glue...partly so we could store it and partly to make it better for the other life we have in store for it. :)
then doug drilled holes every inch or so.
he used a tiny drill bit 1/16 maybe?
i thought it would be too small...it was perfect.
on the top bar he did holes on two sides.
for the rest of the pipes he just drilled holes on the top.
i don't think you can go wrong.
the boys were happy to use it as a water fountain.
then they got the hang of it.
and didn't want to get out.
they could jump over.
and through.
and crawl around.
they loved it.
we could also stand it up on it's end.
they loved it this way too.
you can't go wrong with spraying water.
then moses thought we should put it over the slip-n-slide.
genius.
we had to pull them away from it.
shivering.
for your viewing pleasure. :)
we paid about $18 for all the parts. 
and if you think about how much they charge for crappy character sprinklers that is not so bad.
be we aren't stopping here with it...it has a whole other personality. 
stay tuned for more. :)
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please treat yourself to these today.

s'mores are one of my favorite flavor combos...so i knew it was only a matter of time before i made some form of s'more cookie. 

i started with a recipe from "the girl who ate everything"...and made some changes.

here's how to make them...my changes noted:

11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2c chocolate chips (i used 1 cup)
1 cup mini marshmallows (i used 2 cups)
2 – 3 regular sized hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
graham crackers

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to combine. 
Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.  
Add egg and vanilla.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
Fold in chips and marshmallows.  
Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight. 
(i did NOT do any chilling and they turned out more than wonderful)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Line baking pans with parchment paper (i used wax paper) 
Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching).  I used cookie sheets...
Place tablespoons of chilled dough on graham crackers in the center of each graham square.
Press down slightly with fingertips.  ping-pong sized balls of dough.
Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top.
I put one rectangle per square.
Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
 
Once they are cool I cut them into squares using the graham crackers as my guide.  
let them sit for a day.  
they taste WORLDS better the next day...though the first day they still tasted wonderful.

wonderful wonderful summer cookie. :) perfect for picnics.  

i think the extra mallows and chips i added makes them even more awesome. 

have fun! :)

xo
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lazy. {or a post about my vacation with 30 photos}

between vacation and house stuff...i am still not in reality.
i am getting very little done besides keeping my house clean between visits.
so i'm going to document my vacation, okay?
can you hang in there for a lot of photos?
just some thoughts and moments i don't want to forget.
above is hoho's first look at the ocean.
he loved it.  and it's sand.
no fear of it whatsoever. 
totally the opposite of moses last year.
but this year, moses totally kicked that fear to the curb.
he loved the ocean and waves.  
going in as far as his chest.

 his first day there he found the worlds smallest hermit crab.
we kept it for the day and then released him to find his mommy.

 hoho played shuffle board.
a short drive from where we stay in florida is the worlds best playground.
enormous. fun.  family friendly.  and FREE.
there are all the normal playground stuff...plus tunnels and activites and loads of fun things.
it's one of our favorite places in boca.
 more playground.
more playground.
see doug?
across the street from where we stay is an inlet to the inter-coastal water way.
we would go there every day to see the tropical fish.
it's like this huge aquarium right there for you.

the best part of our vacation this year was the boys LOVE of the water.
both boys were fearless and loved jumping in and swimming around.
without us.
they didn't seem to care if we were in or out of the water.
they had their floaties on and did their thing.
some days we spent more the four hours at the pool.
it was wonderful.
i love vacation with older kids.


this was taken with the boys IN the pool.
this is how relaxing it was.
seriously laid back and wonderful.


 like my enormous $1 sunglasses?
 imagine this 1oo's of times. :)


many afternoons were spent at the beach.
then we would shower off the sand and go back to the pool.

 lots of digging in the sand.

 lots of jumping in the waves.


on our last day we went to our most favorite zoo ever.
moses got to pet a two year old alligator.
the zoo was our big outing.
we really didn't want or need more than the pool and the beach.
and our condo was stationed right between the two.
perfect.
some asked where we went.
every year we go to boca raton in florida.
doug's grandparents own a condo down there that they are gracious enough to bless us with the use of.
and doug's mom goes with us.
and i love my mother in law so it is a wonderful, good, blessing.
we are a block (maybe) from the beach and even closer to the pool.

it is wonderful and heavenly.
we got to go on dates alone (thanks to the wonderful mother in law).
we went for walks everyday.

i learned that i LOVE vacation with older children.
next year we won't have to bring DIAPERS OR A STROLLER.
imagine it?!
convinced me even more that i am perfectly content with two OLDER kids and that i am more than ok being done with babies.
the boys were old enough to make vacation enjoyable and relaxing again.
i loved it.

we had a great vacation and we plan to go back every single year for as many years as we can.

we are thankful for grandparents who are generous.
we are super thankful for my fabulous mom (in law) in NJ who goes with us and lets us enjoy some time together.
and we like being with her too.

we are blessed and spoiled.

and i can't wait to go back next year with my three and five year old.

:)
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