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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Stories They Tell.

I've been jotting down little things here and there that the little (and not so little) people say. Not a day goes by where there isn't something where I am laughing my tail off.


M, asking me about my freckles:

M "Do you like having freckles?"

S "Umm. I don't know, I guess they're fine."

H "Mama, I love your sparkles."


While on vacation one of the days my dad and J were gone golfing and it was me and the kids. H was walking around singing his heart out and my niece and cousin were sitting on the porch playing cards. Apparently they didn't like his singing.

H "La, la, ladida...."

Brittany "H, stop singing. It's annoying."

H "La, la, ladida...."

Brittany "Cut it out..."

H "My mom says I can sing because I am happy!"

Krista "H, I'm asking nicely, will you please stop singing?"

H "No, thank you."

Krista "But I'm asking you nicely."

H "Me too."

I sent H outside to play at this point and the girls started screaming about their card game. H turned around and ran back to the cabin.

H "Stop screaming! It's really annoying!"


The week before M was going to get baptized (which was postponed in case you were wondering why it was never mentioned again) we did a lot of talking about baptism around here. But my favorite conversation was one I overheard between T and M.

T "I wouldn't want to get baptized if I were you."

M "Why?"

T "Once you get baptized you can't sin anymore. I don't want to not be able to sin anymore."

Getting ready for preschool these days with H includes lots of talks about do's and don'ts at school.

H "Mama, I won't push, kick, hit, preschool. I promise."

Things I don't think I ever thought I'd have to go over on a daily basis.


And Miss M, today, sitting holding E:

M "E, you're totally my BFF!"


Sunday, August 30, 2009

An End of the Summer Wedding.

Yesterday we celebrated the wedding of my dear, old friend Hayley and Chad, her long time beau.

It was a beautiful, crisp and cool day. Absolutely perfect for a wedding.

This was the first time that both J and I were in the bridal party, besides our own wedding of course. I love this picture of the two of us and considering it's the same church we were married at five years ago, we had to take a picture together.

I was honored to serve as Hayley's matron of honor and had so much fun these last several months helping her with details, throwing and attending showers and just chatting details. We had a blast together yesterday.

Holly, Hayley and I. We've now each stood up for each other in all three of our weddings.
Here's the three of us with husbands at the rehearsal dinner.
As Hayley's matron of honor, I had to give a toast at the reception and honestly, I have been freaking out about this for, oh, about three months now.
I was fearful of getting up in front of 200 plus guests and also wondering how on earth I could summarize 13 years of friendship and adventure. So needless to say, though I hate procrastinating, I did. And was up way too late Friday night handwriting my toast.
Here goes:
Good Evening!

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Samara and I am a longtime friend of Hayley's. We met some thirteen plus years ago at church, the same church we just witnessed their wedding at.

We've been on missions trips and camp retreats and youth nights and everything else. Our time at North Park University even overlapped. I am continually amazed and blessed by the friendship we have shared.

I am honored to be able to share in Hayley and Chad's wedding day. While I don't have the years of history with Chad like I do with Hayley, I do think that they are a great couple who complements each other very well. I am very excited about their future together.

Hayley, you look absolutely radiant tonight. Your months of planning and details have paid off because the day was perfect. Most importantly, today was a success because regardless of all the other details, you and Chad have committed your lives together.

You're married!

Chad, you are a very lucky man and I know that you know what a gift Hayley is. Thank you for loving her as she is, encouraging her and taking care of her. You will make a wonderful husband.

Just remember, a happy wife makes for a happy life.

To the both of you, may you enjoy this stage as newlyweds. May the Lord bless the two of you greatly both together and as individuals.
Make time for each other.
Pray together.
Never go to bed angry.
And may the two of you stay just as much in love as you are today.

Please raise your glasses with me to congratulate the new Rafferty's.
Congrats Hayley and Chad!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


It is no secret that naptime has been a battle around here.

For a very, very long time now.

This summer I'd almost all but given up on naps. It's a battle I don't always choose to fight.

But vacation really seemed to wear H out. He napped every day except one and here's how he fell asleep a few of those days.

He goes and he goes and he goes until he just can't go anymore.

That's my boy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


How do you summarize eight days away, seventy-some pictures and a whole lot of pictures in just a quick blog post?

I have no idea.

We had a great vacation.

We were at a cabin near Balsam Lake, WI with my dad for the week and it was exactly what we (especially myself) needed. (Not many people could handle vacation with their family and their dad for a week, but really there's no where else I'd rather be than with my favorite people.)

We got to see other family as well, aunts, uncles, cousins. My niece and nephew and one of my cousins were there for most of the week too. It was fun to have different day (and overnight) visitors throughout the week.

I was unplugged the entire time though I did turn my phone on at the end of the week for some texting. But I didn't check my email or my facebook or twitter or any blogs. It was strangely comforting NOT to be constantly connected, which sounds really weird, I'm sure.

I did indeed finish the book I was reading.

I didn't get E's baby calendar done. And I certainly didn't write my toast for Saturday night.

But the purpose, for once, wasn't to get things done.

Even J was fully on break and vacation. We switched off sleeping in the mornings we were there. He golfed with my dad. Took naps.

Really, is there anything better than a good, old, vay-cay?

Here's just a glimpse of our time away. (Because I know that seventy-some pictures would be TOO many!)

This is the place my dad rented. It was absolutely beautiful and a fun place to stay. We loved it.

If you look really hard you can see J and T playing catch.


Smores, of course.

Just hanging out.

Swimming. M, my nephew Michael and my cousin Lisa.

My nephew, Michael.

Our M.

Poker. T, as the dealer.

Then the kids got the real card sharks involved, my dad and J.

Vacation couldn't have come at a better time for me this summer. I had had a stressful, exhausting couple weeks leading up to our week away and knew that a week away from everything would be good for my soul.

And it was.

My one regret, my one small, teensy, weeny little regret, is not taking a picture of my dad with all six of his grandkids. But thankfully we all have enough good memories to last us longer than any picture would.

Thanks for the great week all of you who were there, but especially to J and my dad. What a great week!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Shaggy Ones We Love.

The boys (J, included) have been getting pretty shaggy around here so today, one day after returning from our vacation, (pictures/update coming soon!), we headed out to get them all trimmed up and looking good for school.

I am pretty sure that the face H is making here is one of my favorite faces I've ever seen him make.


M, never one to like being left out of the loop also underwent a major transformation today.
Hannah Montana herself accompanied us through Target.
I am not kidding. She insisted we call her Hannah the entire trip and corrected us anytime we accidently slipped up.

Though she wasn't overwhelmed giving out autographs like she hoped for, she did provide some fun shopping entertainment.

Her, and her whole Hannah alter-ego fun and games at Target are one of the reasons I love my life. Is there anything more fun than playing make-believe with your kids shopping at Target?
*Oh, and the winner of the Mommy Hook: #3 Jen!* Congrats! You'll love it!*

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I didn't intend to leave the giveaway post as the only post up this week but time has gotten the best of me. (Winner to be announced when I return.)

This is what we've been doing.

At Costco.

At Target.

We've been busy running errands to get packed up.

Oh, and cleaning and cooking and packing for a much needed vacation.

In just a few hours, I'll be here.

I've decided that I'm going to go unplugged while we're away.

I'm hoping to stick to it.

No email. No blogging or facebook or twitter.
As for my phone, I'll have it with me for family to reach us or in the case we go anywhere beyond here, but I'm not planning on spending much time on it.

I really, really, really need this break.

I've got books sitting on my nightstand begging to be read.

One of which, Stepmonster, by Wednesday Martin, is perhaps the most thought provoking book on being a stepmother I have ever read and I am hoping for the chance to finally finish it.

And a review will be here once I do just in case your interest has now been piqued.

I'm packing along E's baby calendar to work on when I've got some spare time.

Hoping that my maid of honor toast for my dear friend Hayley's wedding just comes to me sitting on the beach.

Plus, I want to relax and swim and play and just be while we're gone.
I'm confident I won't have trouble finding things to do.

I can't remember the last time I was this excited for a vacation and this excited to just be away with my family like this.

But I am very excited and ready to relax.

I know just how busy the rest of the summer will be when we return. Finishing up back to school shopping. Haircuts. An end of summer wedding. It will fly by.

So while we've got the time to rest and relax, I need to do it.

With all that said, it's back to getting out the door for us.

You can bet that there will be a full update and lots of pictures when we return.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Mommy Hook Giveaway.

Before I became a mom I had no idea the wonderful inventions out there to help make life easier.

One of those inventions I recently discovered is The Mommy Hook by Mom, Dad and Baby.

I'd seen these hooks before in passing but wasn't sure how they worked until they sent me one to try out myself.

They look like a giant caribiner clip that can hold anything and everything.

I love it.

I clip it on the cart at the store and it can hold my diaper bag or purse or anything else I'm travelling with that day. Use it at the mall on the stroller to hold shopping bags.

Keeps my hands free and I'm not trying to shove bags and things elsewhere.

I, like most moms I know, am always looking for new ideas and inventions out there meant to make life easier. And even the ridiculous ones that seem like a waste of money.

So...what are some of the best mom inventions that you've found? Please share.

Leave a comment between now and Saturday.

One lucky commenter will get their very own Mommy Hook.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Kicks.

If you follow me on Twitter or are my Facebook "friend", you knew that today we were out shopping for new school shoes.

With my mother in law.

In the past she's purchased a new outfit for T and M before school starts. This year she wanted to change it up and buy each of the three school-go-ers a new pair of shoes.

So off we went today.

It was anything but easy.

What the kids like. (Things that light up, glow, have sparkly things dangling on them, Lightning Mcqueen, skulls.)

What grandma likes. (Basically anything that make the kids happy.)

What I like. (Nothing that lights up, no characters, no glowing...the list goes on.)

What actually fits. (No, not something that is a 1/2 size too small just because you love it and you don't mind that your feet will be sore. Ahem, Miss M.)

You know, the ordinary negotiations.

All in all the day was a success because we went to two stores and managed to get shoes for all three, er, I mean six, of the school go-ers feet that fit, I like, grandma likes and most importantly, they like.

The above is a sampling of me, trying to be creative. And also show off the new kicks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

On A Lighter Note.

It was National Night Out on Tuesday and as usual the kids had a blast playing and running ragged with friends.

This year a fire truck and a police car paid visit to our neighborhood party and of course this was a huge hit.

Anyone else thrilled it's Friday?

I sure am.

On our agenda this (HOT) weekend is a date overnight for J and I.

H is having a sleepover with Boppa (and is super excited!)

Sunday, M is getting baptized and we are so proud and excited for her.

Happy Friday!
(Bree, still waiting for you to email me, you can click on contact me on the top right corner. Thanks!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Right Now.

If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing. -MARGARET THATCHER
No one really likes the stepmom.

It's not really a like-able position.

No one sets out to be a stepmom. (In the same way that no one hopes for one either.)

In our family, I'm the psuedo-mom when T and M are here. Acting in a motherly role, taking over motherly duties, but deferring big ticket items and issues to J and their real mom.

I'm the stepmom.
Just the stepmom.

Trying to maintain unity in a home that is split.

Two kids come and go each week. Two kids are permanent fixtures.

J and I are solely responsible for the decisions made for two kids.
J and I aren't solely responsible for the decisions made for two kids.

Right now I'm in an odd place. I've been quiet about the whole stepmom thing lately because as I admitted in March, there are sometimes difficulties.

And right now, I'm struggling. Struggling with what my role is. How is it supposed to look? To feel? Be?

And how's that work with my littles?

How do we make the best choices and decisions for T and M without compromising decisions I'd like to make down the road for H and E?

Perhaps its the growing ages of all four kids. I'm realizing that short term decisions we make for T and M also pave the way for H and E.

Juggling four different aged children with my no-nonsense values and black and white tendencies.

Balancing the bigs and their needs and the issues that come up there and also the littles and their needs and issues we're working on. Feeling like I have to make sure everything is fair and justified for the bigs and the littles, when there is no one out there doing the same for my littles when the bigs get the bigger part of the stick.

It's maybe not always having the same expectations as everyone else.

Right now I'm feeling as though I'm turning into that broomstick riding stepmom I always joke about.

It's not for lack of trying.

But I say no, more than I'd like. I nag too many times a day to keep track of. I'm bossy, demanding and have high expectations.

And I'm not proud of all that.

Or should I be?

Should I choose my battles wisely? Or fight the fight?

What am I compromising? And what am I accomplishing?

Right now.

Right now, I'm realizing the job that is being a stepmom isn't very liked.

And right now, I'm in an odd place.

And honestly, right now, I'm struggling with it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eight Months Old.

You didn't forget what yesterday was, did you?

We sure didn't.

Miss E (or as we referred to her in utero) Baby Beep Beep's eight month birthday.

Eight months have come and gone so quickly. She is changing and growing before our eyes. And while I love this, I also am sad that it is going so fast.
Ever our happy-go-lucky baby girl. She still goes with the flow of life.

Her eyes are still the brightest and biggest I've yet to see and her hair is growing longer and lighter every day. Will she be a blonde? Or will she hold on to some of her dark features?

Only time will tell.
I hear that I deceive you with my pictures as she's not as big as she looks. She's still a petite little thing. Weighing in, fully clothed this past month a little over 16 pounds.

She's a great eater and loves finger foods and pureed anything.
Still no bottles and I've given up on trying, she's nursing 3-4 times a day. Her sippy cup days are beginning and I'm ok with that.

Sitting and moving from sitting to rolling and soon, she'll be on the go around the house.

I am not so sure I'm ready?
Physically, yes.
In my heart, not really. Can't we just hit pause and stay a little while right here?
I hope that I am living in the moment enough.

So that when I look back at this face days, and months and even years from now I will remember how she sounded when she clapped her hands and laughed and made silly, high pitched noises as her feet kick and flail with excitement. And how she looked with yogurt smeared on her face and in her hair and that big, toothy grin she hands out more freely than anything. And how she smelled when I held her close and tight at morning and night.
The way her arms reach and grab hold of my necklace and face. And how her little teeth gnaw into my shoulder when she laughs and gets excited.
I just want to remember living these moments with her.

Happy eight months, baby girl!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pure Joy.

We were able to spend Sunday afternoon with some good friends of ours at a nearby lake for some delicious afternoon snacks, people watching and boating and tubing.

It was pure joy.

My favorite part, and probably the kids favorite part, was taking turns tubing around the lake.

I couldn't help but say that T's face and big, huge grin, is a perfect example of pure joy.

These are the things this boy lives for.

Getting ready. His hair is so white, it almost glows this summer.

Starting out.

He was flyin'. When he did finally fall off he hit the water so hard that he actually bounced TWICE!

Are there even words for this one?

M had her turn too. Though a much calmer ride than T's. And still not quite ready to ride alone, so BriAnna rode with her.

And H had his FIRST time. He loved it! Though he was very nervous (and I was nervous how he was going to react) but he did great. I have a feeling it won't be long and he'll be ready to be flyin' round the lake too!