Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ten smile tuesday

another week has blown by without warning! as i was standing in line to get my fabric cut at jo-ann's this morning a gal asked what the date was. when i heard the answer of the 25th it simply wouldn't register in my head. surely it isn't november 25 already...one month from Christmas. friends, i am still back in october...i've barely come to grips with the reality that it is the beginning of november, much less the end! then i came home and realized that not only is it the end of november, but it is also tuesday...and time for ten smiles. once the girls were safely tucked away for nap-time i headed to the office, sat down, popped the camera card into the computer to download this weeks pictures...and was greeted with the reality that i had no pictures to load. not even one. an entire week passed by without one snap of the camera. mind you, there were plenty of things i would have liked to take pictures of...but apparently the camera wasn't within grasp in those moments. oh well...i'll simply share without photographic proof!

1. health. elizabeth was completely healthy tuesday...no sign of the sickies...and then poof...she was up every hour that night, punctuating the sleepless evening by "spitting" in her bed (her polite term for throwing up!). she spent the next couple of days on the couch...but foretunately everyone else in the household managed to escape the bug, and she was back at it by friday.

2. a dear, sweet, kind husband who took thursday morning off to stay home with a sick elizabeth (and kate...lest she should catch whatever was going around or spread any germs she picked up from sissy in the nursery) while mommy enjoyed a much needed morning out at MOPS.

3. orchid the octopus...elizabeth and my creation for "o" week. i had the best intentions of snapping a picture of this sweet creature...made from a skein of purplish yarn...with googly eyeballs and braided tentacles with yellow ribbons)...but alas, right now miss orchid is snuggled in bed with a sleeping elizabeth. perhaps i'll share later!

4. meeting with our dear flock group from church....due to lots of crazy stuff we hadn't seen them in somewhere around two months! the highlight of the meeting for me was definitely getting my hands on the newest member of the group...sweet 2 month old breanna...who rewarded me with huge grins and giggles...PRECIOUS!

5. one on one times with my girls. elizabeth accompanied me to do some grocering on saturday morning and kate and i went for other errands on sunday. i must admit, i often cherish the ability to leave the house A-L-O-N-E....no straps to buckle on car-seats, no helping hands to scoop things into the cart, no need to chat....and yet, i must tell you how i enjoyed taking them along....not being distracted by the other, and so thoroughly able to savor all the cute little moments and their distinct little personalities.

6. elizabeth's constant use of the words "actually" and "probably"....as in "mommy, i think i ACTUALLY really need one of those"--in reference to the chocolate at the cash register. she likes to emphasize the word actually...and i promise, she manages to fit this word in at least three times an hour throughout the day. OR "mommy, kate says she is PROBABLY tired"--this phrase comes just about everyday a half an hour or so before kate's naptime when elizabeth really starts anticipating and itching for school and snacktime with mommy. again...she manages to fit this one in ALL the time as well.

7. celebrating sweet lora's birthday with a surprise party at our mostest favorite mexican restaurant. a fun time to catch up with dear friends we don't get to see nearly enough (and some that we do get to see regularly too!). elizabeth's highlight of the party was getting to sit on the birthday girl's lap (right next to her oh so favorite "uncle" keith) and enjoy a few bites of "crunchy ice cream" (as she called it).

8. carrots. yep...carrots. why am i smiling about carrots? because dear friends...kate...our sweet, loveable, adorable, funny, stubborn little kater gator has decided she HATES vegetables...among many other foods. BUT on sunday night she ate carrots...6 of them...without any sauce or cheese to disguise them. mind you...monday she looked at them like they were evil, but at least i can say my child ate one veggie this week!

9. edamame hummus. i found this at trader joe's when i was grabbing some pizza dough...but after tasting one delectable bite i realized i simply must figure out how to make this....here's a recipe i found. i'll let you know once i try it...but if you have a trader joe's nearby, you really oughta try this.

10. grabbing a whole bunch of games for miss elizabeth at target. they were on sale for $4 a piece...i can't wait until she unwraps them at Christmas and we have something new to enjoy doing together. we picked up the ladybug game; duck, duck, 1-2-3; puppy dog bingo; and let's go fishing (which we are going to let poppy give her). i have a raincheck and hope to eventually picke up polar bear abc's for $4 as well.

11. putting the finishing touches on a couple Christmas presents for our celebration with Mike's family this weekend. we'll be heading out tomorrow afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving with them thursday and then Christmas on friday. that means i really should be putting the finishing touches on packing as opposed to blogging...but what's a girl to do...it is tuesday after all.

12. feeding my freezer--just as soon as i finish this post i will be updating that post with links for all the recipes...which i just posted over at good stuff maynard. if you are interested in trying a freezer cooking day i am more than willing to give you some tips of what has worked when i've done it. it took us 6 hours, and i now have 13 meals (well...actually more than that because the 16 chimis are more like 5 or 6 meals for our fam) + 4 more i made over the weekend. well worth the time. elizabeth was able to help...the little ones (a 5 month old, 6 month old, and kate--16 months) napped and played...no need to find a sitter. i would suggest starting with just one or two friends...NOT a huge group. e-mail me if you want info (and i promise to get back to you by the beginning of the week..i'll be off-line while we are with mike's fam from tomorrow on)...theyakmom AT yahoo.com

13. the reality that it is the end of november. i must be honest...back at the end of september and beginning of october...when i was on bedrest...and then after the miscarriage, i seriously wondered whether i could continue putting one foot in front of the other. there were days where i felt like life would never move on. but how merciful and good is our God. almost two months out i can say with assurance that it still hurts...somedays much more than others...somedays not much at all. i still feel as though i am a bit out of whack...i am still exhausted and feel like i am not yet caught up around the house (then again...will i ever be!). i see friends who are pregnant and due in may and realize that i too would just be getting into maternity clothes...that i too would be out of the first trimester....that i too would be wondering boy or girl and dreaming of names...and on an on....and yet, my life didn't stop or end. i have been blessed with eight-ish weeks of incredible smiles and blessings. i have come to know God in a much more intimate way. my husband and i have been drawn together in such a deep and real way...i feel as though we lost a baby but regained one another--having never known we were lost. and so i leave you with that...a smile the i didn't truly know i was going to type about or share...a smile that quite honestly has tears brimming over my eyes and dripping down my cheeks...bittersweet...and yet, a smile still. friends...there is always hope. God will never leave us or forsake us....He truly does work all things together for our good...to make us more like His Son...to mold us into His image, refining us and ridding us of impurity. and that is most definitely something to be thankful for.

Monday, November 24, 2008

i'm exhausted....

...but my freezer is full! my friends chrisy and jill came over today, and we managed to feed our freezers. how exciting is that! well worth the time in planning, extra shopping and organizing, and majorly aching feet. i must admit that i "cheated" and did a couple extra meals this weekend as well, but my freezer is now home to...

-2 bags of chicken pot pie filling--i just need to pull it out, thaw it, and whip up a crust
-3 batches of chicken and wild rice soup (each batch is sure to feed us a couple times)
-4 sausage calzones
-3 batches of black bean and sausage soup for the crockpot (again, sure to feed us a couple of times per bag)
-2 pork tenderloins in honey mustard marinade
-2 pork tenderloins in savory marinade
-16 chimichangas
-1 batch of crockpot harvest stew (i froze half of the batch i made for sunday lunch after church)
-3 servings of parsley parmesan chicken

i hope to post the recipes on good stuff maynard before we head out for thanksgiving. AND i am going to put all the recipes and instructions into a file...so those who e-mailed last time asking...and, yes, i admit that i completely dropped the ball on responding...i will have the info if you are interested!

but for now...i'm checking out for the day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ten (plus) smile tuesday

in the past week it has turned downright frigid outside...but we are warm and toasty, snuggled up in our sweatshirts and hats...still smiling. and okay, we're not really wearing our hats inside...but they look so stinkin' cute i almost wish we were! :) as you read through these smiles, you might also think i skipped straight from halloween to Christmas...forgetting all about good ol' thanksgiving...but nope, i'm definitely looking forward to some turkey, sweet taters, and pumpkin pie...just getting a head start on the Christmas crafting. :) anyway...on with the smiles.

1. time with two delightful girls...and there babes. thursday morning i met with two other gals who are interested in meeting together to sharpen and encouraged one another as wives, moms, and women. i'm so excited about this intentional time...and the blessing of our first get together. and, of course, it was quite fun to have jill and brennan stick around for a bit afterwards...as you can see, the girls LOVE them!

2. my new autumn table decor...have i mentioned that i LOVE candles...they just make me feel at home and cozy. it really is the simple things in life...and elizabeth thinks it is incredibly special to have all the candles lit.

3. this incredible recipe for pumpkin spice lattes in your crockpot. personally i think it is better than the starbucks version...and MUCH less expensive...not to mention you can enjoy it without going through the hassle of buckling the kiddos in carseats and leaving the house! :) you really should check out "a year of crockpotting"...so far all the recipes i've tried are really tasty and easy...and how fun that today's post goes right along with my smile #2). now if only i could invite each of you over to indulge in one of these tasty treats with me...but no worries...i shared them with jill and chrisy when we met thursday morning!

4. its the little things in life...really. when some friends canceled at the last minute saturday night elizabeth was quite bummed out, so we turned our carry-out pizza into a pizza picnic. kate thought sitting at the little table rather than the highchair was fabulous fun, and elizabeth, well, she just plain thought the whole thing was great fun. amazingly enough kate sat there through the whole meal (and didn't want to leave the table even when the rest of us were finished!). bonus #2 was discovering a new pizza place nearby...with awesome prices and our favorite pizza and breadsticks by far. (and just in case you wondered...we ordered bacon and tomato pizza...and if you haven't tried that combo you really should....YUM!)

5. red velvet holiday cookies...found this recipe in a magazine (i posted the recipe on good stuff maynard...so click on the cookie name or here to check it out!). mike declared that these are his new favorite cookie...they were elizabeth and kate tested and approved as well. as for the Christmas-y sprinkles...what can i say...the choice was between orange pumpkin sprinkles or these...the Christmas sprinkles were a better match to the red cookies....

6. the arrival of my first swap package from sweet aminta...aren't these the cutest cards ever! :) the package came complete with tasty chocolates as well. i am also delighted to know that my swap packages are on their way (and a couple have already arrived)...this was such a fun little project...and i'm getting excited about the Christmas swap!

7. crafty goodness. i feel like my time to craft comes in bursts and spurts...and the past week has been full of crafting...including these fun and easy magnets. you just need clear rocks (i found these in the fake floral section at wal-mart), magazines or scrapbook paper, modge podge, and magnets (i used the disc ones found in the craft section at wal-mart). trace the rock on your paper (or small pic from a magazine...which is what this set was made from), cut it out, modge podge it, stick pic to rock. use hot glue gun to attach magnet to back...and voila! i'll be making LOTS of these puppies this season...in fact, i already have. this set went to shanna with her swap packet.

8. remember the socks from this post? here they are now...well, at least a few pairs. (clearly some are still waiting for mouths, and the big guy is missing eyes...but you get the idea). i have 12 more monkeys waiting to be sewn together...and i'm working on a few different hat and scarf ideas. some of them will most likely hit the shelves of my etsy shop...but most of this monkey making frenzy is due to my sister's phone call and news that she would be willing to include them in her booth at the big crafty (a craft bazaar in asheville, NC). bring on the monkeys! if any of you are interested in a monkey (i have Christmas-y and non-Christmas-y leave me a comment or e-mail me theyakmom AT yahoo.com) and i'll set one aside for you...i'll even give you a special discounted price. :)

9. perhaps my favorite crafty endeavor this past week...a muffin tin advent calendar. this was such fun to create, and i can't wait to fill it with holiday activities, traditions (new and old) and fun for the month of december.

10. family time. we were planning to head to the prayer service at church sunday night, but at the last minute my oh so wise husband realized that what was best for our family was perhaps some downtime together instead. and, while praying is definitely a fabulous thing, and i'm sure the service was a blessing...he was so right. we headed to red robin, enjoyed some togetherness and balloons...and oh my, kate was so into wanting a balloon...so cute!

11. this face...this is kate lunging for me as i tried to capture a smile...the face is priceless! :)

12. i wish i had video of this last smile...it is too precious. i'm going to try to get video tonight, because i simply know it is something i will cherish as long as i live. last night at bedtime elizabeth snuggled into my lap and chose her two books...one of which was "go dog go". she proceeded to read the entire book to me...only missing a few words here and there. i know it was from memory....not reading per se...but it just illustrated to me what a sponge she really is at this age (and reminded me that she really DOES remember even when she pretends not to). the cutest part was listening to the inflection of her voice as she read...showing excitement, pausing, and all of that...this little girl really has been listening when mommy and daddy read! she also amazed me by "reading" the Monkey's Miserable Monday book from M week (a couple weeks ago) to Kate yesterday afternoon. i was finishing up dinner and oh how it brought joy to my heart to hear her say, "here kate kate...i will read to you." even better...when i peeked around the corner kate was just sitting there...right next to elizabeth...listening and pointing to the pictures. melt my heart! :) hopefully i will have some "go dog go" video to post soon! :)

13. snapfish...took advantage of the free 8x11 photo book offer last week (the coupon ended friday...but if you have it be sure to make your book by the 23rd!)...i created a color book for the girls using pictures from around the house and writing little poems to go with the colors. it is more kate's speed...but elizabeth will love it simply because of the pictures from around the house (and of her and kate!)...and the fact that she helped find the items. i also just ordered our christmas cards today...i know, its early...and they definitely won't get sent out until much closer to Christmas...but snapfish had two great offers...your first 20 cards were just a penny a piece plus shipping (so $6.00ish) (with the code CARD08)...then i placed a second order for the rest of my cards, using the coupon code (SHIPALLFREE)--this code is good today only. (i did two orders since you can only use one code per order...it was cheaper this way).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Seven Prayers a Day...

I know many of you are already joining in on this...but if you haven't heard you really should go check it out...and while you are there, bring a box of tissues and meet Angie...God is so incredible, and she is most definitely being used by Him because of her willingness to shed the veneer and simply be real.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ten (er...thirteen) smile tuesday

can you believe another tuesday has rolled around already!? before we know it thanksgiving will be here...then Christmas...and then a whole new year! my oh my...time flies! after thursday's "emotional" post and then a friday of being completely wiped out by some stomach bug i'm glad to be feeling a bit more like myself today...even found the energy to get up and work out this morning. anyway...i think i could come up with ten smiles just from the past two days...so here we go, counting the many blessings of the past week in our little fam.

1. moonlight strolls...the kind including the whole fam...even mugho. its crazy how early its dark these days...but this was a nice chance to get out of the house before the really cold weather set in, and the huge moon fit well with "m" week! :) (it was only 6:30 in the evening when we went for this walk...but it felt like 9:30!) i love how kate leans over and helps walk mugho from the stroller...

2. loving words and encouragement. so many of you left such dear and genuine comments...you are such incredible women...who definitely bless my heart in so many ways. not only that, but God has been so gracious to bring phone calls, hugs, and those "how are you really doing?" questions just when my heart needs it the most...and that is on top of His Word that is always accessible for comforting and encouraging.

3. a thumb and a blankie. sweet kate...we've finally discovered the source of her recent bouts of clingyness and tears...four molars....all breaking through at once. our sweet girl has been extra attached to her blankie...even to the point of toddling to her room, fishing it through the slats of the crib and then dragging it along with her throughout the house. poppy...she'd be making your heart melt! :) i'm loving that of all the many blankies she has, she chose the one i made for her...makes a mommy's heart smile! :)

4. the sweet blessing of growing closer and closer with my big sister...we weren't always close, which makes it all the more precious to my heart. i'm so thankful we are friends and that we're able to call on one another for both the fun times and the emotional ones. i know i've mentioned her lots lately...but seriously, this has been such a precious blessing to my heart. love you me-shell! :)

5. some deals and steals. i headed out of kroger yesterday with all this loot for just $5....that includes 3 things of tylenol, 3 containers of huggies wipes, 2 packs of TP, 2 4 packs of activia yogurt, 6 cans of carnation evaporated milk, 3 canisters of oats, a box of vital wheat gluten, and some chips...a 96% savings over regular price!

6. my loving husband who let me simply rest and relax friday when the "icks" took me out. my husband who bears with my restlessness and does things like journey out for shopping and chick-fil-a on saturday evenings. my dear sweet husband...striving to grow as a husband and daddy...loving us, serving us, leading us, bringing us laughter and smiles...

7. this fun little spa basket that arrived yesterday...compliments of a giveaway over on nancy's blog.

8. spending the afternoon with my mom and grandma yesterday (or as the girls would say, grandmommy and GG). they stopped by before heading to the airport so GG can fly back to florida. we've been SO blessed to have her closeby this summer, and it is incredibly precious for me to have my girls spend time with her...creating memories...i will never forget oh so many special moments with my own GG. GG...we'll miss you while you are in florida...and look forward to lots more smiles together when you head back up to the north! :)

9. spontaneous cuteness. i love, love, love when my girls play together happily...even better, when they play happily together with me...the icing on the cake...photographic proof! :) elizabeth was sitting on my lap, telling me a story, and kate came over and climbed right up with us...we giggled, we tickled, we loved...and daddy grabbed the camera to snap a shot of his ladies!

10. the peppermint chocolate milkshake from chick-fil-a....YUM! i splurged and tried one of these saturday night...it. was. delightful.

11. these socks...just waiting to become Christmas mini-sock monkeys...i can't wait to whip one up and show you...and i'll be adding some to my etsy shop just as soon as i do that. and, i'm thinking they'll look adorable peeking out of the girls stockings (right next to the black apple dolls i plan to make them) on Christmas morning...the perfect compliment to our handmade Christmas for the girls attempt. (have i told you that my hubby dearest is planning to carve them gospel blocks and perhaps craft some cars and pull toys...i'm SO excited!).

12. wrapping up some leftover cinnamon rolls to stow away in the freezer for a sweet treat some morning. i made these for my Bible study brunch this morning, and it makes SO many...even after leaving some for the nursery workers i had enough to "savor" for later!

13. my girls. the source of so much joy and laughter...the mirror that has revealed so much of my own sin and "ick"...the sweet little blessings who can clutter a completely spotless room full of toys and books and "stuff" in ten seconds flat. elizabeth and kate, you keep me on my toes...to say the least. sometimes you even bring me to tears...but, girls, i LOVE you...aside from your daddy, you are the most incredible and precious gift God has ever decided to bestow upon me. i love you...sticky fingers, runny noses, ornery moments and all. i love your 'nuggles, your tickles, your kisses...your sweet words, your zest, your twinkling eyes and your compassionate hearts.

candid giggles with my matching girls...

{i love that elizabeth wanted kate to sit on her lap...this CRACKS me up...mostly because kate is quite nearly as big as elizabeth....as in just 3 pounds lighter and a few inches shorter...what i love just as much, kate sat there...yes, my movin' and shakin', busy, non-stop girl simply sat there...as if enthralled by the fact that her big sissy wanted to love on her...PRECIOUS!}

i could go on and on with smile...isn't our God just like that...on what feel to be some of my roughest and most down days and weeks, He is so faithful to shower His mercies upon me through the "little things". oh Lord, may i never lose sight of those "little things"...the ones that really matter...the ones that heap up and pile together and flood over the edges of my cup-o-blessings.

Monday, November 10, 2008

come join us...

i'm in the midst of finishing up some swap presents the tidbits swap over at domestic bliss...and oh my, what fun it has been. i can hardly wait to pop my projects in the mail in the next couple of days. just wanted to pass along that a new Christmas swap...A Happy Handmade Christmas...has started. stop by to sign up!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

in the interest of being real...

about a month back...actually, in the midst of my bed-rest...my pastor preached a sermon cautioning against what he called "veneer Christianity"...you know, the kind that never digs below the surface to share hurts or struggles....the kind that is always "fine". he challenged us to do life in community, sharing struggles and hurts, encouraging one another to walk more closely with Christ. the sermon was so encouraging, as honestly, i've never been one to "hide" hurt or struggles...i suppose you could say i wear my emotions on my sleeve (and i admit, this isn't always a fabulous thing either...there is definitely balance). but i've struggled so much in the past year or two with the reality that even some of my closer friends seemed to be living lives that were always "great!"...never sharing hurts or struggles...seeming to have it all together. i found myself feeling so discouraged, as if i was the only one battling with my sinful flesh, having rough days, not feeling happy and fine all the time....i found myself wondering if i simply needed to put on the "veneer"...not try to delve into deeper levels...and then came the miscarriage...and friends, God brought me to a new level of vulnerability...a new place of emotions and "realness"....with Him foremost...and also with the people around me.

for a month i've shared blog entries with smiles and our week-to-week happenings. to be honest, i was shocked at how quickly the "emotionalness" of the miscarriage seemed to pass by...how "good" i was truly feeling. had you asked a week ago, i'd have said, "really...we're doing well...getting back into the swing of things, trusting God for what He has next for our family, etc, etc.". and yet, here i am today...with my heart so burdened to be real with you....my heart hurting...grieving afresh. i find tears spilling over at what seem to be the most random moments.

i must be honest...the past week caught me completely by surprise (even though so many had warned me the sadness would most likely endure). i find myself completely composed one minute and then a mess of tears and emotion the next. i find myself completely exhausted...even by the routine "stuff" of life. i find myself rejoicing with the oh-so-many (i mean seriously...LOTS) people in my life who have told me in the past week or so that they are prenant and due right around the time our baby would have been due. i find myself torn between rejoicing in the reality that this baby never knew the pains of this world, that right now he or she is safely in the arms of Jesus and the reality that it hurts so deeply to know there will be no holding him in our arms this side of heaven. i find myself realizing just how much planning and dreaming can happen in just a moment...how much you can love a baby from the first knowledge God is forming him together in your womb. i find myself thinking of how i would have been just reaching the end of the first trimester...breathing a sigh of relief that we were past the "danger" zone. i find myself frustrated and confused by my own body.

and yet...still, i find that God's amazing grace is carrying me. isn't He perfect and good and loving to bring healing tears. i find that even as my heart grieves friendships that seem to have drifted apart, He has been so abundantly gracious to bring incredible, compassionate, genuine, loving friends into my life...women who have been able to share in my tears, encourage my heart, and share their own "messiness" and struggles--friends in both the "real" world and here in blog-land. i find my heart wrestling with truth and coming to a point of simply resting in His goodness...in the promise that He is faithful and works all things to good...that He is using this hurt and pain to conform me more to the likeness of His Son. in the midst of the sadness He has blessed me with the love of an incredible husband and the beauty of my sweet girls.

and so here i am. grieving...resting in Him...grieving...hoping in Him...grieving...trusting in Him. it isn't always pretty...but i am trusting that He will make beauty from these ashes...as isaiah 61:3 says, ""To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ten smile tuesday

***before you read my smiles...go here...okay now go visit her etsy store. for those who aren't already blessed to know aminta, you simply MUST grab a mug of something warm and tasty and head over for a visit. you will be blessed by her sweet spirit...her love for her family and her Lord...you will be inspired and encouraged. and perhaps you will even win her delightful little giveaway! :)***

1. the right to vote...seriously, what an incredible blessing to have a voice. i most definitely exercised this right...bright and early this morning...after standing in line for 45 minutes (fortunately i was all by my lonely while mike stayed home with the sleeping girlies...). apparently waiting 45 minutes was nothing compared to the waits i'm hearing others had...apparently everyone is ready to voice their opinion this time around.

2. lions and ladybugs...i think this was elizabeth's favorite craft last week (probably because she got to use scissors to clip the lion's mane...i tell ya, this girlie LOVES scissors).

3. some quality crafting time this weekend...brianstorming and sewing for the scrappy swap.

4. my little gator and cow...what fun we had trick-or-treating for a bit on friday. elizabeth was quite the charming cow...marching up to the door, a polite "trick or treat", taking time to check out every kind of treat in the bowl, a hearty "thank you", and then as we strolled down the drive she would repeatedly say, "mama...lets go to the next house too!" she was also quite concerned that kate get a treat too...

pictures from halloween--kate would NOT sit still to get one of both girls together...and yes, her mouth is STUFFED with cheez-its in 3rd pic...but i still loved the gator view.

these are repeat pics of our time at zoo boo the other week.

5. that sweet blessed extra hour of sleep saturday night...although i'm telling you, i forget how early it gets dark once the time changes!

6. garden prep...saturday mike pulled up the garden claw and started tilling up the garden...and we are for real (really real this time) going to actually plant something in it (novel idea...) this spring. elizabeth was quite the helper...and as for kate...well, she supervised!

7. this goes with #6...but simply being outside. we've been loving the gorgeous temps and sunshine...swinging, sliding, playing ball...strolling, wagonning...and on and on!

8. pumpkin muffins...YUM...elizabeth help me "m"ix up some "m"uffins for one of our M week activities yesterday. we even made enough to freeze some for later. tasty and fun! :)

9. coffee and catching up with my sweet friend lora...the friend who got married a couple weeks ago. how fun to simply chat and be together...and hello, how fun that she is married now...and chatting with her brought to mind my own newlywed days...honeymoon....etc....which brings me to smile #10!

10. my husband. lately we've just had some fabulous conversations...and friends, he is so kind and loving...he listens when i cry (also providing a shoulder and some tissues). he does laundry just because. he loves on our girls and plays with them in such a special way. he's funny. he is strong. he loves Jesus. he leads us. he provides for us. he doesn't complain or place unrealistic expectations out there. he is my best friend. and in the spirit of remembering back to our first weeks as a married couple...here are some snaps of our honeymoon...to wyoming...four and a half years ago.