Be My Transformer Valentine


It’s almost Valentine’s Day!  I don’t have plans with my Valentine yet, but my son has been hard at work on his Valentine’s box for school.  All of a sudden, his ninja turtle and superhero obsession has morphed into a love of all things Transformers.

Being fairly lazy when it comes to preschool art projects, when I got this red and white patterned box in the mail a few weeks ago, I was really excited.  I mean, the decorating is practically done for me!  My son confirmed that he wanted a Transformers box, I printed out some coloring sheets and let him go to town.  I did the cutting and taping, but I love that it still looks like an almost-5-year-old had a hand in the decorating of his own Valentines box.



Do you remember making Valentines boxes as a kid?  What was your favorite one (or a favorite one you’ve helped someone else make?)

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Sam at 18 months


It’s been too long since we’ve had an update from the #magicalunicornbaby.  At 18 months, Sam…

…has a new nickname.  #troublebaby  We use “trouble” as a verb in our house now.  “What’s Sam doing?”  “Troubling in the living room.”


…is into EVERYTHING.  Loves to unload all the sippy cups onto the kitchen floor.  Obsessed with the Ninja blender.  (Amazingly he’s only gotten one minor cut.  I am much more vigilant about keeping that cabinet locked now!)  He will literally run if he sees our bathroom door open, so he can rummage through the drawer, steal our toothbrushes, and chew on them.


…says Mama and Dada, and attempts to say dog, brother, up, uh-oh, peekaboo (Boo!), and bark-bark.  Not super-verbal for his age, but ahead of where his older brother was, so I feel pretty good about it.


…will eat everything in sight, and gets mad if anyone is eating something and not giving him a bite.  (I am enjoying this for as long as it lasts, I know the picky eating phase will probably kick in any day.)


…loves to push buttons, especially on my phone if he can get a hold of it.  Siri’s reaction to the mumblings of a pre-verbal toddler are pretty amusing.

Overall I’m really enjoying this age.  Sam has his moments of frustration where he wants something but can’t communicate it to us, and we have to stay on our toes or he’ll get into something he shouldn’t but overall he is a pretty fun, easy-going guy to have around.  Maybe it’s a second child thing, but he is amazingly adaptable on days when we have to push his nap way back because we’re busy in the afternoon.  He still usually wakes up once a night, but he settles back down pretty quickly.

What’s your favorite thing about the stage of life you or your kids are in right now?

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An open house, a parade, a case of the 4-year-old gimmes

What a crazy weekend!  We hosted a holiday open house for church members at the parsonage (we had some surprising guests — see if you can spot them in the photos), went to the local Christmas parade, played outside since it was over 50 degrees — rare in December!, went to church, drove to Springfield for a friend’s holiday party, attempted to buy Christmas ornaments for the kids, and had one last choir practice before the Christmas Cantata next weekend.









I didn’t take any photos at our ill-fated trip to the Hallmark store, but it just so perfectly illustrates my 4-year-old’s state of mind about gifts these days that I have to document it.  Last year, we went to a small Hallmark store near our house, and my son rather uneventfully decided he wanted a Batman ornament, we got it, end of story.  I thought, hey, if a 3 year old can do it without a meltdown, it should be a snap this year.  We talked about it in advance, and he decided on a Spiderman ornament this year.  Well… apparently Spidey is a popular guy.  It was sold out.  There were lots of other superheroes, but he wasn’t interested.  He started looking around…

  • Look at all the cars! (No we’re not getting an ornament of the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard) I definitely had to find more info on them
  • A fire truck, a fire truck!  I want to play with it in the car.  (Okay… but the fire truck doesn’t come out of the fire station. It’s just an ornament, not a little toy.)
  • This one plays music!
  • Lights!
  • I want this one!  (Umm… that’s a Hanukkuh reindeer.  ????)

This is exactly how it goes anytime we’re in the vicinity of a toy aisle.  He fixates on a particular toy, I tell him we’re not buying toys today, then it becomes this generalized “gimme gimme gimme” about everything in sight.  A few weeks ago I was buying toys for a local charity and there may have been a meltdown because I wasn’t buying coloring books and glitter crayons for HIM!  (The child who hates to color.)  Clearly, I am the meanest mom ever, right?

Somehow I managed to get us out of the ornament store without too many tears.  And now… I stalk eBay for Spiderman ornaments, like a good mom.

How was your weekend?  

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Preschool Journal: Babies, sharks, and crayons on the beach

More entries from the unusual mind of a 4 year old boy (also known as my son’s preschool journal — titles transcribed by the teacher).  Can you tell he has a baby brother at home?

A super funny baby that doesn't even have a mouth.

A super funny baby that doesn’t even have a mouth.


A big baby. And it's an unhappy baby.

A big baby. And it’s an unhappy baby.


A big fat baby with super long hair.

A big fat baby with super long hair.


I was trying to draw a shark.

I was trying to draw a shark.


Crayons are flooding into the ocean. Kids are playing with them at the beach.

Crayons are flooding into the ocean. Kids are playing with them at the beach.

There you have it — proof that my son can draw something other than really squirmy snakes.  He may not be an artist, but I love the creativity behind it.

Do you miss art class, say good riddance to it, or do you still get your crafty on?

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Preschool Journal: Snakes

At parent-teacher conferences recently, we learned that each of the students at my son’s preschool spends some time each day working on their “journal.” They do a drawing and the teacher writes down whatever the student says about it.

By far the most prevalent subject in my son’s journal was snakes. I’d just like to point out that I don’t think he’s ever seen a snake in real life, except from behind glass, so I guess that free magazine from the Missouri Department of Conservation really made an impression on him.







They're squirmy snakes.

They’re squirmy snakes.


A really big snake.

A really big snake.


A snake barn.

A snake barn.


Snakes squirming around a farmer.

Snakes squirming around a farmer.


Snakes are squirming all over the leaves.

Snakes are squirming all over the leaves.

Stay tuned for more exciting entries from the Preschool Journal.  What do you think — Is he obsessed with snakes or does he just like to scribble?

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Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing

MW Sarah

My interview about Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing is up today at Emily C. Gardner’s lovely blog, Primitive Roads.  I loved thinking through the answers to Emily’s questions, so check out the post if you’d like to read more!  And now I’ll ask you some of the same questions:

How has your current season of life impacted your writing? What is your writing battle cry?

See you at Emily’s!

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Where I’m From


I am from chalk drawings on the driveway, from She-Ra masks and picking up pinecones for pennies.

I am from rolling fields of corn and soybeans, from a quiet neighborhood in a small town there the high school mascot is painted on the water tower.

I am from the dogwoods in the forest and the honeysuckle hedges around our backyard.

I am from Sunday roasts at Grandma’s house and family tailgates at Tiger football games; from Cowherd, Eden, Skelton, and Stever.

I am from the smart, reserved, and — yeah — the bossy.  From We aren’t quitters and I’m proud of you.

I am from feltboard Sunday School lessons and youth group mission trips.  From Praise God from whom all blessings flow and meeting Jesus at a camp in the Colorado Rockies.

I’m from the green hills and black dirt of northern Missouri, but with Ozarks roots.  I am from parmesan chicken, twice-baked potatoes, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

I am from the smell of old books and fresh copy paper in my dad’s law office, and “lugging the logo” of Apple computer when it still had rainbow stripes.

I am from running races at family reunions, playing basketball after Thanksgiving dinner, and avoiding cow pies on walks across my grandparents’ farmland.

I’m from tall navy blue silos and painted ranch gates, lettered with my family names.

I am from photos proudly displayed on the piano, from quilts stitched with care, from stories recounted around the dinner table, and wisdom passed down from my parents’ parents.

Where are you from?




I was inspired to write this post by Alison at Writing, Wishing.  It’s a writing exercise based on a poem by George Ella Lyon.


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My first experience with youth soccer


We signed my four-year-old son up for soccer this fall.  The season consists of 4 practices and 4 games.  (In case you’re keeping track at home, that’s 8 snack opportunities.)  I didn’t play soccer growing up and I don’t know much about the game other than you score by kicking the ball in the goal, and you’re not supposed to touch the ball with your hands.

With my extensive background knowledge established… Here are some of my random thoughts from the first preschool soccer game I’ve ever watched:

There are three types of preschool soccer players:

  • The enthusiasts, who run after the ball and try to kick it further in the direction that it’s already going, no matter which team’s goal they’re headed towards.
  • The clumsies, who get the basic idea of what they’re supposed to be doing but are constantly tripping over the ball, another player, or their own feet.
  • The clover pickers, totally oblivious that a soccer game is going on around them.

Is there always one kid that looks like he could be a professional soccer player?  Seriously – I think that little dude is more coordinated than I am.

Are cookies and juice boxes really necessary after a 20 minute game?  Or after wandering around the field haphazardly for a 30 minute practice? (I’m totally that mom who is bringing apples, cheese sticks, and water bottles from to the game this week.  Although I may have to redeem myself with hot chocolate if its going to be as cold as predicted.)

It is really awesome to see all the preschool dads try to help coach these kids.

Apparently I am a sidelines yeller.  But I promise that I am encouraging, not mean!  And I’m mostly concerned with making sure that our team is kicking the ball towards the correct goal!

You spend a kid’s whole life teaching him to share and not take other people’s toys, then all of a sudden it’s okay — encouraged even! — in sports.  My son was SHOCKED when I told him it was okay to steal the ball!

Any tips on teaching soccer to a four-year-old?  Am I a meanie for not bringing cookies and juice for snacks?  Please tell me I’m not the only one who gives their kid lots of “vocal encouragement” during their games!


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Sam at One Year


At one year, Sam…

…Is finally crawling! No more lazybaby, now it’s time for the Sam show! He is hilarious — he loves to play fetch with little plastic bath toys, tossing them across the room then crawling to get them, repeat, repeat, repeat. Also, dumping out the dog’s water dish is super fun.

…Has 6 teeth (4 upper, 2 lower) and is still rockin’ an awesome underbite.

…Is very outgoing and silly.  He will exchange zerberts with you for 10 minutes straight.

…Is starting to be a little pickier about who he will let hold him.  Mom, Dad, Grandma and his normal babysitter are still ok.  Everyone else?  He’s not so sure.

…Had a fun birthday weekend with his cousins!  Ready for some pictures?

Playing in the creek

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Opening presents

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Eating cake   

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What more does a birthday boy need?!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.  See you next week!

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Party planning

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

So… my baby’s turning ONE next weekend. How in the heck did that happen? While I’m over here pondering the existential nature of time and my place in the universe, do you guys mind planning a birthday party for me? I seriously lack the party planning gene.  We’ve got both sets of grandparents coming in as well as 1-3 aunts/uncles and 2-5 cousins (all 7 and under).  Here’s what I think I need:

  • Cake (big brother says Sam wants a blueberry cake)
  • Decorations (I have a leftover “Happy birthday” banner from J’s party, some paper lanterns, and a fabric scrap garland — that’s festive, right?)
  • Lunch (preferably something easy to make for a crowd)
  • Birthday activity – I’m thinking I may just gather up all our outdoor toys and let the bigger kids loose outdoors… or maybe go to the pool?
  • Something else?  What am I forgetting?  (oh yeah… we’re also baptizing Sam this weekend.  He probably needs something to wear other than his standard Carter’s romper.  Argh.)

Have you hosted a party recently where you fed a crowd some delicious food?  Do you make a killer blueberry cake?  Hit me up with recipes, party planning ideas, etc.  (I refuse to look at Pinterest at this point — it will give me a panic attack.)

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