About Me

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I am a Christian. I am a loving wife to my Army-National-Guard-Recruiter-Husband of 15 years. I am a stay-at-home-mother to our four handsome sons. I am a photographer. My blog is about as erratic, eclectic and random as I am, painted with rainbows of photos and words that are hills and valleys you travel; so lovely sometimes that they hurt you. These are the stories of how far we've come in the last 15 years as Christians, as a family and as individuals.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Swim {2011}

This Memorial Monday Lauren invited us to come swimming (if the weather permits) - seriously, yesterday it was COLD & WINDY - miraculously, today there's not a cloud in the sky!
We had such a great time! 

Lauren & Ryan
Let me just say, that water was c-c-c-c-cOld!!!  But Ryan didn't seem the least bit phased, he just sat there chillin'.
 Now, I don't know if it runs in the family genes, is a mother thing, or is learned behavior but this is how I saw Lauren (and she likely saw me) nearly the entire day!  -Gotta capture these moments, right!
Tristen had a blast tickling Ryan's toes under the water!
He's a natural!  Started kicking his feet and everything!
I just love this natural smile of Lauren's - she's such a proud momma!
 He can touch the bottom (flat footed) in the 5' center of the pool!!
 Blowing bubbles in the pool water to make Ryan laugh.
Seth & Ryan
 Seth, caught off guard - he wasn't wanting his picture taken today for some reason.
 Seth would go under the water and look up at Ryan then pop up and splash him!  It was so cute to watch my boys interact with a baby again!

 Ryan would try to pull Seth's goggles off.
Garrett pretty much stayed to himself, just enjoying the water (cold/hot) going from the pool to the jacuzzi and back all day.
 I'm just loving these Summer freckles!
 Hayden was getting used to his water wings again.
 He's got adorable Summer freckles too... see?
 A couple of years ago Garrett got this beach towel for his birthday, it's really cool because the towel is a checkers game board.  Here he & Hayden played checkers (taking a break from the water).
 Ryan had a little snack and passed out cold!  (nice timing, Lauren was just leaving to get a pizza!)
 He said, "PIZZA?!! I want some!
 As soon as his momma walked in...
 ...with this!
 Awesome!  Pizza at the pool!

And that's how we spent Memorial Day 2011 - how about you?

Moonglass {Jessi Kirby}

Jessi Kirby - Moonglass
Offered for review by Simon & Schuster
Available now through June 29,2011 (for free online review)

When Anna was little, she and her mother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, they called it moonglass. Now, ten years after her mother's mysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beach where her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love.
Reluctant to get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having to start at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the length of the beach and wondering about who her mother really was. After meeting a lifeguard named Tyler, she slowly lets her guard down and together they start exploring the abandoned houses that dot the beach.
But when learning more about her mother's past leads to a painful discovery, Anna must reconcile her desire for solitude with ultimately accepting the love of her family and friends.

{My Review}
I sometimes forgot I was reading a debut novel.  This book is so well written with a strong, mysterious story line, touched by fantasy, full of raw emotion and had just enough romance.  I felt I was in a Nicholas Sparks novel at times (and that's really saying something)!!  Kirby's shared knowledge and descriptions of the locations and activities that are the heart of this novel as well as the ones that outline it was so in depth and detailed but somehow managed to not go overboard.  I truly believe Kirby is well on her way to a very lucrative career as a novelist.  I, for one, cannot wait to read another of her stories -- remember that name, Jessi Kirby.
-five stars-

Monday, May 30, 2011

Melt-Down Monday {3 of 7}

I thought we'd jazz it up this week with a bit more than just the numbers and statistics...
Whoa! I was so looking forward to this week being a tough one for me, knowing mother nature would be paying me a visit and all (TMI? It's natural, deal! ; } I had to) however, it was the opposite!  Instead of feeling bloated, fatigued and weighed down, I felt contracted, energetic and up lifted!  You may be asking yourself "why?" - - let me tell you!  I had my Wii (for the first time ever) tell me I was "overweight"!!!  I know, I know, it doesn't seem like something that would lift one's spirits... unless all these years I've been hearing it tell me I'm "obese" - - that's right folks - - I've crossed that threadshold!!  Such an exciting week for me! 

More on that story: Do you see the notches on this belt? How worn out and frayed? Notice the hole the buckle is currently in has been added so the belt would still fit?
Well, that is my belt, the one I've worn for years.  You can tell it has been with me through the ups and downs. (This is one of my new favorite views!)
 Well, I think it's finally time to say goodbye, old pal, for now you are too big for me!
So here we are on Day  17 and I keep waiting to be hungry on this diet... it STILL hasn't happened!  I have energy to burn and feel great! 
-ok, must insert funny story here-
This past week I was at the salon getting my hair colored and as they tend to do, my stylist began cahtting and trying to draw me ito a conversation.  It worked, we got to talking about dieting and I told her about the HCG diet that I'm on and of course, she proceeded to tell me how "unhealthy" it is.  I asked her if she'd ever read up on it and of course, she hadn't -rabit trail- anyways, she starts telling me some funny stories of clients & their diets and things she's heard over the years and the funniest thing was that she had some people come in and actually ask for fat free hair products!  FAT FREE!!  She had me rolling with laughter!!
-so, back to my week-
This week I did, however, hit a couple of rough spots where I had a gain and then loss and then gain and we (Amanda & I) finally figured out what was causing that -would you believe the ultrasound gel from physical therapy?! Aparently it's not fat free!  Bwahahaha!!! 
Anyhow, I'm looking forward to another great week and more weight loss!
Now for the numbers:
I, Amanda, am down another 5.2 pounds this week making that an over all weight loss of 37.2 pounds -- 12.3 just from this course of HCG!  

And Diane is down 2.7 pounds making that a total of 66.5 pounds lost -- 11.5 just from this course!! 

(whoa - together that's 103.7 pounds!  That's sobering.)

It's so wonderful to be able to get healthy for one's self and the ones we love with one that we love!

~ we just can't tell you all how much it means to us to have your support and encouragement, thanks very much ~

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stay {Deb Caletti}

Deb Caletti - Stay
Offered for review by Simon & Schuster
Available now through June 29,2011 (for free online review)

Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is--and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

{My Review}
What a strangely beautiful story.  The poetically smooth flow of Caletti's words are hypnotic. I knew from the third page that I would be in love with this book.  It was my first Caletti novel and I do believe I will be reading more of her works in the future. 
There was a certain ebb and flow as the chapters alternate between past and present until finally merging into real time to complete the experience of Clara Oates.  A girl on the verge of womanhood, enters into an obsessive relationship but realizes only too late.  The guilt, the pain she lives with tears at her.  Being raised almost solely by her father, she reveals to him her secrets. With his guidance she is finally able to face her fears and find forgiveness, possibly even learn to love again.  This book was full of quote-able (a word, no?) lines.  The one that fits the overall story best (I think) is,
"You could care enough to keep a secret, but you could care enough to tell one too."
 Five stars for Stay.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Another graduation! {Seth}

What can I say that I haven't already said?  This time I was able to be at Seth's Tae Kwan Do graduation but Brad wasn't.  He was very excited because it's so close to the end of the school year and he thought he wasn't going to get chosen to attend the trail classes the school has been supporting... but he did!
Again, since only one parent was there (and she was taking pictures) Seth chose his brother, Garrett to hold the board for him to break.  -now it's gone full circle!
Garrett seemed pretty sure of himself, not scared or nervous that Seth might miss and hit him in the face! (I guess that confidence comes from him having done this before)
Seth went for the blow when Instructor Rhee gave the go-ahead and Garrett tensed for the action.
He did it!  They hugged it out.
Instructor Rhee noticed and came over to tell them how cool it was that they had each other as friends as well as brothers.  I've noticed them growing closer at home too.  It makes my heart smile.
So Seth broke the board and earned his new belt & certificate (which is already framed and hanging in his room)
I really want to find money in our budget to keep these boys in Tae Kwan Do for the Summer if not longer.  I believe it has been a significant factor in them building better self-esteem and learning to show respect for their parents, teachers and others as well as themselves and each other too!