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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Be Silly

This weekend was really just too much fun. We dressed up for Flanna's school Halloween party on Saturday, and then today, we dressed up again for the neighborhood party and trick or treating. Flannery went as Ariel. My husband was King Triton (Ariel's dad), and I went as Ursula the Sea Witch.

We had such fun being silly in our costumes, and it made us all really happy to be silly together. I'm hoping this will be a tradition we carry on for many years.

How can you be silly or light hearted more often with your family?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reflect on Happy Memories

I love looking back at photos from years ago. There's something about a photo that just takes me back to that feeling I had in the moment. Thank goodness no one saved photos of me all melancholy as a teenager--I'd hate to relive those days! But reflecting on happy times really brings me joy.

My daughter loves to look back at her "baby book," too, and often asks me to "read" it at night as one of her books before bed. She loves the part where the doctor proclaims that's she's a strong baby because of her good strong cry when she was born.

I was looking back at our Halloween photos from the time Flannery was very small, and I just had to share some of the them. It has been such a blessing to get to share fun times with my family.

What photo brings you a happiness boost every time you see it?

One More Reason to Love My Sister: She Makes Me Happier

I already knew it was true that talking to my sister makes me happier, but now there's a bit of research to back me up in my claim. Check out this neat article.

And this cool photo is my grandma Norma (on the left) with her sister Mabel. Too sweet!

How often do you get to chat with your sister? Call her a little more often for a happiness boost!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anticipate Fun

Since anticipating fun is almost as much fun as actually having fun experiences for me, I've been trying to think up small things to do each week leading up to our weekend of Halloween festivities. Today, we made some yummy Halloween Pudding Cones. Here's what you need:

1. 1 box instant pudding
2. 2 cups cold milk
3. fall colored sprinkles
4. a few ice cream cones that will stand up (not sugar cones)

First, make your instant pudding by adding the 2 cups cold milk, stirring or mixing with a mixer, and letting it set for about 5 minutes. Then, once it's set, scoop some pudding into each cone, and sprinkle with your holiday sprinkles. Voila!

You could vary the sprinkle colors and use this idea for pretty much any holiday. We love to make "holiday" pudding for practically every holiday (green sprinkles for St. Patrick's Day, Red Sprinkles for Valentines, etc.), because it's just so darn easy and yummy.

Flannery really enjoyed adding the ice cream cone idea this time, and, boy, you should've seen the sprinkly mess we made in the kitchen! But it was worth it, and it brought me a big happiness boost to do this little project together with her.

What food do you love most at this time of the year?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Funny Flanna Quotes

Today, as we came back from jumping in all the puddles and walked up to our yard, covered in tiny beautiful maple leaves:
"Wow, look at all these beee-eautiful leaves!" (Check out the leaves on our front steps looking down to our sidewalk....gorgeous after the rain!)

Walking up to her teacher at recess outside on the playground, "Miss Sandy, I'm so frustrated! I just can't get any of the boys to marry me!" (To which Miss Sandy says, "Me, neither, honey!")

When I asked her what she wanted to be when she got older, "I don't want a job. I don't want to work. I just want to live here and watch your dogs while you and daddy are at work."

Looking at the angel figurine hanging in her room, "Mom, what's the difference of angels and fairies and fairy godmothers?"

Have you heard any quotes you want to remember this week?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Magical Moments

I just realized that I haven't posted about Flannery's flower girl experience! I've been meaning to, but our focus so quickly turned toward camping after we got back from the wedding that I forgot!

So...where should I begin?

I think I'll just describe a few moments that epitomize the perfection of the day. (It really was a perfect day!)

When Flannery and I stopped in the bride's parlor to let the bride know we were there, Leslie was already in her veil. Flannery's eyes widened. Her little fingers just had to touch the pearls that edged the bottom of the veil. As Leslie bent down to say hello, Flannery looked at her as if she were some magical creature, and delicately slid her fingers over one of the pearls on her veil. I didn't get a picture. But that was just a moment to remember!

After the wedding, during the photography session, the two flower girls and the ring bearer scooped all the flower petals they had previously scattered down the aisle back up into their baskets and proceeded to scatter them fifteen or twenty more times just for fun.

During the bride & groom's first dance at the reception, Flannery stared at the two of them dancing and danced and twirled at the edge of the dance floor as if it were her out there. Her dad, who had to stand in his designated spot as a groomsman during the dance, said that in that moment, seeing her dancing so sweetly brought tears to his eyes and he had to look away to compose himself.

What an honor to get to be a part of such a special day. I tried to be in the moment several times--not to just let myself get caught up in being the busy mom of a 3 year old, but to really participate in the sacrament of the wedding. And I really think that made me enjoy the wedding at a deeper level.

We pray that God will grant Leslie and Christopher many, many years of love and happiness together!

What moment of your day was magical today? Did you let yourself slow down and take it in?

Fall Fun with Friends

On Friday, we were so lucky to run into our friend Lucy and her mom at our neighborhood park. Flannery got to play for several hours with little neighborhood kiddos, and it was such a treat!

Then, Saturday, we had a picnic and played at the park with another of Flannery's favorite friends, Nythia. The weather was perfect, and we had a great time playing freeze tag, kick ball, and just running around. I just love fall! And enjoying the wonderful fall days with friends makes them all the more special.

How are you enjoying the joys of fall so far this season?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Share and Create Family Traditions

It really makes me happy to participate in little family traditions, and to pass them down to Flannery.

Today, Flanna and I carved our little pumpkin. Last year, she was too grossed out by the pumpkin smell to help me scoop out the seeds, but this year, she was much more brave. She used her bare hands to get the seeds and flesh out of the pumpkin. She did make a face at the "ickiness" of it, but I was proud of her for being willing to get yucky!

She drew the face onto the pumpkin, and then I cut it out. At first, I thought she had given the pumpkin four eyes, but then she explained that she had given our jack-o-lantern "cheeks." It really turned out cute! And I loved how creative she was with the scary mouth she drew!

We even roasted the seeds from the pumpkin in the oven. Last year, I remember they turned out chewy, so I roasted them longer this year, and this time, they turned out too crispy. Oh, well, maybe next year will be perfect. We ate them anyway!

We had painted masks in the morning, so Flanna wanted to wear her colorful stegasaurus mask for the picture. My little artist!

What family traditions do you want to pass down to future generations?

Halloween Phonics Fun

This week, in my speech class, I made some "Bat Books." First, we cut out the bat from construction paper. Next, we glued the "at" on one wing. And just in front of the "at" block, I stapled about 12 rectangles of construction paper to make a little flip book. The kiddos enjoyed making their own "-at" family words. And because the books were cute, they were motivated to sound out the words to me several times over and over, and to their teachers several times, as well.

I also had them write the real words they created on the other wing of the bat in pencil. You probably can't see it here, but the kids were able to create lots of -at words like, "mat, hat, fat, cat, pat, etc."

Flip books are a fun way to work on word family patterns, and I'm using these not only with my speech kiddos, but also with Flannery at home.

What fun halloween decorations do you display at your house?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Anticipate Fun

One thing I've found that really makes me happy is just the anticipation of a fun event. I think that anticipating fun brings a great deal of happiness, which is why engagements and pregnancies are such wonderful times in peoples' lives. Anticipating fun is, well, fun!

Which is why I think I so enjoy decorating for Halloween. The preparation and planning I do for Halloween makes the whole month of October a fun time.

Last year, we painted little pumpkins, painted a witch ornament to hang from a shelf, hung pretend spider webs up on the porch, made homemade spiders to put in the web, and carved a jack-o-lantern.

This year, so far, we've bought a pumpkin.

Hmmm...I think I'm a little bit behind in starting my "anticipation" of the fun!

What fun memory do you have from Halloween or Fall Festivals when you were a kid? And what fun time are you anticipating right now?

By the way, this pic is Flanna dressed as a cat on her second Halloween! Oh my goodness, isn't that adorable? I remember she kept meowing the whole night, and really stayed in character! And the week afterward, she kept asking for more whiskers painted on her face. So sweet!

Experience Nature

We had a wonderful camping trip last weekend. It was so relaxing and rejuvenating to be outdoors all weekend. We hiked to see 4 different waterfalls, which was a little way for me to share a family tradition with Flannery. Growing up, my family used to enjoy going on "waterfall hunts" in the North Georgia Mountains each fall when we were traveling for clogging conventions.

(This is the part where you say, "What? You were a clogger?" and picture me all dolled up with a crinoline, an apron, and a cowboy hat dancing on a mountain stage in a small town fair. And this is also the part where I change the subject quickly and hope my mom has burned any pictures of my skinny preteen knobby-kneed legs kicking up a "turkey step" beneath a purple gingham fluffy skirt.)

Annnyway. Back to the waterfalls.

They were beautiful. And kind of magical.

And despite the fact that I felt kind of sick the whole weekend (with a cough and cold kind of thing), and that the weather got pretty darn freezing on the first night, and that Flannery wanted to sleep with me, but didn't want covers (meanwhile, her sick mama's teeth were chattering!) all night, the camping trip was really marvelous. I wish we could spend more days outside in nature all day long. It's just so rejuvenating.

What activity rejuvenates you?