by the numbers

If you could get inside my brain right now [I'm thinking "Magic School Bus" style] you would be amazed at the amount of "stuff" I want to/need to write about. You would be pummeled by bits and pieces of thoughts and worries, concerns and praised. You would attacked by fodder of stories I want to get written, of pictures I am thinking about posting, and of cute anecdotes about raising my baby girl the past four months [anecdote: any students of mine reading this and remembering how I taught you to remember what an anecdote is?].

So for now, since I'm pretty sure Mrs. Frizzle and "The Magic School Bus" have long retired, here is what I'll give you:

FIVE trips: Since May my little family of three has spent a significant amount of time in the car. I have learned why my mom said she may as well have painted a smiley face on her rear end when Kali and I were little because that is what is always in the window for everyone to see. :) Blythe has done awesome. Brent has done awesome. And I like to think that even I have done awesome.

Trip one was to Columbia to accompany Brent on a business trip for a week. One week in a hotel with a two  month old. Aye yie yie. However, it was fun and we celebrated our FOUR year anniversary while there.

 Trip two was to Iowa to marry off one of my college roomies. It's always fun to go back and reminisce with people…and to see Deb in a dress. ;).

Trip three was THE trip in which we went to Nashville and Kentucky. We laughed and cried [sometimes at the same time] with wonderful people whom we wish we could have stuck in our pockets when we left. We also married off Justin and Heather [Brent and Justin were interns at Southeast together], and they were beautifully happy.

And then trip four this past weekend back to OC to marry off another set of college friends. My mom traveled with us this time and she and Aunt Linda babysat Blythe so Brent and I had a wonderful baby-free evening with some of my very favorite people. A midnight tour of NWC campus was definitely a highlight. And now we we are back home and I have a million pictures I want to share but may never get around to, so this blurb may be all you get.

 Brent took another trip in the midst of these without us with 43 high school students from our church. He went to south Missouri for "adventure camp." He canoed, rock climbed, cliff jumped into a river….and shared a nasty 24 hour flu bug with about 15 others while on the trip. Ugh. Blythe and I were happy…and hand sanitizing like crazy…when he returned.

FOUR months: Blythe is four months old. Shocking. Yet at the same time, Brent and I feel like she has been with us for a long time. Time is a funny thing. You may have noticed I never took/posted her 3 month pictures :( …. I was busy DRIVING somewhere. Four month pictures will come soon. She is a beautiful daughter who is growing into a fun little personality. She loves to giggle and snort, and has also started to let us know, quite loudly, when she is not happy [luckily this is not very often]. She rolled over last week, has her four month appointment tomorrow, and has so many fans we can't even keep track of them. Brent is thinking maybe in another 16/17 years she will be in the olympics. We don't dream big at all in our household.

22 years: In a few weeks schools everywhere will be starting up and it will be the first time in 22 years that I will not be going back. There is a post a-brewing on this one.

THREE girls: Kali, Caroline, and Ellie visited us for a week. They all have my heart and I miss them so much. Caroline decided to drop "Aunt Kelsey" while she was here and now simply refers to me as "Kels." "Come on, KELS!" "Look at this, KELS!" Ellie decided to start walking and grow up way too fast. Kali decided to move back home and live close to me forever….oh wait, that was just a dream :(. Love you ladies.

THREE seasons: Softball season number three as assistant coach starts for me next week. I'm excited I still get to coach and interact with the girls, especially since I won't be in the classroom this year. We have a truly good group and I know it will be fun. Blythe will be traveling a lot again as the season starts up, and soon enough she'll be our bat girl! :)

I'm sorry you've had to look at MALL MADNESS for a month now :). Hoping to get back to blogging soon. At the moment, Blythe is finishing her nap so I am going to do some dishes and laundry and then have a cup of coffee and finish "Little Women." [Can you believe I've never read that book?!]

Hope you all are having great summers.


slumber party memories

For some reason when I woke up this morning some words popped into my head from long, long ago. They may seem foreign to some of you, but for others you will know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that the words on my mind were, "There is a SALE at the KITCHEN STORE." This was followed by me laying in bed for a minute longer…and sure enough I was then totally THERE. "There" being a teenage sleepover playing silly board games targeted completely, one hundred and fifteen percent, at girls.

Does anyone know the game referred to above? I know my sister will, as we spent ours huddled over its electronic speaker, telling us when and where to shop next.

Yes, this game is just what it looks like. I  giant, plastic mall that encourages girls to shop with plastic cards boasting such things as "easy money." And I am not even being the least bit sarcastic when I say: IT WAS AWESOME. The premise of the game was to buy certain things from different locations around the mall, and then be the first "shopper" back to the parking lot. However, you only had a certain amount of money…sort of… if you ran out you had to waste precious turns to walk ALL THE WAY back to the "bank" in the center of the ball. Once there you had  to swipe your card, and the bank would tell you how much it gave you. That simple. Sometimes it said, "Sorry! Come again later!" That was a real bummer, let me tell ya.

This game did not have dice; instead you simply pushed a button on the "bank", and it informed you how many spaces mall tiles you were allowed to move. Now, the crazy thing, the thing that kept everyone on their toes, was that sometimes when you pushed this button the speaker would start balking out new SALES! And everyone had to frantically scoop up the sale signs that had previously been placed and move them to the new stores. "There is a SALE in the KITCHEN store. There is a SALE in the ARCADE. And there is a CLEARANCE at the TOY store." And then the race was on…. to try and get to these stores before the sale or clearance left, so we could get the most bang for our buck [and therefore not have to go back to the bank as often].

Yes, it was a crazy good time. Setting it up was a bit of a pain, but well worth the effort once we were off and shopping. This board game is still tucked away in the closet at my parents' house, so if you are ever up for a riveting good time, come on over and I'll race you to the sales!

However, no slumber party was complete without DREAM PHONE!

Oh my word did I love Dream Phone. Now the premise of this came was a little like Clue. There was one boy that "liked" you, and you had to figure our exactly who that crush was. You did this by calling different guys, and getting secret calls from "him" during which he would give you a clue like, "I like to play ball, but I'm not at the park." You could them eliminate every guy who was at the park, and any guy who was not playing ball of some sort. Yes, it took some mad deducing skills, but it was well worth it when you finally figured out that STEVE liked you.

This is a sampling of the cards. Sometimes you had to share something you learned with another player, and sometimes you had to share that awesome call to Bruce with all the other players when you put it on speakerphone. Sometimes you missed a turn when you drew a card that said, "Mom says to get off the phone!" Bummer. But seriously, look at that cutie Matt. 555-7557. He was at Jim's Gym too. He was my favorite.

And if we weren't shopping, or calling guys on a pink phone, we were talking…GIRL TALKing that is!

Basically GIRL TALK was a glorified game of truth or dare. You had to answer questions about crushes, or walk like a duck in front of all your friends! If you just couldn't bring yourself to answer a question or the dare was too mortifying though, you could always just pass. However, passing meant taking a "Zit Sticker." These were essentially red circles that you had to stick on your face, and if your friend had owned the game for longer than a year they were all gone anyway so you had to figure out some other way to denote that you "took a zit."

Yes, my early teen years were spent fluctuating between these three games. They taught me many things nothing. Unless you count racking up a credit card, calling random boys I don't know, and daring people into giving you the truth. And of course I also learned that zits are a punishment.

However, in spite of all of these things, I think I would be okay with finding some throw backs of these and letting Blythe play them someday. I mean, they were seriously, totally fun.

What about you? Do you remember playing these games? Or what were the equivalent of these games in your time? For my younger readers, are there any games like this any more?



Our little family of three has been traveling traveling traveling lately.

We drove 1937 miles over 9 days, were in 5 states [almost 6], and slept 5 different places.

We got to see some of our favorite people and had a wonderful time, but we are all recuperating now. Blythe was a trooper and did an excellent job, but is now trying to get back on schedule.

Here are a few quick pictures [the first several: I let Caroline discover photo booth! oh my.]

I will blog about it all soon hopefully, but for now we are resting and getting back in the  swing of life back home.



Her warmth against my skin
 reminds me i am breathing deeply
 Her wriggling toes and
          Squirming limbs
 are like laughter coursing through my veins

 So much of her little life
            Her big story
 is untold now
And I want to fill in the blanks spaces
scribble in lines that will make her
Happy and Comfortable all her days

 But though my imagination and pen could create a story
they are not what caused her lungs                         to suck in life
 And I could not weave a tapestry
 like the One Who causes her heart to pulse
                                                      so perfectly

 I look down at her eyes, fluttering awake
Happy And comfortable
I tell the Playwright            

Happy and comfortable

And as she lets out a little content sigh
 I hear in Reply
              No, dear mother.
 Simply ask that in her story she meets my son
Who did not always know
              happiness and comfort
And she will instead know
       joy and peace Everlasting.

 Her warmth against my skin
Her wriggling toes
Her untold story

 Does she get my worry for her with her milk?
 Or my blessed assurance in Him?

 I close my eyes and whisper in her tiny eardrum
                                                      JOY EVERLASTING