The internet is a funny thing.  I know there are a million and one articles out their all over face book about parents and kids being too distracted… about the negative side effects of being on facebook and blogging… and well, this is not one of them.  Nor is this going to be an article in defense of face book or blogging.  Truthfully, like just about EVERY SINGLE OTHER MAJOR ISSUE plaguing Momma’s these days, I kinda think moderation is the key… and I also really don’t enjoy debating… so I just kinda stay out of it.

However, one thing is most certain… I would not have some of the friendships I have today if it wasn’t for face book and blogging and the internet.  Case in point would be my dear friend Sarah.

I can remember years ago when I first took the plunge and made myself a profile on that thing called facebook… like most trends (ie… maxi skirts and Spotify) I was late jumping on to the bandwagon… and I was cautious at first.  I remember making my profile and then searching for friends… friends from high school and college… before too long facebook was suggesting friends for me… and one thing led to another and some how I stumbled across Sarah’s facebook account and then her blog. 

I went to Towson University for one year.  Looking back, it was a difficult year for me.  It was my first year of college and half way through the year, my parents moved to a different state.   It was a year of transitions, sooo many transitions.  I was blessed to get plugged in right away with a Campus Ministry group called RUF.  RUF was a life line for me that year, as I made friends, good solid Christian friends… friends to pray with and run with and go down and eat meals with.  One such friend was Sarah… I was in a Bible study with her and I was prayer partners with her very good friend Lauren.   I remember hanging out in her room and in groups with all of them. 

At the end of the year, my in state tuition had moved to PA and so I too transferred to another school in PA.  (and shortly after that,  yet ANOTHER school… but that is another story for another day)…. bottom line is until 2008, I hadn’t really heard from or talked to Sarah… and then boom I found her blog and I was like, “Oh my goodness, our lives are soooo similar… I LOVE HER…. I wish she lived next door!”  But, she lived in Michigan… we began commenting on each others blogs and facebook posts and suddenly I felt like I knew her whole family quite well. 

Years go by and we end up getting our crew of littles together for lunch at Chick-Fil-A when she was in the area one time… then we started getting together yearly with some other Towson RUF gals over Thanksgiving… and our friendship grew… I was and am still amazed that they include me in this get together, because they spent 4 years together, but I really was only with them for one. 

I often laughed at how we were now texting, and sharing recipes, and reading about each others kids and husbands… marveling at this connection that NEVER would have happened without the internet…. and then Sarah invited my circus crew to her house for a weekend…

I remember asking Scott if he wanted to go to Sarah’s for the weekend… “Hey honey, ya know my friend Sarah, from Towson and blogging… well I know you’ve only met her once but wanna go spend the weekend with her and her family… I know you will get along so well with her husband.” 

Ok… if that situation had been reversed, I would NOT have been game AT ALL… but Scott is not me and he said, “Sure!” 

Sarah and I always had a feeling that our families would click… we knew enough about each other that we just felt like they would gel… but as the date got closer and then we were driving down, there was a part of me that though, “uh-oh… what if we don’t click?”  I remember Scott saying, “So what is it that makes you think Jason and I will get along?”  And I’m all like, “Well, ya know you both love your wives and your family and your both just great guys, you love the Lord and football, and just you’re a lot a like.”

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What a great response… as if that meant they would click instantly.

But, they did. 

Everyone got along beautifully… truthfully, BETTER than I even thought they would… shorts6

We had an amazing weekend… Sarah and I looked over at each other at the pool on Sat and went, “Oh my goodness it worked!… Even better than we hoped.” shorts7

It was so relaxing and refreshing… they are so real… that is what I have loved about Sarah through the years… what you see is what you get… no pretenses… she is that girl you read on her blog… in real life…

I loved watching the kiddos play together… seeing their personalities mesh… and the grownups? We sat up talking till way past midnight.. laughing so hard we were crying…. it felt like we had known them for years even though really Scott and Jason just met that weekend.  shorts1

It was an amazing weekend and I am so glad Sarah took a risk and invited us and so glad we took a risk and went… and I am so so so glad for this thing called facebook and blogging and the internet… that connects people in a way unlike any other… I can’t wait to do it again!  Thanks Sarah and Jason!

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My 7 year old recently lost one of her top middle teeth.  Those top middle teeth are my favorites, when they fall out because I find that gap tooth smile to be quite adorable.

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I’ve pondered the gap tooth smile recently, and realize that they truly illustrate growing up.  That stage of life when you lose your baby teeth, but yet aren’t quite ready for the grown up teeth.  It leaves gaps.  Holes that need to be grown into and filled.  This of course takes time, as growing up does and so you often find yourself with gaps…you aren’t a baby, but your not an adult… you don’t have all you need yet… these stages can be cute, and frustrating… and sometimes they seem to be filled in the blink of an eye and other times, as a parent you wonder if those gaps will ever fill…. 

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While I only have one child right now with a gap tooth smile, I have several that are living in the gaps of growing up…. and I know that while their smiles don’t provide that visible reminder that they aren’t there yet, their actions, and attitudes and emotions do… and I try to remind myself to savor those gaps, to find the precious innocence in them and to gently guide them  to that next stage in growing up.

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IMG_5406It’s hard enough not living in the home town of your favorite sports team.  Even harder than that, is living in the town of the ARCH RIVAL of your favorite sports team. 

One way that I think we as a family have connected and stayed connected with our Steelers roots, is by making the trek to training camp as often as possible.  We missed the last two years, but we went often enough over the past 10 years that the big 3 all remember going and talk about going and consider it a tradition.

This year we were ALL itching to go back. 

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I had been wanting to go to the Friday Night Lights practice and this year we were able to make that work.  This practice is held a high school near their training camp, on, you guessed it, Friday Night.  We met my parents there.  We got there early enough for the kids to play some games and even get their faces decorated.  We also tailgated out of the back of my parents van before heading into the stadium.

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Then we stood in line for quite awhile to wait for the chance of autographs.  We learned some things from this process that we would do different next year… but all 3 of the big kids were happy to walk away with a few autographs and big huge smiles on their faces.

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My favorite part is how close we get to get to the players.  They are right in front of you… Those same players we watch week after week on the TV are literally feet in front of us. 

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After practice we stood by the buses and a few guys even slapped us five as they got onto their bus.  Then we watched them drive off, with fireworks going off behind them and all of us cheering them on as loud as we could.

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It was a long day… we drove there and back in one day…. We left our house at 10 am and pulled into our driveway at 2:30am.   The next morning, I walked out into the hall and saw my 10 year old sitting there staring at his autographs… a little while later our 4 year came into my room still wearing the “Steelers beads” he had gotten the night before and he recounted all the fun things we did with the Steelers… then my 8 year old walked in and said in complete seriousness, “So Mom, do we know yet if Palamalu made the team?”  (We had told the kids that training camp is when the players do their best to show their coaches they want to be on the team.  We stressed that training camp is when we find out who will be on the team).  I loved her innocence, as she asked if her favorite player made the team.  And I loved the smile of relief when I told her, “Yea, Palamalu made the team.”   It was that next morning, listening to the kids talk about the day and “their players” and making plans for where they’d stand next year for autographs, it was then that I knew… it was worth every mile and the late, late drive home… because these are the memories, these are the connections, that make the Steelers more than their parents and grandparents team, these are the connections that make them their team too.  And I think because we live in Baltimore, we all appreciate every moment in Steelers Country all the more.

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On Turning 7

July 31, 2014

in birthdays

IMG_5063My daughter turned 7 last week.  She wanted a gymnastics party with her friends.  I had no idea how to throw a gymnastics party.  Turns out if you invite 10 gymnasts over to your house, you don’t have to do anything to turn it into a gymnastics party.  They do it themselves. 

We picked the girls up from practice and brought them to our house for the party. Minutes after walking in the door, they were on the bar downstairs, then the trampoline, then doing their routine in the back yard. 

In the midst of the all that flipping, they also ate, tie dyed and played a messy game with cones and icing.

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Cartwheel once again proved her awesomeness when she made an appearance and then tolerated being passed around from one giggling girl to the next.

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Seriously, look at that cat’s face?  That look says it all.  Yet she didn’t flinch once… she let every single girl hold her.

World’s Best Cat.  right there.

Since the birthday girl doesn’t care for cake, we opted for an ice cream sundae bar.  Fun and sooo much easier than baking and decorating a cake.

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We had a great time, with all of her cousins joining in the fun.  Judging by the smile on her face all evening, I think she enjoyed her special day.  Happy 7th Birthday sweet girl.  You are a ray of sunshine!

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1o years ago Scott and I went before our church and made a commitment before God to raise our son as a disciple of our Lord Jesus Chris.  Father’s day weekend, 2004, we rejoiced with our congregation as he was baptized.  This was not a sign of our sons salvation.  It was the sign of God’s promise to save and cleans sinners who call upon Him.  Our son was not saved, but we rejoiced in the seal representing God’s power to save.  In June 2004 our son was accepted into our church family to be raised as a disciple in the community of believers.

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This weekend, we watched our saved son go up before that same congregation and make a public profession of his faith.  Our son has accepted the promise and this weekend he was recognized as a full member of our church.

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What a blessed experience!

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I remember vividly when he was four years old and he first told us that he had asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins.  We had prayed with him before bed and I prayed something to the effect of, “please draw him closer to you, help him to know you as a his Savior and to seek to glorify you with his life.”  After saying Amen, he said, “Why do you pray that every day?”  We answered, because that is our hearts BIGGEST desire.  We want nothing more than for him to know Jesus as his Savior.   He replied, “I do.  I prayed to Jesus one night in bed.  I told him I was sorry for my sins and asked him to be my Savior.  You don’t need to keep praying for that.”

Since then I have truly seen God at work in his heart and life.    He is far from perfect.  But, I see a genuine desire to glorify God with his life.  And nothing, nothing gives me more joy than to see my child walking with the Lord.

3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

My heart was so full this weekend and adding to that precious experience was the fact that our extended family came to witness the event.  As we filled two pews with grandparents, uncles, aunt and TONS of cousins, my heart was overflowing with gratitude.  What a blessing to be able to raise my children in an extended family of believers.  What a blessing to know that not only Scott and I are praying for and seeking to model Christ to our kids, but their entire extended family is as well.

Psalm 100:5, “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

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The last true day of our vacation (the day before we headed home) was in my opinion the most relaxing day of the week.

We slept in, ate breakfast, (the kids did the dishes), and then we headed out for a morning hike along the beach.

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The tide was out and we discovered many living creatures in tide pools on the rocky beach

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We made our way to the other side of the island and even caught a glimpse of the Boston skyline.   The kids enjoyed splashing in the water and skipping rocks.

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Then we headed back to the beach we spent the afternoon at the day before, stopping for a picnic  lunch (and some sword fighting) along the way. 

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We spent the rest of the day camped out along the shore. 

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The kids had the most incredible time digging, throwing rocks and balancing a board on a giant rock.  They pretended they were surfing.  When they started the tide was low and they could easily get to the rock.  As the tide slowly came in, Scott would go out and haul the rock closer to shore for them.  He did this at least 6 times.  If he hadn’t by the time the tide came in, they would have been in over their heads if they wanted to stand on the rock.  I couldn’t believe how long this entertained them. 

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Surfing, watching each other surf…. I read an entire book during those 2 days.  And Scott enjoyed a book as well.  We snacked on grapes and pistachios, feet in the sand, listening to the kids giggle while we read.

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Folks…. it was a TRUE VACATION DAY!

Then when we were hungry, I ran up to the campsite and gathered food while Scott and our oldest built us a fire.  We cooked dinner over the fire, then roasted marshmallows and then when we were ready for bed, we cleaned up and headed back to our tent. IMG_4997IMG_5000

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I couldn’t have asked for a better day! 

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