Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back in the Saddle....

Good Morning-

How sad that it's Wednesday and I'm just now getting to my "back in the saddle" post. Well, I guess that means we're all just that much closer to Friday. =)

It's been a week pretty much on track so far. Brayden's eye dr. appt. went as well as we'd hoped for on Monday - and he's now also sporting a new pair of glasses. However, he's still primarily going with his contacts which were also ordered - with a new component of "HD" that apparently makes them that much better quality. I'm going to hold out with new contacts for me until they allow me to see tv in 3D....ha ha!

Mikayla and I also enjoyed our pedicures - my toes and feet are so much happier.

Then, there's these ladies:

This picture will be doctored and added to when John gets some time to eliminate the black smudge stuff off our fireplace, but I picked just this one as it shows the good times we were having posing for Mikayla as she stood all the way at the doorway trying to snap the pic. It's a phenomenal lens, but you have to be a long ways away if you want a group shot.

I LOVE these ladies - last night we honored Kimmie's b-day and caught up. One of our gals revealed a boyfriend in her life who is actually a star on the OSU football team. While he's not a "Duck" - being a "Beaver" is the next best thing, and it will make following OSU football that much more fun having a "link" to this guy. But, even more importantly, how awesome it is to see a young woman in love!

Sadly, I ended up missing out on the very tail end of chatting with the "stragglers". Off to bed I went, second night in a row with ice packs. Thank God I see my mom today, as the whole pain thing is making me very discouraged. I haven't even done the exercises recently that would add strain to my shoulders and neck (i.e. elliptical or the Group Power workout) - ugh. Apparently, hurrying up to sweep, mop, and Windex the patio doors and glass is all it takes to put me over the edge. Sigh...

Hope your week has already been successful, and you have high expectations for the what's still left-

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Four Eyes Times Four

In a brief break from the deluge of rain that we've had all weekend, the kids took about two dozen balls out to the trampoline and got some "fresh air and exercise". Traig wasn't invited to the club because he has better than perfect vision, so therefore does not wear glasses. No, not really - of course he was invited, but sadly, the poor guy has had the stomach bug with all its nasty side effects today. Something tells me his spring break will be extended for all the wrong reasons tomorrow.

We've had a good time with all of the kids - we took them to Papa's Pizza yesterday and settled in for a while. John and I took our computers and set ourselves up next to a tv to watch if Butler and Arizona would advance to the Final Four (Yeah for Butler, bummer for Arizona), while the kids had a heyday in the indoor play area. Eventually Lisa joined us, in an attempt to keep her kids entertained in this long spring break in which she's a "tax widow" - having an accountant as her hubby.

We also spent a little bit of time at Lenscrafters yesterday, picking out Mikayla's new spectacles - as well as a new pair for Brayden (as he's still wearing his original pair given to him in first grade). Between John and the retail manager, Kyle, pressuring me with a total hard sell, I ended up purchasing some pretty fancy prescription sunglasses as well. The bad news is that they won't be ready for a couple of weeks, but the good news is they probably won't be necessary until at least that time anyway. Although, I'd hardly call that good news!

My kiddos actually have Monday off as well (I love how our district gives us that extra day after the two long makes the transition so much easier). Mikayla and I have an appointment at Bello for a pedicure - thanks to "LivingSocial" we got one of our pedicures for free and the other one for 60% off. It was one of her Christmas presents that we are finally cashing in.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Two and a Half Hours Later...

...we were FINALLY able to exit the eye doctor appointment, with plenty of money spent, and Mikayla's vision even worse than where it was to begin with (due to her eyes being dilated).

Long story short, Mikayla is quite farsighted. Her prescription will end up being +3.00, whereas Brayden's current prescription is -6.00. Apparently, Mikayla's vision is such an issue, that she actually struggles with seeing distances as well, as her brain is constantly playing a "vision focus" game, trying to keep things in focus after they first appear blurry.

Of course, as a Mom, what I heard was, "Good grief, how could you let your daughter suffer this long? I'm surprised she can even read, much less manage to get through any day without constant headaches and weariness. Let's just hope that she can ever get to complete 20/20 vision since you've waited so long, you're lucky she's not blind".

No, that's not what the "very nice doctor" said, but somehow, that's how I interpret it.

Actually, the whole thing makes a ton of sense. Miraculously, both Brayden and Mikayla were able to catch on to reading with relative ease despite the fact that they were both handicapped by their individual vision issues. However, it has perplexed me that despite Mikayla being in the highest reading group in her grade, her scores for reading proficiency aren't exactly overwhelming. Reading quickly with this kind of vision issue would be especially burdensome (and at this point, I am super glad I helped her out by reading aloud the last several chapters of "Bridge to Terabithia" last weekend when she found herself behind on a reading project....the font was so tiny in that book). It also makes sense as to why she'll like the story line of a book and seem to want to read it, but lose interest when actually sitting down with the book.

And, contrary to my little "mom-dialogue" above, she will easily be able to achieve 20/20 vision with correction. The hopes that her muscles will stop overworking on the focus once she's given the correction are high - otherwise the much dreaded "vision therapy" was suggested. (This is a much debated issue among many of my mom-friends). In addition, after being disgusted with the hard-sell of this office's "glasses specialist", I tentatively dove into the contacts idea with the doctor, and she was all for it. I think we'll end up picking up new glasses for both kids this week (at a different location) as they now both need a "back-up pair" (Brayden's "contacts default" are the original glasses he picked out in first grade!), but otherwise, it's a family of four of us, all with different contact prescriptions.

Lest I begin feeling sorry for myself (and lamenting the way this and so many other things are eating away our tax refund), I have to praise God for the fact that both kids have very healthy eyes. My grandma ended her life blind, having had a degenerative condition from the time she was a child. By the time I walked down the aisle in my wedding, she was barely able to see my outline - much less gaze her eyes upon any of her grandchildren. Knowing that this condition existed in the family, it is with huge relief that it has not been passed on to any of her descendants.

Phineas at Harlow

As I mentioned in the previous post, Brayden's experience out at Camp Harlow has been nothing short of a dream come true for John and I. Here's why....

If you consider who Brayden is as a person, he's got a lot going for him, but in any given category, he's not necessarily a "star". He's bright - and a good student - but, I don't think he has the drive to ever end up striving to be a valedictorian. He's an athlete, particularly loving football, but due to his lack of size, speed, and intensity, I'm pretty certain he won't be getting an athletic scholarship. He's funny and charming, but not so over the top that everyone knows him for just that at school as the "class clown".

But, what we've believed all along that Brayden does excel at, is "the art of having a good time" (and consequently encouraging others to do that too). Combine that with a love for Jesus, a very sensitive heart, and a certain giftedness in working with kids younger than himself (note: this does NOT apply to Mikayla!) - and it combines to make a kid who has the aptitude to make quite a counselor some day. Consequently, that's what we've always said about Brayden - as we giggle about his size playing basketball, or his inability to keep track of his assignments at school - "just wait until he's old enough to be out at Harlow - I think that's where we're going to see him shine" - and indeed, shine he did. =)

John went out to Harlow on Thursday night during the "Counselor Appreciation Evening" and was a "fly on the wall" (with a camera). He watched Brayden and Traig be called upon to be part of a skit - and them pull out all the stops pretending to be on a roller coaster (when the audience was all told they were acting out being in a bathroom stall). When five people were called to the front to give an award to someone else in the room, Brayden was chosen - and gave a sweet little speech as to why he appreciated the counselor he worked with, Mad Hatter, so much - and what a difference he made for Brayden. Just as Brayden sat down - after giving Mad Hatter a big ol' hug, Mad Hatter was chosen to give an award. And, what do you know, but he intended to give an award to Brayden - and proceeded to explain how great it was, as a first year counselor, that Brayden was assigned to him and how much it helped him. Combine that experience was some "props" from Matt (mid-school pastor) and Dave (close friend and director at Harlow) - and John was walking away from the evening feeling extremely proud.

On Friday, John snuck out to camp during his lunch to snap a few pictures of Brayden with his group of kiddos - in action. John said it was interesting in how abnormally "detached" Brayden acted towards him - as if, Brayden was serious about being professional and had a job to do, and while he was glad to see his dad, it wasn't time to give him attention....instead his kids needed him.

So, onto the pictures - a couple worth nothing are the one of Brayden sitting in a line with the rest of the counselors on Thursday night....he's SO little! And, then, the group shot of Brayden with his kids, just what a crack up it was to try to mangle six elementary-aged boys into posing....

Thursday night, on the "roller coaster":

Our "little" man:

Mad Hatter and Phineas:

Papa Smurf and Ferb:

Can you say "squirrely"?

Playing tag:

And, last but not least...the priceless image of Brayden giving some parting wisdom, while one of the kiddos picks his nose...... =)

Way to go, Phineas - we are so proud you are our son!

The Week Where I'm Not Excited for Friday...

So, it's Friday. I'm supposed to be excited, right? Not so much. Here's a few reasons why:

- It means spring break is nearly over. Even though, for the girls (Mikayla, Nati, and Ellie) - much of spring break has meant being in school...due to their very elaborate pretending - I'm not ready to have the kids return to "real school".

- It means Michele is leaving. She is heading out at about noon for the northern Oregon coast on a retreat with Michael for their high school youth group. (We get to keep the kids and their dog...). It's not that I'm bothered about the increase in family size, it's just that I'm sad Chele is leaving. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again - life is just better with Michele around. More fun, more encouraging, more "all is well". But....due to our like-minded indulgence tendencies, it's also more, in that regard, it's probably best our time together is nearing an end.

- ....which means, it's time to start being good eating again. I'm not going to test my theory on the scales, but I wouldn't be surprised if the 11 days of being super good were erased by the last 5 days of not being good....

- It means Camp Harlow Spring Break Camp is nearly over. As John provides pictures this evening from a lunch-time visit out there today with his camera, I'll put together another post on this subject. But, in a nutshell, the experience out there for the boys has been everything I'd hoped for and more....

- It means Mikayla has her first real eye doctor appointment. She's actually kind of excited about it, but as a Mom it means guilt and expenses. Guilt for not getting her in there earlier when we knew her vision wasn't perfect (it's no where near the problem it is for Brayden, but I suspect it is what's causing her headaches when she reads) - and then, of course, the expenses for the appointment and the inevitable glasses (and potential contacts) she'll probably be prescribed with. The appointment is at 1:20 today, so I'll let you all know how it comes out.

I guess the good news about all of this is that, if it weren't for having such a great week, I wouldn't be so sad for having it end. Between hanging with Mom yesterday for her birthday, laughter with the Whites in the evenings, a grueling (but in, its own way - amusing) group power workout with Michele at the gym, visits from Lisa, reports from the boys about their Harlow adventures, co-existing with Michele as we each take a couch and read a book, and just seeing the kids all be so happy together - it's been a splendid spring break

Monday, March 21, 2011

Great Ending to the Great Start

Since I started with these guys on the last post, I'll go ahead and begin with them again...

I'm pleased to report that they both had a great day at camp. They were both paired with new counselors who fit their personalities well, and each of them have a group of campers comprised of 6 boys. The rain was kept at bay for them to be outside much of the day, PRAISE GOD! - and both boys have stories of the "one kid" who's causing trouble for each of them. (Ha ha - love it!)

When I picked the boys up, Kimmie was there (she's helping run the mid-school involovement with Matt and Steve) and she applauded their efforts for the day and said that Brayden even got a special public shout-out (a rarity for the middle schoolers to get) for staying behind with a kiddo at the Craft Shack to help him make his nametag necklace. Have I mentioned lately how proud I am of these two? =)

Now, back to the girl-side of the day. Here's Ellie, Kenady and Mikayla skating. The experience was more short-lived than they had hoped for (Ellie had a doctor's appt. and we left soon after they left), but what it lacked in length, it was made up for in the amount of fun the girls had.

I felt like the mom that had the easiest job ever compared to Jonna - shown her with her youngest, Annika -

and, Tricia (Ellie's mom) shown her with her youngest, Max. Both moms also had in tow their other child as well, Jonna with her son, Luke - and Tricia, with her son, Steven, and his friend, Braden.

Despite all of the kiddos around, and the fact that Skateworld was packed (they must absolutely love the poor-weather forecasts as it sends all the kids to indoor recreation) - the three of us moms had some really great chat-time. It's interesting to hear about how the other girls Mikayla's age are faring - and what they find themselves anxious and worried about compared to Mikayla's anxieties. It also verified to me that even if the only sport Mikayla plays is volleyball, her friendship with Ellie and Kenady isn't determined by her participation (or lack of) in the sports they play in addition to volleyball. I left Skateworld looking forward to the next time I get to spend quality time with these wonderful women.

Off to a Great Start

This picture was taken last night, as the boys set off for their orientation meeting - but it works for a "start of Harlow pic" just as well too. The guy holding the sign is Steve Melton - a helper for the mid school group and the short guy to the right is the mid school pastor. (Short, just like Brayden!) And speaking of's hard to tell, but Brayden got his hair cut off! This momma is very sad about this. Change is good and all, but I'd like to see his hair somewhere between this length and what it was. Now, he looks like he's about 5 years old, it's a good thing they have specially marked t-shirts, otherwise I'm positive he'd be shepherded into a camper's group.

Meanwhile, I had these ladies join Mikayla and I today. Darcy and Kaela are both bright lights in my life and it was a pleasure to feast on fresh grapes, strawberries, and zucchini bread and catch up on their lives. Lisa ended up stopping by as well - the girls enjoyed playing with Kaela's hair.

As for now, we are waiting for our friends in the lobby of Skateworld, ready for the next adventure of spring break!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Date Day

While it was not originally planned to be this way, today was an exceptional date day with my man. We left early this morning as a family to drive up to the Schillings - and within 10 minutes of arriving, we had exchanged the kiddos in our vehicle for Michele - and headed off to the Woodburn Outlet Mall. While I can't say I absolutely "needed" anything I purchased, I will say I got some killer deals from Nike, Aeropostle, Gap, and Banana Republic. (Love that "Friends and Family 30% discount!).

Then, within 30 minutes of returning to the Schilling house, we were off again, this time with Michael as well - off to the Independence Cinema. We saw "Adjustment Bureau". I thought Matt Damon was very engaging in this movie - and the plotline gripping and intriguing, but also a little terms of "divine intervention". With that said, though, I was still very happy just to be sitting next to my husband in a theater - as it seems like it's been a while since it was just he and I without kiddos next to us.

Now, we are back at the house, settled in until tomorrow afternoon. Basketball is on (what an ending to the Butler/Pittsburgh game!) - and all is quite cozy. We'll take Traig with us tomorrow so that he'll be ready to go for Harlow's orientation tomorrow night and camp on Monday morning. Then, Michele will join us with the girls on Tuesday.

Good times.....welcome spring break!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Highs and Lows of the Week

Sorry for the long absence, I just haven't felt "drawn to blog" this week, nothing in and of itself overwhelmingly worthwhile to make a post about. But, if you add it all up, there were some noteworthy moments...both in the high and low departments.


- Most certainly Brayden's acceptance as a "apprentice counselor" out at Harlow. I later found out there were only 20-25 positions, but over 50 applicants. And, to add to the fun, grand inspiration was involved in coming up with the perfect camp names for both Brayden and Traig: Phineas and Ferb! Brayden will be Phineas and Traig, Ferb. Brayden is definitely the shorter, more talkative one - and Traig is Mr. Fix It, taller, and a little more serious. As we all LOVE that show, and it is super relevant to the younger kids - we thought it was perfect.

- Teaching math to the fifth grade class that I've had numerous times. The teacher encouraged me to come up with my own lesson - so I brought in about 10 cereal boxes for them to measure and determine the volume of - and then had them "comparison shop" by determining a unit price based on the volume and dividing it into the price of the cereal. It was fun to engage some of those "educator muscles" again....

- Tuesday night. I feel like there's been a bit of a spark missing from our recent gatherings with our ladies and this Tuesday it was back in full form. The only bummer was that Stephie wasn't there. I went to bed that night feeling so thankful and full of gratitude for those ladies.

- Lori Salierno. I'm sure, somewhere in the midst of my blog post archives I've mentioned this lady before, but she is worthy to be mentioned again. She is AMAZING and has been the single most influential person to me in terms of who I aspire to be in my Christian walk. If you go to I-Tunes Store and type in her name, you'll come to a page with 6 different podcasts from when she's done "chapel" at various schools. On Tuesday night, we listened to #6 - regarding God's will for your life. However, on Tuesday, I listened to a couple of others as well, trying to decide which one to play for the group. "Getting Out of Your Spiritual Rut" and the podcast at George Fox were the other two I listened to. The thing about Lori is she is so passionate, so easy/fun to listen to - and she imprints stories into your mind that you will remember for decades (and I've used numerous times when giving my own talks). I was in the best mood all of Tuesday afternoon, just because of Lori.

- SPRING BREAK! It's already begun for Brayden who has today off due to his trimester grading schedule. Mikayla still has to get through today.


- A very nasty headache that I'm dealing with right now. I think it might mean canceling a date with Lisa and Steph H. for this morning as I'm pretty certain an icepack and a bed are on the docket. Yuck.

- A certain third grader's spelling list for this week. It has resulted in tears both last night and this morning. I'm frustrated she didn't start earlier in working with them, but it's hard to not be a little overwhelmed myself when I look at her list....mind you, this is THIRD grade. I'm all about stretching kids (she's in the highest spelling group), but I feel like these words are just a tad above and beyond what should be expected of her. There are 20 words this week, but a sampling of what is on her list would be: EMBARRASS, APPROXIMATELY, GRAFFITI, MAYONNAISE, ABBREVIATION (which was even spelled wrong on the list), CHANDELIER, LIEUTENANT (which I just had to use spell check to determine). Ugh.....

- The fact that the weight goes on a lot faster and easier than it goes off....enough said. =(

- The rain. We are already over four inches of rain for March. Much of this week has been spent in a downpour. Hopefully, this next week will at least offer breaks from the rain long enough for the kids at Harlow to get outside a little bit....

That's about it, and Mikayla needs a ride to school. How's your week been?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Guest Post from Brayden

[Dear Matt (Mid-School Pastor),]

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I really appreciate you accepting Traig and I to be CIT (Counselors In Training).

P.S. I have been waiting all day and I just lit up when I found out you accepted me and was even happier to find out Traig got accepted as well.

Thanks again,

Let me just tell you that a certain 11 year-old is flying sky-high around here after finding out "he made the cut" - and then being excited all over again upon finding out his cousin did too! It's only been in the last couple of days that I've realized just how much he's REALLY WANTED this to happen....Afterall, sacrificing the Monday through Friday of Spring Break to be at Camp Harlow from 8-4:00 to help "babysit" younger campers might not necessarily be the hottest ticket on the planet for a middle schooler. But, he and Traig eagerly completed the application, and participated in the "interview" with Matt to be considered for the limited number of positions offered as "Solid Rock Servants" (middle schoolers who are allowed to help out the counselors during spring break camp).

They were told they would find out sometime between Saturday through today - and by last night, when Brayden still hadn't heard anything, he was highly anxious. This was BIG for me to realize just how much he wanted it, but also a little hard knowing it could be a massive let-down - afterall, Brayden is just a 6th grader, and Traig is from out-of-town (even though he did a lot with the group last summer), so there's a lot of reasons why they might not have been chosen.

Just after picking up Mikayla on my way home from teaching in "my favorite class" (6th time this school year), Brayden called me - elatedly - to report he got the acceptance email. It was a rough half hour waiting for Michele to get home to check their email...but, you still couldn't control his enthusiasm. Part of the information he got in the email included details about their invite to a special "counselors-only thank-you night" on the Thursday night of the camp - where they'll be able to stay all the way until 9:30 that night - participating with all of the "real counselors" in fun activities, dinner, and a campfire. Traig and Brayden are "over the top". The paragraph at the top is the response email Brayden shot back to the mid-school pastor...

It's been a little bit of a "growth season" for us and Brayden lately in regards to school work and how his time is spent at home. This weekend marked a bit of a victory for all of us, in making some "adjustments" that fit Brayden and his life right now better - and made us, as parents, feel better. Brayden was super mature about the changes we made, despite it being a bit disappointing - but he was able to recognize the bigger picture. To now have this happen, and to see his enthusiasm soar for something we beyond-whole-heartedly endorse is pretty amazing. God is good!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Downtime: Riley Style

If someone were to walk into our house right now, they'd be just a little bit overwhelmed with the sight they saw in our living room.

First and foremost all five of our family members are in here (five including sweet Sydney). That's the whole point of why the living room looks overwhelming, because each of us also has what is currently keeping us happy with us in the living room.

Sydney has her huge big bean bag, that we have to skinny past just to get into the kitchen.

Mikayla has EVERY bit of her Playmobil collection sprawled all over the floor - a whole community created - which results in the need to do a hurdle just to get to the bathroom.

John is watching a favorite racing show (Motosports or something like that) on tv, alternating with helping/watching....

Brayden who is sitting next to me playing a new NBA game on the PS3 -

and I'm playing old-school "Spyro" (along with Mikayla) next to Brayden. Yes, that means we have three tv's currently in our living room (WHY DO I ADMIT THESE THINGS, I'M JUST DIGGING MY OWN GRAVE!) -

But, I think we'd all agree that we are getting quite a kick out of this unorthodoxed-family-squeezed-together weekend. The weather outside is gross. Mikayla and I caught a movie yesterday while John and Brayden did some putting and headed to Red Robin. And all of what I described today is what's on the docket for today (see the productive things we do when we have Wednesday night church with our "extra" time on Sundays?). We will be going to a worship night at CCF this evening....which will end the weekend well.

Gotta go....John just managed to get me past a very difficult/frustrating point with my "Spyro" game....have a great day everyone, no matter what it looks like!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Honoring Special People

First of all, oh how my heart goes out to the people in Japan with their lives literally torn apart today. Another description just came on the news right now, so heartbreaking, my prayers will be going out for them.

Secondly, we had GORGEOUS weather today. I'm so thankful for it, but it's really quite a tease as the forecast is non-stop rain/showers for the next week. I tried to savor all the smells of spring and embrace the heat of the sun's rays (we didn't even reach 60 degrees, but it didn't matter!) as I took a walk with Sydney this afternoon.

Alright - onto those special people:

First off, it was honoring Stephie's birthday with (at least part of) the Tuesday night gals... Those that were able to make it gathered at BJ's and I realized as I looked over the menu (agonizing over how few choices I had based on kicking up the aggressiveness of the dieting) - that this restaurant has so many amazing food options, I might have to make it my birthday indulgence locale....if for no other reason than this......OHHHHHHHH! My mouth is watering just looking at the picture! (and to the credit of both Stephie and myself - neither one of us even took a bite....)

Please forgive the cell-phone-camera blurriness on this next one, but this is Stephie having opened her signed frame of our gals
The other "opportunity to honor" occurred last night when I headed over to Kaela's house to see Darcy. She's been gone for six months, serving with YWAM in England, Ireland, and Paraguay....(and I think a few more places too!). I intentionally showed up after the "surprise" portion of the event, hoping that maybe by the time I got there, I might be able to actually get an opportunity to connect with her. The plan worked, and I was delighted (if not feeling a little selfish) that I got some one on one chat time with her.

Hard to believe when you see the size of the group that had assembled in her honor....which just goes to show how beloved Darcy is. I'm looking forward to an extended time to catch up with her. She has such a heart of gold.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Product Recommendations: Spring 2011 Edition

Lately, I've run into some products that I've been especially happy with, so I thought I'd share some of my "finds"...

First and foremost: a self-tanner. It's becoming a bit of a need for me these days, as I'm fearful for my white legs and arms to send other patrons running away, scared of the ghost, when I'm "dressed down" at our gym. Plus, these past couple of years have really "caught up with me" in terms of wrinkles undoubtedly onset by laying out in the sun.

So, some positives about this product. Number 1, it doesn't smell! Honestly, the previous Jergens self-tanner literally made me a bit sick to my stomach. Long after I stopped using it, Michele still applied the stuff and I actually had to put my foot down and forbid her from using it in my house. I guess I shouldn't say it doesn't smell, because there is a slight scent to it, but it's not at all offensive. It's also in mousse form, so it applies very easily, very fast - and dries uber-quick too. It will still leave your hands and "crinkly parts" slightly brown if you apply too much or don't wash your hands, even though you won't be able to tell right away. I'm on day 3, and I'm very happy with it so far.

On to the hair....I just discovered this product and I'm loving it. I've got VERY DRY hair and the length it is now is just about as long as I'll ever be able to keep it - it's constantly breaking at the ends or splitting. Furthermore, the benefit I get from not having not having to wash it every day, is offset by the damaging effects of the straightening iron or curling iron I use constantly. So, I'm liking this product, as it really does seem to make my hair softer, less frizzy, and healthier looking as I apply it liberally to my damp hair before blow-drying. Plus, it has an amazing citrus scent....

And, speaking of scent, this product also has a nice one - not at all overpowering either. I feel like this is the perfect hairspray in that it lightly sets the hair but does not at all feel like "helmet head"...and is easily brushed through as needed.

Finally, I LOVE this product. And, I actually need to use it the next time I wash my hair. As a girl with both highlights and incoming white/gray hair, my roots can quickly become an issue...and this stuff totally does the trick. When I'm sporting the "lighter" hair-do, I tend to go with this color, so it blends in with the highlights and certainly lightens my naturally darker hair. Don't worry if it isn't an exact match, the stuff just seems to blend in with whatever color you have. Maybe I'll do a "before and after" just to prove it works!

So, that's my suggestions...any you'd like to offer up?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sarah's Shower

Today, Mikayla and I had the honor of attending the bridal shower of our dear friend, Sarah. She's getting married next month (among the invites I'd posted about before, her's was the one inviting the kids as well).

Her friend, Mindy, put together the shower - and it was BEAUTIFUL! So elegant and classy which are adjectives that completely sum up Sarah.

There were no party games at this shower, just delicious food, great conversation, and then watching Sarah open her presents.

Along with some Martha Stewart brand cooking tools that she had registered, I put this together for Sarah. I spent some time this week typing out the recipes that are most-used and most-loved among our family. (Which generally means they have the most sugar and butter and the least amount of vegetables). It might be something I pass on to gals then end up getting married that I've bonded with in the kitchen (which is how Sarah and I hit it off) - but, it was especially meaningful to put it together for Sarah. She said that it is her first cookbook... =)

This is Sarah with Mindy and her two daughters, Elle and Maggie. The little girls will be flower girls at her wedding next month. Mikayla hit it off with Maggie, who's picture is next.

Many of the images in this blog are from this gal, photographer extraordinaire....

But soon, she'll be facing some stiff competition from this rising photographer....

It's not hard to see why Sarah is so effervescent and joyful when she comes from this family - surrounded by beautiful sisters and an incredible mom.
A parting shot of Sarah, Mikayla and myself. I'm so excited for this gal and her fiance to get married - I have no doubts that they will be a couple that many, many people will look up to.