Date Night – TBT!

Here’s a little Throw Back Thursday from February of last year. As the Day O Love approaches, I am already hunting down the tippy plastic cups… it’s a great tradition.

Formal dress required. Even on the cats.

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Date Night


Last Saturday night romance was in the air. It was intense, y’all. It was like we were on the Titanic and I was all Queen of the World, and then I got to make out with Leonardo DiCaprio, not long before I disallowed him room on my totally huge raft in the freezing North Atlantic. Very romantic. And yet, our evening was warmer.

Also, I would never make out with Leo. Nope. I am married, y’all. My husband completes me.

Of course, Leo didn’t grace us with our presence, but we had this blurry pic of another dinner guest:


There were roses. There were chocolates. Earlier that day, the husband let me take a nap, which is the universal, married I Hope I Get Lucky Valentine. But that is another post for another day.

There were also two small boys who had reservations with us for a night of fine dining. I  informed them that they had to come to dinner in ties. And they reacted as if I had asked them to lop off both arms, and then try to attach their ties.

They were informed, in a heavy French accent (I had to take on an accent. It freaks them out and I get to pretend I’m Catherine Deneuve.) “No tie? No food. Zees is Chez Momsie. Dress code, mes bebes.” They sighed heavily, with American accents, clipped their ties onto their Star Wars t-shirts, and showed up at 6:30 pm on the dot. Right on time.

We had a very swanky affair at our house on Valentines Day, and a tradition was born. I printed out menus (thank you, bad clip art!) Macaroni and cheese was offered as an appetizer. I poured the sparkling cider into tiny tippy glasses and no one spilled anything.


It was a Valentines miracle.

We ate strawberries and whip cream, the really fancy kind that you squirt out of a can. I offered table-side service for this, as I offered a shot of the stuff in the mouth to each patron. This was a real showstopper.

And we talked about why we loved each other.

“I love Blonde because he shows me how to play Legos,” says Red. He’s grinning like a maniac. This is all mushy and stuff, which is kind of right up his alley. His smile nearly lifts him out of the chair. He lifts his fizzy little glass with panache. “AND I LOVE THIS FANCY DRINK!” he yells. Evidently he thinks we are all in the other room when he speaks, because the bubbles in the drink had evidently made him quite giddy.

Blonde, the wisened 7 year old, has a bit of a tougher time with the mushy business. He is, in all walks of life, less forthcoming with the mush.

“I love Red because…” We all lean in a little.

“Because he is my brother.”

And there it is. The greatest law there is. We love because we are family. We love because we simply have no choice. We are for each other.

My boys are growing older and finding their own friends, their own ways they want to spend an afternoon. They are, however, still pretty inseparable. And what I have told them, almost weekly, is that they, as brothers, must have each other’s backs. They are the ones going to be left when the friends leave, when the family goes, when we get dementia and go into the home, your brother will be the only one left.

(I didn’t really go into the last part with them as I didn’t really want to stop and have to explain ‘dementia’ because depressing. Also, the one other time I sprang this word on them they kept thinking that I was saying, ‘Philadelphia.” Confusing.)

(As a side note to the side note: This whole dementia thing? Really possible because we had kids late in life and when they graduate from high school I’ll be using a walker and won’t be able to see or hear the thing because I will be OLD, y’all. I WAS AROUND BEFORE EMAIL. That old.)

But I digress.

We spent the rest of the evening looking up the bible verses that the husband had put on their Star Wars Valentines. The husband is super spiritual that way. I just shot whip cream at ’em. But he wins in the Jesus department.


And then we all tried to massacre each other with a really cut throat game of Go Fish.

And that, my friends, is what I call the most romantic evening I have had in a long time.

I am wondering if it competes with Leo’s?



Cliff Dwellings

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today!

The theme?

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You know, like “Dwell in the house of the Lord?”

Nope. That’s not the kinda “dwell” we’ll be dealing with here today, folks. But, maybe, a little…

Oh never mind, just read! I never promised you the blog would make SENSE, did I?


When I was a teenager, my parents piled us in their station wagon and we drove through the night to Colorado. For a vacation. For fun, family times.

We did a vacation every year. Most of the time it was to a small cabin down by in the Lake of the Ozarks. There was a lot of fishing and so much swimming in a swimming pool so chlorinated that if we swam at night we glowed on the walk home. That was cool.

Anyhow, this time we were gonna try something new! Colorado! Mountains! Hiking! No catfish!

Needless to say, I hated it. It wasn’t my fault. I was a teenager. I hated everything. That was my job.

Ok, but there was this one part, that involved us going to a park that had cliff dwellings. I don’t remember what tribe, I am sorry to say. It was a lot of climbing around and exploring, and as per my usual lack of enthusiasm, I found it a bit boring. BUT, there was this: Dad made the epic mistake of referring to these wonderful, historic, very important markers of nation’s past and humanity as: (wait for it…)

“Cwiff dwewwings”

I know. You probably had to be there. It’s not very funny, is it? I mean, now after all this time, it isn’t all that amusing.

But to me it still totally cracks me up. My dad and my sister and I, scurrying about all the artifacts, in our best Sylvester the Cat imitation, among all the cwiff dwewwings.

Ok, I tell you that story to tell you this:

I will never forget that vacation. I will never forget the silly laughter. My dad, very John Wayne, very General Patton, has a SUPERB sense of humor (I like to think he got it from me) and I love him. And even though our family vacations were sometimes a bit, uh, like those crucible challenges they put the Navy SEALS through before they can go out and get the bad guys, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, when I saw the prompt for this, I was IMMEDIATELY hit up with that memory and also, with such love and warmth.

It’s an honor to have the family that I do. My mom, my dad, my sisters. My brother. It’s an honor to call them family. They are nutball, totally (they don’t get any of that from me. It’s all their fault. They started it.) but I love them.

Now, let me tell you about the time my dad decided to QUIT smoking during a family vacation.

Seared. Into. My Memory.

Dwell: to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing. Dwell on the lovely. Linger over it. Ponder the past. Learn from it, the good and the not so good. I am so grateful.



We go to Colorado every year now. Our children look about as excited as I did, way back when. The tradition continues.

Monday Manuscript

Today’s post was brought to you by my absolute giddiness that it’s now (cue drummer boy):  TIME TO GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!  Two full months of music and trees and white lights.  I’ve got my Pandora Christmas all ready to go, and it’s gonna be me, and Josh Groban, and some chestnuts.

And it was brought to you by this little book:

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That being said, there are two big problems with today’s post:

1.  ALL I really, REALLY want for Christmas is Jesus, the music, a tree, the white lights, and two little boys who don’t go nutball for every heavily packaged, impossible-to-open toy in the universe.  Oh, and maybe my peanut butter balls.

2.  I had to actually read today’s manuscript all the way to the very. Last. Page.

Don’t worry.  I loved the book. Adored it.  I simply didn’t want the magic of it to come to an end.  Sounds corny, but it’s true.

Franziska Macur of Home, Naturally has written an endearing story about an impatient six year old named Charlie.  All he wants is for December 25th to get here, already, so he can tear into his Christmas gifts, hoping it will be the biggest Christmas ever. Our author has also told a story that helped this mom with my impatient desire to tear into every Christmas craft and notion that sweet Pinterest has ever thrown at me, all to make this year the best Christmas ever.

And our author gets me.  Her writing shows me she understand that sometimes Christmas can feel like a full-on run and tackle between Walmart, Martha Stewart Specials, home made everything, Keeping Traditions Alive by Jolly, making the pageant(s) on time, and oh, yes! the baby Jesus.

And she gets that children are sometimes the most unwitting targets and victims of all this.  They are targeted for their simple desires to play and play some more, so, of course, TOYS ya’ll!  Keep ’em coming!  And they are victims too.  I strongly feel that all the emphasis on all these making magical Christmas memories is simply a way to take our Savior and put Him in a very non-magical, serious time slot (sorta like the news verses watching the Rudolph special – a toddler has no choice but to hunker down to Rudolph).

There is a great scene in the book where the history of our Christian advent is explained:

“…even people in the 17th century had something resembling an Advent calendar. Some families put up a new religious picture each day, others painted 25 chalk strokes on the living room door and each day a child could erase one. Others set up the nativity scene without baby Jesus and put one piece of hay into the manger on each day.”

Charlie looked up. ”I think I like chocolate better.”

Said like a true toddler.

And yet, Jesus understands our longing for magic.  He created it.   And Franziska Macur has written a very magical story that illustrates this well, for kids, and for tired momsies.

The book is set up in simple, daily readings.  Each reading tells the continuing story of Charlie and Noel (yes, he’s a talking donkey; he’s adorable), and I tell you, it is lovely.  It has simple crafts and follow up questions on some days; other days provide thought-provoking reading for the parents.  It gives some really great ideas on how to find joy through service, through giving, and it even gives great counsel to your toddler about that dreaded List o’ Presents You Really Should Get Me.  (I loved this list as a kid.  I used to outline mine with subcategories and multiple headings.  Color coded.  Spiral bound.  Good times.)

As someone who always, ALWAYS, starts out her Christmas season with this rally cry: “This year we are going to tone it down.  It’s going to be simpler.  But memorable.  Magical. But biblical. We won’t get caught up in the Walmart Shuffle.  We’ll make memories, not spend money.  It will be service oriented,  but not too hectic, AND- (at this point I have totally cued the Braveheart theme and have slowly crawled up on top of my couch.  I am William Wallace, ready to slay Toys ‘R Us flyers and overstuffed calendars, for the glory of The Perfect Christmas.)  – AND this year every gift we give will be homemade!  No one will want our gifts!  It will be the best Christmas EVERRRRRRRR!!!”

And then the Rudolph special airs along with a commercial for Thomas the Legoland Wii Extravaganza Playset (with extra Star Wars play set engineers – Obi One Kenobi as Sir Topham Hatt!),  and I’ve lost my sword and my horse, and my lousy Scottish accent.  And my mind.

The Christmas season is not meant to be jetted through at a calendar-scorching twelve parties a week.  It is not meant to be feted to death or over-scheduled or, for some, just endured.  It is meant to be magical.  And not in a Rudolph kind of way.*

In a Jesus kind of way.

We all long for it; sometimes we just don’t know how to put this longing into words.  Charlie and Noel is the kind of book that will first help you remember the Christmas your heart knows.  And then, it will help you teach this remembering to your children.

Click here for more information about Charlie and Noel at Home, Naturally’s bookstore:

And here  at

Welcome, Christmas.



* I would like to add, for sweet Rudolph’s benefit, I really have nothing against the little glowing guy.  Rudolph is an innocent stop-motion animated bystander (along with his annoying dentist elfin friend).  Rudolph is a classic.  He is beloved and a wonderful part of Christmas cheer.  I’m just saying he is not the “reason for the season.”  And these days, the whole Reason seems to be lost amidst the nuttiness that starts BEFORE Halloween in the aisles of Target and Walmart across this nation.  (And… as much as I like to lambast Walmart, we buy it, don’t we?)

But not the Abominable Snowman.  He’s not an innocent.  He still scares me.