More coffee, please…

Coffee, Conga, & Hawks!

You know you’re doing the parenting thing right when your twelve-year-old is looking at you with a combination of doubt and amusement. At least, that’s the way I figure it. So the other morning, my beloved dog woke me up at 4:30 as she paced back and forth down the halls and up and down the old wooden staircase of our house over and over. I finally convinced myself to give up on the tossing and turning bit and groggily ventured downstairs and to my fuel, ahem, coffee maker at 5:58. As I was pressing start on my favorite kitchen appliance, the electricity went out. Noooooooooo!

The first five minutes of the power outage I was optimistic. I lit some candles, chatted with my ten-year-old, (who was so excited to be using her new flashlight in the dark), and I decided to start my Bible study. But all I could think about was that coffee. So when the power came on about forty minutes later and I had the first cup of deliciousness in my hand, I was dancing across my kitchen. Now, some people know that kitchen dancing is kind of my thing, but this morning I got lost in the moment. All I know is that I glanced up mid-one-woman-conga-line to see that look I mentioned a minute ago coming at me from my 12-year-old. I was singing the Conga beat, (da-da-da-da-da-da), coffee in hand, my favorite cozy robe on, dancing across the kitchen and in place of shouting “Con-ga! Con-ga!” I was singing, “Cof-fee! Cof-fee!” What can I say? I like my coffee.

A little while after my earlier than usual kitchen dance party, I had just finished my yoga and was at the sink, when I spotted a hawk on my neighbor’s fence. I got excited. I always do when I see hawks. I think they’re so cool I had to include them in my teen fantasy book series, HARMONY RUN. I showed my daughters, who both thought the bird of prey was neat, and enthusiastically alerted my husband. Meanwhile, the hawk flew to another tree. By the time Charles got to the window all he could see was, “something black.” Based off his description, I gathered he didn’t quite seem convinced his dream woman had seen a hawk. (Maybe her overactive imagination had gotten carried away again?) To be honest, I think he was only on his first cup of coffee, so maybe he wasn’t as alert as yours truly. Still, in my ongoing quest to prove to Charles I’m holding onto a bit of sanity, I tugged my boots on, grabbed my camera and a winter coat to go with my yoga pants, and headed out into 23-degree weather.

The hawk moved from branch to branch despite my stealth-like approach, (snow boots snapping every twig and crunching every leaf in my yard), but I kept praying that I could just get one picture to show that man. And voilà. I got one, and only one, picture. But thank you, Lord- that’s all I needed!

When I went back inside, my 12-year-old was laughing, the doubt still lingering on her beautiful face. She nodded towards my yoga Capri pants and shook her head. “Cold, Mom?” she asked. “Yes, but I got the evidence I needed for your dad,” I declared triumphantly. The girls were impressed with the photo. And Charles…well, he took one look at the photo and said, “Oh…wow!” surprise evident in his expression, and that made my dash into the cold worth every freezing moment.

I may be a coffee-chugging-one-woman-Conga-line, but I’m not seeing things. Well, not all of the time, anyway. 😉 Don’t forget to look out your window, friends. You never know what you may see. And the next time your morning cup of coffee brings a smile to your face, why not consider doing the kitchen Conga line? I promise I won’t judge. I’m too busy amusing my children.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Hey there, beautiful hawk! 🙂

To the world’s coolest dentist…

Today, in honor of the man, my dad,
Who brainwashed the younger me,
I’ll try to live by his favorite rules
I’ll do my best, let’s see…

I’ll start with the indoor waste
‘Cause a clean trash can is a happy trash can,
Empty each one into the central outdoor bin
Then scrub each container best I can

I’ll put on some classic rock
Throw in some eighties big hair greats,
There’s something about cleaning your house while belting lyrics
To Bon Jovi and Whitesnake

I’ll Windex every window, TV,
Anything that can gleam,
I’ll clean out my cabinets, closets, and drawers
I’ll douse everything in bleach

I’ll try not to overdo it
Every so often I’ll have to take five,
I’ll spend it watching a classic war movie
With the surround sound cranked up high

I’ll tackle each item on my yellow legal pad
Understand the importance of this list,
Work hard, accomplish goals, and cross off each item
After I’m done with it

I’ll do good, what’s right
Treat others how I want to be treated,
Have my friends over for roast
And once they are seated…

I’ll tell my favorite jokes, the old, the new
And sing my favorite tunes,
We’re not gonna take it, no, we ain’t gonna take it
And Beans, beans, the magical fruit

Pass the sugar, Sugar, the honey, Honey,
And please pass the tea, Bag,
I’ll reveal the origins of baby carrots,
How they were taken from their moms and dads

I’ll ask my kids if anyone is picking on them
Offer to beat up a bully or two,
Run five thousand errands, cleaning as I go,
There’s so much dirt, so much to do

I’ll try to be like Dad, the birthday man
Leave a trail of laughs and smiles in my wake,
He touches lives with his humor and kindness
He’s one of a kind, one of the greats

So, today, in honor of the man who taught me to dream big
Who taught me how to ski,
I’ll try to accomplish this daunting list
But at the very least, I’ll scrub my trashcans clean.

Sarah and Dad HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD! I love you!
Love, Princess (AKA your favorite middle child) Sarah Louise

Birthday “card” for my mom. :)

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
This is a card from your middle child,
Sarah Lou…

I don’t understand why we have to keep secrets
from my siblings, about my rank,
I know I’m your favorite
even though you won’t say it, and you still mix up our names

You say it simply means
you love us equally,
But when you call me by the dog’s name,
it leaves me wondering

Yet clearly a woman who takes her kids on adventures
loves each one with all her heart,
And you still accept our phone calls, provide prayer, pep talks,
and therapy free of charge

From road trips to boating to hiking in Whistler,
there’s never a dull moment with you
I remember the nights you defended our houseboat,
chasing raccoons with your flashlight and broom

I’ll never forget when the wise men messed up
every line in the Christmas play
You tried to stay focused and read from the script,
but you couldn’t keep a straight face

It started in your tailbone and traveled up your spine,
soon you were hysterical and laughing to tears,
The minister, the wise men, the entire congregation
joined in, and talked about that show for years

If I had a penny, for every time
I’ve seen people listening to your stories,
Before they know it, they are crying from laughing,
nothing about you is boring

You taught us to spot birds on wires, in trees,
and on the side of the highway and street,
With one hand on the wheel and the other pointing up,
it’s educational and exciting to say the least

You inspire me to write my own story, to dream big,
and to use my imagination,
You were the first person to teach me to live by the phrase,
It’s the journey, not the destination.

You taught Sunday school, you sing with the choir,
you pray with and help those in need,
You’re a listener, a friend, and you point me to God,
you’re always there for me

So while I might not be your favorite,
I know I’m blessed-
I’m one of three people in the world
who can say their Mom is the best.

I’ll respect your phone-free vacations
–my longest week each year,
But I’ll never quit calling,
Yours was the first voice I heard and that I still love to hear.

So on this birthday if I haven’t said it enough,
let me be very clear indeed,
I am undeserving and SO grateful to be the middle child
of the amazing woman known as Jacque.

I LOVE YOU, MOM!

LOVE,
SARAH LOUISE

IMG_4717

A birthday poem for my sister!

A birthday poem for my sister, Coleen!

 

Three days before Christmas, my elder sister arrived
I’ve heard tales of you, the perfect babe, my whole life

The prettiest babe you’ve ever seen, went home in a stocking
Blue eyes, so alert, and intelligent, they wondered when you would start talking

So angelic, what a smile, the sweetest baby there ever was
She never cried, she slept at night, most definitely a gift from above

But then I came along, though an answer to your prayers
Little did you know, my dear. How could you have prepared?

I didn’t like to share you with our Mom or our Dad
When you tried to talk to them, your blonde locks I’d grab

They told me how I picked on you, and so it must be true
Then our younger brother was born, and you had to put up with two

Two kid siblings, terrorizing their perfect, older sister
You became Mom’s extra helping hands and our weekend baby sitter

We never gave our dear sibling, sweet Coleen, a break
We’d peek through the window and tease and laugh at the end of all her dates

When you finally got your license, one would think you’d have been free
But suddenly you became the chauffeur for Sammy C and me

One time on Christmas vacation I came down with the flu
But you nursed me back to health, you knew exactly what to do

And while you may have enjoyed pouring ice water on your younger sis
You spent hours bringing my fever down and you didn’t mention it

When we’ve places to go, I know who to call, you’ll always lead the way
With your sense of direction and GPS system, Siri would be amazed

You swim like a fish, your dedication has always left me impressed
You’d entertain us with high dive twists and flips I won’t forget

You understand life’s essential needs, like fresh air, beach walks, and coffee
You make me laugh with the jokes you send, you’re one of few people who get me

You’re intelligent, dependable, capable, and a good teacher
And when I need a good pep talk, you sound just like a preacher

If someone isn’t treating me right, you’re the first to come to my defense
Don’t mess with your family, you’re a sister hen, you’re not putting up with it

So on this day, as we celebrate a woman so amazing and caring
Please wish her well, but don’t try to steal her, she’s mine and I’m not sharing

Dear sister, my friend, I love you so much, I hope you’ll always remember
I adore you and thank you for being by my side, Happy Birthday, to the babe of December!

 

Love your favorite sister,
Sarah Lou xoxoxo

IMG_4495

 

Coleen and sam and sarah

 

 

Autumn Night

  

A birthday cheer for my dear brother, SAMUEL!

It’s hard to believe another year has passed, and we’re celebrating the man
He’s known as the boss, Dad, and Sam, and some call him Sam I am

I have a few nicknames for you, Baby Bro, there’s Samuel, Samantha, Sammy C.
You’re a delightful guy, the funniest I’ve met; just as kind as a person can be

They say when you were young, you were too shy to talk,
which for some might be hard to believe
You didn’t trust many, and only talked to our mom, and sometimes the dogs, and me

But you talk now, without blinking an eye,
and people love to hear what you say
When you tell a story, your enthusiasm and charm transports us miles away

You’ve always been resourceful,
meticulous, a planner, dating back to your earliest days
You hid chocolate from our parents and how could they have known their toddler son stashed Libs in the fireplace?

On the shores of Dale Hollow, you’d watch boats pass us by,
You’re a man of the woods, camping, and hikes

You’re an overachiever when it comes to most things
Like scuba diving, swimming, and skiing
Dive wrecks for fun, jumping the wake
You always make it look easy

You can fix anything, build furniture in minutes, and organize a cluttered room
Laundry, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning
No mess is too big for you

You make me laugh till it hurts,
Your humor can’t be beat
Your philosophies are one of a kind
Take the seven minute rule in regards to the life of our trusty, McDs French fry

You can quote movie lines, give a great speech, and convince others to believe in your ways,
You know the rules to Fight Club, heroic speeches from flicks, like Braveheart and Independence Day

Once upon a time, in our UE days, we lived off of microwave food
Your friends stole my drinks, my leftover pizza, and locked me out of my bathroom

Still, you were such a great roomie, you vacuumed, dusted, and organized our lives
When the neighbors came calling and saw our spotless house, they couldn’t believe their eyes

How could a college house be so neat, so polished, and smell so clean?
They’d never met a guy like Sam, 150% OCD

I’ll never forget our answering machine with your rotating entertaining cheers
People called just to listen to your latest outbound message
They never knew what they’d hear

But they knew they’d laugh, and certainly smile,
And some days that’s all a person needs
You make people happy, they look forward to talking to you,
You always deliver, indeed

You’re a family guy, who does the right thing
And you’ll always be special to me
You’re the best brother, a good listener, and above all a friend
Happy Birthday to you, Sammy C!

Sam

Grandpa and grandkids