Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Ray of Light in the Middle of Darkness!

My daughter Lexi started playing the Flute in 5th grade. And right away she loved it. For the past 2+ years now, she practices nearly every night, without ever having to be told or even reminded to. Yes, even over the summer she practices. Gasp!

Little Lexi learning to play the Flute!

This year when the girls started Jr. High School, they got to choose, for the first time, which elective classes they wanted to take. Erica knew right away, she was so over band! She had been playing the French Horn in 5th & 6th grades, but didn't really like it, and NEVER wanted to practice. She would much rather be in Choir or Drama classes. But Lexi knew right away she was sticking with Band, no question. She loves playing the Flute & is really good at it!

We didn't have the money to buy our girls the Instruments they wanted to play when they started in Band, not knowing for sure then if they would even like it and want to stick with it. With Erica playing a larger instrument (the French Horn) the school provided one for her to use. And some friends of ours, Kyle's girlfriend Olivia's family, let us borrow a Flute from them. Olivia's older sister Jamie had played the Flute when she was younger, & was now in College. They were such a Blessing to us, letting Lexi use their Flute all these years. And it was such a nice Flute.

Well last Thursday morning the girls were at their bus stop, and Lexi sat her Flute down to finish up some homework, before the bus got there. She finished the homework, the bus came & they got on. She soon realized she didn't have her Flute with her & told the bus driver. She turned the bus around and went back to the bus stop, but wouldn't allow Lexi to get off the bus. They couldn't see the Flute from the bus, so they left. Of course Lexi was upset & crying. She texted me what had happened. And texted Olivia saying I'm soooooo sorry I lost your Flute!

I went out walking all over the neighborhood. It had rained here the night before, so the bugs were out in force. My legs are now COVERED in bites from looking through the bushes, etc. for the lost Flute. No luck. When Zach got home from his College class that morning he went looking around the Bus stop. Nothing. When John got home from work that afternoon, he went looking. No Flute. When the girls got home from school, even though we told Lexi we all looked, she still had to go back up there to "make sure!" I called the local neighborhood schools to see if anyone had turned in a Flute. Her name was taped to the case. No one had. Unfortunately it's probably on EBay, or Craig's list right now. Lexi's band teacher was scouring the school district to see if he could find one in working condition, (if you know anything about instruments that are owned by the schools, this is a big IF!) that she could possibly use until we would be able to get her one.

Now, understand, the Company I was working for has gone out of business. So though I am in the middle of job hunting, I do not have a job right now. Four days before Lexi lost her Flute, John was told he was for sure being laid off as well. So after October 31st, he will not have a job. We both panicked. How could we pay our friends back for the Flute we'd lost, even though they have never asked us to in anyway, we still want to pay them for it. And then would we be able to get another one for Lexi? The thought of having to tell her we couldn't, & that she would have to give up band broke my heart. I loved my job, but even through losing it & John losing his, us not having health Insurance, and having 2 kids in college now, & not knowing how in the world we are going to survive, I have not really cried. But, on this day, thinking of my little girl being forced to give up the music she loved so much & to stop playing, I hid in my bathroom & sobbed! I'm crying again now as I'm writing this, just thinking about it.

John had put it on Facebook & Twitter, asking people to pray for our Flute situation. And we had so many people concerned & asking us if we'd found the Flute. One of those people were some friends of ours from the Church we were at before, Renee & Eric Petermann. We saw them at a friends wedding this past Saturday. Then on Sunday they texted John saying that they have 2 Flutes that aren't being used. They talked it over with their Daughter Colette, and felt like they should give one to Lexi. And could we meet them that night? What an answer to prayer! Lexi's first words when we told her were "Now I can practice tonight!"

Colette and Renee' giving Lexi her new Flute!

We met them that night & they had ribbon on the Flute case for her. I asked them if I could take a picture & would they be okay if I Blogged about it, (you know me, always thinking about what to Blog!) :) and they were gracious enough to let me. As soon as we got back in the car, Lexi had the Flute out, put together & was playing it! Music to our ears! Erica even tried playing it, but, it didn't quite sound the same, if you know what I mean! :) Colette, who is now a senior in High School, had played the Flute back when she was in Middle School, but not since. She wrote Lexi a little note that was inside the case with the Flute, it read "When I heard about what happened to your Flute, I thought about mine. I played it for about 2 years & haven't played it in 4 years, so why not give it to you! I hope you like it! Keep up the good work & I hope you are able to play it for a long time! I miss you & love you! Colette :) XOXO" That was so Sweet of her. Lexi said "I'm gonna leave the ribbon on the case when I take it to school tomorrow!" And she did. In fact the case still has it's ribbon on it. It may just stay there for ever!

Thank you so much to Colette, Renee' & Eric Petermann, for giving Lexi this wonderful gift! And believe me, the gift of Music is no small gift! We can not thank you enough. Eric is a Chiropractor that has taken care of John & I, and even Zach (who has a mild case of Scoliosis) for many years. If you are in the Phoenix area & need a great Chiropractor, please see Dr. Eric. Here is a link to his website. And Renee' makes the most beautiful Jewelery. Here is a link to her Etsy shop. When my Dad passed away several years ago, Renee' took one of his Bo lo Ties (yes, my dad wore Bo lo ties! Remember this is Arizona!) and turned it into a beautiful necklace that I will have forever! I would just love it if through sharing this story, we could send some new Patience and Customers their way. It still wouldn't be a big enough thank you for what they have done for us. But please visit them, and tell them Lexi sent you! :)

My parents with two of my brothers!
(you can see my Dad wearing his Bo lo tie!)

That same Bo lo tie, now as a Beautiful piece of Jewelery!
Thanks to Renee'

Going through all the difficulty we are facing right now, this was definitely a huge ray of light! And I hope a reminder to all of us, that God cares about what we are going through! And that He sends people into our lives & blesses us through them. And we are Blessed!

Lexi playing her new Flute!
And practicing non stop once again!
She lost her Flute on Thursday & was able to bring her new one on Monday!
Only going 2 days without an Instrument!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


If you know me, you know how much I love the T.V. show Parenthood.
Well I've entered a contest through ivillage and facebook
to win a day on the set with the cast! How cool is that?!

I'm sure you also know that I have been a huge fan of Lauren Graham
since Gilmore Girls! Just one of my favorite T.V. shows of all time!

I would LOVE to win this! But to win it I need your help.
Starting Sept. 22nd, you can vote for my entry.
I had to write a story of 400-2000 characters in one of 3 categories.
You can read my story & vote for me here.

You know I will be Blogging all about my day on the set!
Just get me there! :)
Thank you so much.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Color Coded Kids (It's a Twin thing)

One of the first questions a Mother of Twins is faced with is weather or not to dress your children alike. There are pros & cons to both sides of this decision. I've known Moms on both sides of this discussion who go to the extreme to make their twins look as much alike as possible, or as different from each other as possible.

Most of the literature expectant Mothers of Twins find to read encourages you to allow your children to be individuals and yet still foster the bond they share with each other.

I know Moms with Twins who ALWAYS keep them dressed exactly alike! And you have to admit, there is nothing cuter than twins dressed the same! The problem with that is when one of your babies spits up on themselves, or has an accident, or spills food on their clothes you have to change two complete outfits EVERY TIME! That gets old!

There is also the train of thought that no two people are exactly alike, not even twins. And we should never try to lump them together as one unit (or person!) This belief system leads you to believe that no matter how cute it is, they should never look alike.

As the Mother of Beautiful Twin girls I fall somewhere in the middle! I recently Blogged about my baby girls starting Jr. High School, and mentioned the color of the clothes they were wearing in their first day of school pictures for both Pre-school & Jr. High. You can read it here. And it got me thinking about this issue once again. And something many Mothers of Twins do which is to Color Code your kids!

When I was pregnant with my girls I read books that told about families who's Twins looked so much alike they had to keep one toe nail of their daughters polished with the same color at all times, to know who was who. I guess then you'd just have to remember which twin had which color! :) Or they put bracelets on them at birth to differentiate between the two. But, as fast as babies grow that's a little scary to me!

My color coding happened kind of by accident. Well, not by design anyway. If someone bought us two of the same outfits, or on special occasions I would dress my girls alike. I also dressed my boys alike as babies & they were 16 months apart! It's just so adorable! I couldn't help it.

Though most of time I liked to dress my girls similarly, but not quite the same. Even when they wore the same outfit, I would put different color tights, shoes or headbands on them. But my favorite was dressing them in the same thing just different colors. Or in the same color, or fabric, but different styles!

And we've never had a problem telling our girls apart. At birth Erica was born with a little more hair than her sister Lexi. So people started calling her "Hairica" to remember that the one with more hair was Erica! But, it didn't take Lexi long to catch up. So that wouldn't work anymore.

One of our baby shower gifts were Pacifier clips. An invention straight from God! If you've ever had a child spit one out, or drop it out of a stroller, and panicked when you couldn't find it, you know what I mean! We had one that was pink & one that was purple. (Good choices for girls!)

Erica's was the Pink pacifier clip, and Lexi's was the purple one. I never thought much about it until one time as I was putting them in the nursery at Church and was explaining (like all moms do) what they would need. I always made it a point of pointing out who was who. And one of the workers said to me Oh we know "Lexi Lavender!" Knowing which pacifier clip they each wore (at all times!) made it easy for them to associate the color with the baby! Brilliant!

And so pink became Erica's signature color & purple Lexi's! People started buying them gifts in those two colors. That's just the way it was. Now of course you can't find every outfit, every toy, stuffed animal, Barbie doll, etc. in those two colors. So eventually it shifted to warm colors for Erica & cool colors for Lexi. If someone gave them outfits that were Red & Blue for instance, no matter which girl opened which package, everyone knew Erica would wear the Red & Lexi the blue! It's just the way it was.

I remember one shopping trip with the girls a few years ago, after their Birthday when they had their own money to spend. Like all girls they love picking out their own clothes. And Lexi found a dress she really, really liked but she decided not to get it, and when I asked her why not, she said "Well, I really like it, but it's Pink!" Meaning to her mind she couldn't wear it because it was her sister's color! I told her that's okay, your allowed to like pink too you know. But she wouldn't have it.

And over the years I've noticed this is the trend with twins. We had a family in our Church, years ago that had twin boys David & Drew, and their catch phrase was "Drew in Blue!" Zach has some good friends that are Twins and when ever I see them, though they are college age now, I know if one of them is wearing Green it's Ryan & the one in Blue is Christopher!

My girls almost never dress alike any more. Except maybe for Twin day at school. (But, sometimes even then they will each dress to match with their friends rather than their actual Twin!) But, whenever we look at pictures of them when they were really little and looked a lot alike, if we can't tell right away who is who, we look at the color of the clothes they are wearing, or of their head bands, or pacifier clips if all else fails, & we know right away who is who.

Sometimes when they are shopping and both happen to really like the same thing, they will start arguing over which one gets to get it, and I've been known to remind them, you know you both can get it, it's not unheard of for Twins to like or even wear the same item! And I almost always hear (in unison of course) "Oh Mom!" And they go on to decide who gets it! Or if they do get the same thing, like a pair of Jeans for instance, they usually wont wear them on the same day.

Their colors have shifted some over the years, Erica really likes Orange now & Lexi loves Green! (Notice how they still manage to stay within the warm & cool color schemes though!) I have friends who knew us when the girls were little & haven't seen them since, but when they get our Christmas card & family picture every year, they still know who is who due to the color they are wearing! If you are the Mother of Twins, or if you even know some Twins, you probably know exactly what I am talking about, if not, you might think how horrible it is to color code your children. But I would argue, would you rather go through life being forever called the wrong name, or worse yet, just being called "Twin?" It's only happened a couple times but I've heard people call out "Hi Twin" and I cringe. They are people, they have names! Use them. (Sorry, that was just a Mom moment!) And there are many worse things to be known for than what color you like to wear. And if I can help educate people on letting twins be unique & express themselves as individuals, while still celebrating the fact that they are a twin, and how special that is, then I've done a good thing. No matter what color it comes in!

I ran into my friend & her sons at a wedding shortly after I wrote this Blog post, and I told the boys I had mentioned them in my Blog. And of course they were wearing their signature colors, so I had to get a pic! Me with twins Christopher (in Blue) and Ryan (in green) still color coded! :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Yesterday I Tweeted: "9 years ago today we all believed All Is Well With The World! Then 9 years ago tomorrow that all changed forever!" 9/11 happened. And I don't think any of us will ever forget that day. We were living in Louisiana at the time, I had just sent my boys off to elementary school & turned on the Today show & like the rest of the world couldn't believe what I was seeing. All the Church staff met at the Church to be together & to pray. I packed up my 3 year old twin daughters & I remember walking into the Church where they had also hooked up a T.V. to watch the coverage unfold, and my girls saying "Daddy, we were already watching the air plane crash into the towers at home" glad they were really too young to understand what was happening to there safe little world.

These are pictures of Ground Zero in 2008, when my boys & I visited New York City on a summer missions trip with their youth group. It is truly the only quiet place in the entire city.

We met Fire Fighters & people who had actually been there when it happened. A man who was in the financial business until that day, & now worked with a Church in ministering to Muslim people. Even the people who survived that horrific day, their lives have never been the same.

We spent a day in a shelter for homeless families. Above is Kyle speaking to the kids after we had done some drama & songs for them. And below is Zach wowing the kids with some awesome magic card tricks. They loved it all! I spent quite a bit of time talking with a woman & her two beautiful daughters who had just moved into this shelter. She was a career woman who told me about being down town shopping that day and had inhaled so much dust & debris when the towers fell that she could no longer work due to health issues with her lungs. She cried as she talked about it & this was like 7 years after it had happened.

I still pray for those people I met in New York City. And others who've lost loved ones. We all lost something that terrible day. Our Innocence for one thing. And on this, the 9th anniversary, my kids have asked if we can watch the movies The World Trade Center & United 93. Yes, it is with heavy hearts, we remember.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jr. High

It's hard to believe my baby girls have started Jr. High School.
They could not wait for this day to get here! Me: not so much!
It's funny how they keep growing up
& I stay exactly the same age though isn't it?! :)

This was my baby girls' first day of school ever: Pre-school.
John & I taking our babies to school!
They couldn't wait back then either!
All Giggles!
Some things never change!

Erica on her first day of Jr. High School,
notice she still chose to wear Pink!
(Pink is her signature color!)

And Lexi ready for school,
in Blue again as well!
(Funny, she doesn't really wear Blue a whole lot!)

And last night they went to their very first Jr. High School Dance!
If you have, or know a girl starting Jr. High,
here is some advice from girls who have been there.

Erica! Looking Cute!
Lexi, Dressed up for the Dance!

I don't know that I'm ready for what comes next!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stepping Out Of The SHADE

My cute little store!
(The day the Mall had Italian sidewalk artists)

Lots of cute clothes!

The Mannequins all ready for summer!

Our best seller, The Cap Sleeve!
(Notice how nicely we keep them all folded!)
This is that same table, the last day we were open! Ouch!

Jen, on the day they announced our Liquidation,
Ready to slash prices!
Rose & I after closing our doors to the public for the last time ever!
All my Mannequins naked!
No more playing dress up!
John & I, Hannah, Rose, Olivia & Kyle
ready to pack up & ship out the store!
The girls added us to the Boxes. Aren't we cute?!
Gone, but not forgotten!
So, my son Kyle got in on the act!
Hope the warehouse workers appreciate our art work!
Taken the girls out!
One of the Black Widow Spiders they killed in our back room!
There were two nests right behind my desk I sat at everyday!
Thanking God for protection!

Olivia, cutting down "The Face Of Shade!"

Hannah, trying on "The Face Of Shade!" :)
It's Looking Lonely in here.

The only thing left, the Cash Wrap.
A very HEAVY, SOLID piece of wood.

This was how we moved it into the store!
(It takes a village, trust me!)
Trying to get it in place.
Removing it was our biggest problem.
So Zach, John, Kyle & Todd (from the Warehouse)
took a circular saw & sledge hammer to it!
And had fun doing it!

Reducing it to this.
Twirling, like in You've Got Mail!:)
It's Just an empty shell now.Time to move on!
I will miss being in the SHADE!