Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cause you Gotta Have Friends!

Think of the Golden Girls theme song while you are reading this post.  In case you have forgotten it, let me remind you.  "Thank you for being a friend.  Traveled down the road and back again....."

Don't you love those friendships that you can pick right back up with at anytime?  It doesn't matter how long you have been apart or how bad you are at communicating, you get in a room together and it was as if no time had passed at all?  Those friendships are hard to come by, so cherish them!  I am lucky enough to have a whole family of those friendships.  The Laube and Coombs families have been friends for 23 years (we counted last night).  The friendship started when Dave and Pat moved to Colorado with their two lovely daughters and started attending Southern Gables Church.  They started a handbell choir and my parents signed up to play.  We have been friends ever since.   We have vacationed together, been in weddings together, gone on mission trips together and generally been a big part of each other's lives.  This summer Stacy got married and the Coombs girls jumped right in helping with sewing, invitation making, wedding coordinating and doing anything we could to make the day wonderful and stress free for the Laube ladies.  We did it because we LOVE them (and it is a good way to get out our creativity).

So as a thank you, last night the Laube Ladies took the Coombs Ladies out for dinner.  It was a wonderful night of catching up, laughter and love.  It was one of those nights that fills your hearts.  We all need those times to keep us going.  So often, I feel like my love tank is empty from giving so much to the kids and husband (if there is any left after the kids go to bed).  Well guess what.....the love tank is full today!

Thank you ladies for being such a wonderful part of my life.  Here's to another 23 years of friendship!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kiss Your Kids

Having a really hard time writing this post tonight without blubbering all over the keyboard.  Today was a CRAZY day beginning at 5:45 in order to make it to a swim meet by 7:00 (a.m.).  We ended the night, as we often do, at the corner.  Tim and Amy have had a rough week with little 8 week old Layla having surgery to remove part of her lung and a tumor that was growing inside of it.  Long story short, they were supposed to come home on Friday and it is now Sunday with no Layla at home.  She will probably have to stay until at least Wednesday or Thursday.  Amy and Tim have been living at the hospital and both sets of grandparents have been helping with their other two kids.  So at the end of a long week with no end in sight, they called for reinforcements.  I'm not going to lie, if you ever need anything, the person to call is Julie Luebcke.  She can and will do anything for anyone at anytime and smile while doing it.  She is amazing.  So today she watched the O'Neill kids while there was a shift change in the Nebraska grandparents.  Tim came home (looking a little shell shocked) later to meet his parents and get the kids settled.  That left Amy alone at the boring hospital.  So, Julie and I headed down there to cheer her up, give her some company and deliver some chick flicks.

Don't you just love to see God work in all circumstances?  Tonight was one of those nights.  While we were wandering the halls trying to find Layla's room, we happened to be walking behind a lady pushing a wheelchair down the hall of the children's wing of Rocky Mountain Children's Hospital.  I recognized them.  It was Annie and her mom.

I attend Community Bible Study every Tuesday.  It is a nice chance for me to interact with adults and keeps me in God's word on a consitant basis.  They also have an AMAZING children's program that my kids adore.  At CBS we have been praying for a family for a long time.  Annie's family.  Annie was diagnosed with Vaginal cancer at age 2.  Yeah you read that right.  She is now 7 and is losing the battle.  In the last few weeks they have been keeping us up to date on her condition and that they don't think that Annie will make it much longer.  I have been praying.

I was so shocked to see her and it was right when we found the correct room for Layla that I didn't respond or stop them as they were walking down the hall.  But I whispered to Julie "isn't that Annie from CBS"?  She said yes and I was an emotional wreck.  I couldn't help but think about that situtaion.  Then I walked in to see little Layla in this big crib with all of these machines hooked up to her.  It took me a bit to compose myself.

We had a wonderful visit with Amy.  We laughed and chatted and had a great time and Julie put Layla into such a deep sleep that the nurse was practically bowing at the feet of the baby whisperer.  The whole time there was this nagging that I should have stopped Annie and her mom is the hallway. 

Well guess what?  God gives second chances.  As we were walking out of Layla's door, guess who happened to walk right by?  Yep, Annie's mom.  We stopped her and introduced ourselves and let her know that we loved her and were praying for her little girl and their family.  I hope she was as blessed as we were.  I hope that we were friendly faces late on a Sunday night when she was exhausted.  And I pray that she sleeps so peacefully knowing that God beautifully orchestrated our night so that we could see her and love her.

Needless to say, I got home and lovingly looked at my kids and thanked God for them and gave them an extra kiss tonight.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rants and Randomness

What is the treat that you obsess over?   For me, it is Coca-Cola.  I LOVE Coke!  I exercise so that I don't have to feel guilty about drinking it.  I plan my day around when I am having my coke.  And relish the day when my coke is from the fountain.  It is the only way to go.  I will forgo Starbucks for coke.  I is serious.  The best place to get Coke:  McDonalds.  Not only is it cheap (I will be so sad when they get rid of the $1 any size drink), but did you know that McDonalds imports their ice from Coca-Cola so that they are chemically a perfect match thus tastes most authentic.  So next time you stop by McDonalds for an icy cold Coke, raise your glass to me.  Or better yet, buy and extra one and bring it to my house!  I will love you forever.  It is the way to my heart (along with my sister's famous chocolate chip cookies).   But beware, if you get between me and my Coke....there will be issues.  Makai spilled my full coke on the garage floor the other day while sweetly putting away the trash can.  I yelled.  I had to apologize later and tell him what a great boy he was for doing something I didn't even ask him to do...even if he spilled my coke.  I just had to run downstairs to my stash and get a new one.  No harm done!  I might have a problem.  Do you remember Joey from Friends.  "Joey doesn't share food".  Well "Lisa doesn't share Coke".  Now that my kids have caught the Coca Cola fever, I will occasionally let them have a sip and that, my friends, is progress.

 Seriously, is your mouth watering?  Mine is.

Do you remember when Taco Bell used to have Dr. Pepper on tap?  That was the best Dr. Pepper ever!  It was a sad day when they stopped serving Dr. Pepper.  Do I sound obsessed about soft drinks?  I am.  I guess there are worse things to be obsessed over, right?

My favorite food: potatoes.  They are my all time favorite single food (not favorite meal) and if I was on a deserted island and could only have one food, it would be potatoes. Think about all of the different ways you can make potatoes; Mashed potatoes, french fries, potato cakes, mashed potatoes, cream potatoes, baked potato soup, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato chips, cheesy potatoes, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, tots, need I go on.  Sorry, didn't mean to go all Forrest Gump on you, but I love potatoes.

We have a friend that says that her love language is food.  It could be true of me too.  I love to minister to people with food.  I love to cook food (most of the time).  I love bringing meals to the families with new babies (mostly because I get to hold little babies).  I love to eat food.  I love food.  So really it is amazing that I don't weigh over 200 pounds.  This is also the reason I will never be a size 8 again.  It is not worth it to me.  I would much rather be a size 10 and be able to drink Coke and eat yummy food (in moderate portions) than to obsess over exercise and eating healthy.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't eat like crap (most of the time) and I try to make healthy choices for my family, but what is wrong with a few pretzel m&ms (a topic for another blog) here and there?

One more rant.  Clothing/shoes for boys.  Seriously!  I think I should open up a shop that specializes in cute clothes for boys.  I am really tired of boring clothes with random numbers and sports teams on them.  #33 Tigers.  Who are the tigers?  What school does it represent?  Was 33 their star player?  The year they were started?  The favorite number of the person who designed the shirt?  It is so hard to find cute, DURABLE clothes for boys.  Where is the "Justice" for boys?  Have you been in Justice for girls?  They have a table of cute mix and match underwear for girls.  Like Victoria Secret for girls.  What if my clothing store had a big table of boxer briefs in cool camo, plaid, striped colors.  $10 for 5 pair or something?  Would you shop there?  I would carry all sorts of cool colored converse shoes and brown shoes that are cute for church or school.  Not the same pair of ugly brown shoes that Target has carried for 8 years in a row.  What about dress clothes?  I could have a section in the back that had cool bowties and neckties in all sorts of colors or patterns to match the other members of the family on a holiday.  Am I the only one who likes a matching family on Christmas eve at church (I only have a few short years until the boys override me)?  Do you know how hard it is to find cute dress up clothes that aren't lame.  And by lame I mean the same polyester, elastic waist-ed pants, with a sort of matching nasty cotton button down shirt (that shrinks upon first washing) and a gross patterned (usually pastel) sweater vest all for the low cost of $40.  Maybe if Tony Hawk designed dress clothes.  His clothes at Kohl's are AWESOME!  If you are looking for a new business plan, I am the girl for you.  I love to come up with new ideas, but don't have time to follow through.  I think you ought to start a BOYS ONLY clothing store.  I would be in there ALL. THE. TIME. 


This mom of three boys is tired of shopping at stores where they have mountains of super cute (and cheap) girl clothes and three racks of boys clothes that look just like the ones from last year (and cost a fortune and are never on sale because they sell so fast because that is all they have).  As far as the shoes.....isles and isles of cute girly shoes with glitter and sparkle and ONE isle of shoes that NEVER change.

Rant End.

So Happy Friday to you all.  May your shopping be plentiful and have no team names or numbers on them (or cartoon characters).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Autumn Color Run

Bright and early on Saturday morning we headed up to Buena Vista for the Autumn Color Run.  We have done it a few times before and it is a blast!  If you are ever looking for a race to participate in, that is the one to do.  It is very small town, low key and simple.  I love that it isn't super crowded and that things are a little loosey goosey.  Not normally my personality, but in this circumstance, I have come to love it.

Chris has been training diligently for the half marathon.  The good news about the half marathon....mostly downhill.  The bad news......10,000 feet above sea level.  But nonetheless, at 9:00 on Saturday morning Chris, Paul (brother-in-law and all around great guy) and Nick (a friend and Gables guy) headed down the trail, after a little stretching first.

Makai and I had to wait around for a bit to catch the bus up to the 5k starting point (something we didn't train for at all, but should have).  It was beautiful out with a really cool low laying rainbow.

They changed the course on us this year and I was not pleased.  They had us start on a dirt road, run uphill and then cross over to the pavement (which was downhill).  Makai had a hard time on the dirt (wheezing) and then when we got to the pavement informed me that his shoes were too tight and were hurting his feet.  Information that would have been helpful the day before!!!  Anyway, we did it.  Our finish time wasn't great (40 minutes), but we finished it and it was a great bonding time.  At the finish line were Mimi, Tanner and Jameson cheering us on.

While we were waiting for the half marathoners, this guy finished the 5k.

How awesome is that!?  I love it and wish more people had that die hard attitude.

We only had to wait a few minutes until the star showed up!

He finished it in 1:48.5, which means he averaged a 8:15 mile.  What?  So proud of my man and all of his hard work.  He says he wants to do a full marathon in January-February.  Is he crazy?  I still have never run more than 3.5 miles in my life and not sure I ever want to.

13 minutes later.....these guys showed up.

Way to go!  In just over two hours Paul and Nick finished.  This was Nick's first half marathon.  Congratulations guys!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Corner

Do you know your neighbors?  We didn't really know any of our neighbors despite living in our house for 10 years.  However, I am lucky enough to live 10 houses away from my sister.  My sister and her husband are VERY outgoing and therefore have really gotten to know their neighbors.  The last few summers their neighbors (and by default ours) have started hanging out at "the corner".  Any given summer night, you can find a myriad of neighbors hanging out, talking, drinking and letting the kids play together at the corner of Brandt and Taft.  We are the neighborhood step child (from Berry Ave.) and have wormed our way into the corner.  These families are amazing and have been so much fun to get to know.  They are very "real" people and don't put on pretenses.  I love that.

There is a new baby on the corner.  Layla.  We all love Layla.  Most of the other kids on the corner are older, so all of the corner moms can't wait to get their hands on Layla.
My goal as a photographer is to have great pictures straight out of the camera.  Photoshop is great, but anyone can do that.  Not everyone can take good pictures!  I am very pleased to say that the above shot is straight from the camera.  No editing whatsoever!

I love the last one.  I bought this pot at the Paris Street Market so I could use it in my newborn pictures.  I bought it with a newborn in mind, but Layla is 7 weeks old and didn't fit in the pot very well.  But doesn't she look so cute?  I think she looks like a fairy that crash landed.

You can be praying for Layla.  She is having surgery next week to remove part of her lung that has a tumor in it.  Pray for Tim and Amy that they will trust God with their little girl and that God will heal her miraculously!

Here are some of the other awesome people from the corner that I have had the privilege of photographing.

The Newmillers.  Their house is actually on the corner and therefore they are the ones that started the corner.  They are an awesome family and are always making me laugh!

 Gage.  So full of life...and trouble.  He has the best nickname of all time: the Crackin'.
Avery.  A cutie and one of the 4 girls (ages 5-6) on the corner.

And the Hindes Girls.  So cute and easy going.  I love these girls.
Sisters.  I am a sucker for sister pictures.

So, if you are ever in the neighborhood, stop by the corner and see us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

8 Years in the Making

Have you heard the song "Allergies" by  Bare Naked Ladies?  If not, you should take a listen and get a little glimpse into my life.    Here are some of the lyrics:

My little brother is allergic to meat
My friend's mother is allergic to wheat
Allergic to meat?
Allergic to wheat?
Gotta be tricky finding something to eat

That song was made for our family (except me).  My kids and husband have a lot of food allergies.  I am used to it now, after dealing with it for 12 years of marriage and 8 years of motherhood.  Although, nothing prepared me to see my extremely swollen husband with fluid coming out of every orifice in his body in the ER during our first year of marriage.  It was my first time seeing him so severe while he was still in the hospital.  I had seen the after effects, but never to that extent.  Think Martin Short in the movie "Pure Luck".   I knew when we had kids there would be a good chance that they would have some food allergies and boy was I right!  At 6 months, we found out that Makai was allergic to eggs and peanuts.  Cooking without that possible.  Now, eight years later, I can say "Yes it is!".  Tanner came along and was allergic to peanuts.  No big deal, easy to avoid.  But then came the big Kahuna, Jameson.  From the time he was 6 weeks old and I found blood in his stool, I had to avoid ALL dairy in my diet while I was nursing.  Can you say difficult?  But I managed.  Everyone told me he would grow out of it by the time he was two years old.  He is now three and just as severe as ever with his dairy, egg and peanut allergies!

People always ask me "what do you cook"?  It seems like such a strange question to be because I just adapt and I am used to it.  I will say that Jameson eats WAY too many dino nuggets, but they are his favorite and are easy to microwave while the rest of us are enjoying our pizza.

However, I finally reached my crowning achievement recently.  Dairy free, egg free chocolate chip cookies.  I have tried many different ways to make them with no success.  They were too hard, called for strange ingredients, cooked funny, tasted funny, etc.  But I finally got it!  Here is the delicious Allergy Chocolate Chip cookies.

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce (in place of 2 eggs)
1/2 tsp. water
3/4 of a package of Ghiradelli's semi-sweet chocolate chips (gold package- no dairy in them!!)

Combine everything but the first three ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Add the dry ingredients together and mix.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips to the other mixture.  Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

ALL of my kids love these and it is so nice to have a sweet treat that everyone can enjoy.  I hope you enjoy them as well!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's In a Blog?

Today is my blogging debut.  I have been thinking about doing a blog for quite some time, but something has always stopped me.  But not today.  Today....I become a blogger.  I have always loved reading other blogs, but I wonder to myself; "does anyone care what I have to say?"  So, I am taking a leap of faith and hoping that people do care what I have to say and can relate to my life.

I am a stay at home mom.  It is a sacrifice, but I love it (most of the time).  There has never been any doubt that this is what I want to do when I grow up and I am so thankful that I am able to do it.  Do I wish we had a double income?  Yes!!!  Is it worth it to have someone else taking care of my kids?  NO!!  I know that there are lots of women that would love to be able to stay at home but are not able to.  I am glad that we have made the choice to live on a tighter budget so that I can be at home with my kiddos.

I am also a budding photographer.  I love creating great pictures of families and kids that reflect their true personality instead of them giving the cheesy smile to the camera!  I am hoping that through this blog I can share my love of photography as well as some cute pictures of my own family and clients that I work with.

By the way, this is probably one of the only pictures you will ever see of me.  Being behind the camera all of the time means that I am never in any pictures.  Thanks to Kristen Haufschild for taking this head shot of me while I was taking her click class.

I guess that is all for now.  Looking back, this seems like a really boring post.  Sorry and hang in there!  I promise to spice it up.