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Monthly Archives: July 2012

We had no parachutes or creepy balloon babies, but we had fun anyway…

Wes is home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The last day before he comes home from these trips is usually the worst day for the kids, with emotions ranging from hyperactive silliness to dissolving into tears over toys to eating cupcakes for lunch. I’ll let you determine who belongs to which behavior. So we needed a fun activity for distraction…

A special thanks for my good friend Suz, who gave me the idea, and Pinterest for expanding it. There is a lot of sports going on right now. Normally I would refer to that as a “marriage ending amount of sports” on television . It is reminiscent to the racket that is “March Madness”. Why can’t we just be honest and name it accurately?  You say “Planning for it end of February Playing in March and just kidding some of April Madness” would look awkward on the screen? Well, I think that’s the price we need to pay for truth. Anyway, the Olympics are different. There’s costumes. And dancing. And the swedish chef Bela Karolyi.

We don’t have Bela, but we muddled through with our own Butler Family Olympics!

First event- Brave Sample Trying at Central Market

“Here kids, try some yummy coconut water!”

“I’m definitely gonna throw up”

“I thought you LOVED me!”

“Now I need a cookie”

They also tried sashimi, hemp milk, kiwi (you wouldn’t think that was so brave until you hear them describe them as monster eyeballs), sheep cheese, and rice milk ice cream.

Next event- Animal Race and Toss!

Our brave tributes

And I am just waiting for the day this is in the real Olympics…


My delicate flower kicked tail in this. Shocker.

And finally, I let them choose what to compete with last. They may not share my genes, but they share my heart, because they chose…a singing contest.

Malachi rockin some Taylor Swift

Josiah is so gangsta

Selah wanted to be dramatic. I know this comes as a surprise.

All in all, a great day and a fun way to pass the time until daddy got home!


All over the world, pictures of bunnies and sunsets are huddled in corners, whispering and wailing about job loss in the bookmark industry…

There is frequently commentary in the media about determining what factors bring society down.  The ideas are many-lax parenting, underperforming schools, reality television. When I hear people talk about this, I do not understand how most people miss the most obvious and I believe, most evil of inventions, one that has wormed its way into our culture to the point where we think it’s completely normal and not designed by scientists who clearly hate awesomeness.

The Kindle.

Yes, I can already hear you- “but…but…I can read so many books on it, it’s so light, and easy, and never gives me paper cuts!”  But comparing a Kindle to a real book is like comparing a beautiful campfire with a Bic lighter. Like comparing cheesecake to jello. Like Justin Timberlake to Justin Beiber (don’t you DARE or we shall never speak again).  Books have soft paper that smells like memories, dog-eared and underlined so you can share your favorite parts, space to write stuff like “Brandy and Nameless Boy 4 ever”. They leave ink stains on your hands. Kindles- what do they leave? The smell of plastic? You can give a book away to a friend and they know it means something because you gave them your only copy- that loses something when you tell a friend to make sure to download a certain title.

Wes and I disagree on this, and he has a Kindle. Sometimes he hugs me and I say “what have you been doing?” and he says “huh?” and I whisper, with betrayal in my voice and judgement in my eyes, “You smell like batteries” and he feels awful because he knows I am right. That last part doesn’t happen, but I keep waiting for it.

I have always been a bookworm. See, even that! “Bookworm”- whimsical and affectionate name for a lover of the written word. “Kindleworm”-what is that? A dance move? A tropical disease? No one knows.

I have great affection for certain books-

Where the Red Fern Grows- I read this when I was around eight. I love this book because it was one of the first “grown up” books I ever read, and because it was the first book that ever made me cry. In the beginning, when Billy is earning money to buy his dogs, I remember feeling like I wanted him to have those dogs so badly that I wished I could send him money!

To Kill a Mockingbird- favorite book ever, hands down. I read this when I was ten and it was the first time I ever heard about racism. It was the first time I ever got really angry reading something, and just felt despair at the unfairness of the story. I walked away (and still do) inspired to be more Atticus like, and wishing I was Scout.

A Grief Observed- I first read this in high school. What I remember most about this book was feeling like, finally, someone says it’s okay to be sad. I felt like I was surrounded in a sea of books and sermons and lectures, all offering wispy words of “God’s will” and “be joyful!” I felt like my sadness at life circumstances was direct evidence of my failure as a believer, and I imagined God up in heaven, tsking at me and saying can you just get over it already? And while I grieved with C.S.Lewis, I also found great freedom reading it to be…real.

Blue Like Jazz- I’m actually not sure I fully understand why I love this book, but I do. I read this in a time where legalism was rampant in my heart. I read it and thought- this guy is just…normal. And really really funny, in a dry and self-deprecating way. And as someone who has often felt like I need to curb my quirkiness, I appreciated someone who was willing to let the quirky flag fly.

The Harry Potter series- my very best friend introduced me to these books and that is at least 78% why she is my best friend. I didn’t read them until 2 years ago, and I am so glad for that, because I am not a very patient person and would have been really frustrated if I had to wait for each book to come out.  I really could go on and on about my love for these books, (and the movies)but I could not say it any better than Andrew Peterson does-

My nerdiness inspired my choice for today’s project. I’ve been trying to figure out how to decorate our office/playroom, and I finally decided to hang signs with quotes from some of my favorite books. I combined several ideas from  Pinterest to come up with this-

Today’s post is late. It’s late because I had a mild existential crisis trying to narrow down my favorites. And then I had to spend some time consoling the ones that got left out. Could you cry over your Kindle? I think not! You’d short out the batteries. I think we can all see who is being reasonable here.

Oh darlin, don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little…

“If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.”-Mark Twain
It probably wasn’t what Mark Twain had in mind when he said this, but when I read it, what came to mind was parenting.  We are all amazing parents…until we become parents. I know that for me, I had some very definite ideas and theories about how I was going to parent, and what my kids would (and wouldn’t) be like.  Nine years into this parenting gig, I can see how it sometimes resembles holding a cat by it’s tail! My kids have done things, both good and bad, that I could never have imagined they would do, and most of my tightly held theories have softened or gone away completely.  I spent some time this week looking back at old pictures of the kids and it inspired me to make this one of my projects-
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This may have been one of the easiest projects I’ve done, and very reasonably priced. Buy the wood, sand and stain it, and draw the rest. This can easily be done in an afternoon!
The result-
Making this made me all kinds of fuzzy and sentimental about our kids. Some of you know that our story involves infertility and adoption.  Looking at this growth chart and watching the three kids mill around me as I was making it, I was just hit with such a sense of peace. Not because they were peaceful, because I believe at that moment they were hitting each other with pillows, but because it is a blessing to be able to see God’s gift to you in not giving you what you wanted.
When Wes and I got married, I had a plan and it revolved around a baby.  infertility was a complete game changer for us, and we moved onto the idea of adoption. I thank the Lord that he and I both never struggled with the concept of adoption. We had talked before getting married and decided we would adopt someday…we just didn’t know how soon that would happen. I have had many conversations with women who cry because they want to adopt and their husbands either don’t or are not ready to adopt, and it is a very painful place to be.
We have adopted three times, and because we like to keep it exciting, we adopted three different ways. Our oldest, Josiah, was adopted through a program called Snowflakes, which is a frozen embryo adoption program.  He is almost nine and is the sweetness in our family. Josiah astounds me sometimes with his thirst for God, and his gifts of mercy and kindness.
When Josiah was 18 months old, we decided that we wanted to adopt again. After suffering losses before getting pregnant with Josiah and an awful pregnancy and delivery (that will have to be a whole separate blog post!), we decided to pursue a domestic infant adoption. Two weeks later, we brought our Selah home. Yes…two weeks. It’s an amazing story that I will tell sometime.  Selah is the drama and humor in our family. That precious girl is such a fighter! Because of some unique challenges she faces, her life is just more difficult than her siblings. BUT-we frequently call her “Silver Lining” because she finds the joy in every single situation and I am so grateful that God has gifted her with this ability.  Malachi came to us from Ethiopia when he was 18 months old. Malachi is also the humor in our family, but it’s totally different.  If Selah is the smart, sarcastic comedian, Malachi is the clown.  I’m already praying for his kindergarten teacher.  He’s so stinkin cute, and he is very aware of it.
We are in the paperwork stage right now to bring another child home from Ethiopia. This adoption has been the most complicated, and had the most roadblocks. But looking at the kids tonight, there is no doubt at all that every single piece of paperwork, every hoop to jump through, every tear shed, is absolutely worth it.

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray…

Sometimes you have beautiful moments with your children where you teach them lifelong valuable lessons through craft projects. Other times you almost set your kitchen on fire.

I’ve been wanting to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum, but since it feels just a few degrees shy of the surface of the sun, I haven’t gone to see it but it inspired me to choose this as my Pinterestpalooza project of the day-

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These are *allegedly* made from plastic wine glasses that are then melted in a toaster oven and tied together. I had visions of sitting with my quiet and engaged children, teaching them about great art while we listen to Vivaldi in the background. We would hang our sculptures in our tree in the backyard, high and proud, where all the neighbors could see and think “I was unaware my neighbors were so cultured! And fancy!”

But I don’t believe the instructions. This picture was clearly accomplished by magic garden gnomes or Oompa Loompas or one of the Weasley kids. Because I followed all most of the instructions and all I got was a mild case of smoke inhalation and the scorned look from my kids who asked me if they could just play Xbox.

After our glasses were colored, I took them into the kitchen. I don’t have a toaster oven, but I thought I could probably melt them with a lighter. That works great, especially if you were thinking of waxing your arm hair with liquid plastic. After I bandaged myself up, I thought, “I bet I could turn the oven down really low and just keep an eye on it.” On the stupid meter, this idea rates just slightly below Pajamajeans.  As I am lecturing the kids about being safe around the kitchen, I smell smoke and the aroma of burning plastic, which smells kind of like a skunk went on a date with death.  I pull the oven door open and then race around trying to open windows. Meantime, Selah is screaming “Stop, Drop, and Rolllllll!!!” I am frantically trying to get them out of the oven and all I can see through the smoke is Selah pulling Malachi to the ground and forcing him to roll around.

Once the smoke cleared (hehe), we looked at our stunning sculptures of flat charred blobs.  As I hummed Billy Joel, I turned to the kids and spoke the ancient wisdom-“well kids, we didn’t start the fire. It was always burning, since the world’s been turning.”

Aside from the obvious fire safety lessons, I learned something else today. Do not attempt crafty projects with your kids when you miss your husband, you’ve had a bad day, and you are hormonal. Just don’t. You will end up making the Dawson face-

I did it. It was ME who started the fire.

Gonna dress you up in my love…

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that my daughter has a fascination with clothing, or MY clothing, to be specific. I think most little girls watch their mothers get ready, and they are intrigued by the shoes, purses, and makeup. They may sit on the bed and watch and think about how someday they will be wearing fancy grown up clothes. My daughter watches me get ready and thinks about what sort of invention she can make with my clothes. Don’t believe me?

Exhibit A-Last summer I noticed that our backyard had patches of flowers growing. Upon further inspection, I realized that they weren’t flowers, they were my bras sticking out of the ground. They guilty party explained that she was making “bug habitats” and my bras were the perfect size and oh yeah, that way they could have two rooms. I think this technically would be called a bug condo, but the point is, I had to buy new bras.

Exhibit B-A year or so ago, she asked me if she could wear one of my t-shirts to bed. I agreed, and the next morning, she walked out of her room with my shirt, cut down the front and cut up the side. I asked for an explanation (because really, hearing her explain the why is sometimes the best part). She explained that the shirt was choking her (she had it on backwards), and she loved me so she didn’t want to take it off, so she just cut part of the collar off. The cut up the side was so that she could tie it because “it looks cute that way and also because maybe you didn’t know it’s kind of too big for me.”

Exhibit C- This happened just two days ago. I walked into Selah’s room to hang up some clothes. I pulled her closet doors, which wouldn’t open…

Me- (yanking on the doors)- “What in the world??  Why won’t this open??”

Selah- (eyes to ceiling and humming)

Me- (taking a deep breath) “Selah. Did you do something to your closet?”

Selah- “like what?”

Me- “Selah. Why won’t your doors open?”

Selah- (deer in headlights look as I spot a bottle of crazy glue on the floor)

Me- (remembering *innocent until proven guilty*) “Honey, did you glue your doors shut?”

Selah- “Um…did I? I…maybe…oh yeah, I forgot. I did”

Me-“Can you tell me WHY you had the glue?”

Selah- “Well, I need to glue some things back together”

Me- (thinking sweet fancy Moses, PLEASE don’t let her little brother be in there with his hair glued back on) “Okay, well, let’s get this open”

20 minutes later, we are both high from the smell of acetone….

Me- “what. is. this?”

Selah- “Doll clothes”

Me- “Selah. This looks like mommy’s clothes cut into little pieces-did you do this?”

Selah- (taking a deep breath and saying under her breath) “Tell the truth Selah”

Me– “Selah, why…why…I don’t…just what…okay young lady…listen up missy…when your father hears about this…I don’t even…grounded until you are with Jesus…If you insist on cutting up clothes, why don’t you cut up your OWN?”

Selah (incredulously)- “Mommy, I have to wear my clothes!”

And THAT is why sometimes I have ice cream for dinner.

So because of these events, I chose this as my pinterestpalooza project of the day-

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I found these on a blog that is really cool, and she has several no sewing DYI projects- check it out-

My version-

I don’t have a picture of the third one because…well, because it’s really difficult to take a picture of yourself backwards. But trust me, it turned out cute.

My new plan is to go to Goodwill, buy a bunch of old t-shirts, and give Selah a dress making box. Or invest in a straight jacket. Either one.

Run Run Runaway Runaway baby, before I put my spell on you…

Have you ever driven down a road and seen someone running, and thought “I could totally do that. I bet if I started jogging, I could run a marathon” Not me. When I see runners, I roll down my window and yell at them- “YOU CAN’T OUTRUN YOUR PROBLEMS!” I mean, people know there are cars, right?? And I never see a runner being chased by a guy with an axe, which is really the only time it’s reasonable to run. To me, a marathon sounds like a great way to pass an afternoon and by great I mean mind numbingly boring. I just can’t understand- *I’m going to train for months, risk injuries and possibly throw up a few times, and run and run and run and end up in the exact same spot that I started in. Oh and I paid money so I could do this*

But fitness tips and advice abound on Pinterest, and I found one that I thought even I could enjoy-

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I ended up watching Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, since that’s one of my favorites (who am I kidding, my favorite always is the one I happen to be watching/reading at the time).  This was a really fun and surprisingly intense workout! Plus I am sure I burned a good number of calories sniffling when Cedric dies. The best part was that after the movie ended, I was lying on the floor, sweating and generally exhausted, and Malachi walked into the living room to get a drink (I did this after the kids when to bed since we haven’t allowed them to see this movie yet). He said “Mommy, what are you doin?”, and I said “Watching Harry Potter”. He paused, tilted his head and said “You not ‘posed to run around when dere is a movie, you ‘posed to be bespectful of others”  Duly Noted, Malachi.

I’m giving this Pinterest project a rating of four brooms. I would have given it five brooms, but I’m saving that for whenever someone figures out a way we can all actually play Quidditch.

Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path…

I made a lamp yesterday. And all day, as I was painting the lamp, covering and decorating the lampshade, my hands were in Dallas, but most of my thoughts were in Colorado. Just when you think you might have some words for things like these, you hear a new detail or the newscaster puts a face with a name, and you are left speechless again. In the next few days, weeks, months, we are going to hear countless “experts” try to explain how this could have happened. We will hear explanations ranging from mental illness to political hatred to pure evil. We will hear various proposals for punishment for this 24 year old man. And when we walk into movie theaters, there will be a moment when the movie starts that eyes will dart around and wonder if it could happen to us.

I didn’t tell my kids what happened, for a couple of reasons- one is that they are already a little anxious about their daddy being out of town, and this kind of news would add to that, and two, my brother-in-law and sister-in law-and two nephews live in Colorado Springs and I didn’t want the kids to worry about something happening to them. Nevertheless, Josiah overheard some adults talking at a restaurant today about what happened and asked me about it later. I explained that a man who was very sad and sick in his mind and heart did something really awful and hurt a lot of people.  I said that I didn’t understand why he chose to do that, and that sometimes there just aren’t reasons that we can understand.  I told him that it is easy to think that we know what is right, we know how the world *should* work (“There is a path before each person that seems right, but that ends in death” Proverbs 14:12) and a lot of times we hang onto those ideas and when it doesn’t go the way we want, we get angry and sad. I told him that sometimes that sadness and anger can get so bad that we just want to hurt people and ourselves, and that is why it is really important that we learn that feelings cannot be trusted. Only God and His Word can be trusted.

Later, after the youngest two went to bed, Josiah climbed in my lap and said he was really sad about the people who got hurt and he wanted to know if that had ever happened in Dallas, because he really wanted to go see Ice Age this week.  In that moment, all I wanted to do was wrap him up in mommy arms, kiss his sweet innocent face, and promise him that something that like would never happen to him and that we would keep him safe.  But I know- I can’t promise that. I can’t promise him next week or tomorrow or the next five minutes.  And as much as I want to comfort him with the idea of mommy and daddy will protect you and you are safe, that lesson only takes him until something bad does happen to him (and it will. Something bad/hurtful/disappointing will happen to him, and then I have made myself out to be a liar). It is false comfort, something that temporarily makes us feel like we are in control, with no more substance than a dandelion in the hands of a three-year old.

I sat him on the couch and turned off all the lights, and said “Josiah, if I wasn’t here, would you be scared?”, and he said “yes, I think so.” I said “but you aren’t scared now, right?”, and he said “a little bit, but it’s okay because you are here with me.”  I went on to say that I think that’s like our world. I can’t explain why it’s dark. I can’t ever ever explain why a young man shoots a six-year-old child. I am no great theologian who can completely explain why God allows things like this to happen. But I can be assured that I don’t have to be afraid because my Daddy is there with me and like Josiah trusts me, I can trust Him even when I don’t understand it. I explained that whether I am in the room or not, the darkness hasn’t changed, but because he knows me and loves me, he knows I can be trusted. I explained that a different child, one who maybe knew my name but didn’t really KNOW me, would probably be scared in the dark. I told him that there were a lot of people who know who Jesus is, they might know His name and some facts about Him, they might go to church and talk about Him…but that was different from being in a relationship with Him. And I told him that one of my biggest prayers for him and his siblings was that they would understand this. Because this- this question- who is Jesus and what are you going to do with Him is the only question that really matters. Because whether you are eight and scared of a dark room or an adult lying on the floor of a theater while someone is trying to kill you, the need is the same. We need a Daddy, we need a Rescuer, we need a Savior. I turned on the lamp that we had made today, and told him that just like our new lamp was providing light so we could see, His word provides light for our very dark world.

My heart aches for these families, for the victims and for James Holmes’ family, and yes, for him too. And I cling to this-

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” Romans 5:7-9

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