Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Releasing Balloons

As I was sorting through some old photos, I came across these pictures of the girls playing with balloons.

They were so little! And so cute!!

They loved playing with balloons. Is there a child who doesn't? 

When they were little, we always had balloons for the girls' birthdays. 

As they got older, the Husband and I stopped getting balloons on their birthdays because we thought they might be getting too grown up for them. We thought they might think balloons were lame. We were wrong!  

After a couple of years without balloons, the girls asked why we didn't do balloons for birthdays any longer. We explained we thought they'd gotten too old and would think balloons were just for little kids. The Husband and I were promptly informed that no one EVER becomes too old for balloons! YAY!

So, we do balloons for birthdays! 

Balloons just make people happy!! 

Unless you're a small child who has accidentally let go of a ballon! YIKES!!!

It's so upsetting for a little one to watch as their precious balloon floats away. So we point out to them how cool it is to see their balloon soaring with the clouds. We ask them how high they think their balloon will go - will it reach the moon? We Oooo and Aahh as we watch that ballon soar. We're relieved to see a smile spread across their sweet little face!

How precious our little ones are!

It may have been a bad idea to start sorting through old photos the other day. 

We dropped Miss Sofia off at college last weekend.

It was a little emotional coming across photos of the girls when they were little. 

The time has gone by so quickly!

I have loved teaching them, cuddling with them, laughing with them, kissing their owies, cheering them on, and just being their mom. 

Thank goodness Miss Emma has another 3 years before she leaves for college!

Like a little kid with a balloon, I didn't want to let go last weekend!!

I wanted to hold tight to the string and enjoy that balloon being mine and in my possession! To delight in its beauty and the joy it brought. But I knew that if I didn't let go, I'd never get the pure joy of watching it soar.

What each of us as parents want for our children is to watch them soar! Watch them find the purpose God has for their lives. We hope to see them use the lessons we've taught and learn a few new lessons on their own. Maybe even teach us a few new lessons.

Sometimes their start is a little bumpy. The string gets a little caught as they begin to takeoff. It does break loose though, and much to our delight up they fly. 

So we packed up our girl. We got her settled in her dorm. We took a family selfie. The Husband and I, with fingers trembling, released our girl so we can experience the great joy of watching her soar.

I'm still gonna tear up sometimes when I realize, in the middle of the grocery store, that I don't need to buy as much milk anymore. UGH!!! But mostly, I want to celebrate and Ooo and Ahhh as she reaches for the moon!!!

I'm still going to keep some tissues close by though.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Essential Oils for College

We enjoyed a short getaway in Grand Marais last weekend.

It was good for the family to spend some time away together and leave everything behind - everything as in getting Miss Sofia ready for college everything! 

We definitely needed time to relax! 

Eating a few of the World's Best Donuts totally helped!

It was so good! The donuts and the getting away.

We love you Grand Marais!

But now we're home and deep in the throes of packing for college! It's getting more and more difficult to live in denial my friends! 

The jumble of emotions is too much! 

I'm so excited for Miss Sofia! I can't wait for her to begin this amazing time in her life. This new adventure. It's gonna be AMAZING!!!

Then, I'm so sad my baby is all grown up and going to leave me. It all happened so fast. How can this be happening?!?!?!

It's wonderful and amazing and hard and painful all at the same time. I'm a mess!

I'm so grateful for the love and support of the moms who've gone through this already and for their words of wisdom. 

So to keep my mind busy and emotions at bay, I'm keeping my head down and my mind focused on the packing list. Which includes a starter set of Miss Sofia's own essential oils.

For those not familiar with essential oils, here is a brief explanation.

They are liquid that is generally distilled - most frequently by steam or water - from leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant. Essential oils contain the true essence of the plant from which they were derived. 

While essential oils are highly fragrant, they are not simply perfume or fragrance oils. Essential oils are a highly concentrated liquid containing the beneficial chemical compounds of the plants they are extracted from, providing all of the valuable psychological and physical therapeutic benefits. These benefits are best realized through inhalation of the essential oil or through topical use.

Boom! There it is in a nutshell.

Essential oils tend to be my go to for treating things like colds, bug bites, headaches, minor burns, and muscle aches. My family has become accustomed to hearing me say, "Put some oil on it!" whenever they have a complaint. It's possible they roll their eyes every time. 

But they use them! And they feel better.

HA! Win for mom!

I do want to caution you, there are some safety concerns with essential oils. As I said, they are highly concentrated! They should almost always be diluted if used topically. And caution needs to be taken when used around young children and pregnant women. 

I highly recommend getting a good book on essential oils if you plan to use them. Do your research! Get good information from a certified aromatherapist. I like to refer to a group called Using Essential Oils Safely. Very informative and helpful!

After much research, I have chosen to purchase my essential oils from a company called Eden's Garden. Their products are fantastic! No, I don't get paid for saying that.

For Miss Sofia we purchased the create your own set of 6 oils. It's a great deal!

Miss Sofia and I discussed it and chose a cleaning blend, lemon, fighting five, sweet orange, peppermint, and lavender for her to start with.

We also purchased an inexpensive aromatherapy diffuser - for inhalation, some empty roller balls - for topical use, and a bottle with a dropper top filled with jojoba oil which is a great carrier oil for diluting essential oils.

I will be sending her with these recipes for her diffuser.

For focus while studying or to boost energy in the morning diffuse...

3 drops peppermint
2 drops sweet orange 

To boost immunity and fight colds and flu diffuse...

3 drops Fighting Five
2 drops sweet orange

This blend also smells like fall and I love to diffuse it just because.

When she is feeling stressed or can't sleep, let's face it, it can be tough to sleep the first few nights of dorm living, or during finals week, diffuse...

3-5 drops of lavender 

When she is struggling with allergies diffuse...

3 drops peppermint
2 drops lavender
1 drop lemon

When someone has been sick or when the air in the room is getting a little stale - again, teenagers living in tiny little dorm rooms. Eh hem Diffuse...

3 drops cleaning blend
2 drops lemon

It smells so clean and fresh! And it's anti-viral and antibacterial! Win!!

Recipes for topical use...

For upset stomach

1 drop peppermint
1 drop sweet orange
add to 1 teaspoon of Jojoba oil (or other carrier oil) apply to stomach

For muscle aches and pains

1 drop of peppermint
1 drop of lavender
add to 1 teaspoon of Jojoba oil (or other carrier oil) Massage into aching muscles

This should give her a good start for college and using essential oils. As she adds new oils to her collection, I'll supply her with more recipes!

One day, I may even get to hear her say, "Put some oil on it!" to her own kiddos!

And now I am going to cry!!! 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Favorite Years

I loved when the girls were just babies.

When they were all tiny and squishy and snuggly! And who doesn't love the smell of a wee baby's head??

Don't even get me started about when they were toddlers! So cute! 

Oh those sweet little voices! They just melt your heart. 

And when they cuddle up with you for a story! Awwww

Then the elementary and middle school years. So much fun! Except for helping with math! "That's NOT how my teacher does it!" -sigh

They learned so much.

They grew so much! 

Oh my word that girl passed me up in height! So unfair!

For sure some of the best years ever!! 

But now, as we are 5 plus years into the teen years, I'm going to admit something I never expected. The teen years are my favorite.

Who would have thought? Right??

They haven't necessarily been the easiest years! There have been eye rolls. Oh my word! I had no idea eyes could roll back that far!

There have been moans and groans, and some grumbles, and maybe the occasional stomping up the stairs. Once and awhile it was even the kids. HA! 

Overall, they've been awesome years!

The teen years are the years where their interests really began to shine.

My theater girls!

Where friendships grew deeper and stronger.

What a blessing are the good friendships your children build. 

They sustain and encourage.

They are a joy!

Warms my heart!! 

Not having had this kind of relationship myself, I'm filled with a deep gratitude that our girls are not only sisters but also consider themselves the best of friends.

I've learned over these years that teenagers are the best kind of silly. Inviting you to join in.

They take the best selfies.

And will gladly help you out when your selfie skills are weaker. "Here! Just give me the phone." 

I'll keep working on it!!

They're willing to help in the kitchen - unless it's to do dishes (still a work in progress) but if making and eating food are involved, they're all in!

If it's games, they'll gladly kick your butt, but never let it go if you kick their's. Ha Ha

They're still willing to hang out with mom and dad.

As long as mom and dad don't do anything that's not cool. Singing and dancing in public are NOT COOL!! Of course I would never! Eh hem.

So much happens in these few short years. 

From getting braces on,

and getting braces off.

And having wisdom teeth removed. UGH!

Learning to drive.

Second round of learning to drive happens this fall. Wish us luck! 

Wearing makeup begins. GULP!

Dressing up for dances! DOUBLE GULP!!

And dating! The Husband has perfected his menacing look!

Then comes the first graduation!

It has all gone by so fast. Just a blink!

It's been awesome to walk through these teen years with our girls. I've loved, am loving, every minute. Okay, maybe I haven't loved the eye roll moments as much as some other moments...


Everything will be very different this fall when our household of four becomes a household of three as we prepare for Miss Sofia to head off to college. We look forward, with amazement, to the years our girls move into full adulthood, expecting the same joy brought by the teen years, once I stop crying, "Why do you want to leave me??" 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Lasts

I was dragging my feet to the end of the school year this year. I'm talking heels dug in. Knuckles white from holding on to the last few weeks of school, not wanting to let them out of my grasp. 

I just wasn't ready for it to end!!

Because this is the year, my oldest, my first born, my Miss Sofia graduated!!

The Husband and I are so stinkin' proud of her.

I just can't believe that she and her friends are all grown up and ready to head off to college! WHAT??

This was it. This was the last day of high school. The LAST!!

There have been so many lasts.

This is the last first day of school photo I will ever take of all four of these kiddos together.

The last time Miss Sofia and Miss Emma will be at the same school together. 

Sofia's last prom.

Was this the last time she'll ever ask me to do her hair for an event? They've been having me do their hair for a lot of years now. 

When was the last time she let me put her hair in pig tails?

And when was the last time the kiddos played Legos on the porch??

Or one of the girls wanted to hold my hand, or climb up onto my lap???


I find myself thinking about these "lasts" quite a lot lately and my eyes well up with tears. 

It all seemed to go by so fast. 

And no matter how hard I tried to hold on, time marched forward - stupid time!

And here we are. Our oldest has graduated and she's ready to head for college in the fall.

I'm crazy excited for her. I'm bursting with pride for all she has accomplished! And I'm working on being okay with the lasts and celebrating all of her new firsts. 

At least, I intend to work on being okay. 


Maybe tomorrow. 

Excuse me. I need a tissue!