Tag: family


For the longest time, we were either travelling or working on Saturdays.

It taught us to really, really love Saturdays at home.

Today Miranda had “the coolest birthday party ever,” at Build-a-Bear (and she got to BUILD a reindeer!), so since we had to drive all the way up to Broadway at the Beach, KK got to pick what she wanted to do. And she picked the “rides.” That kid. So for 12.50, she rode 4 lame little carnival rides…and smiled big the whole time.

KK & I half-crashed the party by catching up with it at Ben & Jerry’s. We didn’t sit with the group or eat the cake, but we did get ice cream. The first time I ever had Ben & Jerry’s was at my friend Shelly’s house in junior high. It was chocolate chip cookie dough. I always love to try new things, but today I went back to basics. That was one good cone.

When we got home, Rod had accomplished a bunch of little things around the house… diagnosing the Noise in the Van (new brakes Tuesday…), changing filters, throwing out the rotten pumpkin, and training Max to bark and poop ONLY in the neighbor’s yard. Just kidding. But I sort of want to (that’s another story). (and the neighbors on the other side are awesome).

We decided to cook out, and for this, I needed to go to the store for More Pork Chops. Then I decided I needed to take advantage of some sales. So I asked for 30 minutes to “coupon” (Yes. The verb. Who am I?) Mostly, I wanted to take advantage of a sale on Butterball turkey, ’cause the day is coming! Anyway, I felt so good about my planning and purchases that I decided to take my first Couponing Picture. I am nowhere near the extreme or champion money-savers, but I saved about as much as I spent, and I feel pretty good about that. Everything in the photo above (including 14 pound turkey) = 41.55. Rod’s thumbs-up was free.

Turns out we ran out of gas, and nothing stops a cookout quicker than that. All this meant was I had to fry the pork chops instead. Allow me to pause and say:
1) My husband is one lucky man.
2) These baked potatoes were perfect.
3) The rub I use for grilled pork chops is also good when mixed with flour to fry them:

Pork Rub
1 teaspoon each:
Chili powder
Garlic powder

– Mix together, rub. Or mix together with 2 cups flour for batter. Should be enough for 2 pounds. Hardly counts as a recipe, but we all love it.

Sigh. Is there anything more civilized after dinner than a nice cup of coffee? I allowed myself to buy fake creamer because I had a coupon, and because, well, salted caramel….

My traveling man had a long, hard week and is facing another. This was nap #2 today.

He will wake up in time to take me to see this. Craig. Daniel Craig. I mean, um, the new Bond movie.

~happy weekend!

an organized random list

1. Fall
The leaves don’t really turn here, nor do they fall. I miss the colors, but not the raking. I love that we can still comfortably wear flip flops and dine al fresco. I even love that it was “chilly” enough the last few days to open windows, light candles, wear jackets, and get the kind of cozy that only blankets and hot tea can create. And I love most of all that it will be warm again in a few days, that we will have to crank the AC back up and can go to the beach without shivering!

We don’t get there as much as I would like or even as much as my online life might imply, but whenever I am there, it is so glorious. And Sunday, I saw one of these there for the first time:

We were rained on almost the whole time we were there, and it was COLD rain, but this view was so worth it.

3. Promises
The rainbow is a symbol of God’s promises. The Bible tells us that (Genesis 9:17), and also tells us (2 Corinthians 1:20) His promises are “Yes” and “Amen” (so be it). One of my ongoing tests in life is not believing in God’s promises, but waiting on His timing. Lord knows I am perpetually in a hurry. I am reminded time and time again that His time is perfect, and that the fulfillment of His promises is often timed in a way that maximizes my opportunities for learning along the way.

This past week – as I internally commemorated One Year Since Our Initial Supposed Reason For Moving From Chicago to Myrtle Beach Fell Apart and One Year Since My Parents Sort Of Moved Here For Six Weeks – I also saw the fulfillment of some things… maybe not “Biblical Promises” for which I could provide scriptural references, but the coming to pass of events (some tiny, some MONUMENTAL) that make me feel Smiled Upon.

(sorry for my random capitalization. it’s the bloggy equivalent of my airquotes)

4. Visits
A dear, dear, dear friend – member of the sacred Mommy Tribe in Chicago (that most of my South Carolina friends must be a  l i t t l e  sick of hearing about) is coming in a few weeks, and my Whole Family – mom, dad, brother & fam, aunt, uncle, maybe gramma, and cousins, are coming for a week in June. Par-tee!

While visits in and of themselves aren’t life changes, they seem to escort them in. I’m excited for what’s coming.

5. And more visits
Speaking of visits, we have ended a straight month of grandparent and surrogate grandparent visits. Mamaw & Grandpa left today after 2.5 weeks of family dinners, overnights for the girls, and extra help for me. It was wonderful having them here –

Seriously, I wish everyone would quit stalling and just move here already…

5. Lasagna Soup
Our last dinner all together last night was a typical Burton mishmash of snack foods, mostly based on cheese. My one exception (in that it was a real course and not a snack) was this soup, which I made for the first time back in March and revived for a new crowd:

I discovered this Paula Deen recipe via Pinterest, and it goes like this:

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

1 lb ground chuck
1   onion, chopped
1   green bell pepper, chopped
3   cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1   (32 ounce) box chicken broth
2   (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (I used one)
1   (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
(I used 2 cups of jar spaghetti sauce, ’cause it’s what I had)

2 teaspoon Italian seasoning  (I used basil & oregano)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup broken lasagna noodles
1   (5 ounce) package grated parmesan cheese (I used 8 ounces)
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
garlic crostini, recipe follows
…I didn’t have these last two ingredients when I made it last night. No big, though more cheese is always a good thing.


In a large Dutch oven (or skillet), combine ground chuck, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beef is browned and crumbles. Drain well.

Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

~As always, I recommend eating with people you love.




This week is full. But it’s the good kind.

It’s full with work stuff… new things to promote, develop, figure out. Most of that feels good. It also just feels rushed and crazy, but I have a great team of people above and beside me to help me with that.

{especially when I nearly ugly-cry at staff meetings… ah, life as a girl… }

It’s also been full of Mommy-stuff, and this makes me happy, because even though two full plates is too much to fit on one plate, it means that life is resembling some balance. And the Mommy part looks like this:

A New Monday Routine
Sweet Randa finally has a new dance class… and it didn’t matter so much to her that her new leotard was backordered and I packed a wintery one that was a little small and forgot a tutu and so her blue underwear was showing. She was just darn happy to be dancing again. Little Sister, in the mean time, was happy to hang out in the lobby, play with some toys, flip through some books, have me to herself for an hour, and peek through to watch about 5 times…

My initial plan for balance included bringing the girls home for a snack and a breath before the 5:30 class, but since that did not happen, we had to make do:

I think I’m going to like Monday afternoons a whole lot more than Monday mornings!

Another First
There have been so many new things these past few months and weeks, and today was no exception. The girls had their first trip to the dentist. The place we chose (based on recommendations from friends) was great… sunny, cheerful, non-intimidating. And while KK does need a little extra work on the front teeth she bruised in December, both of them received smile-worthy reports.

And they loved the waiting room amenities:

Settling Back Down
After two weeks of wonderful, warm visitors to spoil us, and plenty of excitement, it seems to be time to accept that the season is shifting, and even though the AC is still on, we will embrace chili, pumpkin muffins, spiced candles, and the occasional wearing of sweaters… and new, balanced, Routines.

…well, as routine as this family gets, anyway…

related adults

Even though I don’t feel so much like the new girl in town anymore, there are some conditions that sort of shout You aren’t quite at home to me, namely:
– the prescence of my parents/the girls’ grandparents
– the prescence of people I’ve either known all my life or act as if I have

So…it is really, really, super nice to have related adults living here. Josh and Kirsten are getting settled into their great new apartment. And…Paige is going to remain in South Carolina rather than going back to Kentucky (her story to tell, not mine…I trust in her future, and I love having her here).

So…we spent much of our weekend performing manual labor:



We’ve been really blessed, especially in the last half of the past year, for adults in our lives to support us, who can be called upon in emergencies, child care crises, birthday celebrations, etc. But having adult relatives here is…well, the bomb.


We are moving somewhere between the 23rd & 30th. My official packing plan is 5 boxes/day (this is at night, after the 12ish hour days we’ve had for the past few weeks. I. Am. Superwoman!) But first, there was unpacking to do, and we all know it must start in the kitchen. As of their first night, J&K could cook…if they wanted to!

And I’ve concluded that love is…

…packing them…

…before packing us!


After being so excited for her end of year program all week long, even asking me to buy her a jean skirt just for the occasion, KK started off her day like this:

When I dropped her off at school that morning, her teachers told me what a great singer she is (I agree). I, too, was very excited for her program…especially since she had absolutely no stage fright).

When I returned to school, her teacher caught me in the hallway and said, “Don’t let her see you. She was already crying!” After my covert op to the sanctuary, I was informed by Rod and Paige that they had seen KK, and she waved happily.

I clutched my Kroger bouquet and waited at the edge of my seat.


She hid in the back. This photo is mild. For most of the program, she was in the lap of her assistant teacher, Ms. Lauren, and weeping…

I was a little bit heartbroken, mostly because SHE had been so excited, but also, I admit, because I had been so looking forward to her showing everyone what she can do.

(I already know what she can do, so Lord, please help me not to pass on my approval addiction to my babies…)

Afterwards, after a little more drama, she did agree to take some pictures while smiling…well, at least for some of them~

I’m so glad I have this memory.


And then, later that night, was Randa’s pre-school “graduation.” It’s such a silly concept, and also…about the cutest thing in the world. Black eye and all (that story is for another blog), she danced, sang, waved, and generally hammed it up. And when it was time, she pranced across the stage and accepted her diploma in true bright-and-sunny style. (I can’t post a lot of the pix because other kids are in them & its against school rules…)

The afterglow was a big hoopla for all, and KK enjoyed the entire experience much more than her own program. As far as the pre-school set goes, it doesn’t get much better than cheese cubes and cake and friends~

Well, it doesn’t really get much better than that, period…

Happy Stepping Up Season, everyone!