HEADLINE: Sisters Caught Reading In Bed!

While I don't have memories of toddlerhood or playing with my sister for days on end, as country girls, we were certainly each other's best friends and only playmate.

Hazel and Heidi have such a beautiful relationship!  Do they fight, OH YES.  But mostly, they play, love, laugh, share.  They each think that the other is her "best friend" and I often catch them showing each other love.

The other night, a very sleepy mommy and very busy daddy hurried them off to bed.  Typically we have one fall asleep in our bed, but this night I was so tired that I wanted my bed!  So, we read them each a book, tucked them in, gave a few reminders/threats and closed the door.

From my room, I could hear them talking, but ignored it hoping it would quickly end.

It didn't.

Finally, I struggled out of bed (granted it was barely 8:30) and opened the door intent on giving them quite the lecture.

This is what I found:

Heidi had walked across the room and climbed into Hazel's bed.  Hazel was "reading" her stories.


This particular night, they looked up with guilty faces and were quite surprised when I immediately closed the door.  I grabbed my iPad (the most convenient way to take and upload pics these days) and reopened the door to snap this pic.

What's a strict mama to do?

Well, they didn't get a lecture, but I did separate them, give very strict orders about lights staying off and bodies staying in bed.

They obliged me with falling quickly asleep.  Phew!

As for books, I have been enjoying more and more reading time with the girls.  Often while Jake is either cooking or cleaning up from dinner, I'll gather the girls in my arm chair and we dig in to a pile.

This week my school librarian has been putting a ton of great books on the staff "give away" table.  Our district has closed many satellite schools over the years (small rural schools) and she has duplicate/triplicates of some books.  While I try not to be a hog, I couldn't help but pick out a few!

Our favorite one...that is read multiple times a day:
(photo is affiliate link)

Emma Dilemma:  Big Sister Poems by Kristine O'Connell George.  Hazel canNOT get enough of this book which very accurately describes the joys and hardships of being a big sister (though I don't think my big sister could relate AT ALL!  I NEVER copied everything she did nor explored her bedroom nor ruined her new markers...oh, I still shudder when I use markers worried that I'll press too hard and make my sister mad!).

PLUS, it's POETRY!  Earlier this year at my school, Dr. Mary Bigler presented at my school about the importance of reading to our kids.  She talked about reading fiction, nonfiction AND poetry!  Now, I am a fiction type of girl.  Nonfiction is left to dad.  Poetry is left to the scholars...but our house seems rather void of those ;)  While I don't dislike poetry, I'm not drawn to it and never think to purchase it!

Emma Dilemma isn't cutesy or rhyme-y.  But it's lyrical and fun and WE LOVE IT!

So there you have it, my thoughts about the blessings of sisters AND a book recommendation!

See here for an earlier post where I recommend another book for sisters.



Trip of a lifetime. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

Last week Jake and I got to travel to the Hard Rock Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico compliments of Thrive Life.
man do we look WHITE!  I got a slight burn the first day and we lathered on sun screen every minute after!  Long term health & beauty :)

We are truly grateful to Thrive for letting us earn this trip.  Only 30 consultants were able to qualify and it blows me away that I was one of them.  I am definitely not the most successful consultant, but I did a few things right and scored this trip... A free vacation just for eating better and sharing it with my friends, really?

30 trip winners plus guest, executive team & consultants who bought into the trip.

For Jake and I have to have a vacation, just the two of us, without the worry of finances was a great blessing at this point in our lives.  We needed to have fun being a couple, I needed to rest and rejuvenated, we needed time to miss our children... We spent much of the plane ride home looking at pictures of the kids, by that point missing them had become painful!

While I struggled the entire 5 days with letting go of the need to have a schedule, we did vacation in a way that is very foreign to us!  We are not resort people, but really appreciated the comforts of a resort.  Ordering whatever, whenever was so freeing!  At the Asian restaurant, we finished our main courses and ordered a new batch, just to try more foods!  At every meal, my goal was to try new and different foods/ flavors/ drinks.  It was so wonderful to not worry about the price!  Champagne delivered to our room, why not.  Ice cream cones at 11am, sure!  While I didn't stuff myself silly or drink myself to oblivion, I certainly never felt hungry during the entire trip!  

One peak experience of the trip was the group excursion to extreme zip lining.  I regrettably admit that the experience didn't give me the adrenaline rush I was hoping for.  I suppose my hours and hours spent high in a tree running a zip line at Camp Lutherlyn changed my perspective on fear of heights/ zipping through the canopy.  The best part was the Superman which caused a faint glimmer of adrenaline as I watched others zip while lying on their stomachs, way over the trees, for 1000m.  However, once the zip started, it brought a feeling of utter peace.  At one point, I looked to my right and noticed a hawk gliding at the same height.  Very cool!


My favorite part of the trip was when we took a 30 minute taxi ride to downtown Puerto Vallarta.  Regrettably, we only had about 2 hours to spend on the boardwalk, but it is a beautiful place!  Lovely boardwalk peppered with cooper statues and interesting people.  Streets full of colorful vendors and gardens tucked into every nook and cranny.  The buildings are mostly covered in white stucco, trimmed in vibrant colors.  Truly lovely!  In the future, I'll make sure to spend more time in the city!

The non destination highlight was making friendships with other thrive life consultants.  I had never met my mentor and spending time with her and her husband was simply a blast!  We made other lifelong friends with other couples, discovered that the executives are down to earth, lovely people and left feeling so connected and proud of our work with Thrive Life.
While 3 of these pictures were taken on the same night, it appears that I opted for horizontal stripes almost every day!  Also featured in these photos:  dinner with Misty & Cory Marsh (my mentor) and poolside drinks with Holly Cooley (the only other "east coast" consultant on the trip).  As for goofball Jake, most of the pictures speak for themselves... in the lower left, he is having a very happy moment holding a newly hatched turtle before it's released into the ocean, in the top right he is trying on a mask that I very much regret not purchasing ;) 

Heading to warm, breezy Mexico during a frigid February (it was negative 10 degrees when we left!) was such a perfect way to refresh the mind and body!  Perhaps we' get to do it again someday???