Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Celebrating Sunshine

So the sun came out today and it was beautiful.

Wrapping up 2014 feels a bit surreal. It's been a year of growth, challenges, beauty and grace. God is good all the time and thanks to His on-going patience with me, I am starting to see that more clearly. Even in the muck, there is something to be appreciated. I thank God for all of it.
One Thousand Gifts being revisited was life changing. I promise to continue noting gifts daily. It's good for my soul. Today, the sun tops the list. It really is incredible.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Weekend Review

The neighbors upgraded their game system for Christmas and handed down their old Wii. Ours has been out of commission for a few months. Whereas I have not missed it, Ty has and is thrilled to be in bowling competitions with his Daddy again. Of course, Mario is back too.

Ty has been paying attention to advertisements and often lets me know of products he believes we need. There was a conflict in Jay C on Friday because they didn't carry Oxy Clean dishwasher detergent and that one has "powerful clean". The fact he was dressed as Captain America complete with shield and binoculars made his pleas even more endearing. He gets attention wherever we go and one would think he'd appreciate it but despite all the costumes and appearances of being out-going, he is rather shy until he's comfortable around someone. I find myself explaining frequently.

Friday's weather was amazing. Kate and I quilted on the porch swing while Ty played with his remote control tractor from Grandma Carol. He had that thing doing flips, spinning on it's head and climbing walls! It's a pretty impressive toy, to say the least. Anne and I slipped away for a walk just before sunset. Not ten minutes later, I ran out with the camera to capture that sunset. Greg just laughed and recalled I had run out of the house to stand in the minute of sunshine Christmas Eve offered despite dinner being taken up. At this point in the winter, I take what I can get. The long gray days wear me out if I allow them.

I invited Greg to out on a date because we were given three gift cards for Christmas to local restaurants. He asked me who that date would be with and I suggested me. He thought about it for a minute and declared his work wives were likely sick of him by now so perhaps that was a good idea. He's a real charmer. As it turns out, I have missed him anyway.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

We had ourselves a merry little Christmas this year. Mom and Dad drove over yesterday and spent the night  to help us celebrate. We enjoyed a tea party, lots of sweets and an amazing dinner. Before church, we put reindeer food in the yard and had a dance party Ty refused to participate in. I asked him what he was going to do if a pretty girl asked him to dance some day and he simply said he'd tell her no. Dad got tickled and wished him luck with that approach.

When we arrived at church Ty asked when we were going to start the fire which sounded far more alarming than he intended. We woke him when it was time to light the candles and sing Silent Night. He would have been quite disappointed if he'd missed it while taking a little Christmas Eve nap. Having him curled in my lap was perfect.

Justin: Mom, how appropriate is it for me to give you a gift in a Victoria Secret bag?
Me: Are you serious? That would be highly inappropriate.
Justin: Um Mom, can I borrow a gift bag?

Erin was our early riser this year and woke the little ones so we could open gifts at six. Her energy was great fun and we hope the remaining teens forgive her soon. Ty was pretty excited as he woke us. "Santa came!"

Mom and Dad hit the road around the time Justin and Erin headed to his family's gathering and Lauren went to work. Greg napped early since UPS needed him throughout the night and he will be returning for an early shift tonight as well. The house has been restored and all evidence of Christmas is packed away in the attic because I am a bit manic about the clutter once the packages are opened. But if you know me, you already know that. Merry Christmas friends.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Party

I hosted a little party for some of my most favorite people on the planet today. I think we all had a pretty good time. Collectively, we have four videos of our phone call from Mrs. Claus but I have been unable to get them to post. It was a blast despite my technical difficulties. Mrs. Claus told Makenna the elves would like her to quit calling in her request for Ed Sheeran to be stuffed down our chimney. "Humans down chimneys are strictly prohibited". Makenna was a little disappointed. Devyn told Mrs. Claus a joke only she understood and it was adorable, of course. All of the kids were able to talk about something special in their lives. It was a highlight from our day. A special thanks to Mrs. Claus for taking the time out of a very busy day of bustling to call.
I amuse myself.

By the time Ty finished icing his cookies, they looked like cupcakes!

We added a craft this year....lots of fun with glue, pom-poms and markers

Mr. Maverick. Does it get any cuter than this?

I  love these kids!

Best buddies, Ty and Devyn enjoying their cookies together


The reindeer will be well fed this year

This sweet girl melts my heart

'Twas the Night Before Christmas reading before our special phone call from the North Pole

The expressions say it all.

Mixing reindeer food is serious work.

Anna, she is an original. We all adore her.

Hot Potato to Brian Setzer's Christmas cd? But of course.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend Review

This weekend was good for my soul. On one miraculous evening last week, all four of my girls were home at the same time and we laughed together to the point my head was splitting. I took the opportunity to ask them about Ryan's birthday. We collectively decided to take some time on Saturday afternoon before Greg went back to work to go to dinner together. It has been almost two years since all seven of us went out to eat together with budgets, schedules and my odd diet making it difficult.

Kate, Ty and I worked on a Christmas light scavenger hunt. It was a blast. Kate took her clipboard with the list attached in the car and tried to cheat the system with "memories" of such and such. I had to remind her we were seeking the items in light displays together. She held the power of the pen and clipboard and took her job very seriously. There were times I had to remind her to relax and enjoy the lights. I suspect she inherited that from her mother. To do lists can suck the joy from simple things if we let them. It was fun.

Holiday baking has been scaled back this year but our traditional favorites were prepared. And we are all set for this week's Christmas party with my smallest friends.

A Living Nativity display was set up to raise money for the Salvation Army. Live animals and the chance and see what all this craziness is about? We were in. It was another awesome way to distract us from missing Greg this weekend.

I took Kate and Ty to evening church the night of Ryan's birthday. The cheerful message was about redemption. Fitting, I think. Ty kept the candles after the service. They brought him such joy. We'll likely be singing Silent Night quite a bit in the future if it means he gets to hold a candle.

So I have felt guilty for not providing a Christmas tree for Kate and Ty. Yes they have a little one in their room but Santa won't be putting anything under that tree. I looked for simple options Oliver wouldn't destroy and discovered branches in a vase on Pinterest. I decided to try it since I am fairly certain Oliver no longer gets on the table. I arranged it with Kate's help and sent a photo to four contacts. The response was varied. Some thought I was kidding and others thought it was pretty. Two of my teens are horrified and one is impressed. Greg has not commented and I am going to assume his silence follows the golden rule, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". It may make it until Thursday but I am not making any promises.

Speaking of Oliver....I have failed to mention we found Spidey a new home a few weeks ago. He was destructive and had a rough personality. He tormented the other animals and wanted nothing to do with people unless they were sleeping. Once he started using the bathtub instead of the litter box, I was finished dealing with him. He now lives on Justin's 15 acre farm and has fit in quite well. In fact, rumor has it he has run off their previous cat of two years. He is a handful and will likely make quite a mouser for Justin's parents.  It's a win-win situation. Spidey wasn't content as a house cat and we are all sleeping again.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


How can it be? Eleven years ago today you were born broken yet perfect; strong yet weak. You forever changed our family. Ryan Patrick, celebrating you each year exposes raw pain and reveals our frailty. Your birth Mother and I have re-connected this year. We've wept together, celebrated her victory over addiction and talked endlessly about you. We came together to mark your birthday. I hope this brings you joy. The road leading us here has been rough but we wanted to honor you together.

I can't help but celebrate her sobriety and her ability to finally be the mother she always wanted to be for her children but that's her story to share. She lives with guilt but is forgiven. The amazing person she has always been shines through the pain she carries and I am proud of her. I pray you are honored by our coming together, two broken hearts missing you and wondering, "what if".

Happy birthday, precious son. You are loved and missed. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Baughman Family Christmas

The weather was mild. The food was delicious. We were spoiled. Christmas was celebrated. It was a perfect Sunday to kick off a week of bustling. There will be a house full of kiddos, several finals to be taken and school parties to attend. Greg won't be seeing much of us since he is called to support Santa in all his endeavors for the next ten days. Be nice to your UPS man. He's tired.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Ty approached with the longest, saddest face and announced he never wanted to be a grown up because grown ups have boring jobs. He was so serious, laughing was out of the question but almost impossible to avoid.

I asked two year old Anna to get her shoes and socks on so we could run to the grocery. She returned with her shoes on her feet and her socks on her hands. Obviously, I fail to communicate clearly around here.

The kids played at the neighbor's house. Kate returned with wet socks. When questioned, she explained the socks were wet because the seven year old neighbor boy was chewing on them. Why? Because he was being a baby gorilla. Of course. This makes perfect sense. Boys are weird.

Makenna forgot she let Oliver out the back door last night before she went to bed. He wasn't discovered until he didn't greet me this morning. After searching the house and back yard, I found him curled up behind the urn outside our front door. He was well protected from the elements but boy oh boy was he filthy. He stunk and he was matted with leaves, cobwebs and God knows what else. I gave him the entire day to get sorted out, attempting to help here and there with a brush. I had no luck. Poor Oliver had to get a bath. Makenna and I look like we have lost a freaky battle of some sort with scrapes and cuts up and down our arms. At one point, I realized I was pulling poop out of his thick fur and declared I lead a very full life. It simply doesn't get much better than that. Be jealous friends.
Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Poor Oliver was pretty freaked out. This evening he finally forgave me and let me wrap him up in my sweater to get warm and dry. He eventually napped in a blanket until he recovered. Makenna feels horrible and Oliver is honestly no worse for the wear but I couldn't resist taking his photo. He owes me the entertainment. After all, I pulled poop out of his fur today. Yep, I lead a glamorous life.

Fully recovered, I promise.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I have been processing something lately that has challenged me. I will share in good time but for now, the journey has led me to appreciate the simple ways I am privileged to mother. I am not disillusioned enough to call it glamorous or even fun at times but I do respect that what I do moment by moment has eternal consequences and rewards. As I blow dry Kate's hair or snuggle with Ty the ten minutes he smells sweet after his bath are moments I inhale and capture with the camera in my mind. I don't want to lose those snapshots. God has called me to love these kids and to ultimately lead them to Him. The bonus is that I get to enjoy them too. In keeping it real, there were a few mouthy moments with a teen this week I considered sending a few of them off to live on a farm with abandoned animals but it was just a fleeting thought, not something in which I could actually follow through. God uses my kids to reveal His love of me. He uses relationships to grow me. I am blessed; exhausted and weepy too. But blessed.

I am praying through this season. Someone from our past has surfaced and our communication is frequent, raw and real. I am learning a lot about my ability to love unconditionally and and it's pushing me in uncomfortable ways. Not only am I coping with my emotions that range from joy to grief but I have found myself in the position of setting the tone for the rest of my family's reactions. The load is heavier than it should be. I want the freedom to celebrate and cry, even if that happens simultaneously. For now, I am processing quietly and am allowing God to work on my heart. I pray I am handling this with the grace He first bestowed upon me.
 Being a mom is a gift. I am blessed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I ended up having my van and only one extra little one today so I asked Ty what he would like to do. We should get out of the house when we can. I expected the library to be his destination of choice but he instead requested we go to see Erin at his "favorite restaurant", Subway. During lunch I asked him what he wanted to buy his sisters for Christmas. He insisted we go immediately to his favorite store, Target while he had all his best ideas. When I probed further to have a better understanding of his best ideas, I was told he'd show me when we got there. As soon as I had Anna secure in a shopping cart, Ty who happened to be wearing cowboy boots and a cape made his way into the jewelry department where he promptly picked up three items in a row declaring them perfect for Erin, Lauren and Makenna. We discussed one item further and decided to switch Lauren and Makenna's gifts. He then led the way to the toy department where he found an item for Kate he'd seen on a commercial. The fact he wanted to take it out of the package prior to wrapping it indicates that perhaps it isn't Kate who really wants this particular item but he hopes she likes it and said so no less than three times on the way home. We were in Target twenty minutes with fifteen of them spent seeking jewelry boxes for wrapping. He is very much his father's son. Get in, get it done and get out.

In other news, Daddy's Super Hero Repair Shop has been open for business. Ty's ornaments have fallen victim to the endless attacks by these two partners in crime. There's a reason they are pretty.