Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December In Review

This sweet guy has been sick almost the entire month. And when he's not been sick, someone else was. I think I was only able to go to church once this month. Not fun.
I had two pictures published (!!!) in a calendar featuring Ames. I'm March and November 2010!
And I made my first Fancy Family Dinner. You can't see very well, but the potatoes are served in a gorgeous red sparkly pedestalled bowl and the ham and turkey was served on that black and white number you can just see the end of. Unfortunately, the picture of the complete table was blurry, so just imagine.
We also got pajamas on Christmas Eve (an old tradition) and drove around and looked at Christmas lights (a new tradition). Christmas morning came a little too early, but it was a good one. The boys have enjoyed their presents and Randal got me a tablet mouse - I've been coveting one for a few years. Actually, I was pretty impressed because he got it last month and was able to keep it a secret. I don't think he's ever been able to keep a present a secret for that long.

So December and 2009 are almost over. All that's left to do is get my house clean to usher in 2010. I'm hoping if I can get clean to ring in the New Year, it will be a good omen - or something.

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Need a Laugh?

My sister-in-law just sent this to me and I really needed a good laugh. I've been sick - you know the kind where your whole body hurts and all you want to do is lay in bed - so this was perfect. If you're not a Mormon or if you've never been in a singles' ward, it may not be as funny, but this is spot on if you are Mormon and have lived in a singles' ward. Enjoy!

Twilight Years from Tom on Vimeo.

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Monday, December 07, 2009

All Boy

All last week Israel kept asking me to count things - how many sandwiches are we going to eat? How many minutes until bed? And so on and so on. I didn't think much about it, but then I read his preschool teacher's weekly newsletter and apparently, last week was counting week. They counted the mats on the floor, the number of days in the week, and so and so on. I have to admit, making that connection made it a whole lot less strange that he asked me how many poops were in the toilet after every bathroom visit - and a whole lot more funny. What a boy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm Grateful For Adoption

Although I have been blessed with two pregnancies and the resulting two boys from those pregnancies, I have many family and friends who have benefited from the miracle that is adoption. I really cannot say enough good things about birth mothers who give such a precious and priceless gift. On December 12th, my sister, Jenny, is hosting a boutique with vendors from all over the state and a couple a very special vendors with all their proceeds going to Hope For Adoptive Families. Please check out the blog and consider attending.

Boutique In The Barn

And while you're doing that, please check out my friend Emily's family blog. She and her husband, Ben, and their sweet little boy want very much to add to their family. If you know anyone who is looking to offer a baby for adoption, please encourage them to consider the Lee family. Emily is one of the sweetest women I know. She is so talented and giving. When decorating my current house, I thought a lot about her beautiful home. And when we were packing up and moving from Chandler, she was so thoughtful to offer to watch Israel so I could pack. And her husband is my home town of Tempe, AZ. Which is pretty much the best compliment I give!

The Lee Family

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm Always Grateful for Photoshop

And today, in addition to being grateful for Photoshop, I am also grateful for textures and layers - because they're just fun.




Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Monday, November 09, 2009

Today I'm Grateful For Allrecipes

and curry. I really like curry - and Allrecipes. I use it a lot. And the user comments are a great resource. Tonight I made this for dinner. It was yummy. I've been trying to find the perfect curry recipe. Tonight's was Indian curry. I really want Thai curry. I've got friend at church who served a mission in Thailand. She makes good curry. I want The Spice's Chicken Yellow Curry. That is the best curry I've ever had. But it's a little too expensive to get everyday. I really want their Chicken Pad Thai too. But that's another post for another day. Anyhow, I'll try curry again in another week or so and see if I can get a more Thai-like dish.

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Today I'm Grateful For Google

I got me one of these. It's pretty freakin' amazing. And I'm grateful for Randal. (He got it for me.)

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Friday, November 06, 2009

Aww... Shoot

I forgot to post last night. Yesterday I had a hard time trying to find something to be thankful for. Terrible, right? Well, I am thankful for this lady's post this morning. I love her 52 Questions series of posts.

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Today I'm Grateful For:

1. Roaster Chickens
Make dinner so much easier.
2. Freecycle
So many generous people and the opportunity to drive through the Iowa countryside.
3. Wade Robson
Any one else watch So You Think You Can Dance?

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Monday, November 02, 2009


Well, it's November and it's time for a few weeks of gratitude inspired posts. I had every intention of starting on the first day of the month. Oh well. Today was an excellent day to start.

You may need a little history to understand the deep appreciation I have for today. My husband - Randal - has some serious back problems. I don't think I've ever mentioned that on my blog. He has had chronic back pain for almost our whole marriage. It has gotten significantly worse over the last 2 1/2 years though. Unless you've lived with chronic pain (7+ on the pain scale on average) or lived with and taken care of someone with chronic pain you probably don't understand how much it affects every day life. Here's just a glimpse of what Randal has had to go through just this year (so far). He's had 22 doctor visits, 2 x-rays, 2 MRIs, 3 months of chiropractic therapy, 4 months of physical therapy, 4 spinal injections, and 12 different medications. And he's still in pain. Most people we associate with at work or church know about this particular burden, even if they don't know the specifics or extent. Everyone has their burden to bear, this just happens to be ours.

And here's the other stuff you need to know. Our church has this really great program called Home Teaching. Men are paired up and asked to visit in the homes of 2 or 3 specific families every month - they check up on them, see if they need anything and also give them a spiritual message. We recently got a new Home Teacher.


Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

PS - We told him we didn't need anything - he's just that wonderful!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yellow, mellow, ripened days,

Sheltered in a golden coating;
O'er the dreamy, listless haze,
White and dainty cloudlets floating;
Winking at the blushing trees,
And the sombre, furrowed fallow;
Smiling at the airy ease,
Of the southward flying swallow
Sweet and smiling are thy ways,
Beauteous, golden Autumn days.

Will Carleton
Autumn Days.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It May Be Ironic, But...

I love cemeteries because they are like monumental living pieces of art - growing more beautiful with time. When I picked up my parents from the airport, I took a little more notice of the cemetery on the same street and thought to myself that I'd like to come back and spend some time there. So, when I was getting ready to take them back to the airport for their flight home, I grabbed my camera and thought, if the boys fall asleep, maybe I can take a little time. Well, they did - so I did. And now, I just want to do it again. Seriously, it's a gorgeous cemetery.
I was really loving the statues with the immortalized looks of love and compassion...
... and years of moss growth which created such beautiful textures and depth.
It was a cloudy day which just made these black and white shots perfect - not too many harsh shadows competing with the natural patina, which is gorgeous!
There were also many more mausolea (above ground tombs) than our cemetery here in Ames.
I happened upon this little head stone by accident. It had just been propped up against this tree. I don't know where it came from.
There were so many trees and hills in this cemetery. It wasn't even very big, but there was just so many tombs and headstones and monuments.
As with all cemeteries it was very peaceful and serene.
An especially endearing feature was this red brick road that twisted through part of the cemetery. As I was driving up this particular stretch of it I was struck by the beauty and charm of this winding uphill trail.

Really though, this cemetery was just so gorgeous.

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Walking With My Mom Through the Cemetery

I share my love and appreciation of cemeteries with my mom. Or maybe I got it from her. Yeah, pretty sure I got it from her. I remember one vacation we took as a family when I was 17. We spent 3 weeks driving from AZ to NY and back again. It seems like every city we stayed in, we went and visited the local cemetery. It was an especially appropriate thing to do on Sunday afternoons.
So, while she was here, I suggested we go to the cemetery on one of our walking outings. I did mention that my mom is a walking machine, right? We spent an hour there and walked all of the driveways through the cemetery and stopped and took pictures here and there. It was so beautiful. It was sunny, but really cold.
This giant tree was especially inspiring.
And this is the one and only angel statue in the whole cemetery - and it's hidden. It was quite the treasure to find.
My mom was especially drawn to the many heart headstones (of course).

I just love cemeteries. When I dropped my parents off at the airport, I visited another cemetery just down the street from the airport. I'll post those pictures later. That cemetery is quite possibly the most beautiful cemetery I have ever visited.

Hugs & Kisses from Charmaine