Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Catching Up

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted anything. If you happen to be keeping track, you know I fell off the face of the blog world the second school let out for the summer. Hmmmm. How mysterious.

This summer has felt crazier than any other I remember. I've done the stay-at-home mom thing and I've done the working-mom thing, but now that I have the super flexible, own-my-own-business thing going, I find that I constantly have to have both hats on. I'm always sort of on work duty because I fit in phone calls, emails, & other admin things whenever I can during the day (or night) and I'm always on mom duty because, well, these kids are needy and think they need to eat like three times a day! Sheesh. Not to mention, they want to be driven to and picked up from friends' houses, camps, practices, the mall, the movies, gymnastics, GameStop, Braum's, and the list goes on and on and on. Gage & Jacey have both hit the stage in life when being with your people is one of the most important things (well, Jacey was born in that stage) which is great, but it sure can wear out the driver. I feel old saying that, but it's true.

I'm ready for school to start again, but not because my kids are starting to drive me crazy (like every summer before). I'm ready for the structure of a set routine...clear(er) boundaries between work time and home time. I'm ready for the kids to go to bed earlier (can you hear my tortured introvert self screaming for silence every night around 9:00?). And while I'm whining I'll just go ahead and say...

It's really hot outside!

Ok, moving on. Here are some highlights from our summer...

We've been to the pool a lot.

We've been visited by the Tooth Fairy.

We went on an amazing vacation with amazing friends.

We watched fireworks by the lake.

Whoaaaa. Duuuude. 3d Fireworks glasses rock!

And we got a dog.

Her name is Jovi (as in Bon Jovi). She is deeply loved by 3 sweet kids.
And I actually like her (it shocked me too!)

There you have it. 6 weeks of Crawford excitement in pictures.

So, how are you feeling at this point in the summer?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grafted Together

I love my job. I get to work for some of the most amazing people in OKC. I really love all of my customers and here is just one reason why...

Today, I cleaned for the Bingamans. They just might be the absolute sweetest people ever created. Not even kidding. They're the kind of people who genuinely care about you, no matter who you are, and you feel how much they care about you from the moment you meet them and in every little conversation. They always ask questions about you, not just to make small talk, but because they really want to know what's going on in your life.

I want to be more like that. It usually doesn't even cross my mind to ask people questions. I'm self-centered. And easily annoyed. But I digress...

Today Mr. Bingaman was going to have lunch with one of his dear friends who recently lost his wife to cancer. He told me of his friend's heartache and described them as "one of those couples who was just grafted together at the heart." I find that description to be overwhelmingly beautiful.

I automatically asked myself, "Are Ron & I like that?" And I automatically answered myself, "Yes. Absolutely."

And for the rest of the day, my heart was stirred with thoughts of the one I'm grafted to. And gratitude to the One who has grafted us together at the heart.

Lovely thoughts to ponder on a Thursday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


As parents, we mark so many firsts in our kids' lives. Their first smile, first word, first steps, first haircut, first loose tooth, first day of school. The list is endless, as is the joy we feel as we celebrate those milestones (unless it's the first time they flood the bathroom or their first trip to the ER). I really don't think we'll ever get to the end of the firsts with our kids, which is a really wonderful thing about being a parent.

But this month, it has hit me with gut-wrenching force that I'm in the big, fat middle of a season of lasts. All 3 of my babies are about to cross over into completely new phases of headed to high school, one to middle school, and my little one to first grade. So that means May 2010 holds the last fleeting moments of these precious things:

Pulling up to Summit Middle School every afternoon to
find Gage and his funny friends...

and sweet girlfriend.

Watching every morning as Jacey walks Corban into school at Angie Debo.
(This was the one & only year that these 2 will attend the same school).

Waiting every afternoon in the cul-de-sac behind the school
for Jacey to walk up with her sweet friends.

Jacey's elementary school career. No more homeroom parties...

Or class music programs.

Kindergarten. My last baby has finished Kindergarten.

There will never be another Beach Day...

Transportation Day...

or Kindergarten Program.
(She wants to be a Zookeeper when she grows up, btw).

There will also be no more of that half-day nonsense....not at all sad about that! :)

It's a bittersweet season. It's so fun to watch my kids grow into who they're supposed to be. But it also makes my heart hurt just a bit.

Soon, we'll begin of a whole new season of firsts to celebrate.

But for now I'm going to savor the lasts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Celebrating Sylvia

This morning, I got to hang out with my new friend and co-Bloomie, Sylvia. Sylvia is full of joy and exuberance. She's one of those people who constantly beams and you can't help but be affected by her attitude and love of life. She has overcome a lot of obstacles in her life, but you'd never know it by just being with her. She's very transparent, though, so if you got to have a cup of coffee with her, she'd be more than happy to tell you her story. It's a story that includes a really rough childhood, which led to some really big mistakes, which made for even rougher teen & early adult years. But the greatest thing about Sylvia's story is that she didn't let anything keep her down. With every obstacle, she rose up and fought to live life well for herself and her 5 kids.

Today, we got to celebrate because Sylvia has reached a Bloom milestone. She has completed her training and has officially started her own business and begun to clean homes for her very own customers! We get super excited about that kind of stuff because so many people never make it this far. I have so much faith and confidence in Sylvia. When I look at her, I see what she's overcome to get to this point and I see all the amazing things she'll accomplish in the next few years as a leader and business woman.

GO SYLVIA!!! I'm so proud of you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day Syndrome

Mother's Day is just a couple of days away, which means all the school kids have been busy making treasured gifts for their moms. The gifts usually include a plant or flower of some kind and a card full of sweet little drawings and misspelled words written by sweet little fingers.

Teachers these days are so crafty and creative. They want your Mother's Day gift to actually mean something to you, so they ask your kid all kinds of questions about you, then put their answers in permanent ink so you can treasure it for all eternity. A wonderful idea for most people, I'm sure. Me? Not so much.

Why? Because those thoughtful little gifts cause my MDS (Mother's Day Syndrome) to kick in. MDS is a disorder that causes a mom to break out in a cold sweat and have an elevated heart rate at the very moment she begins to read her child's answers in the sweet little Mother's Day card. And all she can think is, "What has this child said about me?! Has he/she exposed every one of my weaknesses as a parent? Or as a human being?"

I had an episode today because Corban brought home her gift for me. It's a cookbook compiled by her Kindergarten class. All the kids made their own page to showcase their favorite food that mom makes, including the recipe and all the ingredients needed. There's also a picture of the kid in a chef hat and apron, holding a spoon and a bowl, and there's a little cartoon bubble with a quote from the child about why mom is special. So precious.

And frightening.

As I began to read the book, all my brain could do was wonder what was going to be on her page. I was afraid it was going to go something like:


Chicken McNuggets

Hop in your car and drive to McDonald's. Talk into the talky thing and tell the lady you want some chicken. Please pull to the first window, then the second window and then they hand you some chicken.

My mom is special because she only yells at me sometimes, not all the time.

Lucky for me, here's what it really said:


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie Mix





Put the cookie mix in and crack the eggs into it. Then you mix it all together. Put them in the oven.

I love my mom because she plays at the playground with me.


I haven't always been so lucky. Here's a sample of some of the cards I've received in the past. The bold print is the sentence the teacher gave, the italics are my beautiful offspring filling in the blanks:

All day long, my mom... takes a nap. (this one had a lovely picture of stick-figure me in bed with lots of z's above my head)

My mom is so smart, she can even... eat a whole roll in one bite. (also with a picture of stick-figure me with crumbs all over my face)

It was so funny when... you burped a long time ago. (That never happened!)

I love my mom because... one time she played with me. (And if you keep giving me cards like this for Mother's Day, it'll never happen again.)

My mom's favorite tv show is... a tornado watch. (Pick any other show and it's more my favorite than a tornado watch.)

M - Much Love (Awww)
O - Open Minded (Okaaaay?)
T - The Best (Yay for me!)
H -
Honest (Always)
E - Excellent (Yes!)
R - Rather Cunning (Really? You're in 2nd grade. How do you even know these words?)

Oh well. At least I have a whole stack of cards to look back on and laugh.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I usually love Sundays, and yesterday was an exceptionally good one. We started the day at Urban Celebration and got to worship with friends we haven't seen in a while. It was cozy & refreshing, inspiring & challenging. The message was all about unity, especially breaking down racial walls. I'm still processing all the stuff that goes along with that and wondering how my life would look if all the walls were broken down. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that later.

The most wonderful thing about yesterday was that it was Ron's first Sunday off work since last September. He works at Cross & Crown Mission and they have youth activities, a community dinner and a worship service every Sunday evening throughout the school year (they also do a LOT of other stuff all week long. You can check it out here). But every summer, beginning in May, they take a much needed break from Sunday stuff.

Sidenote: I don't think people realize how much work it takes for the people who administrate and run church services every week. If it seems effortless and easy, it's because a small number of people have worked extra hard at it. So, next time you see someone who's involved in running the big show at your church, tell them thank you. Anyway...

Yesterday was our first Sunday to have the daddy home ALL DAY! It was glorious! We spent the whole day at the OKC Zoo, which has been vastly improved since the last time I was there. I always thought the zoo was great, but they've added so many cool exhibits and are continuing to build new and better things. My favorite part was the Oklahoma Trails, which is a huge exhibit showcasing all the plants and animals found in Oklahoma. We saw a grizzly bear swimming beneath a beautiful waterfall, bats, raccoons, bison, alligators and a whole lot more. It made me appreciate how diverse and rich our state is. And it only slightly unnerved the girls that all those wild beasts live right here in OK.

It really was a perfect zoo day. The temperature was perfect and all the animals were out, but I think the thing that made it the most perfect was the freedom we felt. Freedom because we've officially crossed out of the baby/toddler stage of parenthood and fully into big kid mode. We've actually been in this mode for a while, but I got a fresh appreciation for it being in a place with so many little ones. When you're in big kid mode, you don't have to pack up everything you own to go out for the day. I went into the zoo armed with nothing but chapstick and 2 band-aids in my pocket (we almost always need band-aids). No stroller, no baby wipes, no sippy cups. And NO crying children! We passed stroller after stroller of crying children, and just laughed because it's really funny when it's not your own kid! It felt so liberating to walk around with happy, independent kids and it made us so thankful to be past that stage of parenthood (if you're in that stage, just enjoy and laugh your way through it. It feels long while you're in it, but it really does end before you know it).

2 of our big kids on the zoo tram

In our big kid mode, we only had one little glitch. While we were looking at the anteater (a really weird looking creature), Jacey realized her leg was bleeding. She cut it on something, but didn't notice until there was a lot of blood running down her leg. Nice. But who saved the day? That's right, MacGuyver Mom stopped the bleeding with the zoo receipt and whipped out a band-aid. Ta Da! Episode over. Gotta love big kid mode!

It was a really refreshing Sunday. I can feel summer coming and it's going to be full of those. Ahhhh.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big Dreaminess

I love hearing stories of people who are living their dream. Whether it's a dream they've carried since they were young or a fresh, new, adult-onset dream, it's inspiring to watch someone do what they love.

My big dream is generally the same as most make a difference in someone else's life (and the more someone else's, the better). I want the planet to be a better place because I was here. I want to know I lived out my purpose for being alive. More specifically, my dream is to see women, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, THRIVE. Over the last 10-12 years, I've seen a handful of things concerning women that have broken my heart. Things like:

  • A teenager who basically raised herself and did the best she could in deplorable surroundings. She wanted to go to college, but the cycle of poverty in her family was just too great and she got stuck in the trap. She works for minimum wage.
  • Single moms trying everything they can take care of their kids, but the odds are against them. How can they work enough to provide for their family when they don't have anyone to help with the kids? They constantly find themselves forced to make decisions out of desperation and more often than not, it's a no-win situation.
  • Teen moms. They have all the responsibilities of adult single moms, but they're so young that they don't even have a grid for how to live well. Most of the teen moms I know have zero support system. They feel like the only person supporting them is their boyfriend (who may or may not be the baby's father), but in reality the kind of "support" he offers only creates more problems (aka babies).
  • A 55 year-old prostitute who followed our introduction with, "I've been whoring for 27 years." She turned her first trick when she was 8 years old. For 25 cents. With her uncle. When we met, she had a broken femur because she had jumped out of a moving car when a john pulled a gun on her. She doesn't like being a prostitute, but she doesn't know how to get out.

When I encounter people in these kinds of situations, a deep desire gets stirred up in me. The desire to change the world for these women. The desire to see them live full and beautiful lives. Because when a woman is thriving, she gives herself to the people around her. She parents well and provides for her family. She contributes to her community and everyone is better for knowing her. I don't know who said it first, but I truly believe when you impact a woman, you impact a family. When you impact a family, you impact a neighborhood (or village). When you impact a neighborhood, you impact a city. And then a state. And then the whole world! Isn't that the most awesome and fun domino effect EVER?!

That's why I'm all about Bloom Home Cleaning. The whole idea is to empower and support women so they can succeed in every area of their lives...financially, emotionally, relationally, spiritually. It's social entrepreneurship at its best because it's all about providing relationships for women that will provide support and encouragement, but also challenge and push them forward.

I think, for the first time in my life, I can see the beginnings of my dream becoming reality. And guess what. It's not nearly as glamorous as one would hope. I'm sure anyone who's living out their dreams would say the same thing. The hard work of making the dream a reality usually overshadows any glamour that may come along. I came across a great quote today in the place where all of the most inspirational thoughts of human history are pooled together. Twitter. "Most dreams don't cost money. They cost sweat." Thank you, @prodigaljohn for putting into 8 words the struggle battle all-out war I live every day. I'm finding that when you're trying to live your dream, most days feel mundane and insignificant. Like when you're scrubbing a toilet for the 152nd time. You just have to keep reminding yourself that there's a point to all this mundane-ness. There are lives to be changed. There's a dream to live, baby!

Ultimately, the big dreaminess of the dream makes it worth it. What's your big dream?

Keep going.

Keep sweating.

Keep dreaming.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kindergarten Rumble

If you've ever met Corban, my sweet 6 year-old baby girl, you will not be one bit surprised by what I am about to tell you. Corban's world is made up of absolutes. To her, things are obviously black or white, right or wrong. There is no gray area, no middle ground. She stands firmly for justice and truth...even if she's the only one who believes a particular thing to be true.

And that's why she has stories like this from AM Kindergarten...

We don't know all the details, but apparently there was some sort of misunderstanding at the Art Center today. We know it involved a clothespin with another little girl's name on it and Corban being blamed by that girl (who is actually one of Corban's best friends in her class) for the unauthorized moving of said clothespin. I don't know how much investigation was done by the girl to find out who committed such a heinous Kindergarten crime, but she decided Corban was responsible for moving her clip and was not down with that. The interaction that followed went something like this (as reported by Corban):

Girl: "Corban, you moved my clip! We are going to fight. Next Thursday. 9 o'clock in the morning. Bring Band-aids."

"Oh yeah?! Well, I know KARATE. You bring Band-aids!"

The teacher then jumped in and told the girl that she had moved the clip. So the girl shook Corban's hand and said, "Fight's off!"

And they all lived happily ever after.

When Corban told us this story at dinner tonight, I probably should've said something about how fighting doesn't solve anything. Or at the very least, pointed out that she doesn't really know karate. But I was laughing so hard I was crying. There was no chance of any kind of meaningful discussion on my part. Plus, I know her well enough to know that she knows her version of the truth and no amount of talking will change that. In her mind, she was wrongly accused and threatened by a kid with inferior fighting skills. She was just telling the truth about who was going to be needing the Band-aids next Thursday morning at 9:01. When she told her Daddy the story, she said, "You know, I've never had any classes, but I am good at Karate." Mmmm hmmm.

Don't mess with this one.

Oh, and if you're thinking of discussing this the next time you see her, I would strongly discourage it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Man Child

On this day 14 years ago, Ron & I welcomed this little guy into our family (I did most of the work of the welcoming) and we immediately fell head- over-heels in love with our sweet boy, Gage.

In the blink of an eye, he grew from this...

to this perfect little pudgy thing. And then...

into Daddy's little buddy.

He fully embraced big brotherhood (twice).

He will do just about anything to make people laugh and/or roll their eyes
(especially the sisters).

And before I knew it....

He's nearly man sized and always wants me to wear flat shoes because he's officially taller than I am when I'm not wearing heels. And as you can see, he absolutely refuses to give a decent pose for a picture. This was try number 6, I think.

On several occasions, people have asked me what it's like to parent a teenage boy. They usually say it through gritted teeth and have a sneer on their face like, "How bad is it really?" Honestly, the thought used to scare me, too. And looking back over my own early teenagehood didn't make me feel any better (I turned it around by age 16, thank the Lord!). But the truth is it just keeps getting better and better! Just like every other stage of your child's life, you figure it out as you go. You make mistakes and swear to fix it on the next kid. But I have to say that teenage boyhood is the MOST FUN for this mama so far. He's walking in this weird little space between being a kid and being an adult. One minute he's doing flips on the trampoline and the next he's making decisions about what he wants to do with his life and filling out his High School enrollment form accordingly. He's chosen to take Latin next year, by the way. What in the world?! He constantly amazes me & Ron with his generosity and the way he handles his friends and peers with such care. He has always been compassionate, but we've seen it grow so much in him over these 14 years that now it just oozes out of him. He's a massive introvert and the biggest home body I've ever seen. He's also hilarious and way too smart for his own good.

Gage has done plenty of things to make me proud of him, but the thing I'm most proud of is his heart. I can see who he's becoming. I love him and like being with him more every day.

I remember one night when he was just a couple of weeks old. I was sitting on the couch, holding him and staring at every perfect thing about him because that's what new mommies do. And it hit me like a knife through the heart....

He's going to go to college someday and leave us! What will I do? I won't EVER be ready for that!

I burst into tears! I cried and cried until Ron came in, probably wondering what crazy postpartum thing he was going to have to deal with now. I told him what was wrong and he talked me down by saying something profound like, "It's gonna be ok. We've got a little time with him before he goes to college."

And now, here we are in this place where we mark time by how many Spring Breaks we have left with him. Four. Not nearly enough.

Happy 14th Birthday, Gage. You'll never know how much we love you. We're gonna spend the next four years trying to show you, though.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hello Blog World!

Well, here I am in the blogosphere. I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but haven't for several reasons, most of which boil down to the fact that I'm an over-thinker.

What am I going to write about?

When am I going to have the time & energy to write it?

And of course,

Who would possibly care to read it?

I've spent several months (yes, months. Over-thinker.) thinking through these questions and have actually had several ideas to write about, so that takes care of the first question. The second question is a little more sketchy and probably will be until my last kid goes to college, so I can't really use that as an excuse. As for the last question, I ended up with two answers:

1. I absolutely LOVE to read other people's blogs! And my favorite ones are about real life and relationships and mom stuff, so if everybody else on the planet can write about their ordinary lives, then so can I, right?

2. I realized that it's really ok if nobody ever reads this. I want this to be a place where I can process and wrestle with stuff in a more substantial way, which is a really healthy discipline for someone with my personality type.

So, after talking myself through those issues, the next step was to actually set up the blog, which is way harder than it sounds because all the good names are already taken. But when "Dreams Are Blooming" was available I knew it was the perfect name for my life journal. More on that later. :)

Now the next step is crucial: MAKE THE BLOG CUTE! Also way harder than it sounds (remember the over-thinking and throw in endless template and color scheme options, headers, footers, separators, backgrounds, etc, etc, etc.) I finally settled on what you see here after my fashion adviser (Jacey, my super cool 11 year-old daughter) gave her seal of approval.

The only thing left was to actually post something, so after proofreading and hitting the delete button about 428 times, here we are!

I feel like I've accomplished something monumental today! Thanks for sharing it with me.

Hello? Is anyone here? :)