Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why I love to Blog/Happy May Day


I began blogging purely by accident. While researching ear tube surgery on toddlers via the net, I discovered a family blog that had posted a picture of their little boy after his surgery. This little guy was the same age as my son and was absolutely adorable. So was his mommy's blog. Thus began my life as a blog "stalker"!

But then I got to thinking, "Hmmmm, what a great way to share with my parents and siblings (out of state) all of the exciting and mundane things that our little family of four is up to." Thus, the creation of From Our Front Porch Looking In. It has been an evolutionary process; my blog has changed and grown as my blogging skills and etiquette repertoire have expanded.

I have been blogging right at 6-months and absolutely love it. Why, you ask? There are many reasons, but basically I can sum it up with the following:

1. Blogging allows me to stay connected with family and friends that live out of town. (Not every post is exciting, but each is authentic and from the heart.)

2. Blogging provides an outlet for creative expression. (I was so intrigued by the beautiful blogs that I visited and that were designed by the authors that I took up the hobby of digital scrapbooking and, thus, created my own personal blog background design.)

3. Although I love to write, (and have been "writing" from the time I could manipulate a pencil) I have never been one to "journal". Blogging has allowed me to journal (those exciting and mundane life experiences) in a format that allows for immediate "publication" and is archivable (is that a word?). I love adding photos and images to support the text and convey my message, but what I love even more is going back through my archives and revisiting things that we did as a family.


The "Exciting". Mary Catherine getting to pose with Glinda the Good Witch at Kansas City's 70 Years of Oz Oh My exhibit.


The "Mundane". Mommy dragging the little ones to yet another lawn and garden show. This one was held at a locally family-operated farm, the Zimmerman Kill Creek Barn.

4. Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration! Need I say more? (I love the visual stimulation that other blogs provide! I love peeking into the lives of others to see how they decorate their homes, parent their kiddos, view world politics, and hone their crafts. I love getting to see how and where others live around our great country and this world.)

5. And finally, I get to brag about my two greatest blessings, Mary & Ben. I am an in vitro mommy and right now, at this point in my life, parenting is the greatest job I've had. And believe me, I've had some really great jobs in the almost-20 year years since I graduated from college. What have I done you ask? Well, after getting a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, I went on to work for a United States Senator, a local County Prosecutor, and as a fundraiser for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. After returning to college and obtaining a teaching certificate and Master's Degree in education, I spent the last seven years teaching delightfully precocious 8 & 9-year old third graders. I can honestly say that the Mommy-title is the sweetest I have ever held. I thank God every morning and every night for choosing me to be Mary and Ben's mommy and for allowing me to experience parenthood.


Blessing #1 (the in vitro baby) on St. Patrick's Day.


Blessing #2 (the "bonus" baby) at a family gathering. Future NFL-er?


Blessings #1 & #2 showing some sibling love on Easter Sunday.

So, now you know Why I Love to Blog! If you are curious as to why other people love to blog, please visit Joy over at Cupids Charm. Joy's blog is absolutely beautiful and she is hosting a blogging party celebrating the art and love of blogging. I know that I can't wait to check out the links of all the other inspiring bloggers out there.

And by the way...Happy May Day! May the gods of fertility and abundance shine down on us all whether we are growing children or gardens this fine spring season!


Image borrowed from American Daughter

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Missing Daddy

Seems, Mommy isn't the only one missing Daddy this week! Here is an email that Mary (age 4)asked me to send to Daddy today:

Dear Daddy,

How much will you be at the race? I couldn't remember how much days. When you
get back, I was thinking we could get ice cream together.

Love,
Mary Catherine

P.S. I asked Mommy to type this letter to you. I wanted to know if you had a
mailbox at the fire station. She said you could get emails.


Here is Daddy's reply:

Mary, I am at the races today and tomorrow. Hopefully I will get home in time to
see you before you go to bed, otherwise I will check on you.

I work at the fire station on monday and then I am off till saturday. We can get
ice cream on tuesday or wednesday when it is nice.

If that isn't enough to break a mother's heart, my two-year old son then came up to me and said, "Mommy how much longer?" ('till what...mommy gets off the computer?!)

Me: "For what sweetheart?"

Ben: "'Till Daddy?"

:(

We are really missing Daddy! In addition to his working lots of overtime to help make ends meet, my husband also is on the Rescuse Squad for the Kansas Speedway. Now, NASCAR and INDY races aren't every weekend, they aren't even every month, so it's hard to complain about him working something that he sooooo loves to do a handful of times a year. Besides, marraige is about sacrificing for one another and he is certainly doing his part so that I can stay at home with our little ones. But, man, we sure do miss you Daddy!

Pink Saturday at the Zoo


Happy Pink Saturday!

This has been a crazy week at our house with little blogging going on. The little ones had a touch of the stomach flu (really can't complain since we officially made it the entire Winter with no illnesses)and then Mother Nature delivered some beautiful 80 degree days. Just not a lot of time to sit and blog!

In addition, Daddy has been working lots of overtime this past week (fire fighter), which means he's gone for 24-hour days. To reconnect, Daddy did take a day off from the part-time job on Tuesday and we took the kids to the zoo. Not a whole not of pink to be found at the zoo, but we managed! For other pink finds, please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.


The Kansas City Zoo.


Beautiful new landscaping at the entrance to the zoo. Not sure Ben was supposed to be in the tulip beds...


Inside the wall art at the tiger exhibit. The Kansas City Zoo is divided into continents and we were visiting "Asia".


Pink Chilean Flamingos


Who needs pink animals when there's a playground on zoo property?!!!


Inside the "Kids Discovery Barn". Mary is testing out her "lemur" skills while Ben was being fascinated by the meerkats.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue Monday/Monet and Vases


Before I forget, if you didn't see yesterday's quick post about the blogging party that Joy over at Cupids Charm is hosting on Friday, May 1, be sure to check it out. Cupids Charm is being featured in the Summer issue of Artful Blogging magazine. To celebrate, Joy thought it would be a great idea to throw a blogging party to celebrate the "art" of blogging!

Now, I don't want to reveal too many reasons why I love to blog before May 1, but one reason that I will share is that blogging has allowed me to "rediscover" myself. You know how life sometimes throws us a curve ball (or two) and we lose ourselves during the process of living?! Well, I feel like since I began blogging I have begun to find myself again; the person that I was before I became a wife and mother. (Not that those titles are not exceptionally special to me!)

During my high school days I studied French. Regardless of how many people told me that it was "impractical" and that I would never use it, I loved every single class. From getting our "French" names (which I thought was comical since "Valerie" is a French name...I chose "Marie Claire") to conjugating verbs to trying out escargot...I truly loved French class for all three years. And to all of those that told me I would never use it...I use(d) French all of the time... to help me learn Spanish in college, in day to day living, and to read several blogs that I follow!

So for Blue Monday, I thought that I would share one of my favorite coffee table books, Monet A Retrospective. My husband bought this for me as a surprise when we were still dating. I'm also displaying a couple of my favorite vases that I've brought out of hiding as well as that cute bunny from last week's Blue Monday. For more fabulous blue finds, please visit Sally over at Smiling Sally. Happy Blue Monday!







Sunday, April 19, 2009

Upcoming Blog Party


Extra, Extra, read all about it, Joy over at Cupids Charm is hosting a summer blog party on Friday, May 1. If you are a blogger who loves to inspire, and be inspired by fellow bloggers, then this party is for you. Drop by Cupids Charm to get all of the details and to let Joy know that you wish to join in the fun. She's got a great blogging party button ready for you to grab. See you on May 1! I *heart* blogging!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pink Saturday/Dear Mother Nature...


Dear Mother Nature,

Just a quick note to say thank you for the warm breeze, dazzling rays of sunshine, and balmy 75-degree temperature that you delivered to us on Friday afternoon.

Rest assured that my little ones were delighted to frolic and bask in the warmth of your spring-like gift. It has been so very chilly and damp here on the prairie and we are more than ready to put away winter coats, hats, scarves, and mittens. We even promise not to complain if April showers must accompany warmer days, as we know they will bring about May flowers.

Hugs and kisses from me and my two rosy-cheeked blessings,
Valerie

P.S. Before I forget, Mother Nature, you might want to drop by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see how others delight in different shades of pink, all a tribute to your magnificent palette of colors!


These cheeks were visible on ultrasound...seriously! Sonographers couldn't get over how big they were. To this day, I can not squeeze or kiss those cheeks enough! I love her natural coloring; she has the most beautiful pink undertones to her skin that complement those blue eyes and blonde hair.


Not quite as big of cheeks, but just as rosy!


Discovered this sweet house on our drive to the park. The front door photographed darker then it really is...it's less red and more pink.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthday Party on the Farm, Part 2/Outdoor Wednesday


Yesterday, I promised that for Wednesday's post I would show you photos of the structures on Zimmerman's Kill Creek Farm here in De Soto, KS. I thought this would be the perfect post for my first Outdoor Wednesday. For other fascinating outdoorsy vistas, please visit Susan over at A Southern Daydreamer.

The restored barn is not original to the location, it was moved to the Zimmerman Farm where it was lovingly restored. The barn houses several town events a year and can be rented out for private parties. On Holy Saturday, Mary was invited to a birthday party out at the farm. Yesterday's post was of the party-goers and all of the fun they had. Today, I am focusing on the grounds.


This working farm is just on the outskirts of town. This is the scene that greeted us as we pulled up to park; a beautiful Kansas windmill turning in the breeze.


Side-view of the restored barn.


Signage on the barn. It reads the White/Waitzmann Barn 1880-2000.


View from the house looking at the barn.


Inside the restored barn. One half of the loft houses hay, the other side is cleared for private parties and houses tables and chairs.


View of the bee keeping equipment out in the fields. For information about the art of beekeeping visit The University of Missouri Extension Office.


Beekeepers house.


I loved this little iron bee on the door!


Kansas Historic Preservation Award


This was one of the nicest outhouses I've ever had the pleasure of using! It was equipped with a nightlight and hand-sanitizer. Of course with a four-year old in tow, it was definitely scheduled for a visit!

I was also able to get several great shots of chickens, goats, and cows. Needless to say Mary and Ben had the time of their lives at this party! Hope you enjoyed the picture walk, and don't forget to visit other Outdoor Wednesday participants.

Birthday Party on the Farm, Part 1

In addition to all of the Easter festivities over the weekend, my four-year old was invited to a birthday party on Saturday.

We live in a tiny town, not too far outside of Kansas City, on the Kansas-side of the state line. There is a working farm (The Zimmerman Kill Creek Farm) on the outskirts of town that has a beautifully restored barn. They are host to several events throughout the year (Fall Festival, the DeSoto Blues and BBQ competition, and other Chamber events). You can also rent out the barn for private parties as Lucia's grandparents and parents did for her 5th birthday. (Five is such a special birthday, don't you agree?!)

The weather was absolutely spectacular; low 60s, lots of sunshine, and thin white clouds streaming across the afternoon sky. Little girls were running around everywhere, exploring the barn and loft, and interacting with chickens, goats, and cows. As parents were encouraged to stay for the party, I was in a bit of a bind. My husband was on-duty and I had no babysitter for two-year old brother. Lucia's grandparents were so gracious and encouraged me to bring Benjamin to the party. He was in absolute heaven. Can you say dirty little boy?!!!

Since I have so many pictures from the party I thought that I would do two posts. This first post is mainly pictures of the party goers. Tomorrow's post will be more of the structures and livestock that the kids were introduced to. Enjoy.



Of course the teacher-mommy in me couldn't help but purchase "thematic" books for a "farm-themed" birthday party. While there were lots to choose from, I decided to go vintage with classic Little Golden Books. Mary picked out the Breyer Mini-Whinnies.


Checkin' out the chickens.


Mary descending from the loft.


Playing "Pin the Tale on the Donkey".




Shots of the egg-on-spoon race. It was hilarious to watch all these little four and five-year old girls running with eggs on spoons. Needless to say, although Ben insisted on participating and giving it his best shot, he wasn't able to take one step without losing his egg!


Mary doing her best to make contact with the pinata. It was painful to watch! Look how far back all of the other little girls are standing!!!


No matter how hard I tried, I could not keep Ben out of the farm fields. Luckily they were only plowed and not seeded!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter/Think Green!

After an unseasonably warm winter here in Kansas, (with almost no snow where we live and several 70-80 degree days in December/January/February) Mother Nature has dealt us a damp and cool (dare I say downright cold?) spring!

So, in an effort to "Think Spring" (i.e. warmer temperatures)and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I bought "green" coordinating outfits for my little ones for Easter Sunday.


Big Sister

Little Brother


Hugs...

...and kisses!

I hope that on this Easter Sunday you were surrounded by your loved ones and good food while celebrating this most holiest of days. Blessings to you!

Happy Blue Monday/Easter Monday


Happy Blue Monday. To celebrate all things blue I thought that I would share this beautiful wood-cut rabbit that I purchased several years ago in O'Fallon, MO at The White Hare. The White Hare is litreally a hop, skip, and a jump (bunny-talk here!) from my parents' home in St. Louis. My mom and I always make a point of popping in there, especially if we can't make it down to the riverfront in St. Charles for some SERIOUS vintage/primitives/retail therapy!

For more blue finds, hop on over to Smiling Sally. Happy Easter Monday!



I love this bunny so much that I leave him out on display all year long! Only his location changes as he scampers away from curious little hands!


Playing sentinel as he watches over his keep!

Happy Easter Monday! (Easter post to come)