i ♥ faces: water

Check out some other faces and water over at i heart faces.



When I log on to check my e-mail, the Yahoo server lets me know what is “trending” in the world. It usually makes me laugh, for I generally have not heard of any of the people, used any of the items, cared for any of the music, and things of the like. I certainly do not consider myself to be stuck under a rock, but the mass of the population appears to love things much different than I do. So, in order to compete, I am letting you know what is trending here in the V Family household, for me at least.

1- Wool Laundry Ball: Ah, yes. Balls of wool. It is really that simple. I have used them for about 6 months in my dryer and there is really not much better. You just throw the little round things into your dryer and you leave them there. You never have to remember to put in a fabric softener sheet or buy really expensive natural liquid softener. I always tended to forget the softener anyways, so no matter what kind I had, it never got use. I thought about making my own, but by the time I bought the spool of wool, I was not really saving a cent. For a total of 6 bucks, I have two wool laundry balls that seriously keep static cling away from my laundry (and you really need two by the way). On occasion I will have one item stick to another but that is rare. I just keep them in the dryer and all is well.

2- Short Runs: Yes, I know I have ran a full marathon and a half-marathon, but all before those races, you would hear me say “I don’t think the human body is made to run that long of a distance. I mean, the first guy that ran one died, so why do we continue to replicate that?” People would laugh at my comment and usually agree, but something inside of me always assumed they were laughing while silently thinking, “Yeah, sure, good point. But you only say that because you can’t run a marathon.” So, for the most part, those extreme distances were to prove something that may/may not have needed proving. I really feel, however, that we shouldn’t run those distances. Our heart and our knees will thank us later for skipping out on that demanding training, and there is much research to back me up on this one(take that one as a small sample). While I still love a long run, meaning more around 6-8 miles, my life with two kids just can’t really manage that time so well, not to mention the heat we have in the summer months. Even though we just became members of our local YMCA, I can’t fathom 10 miles on the monstrosity called a treadmill. My solution? Short runs. I have just been getting on, moving that treadmill count to 9.5 to 11 and burning out a mile. 6 minutes and about 5 to 15 seconds later, I am done. And tired. Although I use to haul my butt faster than that back in my competitive track days, that was 2 kids and over 10 years ago, so a 6:15 mile I am going to consider intense, even though elite marathon runners pace miles faster than that. I am going to try and get it under 6 here soon, but I think I will need to get off the treadmill and hit the pavement to really make that happen.

3- Yoga: After a swift mile run, I might do some weights and then I move on to Yoga class at the Y. I am seriously enjoying my time practicing yoga. I have done some yoga before, but never in a classroom type of setting, more of just me, myself, and I with a DVD on yoga. Hearing things being described by the instructor on how/why certain moves and formations are done is fascinating to me. I also like the challenge of balance poses. The concept of focusing on the present and the now, which yoga encourages, is a hard one for me, so practicing this idea is good for me. I can also honestly say that my breathing techniques learned in class kept me from vomiting on a recently turbulent airplane journey to MN for my cousin’s wedding this past month. The lady next to me on the plane said, “I was very impressed with your meditation breathing! It seemed to work for you. I also enjoyed admiring your hair while you sat there.” Thanks, random lady. You are so observant and wise. Now, thanks to my hubby being so kind on my birthday, I have a new yoga DVD to practice with at home.

4- Friends: No, not the old TV show, but real, relational friends. I know that is totally cheesy, but after celebrating my 29th birthday, all the cards, text messages, phone calls, FB comments, e-mails, and things of the like to wish me a wonderful day was just awesome. I love it when people pause thinking of only themselves and their family to send me a message or a snail mail greeting, one of which was homemade–thanks Brandy! Hearing my friends–and family–sing to me over the phone is priceless. Remembering me is pretty awesome, so to each and every one of my friends that helped me celebrate, THANKS! I also got to see many of my sweet friends the day after my birthday at our annual Wesley Foundation Picnic. Reminiscing and catching up with those friends from college is always a highlight of my summer. Not everyone makes the time or has the ability to come back, but it is always awesome to spend some moments with those that do. We had to drive over 2 hours to get there but it was certainly worth it.

5- Lush: Thomas bought me a few Lush items about 2 years ago. He took a business trip to MN, and when I visited the state for the first time for my cousin’s wedding, I checked the store out myself. I walked away with two different kinds of scrubs because I love a good scrub. My favorite so far is one that is really abrasive that actually leaves behind Shea Butter lotion. So, you scrub away and soften and moisten all at the same time. So great! All Lush items are handmade and fresh, and although I am really good about clean and natural in some areas of my life, soap is not one of the best places for me (I still think the Huggies travel baby wash cloths are the best ever for travel and infants, even though I think they stopped making them–but Babyganics came out with a green version!). I am really considering their face cleansers but I want to try them in person first. Fortunately, there is a store in my state! Unfortunately, that store is over 4 hours away :o/

What’s trending in your world? Are your things as dorky as mine? :O)

Pool Time!

My friend Jennifer was going to be back in my home state visiting her mom and wanted to meet up and go swimming in her family pool. The boys and I drove about an hour and a half to meet her, which is quite far for some pool time, but we really all went for the company. It was great catching up with Jen, as well as meeting Anna Kathryn for a second time. This was the first time in a big pool this year for Daniel and Wesley, and I was very pleased with how well they both did. Wesley jumped off the diving board to me and Daniel took some time to swim without water wings. He even discovered that he could touch in the shallow end! They were super excited to play with all the toys, like construction goggles, trucks, and basketballs, in the water. They completely zonked out in the car on the way home, so I drove home listening to talk radio in silence.

Thanks Jen for the invite!

First, Hear the Story

I will never forget this one specific Christmas at my Aunt Maureen’s. Although the ham tasted great that year, the tree had marvelous sparkle, and memorable gifts given, those typical¬† Christmas images are not why it will stick with me. I will always recall this Christmas for a unique reason.

You see, my Dad’s side of the family is a bit notorious for running late. Being that my Dad passed away when I was young, I am not entirely sure if he inherited this trait or not, but the majority of his 9 brothers and sisters seemed to get the tardiness gene.

If a family function was to start at 5, I knew most would not show until 5:30. If we were suppose to eat at 6, plan for 7. Even if the physical bodies we need for the function to begin were present, there were always extra elements that had to be adjusted in order for anything to truly happen. Knowing this, I began to adapt. If they said 4, I did not try to get there until 4:20. Dinner time at 5? I will eat a snack at 4 because 5 o’clock ain’t happening, and the snack will be my lifesaver.

All that said, there is one aunt that you could count on being there on time. She would perhaps even complain about everyone else being late or unprepared. She though married into the mix, so her blood did not run with the inability to be punctual. In fact, I would say my Aunt Sue ran a tight ship, and the rest of her family, her two adult children, one with a handicap, and son-in-law, Julien, would arrive with her, on time. And even though her husband, the actual connection to the family, had passed away, she still came to all family functions.

Now, this particular Christmas, Aunt Sue was not there when I arrived. Aunt Sue and her family were not there when all the others began to trickle in to Aunt Maureen’s house. Aunt Sue and her family were also not there when it was time to pull the Christmas ham out of the oven. Everyone was there but Sue’s family, and we were all hungry, already behind schedule, and a bit curious, possibly even a little perturbed because of her absence.

“How about someone call Sue and find out where she is,” my Aunt Irene said.

“I’ve called twice. She did not answer. Why is she not here yet?” my Aunt Maureen responded.

“Well, it is past time for them all to be here,” my Aunt Patti added.

You could tell there was a bit of aggravation in everyone’s voice, coupled with a tiny bit of concern……but mostly annoyance. We were hungry. And it was Christmas.

After waiting a little more, Maureen chimed in with, “I’m calling again.”

The aroma of the ham was intoxicating. The smell of the brownies was almost more than we could bear, teasing us from the platter. It was time to figure out how much longer we had to wait to eat that delicious food. All eyes were on the host as she dialed.

“Hey Sue, how much longer til you are here? Everyone else is here.”

There was a pause from Maureen, followed by a gasp. “Ok, we will see you soon.”

She hung up the phone and turned to the rest of us. “Julien’s mom was found dead in her back yard. [insert long pause] She shot herself.”

And that was why they were late. His mom committed suicide, on Christmas day.

And yes, you read that above sentence correctly. She shot herself on Christmas.

We barely had time to let the words hit our ears and they all walked in the door. Julien still wanted to come. His mom lived many states away and there was nothing that he felt he could do at this point. We gathered around him, prayed for him, wept with him, and then, as odd as it sounds, we ate ham.

That is why I will never forget that Christmas. It was such a shock, completely unexpected, and beyond tragic. I remember him sitting across the table from me and talking small talk. I really couldn’t fathom how we was able to form words and speak.

Above all, I was glad no one got extremely ticked off that they were late, very late, for Christmas dinner.

Could you image being that person? You dial the numbers, Sue picks up, and you ream her for being so inconsiderate of your preparations and your ham. You let her have a piece of your mind, for everyone is waiting on her and she did not even have the consideration to call and let you know she was going to be late. Just imagine for a moment being that person, and even though it did not happen, imagine it did. And after you said your part, you are hit with those words “Julien’s mom was found dead in her back yard. She shot herself.” What an ass you would have been. What guilt you would have felt. Think of how many words you would have to eat.

And ever since that Christmas, I have tried to be better about hearing the story first, before I react. I am no where near perfect, trust me, but behind most situations there is a story, which just might justify, explain, or perhaps even condone the actions.

As if the example above was not enough, I just heard a story recently of a man whose momma kept a close eye on him while he sat on the front church pew at church while she sat in the choir. If he jostled, she gave him the evil eye. One Sunday, he was fidgety. He got up and went out of the sanctuary, and when she caught up to him in the hallway, she spanked him. After his woopin’, as my Nannie would call it, she got the story: he had gotten up to go and vomit in the bathroom. He was in great pain. A trip to the ER and an emergency appendectomy later, think of all that mommy guilt she felt. Yikes!

If only she had asked for the story first.

Now, sometimes, after hearing the why, your gut reaction might be appropriate. Or it may not. But I promise you will have always wanted to play that one on the safe side.

First, find out the story, for it will sometimes help you save face in the end.