Patent Pending: Brooks’ Taco Clip

I know I’ve mentioned more than once how Brooks is such an out-of-the-box thinker.  While it can be challenging to parent, Dean and I are convinced he’ll be a millionaire one day with his unique ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.

One of his latest is the “Taco Clip”:

Yes, we were eating tacos one night and Brooks said, “I need something to help hold this together.”  He went over to our chip clip drawer and grabbed his solution.

Dean and I looked at each other and I said, “I can see it now, the late night infomercial.  <<insert voice-over>> “Do you have the fillings sliding out of your taco?  We’ll with The Brooksie Clip, your problem is solved… and if you act now, we’ll throw in a second XL Brooksie Clip when you pay separate shipping and handling!”

The Brooksie Clip – Patent Pending 🙂  Seriously, I’d love to sit in his brain for a day, just to see what it’s like 🙂

And yes, we eat tacos a lot. He’s already used his “Brooksie Taco Clip” two or three times!



Brooks Says: Earning Points

Each school day, Brooks’ teacher tracks behavior points for her class.  There is an app/webpage you can log into to see how your kid is doing throughout the day:



It’s great because I can ask Brooks specifics about his day and have a general idea of how he’s doing.

Lately, he’s been doing great at earning those green, positive points for listening, following directions, being a Bucket Filler (caught doing something good), etc.  Brooks is our “more spirited” and social child, so there have been weeks where there were a bunch of “calling out” or “not listening” -1 points.

95% of the time, the points are allocated in 1-point increments, but sometimes she’ll give a 5-point bonus.  I asked Brooks what these were for and he said it can be super good behavior or solving a challenging math problem.

One day, he came home with a +5 bonus point.  I asked what great thing he did to earn those bonus points.

“At snack time, someone threw their strawberry stems on the floor near the trash, but not in the trash.  Mrs. S asked for whoever ate strawberries to pick it up, but none of the kids went and picked it up, so I did.”

“Wow, Brooks, that was awesome you did something so nice.”

Then as I was tucking him in to bed an hour later I asked, “What points are you going to work on for tomorrow? Good listening? Walking quietly in the hallway?”

“No, I think I’m just going to wait until someone throws their garbage outside of the trashcan and I’ll go pick it up for an easy 5 points!”  😉 🙂

This boy.  I love him.

Are you the crowd or the woman?

Recently, I’ve been reading through Mark in the bible and last week, I specifically read the story of the ill woman who touched Jesus and was healed (Mark 5).

Quick summary of the story: a man comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his dying daughter.  Jesus pushes through crowds who are now a constant, they’ve seen his miracles and watch him going the young girl’s home.  En route he is touched and immediately stops to ask who touched him.  Jesus’ disciples say, “Of course, you are being touched, you’re walking through a crowd.” But Jesus knows it’s more than a crowd push, it’s a purposeful touch – a last hope, born of faith touch.  A woman with a long-time medical issue admits she is the one who touched Jesus’ garment and she is immediately healed.

Reading this story I’m so challenged by how I see myself in the two representations of people.

In life, am I the crowd or am I the woman?  Sure, the crowd was all walking the same way Jesus was.  They were interested to see what he was going to do next – what miracle he was going to perform.  They bumped into him on the way, but generally were just headed in the same direction.  It’s really easy to fall into the Jesus crowd.  To walk in his general way but to be no different than the hundreds of others that are walking in his direction.  The crowd is mostly there for the show – they’ve never seen anyone do what he can do.  Sometimes they are walking with him, doubting he can do what he’s heading to do, unsure that it can really be done.  “Can I really trust God to heal my illness/restore my marriage/help my broken relationship/save my job?”

Or am I the woman – the one who fought the crowd of strong men to get the closest to Jesus and in an act of faith, to reach out and touch his clothing.  She put herself out there with the faith that Jesus was all she needed for complete healing.  She didn’t get caught watching the magic show that was Jesus’ miracles –  she wasn’t an observer, she made herself a participant.  She took action and put her own miracle in action.

I’ve been noodling this and asking myself some challenging questions:  Do I push myself in my faith – trusting God can do anything?  Do I get caught jostling between other members of the crowd – in the middle of the hoopla – or am I pushing towards a focused goal – an intimate, personal encounter with Him?



We redid our half bath.

Last year, one of our goals was to revamp our half bath downstairs.  There were a few rooms through the house that were a medium avocado green when we moved in and while I like green, I wanted to keep the theme blues and grays so slowly, I made over each room that had the green.

The last up was the bathroom.  Here was the before:


And it really isn’t that bad of a before, I just wanted a lighter space since there isn’t a ton of natural light in this part of our downstairs.


  • Get rid of the pedestal sink.
  • Add some bead board/trim – these are 10 foot ceilings which look really tall in such a small space, thought it would be nice to break up so much wall.
  • Replace mirror (didn’t like the frame on it – it was basically a 4 inch wood box with a mirror in the back of it. Given where the light fixture hit it, the inside of the mirror was shaded and dark.
  • New light fixture – slowly I’m trying to replace the “builder lights” through our home.
  • Get rid of the towel bar we never used and replace the broken, wiggly hook that held our hand towel.

We had some mistakes along the way, so it took about 3 weekends of work to do it, but I think the after turned out great.  Outside of finding a fun piece of artwork to hang over the toilet, I’d say it’s complete!


  • Not buying a solid wood vanity.
    The first vanity I bought was cute online, but it was a bunch of particle board and just pulling it out of the box, we could tell it wasn’t what we wanted to have in there.  For a few hundred dollars more, we took it back and got something that is solid wood and much better quality.
  • Painting 3 times!
    When we bought the first vanity, we went ahead and painted first with a gray beige color before taking it out of the box.  (It was the same color we painted our master bedroom last year and loved!)
    Unfortunately, since the vanity didn’t work out and we needed a 24″ vanity, which doesn’t have tons of options, we had to completely change our color palette.

    We went with a repaint of a (#2) light gray we had from painting our dining and sitting rooms.  When it was against the white molding, it didn’t have enough contrast, so next came paint job #3!  The final medium/light gray was a winner with just enough contrast.

And here is the final product:



It’s hard to tell with the dark lighting (phone pics) but the vanity is a gray color.  We really love it and now we have some in-bath storage for extra TP, soap, tissues, etc.

It always feels good to get a house project completed that makes you feel good each time you walk in there! One last before and after:

Landon’s Birthday

I can’t believe we’re nearing April.  2018 seems to be off to a great start for the Dean family.

At the beginning of the month, we found some ways to celebrate Mr. Landon turning 8 years old.  On his actual birthday, he picked his favorite restaurant – Red Robin – for dinner, then we took him out for some family bowling.

It was a late night – the bowling worker told us each game might take 15-20 mins so we signed up for 2 games.  Turns out he was completely wrong and it took us about 1.5 hours to get through 2 games.  (And Dean and I were both sore the next day from so many bowls!) Of course, we made sure there was still time for a cupcake before bed!


Then, because his birthday was on a Thursday, we spent the weekend making his special birthday cake – RED VELVET – and held a birthday celebration for Landon and his two birthday cousins (the three of them celebrate their birthday within 4 days – I know, crazy right?!)

We hit a local park for some soccer and a game of kickball – then ate some leftover cake from all the birthday celebrations from earlier in the week!

There were no Pinterest decorations or themes.  We didn’t have 30 kids come over.  It was so simple and perfect. Family, fun and beautiful weather.


What a fun way to celebrate this sweet thing!

You made me a mom.


8 years ago today, you made me a mom.  You’ve been the perfect firstborn… a rule follower, easygoing – so pleasant and fun to be around.  You’ve made parenting easy (most of the time).  There are so many things that make me proud of you.


You work hard in everything you do – whether it’s math problems, long bike rides or learning sports.  You are always 100%.  You like to work at it until you get it perfect. I wish you weren’t so critical of yourself because you are so good at so many things and I hate when you get down on yourself.


You know when to push back and fight for your opinion and when to let things go. There’s never a fight when I say it’s time to get in bed or ask you to try new foods.  But if you feel really strongly about something, you’ll dig your heels in.  As frustrating as it can be, I secretly like when you stand your ground and fight for your way.  I know that skill will serve you so well later in life.


At age 8, you are already so good at reading people.  As I get riled up by something, (hypothetically Brooks is still upstairs after 3 requests to get in the car for church), I feel my anger rise up and I start yelling.  Then I feel a gentle rub across my back, and it’s you, trying to calm me.  You know just the buttons to push or words to say to get 5 extra minutes of cuddle time or a few more minutes shooting hoops before dinner.


I get a little lump in my throat when I think about you turning 8 (…halfway to drivers license status!)

You’re really turning into a young man now.  Your values and moral compass are mostly established and these next years it’s a lot of me letting go of the reins and allowing you start figuring it out on your own.  Seeing you become more independent makes me realize how much my role is changing.  It’s bittersweet because I love your growth but also already miss some of your boy-ish needs.

You’re growing into a strong, well-rounded, amazing young man and I am proud of you every single day.

I love you Landy Pandy, Bubba, Boo, Sweet Thang.

Happy Happy 8th Birthday!


Brooks and I riding in the car together.

B: Mom, how do you know if you are going to go to jail or get a ticket when a policeman pulls you over?
M: Well, it depends on what you do. If you are speeding or don’t use your turn signal, you’ll probably just get a ticket.  But if you don’t stop when they pull you over or if you are drinking and driving, they will take you to jail.
B:  (I see him in the rear view mirror and his eyes get big with concern.) Well, Mom, they are going to take dad to jail, because he’s always drinking and driving.
M: Well, it only matters if you’re drinking alcohol – water and soda are ok.


Having a conversation at the dinner table asking my kids what sport they want to play in the fall.

B: I’m going to play tackle football.
M: No, I’m not going to let you play tackle football. First, I don’t even think tackle football is an option for kindergartners.  You’re too little.  Second, there are many other sports you can choose including flag football, but I’m not comfortable with how aggressive football is.  There is too much of a chance of brain or other serious injuries in that sport.
B: Well, when I turn 18, I’m an adult and then I can choose if I want to play tackle football.
M: You sure can.
B: And I’ll probably start playing tackle football and then go to the NFL.
M: I’m not sure how many NFL players start playing when they are 18, but give it all you got!