Showing posts from 2015

Giving Tuesday!

We've survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday to arrive safely at Giving Tuesday!!

Some have been asking where I've been since October 8th when I last posted.  Well, we had a birthday, fiestas patrias, strep throat, and sitting in traffic.  But, the main thing I've been doing is working for a NGO.  Heart's Cry Children's Ministry serves the orphans of Panama in three crucial ways.  First, they provide Orphan Cares which goes into several of Panama's 55 orphanages and offers additional support to the caregivers.  Heart's Cry Family services is a foster care and adoption service that gives orphans the opportunity to be placed in forever families.  The final arm is Casa Providencia which, when complete, will be a special-needs orphanage that gives disabled children the opportunity to receive treatment to improve their quality of life.  I cannot begin to tell you the blessing it has been to me to work with HCCM!

If you notice on the right-hand side of the blog, …

October 8. So Proud.

(photo courtesy of
I make no apologies for how much I love this kid.  He's my only boy, but my love for him has nothing to do with that.  (I, in fact, grow beyond tired of people talking about how Carson is special because he's our only boy.  Um, no.  Each of my girls is special, too.  Ok?  Everyone on board with that?  Moving on)
I make no apologies for how much I love Carson.  His personality is unlike any child I've seen before.  He's all in with life, and I love that about him.  He's competitive and encouraging.  He's stubborn and sensitive.  He's an enigma but unrelentingly consistent.  He engages my mind and my heart.  He's also my running partner.  He's capable, confident, and caring. He's athletic, academic, and friendly.   I've always been proud of him.
Today, though, I'm feeling a new level of pride.  Today, he made me, as a grown up, proud.  Moms are proud people.  Comes with the territory, a…

It's My Birthday, and I'll Blog If I Want To...

This weekend was the best.  I got to get dressed up and go out to a fancy dinner with friends.  Twice. I ate INCREDIBLE Indian food.  I got to enjoy a 3-hour dance practice with some amazing ladies. I got to spend alone time with the hubby at Costco.  I got to give out Mucinex.  Pretty much a rockstar weekend!!!
Because of Tony's work schedule this week, we decided it was best to celebrate with the 6 of us yesterday.  My kids gave me sweet presents, and I felt very loved.  The picture of the day, though, represents the love affair that Tony and Chloe were having with the top of the birthday cake they bought me.

Instead of putting the candles in the cake, Chloe held them.  I got to enjoy a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" with Chloe yelping in the background as the wax dripped on her arm.  That, my friends, is dedication.  To the top of a store-bought cake.

Um.  Ok?? (But I did feel incredibly loved which is the best place to be.)

Bonus Post...

Y'all.  Coralynn walked in the room just as I was publishing the last blog.  This was too fabulous to ignore, so I just published it 4 hours later.

Bits: (excited, happy voice) Mom.  You are totally going to freak out when you hear this.
Me:  Ooooohh, tell me!
Bits: I'm in love with someone.
Me:  You are!  (trying not to get preachy on the innocent 5-year-old)  What makes you be in love with him?
Bits: (oozing with ooze) He's so cute!
Me:  (dying laughing on the inside- cool and calm on the outside)  Is he in love with you?
Bits:  (suddenly very serious)  No.  He pretty much hates me.
Me: (dying laughing on the outside but acting very concerned)  Oh no!  Why do you say that?
Bits:  Because when I sit by him he does this...

I'm pretty sure I haven't laughed that hard in YEARS.

2 for 1

Yesterday's picture which you can file under "Issues of the Brilliant":

When Carson thinks, Carson rubs a pen on his back.  When Carson thinks while holding a 2-ended Sharpie, Carson accidentally takes off the lid and rubs the Sharpie on his back leaving a huge pen stain on his back.  This is day 4.  He may have tattooed himself.

Today's picture is brought to you by Camilla, AKA The Child Made to Love Well,

I subbed today, but I got up later than I should have.  I was running late, so I asked Camilla to throw a frozen burrito in a lunch box for me.  The napkin was a fun surprise I didn't expect but was pleased to receive.

(quick edit: another blog will be posted at 7 tonight.  You'll want to see it.)

9/30. Chloe's Turn(Around)

Monday, I told you Chloe had 103.9 fever.
Tuesday, I told you Chloe had a 99.3 body temperature.
Today, Wednesday, Chloe was at 98.3 and received an IB Attribute Award at school.

I shared about the school's Recognition Ceremony a few weeks ago when Coralynn and Camilla were each recognized.  This past weekend, I got an email saying that Chloe, too, was going to be recognized.  I was so excited for her because, well, because she rocks, and it's about time she realized that other people know it. (Cuz, you know, Moms don't know anything, and we're forced to consider our children rockstars.  Thank you very much.)

Now it's game time for y'all!!  Don't knock your coffee over because you can't contain your excitement!

(We here at PanaMOM are not responsible for any damages to laptops or other electronic devices due to beverage spillage.  Yada. Yada. Yada.)

We're going to play "Guess Which Attribute Chloe Was Awarded For Showing."

Here are the 10 …


Wanted to let y'all know that the medicine started working about 1:30 yesterday afternoon!  The last dose of ibuprofen she had was at midnight, and this 99.3 is her temperature at 8:30 this morning.  Yay!
Thanks for the prayers!

September 28.

Definitely, I did not plan to start my Monday this way.  I *had* planned to run with Carson, finish up my Bible study, and purge through more stuff before the donation truck came today.  Instead, I'm desperately trying to bring Chloe's fever down.  In all sincerity, I did not know teenagers could spike fevers this high.  I thought just babies did.  I was wrong.  She's been sitting with ice packs on her.  The acetaminophen in the Mucinex did not touch the fever, so now the piggy-back dose of ibuprofen is in her.  I'm giving her about another 20 minutes, and then I'm taking her temperature again.  The ibuprofen will have been in her system for about an hour by then, so I think we'll know if it's going to help.  If the fever isn't down, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do next.  This is when the language barrier becomes a real problem.  If I were in the US, I'd call the pediatrician.  Here, I'd call Tony, but he's unreachable unti…

9/27. Discuss Among Yourselves

Ok.  Here's the story.

After church, Tony and I went into a local deli to grab lunch for the family.  As we were leaving the store, a woman stopped us.  She asked, "Are y'all siblings?  Or married?"

Let's stop here.  This is incredibly strange for two reasons.  First, she asked in English- perfect English.  That's obviously not the norm.  Secondly, why is someone so curious about that that she felt the need to ask?  She was super sweet and not at all intrusive in the way she asked.

We told her that we were not siblings, but we were married.  She then said, "Well, you hear about people looking like their spouse after they've been married a while, but you two are like identical looking!"

Again, these comments were completely warm.  We weren't being secretly accused of something.  She was just chatting.  But isn't that a strange topic?  Admittedly, when Tony was in high school, someone asked me if I was his sister, but that person wasn'…

September 26.

Because if you're not going to pose nicely for a picture...
The world's best babysitter is at it again so Tony and I can have a date night!   Hope y'all had an amazing Saturday!  
(And for everyone praying for Mom, she's doing very well! Thank you!)

September 25.

Family Fun Night!

Every Friday night is Family Fun Night here at our house.  We either play a game (normally Monopoly), or we watch a movie.  Tonight was movie night.

While we were in Tampa, Tony and I went to Lifeway where we stumbled on a DVD sale.  We brought home several family-friendly options.  Camilla chose tonight, and we watched The Perfect Game.

I'll spare you my attempt at a movie review, but I will tell you that we enjoyed it.  Certainly, there was nothing inappropriate for family viewing.  I'm not sure there was any quality acting, but a feel-good, based-on-a-true-story movie will always get a thumbs up from me.

September 24.

Today, the kids didn't have school!  Yay!  Coralynn had a doctor's appointment with the allergist!  Boo!  Chloe decided to go with us!  Yay!  The appointment was fast!  Yay!  Then, we went to the mall!  Yay!  It was a yay day.  I just love my kids.  And, I love having them with me.  Today just made my heart happy.

Chloe has been really wanting to try the Starbucks that just came to Panama.  Normally, I don't prefer to go to Starbucks for a variety of reasons, but Chloe is too amazing.  She's had an amazing start to the school year, and I continue to be deeply impressed with the person she is.  Starbucks was absolutely going to happen today.

Unfortunately, Chloe prefers not to appear on the blog.  Instead, we have a pretty stinkin cute picture of Coralynn modeling her Strawberry Creme Frappuccino.  (I would like to note, at this point, that I did not order Bitty the ginormous size.  But, they forgot to make her drink, so they upgraded for free.  This is beyond normal c…

September 23

I love my Bible study group.  I mentioned yesterday that I have Bible study on Tuesday nights.  I really, really love this group of women.  We come from a wide range of backgrounds, and I love how diversity brings light to fresh facets of Jesus.  We are working through Beth Moore's study Children of the Day, and it is incredible,

A meeting I was supposed to have today was canceled, and an wonderful, impromptu chat with a friend made me miss another meeting, so I ended up with a much emptier schedule than I had anticipated.  That gave me more time to spend on the study, and I'm so thankful for that time.  I was so touched by a few moments within the book that I felt like I had to share them with you.

"No matter who you are, where you've been, or what you've done, God has picked you to abound." Love.This.

Y'all know that my life was wrecked (in the most amazing way) when I got a revelation of the love of God.  We are able to make decisions what's going…

In honor of my mother,

we're going to try a day-in-the-life challenge.  I'll try to post a picture or a story everyday for the next few weeks.  I'm not sure if we should continue for a month, until Mom recovers, or something else.  I'll think on it.

My mom had surgery on her shoulder yesterday.  (She's doing okay so far.  Feel free to send her flowers or chocolates.)  She is going to be laid up for a few days so in lieu of flying to Illinois to watch her heal, I'm going to gift her a well-updated blog.  Isn't that the gift that keeps on giving?  ;)

September 22.  Day 1.

Today is cray cray day.  In fact, each Tuesday is cray cray day.  Chloe and Coralynn finish school at 3.  Camilla finishes photography at 4.  Carson finishes basketball at 5.  Carson has piano at 5:15.  Coralynn has ballet at 5:15.  Carson finishes piano at 5:45.  Coralynn finishes ballet at 6.  Chloe has cantata practice at 6.  Chloe finishes ballet at 7.  I have Bible study at 7.  My Bible study finishes at 9.  …

Why Do I Like the New School?

Last Monday, I told you that the kids were enjoying their time at the new school.  I had every intention of dropping the conversation with that post.  Then, on Tuesday, I went to an awards assembly, and I know I want to share one of the reasons I like the school.  A specific if you will.

I got an email that Camilla and Coralynn would be "recognized" at a "Recognition Cerenomy; so, off Tony and I went to the school.

The K-2nd grade ceremony was first.  There was a small section for parents, and the kids filled the rest of the room.  We stood and sang the school anthem- that's another post for another day- and then the assembly began.

As an IB school, the Met requires the students to show particular attributes, and this assembly was going to honor those students who were good examples in the past month.  I've taught and been part of a dozen schools.  I've never been to an assembly that focused on anything other than athletics, academics, and attendance.  Wait…

Three Thing Thursday!

It today's attempt to blog consistently I'm relaunching an earlier blog feature: Three Thing Thursday!  To the best of my ability, I will share three things that matter to me on Thursdays.  Yes?  Yes!

This picture represents several of my new favorite things!!!   1.  Tea.  Especially Chai.   Especially (but not shown in this picture) The Spice & Tea Exchanges's Mint-Chilla Chai Nilla! Buy here 2.  My new tea cup.  I love it.  It's the perfect weight and width and feel. 3.  Silk's True Almond Unsweetened Vanilla Milk So yum.  So not sugary. 4.  Alone Time Who would have ever guessed that I would learn to enjoy sitting alone with my thoughts and a cup of tea??  That, my friends, is progress!
Cosita! Speaking of who'd ever thought it... This puppy came back from her time at "camp" (aka boarding) sweet and calm.  She's decided that she's a snuggler, and I'm happy to oblige.  I FINALLY feel like I understand why people have family pets.

Learn Something New...

Today I learned that it is super important to actually pause your treadmill when you get off of it.  Just thinking you hit the pause button doesn't work as well, because when you go to get back on your legs fly off, and you skin your knee, and it hurts like FIRE when you get in the shower.
Just sayin'

Friday Update- Monday Morning Style

Blogging and consistency will not appear in the same sentence for me.  Ever.

I really do want to be better with blogging, but so much seems to get in the way.   I have been subbing every so often.  I am in the car too often.  I'm trying to run more often.  Unfortunately, it often just gets pushed to the end of the to-do list.  (Not that I make to-do lists.  Ever)

When I'm running, I come up with so many blogging ideas.  I "write" them while I run, but when I get off the treadmill, I can't seem to bring myself to sit down and blog.  Sometimes, I think the offerings won't be well received, and I'm certainly not looking for drama.  Sometimes, the fear is that the blogs are too personal.  Apparently, not everyone in the family likes having their business strewn all over the web.

Today, however, I have to share this update because it has come as a surprise to me.

This Friday's kids are in school update's title???

I'm Loving This School Thing.

Who …

Update! Week 3!

Tony and I flew to the US last weekend for my cousin's wedding, so we missed our opportunity to update y'all on school.

(Tampa Bay!)
But, we're back now, and I'm happy to report that school continues to go super well.  We had one hiccup which was managed, and now, we're smiling.

My favorite "update" from this week is Coralynn's need love- passion, really- for learning.  She's learned "I," "like," "me," and she LOVES to find, write, read, and use those words.  She just ran out of the bathroom in her towel so she could add for me.  "Momma, if you take 2 hands, you have 10!"

Am I glad we aren't home schooling?  No.  Am I thankful that the transition to school has gone well?  Yes.

Thanks for keeping in touch with us on this journey!  We appreciate your prayers!

Update! End of Week One!

Me:  What was your favorite part of the week??

Camilla:  I liked math.  It was really fun, and I was working with a fun person.

Chloe:  Getting my own computer and meeting new friends.  I'm trying not to sound cheesy.

Coraylnn:  My favorite part of this week was the snack and the lunch.  And the plaground.

Carson:  Today's first recess because my teacher played with us.

Me:  What most surprised you about this week?

Camilla:  That I actually liked math

Chloe:  How hard it is to work locker

Coralynn:  That my teacher forgot stickers today.

Carson:  That I got the teacher I wanted.

Me:  What are you most looking forward to about this school year?

Camilla:  Art and photography (ECA)

Carson:  Extra curricular activtites

Chloe:  Spanish

Coralynn:  I'm most looking forward to one thing, like, next week, like Monday, we're going to start playing with ipads.

Me: What has been the hardest thing about transitioning from home school to the Met?

Carson:  UNIFORMS!!

Chloe:  The school…

First Day of School!!

Morning y'all!!

Have I mentioned that all the kids went back to school this year??  Originally, we were just going to send Chloe back, but then- and I'm still not entirely sure how- we made the decision that they all would return to a traditional school setting.  Yesterday, we met the new teachers, and this morning they were off to school.  I had to share pictures from this morning!  Enjoy!

Coralynn Mae. 5 years old. Kindergarten

Camilla Rose 9 years old. 4th grade.

Carson David 11 years old. 6th grade.

Chloe Marie 13 years old. 8th grade.

My heart. Wearing school uniforms.

Tony Linford. 35 years old. 162nd month of work. Caterpillar

Cosita and Coralynn.  Waiting.

Cosita.  Thinking she's leaving, too.

Cosita. Wondering where everyone went.

T-minus 2 Weeks!

(I'm pretending you won't notice that I missed ALL of June AND July.)

Two weeks from today, my kids return to school.  All 4 of them.  I'll have an 8th grader, a 6th grader, a 4th grader, a kindergartner, and an empty house.  Well, Cosita will be here with me.

I would love to have some wise reflections on this, but I'm too busy getting nauseous every time I receive an email from the school.  Can someone explain that to me?  Email sickness.  Is that a thing?  Like tennis elbow?

It's hard for me to believe that just a month ago, I was taking Camilla and Carson to camp.  We were just beginning our summer of fun.  Now, school looms in the distance.

But, on the positive side, I am looking forward to spending some time figuring out who I am and what I like to do.  I know what I like to do on weekends, but I've never had an empty house on a consistent basis.  I don't know what I like to do on Friday at 10:30 am.  Or on Tuesdays at 2.  This could be a really fun ti…

Coralynn Turns 5!

This post is SO picture heavy that I won't bother to laden in down with lots of thoughts.  Enjoy!

Birthday girl!
Minnie and Mommy Minnie!
Walt Disney, Minnie, Mommy Minnie
Minnie and Tinkerbell!
Look at that cake!
Minnie and CinderELLE
Baby Sophia is here!
Mommy Minnie and Walt!

Loved the decorations!
Jake as Jake!
Baby Sophia!
Coralynn and Abigail!
Photo Booth!

Dancing with my Minnie!
Let it Go!
A sweet shot of sweet friends!
Picking a song!
Princess and Minnies must dance!