Cabin in the Ozarks

Right after her birthday last year, Tootie started talking about her next one, which is not unusual. What was unusual was her request:

“Next year, can we spend the night in a cabin?” she asked.

And thus, last weekend, we found ourselves up in the Ozarks near the Buffalo National River.

Our weekend at Mountain Springs Cabins was incredible — fun yet relaxing, busy yet laid back.

OK, this one is actually from the Mountain Springs website. But it best shows what the cabin looks like.


Living room.


Children sharing a bag of popcorn in comfy living room chair.


LOVED this kitchen. The view from the kitchen-sink window was amazing!


As you can imagine, the kids loved these stairs.


Master bedroom downstairs.


Heaven. I spent one evening here with wine and cheese.


Children's sleeping quarters in the loft.


Sitting area in the loft. Yes, the children are merely tolerating this picture-taking.


Rocker in the loft. There also was a little bistro-style table up there.


I swear, they must have spent hours just going up and down the stairs due to the novelty.


Hanging out on the porch.


We had a firepit for marshmallow-roasting.


Tooties likes hers charred. The E-man prefers lightly toasted.

During our weekend getaway, we hiked the Lost Vally trail and hung out at the river. We also went to the Elk Center, which the kids really loved.

Swinging on a grapevine on the Lost Valley trail.


Hubs and I tried it. We did not do so well. Apparently there comes a time when your hands cannot support your body weight. Ahem.


Eden Falls.


I remain stunned that no one fell in. (Eden Falls)

Hanging out at the river, where we met a furry friend. His name is Ben.


Again, I cannot believe that no one toppled in. The kids did leave with wet shoes, however.

Then back to the cabin, where we just sat and took in the view.

Taken from the wrap-around porch.


At Eagle's Rest, it is customary to decorate a rock and leave it inside or outside the cabin. The children really loved collecting and decorating their rocks.

And this, my friends, was my view each night as I reclined on the couch:

I named him Harold.





What is love?

Not flowers. Not a bracelet or a necklace or a ring. Not dinner at a pricey restaurant.

Love is a husband who, upon learning you will be out of town on Valentine’s Day, takes it upon himself to:

Buy goody bags for the kids’ class parties.

Help said children get their Valentine cards ready.

Search his wife’s Girl Scout supplies for a hole puncher so that he can attach the cards to above-mentioned goody bags.

Leave work for an hour to attend both kids’ school parties.

Send a sweet card with his wife as she leaves for her last-minute trip.


Aside from yourself and the way you cherish me — these, my love, are the best gifts you've ever given me.


Gone, but never, ever forgotten

My heart hurts.

Around  five years ago, I started reading a blog by Susan Niebur, of Toddler Planet.

She had just been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.

Two or three years ago, I asked her to guest post on my blog. Why? Because until Susan, I had never heard of inflammatory breast cancer. Until Susan, I had never seen such mama determination. This was a woman determined to live long enough to make an impact on her two little boys’ lives. The youngest was a mere newborn when she was diagnosed.

Today, Susan died.

I wish I could explain what a profound effect this woman — an astrophysicist for NASA, for crying out loud — had on the blogosphere.

I read her blog daily, marveling at her determination to live long enough to see her children started down a path that would, inevitably, not include their mama. She had so much information, so much advice, for women suffering not only from breast cancer, but terminal illnesses.

I can think of no one more deserving of the admiration and accolades than Susan.

Here is the post she wrote for you — the readers of Little Rock Mamas. I later sent her some  photos from Little Rock’s Race for the Cure.

I realize that at this time, many, including myself, question the Komen Foundation and its recent — and seemingly — political decisions.

But tonight? Well, Susan was someone who represented the pink, even though she sometimes questioned the, well … cuteness of the color and its accompanying parties.

Cancer isn’t pink.

It’s ugly. Red. Black. Hot. Hostile.

Pink is dainty. It’s not exactly representative of a fighter.

Susan was a fighter.

And tonight, in her memory, I’d like to offer a link to the post she wrote just for us, a few years ago.

Rest in peace, sweet mama.

You were courageous. You were tender. You were all every mother wants to be for her children.

You have made an impact on so, so many lives.



A night in India, Girl-Scout-style

First, a little background:

Every year, Girl Scouts around the world participate in Thinking Day, which is when we recognize and honor our sisters in every country.

For my Service Unit, this means an event at which troops set up a booth representing a chosen country.

This year, we decided upon India, which is home to Sangam — one of the World Centres of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). The Centre is situated on the banks of the Mula River in Pune, 190km (120m) from Mumbai (formerly Bombay), in the state of Maharashtra, India.

At our last few meetings, we’ve learned about our sister Scouts, and how they’re organized in India. We’ve created a snazzy tri-fold display for our booth. And tonight, we sampled Indian food, danced to some popular Bollywood songs and decorated our hands with “henna” body art.

I use the quotes because instead of actual henna, we used glitter, as some kids can be allergic to or adversely affected by actual henna.

Anyway, here are some photos from tonight. Click on them to enlarge:

Feasting on Indian food. Little Josie, who will be 1 next weekend, especially enjoyed the naan.

The girls (and their leaders, ahem) polished off everything. Even the samosas -- vegetables, eek! -- were gone.

In this photo, Mallory and Johnna show us just how spicy the food is.

And here we are dancing to Boro Boro and Say Na Say Na.

Thank you, Zumba, for your inclusion of Bollywood songs & dances during workouts. I had two songs at the ready for the girls.

Moody Mom's Bear seems to be enjoying herself.

Here we are doing Boro Boro...

Uh, yeah. Moody Mom, I will get you back for this! You were supposed to be photographing the girls, not my butt!

Tootie's body art and bracelet, both done this evening. As I said, we didn't use actual henna due to possible health issues. But the girls loved the glitter.