Wednesday, December 25, 2013


This has not been the most organized Christmas season in the Park household, which I'm blaming on the short turn around between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.  However, if you are reading this, please don't let the lack of a postage stamp keep you from believing that you are special to us and the wishes behind this virtual card are sincere! 
Our kids didn't really accomplish much this year but Sam and I do have some big news
We have an 8th grader and a 3rd grader in the house so most of my time is spent chauffeuring kids to activities or waiting on them to finish their activities.  This has led to my greatest accomplishment this year......making it to level 396 in Candy Crush.  I know you are impressed, especially if you are also addicted to that sweet little game. 
Sam's big news comes from our quick trip to Florida in September.  First person in line at Epcot!!  (Picture Clark Griswald running across an empty Wally World parking lot.).  Another amazing feat!!  Sam always thought he would be involved in coaching someday and this year he finally gets to fulfill that dream.  He is coaching the 3rd grade Lifegate Lions robotics team.  Not exactly what he had envisioned but he is enjoying it and learning A LOT!  Sam and Camden are excited about their upcoming competition.. 
OK so on to our kids.....obviously their lives are much more exciting than ours. 
Claremarie is in 8th grade and is getting very excited to be in high school next year (Mom and Dad not so much....).  She likes softball, plays piano and saxophone and is involved in several different activities at school and church.  She has started babysitting (always looking for new clients!) and really enjoys it. 
Camden is in 3rd grade.  He likes basketball and swim team and plays the piano.  In his spare time he draws lots and lots of cartoons.  He just told Sam and I the other day that he would like to be the person who makes the cartoons for movies.  Sounds good to us!! 

They are sometimes ornery but mostly happy, busy kids.  We know we are very blessed to be their parents!! 
The Parks are wishing you JOY at Christmas and FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE throughout 2014! 
Happy New Year!
Sam, Sherilyn, Claremarie and Camden

Thursday, May 2, 2013


They come every year, like a wonderful house guest.....

A house guest whose visit you look forward to all year long,

A house guest who never overstays their welcome,

A house guest who for the few short days they visit, delights all of your senses.

The first thing I did when I moved into this house was plant three lilac bushes. I'm not exactly sure why I love them so much. When I was young an elderly neighbor lady had some in her yard and every year when they bloomed they were so pretty and smelled so good. My Grandma had several enormous bushes in her yard also. When we were apartment dwellers in Minnesota, every spring I would grab my scissors, a vase, and Sam and we would hunt for a lilac bush on public land where I could snip a few blossoms to enjoy for the few days they would last.

This year the freakish weather has pretty much fried all the lilac buds.

It won't seem like spring without them.

Until next year......


Thursday, April 18, 2013


Also winning her category, dramatic interpretation, was this young lady.  She received a superior rating and the medallion for her category.  I'm not going to post the video because it is long and she doesn't want me to.  As I find my memory is getting weaker, it was impressive to see her do her entire piece from memory. 

She also got first place in an art show with some pictures she took. You can't see them too well in this picture but it is the same tree edited in three ways. The judges liked it!!


We would have been very proud of both of these kiddos no matter what medal or ribbon they received but it is nice to see them have success in these areas.

Monday, April 8, 2013


"Great Introduction"
"Smooth Delivery"
"Easy to Understand"
"Expression in the Right Places"
"Perfect Memorization"
"Great Job!"
Just a few of the comments from the judges on Camden's poem
that he performed at a speech meet last week. 
He received a superior rating and the medallion for his age group. 
(This video is a re-creation as we weren't allowed to film the actual.) 
We are so proud of him!! 

Friday, March 29, 2013


This kid seems to get the short end of the stick on a lot of things. He is the younger child in our family so that means he has to come along to many, many of his big sister's events.  It also means that he doesn't get to do a lot of the things we did with big sis when she was his age. 

For example, there are signs all over our corner of Omaha about all the Easter egg hunts that will be held tomorrow morning at 10am.  CM has a volleyball game then so we won't be able to take him to any of them.  I don't think there was an Easter egg hunt, a Halloween trick or treat, a clown/face painting event or any kid's activity that we didn't go to with her.  I think I equated being a good mom with doing everything I could to expand CM's horizons.

With some maturing of my mothering skills, I have realized that it isn't really the quantity of things you do but rather the quality of time you spend with your kids that makes the difference.  (Each of my kids' love languages are time and positive affirmation-For more on that go here). 

I'm also praying that it all evens out on the other side when CM leaves the nest and Cam has 4 years of one on one time with his parents. 

Of course it might look pretty silly when we are taking him to Easter egg hunts when he is 16...........


Sunday, January 27, 2013






We have a small immediate family so anytime our extended
family wants to spend time with us we jump at the chance!
A Great Weekend!
A Great Way to End January!  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Let's not call these resolutions since everyone seems to be so down on those these days. How about goals?? Who doesn't need goals at the beginning of a new year?

Organizational Goals:
  • Sorting through school papers and art projects and deciding what to keep and what to part with (Completion Goal-April 30) Getting caught up on baby books (which actually go through 12th grade)-(Completion Goal-April 30)
  • A HUGE garage sale-after all we are purging 21 years of "stuff"(Completion Goal-May 20)
  • An organized storage room (Completion Goal-September 30)

Personal Goals:
  • Less TV more reading (Ongoing) When I looked at my Goodreads bookshelf it said I read one book in 2012. There were actually more than that but I do need to improve here. 
  • Be intentional in my relationships with other people (excluding my immediate family).  Unfortunately, at this stage in my life there just isn't a ton of time to build and nurture relationships.  I need to make sure I am investing in people who actually want to have a relationship and spend time with me instead of pursuing those who do not.  (This sounds weird......I know what I mean and when I come back and check in on this list in 4 months I think I will still know.)
  • At least one date night a month.
  • Try two new recipes (Completion Goal-End of February)
Spiritual Goals:
  • Memorize a large passage TBD (at least one)
  • Be open to new ministry areas
Those should get me started!!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


So I tried something new this year with our advent. In the past we have done the playmobil advent, the boxes of chocolate advent, the paper advent, etc. Someone had posted the idea on pinterest to do an activity advent. The idea being to incorporate the traditions you already do anyway with some new activities, one each day. I LOVED the idea but wasn't sure I would be organized enough to get it accomplished. 

I'm not sure anyone even still reads this blog but if they do and they are wondering about an activity advent, here's my two cents.

Start planning early, probably in November. If your house is like ours it gets crazy about mid-November and it is better to have this done.

Write down all the activities/ideas you have.

Get a blank calendar page and start filling in the days. Some activities will be easy to schedule. i.e. a child's Christmas concert or a party you have scheduled. Some will be more difficult if you aren't sure of when you want to do them.

My kids each had a numbered card they opened each day.  Last summer when we were at IKEA I picked up this neat wall-hanging wire that was great to hook them all to.  (Normally it is used for artwork.)  Using these cards made it easy to change the activities at the last minute if necessary.

Be flexible. As always happens in December, something unexpected will come up that thwarts your plans. (i.e. an emergency root canal the day you were supposed to take the kids downtown to look at lights). These are the days you need to have a back up like "peppermint day". For us this meant candy canes to stir your hot chocolate with.

This year we had an book that we read every day that covered the spiritual side of advent. Next year I hope to incorporate all my activities with verses or with the days in an advent book.

The kids loved getting up every morning to see what the day's activity would be. I'm not sure it necessarily always helped them to think of Jesus' birth but it did create excitement for Christmas.  With a few tweaks I think it will be the perfect way to commemorate advent.

It was definitely the start of a new tradition. 



Ringing bells for a worthy cause
Secret gifts given to neighbors
Caroling with friends
Enjoying the activities of a new tradition
Hearing our boy's clear, beautiful voice sing out Christmas carols
Listening to our girl exclaim how she loves all of our traditions
Holding each other close in the wake of a tragedy
Being blessed with a white Christmas
Attending an amazing Christmas Eve service
that really grasped and help us embrace
where the focus of our celebration always needs to be

I'm not sure exactly what it was but this year was very special. Maybe it's because the kids are older. Maybe it's because we were really able to recognize that we are not promised tomorrow so we need to make the most of today. Maybe it's because we live in uncertain times and that brings into focus what is truly important. All I know is that I don't want to forget a thing!

for my family
for the blessings we have been given
for my God

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19