Monday, December 31, 2007

What better way to ring in the New Year...

than with the flu? I mean, really, munching on rice chex and sipping warm ginger ale? Who can beat that?

I've had the flu before but getting the flu while pregnant is a whole different animal. It's taking forever to get my strength back. It's been 36 hours and I've finally moved from the bed out to the couch. Thankfully I got sick while we had no plans but, man, I had lots of plans for taking down the decorations and making a list of resolutions.

Now my only resolution is to eat something with flavor. Blech.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Eve

My parents are scrooges and go to Florida every Christmas. They flew and had us take them to the airport. They offered to take us to breakfast for our troubles and I'm all about free breakfast. Henry (my BIG eater) was out of sorts and only wanted to drink chocolate milk. Have you ever seen chocolate milk the second time around? Yeah. It's that gross. And even though I haven't been sick with this pregnancy I almost lost it. Thankfully he waited until my parents had already been dropped off and we had stopped at a gas station. Charlie freaked out so he and I went into the gas station to get wipes and paper towel and anything we could think of to clean it up.

Poor Henry was stripped down to his diaper and it was COLD. We swung by a Target so I could grab him some sweats and a sweatshirt and then we took him to a walk-in clinic. Because what could be more fun than being sick and sitting in clinic all day?

They stuck us in room pretty quickly but they were short staffed. Thankfully a nurse brought in "Rudolph" for us to watch. At first it was quaint- the four of us hanging out watching a Christmas movie. But when "Rudolph" started a second time it wasn't fun anymore.

The diagnosis? A double ear infection. Oh yeah- tons of fun. The medicine kicked in just in time for Christmas and life was good.

And hopefully there will be no more throwing up in this house for awhile. Because I truly can't handle anymore.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

With all the family Christmas parties and the eating, eating, eating, my family has cut back on the food. Our tradition is to each bring our "speciality" soup. My mom makes either cheese and broccoli soup or vegetable beef. My sister-in-law makes homemade noodle soup. I make white chicken chili. We eat out of little bowls and taste everybody's soup and don't feel stuffed!

Here's my white chicken chili recipe (actually my mother-in-law's that I've stolen):

1 lb. chicken breast cubed, browned
1 large can of Randalls great northeren beans
1 block of pepper jack cheese (cubed)
1 medium size jar of salsa


Brown the chicken. Stir all ingredients into a big pot. Warm through and cook until cheese cubes have melted. Serve with sour cream (to cool the kick from the cheese). If you don't like a strong bite you can substitute a milder cheese.

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Did you know?

If you google "show and tell letter u" my post is #2 on the list? I only discovered that because that is the top google search to bring people to my blog. Crazy! Here's the post it takes you to:

Homemade Scrubs and Bath Soaks

Because of the time of year (and the day! Dec. 20! Ack! 5 days left!) my brain is mush. Lots of cute and amusing things are going on here but I can't remember any of them. And I lost the card to my camera so I can't even take random pictures of things like Charlie's dwarf snowman and the new bunkbeds Henry won't stay in. So instead I will share some yummy recipes from my last MOPS party.

My MOPS group meets once a month and December is the best. We have a SPA day! This year I called my friend Mindy to go with me. She said, "I'm so busy and overwhelmed I NEED to go!" And it was well worth it.

We made neck wraps, got paraffin dips, foot soaks, and made some amazing bath stuff. Here are the recipes that were included:

Hershey's Spa Chocolate Bath
1 C Powdered Milk
2 T Cocoa
1 t cornstarch
1/2 t cinnamon

Add 1/2 or whole bag to warm bath and enjoy! Warning- the bath water looks so yucky but smells so good! And your skin will be super soft when you get out. Wash out the tub immediately because it gets all over the sides.

Chocolate Brown Sugar Body Scrub
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c light olive oil
1 T cocoa powder
1/4 t almond extract

To use- gently massage onto body to exfoliate and moisturize skin. Not for facial use.

This stuff is so awesome! I have a little bit left of each and I'm saving them for Christmas Eve (since I'm wrapping EVERYTHING that night to prevent Henry from unwrapping anything he shouldn't).

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bryan and Sarah

I've mentioned these great friends before. We've just found out that Bryan's dad has passed away unexpectedly. They've updated their blog here with all the information. Please keep them in your prayers this week as they deal with all the logistics.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Well look at that...

I'm back! I took a very long blogging break without warning but I have a very good reason why. I've still been reading other blogs daily and commenting now and then but I had a secret I wanted to keep and I knew if I blogged I'd give it away.

Back when I first begin blogging I gave a mini explanation as to why. On December 17, 2004 I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. This fall we discovered we are expecting our third child! We are thrilled! However, the due date was the same as the baby we lost three years ago (I think I have the year wrong in the post I linked to). Yesterday was the big day- and we made it! I've had my first appointment already and everything looks good. So baby #3 is coming with much fanfare and a lots of fireworks- July 4!

I'm feeling great- just very sleepy. And very emotional! An old friend sent me an email with this video in it and I completely lost it this morning. Join me in my hormonal mess:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Costumes




Another Charlie-ism: "Mom? This costume makes my hiney look big."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Quotes

This was said at every house-

Charlie: Trick or Treat!
Henry: Punkit! (pumpkin)

Comments about costumes-

Homeowner: Boys! What beautiful costumes! Did your mommy make them?
Charlie: No. Old Navy did.

And at the end of the night as we dumped out the candy from the houses and the church party-
Charlie: HALLOWEEN IS AWESOME!


**Somehow this horrible mother didn't take pictures. I KNOW. My sister in law is emailing me some later.**

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Big Stuff

Charlie is five which means he's big stuff. Ask him and he'll tell you. He can dress himself- unless it's for school or for church because suddenly on those days he's incapable of pulling his shirt over his head and wanders around the house shouting "Help! I can't see!" He can brush his own teeth, he can make his bed (mostly), he can clean his room (if bribed), and apparently he can do his hair.

Last Sunday morning Charlie miraculously dressed himself, brushed his teeth and did his hair without me asking. His hair is at an awkward stage. Because he is a boy and gets wild and dirty and hot in the summer I shave his head. He has two massive cowlicks on the back of his head that give me grief when his hair starts to grow out. I bought some pomade/wax to make his hair do one of those messy, spiky looks until it gets to a decent boy haircut length. He knows how I do the pomade so he attempted to do it himself.

I use enough pomade to cover the tips of my fingers. He used half the container. HALF the container of wax 10 minutes before we left for church. He was so proud of himself I made sure I gave him praise for his hard work and then hinted that maybe we should wash a little of the wax off to make it just right.

Lesson: wax doesn't "wash" out. I stuck his head in the sink and washed it/scrubbed it three times before I called my husband in a panic. "It's THICK with wax! I can't brush it! It's got chunks of wax in it!" He walked over and attempted to style it. Imagine tiny little pastor's kid with a mohawk. That's pretty much what it looked like. Thankfully he proudly told the 60 and older crowd that he did his hair himself and they all laughed because they lived in the pomade era and they totally get it.

After church Chad tried washing his hair (3 more times). That stuff doesn't budge. I got online and found that olive oil will take the wax out. I grabbed my olive oil and went to work. Ta-da! No more wax. Only now his hair (and the tub) were full of oil. I went back to the internet and discovered that Dawn dish soap removes oil from hair.

I marched into the bathroom with the dish soap and started scrubbing while Charlie pleaded "Please stop washing me with kitchen things!" And it worked! And I'm pretty sure Charlie will never do his own hair again.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Childhood Conversation

Charlie (with his face mashed against the screen door): MOM!!! MOM!!!! MOOOOOOOMMMM!

Me: What.

Charlie: I'm 64 cents! Dad says I'm 64 cents!

Me: You have 64 cents?

Charlie: NO! Dad says I'm 64 cents! He's messin' with me.

Me: Dad's messin' with you? Is he funny?

Charlie (clearly exasperated): Grrrrrrr...... No. Dad....is...MEASURIN' me.

Me: OH! He's measurin' you!

Charlie: Yes! I'm 64 cents tall.**

**And for clarification purposes that means 46 inches.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thump

This morning I was sitting in the kitchen drinking my coffee and reading my morning blogs. Charlie is at school, Chad is at the Men's breakfast for church, and Henry....what on earth is that thump?

I looked into the living room and noticed he had pushed a footstool up to the back of the couch. He was climbing the stool and doing a FLIP over the back cushions and landing with a thump on the floor...over and over and over.

At least he isn't breaking anything.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Box of Books

While we were in Minnesota last month we got to visit with some friends who have recently moved out there. We've known them, worked with them, kind of lived with them a long time and it was good to see them again- and good to NOT be all alone out there.

Bryan officially has one of the greatest jobs EVER. Well, maybe his job isn't the greatest but his employer is. The day they came to visit with us was his official first day of work at...dum-dah-dah-dum....Desiring God Ministries! And the best part is...they brought us prizes! Two books by John Piper and a conference on DVD. We were so excited!
A couple of weeks ago Bryan had asked me if I'd ever heard of Helen Roseveare. I emailed him back and went on and on and on about how I LOVE her. While we worked in Pennsylvania the director had brought me a book from his personal library that he wanted me to order for the team. It was Living Sacrifice by Helen Roseveare. I went online and searched for it and discovered it was out of print. I contacted the publisher and got permission to make copies. The woman I spoke to at the publisher told me that Helen Roseveare "was no longer living and it was such a shame because she had heard her speak once and it was wonderful." I tried to copy the book on the copy machine but it wasn't turning out very well. So, I decided to try and type it out. The book wasn't that long and I could type pretty fast so I tried it.

I didn't like biographies much and I especially didn't like missionary biographies. They were all the same and all boring (I think at that point I had read maybe two biographies so clearly I hadn't read enough to know what I was talking about). No kidding, Living Sacrifice changed my life. I've actually read it three times. I never finished typing it because it was taking forever but I added that book to my mental list of favorites.

After I sent the email back to Bryan he replied that the publisher must have been mistaken because Helen Roseveare was speaking at the Desiring God conference in September! I was so excited because maybe that would mean she would have books there! I told Bryan the title of the one I loved so much and asked him to keep his eyes open. A few days later I received this book from him by Noel Piper. Awesome! It wasn't Living Sacrifice but she was still in there!

A couple of days after the conference Sarah emailed me the link to watch Miss Roseveare speak. She is a tiny British woman who has such passion for the Lord and she's very witty! It was kind of neat to put a face and a personality with the stories I'd read.

Yesterday when I got home from work there was a package in the mail. I never get packages so I was surprised. I saw Bryan and Sarah's name in the corner so I KNEW it was going to be books. When I opened the box I nearly had a heart attack.

That's six books by Helen Roseveare! There is also a DVD of John Piper's sermons on Romans. I think there were 5 more DVD's and two more books but my husband ran off with those. I'm already a couple chapters into the first book and I can't wait to read them all! Aren't friends the best??? Especially kindred spirits! Hooray for fellow booklovers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fair Time

In other news...it's fair week back home and I was able to take the boys to the parade and to visit the fair.


There is so much to do at the fair- rides, games, booths, barns, tractors.... and I really thought the boys would love walking through the cow and horse barns. Wrong. Henry thought it was pretty cool and made animal noises at the different animals. Charlie said, "Mom this is disgusting. There is horse stinky everywhere," and he proceeded to tiptoe through the manure.

We quickly got out of the barns so Charlie would quit grumbling about it and went and got some donuts and cider. While we were sitting there Charlie accidentally banged his leg against the stroller tire- which had manure on it.
He was NOT PLEASED. Can you tell?

Another Trip

We are at Mayo Clinic again which, really, has become the story of our life. Chad was in the hospital over the weekend and we flew out here yesterday. In the first 4-5 hours we were here he was seen by 3 doctors and a team of surgeons. It's refreshing to know he's being checked out so extensively.


I thought I'd take pictures of the flight over here. We are thankful to be flying with Wings of Mercy because driving for 10 hours was completely out of the question.
1. My dad and the boys seeing us off. The little brown house is the airport!
2. My view from the back of the plane- it's little!



3. This is why I get a little nervous flying over Lake Michigan- the sky and the water look exactly the same.
4. I'm pretty much sitting on the wing.
5. The Mississippi River.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of School

**Edited because when I checked sitemeter this morning someone found this site by a google search for something inappropriate. I changed some words and hopefully that'll fix it. Darn, that upsets me.**

Oh, the tears. And they weren't Charlie's. Last night we were laying out his clothes, packing his backpack and filling out papers for the teacher. Charlie was jumping and leaping and talking very loudly with excitement and my eyes filled with tears.

"Charlie I can't believe how big you are."

He puffed out his chest and stood on his tiptoes, "I am a BIG brother and I'm going to kindergarten!"

"Well I think I'll cry about that," I told him. And I proceeded to cry- and I mean SOB.

Here is what he said to me:

"Mom I will love you forever and ever and even when I'm gone you can look at pictures of me."

I tried to explain it wasn't that I would miss him it was that he's so big now that he won't need me anymore.
Horrified by my statement he said, "MOM! But who will be there to swat me? I need you to swat me when I'm naughty! And give me ice cream when I'm good!" Because if there's one thing I'm good for apparently it's discipline.

And here he is on his first day...



We walked to school together (it's just behind those trees in the background- I can see it after the leaves fall) and he held my hand the whole way. He opened his locker by himself, hung up his backpack, grabbed his supplies and marched into class. I asked for a good bye kiss and he said, "No, Mom. That's not cool."

So I held in my tears until I got home. I'm pretty sure a crying mother isn't cool, either.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Sad Week

We've had a very emotional week at church. A dear lady died unexpectedly and we are all in tears most of the time. She was the one who brought the meals when someone was sick or had a new baby. She would frequently call our house and say "I made too much dinner and I'd like to bring you some tonight," and we would know she was lying and had planned on making our dinner the entire time.

She sat directly behind me in church every Sunday and I can still hear her voice and the special way she would say my name. She loved my boys and especially loved my husband. Her family from out of town knew everything about us.

I never go on visitations at the hospital with Chad because I can't take the boys. Last week the boys were especially wild and loud and BOYS so Chad said he would stay home with them if I would go sit with Lil for a little while.

I went to the hospital and we talked for almost two hours. We got so loud at one point a nurse popped her head in to shush us. Lil went home the next day and was back in the hospital just two days later. We kept thinking "Tomorrow she'll take a turn for the better." She didn't.

I miss her and it hurts to even think of her. She had vacationed a lot this summer and I can almost trick myself into thinking she's on vacation. Almost. During our chat in the hospital she told me she was done vacationing. She had traveled all over (4,000 miles!) this summer and shared the gospel with all her grandchildren, great grand children and siblings. "I'm ready to stay home now," she told me.

Welcome home, Lil.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Healthy Snack

It's the beginning of apple season here and we LOVE apples in this house. I have a bag sitting on the counter that the boys can reach so they can eat an apple anytime they want.

This morning Chad and I were drinking coffee in the den while I watched the news and Chad checked his email. Henry was lounging on the couch munching on an apple.

Very proud of his healthy snacking preferences and feeling like a pretty good mom I turned to Chad and said, "Isn't he so cute sitting there with his apple?"

Chad turned to look at him, turned back to look at me and said, "It's not an apple. It's a potato."

It's still healthy, right?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dad the Bible Hero

Tonight we had a baptismal service at church. We had set up the service outside and Charlie wanted to sit in the front row. He was so fascinated by what was going on that he sat more still than he ever had in an evening service.

Chad gave a mini-sermon and then climbed into the pool. Charlie shouted, horrified "Dad! What are doing with your clothes on!" much to the amusement of our congregation.

Once we got home I talked on the phone with my mom for few minutes and Charlie asked if he could talk. When he got on the phone he said, "Nana! Church was OUTSIDE! And guess what? My dad is JOHN THE BAPTIST!"

Classic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Leprechauns

Yesterday, my mom gave Charlie a little wink. Charlie winked back and said,



"Nana...never, never wink at those little guys that run around and steal gold from the rainbows."



"Why not?"



"They'll PINCH you! (whisper with his hand cupped to his mouth) I learned that at preschool."



Good advice indeed.

I love IKEA

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but, I love IKEA. When we moved a few years ago to Pennsylvannia some friends of ours invited us to go with them to the Baltimore store. We arrived an hour before closing so we had to speed shop but from that night on we were hooked! I'm not a creative person at all - I'm a copycat. I can mimic something I like but I can't come up with it on my own. I love how the store is set up- I can copy how they have their rooms set up right down to the paint color!


My girlfriend and I decided in June that we needed a "no-kids-girls-day" and we went to IKEA Detroit last week. Woohoo! Adult conversation without having to talk louder than the screaming children! We pigged out on the 50 cent hot dogs, $1 humungous cinnamon rolls, and shopped as slowly as we wanted. We were there for over 6 hours!


I was on the hunt for window treatments. For the den and the living room I bought these bedspreads (creative right? I actually came up with that sort of on my own- okay, I copied it from a show on hgtv). If you enlarge the picture you can see there is a ribbed stripe that really makes these look cool! I bought two for each window, hemmed one end, ran a black curtain rod through them, and hung them high to make my windows look bigger. I love it!


These are the ones I'm most excited about. In my bedroom my furniture is black, the carpet is grey, and the bed linens are khaki. They all sort of go together but not really. The curtains pull it all together. I only hung one curtain (I used the other in front of our open linen closet in the bathroom) so it looks like wall art. And I was able to copy down the wall color the room was painted at the store. The room at the store used all the same colors as me so I was so excited!


Now I just need to paint....



And here is the best part...the treat I bring home (served on some kid ikea plates).


Garden Update

My tomatoes are looking so good. I have plenty of green ones that I'm anxiously waiting to turn red. We've had two red ones and they were wonderful! I forget how delicious garden tomatoes are when I'm so used to store bought tomatoes.









See these patty pan squash growing under there? They are ripe and ready to be picked but I can't pick them!












...because of the bees! There is a big, fuzzy one in every flower. And one flower had three! I wasn't all that bothered by them until the other night. My mom stopped by and I offered to pick her some squash. I reached in to move the branches and grabbed right onto a bee. Ouch! It got me between my thumb and index finger. It still hurts a little.







And here is what a baby patty pan looks like. Aren't they cute? Charlie loves to see how the seeds we planted turn into branches, then leaves, then flowers, then squash. A great learning process! If I get the courage we will pick some later today and deliver them to our neighbors. What else can I do with hundreds of patty pans?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: www.addall.com

When my husband was in seminary his required reading list was long! Most of the books were in the library but sometimes he couldn't get them when he needed them. Purchasing all those books from the school bookstore was awful! One of his professors shared this link with us:

http://www.addall.com/

Type in the book you need and where you live and Addall searches numerous online bookstores to find the cheapest one- and they include the shipping price in the total. This has been so helpful for school and we use it for personal books, too. Try it!

And stop by Rocks in My Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Red Bible: Part 3

I was heartsick. All of the sudden the Bible I'd pushed to the back of my mind had become the one thing I couldn't stop thinking about. I couldn't sleep and anytime I thought about it my eyes would fill with tears. How could I have been so careless?

I started to retrace my steps over the last few months. We'd visited my husband's grandparents in Florida so I called. They hadn't seen it but promised to look. I was in a wedding in Canada so I called my friend there. She hadn't seen it either nor had her parents. Where else? Where else? We lived at a Bible camp at the time and, really, it could have been anywhere on the property. I looked through all the lost and found boxes and on every bookshelf in every office. I looked in storage closets and asked every single staff member to keep their eyes open.

One of the staff members reminded me we had had a Ladies Retreat. A wave of dread washed over me. At that particular retreat all of the ladies were given matching tote bags to carry their Bibles and notebooks. I couldn't remember if I had used the red Bible at the retreat but I couldn't find my tote bag or my notebook so I knew I was in trouble. I was envisioning some woman tossing her tote bag in a corner and forgetting about it. I prayed the Lord would let her find my Bible and then let her find me.

For seven years I prayed that I would find that Bible. I made up elaborate stories in my head about how it would be found. A stranger would show up on my doorstep with the Bible in hand, an owner of a used bookstore would find my name and contact me, or something else incredibly interesting. We moved twice in those seven years and every time I packed I thought, "I bet I'll find that Bible." I didn't. Every time I unpacked and got to that last box I'd think, "Here it is! I'm sure it's here!" It wasn't.

The last move was a move back to Michigan. Back home, close to our families. We all live, work, and attend church near each other and our paths frequently cross- swapping kids, doing business, visiting church for one function or another.

My sister-in-law called one day while she was cleaning at her church and asked when I picked up the phone, "How much do you love me?" We aren't very affectionate with each other normally so I laughed and asked suspiciously, "Why?"

She answered, "Because I'm cleaning off Dad's bookshelves in his office because he's never cleaned them.........and I just found your red Bible."

"Wha...??" I burst into tears.

"Would you like me to bring it to you?" she asked.

And I answered through my tears, "Can you bring it right now?"

And she did.

So, I sit here with my red Bible next to me, it's soft leather cover, it's loose, tattered pages and I'm thankful. Thankful not only for the lessons I learned in Bible college, the connections with my mother, but also for this lesson. The lesson that God knows my heart's desires and he hears my prayers.

He gave me my red Bible back.

Part 3

Coming Wednesday...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Red Bible: Part 2

She was giving her Bible to me. She turned to the front page where her maiden name was written in the upper right hand corner, a squiggly line through it, her married name written underneath.

"My parents gave this Bible to me when I left for Bible school and now I'm giving it to you."

Once I got to college and the assignments started pouring in I could turn those pages to my hearts content. I could even write in it. I added my name to the list on the front page. Three different names, three different seasons of life. We went to different colleges but I discovered we had one of the same teachers. I went to mark a passage in the margin as the professor was speaking and I noticed it was already marked. Next to the passage it read "Dr. Whitcomb" and I felt a little thrill in my heart as if that mark bonded us, my mother and I.



As I read through that Bible I discovered struggles my mother had gone through and the scriptures that encouraged her. An underlined passage read "Carl's funeral," a friend who had died while she was in college. My mom and I didn't talk growing up. We fought a lot. It was mostly my fault. I was filled with teenage angst and liked to keep my private thoughts private. I didn't ask her questions either because I didn't want to be in a conversation that involved any kind of sharing personal information. Having her Bible with all her notes was like having the most meaningful conversation we could have. I began to see verses as she saw them and I was able to understand her a little better.


A few years later I married and the first Sunday we returned to church I drew a line through my maiden name and wrote my married name underneath. Another name, another season. That red Bible was mine now. I used it for devotions, for church, on retreats. One Sunday, a few years into our marriage, in the rush of getting ready I grabbed a different Bible that fit in my purse a little better. After awhile that Bible became my "regular" whether it was out of convenience or out of laziness for not taking the time to look for the red one. I pushed the red Bible into the back of my mind, not really forgetting it but overlooking it.


Over time I started to miss the red Bible. I missed the surprises of finding my mother's handwriting next to a passage that moved my heart. I longed to turn a page and make a discovery and see that she also was moved. So, a few weeks or months after I'd picked up the new Bible I went to the shelf to find my old red one. But when I reached up and looked for it my heart dropped to my stomach. It was gone. I looked all over our tiny apartment and enlisted the help of my husband but our search was fruitless.


I had lost the red Bible.

The Red Bible: Part 1

Growing up in a churched family we all had our own Bibles. Mine was a pink New Testament with my name etched in gold on the cover. It fit perfectly clutched in my little hands and had a pretty pink ribbon bookmark that I could wrap around one of my fingers. My mother had written inside in cursive so it was years before I could read "We love you! Dad and Mom." I loved my little pink Bible- mostly because it was pink and had my name on it. In the early 80's you could find all sorts of trinkets with my name but almost all were spelled wrong. T-r-a-c-y looked so beautiful and right.

Every Sunday morning our family of four would go through our pre-church routine. We had only one bathroom and we stuck to the same rotation so we wouldn't all rush for the shower at the same time. Somehow we all managed to meet at the car at the same time each of us with a Bible, my mom with her purse. She would pass her and Dad's Bibles to the backseat for me to hold while she rummaged in her purse for mints.

I loved to hold her Bible. It was red leather. Good leather. The kind that gets softer with age. It was smooth to the touch. She wrote on her pages (something I was afraid to do as my schoolteachers repeatedly reminded us never to write in books). She has very distinct handwriting- neat, straight, with pretty tails on the appropriate letters. I didn't look inside often because the pages in Romans were loose and starting to fall out. I didn't want to be the one responsible for the final tug that would pull the chapters free. I know she kept a love note I'd written to her in the book of Matthew.

Once I outgrew my pink New Testament I got a plain black KJV from my Sunday School class. When I turned 13 I got a brand new NIV Student Bible. It was reddish leather and I was proud- almost like my mom's. But as I used that Bible and roughed it up a little the "leather" didn't soften. Instead it peeled and cracked revealing cardboard underneath. Someday I'd get a Bible like Mom's, I thought.

Graduation came and I began to plan, prepare, and pack to go off to Bible College. I must have packed and repacked 50 times that summer. The excitement of college and expectation of independence was mingled with the dread of leaving home. If only I could pack enough to bring "home" with me.

My mom came in my room on one of my packing days and watched.

"Do you think you have everything?" she asked.

"I guess..." I looked around the room, doubtful.

She glanced at my stack of books. "You'll probably need a different Bible."

She was right of course. The Student Bible was for teenagers and I was mature now- going away to school.

"Would you look to take mine?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Good Links...

I am a penny pincher...a saver...a bargain shopper. I love a great deal and I really love a great tip. This month at MomAdvice Amy is doing a "Month of Savings". Each day she is posting money saving tips and the total amounts you can save. This website is full of great articles and blog entries. It's one of my favorites!

I know a lot of my readers come from The Homespun Heart but if you haven't been there yet you really need to stop by! Monica and her sister, Carrie from With All That I've Been Given, are doing a Sister Swap. I've never done a swap before and I'm really excited to join in the fun!

I'd love to hear about some fun links from the rest of you. Leave me a comment so I can stop by!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Garden



I have never planted anything before. Ever. Once, I had a cactus and I never watered it because I thought that was the point- a cactus doesn't need water. I'm not good with plants.




However, there are many hobby farmers at our church and every year they drop off corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, zucchini, etc. I'm greatful and thankful but sometimes those things come in such a surplus I can't keep up with the canning and freezing and I end up wasting a lot of food. I decided this year that I would plant my own garden and give away my surplus so there wouldn't be any waste. Although, now that I'm typing that out the logic seems a little skewed.




But today I had my first harvest! And I am proud! First of all, let me tell you I was clueless on how much to plant. Here is the squash section of my garden. Clearly I have gotten carried away:






But, look! Here is what I found underneath my 6 squash plants:



Isn't it beautiful? I call it a star squash but if you google recipes it's best to call it a patty pan squash. I'm pretty excited to bake it up for dinner tonight. There is something about eating food I've grown myself that is especially pleasing.

Now if only those tomatoes would turn red!

Date Night

And, no, it wasn't with my husband. It was me and Charlie! We have this great small town movie theatre that shows one movie a week every night at 7pm. This week it's "Ratatouille" and we've been waiting patiently for it to arrive!


Here is what I love about boys- yesterday morning before I left for work I told Charlie we were going on a date to the movies after supper. You would have thought I just told him he was a superhero. The minute I got home from work he was on my heels ready to follow whatever instructions I gave him. He cleaned up, dressed up, put on his "church shoes", grabbed my hand and took me out the door.


We had to stop at the cell phone store because my new phone wasn't working properly. When we walked in he immediately told the lady behind the service counter,


"My mom's phone is broken and that's why we're here, and you're going to fix it and then we are going to THE MOVIES! Because I'm no a date with just me and my mom and we are going to THE MOVIES!" and on and on he went. He even showed her how to take pictures with my phone. She was so gracious to pretend like he had just taught her something new.


The movie was cute but the time we spent together was better. At the beginning of the movie I told him I had his drink if he needed it and he said,


"No thanks Mom. But I would like to snuggle." And he climbed into my lap.


Later he made his way back to his seat and there was a "kissing part" in the movie. I whispered, "yuck! kissing!" and he replied,


"I just like kissing you, Mom. Only you."


And I wish I could have frozen that moment forever.



Sunday, July 29, 2007

Five Things

Carrie at With All That I've Been Given tagged me for this "Five Things I love about Jesus" meme a little while ago. I haven't forgotten about it - in fact, I've been overthinking it for the past few days. It's hard to narrow it down and hard to put into words. I've decided that if I tried to be too descriptive or wordy I'd just mess things up. So instead I thought I'd list the five verses that talk about Jesus that I love the most. I'll let the Word speak for me!

II Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Luke 7:13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Want to know why I picked a particular verse? Feel free to ask me in the comments. And I would love to hear some verses that you all love (and why)! Consider that my tag since all of you have already participated in this I think!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Eyes

So, my little "eye" problem? Saturday morning was no better so I went to the walk-in clinic. They fixed me up, gave me a prescription and said...

"Throw away your make-up."

Ugh. I don't have a lot of makeup. One eyeshadow, one blush, one powder, one mascara...and truthfully, they should have been thrown out an embarrassingly long time ago. But now I have to start all over again. I'm clueless about colors and application and all that stuff.

A good friend from college called me last night and we were talking about how we forget we aren't in college anymore (and haven't been for years!!!). We mocked each other and how uncool we are now.

She said: I watch "10 years younger" on TV and think those people are so 80's. We're probably so 90's and have no idea.

Me: I'm so ordinary.

She said (laughing): At least you don't still wear clogs!

Me: What??? I have three pairs!!!!

See? I'm so uncool. So I've decided to go to a fancy make-up counter at the mall and have them fix me up nice. I probably shouldn't be wearing the same colors on my face that I wore in high school. In my case I should look "10 years OLDER." If you're lucky I'll post before and after pictures. Maybe.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Book

I am a closet Harry Potter fan. And by closet I mean I actually hide the books in my closet so that I don't upset any extended family members. He's a touchy subject, that Harry Potter, and I'm not much of a fighter. I'd rather not make waves and mostly try and avoid the subject altogether. I'd just like to read my books in peace, thankyouverymuch.

My sister in law (who worked at the library for a few years and is a true book lover) preordered the new book for me for my birthday. I have big plans for tomorrow that include pacing in the front window until the mailman comes and maybe or maybe not giving him a big hug or (at the very least) a squeal of glee when he hands me the book. I have finished all my housework (and banished the boys to the backyard so my house stays clean), paid the bills, balanced the checkbook, and bought groceries. Chad is taking the boys out for the afternoon and I plan on reading, reading, reading, until I'm done. I'm not turning on the TV, reading the paper, or even getting on the computer for fear I'll hear how the book ends. BIG plans.

This morning when I woke up I noticed my eyes were a little dry and scratchy. I stumbled into the shower without actually attempting to open them (I'm not a morning person so I've mastered the art of getting out of bed and getting into the shower without ever opening my eyes). I rubbed them with my fists under the spray of hot water and OUCH!!! that really hurt. There is a little mirror in the shower that Chad uses for shaving so I rubbed the steam off and looked at my eyes. They are almost swollen shut. They are puffy and watery and a reddish-purple color. As the morning progresses they are getting worse. I called in sick to work because it's way to embarrassing to go out in public like this.

All my plans of reading and reading I fear are being replaced with ice packs on my eyes and Benadryl naps (because I'm not really sure what caused the swelling and allergy medicine seems like a good plan).

I'm fairly sure that the arrival of my controversial book and my swollen eyes are unrelated. Please don't tell any of my extended family about my eyes. Just in case.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Picky Eater?

Charlie goes through phases with cereal. He'll eat one kind for weeks until he wakes up and decides it's no longer his favorite and he now has a new favorite. This week it's generic rice chex which is fine by me because he likes them plain so we aren't starting the day on a sugar kick.

Henry likes a little variety and while he'll eat the cereal of the week he also likes a piece of fruit. Preferably a banana.

While I sliced his banana I asked Charlie if he wanted some, too.

"No, Mom. Those are disgusting."

After breakfast we went outside, the boys on the swingset, me in the chair reading a book.

"Mom? What kind of grass is this? Blue?"

I looked at it and it was blue. So I responded, "I don't know...blue grass, I guess. Why do you want to know?"

He shrugged. "Cuz it's good."

And he ATE it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Kindergarten Teacher

The other day I attended a luncheon in the small town where I grew up. I was the youngest person there by about 20 years but I still had a great time talking with some of the ladies. One in particular had been a kindergarten teacher at my old school. She's been retired for years and I was in kindergarten in 1983 so it had been awhile.

She asked me about my life and I filled her in on my husband, my kids, and where I am. She then said, "Were you in my class?"

I hadn't been but I told her I remembered going to her class once a week for singing. She laughed and said that was one of the things she missed the most about her teaching days. She would play the piano on Friday's for all three of the classes as we sat cross legged on her special song time carpet. I told her that was my only real memory of kindergarten. I had small memories like my nameplate on my table and the dividers they would put up during testing.

"Oh, the testing..." she rolled her eyes and smiled. And then she surprised me with this-

"The reason I thought you were in my class is because I remember a pink sweatshirt you used to wear...didn't it have a whale on it?..."she trailed off.

I think my mouth must have been hanging open and I felt tears stinging my eyes. When I was little money was very tight. I didn't realize this until I was much older because my parents did a great job of not making it an issue. My mom was creative and one of the things she did to make money as well as to save money was to sew.

My pink sweatshirt was one of the fads of the early 80's. She would buy solid colored sweatshirts and applique a picture on the front. An apple with a worm for a teacher, a sailboat, a duck, or in my case, a green whale with white polka-dots. On song day there was a song with this line:

Did you ever see a whale
with a polka-dot tale?
Down by the bay...

I intentionally wore that sweatshirt just so the teacher would notice me. So she would see how much I loved singing in her room and sitting on her special carpet. And now twenty-five years later I find out that she did notice me.

"You remember that?" I asked with my hand at my mouth as I tried not to let my voice crack. "I wore that just for you."

She smiled again and said, "Funny the things you remember..." and she patted my arm and walked over to speak to another lady nearby.

Lately I've felt small and a little lost. I've been wondering what my place is and if anyone even noticed me anyway. I guess I'll never know the things I do that get noticed. But after this conversation I sure won't feel so small. I left the luncheon with my head a little higher and my smile a little bigger. All because of a kindergarten teacher who noticed me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Battle of the Wills

We are having a bedtime battle this evening. Charlie threw a horrific tantrum right before dinner that clearly showed us he had not taken his nap today. As punishment for his meltdown he was told to finish dinner, take a bath, and go straight to bed. It was 6:30.

Chad has left for Wednesday night church so I'm here to deal with the crying and scheming and trying to weasel out of his punishment. His latest attempt was this:

Charlie (peaking out his bedroom door): Mom....

Me (giving him the look): What.

Charlie (chin quivering): I just told Jesus on you.

Me (biting hard on my lip): For what?

Charlie: I told him you had to be nice to me and let me get out of bed and let me listen to my radio and to not be punished....and to not be mad. (tears)

In my defense, I had not raised my voice at all yet because I knew his bad behavior was from lack of sleep. Any attempt on my part to reason with him or argue with him would be fruitless because he is highly irrational and emotional with no nap.

I took him back into his room and tucked him (nicely) back into his bed.

Charlie: I prayed to Jesus that you would let me play toys. It didn't work.

Me: Jesus knows you can't play toys when it's time for bed...

Charlie: Oh.

As frustrating as tonight's circumstances are I enjoy watching him work out his faith. He knows he can pray but he's trying to distinguish what he can pray for- and that prayer isn't a magic guarantee to get what he wants. At this point in his life I'm thankful for the open conversations we can have about Jesus. He's a regular conversation topic around here and that makes me happy. For now I will take comfort in knowing even in the bad days (or evenings) the whole idea of "who is Jesus?" is being worked out in our home. Not just who He is to me or to Chad but who He is to Charlie. He's making his faith his own.

Or he's just trying to get out of bed...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Real Monday

Last week was a week filled with picnics and parties. We attended six all together which made for many late nights and skipped naps. This week I'm determined to get us all rested but Monday morning I wanted to "sleep in" one more time.

I'm a slow morning person. I'm actually not a morning person at all so I have to get up very early to have the freedom to move as slowly as possible. Somehow, Sunday night, I convinced myself that I could get ready for work and get the kids ready for the sitter in one hour. I must have taken too much cold medicine.

I woke up at seven a.m. and actually got ready in a decent amount of time. The boys were so tired I had to wake them up for breakfast. Initially that seems like time is working in my favor but not really....one boy slept a little too hard and the sheets, the pj's and the boy all needed to be washed. One little glitch in my schedule is manageable.

When I walked in to wake up my youngest I was greeted with a lovely smell. Lovely. And very messy. More washing of sheets, pj's and another boy.

I was still doing well. The breakfast was on the table, the babysitter arrived, and I was off to work with a few minutes to spare. I opened the garage and realized my husband had taken my vehicle- I knew that was going to happen, I had just forgotten. Back into the house for the right keys...left my briefcase in the house. Back into the house for the briefcase. My babysitter was laughing at me just a little. I made a comment about Mondays.

And then I tried to start my husbands vehicle. All I heard was a strange clicking noise. I tried a few more times and then called Chad. I tried to be kind but it was Monday, I was now running late, he left me a vehicle that didn't work, and he was 45 minutes away! Not good. Everyone I know that could have taken me to work had already left for work. Chad had to come and get me.

I decided to use my time wisely and blow up the pool for the kids while I waited. I looked for the valve for the air compressor for ten minutes before I went back inside to find something else to do. Once inside I discovered an overflowing toilet. I can't make this stuff up.

Chad returned home. I calmed down. I was only one hour late for work. And the rest of the day went just fine. And the van didn't start because Charlie turned on the dome light the day before. When asked why he said "Because I like it on." Okay then.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Weekend with the Grandparents


Apparently they'd had enough.


Why my posts are few and far between...

Hours of refreshing entertainment right out our back door.... a relaxing summer indeed!



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Charlie's Plan

Attempt #1

Charlie: Mom, my forehead really hurts. (hand on head with really pathetic expression)

Me: Do you think some headache medicine will make it better?

Charlie: No, but I really think some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream will work.


Attempt #2

Charlie: (as he looks at his dinner) No, thank you. I would rather have some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Sheesh. He got some for dessert.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The New Babysitter

I work three days a week and have a babysitter for two of those days. My sister in law has been the sitter for a good year and a half but has taken the summer off to have a baby. I guess that's reasonable. Since it is summer break my selection is much greater than during the school year. There are eager teenagers wanting to make a little money to spend and babysitting is an easy gig.

Thankfully, my husband "shows himself friendly" and got to know the music pastor from the "other church." He has a 13 and 16 year old daughter. The 16 year old is a little busy but the 13 year old was very excited to be asked to babysit. This is her first long term job. She took a Red Cross first aid class and came the first day armed with a list a questions. She is thorough! Her mom stopped in to check on her twice to make sure everything was under control. She even calls me "Ma'am". Yikes.

I asked Charlie how the first day went and he says he likes her. He then proceeded to tell me all the really fun things they did that day. And there were alot. So, I'm thrilled we found a keeper.

The only problem is that horrible mom-guilt/babysitter jealousy. If we had a terrible babysitter I would be miserable (and quit my job and eat ramen noodles). But we have an excellent babysitter that my kids look forward to seeing and I'm a little jealous. They watch the sliding door on the porch for her to get here and greet her with much JUMPING!! and YELLING!!! and GUESS WHAT?! And I quietly give them hugs and say to be good and head off to work.

I'm thankful the Lord provided a job that will carry us through Chad's medical bills. I'm thankful he continues to provide people who love my kids to watch them for me. I'm thankful my job is working for my dad so I can leave anytime there is a sniffle or a sneeze at home. Sometimes I just need a good sigh.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Daredevil

This is the far away picture of Charlie and me on the "Super Duper Looper."


Notice the tiny little boy in the FRONT SEAT of the UPSIDE DOWN rollercoaster. And he went on it THREE times. FEARLESS.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Home, Home, Home

Laundry, laundry, laundry. At least I cleaned before I left!

We had such a great time. Over the weekend we went to a 15 year reunion for Encounter Revival Ministries (we were involved there for 7 years). We caught up with old friends, encouraged each other and ate lots of good food. Throughout the 72 hours we were there I think I slept 11! One night at 2:30 I was still up giggling in a room full of girls when I realized I HAD to get to bed! My husband "outed me" with the blog so now I'm writing with a twinge of embarrassment instead of the freedom of writing for complete strangers. Yikes!

Every time we get together as a group there is a new "fad". Last time, everyone had ipods. This time everyone is on facebook. I assumed those things were for teenagers but after I got the "every one's doing it" speech I decided to succumb to the peer pressure. Oh. my. word. I can't stop with facebook!! I am forever linking to and looking for people. This morning I talked to someone who I haven't talked to in 6 years! I can't stop! I finally ran a virus scan on my computer just to force myself to walk away. It's an addiction.

We are running to the bookstore to pick up some supplies for VBS. Hopefully a trip away from the computer will allow for the lure of facebook to wear off. Good grief.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Oh, Vacation....

We spent the entire day yesterday at HersheyPark. An amusement park that celebrates chocolate. Is there anything better? Charlie is just big enough to ride the roller coasters and he is fearless! The man went on rollercoaster after rollercoaster and giggled harder than I've ever heard him giggle.

I rode on a very scary rollercoaster with Chad. We waited in line for one hour so that I could close my eyes, hold my breath, and fear death more than I've ever feared it my life. I wish I at least would have opened my eyes. Terrifying.

We are spending this week visiting with friends we rarely see and it's wonderful. We had lunch today at the Chocolate Cafe with a great friend, we got coffee at our favorite coffee shop in the entire world, and we stopped at the greatest book warehouse we know. I had 10 books in my hand but cut back to 2. And then I got 4 for the boys. And Charlie got 2 more for himself. We are a house of book lovers! We are staying with our best friends in the whole world with all of our screaming children and their barking dogs and it's still a totally relaxing trip. I love friends like that!

I've taken pictures but I can't find the cord to download them. I've got a great rollercoaster picture- Charlie and me in the front seat of the Super Dooper Looper! I'm blowing it up and framing it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The show we can't miss

We are back. I've dug myself out from under the all of those "things to do after we've been gone for days and other people stayed at our house." Not to mention Henry's ear infection that won't die, the worst flu ever, and scrambling to get ready for the family vacation that's been on the calendar for months (the surgery was not on the calendar).

While we were in Minnesota we stayed at a Mennonite boarding house recommended to us by other patients. It was peaceful and the people who ran it were kind. We enjoyed it very much and will probably stay there again. There was no TV or wifi, of course, which normally isn't a problem as there are plenty of coffee shops around and things to do besides watch tv. However, my husband's favorite show (the only one he never misses) was having it's season finale and Chad was determined that we would not miss it.

There is a McDonald's out there with TV's in the booth's so at about 10 minutes to 8:00 we trekked down there and ordered or snacks. And realized the tv's only show two channels- the weather channel and the news. So then Chad thought a hotel lobby might work and I would not do it- that's just desperation. We were down to two minutes before the show when I said:

"Even though you aren't checked in yet, aren't you technically a patient for Mayo?"

"Yeah?"

"So, technically, couldn't we watch tv in one of the lobbies of the hospital?"

We ran into the hospital and went to information and Chad blurted,

"I'm a patient at May0...I'm having surgery tomorrow...we are staying somewhere with no tv...my favorite show is having it's season finale in one minute."

The kind, elderly volunteer smiled and pointed at the elevators.

"Family waiting room 7th floor."

Awesome! We were the only ones in there and enjoyed the standard hit tv show cliffhanger. We may have missed the point a little on the peace and tranquility of staying somewhere with so little technology but really, cold turkey? And it was the season finale.....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Oh, the packing...

The flight we have tomorrow is on a small plane. Not small as in private jet plane but small as in the kind of plane people crash alot. I'm very scared. Very thankful for the flight...very scared to crash. Especially since we are flying over Lake Michigan. My heart is in my throat even as I type this. We are only allowed 15lbs. per person in luggage which at first I didn't think was going to be that hard.


I did every stitch of laundry in the house last night so I had all options available to me while I packed. Do you have any idea how hard it is to pack only 15lbs for one week? There were clothes all over the bed that I was trying to mix and match. I had one of those pull behind suitcases half full and decided to weigh it...15lbs! Darn.


It must have been the wheels. And the fancy pull out handle. Chad found a duffel bag in the closet and we were both able to fit all our clothes in there. Chad only needs clothes for 2 days and pajama pants the rest of the time. We weighed it...15lbs! Now we have some wiggle room for the extra stuff.

I have post it notes all over the place with last minute things I need to pack. I have my mini shampoo, mini toothpaste, and my mom even got me a mini hairspray. My makeup bag has the bare essentials in it. I have lists everywhere for my mom like "What the kids eat", "Bedtime Routine", "What Charlie will say he can do and what he actually CANNOT do", and those things I know Grandma's throw in the trash as soon as I'm gone.

One good thing about packing so light is I'm learning a lot about simplicity. What do I really need? So often I over pack for trips and end up taking things I never use or even remember I packed. There is something refreshing about only carrying the basics with me. At least, am sure it will be refreshing once I get there. For now, packing is a little stressful...


Friday, May 18, 2007

My random post...

I have been missing in action on the internet but definately not in my non-computer life. It's been nothing BUT action around there! I'm apologizing ahead of time for a very boring post filled with lots of exclamation points. The next post will be better, I hope!

  • Today was Charlie's last day of preschool. There was a little ceremony and picnic to celebrate. I always thought preschool graduations were so silly...it's just preschool. Until it was my son's preschool graduation. I was actually a little teary! His teacher was just phenomenal. She was my first impression of the public school system in our town and I am impressed. She is coming for a wrap-up home visit at the end of the month and I'll probably gush all over her.
  • Henry has a horrid ear infection. Charlie never had one and Henry has only had two. This one is killer. The last two nights he'll wake up in his bed and scream. The only thing that soothes him is The Wiggles. I've had enough of the midnight visits from The Wiggles! I was singing "Wiggly Party" while I drove to work this morning. Please, ear infection, go away!
  • Chad and I are off to Mayo again next week. He has a minor surgery that will have major results. We are excited (for the results- not for the actual surgery)! But the last few days have been about getting the boys routines together, getting my house ready (my parents are staying with the boys), and PACKING. Packing is tricky this time. We qualified for a flight from Wings of Mercy, a non-profit organization that flies patients to far away hospitals for free. It may have something to do with the fact we have been to Minnesota 8 times in the last year! The flight is a small private plane so we are limited to 15lbs each. That's about the size of a carry on each...and we'll be there a week. A week! Any packing tips would be greatly appreciated!
  • I pre-shopped two garage sales this week and got TONS of clothes for Henry and Charlie. Honestly, I spent $30 and got them enough clothes to last a year (or more depending on how fast they grow!). I was thrilled. One of my friends told me "I just want to get rid of it all- everything is a quarter..." Some of the stuff was like new! Woohoo! With boys, I'm all about garage sale clothes. Boys are destructive! I also sold some things on consignment and was able to pick up some summer clothes for myself at the shop. My prize? A red Ann Taylor dress for $15. I've never had a red dress and I love it!
  • My mother in law is in charge of the annual hospice auction tomorrow night. We, of course, are automatic workers since we are relatives and all. I love the auction! It's so much fun! And it's awesome to see the hard work she puts into it come to fruition in one big bang! We look forward to it every year and I can't wait to go. It's like a really fun date night only Chad works one of the silent auction tables and I'm on the tear down crew. So technically we aren't anywhere near each other...but it's still lots of fun!
  • Last but not least...we have the scariest ant hill ever in our front yard. Just thinking about it makes me itch. Chad told me not to go near it but I wanted to see for myself. It's huge! Honestly, it's as big around as a table top and the holes are mini m&m size. There are massive armies of ants crawling all over each other in and out of holes. Gag. I'm so grossed out I can hardly stand it. The ant killers are coming today (some men from the church) and I'm praying those ants go away. Honestly, someone told Chad to dig up the anthill...can you imagine? I'm envisioning ants swarming the shovel and overtaking Chad, dragging him down into their ant village underground. Blech!! Ants!!!

I'll be updating while we are away next week. There are no distractions out there... just me and Chad hanging out in the hospital room! Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cold Cup, Warm Heart

This afternoon Chad and I were sitting in the den talking through an incredibly stressful situation bearing down on us right now. We were talking quietly but I'm sure Charlie noticed the intensity of the conversation.

I could see him out of the corner of my eye, standing next to me. He whispered "Mom?...Mom?" until I turned and said "Yes, Charlie..."

Again he spoke quietly, "I brought something just for you..."

It was his blue plastic cup he normally drinks from and inside was a brown liquid. I didn't have tea in the fridge or any pop so I couldn't think of what it was.

"Oh, thank you. What is it?" I asked.

"Coffee!" he said proudly.

And wouldn't you know...it was coffee. I had made it earlier in the day and left a little bit in the pot. It had been a few hours.

"I poured it myself. I thought you would really need it." And he stood there with concern waiting for me to drink the cold, filmy liquid.

I glanced at Chad and he gave me a humored yet sympathetic look that said, "you'd better drink it." So I did.

I gave Charlie a great big hug and thanked him "very much". And even though that coffee was cold and awful tasting my heart was warm.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blog Design Giveaway


I realize my blog is very typical and ordinary. People stop by and say "Beginner. Look at that sorry template." When I read blogs and like the design I always look to see who designed it. The majority of the time it's Jules at EveryDay Mommy! I've set a goal for myself...if I blog a certain number of blogs my reward is a new template by Jules. But, oh!! To win a FREE design for Mother's Day? How wonderful would that be? I'm dreaming of a shiny new template already... Click the button and stop by Everday Mommy and enter!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Morning Conversation

I'm on the couch in the living room listening to the conversation of my husband and my 1 year old.

Henry: Hi-ee! Ted-ee! (Henry always says good morning by showing us his bear)

Chad: Good Morning, Henry!

Henry: Ted-ee!

Chad: Sorry, good morning Teddy...

Henry: Crah-ker! (cracker doesn't mean cracker- it means whatever he's talking about at the moment)

Chad: How about some eggs?

Henry: Crah-ker! Crahker!

Chad: Eggs are good...(talking to himself I think)

Henry: (marching around the island) Crah-ker, Crah-ker, Crah-ker....

Chad: Want to stir the eggs?

Henry: Yeah, yeah, yeah....

Chad: Yucky!...Don't!.... Wait! ....ack....

And now I'm off to see what that's all about....and eat some eggs.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Teach Me!!!

Okay, someone out there has added me to her Google Reader. How did you do that? I read quite a few blogs and would love to use reader of some kind. Teach me!

Also, someone found me through Technorati. How? What is that?

I would appreciate lots of tips! I can blog (sort of- I currently struggle with adding a button) and I can READ blogs but that's about my extent of blog knowledge.

Thanks!

Dandelions

Our yard has tons of dandelions. Not the little ones either. The big, fat ones as big as your palm. Charlie was walking through a patch of them and said, "What can we do with these, Mom?"

I'm not crafty or creative but I read blogs that are. I vaguely remember reading something in Martha Stewart Magazine years ago about making pancakes with dandelions. I googled "dandelion pancakes" and found a recipe with ingredients we already had on hand. We are a pancake house- any kind of pancake is a good pancake.

Charlie and I hunted for the biggest, fattest dandelions we could find. We filled a little dish and brought them inside. I cleaned them and chopped them...and then spilled them on the floor! The cat thought it was fun so she jumped in and scattered them around. I could hear the lawnmower outside as the man from church was here to mow. And he was mowing the dandelion patch! I ran outside and starting picking dandelions like a crazy person. I'm sure I could have flagged him down and explained what I needed the flowers for but at that moment all I could think was "I need dandelions now!"

So again, we washed them and chopped them and mixed up the recipe. We cooked them and even though they looked a little funny they smelled good. I put them on a plate, sliced them up and...they were absolutely the worst pancakes I ever had in my life. Terrible! Charlie on the other hand thought they were delicious but I suspect that's because he made them himself and felt a fierce loyalty to the world's worst pancakes.

I could link you to the recipe but I won't because they are terrible and I couldn't live with myself knowing I passed that recipe around. Chad wouldn't even taste them after he saw my face so he asked what they tasted like. I don't know really- earthy? Kind of like dirt and grass?

I think next time we'll try something a little more normal. Like, pick a vegetable from the garden and eat it the way it is intended to be eaten. I'm much better with normal.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. I'm ashamed to say that in years past I've forgotten all about it and let it pass. This year I longed for and prepared for today. Don't get me wrong...I fully understand that everyday is a day of prayer. But if you think of other holidays (Christmas/giving, Thanksgiving/being thankful, Valentine's Day/love, Easter/celebrating the Resurrection) all those things should be done everyday, too. There's this vibe I get when I wake up on a holiday...that special day set aside for a little extra of something we do everyday.

I have some big ones today. Heather is having brain surgery today and is being covered in prayer by numerous bloggers. We even put her on the list at the church today. We have some family stuff going on that involves numerous people and LOTS of prayer. And as I was reading through my morning blog selection I came across another prayer request here. Please pray for Ben and his family today. Also, please remember to pray for our country and its leaders. And pray for your church, its leaders, and your pastor.

I'll be taking "prayer breaks" all day. If you leave a request in the comment section I'll pray for you, too! **

It's the National Day of Prayer...let's celebrate and pray!

**even if you comment a few days from now I'll still pray for you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

My first Tag!

I've been tagged by Monica! I've never been tagged before and I'm so excited! It took much longer than I thought to come up with these answers.

Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them that they have been tagged and to read your blog!

1. I have two ankle bones on both feet. Right below my "normal" ankle is another one. It makes buying shoes a challenge! And I'm not showing you a picture because it's really weird.

2. When I was teenager I was a licensed scuba diver. I only went diving 5 times I think?

3. I can't sit still. When I'm sitting in a chair or laying in bed I am constantly tapping my feet. It was cause for much arguing when we first got married! I even do it in my sleep and it drives my husband nuts!

4. I'm stagefright, I'm not crafty/creative, I can't sing, and I don't play a musical instrument. And I'm a pastor's wife. How did that happen? : )

5. Along with #4...I like to do behind the scenes stuff. I have no problem following the leader! Tell me what to do and I'll do it!

6. I eat frozen peas as a snack. My boys do it now, too.

7. I know how to can tomatoes...and it's sooo fun!

That's it! I'll probably think of 10 things that were a lot more interesting later! I don't know 7 bloggers personally yet (I'm mostly a lurker on about 20 blogs) so I'll only tag the ones I know... Leslie, Tracey, and Coach J (who is as new to blogging as me!).

Have a great day!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Have a Good Morning

I am not a morning person. It's not that I like to sleep (I don't nap for fear I may miss something important) I just don't like to get up. I have a very cozy bed, soft sheets, and heavy, toasty blankets. Not to mention my bed is usually full of snuggly kids which makes me want to stay in there even longer.

This morning I woke up at 5:45...my alarm doesn't go off until 6:30. I was wide awake so I got up. Oh, why don't I do that more often? The house was quiet and I was able to drink my coffee and read a little more of a new book I got in the mail the other day. The book is called The Contemplative Mom by Ann Kroeker. I've been reading her blog regularly and I was curious about the subject of her book. I struggle so much with finding time alone with the Lord. What kind of Christian am I if I'm living on my past experiences? I'm reading the book very slowly and savoring it. There are tips, verses to "contemplate", and quotes from real moms. It's refreshing.

I stopped by one blog this morning. I was so thankful I did! Please read the prayer my friend Monica posted...it's just what I needed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Too much show and tell

At preschool there is a "letter of the week" and this week is the letter "U". Today was "U" day so for show and tell the students need to bring something that starts with "U". That's a tough one so we were brainstorming this morning about what Charlie could bring.

"Ukelele?"
"No."
"Is there an animal that starts with U?"
"I can't think of one."
"How about something from your toybox?"

And the answer that makes him the classic pastor's kid:

"Nevermind. I'll just show them my Underwear."

For the record...he took an umbrella.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Parsonage

We live in a little white house next to our church. I love it for so many reasons. The house itself is small but the layout uses every bit of space to the fullest. The back yard is large and there is swingset and a deck.

My husband can walk to work, come home for lunch, and come home just because he wants to say hi. I can leave for church ten minutes before the service starts and still be there 'early.' We love living in the parsonage.

However-

There is a drawback. Everyone knows when they drive by that clearly, this little white house on the church property is the parsonage. Therefore, the pastor and his family must live there. It's great that people know that...

Unless they drove by this afternoon and saw that Charlie had tied himself to the big oak tree between our house and the church. Tied...himself....to the tree.

No, I wasn't watching him and yes, his dad WAS watching him and thought it was funny. I didn't take a picture because I was pretty sure that having a child tied to a tree wasn't legal and I didn't want proof. Thank goodness this is a small town and the local cop is the brother of one of our church members. And the other cop was my youth leader growing up. Because really, having the pastor's kid tied the tree could be a little embarrassing.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Animal Crackers

On Sunday nights I pack a snack for big church that Charlie can have if he's quiet. He watches the clock and knows when the long hand gets to the six he can have the snack. He likes to make it last as long as possible and I'm amazed at his ability to prolong the life of a bag of animal crackers.

The great thing about Charlie is he is the best "sharer." In his bag he had some whole animal crackers and lots of broken pieces. He set two whole crackers on my Bible while I was listening to the service. I hid them in my fist until his bag was empty. When he put the last cracker in his mouth and the look of disappointment that comes at the end of a snack filled his eyes, I opened my fist and handed him one of the crackers. He smiled a great a big smile and bit the cracker in half. He held it out to me...and then took it back and bit it in half again. He handed me the leg of a camel for myself.

I held out my fist one more time with the last cracker. Thrilled with the opportunity to redeem his sharing habit he instantly bit it in half and gave me the bigger half. I'm fairly certain he gets his sharing quality from his dad.

When we were first married and incredibly broke (as most newlyweds are) Chad would ask how much we had left in the account after the bills were paid. I'd tell him and he would promptly give it away. Give it away. It would make me so crazy! I'd work hard to stretch our pennies and he would give away the clothes on his back (not in a metaphoric way- he has really given people the shirt he was wearing). But on the other hand there is no greater quality than to know all this "stuff" is for giving. Time, energy, clothes, money, food, shelter...the more we have the more we can give.

I'm so proud to see Charlie copy this behavior. A week ago someone gave him a brand new Superman action figure. Brand new. And the best part was he had done something to earn it which made him take even more pride in it. As soon as Henry saw the new toy he reached for it and Charlie said, "Henry! Look! A new Superman for us to share!"

I told a new parent friend that kids don't just love their parents- they adore them. And they show it by copying the behaviors that are the strongest. I'm not quite ready to confess the habits my kids copy in me (not good ones) but I will brag on the ones that they have picked up from their dad. Those are the ones I'd like to copy, too.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Not my baby anymore

My baby is no longer a baby anymore and I'm not exactly sure when that happened. I always talk to my kids. I ask questions, I tell them about my day, I point out animals, shapes or objects. Today I noticed Henry knew exactly what I was talking about and he responded. We were all playing in the yard and I yelled, "Okay, Henry! Time for bath!" and no kidding, he climbed out of the sandbox, trotted into the house and headed straight for the tub.


The thing is, I'm sure he's been responding and understanding for a long time. He's 14 months old for pete's sake. He says a bunch of words ("cracker" is his favorite) and mimics everything Charlie does. I guess I missed the point where he turned from baby to toddler. This past year was a long one. Henry didn't have a normal first year.


When he was six weeks old we made a trip out to Mayo Clinic for a "routine" check up. Chad and three of his siblings (there are 7 of them in all) have a genetic disorder called MEN-1. I'll spare you the details but basically we all have a gene that helps prevent tumors in the endocrine system and theirs is defective. Not a big deal if we keep an eye on it. A very big deal if we don't. His mom died when he was 13 because they had no idea she had it. Things can get very out of hand and cancer can develop. We had been watching it and nothing was happening so we thought maybe Chad was one of the lucky ones and no problems would ever develop. We were wrong.


After four days of testing the doctors discovered that Chad had 11+ malignant tumors in his pancreas. One the size of a golf ball was actually outside the pancreas and beginning to attach itself to the small intestine. A month later he had to have 3/4 of his pancreas removed. The recovery was rough. He got a blood clot behind his knee and had to be on full bed rest for a week. He had a pancreatic leak that they discovered after we left Mayo. When he went to the hospital in our state he caught a horrible bacteria that kept him in and out of the hospital for the majority of the summer. We traveled to Mayo clinic a total of 5 times (6?) in less than 7 months.


Charlie stayed with friends and family a lot. He adjusted really well. Henry was so little that I couldn't bear to leave him with anyone. So, I strapped on one of those infant carriers and took him with me. Everywhere. He took naps in hospital chairs pushed up against the wall. Sometimes he slept in the suitcase. He hung out with the nurses, visited all the local coffee shops or anywhere there was wifi, and we took frequent walks to the atrium. We spent some good quality time together last summer but it was abnormal. His baby book is blank and I don't have nearly as many photos of him as I would like. A lot of the ones I do have are from the hospital. I managed to scribble some of his milestones on a calendar in his room but for me, he's still a baby. I feel like I missed the whole year.


As sad as I am that he's not my little baby anymore, I love the stage he's in right now. He runs to me with hugs and kisses me all over my face. He climbs up into my lap with books he picked off the shelf all by himself. He impresses me with his animal noises and if he makes a face that makes me laugh he holds the expression as long as possible. He doesn't cry in the morning when he wakes up- he sings and calls my name. He says, "Ah, luv," and wraps his chubby arms around my legs while I'm getting him his bottle. I'm crazy about this boy. And I won't focus on what I missed. I'll simply savor every day from here on.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Preschool Wisdom

I tend to overthink things. I haven't blogged in a few days even though my head is full of good blogging ideas. If I can't wrap up the post in my head I don't blog about it. So here is one I've been trying to post for a couple of days:

The parents have to sign up to help one day a month at Charlie's preschool. I love helping at the preschool- my absolute favorite thing to do is get the kids to talk to me. Four year olds say the funniest things! There happened to be a number of kids home sick from school that day so we were talking about how we don't like to miss school.

David piped up and said, "I have to miss school tomorrow. We are going with my church to 'Acquire the Fire.'" He went on about it for a minute or two and explained his pastor and his youth group were going to Detroit and it's a big deal.

Little Tanner was sitting next to him with a big scowl on his face so I asked what he was thinking about.

"Well," he said. "I won't be in school either. My dad is a fireman and he doesn't like fires so we are going where David is to put that fire out."

Aren't kids great?

We had another big adventure on Monday. It was kindergarten round up! Charlie ran full speed the whole way there (the elementary school is in sight of our house). When we got to the main doors he saw one of the kids from preschool so they walked in together. At the doors of the library where round up was he froze. He would not budge, blink, or breathe I think! He looked at me and said, "I'm not going in there." I talked softly and tried to encourage him to go in. I succumbed to the pressure and after ten minutes I bribed him with a frosty from Wendy's and that did the trick. Once we got in there he saw one of his good friends (who invited him over to play that afternoon) so all was well.

When it was time for the principal to talk to the parents the kindergarten teacher took the kids on a tour of the school. A friend of mine from church growing up was in the round up with me. Her daughter is the same age as Charlie and she is darling. The significant thing about her is this- she was born without legs and one of her hands is missing some fingers. I always forget because her little four year old personality overpowers her disability. After round up was over I asked Charlie if he made any new friends. He shrugged. I asked if he talked to Ella.

"Who's that?" he said.

"Well, she had painted flowers on her legs." Her legs are metal rods but her joints are a material that her parents decorated with pretty flowers.

"Huh? I didn't see anyone with painted legs?" he said. He looked at me like I was crazy.

"She had Dora shoes." I pointed out.

"Oh yeah! I talked to the girl with Dora shoes. She's nice."

He didn't even notice her prosthetic legs. I'm going to shut up now and stop pointing out other people's differences. Clearly in kindergarten things like that just aren't important. Niceness and being a Dora fan are way may important.

Kids are so great.