Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Triple Play

This is the year of Christmas extended. We celebrated Christmas with my family two weeks ago. We had our little family Christmas on Christmas Day, and now we are gathering at my sister-in-law's for our final hurrah of the season. It's been one of the most relaxed and wonderful family times we've had recently! I look forward to posting pictures of paper-tearing, food-stuffing, and snow-playing when we get home next week.

One thing that I have been thinking about is blessings. We have SO many. And I often forget that. My four favorites are the ones that make my Party of Five lively and lovely. Others are extended family, a wonderful home, jobs that pay the bills but also fulfill that urge to get out of the house! The one blessing that makes my whole world different is my Savior. He came as a baby. He left Heaven's comfortable place to come here. For me. And then He stayed until His work was done and left us to complete it by letting everyone know about His amazing gift.

At our Christmas Eve service the children's message focused on the gifts of Christmas. The kids shared about the trees decorating their homes and what presents they had opened already. Then they talked about what an amazing gift God gave us with the birth of Christ on Earth. The leader asked who's birthday we celebrate at Christmas. They sang out, "JESUS!" Then he asked, "Oh, so did you put a gift under the tree for Jesus?" Silence. Of course, then the leader talked about how we don't need a gift under the tree for Jesus, but that our gift to Him is our heart, our love, and life for His service. It was such a great reminder of the greatest gifts at Christmas time.

So as we open the last of our Christmas gifts this weekend, I hope that I can once again be reminded and pass this important truth onto our children. HE came, HE loved, He died, HE rose again, so that WE can tell, love, and be with Him forever.

Merry Christmas, Friends!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

All together now


This would be a great Wordless Wednesday post if only it wasn't Thursday....

Lessons from the Vacuum

Today in a spurt of unusual energy I decided to vacuum. This in itself is not a big deal, but what happened while I was doing it got me thinking.

Typically when I begin to vacuum a domino affect begins. It starts with Josh who leads his younger sister into a screaming, running, race-like panic around the house. They aren't afraid of the vacuum, but it makes for some kid of kiddo-fun that I am not privy to. Because the noise level is already quite high from the vacuum itself, I really don't care that they are tearing around the house like a bunch of people at the day after Thanksgiving sales.

Owen HATES the vacuum. He usually needs to be in another part of the hemisphere so he won't notice the roar and movement of this strange beast. His fear can be seen the instant the button clicks, the lights come on, and it roars to power. His little eyes widen, his breathing quickens and the tears begin to well in those precious blue pools of the windows to his heart.

But today...

I really needed to vacuum. I didn't want to wait until he was asleep for fear that it would waken him, believing I left him to fend for himself against the vacuum. So I prepared him. I held him tight, spoke to him in a reassuring voice, and even gave him the cord to hold onto for a sense of control. And we began. The vacuum roared to life and I waited.

He paused.
One quick breath.
And then.

He laid his sweet little head on my shoulder.

I quickly began working the room in the hope that I could at least get some of today's lunch off the floor.

He snuggled in.

Soon, I realized that he was getting REALLY heavy. I thought that my feeble arm muscles were just getting a good workout, until I passed the mirror in the bathroom.

He was ASLEEP.

As I finished what I needed to do, and he snoozed sweetly on my shoulder, I began to think about how his fear and, now, this comfort came from the same source. What had changed? Would it happen again? It reminded me of one of the hardest concepts to understand in our Christian walk...Fearing the Lord. Fearing God is a topic I recently spoke with some friends about and heard an amazing thought. Fear is tied up with awe and reverence. To fear God we don't have the same reaction Owen used to show with the vacuum. We aren't supposed to go running and screaming and be afraid. We are to care what He cares for, and hate what He hates. When you think of it that way, a change happens. The same kind of change that happened for Owen. It becomes a comfort. A safe place, because you know that you are following His will. He has given you His rules, shown us what He cares about, and now we can take comfort in the fact that we can fear Him, by following Him. He even gives us a bit of control (like Owen and the cord), by giving us free will to CHOOSE HIM!



PS. Maybe I'll learn something while I clean the bathroom next!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Here's a few from our little ones:

Josh to Ellie upon her refusal to come upstairs to brush her teeth for the night:
"FINE! Then you'll get cavities!"

Josh: Mom, I want to listen to the next song on my Spanish CD.
Me: No, your teacher hasn't told us that we can listen to that one yet.
Josh: But all the other kids have!
(mmmm...what did my parents used to say? "If all the other kids jumped off a cliff, would you??")

Ellie: My chins hurt.
(awww)

At Josh's Christmas program tonight we were seated in the church sanctuary. The focal point of the church is an extremely large cross with a statue of Jesus on it.
Ellie: LOOK! He is God!


Check out more cutie talk at Mary's!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Seventh Sense

Children have a Seventh Sense.

It manifests itself only at nighttime.

They are slumbering in their cozy beds as you peek in and check on them.

You smile and head to your own room, anticipating the warm blankets and the rejuvenating sleep that is about to come.

And then...they sense it.

You've moved past a certain threshold that requires them to squirm, moan, or even let out a startling cry.

There are varying degrees of this sense. Some children only sense when you are about to leave a zone of proximity that would require you to return to their bedsides.

Others have a keener sense. They will wait until you have climbed into bed, curled up under the covers, laid your weary head to rest, and the warmth of the blankets is just beginning to smooth away the day...and then....

They sense it.


We have one such talented little baby boy in our house.

Dear Owen,

Talents are gifts,
but this ones needs to be returned.
No one likes a show-off.

Thanks to you I know the clock works
EVERY hour of the night.
Please go to sleep and STAY asleep.

Love always,
Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fashion Question

Hi all my fellow fashionistas....

Here's my question....You know how during the holidays you want to look nice and not like someone spit up on you, climbed on you, sneezed in your shoulder, hung on the bottom of your shirt, and that you only buy outfits off the clearance rack? (all of these are very true about me)

So...what is your Go-to holiday outfit?

What combo of top/bottom, fabulous colors and mommy-friendly fabrics make you actually want to smile and take that famous photo in front of the family Christmas tree?

(I usually go for this nice red sweater matched with the oh-so-slimming black pants. But this year, my nursing boo*bs make that sweater more like a bad advertisement for implants. So I'm looking for ideas dear friends....)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

1st Snow fun!





Recently we had the first good snow of the winter. The kids were so excited to head out! We loaded them up with the several needed layers (bathroom break first) and out they went!


I remember that wonder and excitement from when I was young. My brothers and I would get bundled up and play for what seemed like hours out in winter's gift to kids. My mom has a great picture of us as we are just coming in from playing outside with my dad in the snow. We're covered in the white stuff, melting blobs of snow in the entryway. Inside it was always hot chocolate to greet us and warm us, as we recounted the battles of the previous hours.

I want that for my kids. I want to forget about worrying that they'll get runny noses, or chilly body parts. I want them to sit at our table with rosy noses, gobbling "smarshmellows" (Ellie speak"), and reliving the day in excited sibling conversation.

This was Ellie's first year where she was actually happy to be in the snow. Last year, she was the "Statue of a Small Child" in the snow. She would just stand, unable to garner enough bravery to make even the smallest of steps. This year....her favorite phrase was..."CANNONBALL!" She would jump, knees first into the snow. One of the pictures above shows her "landing." She also got to make her snow "angle." Although the finesse of standing up after making it and not stepping all over it is something yet to be attained! Josh was the veteran this year, remembering how fun it was to go down our playset slide to land in the soft snow. He was trying to master snowball-making. True to his first born personality, he asked many questions about how you make the perfect snowball, at the same time recounting the rules about how it should never be thrown into the face of an unsuspecting friend. (He's learning something at kindergarten!) Owen watched from inside, grunting and smacking his hands against the cool slider door as he saw his future playground. Wow, I can't wait for that day!

No Standees Allowed

Is This Supposed to be Happening ALREADY??




Owen: 7 1/2 Months.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If you're anything like me...

If you're anything like me, you are having a hard time remembering things. I am constantly writing thing down the instant I think of them. Although this has caused a few awkward interruptions to conversations, it seems to be working. My favorite thing about this, is that I write notes about things I would like to blog about. Most of the time they come to me in the car. So, short of hanging a notebook around my neck, I've been reaching for the nearest paper-like item. Deposit envelopes. Needless to say, I have a stack of deposit envelopes on my desk with quite a few ideas that I would like to post about. Hopefully, the stack will dwindle soon. If not, feel free to send me new envelopes. These kiddos say the darndest things...

Overheard

Here's some that have been piling up over the last week:


Josh: (BIG sigh) Well, I'm not going to go fishing anymore this season.
Me: Really?
Josh: Yeah, because the water is ice and the fish would be cold.


Upon suggestion to write a card to a fellow classmate who recently had a birthday party that he was not able to attend:
Josh: No way Mom! That's too sweet!
(it was a girl, can you guess?)


Ellie: (Face glued to the back slider window)
I want to make a snow angle!


Owen's new thing to the "Let's find Mom" game. It happens every time I leave the room and he's not on my hip. So, he was in the living room with the Hubs, playing happily. I was in the kitchen making some fabulous meal out of mac n cheese. I said something to the Hubs and there was an instant response (not from the Hubs).
Owen: Eh, eh, eh!
And off he went on his search for Mom. Where do you think he headed first?
The bathroom.
My hiding spot has been revealed.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Just checking in...

Hi dear blog,
I have been MIA for a week now. It has been quite busy. I know many of my friends are also busy so sympathy in not needed...just checking in to let you know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth just yet.
It's been a crazy week for two main reasons. Our beloved minivan got sick this week. And so did Josh. The van went from a few hiccups to "I wouldn't drive my family in this car" (service man quote) in a few short days. So, in a very eventful Thursday we went from potentially having to pay $3000 for a new transmission to...half the cost because they were feeling nice at Christmas to... it being totally covered under a warranty they didn't take the time to research. (I did, and thanks to that we got a rental for the duration of our van's stay at the car hospital as a bonus.)
I had pushed for the rental so I could get to Josh to school on Friday. Until 7 am on Thursday morning, he was just going to have to stay home, because I didn't have any way of getting him to school. Kindly friends in Josh's class gave him a ride to and from school, and I was hopeful that we would be ok on Friday to get him there ourselves. Not so...Josh was up from 11 pm until 7 am the next morning every hour, throwing up. No need for a car. We weren't going anywhere.

Now, before I sound too cynical or down let me share how I saw the shining love of our Lord and His hand of grace through all of these moments:
  • We had just been on a family trip to Shipshewana, IN. IF this had happened while we were on our trip in the pouring rain up, or in the snow while we were there, we would have been riding a horse and carriage home. Not to mention the HUGE blessing of safety on the roads He gave us, instead of a sick van.
  • IF the car hadn't needed to go to the service man on Wednesday, I wouldn't have had to call my friend to cancel going to book club. Through this opportune phone call I found out that the transmission trouble we had was not an isolated incident which caused me to research more information about the source of our troubles.
  • I work the beginning part of the week. IF any of these car troubles would have been serious during that time, I would have had to take precious time off of work. Instead, it all came about when I was available to make several kind but firm phone calls to the service department, research this ugly secret about 1999-02 Odysseys, and be home to find original paperwork from our sale that proved the warranty still covered the powertrain (aka, the transmission, thanks to Wikipedia.com)
  • Josh got sick on Thursday night. IF this had happened any other time, I would have had to take time off of work and with cold and flu season just beginning...
  • Most significantly...I had peace. Real peace. There were several hours of uncertain time where we had the potential for having to fork over an extremely hefty sum of money for this fix. And yet...I had peace. Josh was up every hour in the night and yet we both had peace. He easily fell back to sleep and rested the next day, knowing that I was there, that God was watching him, and that he was going to get better.
God's grace and mercy are ever available.
We just need the faith to see them.
Thank you Lord for the mercies of this week.
May I always see Your hand in our everyday activities.
May I show that to my children that they may also know the gentle peace in all circumstances.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Found: Self

FOUND AT FAMILY'S TRADITIONAL GET-TOGETHER IN SHIPSHEWANA, IND. HOTEL

Age: Mid-thirties young wife and mom, although some actions lead to believe she might be younger at heart.

Wearing: Cute new athletic outfit (new purchase for self right before Christmas!)

Last seen:
Eating great food and "Snoops"
Playing fun new game "BLOCKUS"
Watching family members being thrown in the pool with their clothes on
Staying up until all hours talking with cousins
Reminiscing about the "old days" with said cousins
Watching movies on the wall cuddled up with her kids
Interrupting "important" meeting of the aunts/uncles by hiding behind a potted tree
Discussing family vacations
Laughing
Laughing
Laughing

It is with joy and thanksgiving that I rejoice in the finding of myself on our family trip this weekend. I could not believe how much fun I had laughing and sharing a great holiday get-away with my family. I felt that I escaped from the daily trials and things that bring us down, and joyfully discovered that these things had not changed who I was...only that it was just lost for a while. I hope to carry this joy and fun into the rest of the hectic holidays and certainly remember it on those days when all seems lost.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I was in Charge of Buns

In celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaching:

It was our first Thanksgiving as a married couple traveling to his aunt's house to be with his side of the family. Excitement ran high as we joked about how we would now get to have our own room. We even had been put in charge of a part of the meal: dinner rolls.

The family time was wonderful. We laughed, played games, took walks around his aunt's neighborhood and admired the houses and trees. Dinner preparations soon began and the ladies (and guys, too) were a buzz in the the kitchen. Knowing that there would be several items in need of the oven, my new Hubs' aunt enlisted the help of the neighbor's oven for our dinner rolls. She found me and told me to get the rolls ready for the oven. I proudly laid my buns out on several sheets for the oven. She walked them over to the neighbors and told me to check on them when they would be ready.

I forgot.

About 20 or so minutes later his aunt came in the house with several trays of more than browned dinner rolls. Her look was firm but kind. In the hurry and scurry of the other dinner preparations she had remembered, but I hadn't. I was mortified. I had been in charge of the most simple part of the meal (except for applesauce) and I failed! I apologized. Everyone had a good chuckle over it and even swallowed down some more than brown rolls with dinner. (with a bit of gravy they weren't too bad...at least that's what they said)

In years since the family has been kind enough to give me several second chances. Once, I even was given the highly acclaimed-major family tradition-recipe from generations for Cinnamon Apples. That was slightly better than the buns experience, but I was under more watchful eye. This past Thanksgiving I was given sweet potato casserole. I used a family recipe again and supposedly it turned out great.

This year it is our turn to visit with my family.

They don't trust me at all...I'm in charge of applesauce.


**update on applesauce*** forgot to bring nice bowl and spoon to place applesauce in. Result: about four scoops of applesauce where taken. About 40 people in attendance.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Owen Update: 7 months






This picture sums up Owen's latest and greatest.

He is up on all fours now and is a man on the move. He isn't totally crawling, but he rocks, army crawls (more of a drag, actually) and rolls anywhere he wants to go. He even likes to get up on his toes like a push-up! Muscle man, Owen!

As you can also see on his sleeve, he's eating solid foods now, with vigor.

His new favorite sport is dumping over the basket of toys (seen in the background) and carefully checking each one by way of his mouth.

We're loving this stage!

Neato new thing

I was just thinking about my mom and grilled cheese.

She also loved cookies. She would store them in the Cabinet O' Goodies. (most of the really good stuff was way in the back). This was the cabinet in the corner of the kitchen right next to the sink.

She did have a problem with cookies going stale, though. I'm not sure why, because at the rate we ate them, they shouldn't have lasted more than a few days (I had 3 brothers, 'nuff said). After awhile she decided to put them in a tupperware type container to keep them fresh.

Well, now she has no worries on this issue. Check out this neato new thing.
(you might have to click on the side icon labeled "snack n' seal")

Fresh cookies here we come.

Grilled Cheese Legacy

One of Ellie's favorite lunches is grilled cheese. I'm sure she could eat it everyday if allowed. We pretty routinely have it on Thursdays when I am finally home at lunchtime after working the first half of the week. It happens to be one of my favorite lunches as well, and I love sitting at the table with her, munching on our sandwiches and dishing about all our day's news. It's precious time and I cherish it.

I realized that I inherited this love of the grilled cheese sandwich. My mom was here this week watching the kids while I was working. I asked Ellie what they had for lunch and she squealed, "Grilled cheese!" I had a flash of the "old" days in the summer or weekends where mom would whip up a grilled cheese delight for my brothers and I to eat with chips and some fruit. Somehow this warm sandwich was a special treat and we all waited anxiously for ours to come out of the pan piping hot, ready for gobblin'. We even got a bit creative after awhile and added ham, salami or turkey to our already lovely lunch favorite. There was a lot of love in those sandwiches.

My mom is an amazing woman. I know we all have learned things from our moms, some we appreciate, some we don't. In light of some recent family discussions, I've been reflecting on what my mom has taught me, and more importantly, what I learned. Some lessons were obvious, others were subtle and some might have even been accidental. I think what I began to take away from my thoughts about families and legacies is that there are only a few very important things we can teach our kids. Grilled cheese itself may not be the top one, but the daily care with food and drink relays to our children how much we love them.

So as you meal plan, pre-cook and cook those precious meals, know that all the work is noticed, maybe not initially, but it will be someday. The time you have spent and will spend is precious time and your family will cherish it.

Now, tomorrow is Thursday, can you guess what we are having for lunch?

Love and grilled cheese.

Overheard

Just a couple:

Josh is learning Spanish and school and his Spanish teacher, Senora Leo, gave us a CD for listening and practicing. Our current favorite is the Color song. It's set to the tune of Three Blind Mice.

Ellie: (singing along) White is bwonco, white is bwonco...learning all colors is fun, colors are everyone, like to sing let you know...white is bwonco.
(FYI- white is actually blanco. hehe)

In another rousing attempt to lure me into a game of "house", Ellie said I could be the sister but she would have to be "da mom." (as always) This time I asked why?

Ellie: I da mom because I have the bracewet, the neckwis and the baby and the bottle.

Well, I asked, didn't I.


Check out some other funny kiddos at Mary's.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Shameless

I know... yet another shameless display of how I think my kids are some of the cutest things you'll ever see.

Three bucks says you can't help but giggle.





Friday Night Family Nights

In the continuing effort to chronicle our family happenings via this blog I wanted to write about one of our favorite family traditions.

Almost every Friday we have Family Nights. It began with visions of yummy homemade meals devoured over stirring dinner conversation, followed by craft projects, games, family devotions, and all around family fun.

It quickly evolved into reality....Pizza...and a movie.

Although it doesn't meet the original plan, it still remains one of the kids' favorite days of the week. We heat up a frozen pizza (maybe someday we'll make our own) and quickly get changed into PJ's and bring out the sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. Soon there's a big family pile snuggled in front of a kid-friendly movie and lots of warm fuzzy feelings between nibbles of popcorn and drinks.

Someday this might become a bit more than what it currently is, maybe as the kids get older, but for now, Family Night is such a great way for our family to have "down" time in the midst of school, sports and work schedules.




Memory: the Hubs

I heard this song the other day in one of our many car trips this week. It reminded me of this memory:

I was in college in Michigan while the Hubs-to-be was in art school in Cincinnati. I had heard this amazing song by Steven Curtis Chapman and felt it absolutely needed to be shared. Now these were the days before you could send songs via email, online, etc. In fact, I remember going in the basement computer room of our dorm and just giggling at how crazy it was to get an instant response to a message sent from my long-distance Hubs-to-be.
So I dialed up the Hubs-to-be in a rare phone call (we tried to keep it to once a week for phone bill reasons...sigh). I told him that he NEEDED to hear this song, and that it was the most beautiful love song I'd ever heard. I might have even mentioned that it would great to play at a (our?!) wedding some day. Then I started the CD on my roommate's boom box and sat back. I held the phone close to the speaker so he could hear the same beautiful music that set images of our future going in my head. The tears flowed as I heard the words, "..You can cry on my shoulder, when the mirror tells us we're older.." as I pictured us as old folks wrapped in blankets viewing our family album full of children and grandchildren, memories and places we've been.
Soon, the song ended and I returned the phone to my ear, sniffling a bit I managed to say, "Isn't that the greatest song you've ever heard?"

"Umm...I really couldn't hear it for some reason, but I couldn't get your attention while the song was going on. "

Sniffling stops.

"Oh but honey, I DO know that song and YES it has great lyrics and I REALLY like it too!" the Hubs-to-be quickly recovered.

I look back at this memory as a time when I ached for the gentle arms of my future husband across the miles. I am so grateful that the Lord saw fit to bring us back together after times of long-distance phone calls and weekend visits. So now I just wait until he comes home to play him a song that holds meaning for me. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween 2007

Oh, boy did we have fun! The kids couldn't wait to put on their Halloween duds and head out!


We watched patiently for our first "customers" at the door.




And then the posing began! Our resident superhero was a serious purveyor of all things sweet and sugary. (don't you love his puffy chest...he gets that from his dad. hehe)





Our resident Princess "Presto" (that's what she named herself) was super cute and good to go for the tricks and treats this year. She was actually giddy as she ran from house to house! (I know...nice hair...darn tiaras!)



The littlest member of our costumed troop was the Chili Pepper. I think this is the only moment he was smiling in this costume. You'd think he'd be smiling like crazy, especially because I couldn't stop laughing at him once I put the hat on his cute little head! I guess he didn't like the fact that he couldn't move his legs freely (which if you know this little guy...super important component in the happiness category!) After I freed his legs and stuffed him into the stroller surrounded by blankets (it was pretty windy/chilly for our tromp around the neighborhood), he resembled an elf more than a pepper. Must be the hat.




All in all, it was a terrific day and the kids had a great time! And now, onward to the next holiday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Owen Update: 6 months


Although our little guy is almost 6 1/2 months, here's his latest and greatest.

This guy is on the move! Yep, almost crawling, mostly just dragging his cubby little self across the floor toward fun playthings and other items he shouldn't have! We're just hoping that he's a "normal" crawler. Our other two found funky ways of crawling and the hope is that we didn't pass on some kind of defective crawling gene to all our little ones!

He's eating solid foods now! Let the mess begin! In one fell swoop this guy has quickly adjusted to veggies and fruits with his cereal and bottles. He still horks (my new favorite word) it down like there's no tomorrow, so no worries on if this one is healthy or not!

Owen is at that stage where he realizes that the sounds he makes get attention from the taller folk in the room. His grunts/whines/yanking can be quite the attention-getter, and he knows it! His charm is still quite powerful, and I often find myself just making him smile, because it's contagious!

My favorite thing that Owen does is playing with his hair. I remember when Josh was a baby and I would rock him to sleep on my shoulder. He would gently play with the hair on base of my neck. It was so sweet I'm pretty sure I held him longer than I needed to more than a few times. So now this little guy has found that he has hair on his head. He reaches to the crown of his head while he's nursing and just opens and closes his hands on the tufts of baby hair fuzz he's grown. It's adorable. Pretty sure he has no idea that the hair he's playing with belongs to him, but hey...baby steps. (eek, is that next?)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ghosts of Halloween Past

Ok , the gauntlet was thrown down. I needed to post pictures of our Halloween Bash from last year. We had a total blast and hope to make it a every-other-year-thing. It was a great time and I was glad to see our friends letting loose for a night! So, for all those who wanted to see them... there's no hiding now....



Pam, I told you I had pictures!




This is my good friend Emily's main squeeze. Honestly, when he came to the door, I did not know who he was for a least 3 seconds! You can see them together here. Emily's costume is equally amazing!


Here are a few of our other good friends and their costumes.







Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Here's a just one new one. I posted some others here recently, too.

Me: Awww, Ellie do have Josh's cough?
Ellie: No, it's mine.

Check out more at Mary's!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Overheard

Ellie: AHH! There's wind in my pants!
Me: That's ok, honey, it's just a windy day.
Ellie: NO! I don't want windy pants.
(Note to self: wind in the pants=fashion faux pas)

Ellie is jumping on the tile, doing some ballet-type move and hurts her toe. She begins to whimper. Owen is on the floor, looks up at her and starts to do his version of a laugh.
Ellie: Owen! It's NOT funny!
(awww)

Me: Hey Josh what are you guys doing in the basement?
Josh: Oh, Daddy's doing shots!
(just FYI - the Hubs was not imbibing on a smallish type drink, but practicing his archery shot for an upcoming hunting weekend)

I've found I have more quotes from Ellie lately, only because she is around more. With Josh being at school all day, I'm missing out on his daily thoughts. *sigh* Although, even if I did have some to share, I don't remember most of them...maybe it's because of this.

A touch of the crazyies

Our life has a touch of the crazyies lately. Unfortunately, I know that we are not the only ones. So many of those who I talk to, or read blog posts about, seem to be in the same boat. And it's a rocky boat.

At our Bible study group recently we discussed rain. We talked about how rain is like the troubles in our lives. God sends rain and it can be good, and it can be bad. Our discussions stemmed from a great video brought by one of our friends. (You can get more info about that here. )

Our life lately has had some continual rain. Not life-threatening or even life-altering, but just consistent. driving. rain. I've been hiding under an umbrella, trying to wait these things out, hoping it will get better or slower. And then I realized that in the midst of the rain, God sends bits of sunshine. If I don't peek out from under the umbrella...I miss them...

....The leaves are changing...beautiful fall colors...and Ellie is quite taken with the whole process. She is learning what colors to anticipate...although, I think she is still holding out for pink and purple ones.

....At Owen's baptism on Father's Day, our friends planned the worship service for us, picking out great songs and words to remember what a gift it is to be a part of God's kingdom. One of the songs was "Love the Lord", a praise song by Lincoln Brewster. (check it out here, click on the link to listen). This song is the Shema, one of the most important words from the Bible about how we should live as followers of Christ. It has quickly become one of our family's favorites. When it comes on the radio, the kids yell out, "Owen's baptism song!" I was recently reminded about these words importance while reading this book. It talked about how when we focus on passing a legacy onto our children, we need to focus on these important words from the Shema found in Matthew 22:36-40. I love that our kids have these words in their heads and hearts. Josh mentioned that he caught himself singing it as he walked the halls of his school the other day.

....Dealing with our budget is like the largest and longest rainstorm ever. It's been difficult making the necessary changes to our life to make it possible for me to be home part time. Although we know this is best, it still is a trial to have to work so hard at it. It goes against our very hard-to-ignore materialistic nature. But in the midst, I've peeked out from under the umbrella and seen...coupons/rebates on some of our more expensive essentials (formula, kitchen items)...relief on our electric bill for the same amount that we needed to pay extra for the sitter for a busy week at school...a freelance job for the Hubs to help pay for a plane ticket to see a dear cousin get married.

All these streaks of sunshine remind me to get out from under the umbrella, dance in the rain and keep my eyes open for evidence of how he draws us close when the storms hit the hardest. He's trying to speak to me in small ways, I just need to listen. I suppose if He had to hit me over the head with this, it wouldn't be faith...He's called us to that...Faith in the midst of the rain, even consistent. driving. rain.

If Memory Serves....

Mine does not. That is, my memory does not serve.

I am now firmly in the camp of those who believe that having children literally takes away brain cells.

My memory does not serve me any more...not even an appetizer or a small drink. I even had to write down the words "if memory serves" to remind me to write this post.

And besides that...what was I going to say next?

**interesting article on this here*

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Love CVS!

This is quickly becoming my favorite place to get those steals-of-a-deals that get my heart racing and my fingers dialing my equally frugal sister-in-law! This week, they had formula on sale for at least 3 dollars less than I normally pay. They also had some wipes that I needed. I decided to go there and stock up on these items because I knew I wouldn't be headed to my other favorite place, Costco, for a while. I had a $7 expired coupon for the formula which I was hoping they would take. But, I thought even if they don't I'm still paying $3 less than normal. I paid for the wipes separately so I could see what my quarterly earnings were from earlier purchases. I didn't have much (50 cents), but the bonus was that they printed out a $4 baby care coupon with that purchase. So, in the end I bought the wipes (on sale, with a coupon), and then, bought the formula (on sale, with my expired coupon, my quarter earnings, and the new coupon) for HALF PRICE! It was all I could do not to just run out of the store and begin the happy dance. (which is a sight to see...not recommended for children under 3, hehe). I actually felt like I was getting away with something naughty! Apparently this kind of thing happens all the time to my sister-in-law and we often regale in the glory of the deal. Honestly, I think they are actually paying HER to shop there. Although I am not up to par with her, I am so glad to have another frugal friend to share in the joys of one of my favorite games...the deal hunt.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pumpkin Mania!






We ventured out on a perennial family fun day recently that ended in hay-filled shoes and smudgy smiles from all the fun! My whole family, mom, dad, brothers, sisters-in-law and the various kiddos visited a local pumpkin farm/petting zoo. It was a dreary day, but you wouldn't know it from the smiles on everyone's faces. Pony rides, giant slides, hay rides and train rides were just a few of the fun things we did. It was just good to get out and do something fun as a family! Hurray for Fall!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And so it begins...




Let the food frenzy begin!

(Note the kung fu grip on the first photo!)

Grace Training

Today I thought we had it. Ellie was very excited about pooping on the potty. We even had a preliminary pee event that prompted the wearing of real undies. I was thinking that we could really get it this time. She's been backsliding by peeing in the pull-up often. I know part of this is my fault for not reminding her every half-hour, but I really thought she had learned what to do and would if she had encouragement.

So, we were playing a game before her "rest & snooze" time today and I smelled something. I asked if she needed to go to the bathroom. She looked me in the eye and said, "No." I went on her word. (bad choice, momma). Sure enough, after our game was done and we were getting ready for her nap, I asked her if she would go pee before she laid down. She said, "Sure, but you have to change me, too." Yep, she had pooped...in her undies...after she had told me she didn't need to go. GRRR. Ignoring the fact that my sense of smell must have finked out on me by not cluing into this earlier, I tried to stay calm and clean her up, but I couldn't help but say to her that I was disappointed and even a bit mad that she didn't go on the potty, especially after I had asked her about it. She went down for her nap without a story as a consequence and I headed downstairs to contemplate what is going on.

And then it dawned on me...it may be a stretch, but it reminded me of God's grace. How many times have we sinned, even after we said we weren't going to make that mistake again? How many times have we opted for a more "fun" activity, rather than doing what we should, like taking time for devotions or even going to church? And every time, EVERY TIME, God promises His grace on us. We can look Him in the eye, through prayer and petition and then turn around and sin. He will give us grace. I know His grace is unending, but I also know that being truly sorry for our sins means that we do our best NOT to do it again. I know that as a child of God, I have been the recipient of his grace so many times. I hope that through His Word and the relationships of those who are also close to Him, I can work on not making the same mistakes.

As for our dear little potty trainee, maybe that's why the Lord told us to name her...Ellie GRACE.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WFMW-Freezer list

Pretty sure this is not an original idea...but it Works for Me!

Recently I took an inventory of what was in my freezer(s). Anything that was in the deep freeze was written in blue, anything from the refrig/freezer was written in black. I keep the list posted on the side of the frig. and we are good to go! Now I can see quickly what I have in stock, and if there is any need for replenishing. It also helps so I don't over-buy a certain frozen product. (Of course it doesn't seem to be working for the purchase of ice cream goods...those just keep popping up in there! hehe)

Hope this helps organizing your freezer goods!

Check out more great ideas at Rocks in my Dryer!

How quickly they change...

I got a good reminder about how quickly our little ones change as I was browsing for pictures to print for a new set of frames. I love how you can even get a glimpse of Owen's world famous wide-mouth smile beginning to emerge already in the early picture!



Friday, October 05, 2007

Enjoying Ellie

I have really enjoyed being with my little Ellie lately.

Don't get me wrong...

I have relished Josh's stories about school, soccer and new adventures like Children's Church (Josh is learning Spanish at school, and enjoys teasing us that he plays "football" instead of saying he plays "soccer."

And Owen is about the most adorable guy you'll ever meet and his smile is extremely contagious. (Today, after reading Ellie a story before nap time, Owen was resting on the bed on his belly. I laid my head next to him and said, *sigh* "Maybe we should all just take a nap here." He slowly popped his little head up with a similar sigh that made me think he agreed.)


But there is just something about spending time with Ellie lately. She can be so animated and lively. I guess sometimes I want to just be around her to absorb some of her spunk by osmosis. We've also been working on her ABC's and I think a little light bulb went on in her head yesterday. It was so exciting to see her going on a "letter hunt" and actually naming the letters she found. Up until now it's been a bunch of "I don't know" when I ask her about what letter I've pointed to.

We've been playing a lot of games during Owen's naps when we are home together. She loves pointing out the "structions" to me, just in case I'm not sure how to play. (pretty sure she makes up her own rules along the way)

We've also just been talking more. I remember when I was home with Josh those first summers when it was just him, or when we would go to the grocery store on our way home from work/school, we would talk about anything and everything...reminiscing about our days and previous happenings, discussing what we saw and whatever was on our minds. I noticed I wasn't doing that as much with Ellie (probably just enjoying a silent moment every now and then!) so I decided to be more purposeful in our time. I've also noticed since I've begun this, she is more amiable, cooperative and easy-going. Maybe because she is getting some good quality time?? I know that I don't always give the quantity of time that I might like, but I do see that even short quality times are making a big difference in our relationship.

I'm reading a book called Confident Parenting by Jim Burns. I'm only a chapter or so into it, but one of the first things I've picked up on is that parents need to have a purpose as they parent their children. Making a list of things that you want for your children, who you aspire them to be, is a great start to being purposeful in your parenting. It seemed pretty obvious after I thought about it. We make lists and set goals for just about every other important thing we do. So I'm looking forward to reading more in this book and making that list.

Now I just need to find a few extra hours in the day to read it, talk with the Hubs about it (he's reading it, too) and make that list. Hmmm...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Storing/Organizing Little Girls Hair bands

Hi there just trying to find a way to organize those little clear hair bands that we like to use on our daughter's ponytails! Right now we have them in a cup! (not the most efficient!) Can't wait to hear what works for you!

Check out more questions at Rocks in my Dryer!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Moments

We've been spending a lot of time in the car lately, so most of these are moments from Mom's Taxi:

Josh: "Alright Mom, Round Two!" These are the words he shouts as we drop off Owen & Ellie at the sitter, and then head back to the van on our way to his school. (secretly, I say "round three" as I head on my way to school after dropping him off.)

Ellie: "Mom! We IN a cloud!" (a foggy morning sparks a science lesson on the way to school one day this week)

Owen: In his rear-facing car seat he's discovered that he can strain his little neck far enough to see me in the front seat. It's too cute to look back and see him peering over the edge of his seat. I wonder what he's thinking...probably "why are you over there and not back here having fun with me?"

The Hubs: Our Sunday morning rides are amazing quiet as the kids color and listen to music on the way to church. We've had some great conversations lately. Not to mention I get to eyeball him in his handsome church clothes without him noticing...

Me: I'm in love with Fall. I find myself purposefully standing at the back screen door watching the clouds, feeling the cool breeze mixed with warm sun. I've been peering at the leaves watching just the tips begin to change. I've loved having the windows open in the house and in the car, getting a little "air in our hair" as we've now dubbed it. I know winter is coming...but for now I'll enjoy my favorite season.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Crazy hair Day At Josh's School

This is the best we could do for Crazy Hair Day. It's punky and cute, but definitely not as colorful as some others we saw at drop-off this morning. Maybe we'll include an "after" picture. After a whole day at school, his hair might have a whole new look!

(if you click on it you can see it bigger...just ignore the messy kitchen in the background!)

Owen Update: 5 months

My darling Owen is charming everyone lately. I believe I am the one most smitten, but this little one is all about spreading the joy. A good friend of mine recently said that he happily sits on a hip until someone comes by and "activates" his smile. This is so true. He is such a content baby and his smiles are readily available to anyone looking his way (this includes trees, and several other inanimate objects).

He loves rolling over and seems to be a bit more purposeful about it now. Everything goes into his wide open waiting mouth including hair gripped in his pudgy little fingers. (The Hubs has to watch out for Owen's groping hands on his hairy arms! Ouch!) Owen is attempting some solo sitting, but often slowing falls to a side or onto his nose if we aren't watching carefully.

We're waiting a couple of more weeks to introduce any solid foods and so the stories of food flying and oozing will just have to wait yet. He continues to be a great sleeper taking 2 naps a day and a quick snooze around dinner time. He's usually in bed between 8:30 and 9:00, but can be an early riser, waking around 6-6:30 am. We've even been able to lay him down with his eyes open/drowsy, and he finds his sleep on his own.

I think the thing that I love the most about him, besides his goofy smile, is that he really enjoys his siblings as much as they enjoy him. Josh was the first to get him to laugh out loud by some action other than finding his tickle spots (shoulders, armpits and lower back). Owen will just crack up if one of the kids grabs his hands or feet and just wiggles them with all their might. Although he spooks easily, Owen seems to enjoy the kids surprising him around a corner or with a raucous game of peek-a-boo. These are the moments that get the whole family laughing, and that is music to my momma ears.


**Oh, p.s. I'll try to post a picture soon. I don't have any super recent pictures, so I'll be taking some and sharing soon!**

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Hobbyist

**Note to readers: I LOVE my husband. And I have gotten permission to write this blog.**

My darling Hubs is a hobbyist. This is something I didn't exactly know about him until a few years into our marriage. He has always been into "stuff" and loves trying new things. Let it be know that these are some of his best character traits. The Hubs is always encouraging new family outings and helping us break out of our routine with something new. For this...I love him dearly.

Problem comes in when all of these new activities hit the pocketbook. It actually began with small things like a football ("what if I want to toss it around with your brothers?"...*note the appeal to my love for family bonding*), tennis rackets for both of us ("now we can play together!"), or a video game system ("they have games that girls like, too!"). Then he jumped up a notch or two with the urgent need to purchase...a Jeep. (ok, more than a few notches). This was a hobby purchase because soon we were on Jeep trips to the dunes, off-roading one of the cars that got us to work each day, and filling it with a sound system to rock out on when the sun was shining and the wind was blowing through our hair. The only way that one got traded in for a more sensible choice was with the promise that someday he will own one again.

Since then it's been various sports like softball (bats, gloves, shoes), biking, fishing, and landscaping. (If you don't think landscaping is a sport, try digging a hole for a 6-7 foot tree...not to mention there seems to be a competitive thing about it among male neighbors.)

So when he told me he wanted to take up running, I about peed with excitement. I began to think this one through. This could be the only sport that requires no purchases, equipment or other paraphernalia. All you need are legs. You don't even need to go anywhere special for this. I thought this was his best idea yet. I fully endorsed the idea with a slap on his rear as he headed out for his first run. (ok, maybe that is a bit of a fib, he runs at the crack of dawn). He researched a plan to take him from couch potato (which he's not) to 5K in 6 weeks. I applauded him for his enthusiasm and was so pleased that he had finally found a hobby that wasn't going to cost us a penny.

I was wrong.

It began with the watch. This is a special watch that beeps intermittently to let him know to change from his running pace to a walking pace as he increases his endurance during the journey to his 5K goal. Then there were new clothes. Ones that are meant to wick away the sweat, and keep you cool or warm, all the while sporting a nice spot to secure your IPod. New shorts. A visit to the shoe store. Talks of joining actual 5K runs that have entrance fees.

Running IS NOT a cheap sport. I was amazed. Either our society has found a way to capitalize on every sport possible, or my husband is a cunning individual set on owning every piece of sport equipment and/or hobby paraphernalia known to modern man.

I think he wants to try rock climbing next. That can't be too expensive, right? I'm mean rocks don't cost a thing, and they're everywhere...right??

Friday, September 21, 2007

Life with Kids

So much of our lives lately have been kid-focused. I began to think about what life what like B.C. (before children). It took a long time to remember. Although there are many things that are harder now that we have kids, I also found that there are many things that are easier now that we have kids. So here is a rundown of some of these life lessons I've learned since having kids. It's the hard and easy of it....


1. Having a plan/schedule: This is harder to do with kids. It's hard to predict what small ones are thinking and they are definitely NOT thinking about your plan for the day. BUT, it's easier to drop everything and say, "Let's go to the park!" Somehow, "the plan" doesn't seem so important anymore and you actually might have more fun.

2. Bodily functions: Both yours and theirs become the center of attention. Not only is it harder to use the bathroom solo, it becomes a matter of discussion. BUT, it's easier because "practice makes perfect" or at least creates a desensitized nose when it comes to the more nasty events of a body.

3. Toys: It becomes increasingly harder to control the toys. I'm pretty sure the ones at our house inspired the movie "Toy Story", only ours haven't learned the Clean-up song. BUT, it's easier to get down on the floor and reclaim your childhood by playing with said toys, plus you always have an excuse..."the kids begged me to play with them."

4. Drive: It is definitely harder to look cool in the family truckster. Nothing says "I've made it" like stickers on windows, slobber on seats and a vanful of carseats. BUT, thanks to the marketing departments out there, it's easier to get in and out of vehicles with many children, seat them safely, enjoy a few fun gadgets, and have a least a dozen cup holders to spare.

5. Conversations: If you don't have kids you have no idea what it's like to try and hold an adult conversation with children present. Simply put, it is absolutely harder. BUT, it is easier to indulge your childish side by conversing in sillyspeak whenever the mood arises. Again, a handy excuse is readily available..."but honey, the kids just love it when I use my Donald duck voice..."

6. Read books/blogs: Time is the key factor here. It is harder to find the time to read adult books and you always feel guilty, even when they are quietly enjoying their own books. BUT, it is easier to write blogs...what else would I have to say if these little corkers weren't around??

7. Money: Hard to hold, easy to spend. 'Nuff said.

8. Sleep: It's harder to find continued sleep, even after they get older. You find yourself wondering how long you'll make it that night, hoping the planets will align and the stars will shine on you to give all three one good night's rest. Yep, if it's not one, it's another. Oh, and it's even more interesting when you get the multiple wakings...by different kids...it's like a very cruel joke. BUT, it's easier to actually fall asleep, or pass out into your pillow...however you like to think about it.

9. Vocabulary: It's harder to use adult vocabulary because you are often trying to describe items, words or events in their terms, so they can understand. BUT, it becomes much easier to understand the importance of using good vocabulary, otherwise, you find yourself saying things like..."Could you get me the gray rectangle shape thing with the numbers on it in blue and red?", instead of "Could you hand me the remote control?" Oh, and you also become oddly equipped to interpret all kinds of "kidspeak." Too many examples to name...

10. Emotions: You find that it is increasingly harder to hide your feelings of love, sadness, anxiety, silliness, hope and joy from these little ones who have captured your heart. They trip, and you catch your breath; they laugh at your jokes and you smile like you've made it on Saturday Night Live; they cry and your heart breaks just a bit as they learn tough life lessons. BUT, it is definitely easier to laugh, cry and love this stage of life.

I wrote this because I've been riding the roller coaster of parental balance lately. I want to have more time to do things that I want to do...but I can't because we have kids. I want to meet friends, go shopping, have Bible study without organizing a military coup to get out of the house and keep them occupied while I spend a few moments with Christian friends. I ache for more quiet time with my Hubs, without the planning and timing of bedtimes, and getting ready for the next day. I feel selfish and sinful that I occasionally see them as something that gets in the way of my own desires. BUT, then I am quickly reminded of the blessing they have brought to our lives. I am a more patient, understanding, joyful, laid-back person because of them. I have found joy where I never thought I could. I have found that my heart can fill with and give more love than I knew I had...no matter how many little ones are hanging on my legs. I'm not sure that I am making any sense as I read over this, but I know that even though it's hard to be in this stage of life, their faces and features that reflect mine and the man that I love, make it just that much easier to make it through the day with strength that comes from a love that was first given to us through Christ.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Here's what I've been hearing lately:

Josh: Mom, now take your time when you pack my lunch, because you don't want to forget my snack like you did yesterday.
Mom: Yes, Josh. **sigh**
(the errs of motherhood, so vividly remembered)

Carmen (a girl in my class): Could you open this for me? (it's a snack item)
Me: Oh, actually you can open that yourself, just use your scissors to cut it open.
Carmen: Oh, Ok. (now on her way back to her desk...she says this to her table mates...)
Wow, guys, she's really smart, she told me to use my scissors and it worked!
(ah... I think she might be one of my favorites this year...)

Ellie: Mom, I have to do my homework.
(This is a new found activity, most likely based on the fact that Josh also believes he has homework. Needless to say, I have many beautiful pictures drawn for me that were previously labeled "homework.")

Friday, September 14, 2007

Advice needed

Ok bloggy mommas, here's one for you:

Our dear "widdle" Ellie is into the talking back stage. With Josh, we defined talking back to him, he understood, if we called him on it, he said he was sorry, and we moved on. (yes, he is an angel). Not so with our Elle Belle. The problem I have is that even though she talks back, she still actually does what I've asked her to do. Here's an example:

Ellie walks in with two pieces of paper and a permanent marker. Mom takes note of marker and her desire to color and says if she would like to draw that she needs to put the marker back and find a pencil. An emphatic "NO!" flies out of our dear child's mouth and then she leaves. She comes back with a pencil and sits down to write.

SO...Do I call her out on the talking back because it is disrespectful? Or do I bask in the joy that she actually listened? Looking for ideas on what you all have done with the all-too-fun stage of talking back. Waiting on wisdom...!

Bowling is cool

I never really liked bowling. Our extended family would go after our annual Thanksgiving getaway, but I didn't like it. Mostly because I was bad, really bad. We've gone a couple of times and I've tried to follow the advice of those more learned than I. But I still stink.

So, the answer? Go with your kids. You'll always do better than they do. (hehe).


We actually had a ton of fun when we went as family recently. The Hubs had taken a day off so we could go to the zoo, but the weather was not cooperating, so off the to alley we went.

First of all, I have to note that bowling alleys have seriously updated in the last decade. There is no way anyone could be bored. Actually, there is no way anyone can think, talk or even focus on one thing. This alley was decked out with automatic scoring, automatic bumper bowling (yep, I used it..I am not ashamed), and several TV's with music videos streaming. It was quite the experience. So, armed with the thought that my 5 year old shouldn't really be seeing these videos with half-naked women dancing oh-so-close with their male friends, we dove into a very fun game of "Only watch the bowlers!"

The kids had a blast! And in turn, so did we! I am always amazed at how something previously uninteresting can turn into super fun when you have kids involved. Here are some pictures of our adventure. We will definitely be going again, especially if the kids have anything to do with it. My favorite picture is Ellie mid-sprint back to the couches (oh yes, no more hard benches...now comfy couches!). She did this every time she bowled. Bowl, sprint, watch the pins. It was way too much fun!




Thursday, September 13, 2007

Joining in on the game

Ok, I should be blogging about so many other things, but there's a game I just gotta play... Thanks to Sarah and Emily for getting it going!

ACCENT- None that I can tell. Every now and then I like to whip out a "y'all" or "momma" with a southern attitude attached, but I'm pretty sure people just think I'm from Crazyland, not from the South.


I DON'T DRINK - Vodka. Bad experience. Broken toe. Enough said.

CHORE I HATE - Oh, let me count them....My least favorite is actually washing dishes. So if you ever see me doing dishes in a sink, I'm either trying to get out of doing something else or I'm ill.

PETS - We used to have a dog, Abby. No lie, she was the BEST dog ever. She had really bad ear infections (very common in Labs) that continued to get worse. We had to put her to sleep in March of 2006. It was a sad day for all of us and if I think about it, I still cry. She was our first "baby" and the sweetest dog, too.

ESSENTIAL ELECTRONICS - My Mac at home. (oops sorry Hubs, did I call it MY Mac??). I also adore my cell phone, a cute pink think I got for a Mother's day gift. I also have relied heavily on this monitor that is in Owen's bed. We borrowed it from a friend when we figured out he was a tummy sleeper. It monitors the baby's movements, and if there is no movements (ie. breathing) after 20 seconds, it sounds the alarm. This was ESSENTIAL for my peace of mind as we began to put him on his belly at night.

PERFUME - None. I wish I could but I just haven't found one that I liked and felt wasn't overpowering. I come with my own fragrance I guess. (eww???)

GOLD OR SILVER - Silver. My wedding ring is the only gold thing I own that I like.

INSOMNIA - Not usually, but recently I've been waking up at 5 am or so and finding small amounts of sleep until it's time to get up. (ps. thank you to Owen, who is sleeping peacefully through the night!)

JOB TITLE - Mom, wife, second grade teacher...the list goes on but these are the biggies.

MOST ADMIRED TRAIT - Openness & Gentle honesty. I am always impressed when others tell the truth, especially when it means that someone (including myself) may not like to hear it. I am not a big fan of those who say something just to make you feel better, or think that is what you want to hear. I also admire those who share things openly. I'm not a fan of those (including when I do this myself) who wear a mask or say things are "fine" when they are not.

KIDS - 3 Kids, Josh, 5...Ellie, 3....Owen, 5 months.

RELIGION - Christian, adoring a Lord who knows my heart and still loves me

SIBLINGS - 3 brothers! Dan, Tim and Mark

TIME I WAKE UP - Usually around 6:15am to get ready before the kids get up. On my off days, I try for 6:45!

VEGETABLE I HATE - Oh, let me count them...Actually, I like way more veggies than I ever did, thanks to my in-laws. So the standouts are: any kind of beans (those are veggies, right?), artichokes and asparagus.

WORST HABIT - I can talk too much. Sometimes without even knowing it. I can't even move into a circle of friends without occasionally taking over the conversation. I've tried to make this a goal. I need to be a better listener.

MY FAVORITE MEAL - The easy answer is pizza. GOOD pizza, like Giordano's, Connie's or Rosati's. The breakfast one would have to be french toast (thick slices). But a good PB & J made with my mom's jelly is a great one for lunch. There are many "fancy" meals I really love, but I guess I'm just one for the easy meals!!

Overheard

Just a quick one:

Ellie: This is up (pointing down) and this is down (pointing up).
Mom: Oh, Ellie you are so silly!
Ellie: No, I just kinda silly.
Mom: Kinda silly?
Ellie: Yep, just a widdle bit silly.

If you know this little chickadee at all...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

His Presence

Life is busy. I've thought of so many events and happenings that I could write about lately, but just haven't had the time...Josh's first soccer game, Ellie and Owen's days at the sitter, running to and from schools, family fun at restaurants, airports, zoos, and at home. All of these things, and more, are certainly fodder for many a giggle or guffaw. They happen quickly, some of these moments, so fast that if you don't try hard, they will quickly leave the short term memory and straight out of your head. Some others stick with you, but they all add up. Lately, all these moments have made for some stressful times and downtrodden days.

But then it happened.

I have been praying fairly earnestly to God for some relief. I knew that the actual daily events can't go away because we all need to get to school, the sitter, the store, or back home again. The dishes, laundry and other obligations will still be there, no magic wand here. But I felt like there was something that had to be done. I actually thought of getting down on my knees one night because I was so in need of His presence. Instead, I prayed earnestly and with focus. The kids were in bed and the Hubs was off playing softball, so I had the time and the opportunity. He answered. Not in the way I thought, but He did.

It began with small things. Like when I went to drop Josh off at his before-school care class (which normally is cause for dismay), he happily bopped into the classroom, plunked down his backpack and reached for a kiss, smiled and sent me on my way. Another time, it was a smooth transition from home to school on a day I needed to be on time. In other ways I seen His answer in additional and loving help from the Hubs...he's taken over breakfast prep while I nurse Owen before we all head out the door. Sometimes, it just the song that comes on the radio on our many trips in the van. But the most significant difference is a change in me. He changed my heart. He gave me something I needed desperately...peace.

I wish that I could quote a verse from the Bible here, or wax poetic on some bit of religious thought, but that is not something I can do, because it wasn't anything I read, heard, thought, or created. It was HIM. His presence. I am in awe of it and I want to always be in it. It is something I need. Not only because it has given me the chance to relax and enjoy our days of busyness, but because it is how I can be close to Him, right now, in this crazy stage of life.

I recently heard someone say, "If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy." Being busy is just part of this stage of our lives. I've heard so many times about how families look back at these "young family" years and laugh at the craziness and how quickly it has flown by. I know the busyness will not go away, but if I am in His presence, His peace will make these days blessed ones.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Overheard

Ellie:"Mom, I mad at my poops."
"Why?"
"They hurt my buns."
(this was after a bout of constipation because she didn't want to poop on the potty, sorry Elle my belle, you gots to go!)

Hubs: "Ellie you can't keep pooping in your pull-ups, they cost mommy and daddy money to keep getting new ones.'
Ellie: "I got money."
(our new tactic of good ole-fashioned Dutch penny-pinching guilt didn't work, apparently all those coins in her piggy bank can cover at least one package)

Hubs: "Hey kiddos, let's play pirates!"
Ellie: "Ok, I da Mom pirate."
(It should be noted that in whatever game we play, Ellie is always 'da mom.')

Josh: (on fourth day of school) "Mom, when is kindergarten done?"
Mom: *sigh* "Well honey you have a few more seasons to go."
Josh: "Oh."
Mom: "Why, aren't you having fun in school?"
Josh: "Oh yeah, it's awesome!"
(either he knows what he's supposed to say, or he just wanted to know how long the fun was going to last)

Mom: "Josh, did you make any new friends today?"
Josh: "Yep, Jennifer, she's a girl."
Mom: "Oh really? How did you get to be friends? Did you ask her to play with you?"
Josh: "No, mom, that's not how you do it. I went to her at recess and said, 'I want YUMMY GIRLS! And then I chased her."
Mom: **big sigh**
(oh dear, my son, the girl chaser...does this start already in kindergarten??)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Yumm...

I'm getting back to cooking again. Life was a bit more settled over our long Labor Day weekend, so I had some fun in the kitchen. On Friday, we spent the day at our favorite zoo and then had a great family evening "in" by watching a movie and having this special treat! Milkshakes! Ellie was loving these. She even complimented the fine dish by saying..."MOM! This a Frosty!" (Of course, in Elliespeak that's pronounced "frosting.")



We also enjoyed a garlic shrimp pasta that turned out fairly tasty. I think I would add more garlic next time, but live and learn. It was a fairly simple recipe and I'm pretty sure I played the galloping gourment in the way of adding ingredients. We had spaghetti a few nights before so I cooked extra pasta, added olive oil, some parsely and a grated cheese mix and put it in the fridge. So when I was ready to make the garlic shrimp, I just cooked the shrimp in some butter (ok, a lot of butter) and minced garlic, added the pasta, cooked some broccoli and threw that in. Yep, I am one detailed cook.



It was fun to be back in the kitchen after too many unplanned and hectic meals. I'm working on my meal planning, especially since school has started. Hopefully I'll have lots to post again soon!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ten things I learned this summer

I am "borrowing" this idea from my friend Emily, who did this same idea recently.

1. Josh is more brave than I thought he was.

2. Ellie is might be as brave as I thought she was or maybe not.



3. I REALLY love my husband, even after (especially after) 12 years.

4. Medical bills suck.

5. God created amazing animals and my new favorite place to see them is Lincoln Park Zoo.

6. Friends can be found in the oddest of places. Like right under your nose, or across cyberspace. (I could link to several of you here, but you know who you are ;)

7. Bowling could be our new favorite family sport, if we weren't so doggone bad at it. (this requires a blog to follow..lots of fun pictures)

8. A day of summer fun only requires...lots of pools or water, numerous preschoolers, and tye-dye t-shirts.


9. I'm not such a bad cook after all. My husband even says so. (again, blog to follow with pictures!)


10. Third time IS a charm.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Owen Update: 4 1/2 months old

Ok, I missed the 4 month mark, but I'm catching up...

Owen is rolling over...everywhere! He is never exactly where you put him anymore if you lay him on the floor. This is a fun, but scary development! Now I need to be more mindful of what is in a three foot radius around him. It's amazing how quickly this has happened! He loves his brother and sister and always lights up when they call his name or get in his face. The new part of this is now he grabs for them, or at least whatever part of them is in striking range. So far, no major damage, just a few desperate cries..."Mom! Owen has my ear!"

He continues to sleep through the night and we are even getting a bit more time in the evenings with the other two in bed before 8p and Owen soon after by 8:30p. Life is good when you can hold a conversation with your spouse without falling asleep.

Owen is a fabulous eater. He is very willing to go between nursing and the bottle, which has helped as now he is with a sitter or family member 2 1/2 days a week. He chugs 8 oz. of formula twice a day, belches a good one and is all smiles until nap time. He doesn't seem to be too temperature-sensitive, so bottle making isn't a stressful thing either. I still treasure our times of nursing first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Right now that is such a blessing as school has started and I see less of him during the week.

He's growing out of his clothes like crazy and I'm am again so blessed to have the benefit of hand-me-downs from the Hub's aunt and Josh's stuff.

I am constantly fighting the battle of wishing these days away and then wanting them never to leave. Owen is a precious gift and God is generous in giving Owen a sweet, easy-going and lovable personality. I can't wait to see him grow even more!


Here's a couple pictures of our growing boy. The first is him goin' all Steve Irwin on his crocodile, and the second is his other new favorite thing....finding his toes.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

PULL OVER!

A funny thing happened on the way home from my sister-in-law's the other weekend. We had gone to visit for my niece's birthday. Before we left we dug up one of the many extra evergreen trees that adorn their property to add to our non-existent landscaping in our backyard. It was a good sized one, but we could still fit it in the back. So, soon we were all loaded up in our family van enjoying a smooth ride home. I was in the back by Josh giving Owen a bottle. (Now before you report me to the authorities, he just isn't a happy car rider, so this was the best plan for everyone). Josh and I were chatting about what a great weekend we had, sharing our favorite moments...when....."MOM! LOOK!"

And so I did.

What I saw was a HUGE spider crawling across the ceiling RIGHT ABOVE MY HEAD.
(insert scary spider music).
I just about jumped into Josh's lap!
I started to yell at the Hubs, "Get me a kleenex! (hindsight being 20/20...one kleenex was NOT going to do it with this big guy).

There was much confusion that followed, ending in me just about throwing Owen into his car seat (see, now he's safe)....us pulling over...the Hubs laughing at me (see I told you he laughs at my mishaps)...and me, in an act of tiger-mother-like fury, finding a WAD of kleenex to finally put an end to our unwanted passenger. It was only later that I remember my first thought being..."save the kids." (a bit dramatic??) (second thought...the tree should have been on the roof.)

It was the size of a orange when you include the length of it's legs.
It's legs were yellow-orange and black striped and it's body was actually shiny silver.
It was the creepiest thing I have EVER seen.

I am still checking the van's ceiling every now and then.