Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top Ten of 2008

Inspired by my sister-in-law here are my top ten events of 2008:

10. We began the year by doing some heavy soul-searching about schools for the kids. And oddly enough, we feel called to send our kids to private Christian schools. This has become one of the biggest leaps of faith we have encountered as a family, especially with times the way they are nowadays. But in this we've found God's glory being sung by seeing Josh blossom in his own faith, as young as he is.

9. We survived several small illnesses this year (pink eye, stomach bugs, colds colds and more colds). But what I find amazing is that usually it's an isolated event and it isn't passed on through the family. See, my maniacal hand washing is working!

8. It's hard to imagine it now, but Owen began walking early this year and just like most kids, he hasn't stopped since. My, how fast it goes.

7. We had a great trip to Atlanta this year around Easter time. Although it was for a sad reason, with the passing of the Hub's grandfather, it turned into this amazing time with family we don't see very often. The Aquarium was a huge hit with all of us and so was a trip up Stone Mountain.

6. When spring came we couldn't wait to get outside again. Owen discovered he was a big fan of the Bronco Rider and I didn't mind tagging along for the ride.

5. Owen turned one in April with much hoopla (naahh, not really, third child syndrome). He has been such a blessing to our family and it was wonderful to celebrate his big day with family.

4. Summer brought several things: T-ball, an attempt at gardening, afternoons in the sprinkler, trips to the park, and some great vacations.

3. We were blessed to have weeklong vacations with both sides of our family this year. A loooong (not a typo) trip to the Outer Banks was an amazing time at the beach. The weather was really wonderful and even the storm we had was a thing to behold. The second trip to a cozy cottage with the Hub's side was equally as fun. I found myself easily slipping into a routine of yummy breakfasts, lazy splashing in the lake, comfortable conversation and delicious dinners followed by movies and games. Ahhh.

2. School started this year with Josh going into first grade at a new school and Ellie in her first year at preschool. Both kids have jumped right into the school routine with eager anticipation. My teacher hearts sighs with happiness.

1. I'm pretty sure I'm missing a ton of things from big to small (like a terrific Thanksgiving, to giggly family nights), but looking at this year I see how blessed we are to have healthy, happy children, a marriage that is strong through the rough places, and a Savior that promises the "Peace that passes all understanding." With the plan to move our family one more time in this coming year I felt many emotions, but every time the still small voice of my Lord reminds me that He is in control and His plan is far greater than any that I have imagined.

Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas Meme

Ok. Time to get into the spirit of things. My sister-in-law sent me this email and I thought it would make a good get-to-know-you-at-Christmas-time post. Enjoy, and then try it yourself!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I LOVE to wrap gifts. When we were young, my mom would try to "hide" our gifts in plain sight by wrapping them in some sort of pattern (all the snowman paper had my gifts inside, etc.). Some day when the kids wise up, I'll do the same. For now I just love taking the time to make the packages special.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Definitely real.

3. When do you put up the tree? Soon after Thanksgiving.


4. When do you take the tree down? After the New Year, before school starts again.

5. Do you like eggnog? No.

6. Favorite gift received as a child or adult? (adult) Plane tickets to California to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Of course, that was the same year I bought the Hubs a DVD player. So much for a budget that year.

7. Hardest person to buy for? The Hubs. He has this habit of buying gifts off his list while he's out shopping for others.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Josh.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? No. We would love one that the kids could "play" with. (any suggestions?)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail or hand out (save a stamp!)

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't think of one right now, but my dad gave my mom a housecoat/pajama robe one year that will live in infamy.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Polar Express, currently. I love watching kids watch it. Oh, and I really like all the old-time claymation ones!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? October or November. It helps to spread out the cost.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, but they're usually cute things I've gotten from students in the past that someone else could really use.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's fudge.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes, white only.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Micheal W. Smith's "Christmas Waltz."

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, meet with family, unless we go to my sister-in-law's in Michigan to play in their snow!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Sure...now, how's that song go?.....

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve with my side, Christmas morning with our little family and with the Hubs' side we do it whenever we can all get together.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Dragging the poor kiddos around in the cold, because I still love to shop in stores instead of online.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Snowmen and felt handmade ornaments

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Appetizers after Christmas Eve service.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Practically?...A great kitchen knife. Emotionally?...peace of mind about moving sometime in the new year!

The Honeymoon is Over

Yep. And it lasted longer than I thought. It usually starts losing it's luster after the first long weekend. But in this case, he made it until Thanksgiving.

I'm talking about Josh. (what did you think? hehe)

The poor dude survives an unfortunately long afternoon bus ride after working hard all day at school, only to hop in the van and be greeted by his little sister who finds an odd joy in telling him all the "fun" things she got to do while he was at school. So, it caught up to him.

After an wonderful trip to "Aunt Tami's" (apparently the coolest place on earth...blog to follow), and several days off school, Josh succumbed to the end of his honeymoon relationship with first grade. Now, this is not to say that he doesn't enjoy school (he loves it! ahhh...my teacher's heart), but now his rose-colored glasses are clearing up a bit and he looks forward to the weekends more, wondering when the next day off will come. Secretly, I am comforted by the fact that he misses being with me, because I miss him some days, too. (The rest of the days?...I'm thinkin' "when do they go back to school?)

I'm pretty sure after the real chill of winter sets in, a cozy couple of weeks off at Christmas, and he's cooped up in his classroom for a while...

... he'll be asking first grade for a divorce.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Right Now

Here's an idea I borrowed from Jenni...

Right Now, I am:

feeling... relieved that conferences, soccer and the Hubs' softball league are all finally done!

enjoying... the quiet of the house today. Kids are napping...ahh.

wondering... if we will ever be able to decide on a neighborhood to move to and if our house will ever be sold (when we put it on the market)

listening... the hum of the computer. It's that quiet!

drinking... nothing at the moment.

wanting... a girl's night out. I miss the book club that we've all gotten too busy to keep up with.

loving... that the holidays are approaching. I love spending time with our little family at home, but a crowd of family gets me going! Plans are being made, menus discussed, and the shopping has begun! I love it.

looking... out the window at a dreary day. Still thankful for a warm, dry home filled with a Hubs who loves me and children that will make me smile on this dingy day.


Ps. I love that we can pass ideas like this through the blogosphere. This past weekend we were lucky enough to meet Sarah and her boys (Jason included!). What fun! We laughed, shared a great meal made by Emily and fell into the comfort of fellowship with friends.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today's Giggle brought to you by...

Ellie.


Ellie and Owen were running in circles around the living room (yes, the smallest things do amuse around here).  In true Ellie-fashion she began to sing her own songs.  Soon she realized she was singing the Bible verse we had been working on this week as a family. (from a great book recommended by Mary)

Ellie:  Mom! Mom!  Listen:  "A soft answer turns away wrath!"
Mom:  Wow, Elle, you remembered our Bible verse!  Good for you!  Do you remember what it means?
Ellie: Yep, to be quiet!!

Close but no cigar, my dear.  

Ah well, baby steps, eh?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Survey

Hey, here I am back at the blog!

My good friend, Emily, has helped me with an idea for today...a Halloween survey! Here's goes:

1. What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
The only costume I remember is the only one we have a picture of in the family album. I was Wonder Woman. I'm pretty sure my mom never let us be something like a current character (not all bad), so being able to buy a costume and wear it was pretty special. Now I don't exactly enjoy putting my kids in the character costumes either. I like the idea of a creative costume or something "timeless.'

2. Least favorite?
Can't remember anything but Wonder Woman. Mom?? Do you remember?

3. Favorite candy?
Ooo. This is a tough one. I heart Milky Way, Kit Kat and those little pumpkins that taste like candy corn.

4. Favorite fall treat that you baked?
I could say that I make these items, but my friends and family know better: Pumpkin bread, another raisin-type bread called "strocook" that my mom makes (I think it's a dutch thing) and all things that have to do with apples and caramel.

5. What age do you think one should stop trick-or-treating?
This is a tough one, because once the boys hit middle school is all blood and guts costumes and I'm pretty sure I've had kids who show up at the door dressed up as middle schoolers. So my vote is middle school.

6. What is the lamest treat you received?
Yep, I'm with Em. Pennies? Seriously?

7. Any other traditions on Oct.31?
Since we've had kids we've tried to get them involved in the evening by passing out candy and trying to go around the block with a group of family or friends. This year it's off to grandma & grandpa's house. Pretty sure that grandpa will have them halfway across the state beggin' for candy. When we were kids I do remember bobbing for apples, too. My dad would always wear the same old green army coat (because it is always cold and yucky on the big day around here), and have us running from house to house. One hard and fast rule was to say the 'trick or treat' mantra and end with a big thank you. A couple of years ago we had an adult Halloween party that was a total blast (at least I thought so!). We haven't returned to that tradition yet, but I'd love to see my friends in costume again!

8. What costumes will be present in your family this fall?
Josh...a magician (cape=6$, hat=in the basement, bunny to pull from the hat=in his room)
Ellie...snow fairy (outfit+wings=3$ at the resale shop)
Owen...a lion (outfit=0$, old one of Josh's)
A cheap Halloween...priceless!

9. Favorite Halloween or fall movie?
I love the Charlie Brown specials. I am NOT a fan of any scary movies. I have a very active imagination and those movies stick with me.

10. Any funny Halloween stories?
I loved last year's costumes and the excitement it brought to the house. Plus, this chili pepper makes me laugh.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Fun

I love words. It kinda comes with the territory of being a teacher, I guess. So when two of my sisters-in-law put up some cute new sayings in their homes...I was hooked.

I'm pretty sure I could put up one saying in every room of my house, they are so darn cute. Maybe a little overkill? Nah. Who couldn't use a little writing on the wall nowadays?


They're the latest thing (or at least I'm finally clueing into this trend)...wall stickers. They remove easily so if you outgrow your saying, no damage done. I found so many websites selling premade quotes, designs, even whole wall murals. In the end, I supported my local Hobb.y Lobb.y and bought the alphabet pack to put this saying together myself. I had to improvise a bit, because I ran out of the letter "r." (Thank goodness that the "n" and a "u" could be fudged a bit to provide worthy substitutes.) I was even able to change a couple of lowercase letter "t's" into side swirlies. (that's the technical term, ya'll)

I haven't done many house decorating improvements in a long time, so this one felt really good. I love how little things like this can really make a house a home.

What's next? What would you do?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Overheard

From a discussion about families:

Mom:  So would you like to be a mommy someday, Elle?

Ellie:  Yes. (and after some thought)  Or a person.


Oh Dear.  Moms...animal, mineral or vegetable?

Monday, October 13, 2008

FYI....

Nail polish remover takes permanent marker off kitchen tables.

*sigh*

And, yes.  I AM watching my children.  Most of the time.

Unfortunately, I am watching them run amuck. 

Teehee.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This is what happens when I check blogs....

ps. The child is actually saying "Cheese." So much for getting in trouble, eh?

Let's Get Physical!

In recognition for a decade of service to my school district, I received a gift card to an online store. It offered a variety of gifts and ideas. After much scrutiny I landed on the big pink exercise ball. I had wanted one for a while, plus the purchase would also bring a donation to the breas.t cancer research, so I went for it.

Let's just say that I haven't exactly been able to get it away from these little munchkins long enough to see what it can do. Oh well, I'm sure I'm burning enough calories laughing at each one of them bouncing off the ball, over the ball and occasionally, under the ball.


Oh, and these too...


Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
We said "no presents",
But somehow, you knew.

Flash Forward

Apparently, this is the Hubs and me about 30 years from now.
(At least, according to the card I got from my darling man for my birthday).



I love this card because it hits the nail on the head, or, at least the back of someone's head.
Here's why:

One: We do like to have fun around here.

Two: I do own a garden hose and ain't afraid to use it.

Three: Although most of his written words stay hidden in my heart, the Hubs' words of encouragement about finding the fun in the daily craziness ring so true. He is my encourager, my sounding post, and my best friend.

Thanks, dear, for the giggle. I love you.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today I celebrate my birthday.  The number is not a major one, and most likely the day will pass by with little pomp and circumstance.  I even got to spend some time at the DM.V today, checking my vision, testing my written skills on the rules of the road and taking, yet another, horrible picture for my license.  It was still time well spent, Owen was along and we bonded over our time waiting in lines.  Not much is planned for celebrating, in fact, Josh has soccer tonight and that means a disjointed dinner schedule, too.  

I don't have any grand thoughts or sayings to make you think how mature I am for my age.  In fact, I'm sure that not only does having children take brain cells away, but also age is beginning to take it's toll on my memory, wit and all around conversation abilities!  

So, here's to my birthday and another notch on the wall!  


Thursday, September 25, 2008

My own Milestone

We celebrate our kiddos milestones, so I figured my own such step should be noted.

I sold all my maternity clothes.

Woohoo!  

Now for my dear friends who are still longing and anticipating more little ones in their homes, do not take this post the wrong way.  And Mom, I know you think that as soon as I get rid of these clothes something will happen, but I am SO glad to get rid of those clothes.  

I actually really liked being pregnant.  There was instant attention and affection doled out wherever you went.  I felt good, ate well, and, for the most part, slept like a log.  I eagerly anticipated wearing maternity clothes to signal to all those who were wondering that "YES!  I am pregnant!"  It brought out stories from loved ones to strangers that told of each maladventure that afflicted them to sweet moments of first kicks to the pains of labor.

But now I'm glad to know that we're done.  Our Party is complete with the three blessings that run our halls and hearts.  A friend once told me that she knew she was done when she held someone else's baby and her uter.us didn't cry out for more.  I can totally understand.  It won't keep me from holding and swaying with those little ones; but, I know we're done.

It was odd as I sat and priced the various clothes items to send to the resale.  Different pieces held different memories.  Some I remember wearing and thinking, "I'll only be able to wear this a few times, whew, it's tight,"  or "Oh my goodness, I look like I'm wearing a tent."  I remember what I wore to the baby shower my church threw for us as we anticipated Josh's arrival.  I remembered buying items when I was pregnant with Owen, even through I knew this was the only pregnancy I'd wear them for.  There were even a few that I wished I had in "regular" clothes.  I could see how the styles had changed in the 7+ years between all the pregnancies...from big prints and big shirts to solids and skin tight.

I hope that someone finds good use for these gems.  I sent them to Josh's school resale and I have yet to hear how much actually sold or how much was left over and donated to the official resale store. Either way I suppose they will all go to someone who needs them.  

As with any milestone I seem to always hear a line from Mary Pop.pins go through my head.   It's right before they jump into the sidewalk chalk drawings of that goofy Bert fellow.  

"Now hold hands and ...JUMP!"  

I guess with this milestone I have plenty of hands to hold already.

It's a Je.ep thing...

Riding home from the bus stop the other day I noticed we were following a rather rugged looking Je.ep Wran.gler.  Ever since we owned one of these "off-road is calling you" vehicles, I like to check them out as we see them tooling down the road in our current family van.  (read: me missing Je.ep vehicle that was ours B.C. ~before children~now we have a different kind of adventure in it's replacement).  

I read the sticker that was splayed across the back of the vehicle..."It's a Je.ep thing, you wouldn't understand."  This particular dirty red Je.ep,was "jacked up."  I mean this vehicle had monster tires, and was lifted at least two feet above the normal clearance for any vehicle.  I began to think how cool it was to have one of these trailblazers when I noticed something else.  

The license plate.

It had a handicap symbol on it.

I'll let that sink in.

Setting aside the feelings I already have for those who take advantage of the handicap parking spaces, I began to steam.  Well, maybe there is a good reason for it, I thought.  Maybe they were handicap and then through intense therapy and the Lord's blessing they currently are able to scale small buildings such as this Je.ep in front of me.  Or maybe they give their sweet handicap  grandmother rides so often (you know, by hoisting her through an elaborate pulley system into the passenger side) that they were able to qualify.   

Whatever the reasoning, it gave my mind something to ponder.  I even tried to take a picture with my camera phone, but alas, safe driving prevailed and it was not a success.  

So I guess, in the end, it is a Je.ep thing, and I definitely don't understand.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Perpetual Motion

When I was in junior high (that's what they called it in the ol' days before it was middle school), I had science with Mr. DJ. He was an older man who we loved dearly, mostly because he tried hard to make it a fun class, even though he often was made fun of for his chalked front pant pockets (from writing on a blackboard...remember those?).

The most memorable class for me came when he pulled out an old bike tire with handles on either side of the center of the spokes. He set out one of those tall stools that spins. He asked for a volunteer, and then proceeded to ask the young man (you knew it had to be a guy) to hold the wheel out in front of himself and not keep his feet on the foot rest. Mr. DJ gave that wheel a good spin and asked the boy to tilt it slightly one way. He did. And proceeded to move in the opposite direction that he had tilted the wheel. Mr. DJ asked the boy to tilt it the other way. Slowly, the boy stopped moving in his current direction and soon he was spinning around in the other direction. The whole thing was fascinating to watch, especially because the boy's face began to show the wear of suspending a spinning wheel in the air. What the scientific force Mr. DJ was trying to teach us is actually not part of my memory. (if you're out there, sir, maybe a refresher course?)

This is the picture that came into my head today as I vacuumed the kitchen floor. (oddly, my most interesting blog ideas come while I'm vacuuming.)

I am the poor young man (minus the pimples and oddly proportioned body...whoops, maybe that last one). My days are continually in motion. I am continually in motion. Many days feel as if I am trying to go one way, and an uncontrollable force is pushing me another way. Although I do make a conscience effort to stop my own motion and spend quality time with my kiddos, we're still moving. (oh yeah, we have preschoolers and toddlers) As I muddled through these thoughts and the crumbs on the kitchen floor, I realized...I actually am ok with the motion. I worked through my recent days and thought...in the midst of the busyness, there has been many wonderful moments shared with each of my kids, the Hubs and even a few nice moments to myself.

This is life now. Busy, with a healthy side of blessings. The moments of quiet times with myself and the Hubs will come someday. To wish these days away would show an ungrateful spirit to the Lord who gives them to us.


So, bring on the spin. Bring on the motion. I may falter in my ability to hold up the wheel, but that is what faith, friends and family are for.

(Miss you all, dear friends that I haven't spoken to in a while!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Omnipresent or Church by committee?

On the way to church this morning, Josh asked a great question.

J: "Mom, how does God go to all the churches, if they are all meeting at the same time?"

(insert jaw drop and quick theological search)

Me: "Well, you know how God can hear everyone's prayers all the time, anywhere in the world?  It's kind of like that, but He hears and sees everyone worshipping and praising Him at the same time, too."

J: "Oh,  Ok.  I thought maybe He went to some and then the angels went to the others and came back and told him about it afterwards."



I love that this is what he's thinking about on the way to church.  Of course, I do have to say it was short-lived.  Cars creating huge rooster tail-like splashes through water on the roads totally wins over theology for all boys about his age.

Happy Sunday, friends, I hope you all stayed dry and safe this weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Own Stair "Master"

(Insert Bill.Curtis-esque voice over)

Pictured here in his natural habit, the brave youngest one of the Party has mastered....

the Stairs.



Although this little one had mastered the vertical challenge of this mountain-like adventure long ago, the descent had proven difficult until today. Giggles of glee over his accomplishment can be heard throughout the house, often used as a pseudo-warning for the mother of the Party, who can often be seen running to him to guide the little one down his newfound playground. No longer can the mother of the Party assume he will stop at the top of the stairs. Although this causes concern for the mother, she still takes joy in the fact that this little one has conquered yet another milestone.

"One small step for man...."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday-The State of the Driveway

(Because I'm terrible at a true "wordless" anything...let me explain...)

This is what a neighbor girl drew on our driveway yesterday. It is the length of our driveway and seems to have some defining gender parts. Needless to say we will not be hanging out too much with that little one without supervision, and the driveway will be getting a bath. ASAP.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Another one flies the coop

I just dropped off my dear not-so-little-anymore Ellie at preschool. The girl was beyond excited. She hopped in the van with confidence, and clarified that I was going to leave her there at school, and then Owen and I would be going home. When we arrived at her classroom, which, oddly is the same room that Josh had...different teacher, she barely stopped to pose for a picture. You can see her ready to get into the fun in the second shot here.

I didn't get a hug, or even a big goodbye.

As I walked back to the van with just Owen on my hip, I felt surprisingly light and happy. How wonderful to have a confident young lady in our house who is ready to take on new adventures. I can't wait to see her and hear all about her first day.

Go get 'em, girl!



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Overheard


Ellie: Mom, could you close my window? I'm getting cold.

Me: Yes!

(Come, dear Fall, Come!)



Ps. Here is a picture of Ellie that we will be bringing into her new preschool class to add to their board of other cuties starting their adventure into the big ol' world of school!







Thursday, August 28, 2008

Things I'm doing lately...

  • Explaining to Ellie why her hands are "hands" and not "paws."
  • Waiting at the bus stop for Josh...WAY too long.
  • Calling bus staff every night to gently persuade them to make adjustments to the long bus ride.
  • Making a LOT of lists. Mostly house related. Our house feels "heavy"...feeling the need to purge!
  • Hitting the Clari.tin hard. Allergies stink. Especially when I only really got them after I had kids. Interesting.
  • Trying to find a comfortable non-sleeveless shirt to wear to my non-air conditioned school. One of the boys in my class is autistic and one of his triggers is sleeveless shirts. *sigh*
  • Saying a prayer for peace for this boy's family...his twin brother is also autistic.
  • Saying a prayer of thanks that our children are healthy and well, ready to take on a new school year.
  • Getting into school mode by purchasing many snacks and easy lunch items for the kids at school and the sitter.
  • Actually "doing" my hair which is different from my summer look...ponytails 24/7.
  • Taking joy in little things, playing ball with Owen on my day off today, playing school with Ellie, enjoying a quick and quiet trip to the grocery store (even with two kids!), hearing that "Mrs. W is really nice" from Josh (he actually sounded surprised), getting all green traffic lights when I'm rushing (again) to get somewhere, and tasting the last goodies of summer...tomatoes from the garden, ice cream, and cold chicken salad on fresh croissants.
  • Holding back tears. These last two weeks have been filled with a fair amount of emotions as many people know the beginning of the school year brings. I've had my share of Kleen.ex moments (thanks again Sarah for listening!), but as soon as the tears are shed, there is that voice of comfort from a friend or family member (many thanks to the Hubs), and the peace in my heart that I know comes from the Lord's hand in my daily roller coaster.
  • Missing blogging. I love this place where I can share what our little party is up to on a day to day basis. I'm hoping to keep up even though things are busy (and really, who isn't?).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tooth Number Two, Where Are You?

Dear Tooth Fairy,

We are sincerely sorry for the misplacement of tooth number two for dear Josh.  Although the loss of this sweet little baby tooth was a momentous event at breakfast this morning, at this point the tooth is lost.  

After putting it into a small open container for safekeeping, we set it on the counter to be moved to the special spot on Josh's dresser later tonight.  Alas, in a cleaning fury by the Hubs' who, in his defense, was not present for the loss of the tooth and therefore did not know of the container's importance, rinsed out the small open container into the kitchen sink.  The discovery of this loss was a sad moment for us, but we assured Josh that you are a crafty fairy and capable of many things, including finding lost teeth in the kitchen sink.  

So, in closing, it is our hope that you will forgive the loss of this baby tooth and still leave the quarter for Josh that he is so eager to receive.  To keep this event from happening again, we are in discussion about a very specific "Tooth Container" that would be easily identified as holding the very important item that is a lost tooth. 

Again, our sincerest apologies.

The Parents



**to all my dear readers, I promise not to regale you with too many more lost tooth stories.  This one just seemed appropriate for the memory books as "The one that got away."**
 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's Back to School Baby...

Because I'm a bit exhausted from relearning the first grade curriculum in an un-airconditioned building only to come home to screaming children who apparently held in all their naughtiness until I got home, and I have no idea what we are having for dinner....

I'm not even posting anything of my own here.  But I want you all to read this post by Rocks in my Dryer and her Mother's prayer at Back-to-School time.  It's sure to touch your heart. 

Enjoy.

I'm going to go now and become really friendly with a fan.




Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cup & Toothpaste Theory

When we were looking for house a few years ago one of our non-negotiables was this: our own bathroom. Blessed as it was, we not only got our own bathroom, but our own sinks. The Hubs was overjoyed (I was pretty jazzed, too) and we quickly became accustomed to our own space. But I set my foot down on one thing, I still wanted us to share some items, such as a cup and a tube of toothpaste. I acquiesced on pump hand soap because it was such a chore to move that between the two sinks (read:heavy sarcasm).

But the cup and toothpaste were my line in the sand.

When we were first dating, the Hubs would come to my family's house and in the course of time, needed to use the bathroom. At one point, he shared a little nugget of disgust with me about the main bathroom that all guests and family members used. He said he couldn't believe that we all used the same cup in the bathroom. It was just a baby blue-colored plastic cup that sat on the sink, to be washed every so often, but there as a way for a quick swig if needed. In one of my more mature reactions to this comment, I was appalled, and (over)reacted by saying that he thought my family was gross and that he was snob for even thinking it. It became affectionately called the "Blue Cup" incident.

With our new bathroom arrangements, I felt the need to share something small still. So, not only the cup, but the toothpaste became very important to me. He was fine with the cup now, mostly because we'd swapped spit for so many years, he'd figured he was generally safe. And although we had ironed out the age-old question of how to squeeze the tube, the sharing needed work. We would have small "discussions" on the placement of the toothpaste tube after its use, so that the other person would still have easy access to it.

The cup, the toothpaste; it was all very trivial, but for whatever reason, it meant a bit more to me. I wanted to share these things. I wanted to think of him as I put my toothpaste down. I knew that I was blessed to even have someone to share the cup (family germs, my love, family germs) and a tube of toothpaste with.

I recently was cleaning the bathroom (cup, too!) and realized that he had his own tube of toothpaste. While I was out of town a couple of weeks ago, he needed to use something (as I had made off with our shared tube), so he opened his own. Part of me wanted to quickly stash the newly open tube under the sink. Part of me giggled at the memory of the "Blue Cup" and my insistence on a shared tube. I'm sure the Hubs didn't give it a second thought, but as I finished my cleaning, I thought, "It's just that I want to share a cup and toothpaste with him...forever."

Dramatic?

Yes. But true.

As long as the Lord gives us days and nights together, I hope to share these things. Small and insignificant, silly or serious, mundane or life-altering, I want to share them all.


Happy 13th Anniversary, C. I love you.

Ps. The extra tube is under the sink now. Wanna share?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Birthday Cake

Before:
(note the beautiful sweeping "waves" of chocolate)




After adorable now-four-year-old gets one minute with the sprinkles:






Happy Birthday, Ellie!
(again...we tend to celebrate birthdays all week!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Turkey Burger


Oh. My. Land.

Who knew eating healthy was so good? (well, at least the turkey burger part!)

We had these great turkey burgers last night with sides of equally good red potatoes and fresh squash and zucchini (from our garden!). It was such a yummy summer meal and everyone liked it! Owen is a huge fan of burgers, so this went over well with the whole crew.

"Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers"
slightly adapted from all.recipes.com

1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
2 TBSP seasoned bread crumbs
2 TBSP finely diced onion
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley (I used dried)
1/2 clove garlic, peeled, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1. Mix all ingredients. Form patties to your desired size. (I made 6..I also only had 1 lb. turkey)
2. Cook patties in medium skillet over medium heat, turning once to internal temp. of 180 degrees. (I used out Geo.rge F. indoor grill)



The potatoes were a throw together type thing...After I cut and boiled them, I added butter, salt, minced garlic, grated parmesan cheese and parsley. The squash and zucchini were made from a Kraf.t foods recipe which just requires the veggies to be cut, cooked in a skillet with oil and then you add garlic and shredded mozzarella cheese.

(ps. before you get all proud of me...we're having DiGi.orno "deliver" tonight!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Letting Go

I was brave.

It was even my idea.

It might have come from a momentary feeling of confidence or finally resting in knowledge of the Lord's hand on all things, but I let him go.

All the way. Around. The block. On his bike.

By himself.

When I first mentioned it to him, his little six and a half year old eyes looked confused. As the reality of what I suggested sunk in, his eyes went from confused to confident to excited.

As he geared up with his helmet, I tried to remind him of some safety issues without sounding like a maniac. My mind's eye pictured myself running to the backyard as soon as he left to watch him appear between the neighbor's houses, checking to see if he was making it. I heard myself saying things like, "Watch for cars backing out of their driveways, you don't need to say 'hi' to anyone, if someone stops to ask you a question, just keep going..." as he already started to head down the driveway. I was following him. Still talking.

"Are you ready?"

"Yep." I said.

"See you in a couple of minutes, Mom." He looked back at me with a confident smile before he set off on his little journey. That picture will have to be kept in my mother's heart.

Of course I parked myself in the driveway determined not to panic if the time seemed a bit longer than I anticipate, not to try to see him through the houses behind us, and not to let on to anyone that I had just reached a milestone of my own.

As his blue helmet head came around the corner, I sighed with relief. He'd made it. I really didn't doubt it, but somewhere in my "logical" thinking, I could see that the one time I allow him to venture out on his own...that's when something would happen. But it didn't, and the smile on his face as he arrived back home was the incentive that I needed to know it would be ok.

He's been around the block at least one more time since then. He tells me when he plans on going, so I can watch (stand guard) for his return.

Oh, the parallels I could make between this event and the beginning of the school year.

So, I did it. And so did he.

We both did it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ellie!

ELLIE:

Age: Four!
Personality: Spitfire, playful, silly, "all girl" with a hint of sportiness, full of imagination

Favorites:

Foods: Pancakes, Hot dogs, Ravioli, Chocolate Milk, Mac-n-cheese
Songs: "Flip, Flop and Fly" (composed by bro. Josh)
Books: Angelina the ballerina
Movies: Monsters, Inc., Ice Age, Curious George, Cars
TV Shows: Dora, Diego, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Games: Cadoo, Zingo, Hungry Hippos
Toys: Princess Coach, My Little Ponies
Activity with Mom: Hugs and kisses
Activity with Dad: Wrestling
Activity with Josh: "Hot Lava, Mario" (their own game, involves pillows, Ellie's bed, jumping, and screaming)
Activity with Owen: Tickle
Now I'm four, I can learn how to: Poop on the pot.ty (yep, still working on that one)


My dearest Ellie,
We love you so much.  You are the little girl amidst these bouncy boys!  We love how your smile can bring light to our hearts.  You are just daring enough to try some new things, but often still look to big brother to see if you can do it.  Right now, you are so cuddly and love to snuggle.  We know that this won't last forever, so I'm soaking up your hugs.  This will be a big year for you...preschool!  You will have so much fun, and have no problem making new friends!  We love who you are and what you mean to our family.  Happy Birthday, big girl!
Hugs,
Mommy

Oxi.clean to the Rescue...again

My dear daughter tried out her drawing skills on our dining room table.

In pen.

I was waffling between chalking this up to another "cute" story to tell when guests would come over and goog.ling "how to remove pen from faux leather" (yep, we go super fancy-like here, nothing but the best), when I thought...

Oxi.Clean?

Could it do it?

After just a few moments of working on that stain, the blue masterpiece came off the tabletop. Amazing. I've found my go-to stain remover. I'm sure these kiddos will give me plenty of opportunities to put it to the test.

ps. I love these stories, because someday I'll look back and say, "And where was I when this was going on?" Today, the answer was...on the phone, just about five steps away. Banner parenting happening here, ladies. Don't sign me up for Mother of the Year just yet. *wink*

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Foto

"The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory."
Ps. 97:6


This photo was taken from our house, just a couple of days before the skies looked awfully different.  A small tornado hit our town.  It landed about half of a mile east of our house.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Happy Anniversary!



These are the dear people we have spent most of our time with in the last two weeks. We vacationed and then finalized our planning for the big 40th annversary party for my husband's parents. (they're the cute couple in the middle with a lapful of grandkids!)

Still fresh in my mind today is the joyous party we had on Saturday. Extensive planning aside, it was an occasion that was one of the best events of our summer. We held the party at our church's new ministry center. There is a large fireside room that held our guests very well. The guys grilled up some super tasty chicken and steak kabobs, while we set out the potato-green bean salad (fresh from my SIL's garden) and the strawberry spinach salad. The meal was topped off by amazing desserts made my hero in the kitchen, my dear friend Ann. In between all the delightful food stuffs, we saw many of my in-law's friends chatting it up, and reminiscing over cards on the tables which told of the top ten movies, songs, events and costs of living in the year 1968.

The evening got a bit raukus when we played the game, "How well do you know them?" After realizing that some tables were beefing up their scores a bit, we judged this fun event a success for all, and headed for desserts.

My dearest Hubs created an amazing masterpiece of photos set to some of his parents' favorite songs. Tears were shed, laughter at past hair-do's and glasses, and sighs of memories gone by were seen and hear throughout the room. It was an extremely meaningful event for all who attended, and I was so glad just to be a part of it.

Happy 40th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Summer Breeze

This is the window in Josh's room today. The curtain is caught by the breeze, blowing in random waves. The house smells fresh and open. I love the days when God reminds us of His creation. This breeze brings the outdoors in, and I adore it. I hear the taps of the blind pulls and squeaks of doors being pushed and pulled from cross breezes throughout the house. I love it. It's as if our house is just a little bit alive and swaying with the gentle breeze, too.
Deep breath.
Sigh.
Love it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

This smile belongs to...


A boy who just lost his first tooth!
Congratulations, Josh!
(hard to see the actual spot because it's on the bottom, in the front)

After a couple weeks of little wiggles here and there, much reassurance about the shortness of the duration of pain, and encouragement about compensation from the Tooth Fairy, I was able to pull it out today at lunch after a big bite of grilled cheese.



Ps. Dear friends, what is your family policy on the Tooth Fairy? How much is she forking over for these tiny pieces of babyhood nowadays?

Magnet Update

Remember these?

Well, apparently Owen's comes with some sort of alarm.

It's a blaring, "Eh, Eh, Eh" sound that actually gets louder as he gets closer via his magnet.

It also has different modes depending on the severity of his desire to magnet himself to me.

There's the one where he's just curious where I am. "mum, mum, mum."

Then the one that means someone has done him wrong, "EH, eh, EH, eh."

And the most desperate, "WEAH! WEAH!"

You get the idea.

Oh, and usually his magnet leads him to one of two places first in his attempt to follow me...

...the office (where the computer is)

...or the bathroom.

Hmmmm. Interesting.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Love Oxi.Clean!


This adorable shirt is part of an even more adorable outfit.  It was a small portion of girls clothes donated to my SIL and me by the Hubs' generous aunt, Tami.  She has been the Clothes Fairy to us from the time when Josh was small.  Because they live in Ohio, we don't see her too often, but when we do...the garbage bags full of clothes handed down from her own boys and girls are enough to make me cry.  She has saved us thousands of dollars in pants, shirts, shoes, boots, jackets and all other clothing, each adorable to the last pair of socks.  

This shirt had a stain on the front and on the sleeve.  I saw the challenge, and hoped my dutiful laundry helper was there to bring it back.  Oxi.Clean to the rescue!  After just two treatments, the stain is barely noticeable.  Of course, now this outfit will be shared custody between Ellie and her cousin Kyra, because it will look adorable on both girls.  (Maybe we'll have it until the holidays and then make the switch...what do ya say, Sarah? *wink*) 

Now my only hope is that my own Stainmaker will keep this as cute as it was intended.  If not, Oxi.Clean will get called up for a second round!

Thanks again, Tami!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lake Vacation 2008

We recently spent half of a week at a lake in a cottage with the Hubs' family.

It was wonderful. A bit crazy with all five cousins running around with their own demands and desires, schedules and temperaments, but extremely worth it. The kids actually did amazingly well together. Josh is the oldest of the herd, and Ellie and her cousin, Kyra are only a couple of weeks apart in age. Katie is two and a half, and really enjoyed her position of power over Owen, who was the youngest at fifteen months. He held his own though, and they soon found their own way to share toys and attention from adults. The kids played in the lake together, made towers of Lin.coln Logs (only to smash them down), took boat rides together and in all, became children of the lake with toes smushed into sandy soil and faces dripping with fresh lake water.

The adults enjoyed the lake, too, with tube and ski rides behind the boat, fishing trips casting out for the elusive "big one," and quiet afternoons (love naptime!) on the deck or on a raft. We ate well, slept fairly well, laughed and relaxed, too. We also discovered a bit nature in our midst during an evening movie...a mouse in the fireplace. Although very small and cute, he had a date with the mousetrap later that night that reassured us he would not be visiting again. We had a few opportunities to visit with my other SIL, who currently teaches in South Korea. She was in the country taking some classes to begin her online master's program. Although stressed, tired and harried from all her own responsibilities, she was still able to eat with us and catch up. We only wished we had more time!

Here are some pictures of our lake adventure!


Grandpa and his boys


The girls... soaking up some sunshine.

He jumps and...

splash!!
(These inflatable islands were the best thing about being in the lake for the kids. The next photo shows how one of them had an opening on one side with netting underneath. The kids could jump in it, be caught by the net, but still make a splash!)

Kyra, in action!

Josh...just that one more step closer to really putting his head under. He was so proud of how brave he had been. I was, too!

Ellie...She floats! Another new milestone brought on by bravery! Watch out swimming Oly.mpians!

This is in my SIL's backyard after spending the second half of the week at her place. What a great group of kids, eh?? Oh, and Katie is definitely not as serious as she looks here!
We love you guys!

A tough lesson for everyone

Today in the car, Josh told me that he had prayed to God last night that he would not have a bad dream. But he did. I mentioned that not all our prayer request are always answered in the way we hope.

He told me, "But I said, please."

My mind raced for a way to explain this tough lesson on prayer. I could hear the sadness in his voice as he explained his polite, but unanswered prayer.

We began to talk about how sometimes God does not answer our prayers in the way we think, because He has another plan. Maybe a lesson is to be learned, patience or perseverance is to be taught. Sometimes He has an even better idea about how events in our lives should happen. Maybe we might not even know why a prayer goes unanswered until more time has passed, when we look back and say, "Ooooh." And sometimes, there is no clear reason.

I began to listen to myself. I wasn't too sure the kids were still listening, but I began to hear what I had been saying. For myself.

Every school year start I worry. I worry about new schedules (grade school and preschool this year!), a new school, a bus ride for Josh, adjusting to getting up earlier, making lunches, and just the natural busyness that happens with going back to teaching myself.

I just unloaded all these worries to the Hubs last night. He listened, reassured and said that we should pray about it all (I love this man).

So with my own worries still flying around in my head, I realized my mini-sermon was oh-so-applicable to my own life. Right then, I prayed. Again. It was more simple and with less pleading than the ones I had been praying...

"Dear Lord, Thy will be done."

He knows my heart and my worries. He has a plan. Now, my job is to rest in that knowledge and find peace in whatever His plan is for our new school year.

In the end, Josh seemed content with what I had to say. Our discussion was quickly interrupted by flying books (Owen) and discarded shoes (Ellie). And when I thought about it, I was grateful to see that I may be the recipient of those "teachable moments" I so look forward to having with my kids as they grow in their knowledge of our Savior, too.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Puddle Playin'



Somebody get this poor child a pool.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: He really should know by now...



Oh, and PS.  My darlin's cute red face is not due to embarrassment, but from too much fun in the sun at the lake last week.  More fun pictures and stories to follow...

Monday, July 28, 2008

How Big is Owen?


SO BIG!


Ensuing conversation:

How big is Ellie?
So big!

How big is Josh?
So, So big!

How big is Mommy?
So, So, SO big!

...hmmm....

(at least this...)

How big is Daddy?
So, So, So, SO big!

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm back..with my smile

It's funny what three hours alone in Wal.mart and Mei.jer can do for the soul.

  • No "bench" carts (aka grocery store semi-trailers)
  • Leisurely viewing of the all the aisles, not just the ones on my list
  • Return to previous aisles for forgotten items without protest from said bench cart passengers
  • Did you know how relaxing it can be to pick out greeting cards?  Alone?  Usually, it involves all of the new-fangled sound cards being opened.  At one time.  Accompanied by loud laughter.  
  • I actually was able to fit all my groceries in the cart. Not on top of children.  Or strategically placed around, under or behind children.

Although I usually balk at going to the grocery store at night, it was one of the more pleasant trips I've had in a long time.  I think the Hubs knew I needed to run away for awhile as soon as he got home.  He walked in.  I ran and hugged him and said I was so glad he was home.  He looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes a-smiling...."Need to get away?"   l love that he knew. I love that he let me go.  And now I'm back.  A bit more refreshed, ready to visit family, the lake and hang with my kiddos.  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Getting away?

Insert whispered tones..


In ten minutes I am getting out of the house.
I'm going grocery shopping.
By myself.
It's not the spa, (ps. so looking forward to that Em!)
But it's out.
Sans children.

If I'm not back within an hour or so.
Do not come looking for me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Note to self


Bigger kids need bigger pool



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Look who's coming for dinner


But seriously...


Yes, he's made it. He's an official part of the family table now. After too many months of "asking" my proud-of-his-little-trickiness boy to SIT DOWN in his high chair, we moved him. Our high chair lost it's buckling capacity somewhere in the move to our new house 4 years ago. Not a biggie, we thought...Josh never needed it.

Famous last words.

Ellie discovered she could stand in the high chair pretty quickly. It was more about protesting her containment and showing her independence. Owen's standee status has been in place for quite a few months, too. His motivation? He thinks it's funny to give his mother heart palpitations at each. and every. meal. To his credit, he does listen and sit down after being asked, but after peppering way too many dinner conversations with "sit down, Owen," it was time.

After one particularly trying meal, I made the plan. Ellie, although still a bit short for a regular chair, was going to have to give up her booster seat for the team. This week at lunch I made the switch. I wasn't planning on switching it that day, but it was like he was on a roller coaster. Up. Down. Up. Down. Plus, he wasn't eating much, so I figured, no time like the present.

The change was instantaneous.

Not only did he immediately start eating the carrots he was currently refusing, but he also slapped his hands on the table like a regular table customer, as if to say, "whatcha got for me, ma?" He now eats off a plate, uses a fork (with direction) and I haven't had to worry about him taking a nose-dive into the linoleum from high-chair height!

The look of our family table has changed. I looked around at my kiddos last night at dinner and tried to envision future family dinners when they're in grade school (next year for Josh!), middle school or even high school. I pictured us chatting about our days like we do now...the good, the bad and the ugly. We've relegated family devotions to bedtime for now, but hope that someday they can return to the family table after dinner.

Although, the look of our family around the table may change, I hope the feeling of togetherness, sharing and bonding never changes.

Welcome to the table, Owen.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good things come in threes


Don't I know it??

Odd thing too...

We were all weighing ourselves this morning.  Note the numbers.

Josh: 53
Ellie: 33
Owen: 23
Me: 1*3

So, Hubs, dare to see if you follow the pattern!?


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wal.mart and internet on the phone saves the day

It's about 2 am and we've stopped for gas. Somewhere. The kids are dozing fairly well, except for our smallest one, a belly sleeper, is fighting the deep sleep his body needs. Our caravan of vans is a sight to behold. With car top carriers donning our vans like turtle shells and seats filled to the max with people, toys and luggage, there is no doubt we are a group with a mission. We've gassed up the vehicles (and the drivers) and we're ready to roll.

But one vehicle is not starting.

The engine in one of the van's refuses to turn over. Ugg. By this time, everyone is awake. Everyone. After a quick jump from another van, we're on our way with skepticism. We chat with hushed voices about the possibilities of what could happen. One toll booth later and we are stopped again. It's rolled onto the shoulder after absolutely conking out.

Enter Goo.gle on the phone.

My sister-in-law finds the nearest 24 hour Wal.mart. After one more successful jump to the fading battery, and an interesting route there, we find it. It's bold blue sign beckons and welcomes.

Everyone is awake. The odd combination of adrenaline and confusion get the kids in giggle fest that rivals Tickle.ME.Elmo.

The guys (of course) purchase the much needed battery and begin installing it into the tired van. After several trips to the bathroom, we realize that most of the Wal.mart employees know who we are. ("Are with the group who's car isn't working?")

And everyone is awake. We take this opportunity to let the children loose on the Wal.mart parking lot. It's about 2 am. Not too many visitors to this now beloved store, so we don't mind their enthusiasm.

Soon, we are on our way (thank goodness for handy men, eh?). After a few miles, all are sleeping again, except those of us who are thinking the obvious.

Thank goodness, for Wal.mart.

**I'd be severely remiss if I didn't see the strong hand of the Lord at work in this situation, eh? Here's a few things He put into place: an internet-ready phone, a shoulder to pull over on, tools to install a battery, a close Wal.mart, men who know their way around an engine, and the ability for most of us to rest after all the excitement.**

A time for everything...

A time to peek across the ocean...


A time to dig in the sand...
A time to hang ten...
A time to play in the pool...

A time to catch your uncle unawares...

A time to love your cousins...

A time to love your grandpa...

And a time to share morning chats...


What a time it was.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

We're home!  

After a wonderful week of beach, pool, sun and family fun, we are home.  I hope to have pictures and stories to share soon.  For now, to give you an idea of how wiped out my kiddos were last night when we rolled in after two days of driving home...

(each night I asked the kids what's the "last thing" they want to tell me before bed...it cuts the "oh, one more thing, mom" stall tactic that Josh perfected early on...it's often a comment about what they want to do the next day or a place they would like to visit)

Me:  Ellie, what's the last thing you want to tell me?
Ellie:  (through sobs and tears from sheer overtiredness)  I don't want to do nothing!


I hear ya, dear girl.  It was a great week, with no major catastrophes (including good traveling days, except for one visit to the Walmart at 2am to replace a car battery).  Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.  

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rain, Rain...brings memories of a bad day

I was five and a half months pregnant with Josh.  We were coming back from a family get together through Northern Indiana and it was pouring rain.  The kind of pouring rain that covers your windshield with a sheet of water and the window wipers can barely keep up.  Traveling on the highway at a slower speed, I thought that we were doing pretty well for the circumstances.  I had volunteered to drive the Hubs' truck so he could rest a bit.  Our dog at the time, Abby, was curled up on the back seat.  The Hubs was saying something about taking it a bit slower because the rain wasn't letting up, as I noticed the car moving in a way it shouldn't.

"Honey, HonEY, HONey..."  

The truck began spinning.  We were in the far left lane of a three lane highway.  

It was like the tea cup ride at the carnival.  You could feel forces beyond your control pulling and pushing you.  All I could do was hold onto the wheel.  I'm not even sure I screamed or had my eyes open.  

And we spun.  And spun.  And spun.  Until.  

We stopped.  

The guard rail on the opposite side of the highway stopped us.  Facing the right way.  Fully intact.  All of us.

I'm pretty sure I was panting and saying something about Abby being ok. Being in the center of the vehicle some force kept her right where she was.  She looked at me with sleepy eyes.  Then I remembered the little life growing inside of me.  I felt the baby move and almost broke down into tears.

The Hubs calmed me down and his instincts set in.  He said we needed to move.  We couldn't stay on the side of the road in this weather with all those car and semi-trucks on the road. (Later, as we marveled at how we spun across those three lanes without hitting anyone, he would tell me that he could see several headlights coming our way.)  He said I would need to drive, because there was no room for him to switch with me.  

And we moved.  I put on my hazards and slowly rode the narrow shoulder until I could pull out into traffic.  We got off at the next exit and pulled into a gas station.  There were numerous hugs, a few nervous laughs and a quick check of the vehicle before we were calm enough to think rationally.  The extent of the damage:  one lost license plate and the tailgate was a bit shoved over.  

We called my family who happened to be nearby and someone came to help make sure we got home ok.  I had called my doctor and they needed me to come to the hospital, just in case.  I was fine, a little dehydrated, but the baby was great.  I asked the nurse to let the sound of the heartbeat stay on for a while.  I reveled in it's amazing strength after such an ordeal.  It didn't know what had happened.  It didn't know how the Lord's hand had guided our truck across those lanes, missing all the possibilities for more danger and land us safely on the other side, facing forward, still running, as if I had parked it there, ready for the next move.  

I'm thinking of this memory today because we are driving out of town tonight.  Most likely in some strong rain and storms.  Although my panic has gradually settled over time, I still feel great fear when the rains come down hard as we drive.  Ask any of my family members and they each have a story about my fear of driving in the rain.  

So, tonight as you say your prayers with your family, please include us.  Traveling mercies for three family vans, going the distance overnight, intending to find our way to the ocean by tomorrow afternoon.  I usually don't like to advertise our absence from home, but we will be gone (with no computer access), so pray for us tonight and come back to visit in a week or so.  I'm sure to have great stories to tell, pictures to show and laughs to share.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

I come from a long line of refrigerator door decorators. Pictures, magnets and assorted homemade items have long adorned the front of our family's frig.

Soon we had little ones who have toys like these:



so we needed additional help.

An idea to keep those small magnets from playing hide and seek under your refrigerator or from completely taking over your largest "photo album," try this.

Put all the pieces on a cookie sheet like this:


When not is use, put the cookie sheet in a nearby cabinet. It's slim shape will store nicely on top of whatever nicely organized chaos you keep in your cabinets (ours goes in the "tupperware" cabinet...oh boy, there's a reason for a WFMW post, help anyone?)

The only trick might be convincing your children to put them back on the sheet each time, but practice makes perfect, or at least something relatively close.


Hope this helps someone out there. For more great ideas, visit Shannon!

Lost and FOUND!

After a rigorous search of the premises, one "Blankie" was found in a secret hiding spot. Said Blankie's discovery was met with rejoicing, dancing and screaming. Most happy of all was the Blankie's owner, a sweet little girl who now vows never to hide her Blankie again. Another joyous party was the little girl's mother whose sigh of relief at knowing the comfort her daughter finds in this holey lovey is safely back, was heard from here to Texas.

Welcome back, Blankie, welcome back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MIA~ The Blankie

Ellie's dear Blankie is lost.  Seriously lost.  I have looked everywhere.  The holey bundle of love and comfort has apparently sprouted legs and run off with a pillow.  We leave for a trip soon.  Here's hoping we either find her (oh, yes, she has a gender), or we can easily substitute her for another warm and fuzzy object.  

Blankie....come out, come out, wherever you are!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Baby one day, Big boy the next

First haircut

BEFORE:



AFTER:




**sigh**




Super Sunday

We sure know how to pack it in.

The Hubs and Josh went with to my brother's work where they were having a large picnic to celebrate 50 years. It was big boy's toys to the max. They climbed on the big tractors, saw where they were built, and even marveled in the massive power of one powerful crane that smashed a few cars to bits. The boys enjoyed a great grilled lunch and polished it off with cotton candy.

I took Ellie and Owen to a local path with some friends for a lazy Sunday afternoon bike ride. Lazy?... My left toe. It was a stellar example of how I am so out of shape. Pitifully. My dear friends were quite understanding and even stayed back and rode the slow lane with me. Of course, I was using every excuse in the book (...I'm pulling about 50 pounds of children behind me...), but in the end, the truth stands and I barely made the 6 mile path. On a bike. In the low gears. "Granny gears." I am very appreciative of my friends who were encouraging despite my complaining (I tried not to, but those hills! Ant hills? No, but close). I found myself floundering at one point when a little voice behind me said, "You can do it, Mom." Ah, a second wind. Inflated by the eternal hope of that my daughter had in me to get her home, I pedaled. I focused. And I did make it. Barely. But I did. We did. (I wish I had pictures to show. There were cuties in bike trailers and it was a gorgeous day...next time.)

All in all, it was a very busy day, and super family fun ensued. Josh (and the Hubs) was quite impressed with the strength of machines, and I was just as affected by the power of my daughter's hope.