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. 


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."


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

(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

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!


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


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!

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...


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.
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...

(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.