Monday, June 30, 2008

Birthdays & Imaginations!

Around here, we celebrate birthdays daily. Calvin is especially so excited about birthdays that he chooses someone nearly every day to be the recipient of a birthday singing, a cake, and a present. Yesterday it was Nana - he sang to her and gave her a Monster's Inc. book. It's adorable and I love that he is so in to it! I think that means that his birthday was special. :)

Imaginations are always at work around here. Patrick is having lots of food conversations (between the various foods on his plate) - very funny! They also pretend to be animals, monsters, firefighters, and cowboys. Oh and Calvin pretended to be me one day. :) They make their little people and cars talk (we've had numerous conversations about how cars don't have feelings or houses like people - the Cars movie has them a little confused :)). It's delightful to see them develop their creativity!

Planning for Another Week at Home

I was desperately hoping to plan some fun outings for the boys this week since we've been cooped up for a couple of weeks... Wouldn't you know that Patrick woke up sick this morning with a runny nose, cough, and sore throat. He gets the juiciest, grossest colds - eyes and nose just drip and he is not good at blowing. Ugh. This cold is lasting at least 5-7 days. The boys are going stir crazy and so is this mama.

So here are my hopefully fun, stay-at-home ideas for this week:
Finger Paint
Make a Fort
Put up their Tent in the backyard
Decorate Cookies (only the ones they will eat themselves :))
Make Construction Paper Flags (they are really into flags!)
Sidewalk Chalk
Have a Picnic in the backyard
Make Snack Mix
Do a Photo Shoot (okay this may be more fun for me than them :))

Here is my not-so-fun list for this week:
Vacuum & Dust
Clean Bathrooms
Mop Kitchen
Clean Our Bedroom & Boys' Bedroom
Go through Toys again - sort and donate
Organize Pantry & Kitchen
Donate More Things!

And here are my more fun things:
Finish 2 books
Have a Date-Night-In
Work on Blog
Plan Patrick's Birthday
Plan 2 Bridal Showers
Plan 1 Wedding Favor - What do you think, edible or not? I'm leaning towards the former.
Work on Menu & Cost for 1 Wedding Reception

It sounds like a lot and likely everything won't get done (I'm way behind from being out of commission) but at least I have an idea of what needs started. Hopefully we will be well enough to enjoy our 4th of July plans - Brownsburg Parade and Conner Prairie! I'm praying Andrew stays healthy. What's on your agenda this week?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What's for Dinner!

Well, last week wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either. I'll be carrying over two meals to this week and hopefully we'll get to enjoy them! For the 4th, we will be enjoying the celebration at a local living history museum and then taking a picnic supper out to an outdoor concert & fireworks with my in-laws. Andrew will be working late a couple of a couple of nights will be easy things. We'll see how it goes. :) I'm planning by day this week.

MONDAY: Bean & Cheese Burritos, Carrots, Yogurt
TUESDAY: Spaghetti, Homemade Breadsticks, Salad
WEDNESDAY: Grilled Steak & Spinach Salad w/balsamic vinaigrette, Fruit
THURSDAY: Eggs, Toast, Fruit
FRIDAY: Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches, Fruit Skewers, Cheese Cubes, Veggies & Dip, Salt & Vinegar and Jalapeno Chips, Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza (I'll make it like an American Flag w/blueberries & strawberries)
SATURDAY: Bacon Cheddar Burgers w/the works, Oven Fries, Strawberries
SUNDAY: Leftovers

So that's the plan. Hopefully I'll make it to the Farmer's Market and a few things may change accordingly. What are you having this week? Check out (actually Heavenly Homemakers is hosting this week!) for more menu plans. Happy Indepence Day!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How Much?

I sometimes wonder how much one family can handle. This morning we got a call that Andrew's Uncle was in an accident early this morning and died. He is the son of Andrew's grandparents (brother of my father-in-law) who both passed away a couple of months ago. I can't quite wrap my mind around the fact that Merle, too, has now gone.

Uncle Merle was always one of my favorites. He made me feel welcome in the family from day one. He was funny, kind, and always real. He didn't expect people to be a certain way, he just liked you no matter what. He was a faithful reader of our blog and nearly every week he sent us some of the most hilarious e-mail forwards. This past March, he met our boys for the first time and he was so pleased. He was quiet and unassuming but very obviously devoted to his family. I'll miss those forwards, I'll miss seeing him - his twinkling eyes, cowboy boots, and leather coat, and I'll miss knowing that he's checking in on us here in blogland.

Please pray for the family. He leaves behind children and grandchildren. His youngest son just finished his freshman year in college. I can't imagine.

In honor of Uncle Merle, I'm going to take a couple days off blogging. I'm also quite sick and need a break. I've posted a poll to the right - please feel free to vote. The blog is headed under construction in the next few weeks and I would love some feedback.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moms Aren't Supposed to Get Sick

You know how sometimes you have to choose between laughing and crying - I'm choosing to laugh. :) It's been a tough couple of weeks recovering from my herniated disk and literally the day I started feeling back to normal, I came down with a cold. Calvin and I are both sick with runny noses, coughing, sore throats, and tiredness. Patrick by all attitude and action indications is also getting sick. This morning the following things have taken place:

Patrick (wailing as only he can): Calvin, I want the Piston Cup. MOMMY....MOMMY....(insert sobs)
Me: I don't like the way you are complaining and crying. Why don't you try trading with Calvin.
Patrick (offers Calvin a tractor): Here Calvin.
Me: Calvin, Patrick would like to trade with you. Can you give him one of the cars you have? He would like the Piston Cup car. (Calvin quietly hands Patrick a black car with a broken but fixable spoiler). Okay Patrick, this is the one he is willing to trade you.
Patrick (again wailing): Mommy, I don't want the broken car. (Calvin then dumped all his cars on the floor for Patrick and only took back the broken car)
Me: Look Patrick, Calvin gave you the Piston Cup car and all the other cars.
Patrick (wailing & sobbing): I don't want the Piston Cup, I want the broken car...

No one, no one can win in this situation and an early nap time was the solution. Calvin remained silent throughout the entire interchange.

Calvin (crying in the family room): I don't want to eat.
Me (picked him up and carried him into the kitchen): Would you like a muffin? (already on the lunch menu)
Calvin: Yes.
The end. Lunch was eaten by all. :)

We have enjoyed numerous slow-motion fits on the floor for any number of small offenses, minor injuries, or unacceptable responses from mom like "No more crackers, we are going to eat lunch soon." They are careful to make sure I am watching them display their displeasure. I have found that ignoring is the best policy today or just picking them up and hugging them. They just don't feel good and they don't know what to do with themselves. We have enjoyed some cuddle time and books and right now, they are actually playing together nicely. Ah, the sound of peace - a tenuous sound under the current circumstances. :) Both had morning rest times and all of us will have naps this afternoon. Sweet rest.

So, I'm laughing inwardly at the ridiculousness of what is making them upset - it's good medicine and sure beats the alternative. Grace is good and I'm thankful for it today.

Date Night In

My husband and I struggle to actually have date nights. Between schedules, sitters, and cost, it's just tough but we know it's important!

So last night, we decided to feed the boys and play with them for a little while before putting them to bed. While Andrew started to get them ready for bed, I began our dinner (grilled chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans, salad, and cheesecake w/strawberries). After tucking the boys in, we enjoyed a leisurely semi-gourmet dinner with uninterrupted conversation out on the deck. We finished the evening with a new movie.

So we had dinner and a movie without ever leaving - it was wonderful and cheap! We felt as relaxed and rested (if not more so!) as when we go out. We are going to *try* and do this more often! It totally works for me! For more ideas visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nana & Papa

The boys have such a blast hanging out with Nana & Papa! We had the rare treat of joining them mid-week for dinner last week when Andrew was working late. What fun and I was able to capture some cute pictures!

Patrick was king of the living room and wanted everyone to do things his way. :)

Calvin was obsessed with napkins and ears that night... :)

I think they were all laughing as I tried to get them all to look at the camera at the same time - this was the best I could do. :)

Grandma & Rex

We enjoyed an evening at Andrew's parents last week! Grandpa had to go back to work after dinner but the boys spent some time playing with Grandma & Rex (their dog). Rex is the most patient dog I know - he loves the boys and the boys love him (especially Calvin!). They had a great time!


Pippi often misses out on being featured here on this blog but she is a loved member of our family. So here she is...our beautiful, affectionate, smart min pin. (She was totally posing for pictures the other day. :))

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bake Day!

Despite still feeling rather sick from the medicine of last week (hopefully it will clear my system soon), I decided to bake today. And in the interest of energy efficiency, I made a few things before turning the oven off for the day. First up was granola - I modified a recipe and posted my version here. I'm disappointed that it's not as crispy as I would like but it tastes really good! Then I made Chocolate Chip Almond Muesli Cookies only with cashew butter and white chocolate so I guess they are White Chocolate Cashew Muesli Cookies. :) Finally, I threw together some blueberry muffins. It's been awhile since I baked and this will last us for the week and probably a little more! The boys had a great time helping especially with the granola. All in all, a productive morning.

Trash to Treasure

Yesterday as we were driving home from church, we saw a kitchen table with the trash pile at a recently sold house. We stopped to look at it and realized it was not only in great condition but that it went with the chairs we already have. A kitchen table has been on our list of needed things (ours seats 4 but had no room to put anything on it other than place settings) but it had plummeted to the bottom of the list as we made do. This table is at least half again as big, seats 6, and is sturdier than our previous one. We have been blessed twice with kitchen tables (our previous one was also free) and we are rejoicing in God's gift! It's amazing to see how even the seemingly insignificant things in our life don't escape God's notice and provision. A good reminder and one that will be constantly before us as we share meals around our new-to-us table.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meals, Meals

I love to cook and create but lately, I've really just been wanting things that use fresh ingredients, simple techniques, and little time. So in that vein, this week will feature the grill, salads, and fruit. If the weather is nice, we will probably eat out on the deck most nights. So here's the plan:

Grilled Chicken, Zucchini, & Potatoes, Melon
Pesto Pasta, Salad, Strawberries
Vegetarian Pizza, Carrots, Melon
Bacon & Cheddar Burgers, Slaw, Fruit Salad
Grilled Steak & Spinach Salad w/balsamic vinagrette, Cherries

I'm going to stick with five meals this week - we will be going out with friends on Saturday night. I made this black bean couscous salad and we really liked it this week - I'll be eating leftovers of it for lunch this week. :) We will also enjoy a cheesecake I made for a luncheon but it didn't have enough time to chill so we did plan B - Andrew is happy about that since we don't have dessert very often!
A trip or two to the farmer's market are in the plans for this week. I'm hoping to try at least one new market and the menu may be modified based on our finds. As always, thanks to Laura for hosting MPM every week. Feel free to leave ideas, ask questions, give recipes or check out my recipe blog! Have a great week!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Look

This has been an incredibly long week! They come every once in awhile. :) Anyway, earlier this week I was bored (and awake - see here) and decided to give the blog a new look. I was feeling pink so pink it is. It feels girly and feminine which I think I must have needed this week. I have Adobe Photoshop and really hope to design a completely new look but I think I need a tutorial. :) Maybe one of these days, I will sit down and figure it all out. In the mean time, I hope you don't mind pink and if you do, tough! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Little Random

First up, Calvin had a cardiology appointment today - I posted the report here! Also, he will begin his speech therapy with his new therapist tomorrow! I'm praying this will be a smooth transition for him and he will be okay going back by himself for therapy.

Now, on with my real post, do you ever struggle with feeling completely inadequate as a wife, mother, friend etc.? This has been an interesting week. I've not felt like myself at all...I'll blame it on the medicine as it is the only new variable. :) I'm tired but struggle to sleep. I'm trying to be patient and kind and loving but finding it difficult. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. Today was my last dose of Prednisone and I am doing better. I've opted to wait on the MRI at this time but it will be the next step if things don't resolve satisfactorily in the next week. I will not be working tomorrow to allow more time for healing.
Oh and my feeling of inadequacy is definitely not all related to this week. Sometimes I just struggle with feeling like nothing ever gets done. I clean but it's undone in about 2.1 seconds :), I do laundry only to have it stack up immediately, I make meals but struggle to get all the dishes done, and I sort papers like they're going out of style but there is no end in sight. I'm not really looking for perfection :) - I will never find it. I just would like more organization. I do NOT do well in chaos and clutter. I find it discouraging, unmotivating, and generally depressing. I like things to look nice, I want our home to be a haven for my husband and children (though it certainly doesn't bother them like it does me! :)). Maybe one of these days I'll get it together. Until then, I'm trying to not let it cloud my life but rather to nurture, love and spend time with the most important people in my life - I know that this is what God desires of me.

One final note, we were given Andrew's grandfather's old washer and it has been succesfully installed. Laundry will be on the agenda for tomorrow! Here's to hoping it works!

Calvin's Heart

This sweet boy got an absolutely clean bill of health from his cardiologist today! No murmur and the EKG looked normal! He will not need to see the cardiologist again unless someone hears something abnormal. We first blogged about his heart here and here. We are so thankful for the great report! He was (as he almost always is) a trooper for the appointment - it brings tears to my eyes when I see how incredibly strong and brave he is. What a blessing!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

They Love Their Icecream!

They made sure there wasn't a drop left in the icecream bucket! I firmly believe popsicles and icecream should be enjoyed to the fullest by all ages during the summer - they completely agree! :)
Okay, my waistline doesn't actually agree with the above belief so I limit my consumption but it's still a fun plan and hopefully makes for a memorable childhood. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Review

I've been so excited to review this book! One of my friends showed it to me a few months ago and I just recently got my hands on a copy - Andrew gave it to me for my birthday! How to Cook Without a Book, by: Pam Anderson is a thoughtful, helpful cookbook that every cook should have.

To summarize this book in one word: EMPOWERING! It is an amazingly complete book that I can't seem to put down. It's full of wonderful techniques and great formulas. Each chapter deals with a different topic but builds into a cohesive book about cooking - how-tos, what to buy, substitutions, recipes etc.

It starts with a list of suggested things to keep stocked in your pantry - a list that makes good food accessible and quick any night of the week. The author includes basic foods like salads & dressings and then progresses to Asian food, sauteing (all kinds of meats!), ravioli, appetizers, vegetables, desserts, etc. The beginning of every chapter starts with a rhyme - a rhyme introducing the technique. And for those of you that prefer written recipes, she includes those in every chapter as well. I just love that you have a basic formula to customize according to your taste.

This book makes me feel like anything is possible. I feel empowered to try new techniques, to make even more from scratch, and to attempt food that I never dreamed was so easy. It's definitely going to be a book I come back to again and again - well, hopefully I'll be able to memorize many of the formulas and not have to even use the book (as the title inspires!). I found her style easy to read and the information at the opening of each chapter to be invaluable. I really just devoured this book - it was hard to put down! Some of it was not necessarily new, some of it was a good refresher course, and a lot of it was a new way of thinking.

I highly recommend this book for any amateur or seasoned cook. It makes a perfect shower gift or a wonderful addition to your own cookbook library.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kazapalooza Slideshow - Cross-posted!

Make photo slide shows at

Sadly, our camera batteries died between Friday Night and Saturday Lunch so I mostly have pictures of our family after we bought replacements. Hopfully we will get lots more pictures from other people! Calvin had his face painted like a tiger at the Saturday luncheon and he was so proud of it - Andrew took pictures on his phone but alas, we can't get them off. Hope you enjoy these pictures anyway and I'll add more if I get more!

Kazapalooza Slideshow

Make photo slide shows at

Sadly, our camera batteries died between Friday Night and Saturday Lunch so I mostly have pictures of our family after we bought replacements. Hopfully we will get lots more pictures from other people! Calvin had his face painted like a tiger at the Saturday luncheon and he was so proud of it - Andrew took pictures on his phone but alas, we can't get them off. Hope you enjoy these pictures anyway and I'll add more if I get more!

Weekend Pictures of the Boys

Happy Father's Day

We are a blessed family to have Andrew as our leader. His constant love for our sons is amazing. He is quick to suggest Daddy-time and surprises the boys with occasional trips to the donut shop on Saturday mornings. He patiently lets them help work in the yard and around the house but spends an equal amount of time wrestling with them and just letting them be boys. One of their favorite times of day is when Daddy gets home. Despite a busy career that often includes evenings, Andrew makes the most of the time he is able to spend with us. He often gets up with the boys and gives them breakfast so he can visit with them before heading off to work. We are so thankful for him!

Here is what the boys have to say about their Dad -

Patrick: I like to play with him and watch a movie with him. I like to play dump trucks with him. Eat pizza with him. Go outside. I love you.

Calvin: Daddy is at work. Watch tv with Daddy. Play with dump truck. I like to hug Daddy and play soccer ball. Bye-bye. Thank you, I love you, Daddy.

I knew when we married that he would be a great dad and I looked forward to God calling us to parenthood. Through everything, he has been a faithful and loving father and husband. He has insisted on being at doctor's appointments, surgeries, and other appointments and has been totally hands-on. I couldn't ask for a better partner on this journey we call parenthood and I wouldn't want to be on it with anyone else. Happy Father's Day (a day late! :))

Sunday, June 15, 2008


We had a wonderful weekend (pictures to follow!). Other than having trouble sleeping, a little nausea and feeling a little jittery, Prednisone works wonders! I'm not 100% but hopefully on the mend. My lower arm and wrist are still swelling some in the evenings which makes me wonder if I'm having tendinitis on top of the possible hernia. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers!

I realized I must truly be a foodie. We ate at two AWESOME restaurants this weekend and I measured part of the weekend on how great the food was. :) I will review the restaurants in another post this week just in case you happen to be in Chicago or you happen to decide that they sound so good, you'll drive for food. :)

No really, it was fantastic to meet so many families that have had the same life-changing experience. As much as we try to explain it to people, we just can't. It is an experience that cannot be fully described but it was apparent that we had all left a piece of our hearts in Kazakhstan. For our part, we will never be the same. We are blessed beyond belief but we will never forget the many children left in the orphanages. And our love and passion for adoption was impacted exponentially!

The families travelled from all over the U.S. and even Canada! There were families that have been home for many years and some who have come home in the past six months, some have adopted one, some have adopted two at a time (like us!), some have adopted two times from Kaz, some have other adopted children from other countries or the U.S., some have biological children (or are expecting them), some stayed for a long time in Kazakhstan, and some for less time. ALL love their children and are blessed. ALL were impacted by their time in Kazakhstan. ALL had the cutest kids in the world. :)

Truly, the children were beautiful and happy and loved! Our boys enjoyed making new friends who share a common birth country. We know this will mean even more to them when they are older but we want to establish these relationships early!

We are blessed. We look forward to next year's Kazapalooza! More to come...

Menu Plan

This week will be mostly the kids and me. :) Andrew has a couple of meetings and big projects at work - we will maybe have one meal during the week together. Also, my brother will be staying with for this week and possibly more! He is flooded out of his room at my parents. So he may be here a couple of nights for dinner. Needless to say, it will be simple week. The boys and I may go to my parents one night and we have a birthday party on Friday evening. We are planning a family night on Saturday to kick-off our local outdoor concert season! We also have a church potluck on Sunday. So I'm going to stick with just five meals plans.

Quesadillas, Applesauce or Fruit
Pizza, Veggies, Jello Jigglers
Eggs, Grits, Bacon or Sausage, Fruit
Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Chips, Cheese, Vegetables, Fruit, Cookies (our picnic supper!)
Veggie Pizza, Fruit Salad, Brownies (church potluck)

Sorry it's such a boring week! Check out for more menu plans - probably much more interesting! New recipes next week, I promise. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

News - Kind Of

I saw two doctors this morning (chiropractor and md) who both think it may be a herniated disk in my neck. Neither one know why my hand, wrist, and forearm are so swollen. I've started on Prednisone and hopefully I will feel better in the next couple of days - if not, I will have an MRI. It's all a little scary. The good news is that they don't think it's a blood clot - my circulation seems fine. All this, in the midst of our insurance change - yay, or definitely not. I'm praying that it will heal and there will be no further complications. I will call the doctor on Monday to let him know how I'm feeling and I will also see the chiropractor again on Monday. In the mean time, we are headed out of town. I'm hoping and praying the pain will decrease and I will be able to enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I have done something to my right hand, wrist, and arm which has been worsening all week. I'm not sure if it is tendinitis (it's been years since I had a flare-up) or a sprain or what but it's painful and I'm limiting my use of it to allow it to heal. Today it's to the point that I called into work for tomorrow, plan to see a doctor, have it wrapped, am putting ice on it periodically, and I'm taking an anti-inflammatory. I have a history with this arm but I'm hoping this is not a recurrence of past problems - it's been really good for a number years. So, I'm going to be avoiding typing for the next several days and other repetitive things. See ya when I get back!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Lightening struck on our deck Monday night - a black, burned area indicates so. It hit 6 inches from the door and 2 inches from the grill's propane tank - 2 inches, people! We are so thankful for God's protection. Wow. That could have been so bad.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Too Long

I've been doing a horrible job of taking pictures and updating this blog! I really need to take some pictures and videos of:

- Calvin playing the guitar, dancing, and singing.
- Patrick making his hot dog talk to his ketchup.
- Calvin being a monster - this is constant these days.
- Patrick driving in his car.
- Both boys making their chairs, play set, etc. into vehicles - today is was a garbage truck.
- Lots and lots of talking.
- Swimming - they are total waterbugs.

It's a delight to see imaginations at work. They come up with some very funny things!


Can I just vent for a moment? I'm so frustrated with insurance companies. We are trying to change plans - mainly because of astronomical costs, increased out-of-pocket expense with not the greatest coverage. The sad part, we cannot get independent insurance for Calvin. They refuse him based on his cleft. I find it utterly horrifying that people with disabilities and illnesses cannot get coverage outside of their company. And this is a child!!! We've explained that we are using Shriner's Hospital and that the insurance will not be billed but they are worried we might change our mind. We would be happy to sign an agreement that they won't cover any cleft surgeries or related complications. So irritating! Hopefully it will work out and we will be able to just leave Calvin on Andrew's plan (with Andrew, of course) but they aren't sure if we can even do that. It's just been a frustrating morning. End rant, for now. :)
**UPDATED: We are all insured - praise the Lord! It worked out for Calvin to stay on Andrew's work plan and Patrick and me to be on the independent plan. We are thankful that it will cut our monthly premiums in half!**


10-12 loads of laundry done yesterday.
Washer hopefully arriving this week.
Short night - kids up all the time.
Calvin missing in the night.
Asleep on the floor in our bedroom doorway.
Much to do.

To-Do List for Today:
Finish folding laundry.
Put away massive amount of laundry.
Keep kids occupied and happy.
Protect the dog from said kids.
Put together donation bags for weekend.
Finish hygiene donation to deliver to Two Hearts.
Pack bags for the weekend.
Talk to insurance people.
Make doctor's appointments.
Clean bathrooms.
Make dinner.
Have a pedicure w/mom - a way overdue gift.

Yeah, I probably won't get a real blog post written today. :) Maybe tomorrow. Laundry is finally caught up after doing only the bare necessities over the past few weeks. Lots of towels, sheets, etc. No fun. Onward and upward. Coffee is a must. Pedicure will be a sweet end to the day. What's on your agenda?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

This Week's Meals

It's here again...the beginning of another week. :) We will be headed out of town for the weekend on Friday afternoon so we will just have 4 dinners this week. I'll enjoy the break! So here's the plan:

- Salad topped w/Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken, Breadsticks (using my pizza dough recipe brushed w/olive oil and sprinkled w/parmesan cheese)

- Grilled Hot Dogs (I buy the nitrate-free ones at Costco), Baked Beans, Fruit

- Tofu Lo-Mein (using a recipe from a book I'm planning to review soon!), Fruit

- Mexican Lasagna, Corn, Chips & Salsa

Well, that's about it! Hopefully I'll get a chance to add several recipes to my recipe blog this week - we'll see. Check out for more plans or to post your menu plan. And as always, feel free to leave questions, ideas, recipes, or your own meal ideas. Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I know, a post on the weather is rather boring but hear me out. :) This has been the coldest, wettest, spring I remember. It has rained so much that I think we've maybe had our sprinkler on once for the garden. It is so dreary.

We've had several quite severe storms and our children don't sleep particularly well through them which means we don't either. Last night, Patrick said amidst tears, "No more thunder." We've too often been hearing the pitter-patter of feet as they run to our room and jump in our bed (thank goodness for king size beds) but then Calvin doesn't sleep at all. And while they are so sweet and we are so glad they feel safe and protected with us, we are tired.

Today, I braved the weather and headed out to some neighborhood garage sales with my good friend, Heather, and a couple of our sisters. We were soaked to the bone and cold but determined. The excursion was all the more memorable and fun because we spent the morning together - even taking a break for yummy waffles and hot drinks. It was worth it. My favorite find was a small cabinet/buffet for $5.

So, we are rained out. The roads are washed out in areas, people are being evacuated south of us due to flooding, and our yard is more than squishy. We are longing for sunshine and warmth. And we are longing for a night of sleep without interruption. Maybe next week?

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Couple More Wardrobe Thoughts & Questions

**For my 1 or 2 male readers, I apologize - this is definitely a girl-topic post.**

Is anyone else loving that long shorts are in this year? And that tops generally fit a little looser and are longer? I think it's great - not only does it hide the not-so-favorite figure areas but it's more modest and way easier to bend down to take care of the kids etc. Yay for fashion!

Another thing - a few of you mentioned undergarments being important and I totally agree! I find this to be absolutely the most frustrating thing to shop for. Any suggestions - brands, stores, etc.? It would also be great to find these things for a reasonable price - who really wants to pay $50 for something underneath?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wardrobe Must-Haves

I've been thinking about my personal style (or lack thereof :)) and thought about what things I really love to have in my wardrobe. These are a few things that give me that pick-me-up when I feel old, fat, tired or otherwise:) -

1) A great pair of jeans.
2) Dangly earings.
3) The perfect pair of heels.
4) A favorite white shirt and black shirt.
5) Bright pink nail polish.

I'm not really much of a dress or skirt person but having a couple that make me feel pretty and feminine is a must. I've found that the older I've gotten the more classic pieces are added to my wardrobe. Some things just aren't meant to be worn past age 21 and knowing that is a key to successful dressing. So, what things do you always like to have?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


**I found this post that I started in November and never finished. I was again challenged by this quote and decided to go ahead and publish it.**

We should determine, then, to recognize and acknowledge all the gifts of the Creator: the glory of the heavens and the earth, of mountain, river, and sea, of forest and flowers, of birds,beasts and butterflies, and of the intricate balance of the natural environment. We celebrate the unique privileges of our humanness (rational, moral, social, and spiritual), as we were created in God's image and appointed his stewards; the joys of gender, marriage, sex, children, parenthood and family life, and of our extended family and friends. We appreciate the rhythm of work and rest, of daily work as a means to cooperate with God and serve the common good, and of the Lord's day when we exchange work for worship; the blessings of peace, freedom, justice, and good government, and of food and drink, clothing and shelter; and our human creativity expressed in music, literature, painting, sculpture and drama, and in the skills and strengths displayed in sport.

-John Stott, Fighting the Good Fight

I appreciate the all-encompassing nature of this quote. And while I would contend that our work and everything we do should be a part of our daily worship of God, I think that Stott's point is that on the Lord's day we rest from our normal labor and join in corporate worship. It's amazing how acknowleding the Lord in every aspect of our lives, leads to gratitude and appreciation for Him as our Creator and Sustainer.

This is also a great reminder that all of our gifts and abilities are given to us by the Lord. I truly believe that He enjoys seeing us use the talents He has blessed us with - whether that is cooking, writing, playing sports, sewing, fill in the blank. I think really seeing our abilities as gifts from an all-wise God and as pleasing to Him, should challenge us to make the time to put them to good use!

Much more could be observed from this quote but I think I'll close here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Tribute

Well, I'm officially loving my new ride. It took months and years to be okay with a minivan but I'm more than okay with it - I LOVE it! And I'm willing to admit it! :)

The sad part of this change was saying goodbye to our Honda. We didn't know it would be such a sudden farewell. It really was not in good condition and was an automatic that we were having to drive as a manual :), it had no air conditioning, no radio, and a window that didn't close all the way... But it was my first car. I bought it 6 months out of hygiene school with only 69,000 miles on it. I bought it the week before Andrew proposed. That was way back in 2001 - the car was already 10 years old.

That car took us on our honeymoon, moved us to Florida & back as our only car, and has been with us through building our house and the blessed addition of our sons. We put nearly 100,000 miles on it. We have lots of great memories tied to that car and we will miss it.

Goodbye dear, old, faithful car. You witnessed the beginning of our lives together. You brought joy to our children when they saw Daddy coming home in his red car (yes, it became his :)). And you lasted until we were able to replace you - yes, you have been replaced but you will never be forgotten. Thank you for your years of service.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Birthday Fun!

This was truly one of my favorite birthdays! My kids were adorable about it being my birthday. Last night, I asked them if they knew what tomorrow was - Patrick reached up and touched my nose and said, "It's your birthday." I was so surprised! Calvin said, "Presents, Mama!!" Patrick then told me that they were giving me, "A movie (or mobie as he says) and M & M's." Calvin told me, "There's paper to rip." And they were right.

This morning I was awoken by the same great kids. :) After church, we came home and I started on meal stuff. When everyone started arriving, Calvin danced around the kitchen with his arms in the air singing, "Birthday party, birthday party!" When we finished eating, the boys decided it was time for presents. They were eager to help - Patrick opened a card and present for me and Calvin helped with unwrapping as well but he also confirmed who the presents were from. They were so cute about it. Calvin sang happy birthday when it was time for cake and Patrick looked on - he's a little nervous about singing publicly. :) This evening when the boys were playing outside, Calvin made me a sand cake and brought it to the deck. He was so proud. Patrick thought it was a great idea, so he made one, too. :)

All in all, a wonderful day spent with amazing people. I'm so blessed. I think this year will be an exciting one as I anticipate the big 3-0 next year. :)

Menu for this Week!

A true statement - menu planning does make me happy and it makes my family happy!

Today we invited my family (there were 16 of us!) over for my birthday and I cooked (with help from Noah & Liz) :) - I didn't clean up though and that's the best! I decided to do an appetizer buffet which was a lot of fun. It included mini burgers topped with fresh mozzerella, tomato, baby romaine, & balsamic mayo on soft rolls, garlic, chive, & cheese stuffed mushrooms, baked wontons, hummus & pita, baked brie w/apples, pears, and crackers, buffalo chicken tenders w/bleu cheese dipping sauce, fruit - strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, blueberries, and raspberries, and veggies & dip. My mom made a yummy cake filled with raspberry filing! It was such a fun day - I spent it with some of my favorite people and ate some of my favorite food. :)

My favorite things to make are brunch, appetizers, and desserts. I don't make any of them very often but they are so fun to plan and and beautiful to serve! What do you like to make?

Anyway, on with the plan for the week:
Salad w/chicken tenders and leftover bleu cheese dipping sauce, Rolls, Fruit
Eggs, Toast, Fruit or Yogurt
Pizza w/sausage, onions, & peppers, Veggies & dip, Watermelon
Lo-mein, Egg Rolls
Black Beans & Rice

Andrew and I will have a date night this week - a rare occurence, I can't wait! For more menu ideas visit Laura's site. Have a wonderful week and enjoy spending time with your family around the table - they say it is one of the best ways to build relationships!