Friday, February 26, 2010


Today, I'm hoping to feel well enough to attend the state homeschool convention. Yes, we are joining the ranks at least for next year. We have pretty much officially decided to homeschool kindergarten. I'm excited and nervous. We've considered different options and feel that this will be the best for our family. And I must note that this in no way reflects on our time at the boys' preschool - we have enjoyed that overall! We will take it one year at a time and I'm sure there will be days that we will take it one day a time.

We have been considering classical education for a few years and that is the route we have decided to go. We have found excellent classes and great curriculum. We look forward to connecting in the local homeschool community. I'm hoping from some great tips, inspiration, encouragment, and ideas at the convention. And even if I don't find that, I will enjoy looking at the curriculum in the exhibit hall. :)

It's been a tough decision for us. A decision that we have discussed since before we had kids. It's a personal decision and not a choice that we feel is right for everyone. We don't know if we will homeschool for one year or for many years. We just know that this is the right choice for our kids for right now.

We pray for grace, wisdom and patience as we venture into this homeschooling journey. It is not a decision that we take lightly but we trust it will bring great rewards and lots of joy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today I got a call that I had been hoping to receive for 15 brother-in-law has a job offer! I know the past year plus has been incredibly difficult. God has provided for them and given him various jobs but not in his field. Today, he got a job offer from a local company in his field. He accepted and starts in a little over a week. What a blessing. I'm rejoicing today! And his birthday is tomorrow - what a great birthday gift!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Down for the Count

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. What a winter this has been. Four of us are on antibiotics and the fifth will likely start tomorrow. We have strep (and ear infections for a couple). Nasty, nasty stuff. We feel absolutely awful. I keep hoping that each day will bring improvement but thus far we have felt progressively worse. It's frustrating - we are sick and tired of being sick. I think we need to thoroughly disinfect our house after this. All toothbrushes will go in the trash, all phones will be wiped down and all towels, sheets, and pillow cases will be thoroughly washed in hot water. We'll make it but we can't wait to be healthy again!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Diaper Error in Your Favor...

...collect 500 extra diapers. Yes, you read that right.

I recently ordered some disposable diapers online for what I considered a good deal. We really like our cloth diapers but do still use disposables on occasion. So, I waited for my order to arrive. It never did. I called the company ( and they were beyond nice. Seriously, I don't think I've ever had a customer service rep be so incredibly kind and apologetic. She re-sent the order and credited my account with $10 for my next order.

Two days later, they THREE BIG BOXES. I gasped and wondered if perhaps both orders had arrived (they had told me that could happen and just to keep them in that case) . But no. Instead it was large boxes instead of the jumbo packs I had ordered. I checked my order online and they had the wrong product listed with the price of what I had ordered. I called them company and explained the error and explained that I now had way more diapers than I had purchased. Their response, "It was our error. We will change it in the computer. You do not need to send them back." What?!

So we were blessed with many more diapers than we ordered and for the moment, we put cloth diapering on hold. Life has been crazy enough. :) Oh and I would definitely do business with again. They were awesome!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh Boys

I've written before about being the mom of boys. It's an adventure. Every.Single.Day. :) I love it and I find it challenging. Our boys are good friends which can work against us as they defend one another, cover for each other, and...well, you get the idea.

Yesterday morning, Titus was out of our sight for just a minute or two and in that minute or two, he emerged with a bald spot on top of his head. Yes, his hair was cut. We are unclear on the details - both of his older brothers initially denied having any part in the hair while Titus took full blame for cutting his own hair. His hands will reach that far (we checked). The more we pried, the more one denied and then finally the other admitted to cutting it. He is, however, the one who would tell us he did something even if he didn't and even if it would get him in trouble. So, in reality, we still don't really know what happened. We do know that Titus has a bald spot on top of his head and it looks awful. [Side note: I tried to take a picture of his head but he would have none of it. Sigh. These pictures are from before the incident.]

Oh my active, busy little boys. It's hard to get anything done because it really isn't safe to let them out of my sight. :) God certainly had a sense of humor when He gave me boys. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's amazing and they are such cute little protectors of their mom. :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Praising God

Too often I find myself limiting God in my mind and heart - a sad and unwise pattern. And God has been challenging me in the area of faith and trust. He is encouraging my heart, showing Himself always faithful, and convicting me of my sinful ways. It's hard, it's stretching, and it's necessary.

And so, I am in complete awe of the work God has done in raising every penny I needed for the mission trip to Kazakhstan - a mission trip that we have no doubt God has called our family to participate in through sending me. The money came in all different amounts, in many different ways, from unexpected places, and 25 % came from people I don't even know. I sat humbled as God provided - I genuinely could not have gone on on this trip without the support. To watch God provide $2,850 and to do so many days before the deadline was incredible! What a blessing!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the love and support. God is doing a great work - not just in this trip but in my own heart and life. I am profoundly thankful and once again, completely humbled.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

18 Months

*I had hoped to add a couple of pictures to this post but at this rate, he will be months older before I actually get a picture taken and published. Maybe I'll add them another day...or not...clearly blogging has been low on the priority list.*

Titus turned 18 months on Monday! Where has the time gone? I took him for his 18 month appointment yesterday. He remains on the small side - 10-20th percentaile (22 lbs. 15 oz. & 31 inches). As I've mentioned before, he communicates and understands well but does not say many words so we will be working on that for the next few months. I have a feeling that having brothers who speak for him isn't encouraging him to even try. Otherwise, he is right on track and healthy! He does have the start of an ear infection - unusual for him. We are going to start working on weaning him off his pacifier - he really only uses it when sleeping (or sleepy!) and teething. We'll see. I'm not in a huge hurry.

What a sweet blessing he is to our family. I still can't believe (and probably never will!) all that transpired to make him our son. Rarely does a day go by that I don't think of C. She is in my heart forever. So we celebrate the 18 beautiful and amazing months that Titus has been in our family - looking forward to watching our third sweet son continue to grow and develop!

Monday, February 15, 2010

And So We Celebrated

Yesterday was a low-key Valentine's Day. Our sweet boys wished us a happy Valentine's Day several times which totally melted me. We opted for a heart-shaped waffle lunch with a side of eggs (my whole stove is not functioning properly so we are limited to appliances :)). The boys were THRILLED. Patrick requested that we have them again soon. We spent a short time going around the table and talking about things we loved about each person - totally cute. Both boys were so adorable about the things they loved. A few examples:

P: I love it when I go shopping with Mommy.
C: I love that Titus makes me laugh.
P: I love that Daddy goes sledding with us.
C: I love that Patrick plays with me.
P: I love that Calvin plays with me.

Andrew brought me gorgeous roses on Friday and last night we enjoyed take-out Chinese and a quiet evening after the boys were down. Titus gifted us with only waking up once (it's been 6-12x/night with his teething). We picked cards for the boys and fully intended to get them each a matchbox car (their favorite thing ever!) but haven't had a chance to get them, yet. So they will have that surprise later in the week.

It was perfect for us. I think all of our "love tanks" were full. I know that I feel incredibly blessed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Project Cookie

Two weeks ago, I launched project Cookies for Kaz. I had no idea what the response would be or how it would work. Two weeks later, 44 dozen cookies have been ordered and 300 cookies sold at the highschool. How amazing! I'm not tired of cookies yet, though my oven is - it decided to stop working yesterday. It has been a fun (though an occasionally overwhelming) project. My mom and sister and husband have all pitched in and helped me with various things which has been great!

I'm planning to continue doing Cookies for Kaz until the end of the month. I'm getting so close to my goal which is absolutely thrilling! Thanks to those of you who have sent donations, bought cookies, and shopped at etsy - it's been such a blessing to watch God provide!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's Day

Call us boring or too practical or unromantic but we really don't do much to celebrate Valentine's Day. Perhaps it's because our anniversary is less than a month away. We try to enjoy date nights several times of year (and at least a couple at nicer restaurants) and I guess it just doesn't appeal to go out on the busiest weekend of the year. Often I cook a nice meal to be enjoyed after the kids are in bed, Andrew often suprises me with a sweet card or beautiful flowers but really, it's just not that important to us.

And so, I find myself at a loss. The boys are getting to an age that they understand holidays. They had a party at school and they know it's Valentine's Day. I feel we should do something for them to make that day special, but I'm not sure what. What do you do (if anything) to celebrate with your kids? Any ideas? We are making Valentine cookies and crafts today but I'm thinking of something special for the actual day.

I'm really not "bah humbug" about Valentine's Day, I enjoyed hosting a kids' party a c0uple of years ago and I do love my husband. :) We just really don't make it a big deal - if we celebrate, fine; if not, that's okay, too.

On another topic, I'm so excited that the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics are tonight! We are planning to let the boys stay up to see Kazakhstan come in with the parade of countries! What fun!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


When I think of the ultimate comfort meal that always reminds me of childhood, it's grilled cheese and tomato soup. I LOVE it! I like to dunk my sandwich in my soup and I really like to have my soup served in a mug.

With the snowy, cold days this week, we've had grilled cheese and tomato soup twice. I made the soup Tuesday for lunch and we had enough for lunch again yesterday. The boys passed on having the soup for the second time, which was fine (on a side note, Calvin has informed that he would like to have peanut butter and jelly for every meal, now). The warm, cheesy sandwich was perfect with the slightly spicy tomato basil soup. I think I could eat it again today. :)

These days, I often like to make grown-up grilled cheese with a variety of toppings. Over on The Cooks Next Door, I'm planning a post in a couple of weeks with a number of variations on the basic grilled cheese.

Comfort food has a way of bringing us back to childhood and of making us feel young again. Ah, grilled cheese and tomato soup, how I enjoy thee! What's your favorite comfort meal or food? Do you associate a memory with it?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sleeplessness & Lamb Part 2

Titus slept so badly last night, that he put himself down for a nap this morning. He and I had some quality hours of bonding last night and I have a feeling we are both going to feel it today. My sweet husband brought me coffee in an insulated travel mug, left it on my night stand, and let me sleep while he got the kids' breakfast and then settled them in before leaving for work. I'm not sure why Ty was so incredibly restless - could have been teeth or gas - he seemed uncomfortable.

I also wanted to re-visit the lamb post from last week (remember how much I love to eat lamb but didn't enjoy cooking it?!). Andrew's aunt wrote me the sweetest e-mail about lamb and I wanted to share part of it here (they raise lambs!) - she told me the reason it smelled so bad and how to reduce the smell. Anyway, I thought it might be helpful and perhaps encourage some of you to try it - it really is tasty!

So here it is:

The fat in lamb is what makes the smell. At room temperature, the fat is much more solid that either beef or pork. Ideally you would like to cook so that the grease all drains away from the meat. A leg of lamb roasted on a rack with a garlic salt rub is one of our favorite dishes for a special occasion. (Something in the garlic tends to counteract the grease.) Also lamb chops broiled or grilled with a seasoning salt is also tasty.

I don't enjoy using ground lamb as much as ground pork or beef, but when we butcher, there always is some ground. Try to cook it with garlic from the very beginning (don't wait until the meat is browned to add the seasoning), and try to cook in such a way that you can be draining the grease off frequently. When I do use it in stews, etc, barley is a good combination in addition to the vegetables rather than potatoes or rice.

I know that you purchased locally, so if you do buy again, ask how old the lamb was at slaughter time. The distinctive lamb smell grows stronger as they age, so under 6 months is ideal, 6 months to a year is still considered lamb, and over a year it really is mutton (which is what my dad's generation remember getting during WWII and is offensive to many).

Thanks for the helpful ideas and information!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snow Day

The snow is falling. It's beautiful! My sister and her husband came to spend the night in hopes that we could all stay in and enjoy. However, Liz and I have a snow day while the guys had to go to work. Andrew is mailing packages on his way which I appreciate so much! He had a very late start in after debating if he should try or not. Our neighborhood (as I've mentioned before), is always very bad. There were 341 closings in the area including the boys' school. Liz's store is not opening either.

We have games, movies, and fun planned for the day. And there will definitely be some sledding on the hill behind us later today! On a side note, I searched and searched for sleds and everywhere was sold out. We settled with borrowing a couple from my brother.

I'm planning grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch and homemade pizzas for dinner. We have plenty of cookies and even some avacados to make guacomole. Maybe a bowl of carmel corn for a movie tonight? Sounds blissful.

The boys have Valentines to work on which will excite them to no end! Titus seems to be feeling a little less grumpy this morning, which is a welcome change for all of us! :) The weather isn't supposed to be better until sometime tomorrow afternoon. Sounds like the recipe for a very perfect couple of days (well, if our husbands were here :)).

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Variety of Updates

It's been quite the weekend - from making dozens and dozens of cookies to a wonderful dinner with friends to a heartbreaking Superbowl loss.

Titus was running a fever yesterday but it was very short-lived and he seems fine other than the fact that he is teething and therefore, not sleeping well and feeling a little grumpy. Ah well, the joys of toddlerhood. :)

I'm still enjoying cookies, so I think that's a good sign... 31 dozen have been ordered and an additional 350 have been made for the local private highschool. I'm still taking orders! It's been such a blessing to see the support for this trip that we know God has called me to! I'm amazed and again, humbled. I'm getting closer and closer to my goal but still have a little way to go - you can check out Two Hearts for Hope or Heather's Etsy Store for other ways to contribute! I also very much ask for your prayers as we prepare to go - I have contemplated how emotional this trip will be and I know that despite being there before, I won't be fully prepared.

Through frustrating circumstances that I won't bore you with the details of, I had to get a new passport. I'm praying that it arrives this week or early next week at the latest. I will be incredibly relieved to have it in hand and then it will be off for my travel visa!

We enjoyed having 15 or so people here last night for a superbowl party. There was plenty of good food and drink which did NOT make up for the loss. :) The tenor of the party significantly changed with the interception and resulting TD. Yeah, not good. My little sister pointed out that the Saints had not won before so it was their turn - a comment which nearly got her kicked out as there were cries of, "Too soon, M!" :) We love her anyway. And we did still have a good time...

This week will be a bit slower - especially after tomorrow. We are due to have more snow tonight through Wednesday (5-9") - I'm hoping school will not be cancelled tomorrow as I have much to do!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Made It!

Wow. I don't know when it has felt this good to get to the end of the week. It's Friday - it's snowing, my husband is home (sad for him because he feels just awful), my kids are napping, I'm getting ready to rest, and I have enough ingredients to bake like crazy this weekend. We are expecting several inches of snow which will also mean that we will just enjoy being together and not go anywhere. Presentations and meetings are over - all went very well. We had a chance to visit with my cousins and aunt which was wonderful.

It's been a busy week, a full week. I don't think I've been in bed before 1 a.m. any night and had early mornings 3 out of 5. I'm ready to rest and do things at a slower pace.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thoughts on Success

As I sat in my meeting this morning and discussed dental products, instruments, methods, ideas, and plans, I couldn't help but feel excited. I made my list of the instruments (dental tools) that I will need, I asked questions, I compared different angulations, edges, and handles, and I knew what I was doing (for the most part :)). I've been a hygienist for almost 9 years and while methods, products, and recommendations change, alot stays the same. I feel confident in my decisions and overall, I understand the field.

I contemplated the feeling of confidence, of knowing, of understanding and realized that one of the reasons I like my job so much is that I feel generally successful. I don't mean material success or that I'm smarter than other people, I mean that I know what usually works, I know what to expect, and while I'm constantly learning, I'm an "expert" in an area. I know products and companies, I have good relationships with reps, patients, and co-workers, and I leave at the end of the day with an orderly operatory, paperwork done, and the schedule reviewed.

It's nice to go someplace and feel successful and to feel like you know what you are doing! Too often as a wife and mom, I feel like I fail. The house isn't as clean as I would like, I don't respond to my children in a loving manner, or I just feel completely overwhelmed. Each day is a new adventure and while that can be fun, it's also hard. Some stages are more challenging than others, some attitudes more difficult, and some days, I want to give up. As soon as I have a handle on something, it seems to change. There is no neat parenting package - my work is never done, my time is at a premium, and I often second guess myself and know I should have done some things differently.

Don't misunderstand, there are many successes, "aha" moments, lots of fun and laughter, wonderful memories, and great times but I will never be (or feel like) an expert in parenting. I will gain more wisdom, I will learn and experience so much but the reality is that every family, every child, every person is different. I would be foolish to think I have all the answers.

I wouldn't trade my imperfect and sometimes disorganized "job", my privilege and joy, of being a wife and mom. It's an amazing blessing. God is constantly teaching me and challenging me. And I also enjoy the other job that God has called me to - it's rewarding, too and it's in a much "neater" (I don't mean greater or cooler just more cut and dried) package. I like feeling successful every once in awhile but I really like coming home to my wonderful husband and beautiful sons who are always so loving and supportive!

Perhaps the measure of success isn't in our understanding or our expertise but rather the measure of success is in how we live our lives and honor God.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


I enjoy lamb. I've eaten it many times - particularly when travelling overseas. It is a meat that is common in our older boys culture and so, with all of that in mind, I bought some. I bought it from a local guy that raises grass-fed, organic lamb. I bought 1 lb. of ground lamb. And with great expectations, I decided to cook it last night. Wow, that was a first and most likely a last.

The smell, the smell, the smell. I could not handle it. I could not eat the Kazakh dish I had made. I could not get it off my hands. It permeated the kitchen and house. It was AWFUL - grassy, gamey, lamby, not good.

On the upside, my family all enjoyed the dish. Andrew assured me that it did not taste anything like it smelled. But try it? I could not. Maybe today I will try it. I spent the remainder of the evening feeling disgusting. I cannot think of any thing I have ever cooked or made that has this strong of an impact. Sigh, guess I'll just enjoy lamb when cooked by others.

Oh and I still have some browned in my fridge...I'm thinking of putting it in vegetable soup...perhaps it will not smell so much?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dreaming Big

One presentation down and 150 cookies made for the highschool. I'm SO tired today - hoping to rest a bit this afternoon but we'll see. :) And it doesn't have so much to do with those things as it does just not getting enough sleep. :)

Today, I have a fun question - what is your dream job/career? I don't mean what you are doing now, I mean pipe dream, that-would-be-awesome-but-probably-won't-happy kind of job.

I love, love being a wife, mom, and dental hygienist and I wouldn't trade those for the world. If I could have another job, I would open a lunch shop or bakery or dessert shop downtown. It would be a family affair - as in, I would want my kids and husband involved, too. I even have potential business partners who are awesome and amazing friends! It probably won't ever happen (though I'm not ruling it out down the road... :)) but it's fun to dream about! I imagine testing recipes, serving delicious food, getting good critic reviews, and having a beautiful place to do it all. And I imagine being able to use it to give back to the community and to support orphans, adoption, and foster care. In my head, it's perfect. In reality, I know it would be a tremendous amount of time and effort with probably not a lot of revenue at least in the beginning.

Anyway, I'm so enjoying making cookies this week. Most of the recipes are my own or adaptations of originals which makes them mine and I love that! It's so rewarding and I love bringing joy through cooking and baking.

So yes, back to my question: What is your dream job?

Monday, February 01, 2010

What A Week This Will Be

Can you believe it's February already? This week is going to be completely crazy! We have things planned every day which is a little unusual!

Monday - Bake, bake, bake! (A couple of friends are coming to play with the boys while I bake cookies!)

Tuesday - Speak to a preschool about an hour a way about dental health. Bake, Bake, Bake.

Wednesday - Deliver cookies to friends who are selling them at a local school. Lunch w/friends. Bake, Bake, Bake for a few deliveries.

Thursday - Big meeting for my new job.

Friday - Speak at preschool again for different group. Hopefully visit cousins while we're in the area.

Saturday - Bake, Bake, Bake. Dinner with friends.

It's going to be a full week! I'll be around and blogging some but if I'm a little absent, you'll know why. Well, I'm off to get the started!