Saturday, September 27, 2008

Have you ever wondered if God really cares about all the minuscule details of your life? Have you ever wondered if he really knows each little emotion you are feeling? Although I do not think I have actively questioned either of these things, I did not completely understand the implications of his precise care for me until today.

Our adoption process has been one huge learning experience for me, and I am sure that it will continue to be so. Over the past five months, I have experienced every high and low emotion I can think of because of this process. When we first got started, I had two different people tell me that it would be a roller coaster ride, with highs, lows, and all points in between. Boy! Were they right! God has taught me to truly trust him. He has taught me much about what it really means to "let go and let God." He has shown me the meaning of the word sovereign. But what I learned today was that not only does he know my every need, no matter how tiny, but he anticipates my needs and is working on meeting them before I even know the need exists! This is so special to me, because as a wife and mom I feel like I am constantly anticipating the needs of my husband and children. I think that is good and right, but I have to admit that I sometimes feel neglected in this area. I have been known to throw a pity party or two, wallowing in the fact that I spend all my time anticipating their needs, yet they cannot seem to notice a single one of mine and meet it without me asking! What I learned (and am still learning, I'm sure) is that I was looking in the wrong place to have my needs anticipated and met without me asking. God has been doing this for me, and I haven't even noticed! How neglected he must feel!

As I posted a couple weeks ago, because of Hurricane Ike I did not go to Houston. Instead, I mailed my final document to Austin and decided that when it came back I would then make the call about whether to drive the complete dossier to Houston myself or hire a courier, mail the documents to the courier, and have them walk them into the Consulate for me. As this last week progressed, I knew the document would be returning from Austin soon and I began to get all my ducks in a row for Houston. The Consulate resumed their regular services on Wednesday, but I have been having more and more contractions and they are less and less related to my activity level. So I began looking at the courier more seriously. One thing I discovered was that the Consulate was scheduled to be closed October 1-3 for a Chinese national holiday. Well, this morning the doorbell rang at 8:30AM. Our document was back! After much initial elation, I began to do the math. "Send the dossier on Monday, courier receives it on Tuesday, they take it to the Consulate on Wednesday...Oh, wait! The consulate is closed on Wednesday. They couldn't take it until next Monday. Then, even if we pay for expedited service, it wouldn't be done until Tuesday, mailed back on Wednesday, and I wouldn't get it until Thursday. That's almost two weeks even with the rush fees!" So I talked to Jerry about how we could get it there sooner. Since I really cannot sit in the car that long anymore, or go that far from my doctor, he decided that if I felt strongly about it, he would leave Sunday morning around 4:00AM to drive it to my brother's house and still get home about the time we came home from church. Then my brother would have to take it to the Consulate Monday for the rush service. Since that plan hinged on my brother's ability to go to the Consulate first thing Monday morning (since he does have a job and all...) I called. He couldn't go Monday morning, but without even asking if my sister-in-law could, she yells in the background that she can do it! Then, my brother says, "Wait! I may be able to save Jerry the trip here." As it turns out, one of our friends is already driving down to Houston tomorrow to help my brother rebuild his fence, and he could drive the documents for us! He came by this evening and got them, and they will go to the Consulate Monday morning without us having to drive down, spend the money on gas to go down, spend the money on the courier, or wait for Fed Ex to do the driving for us! Then, if all goes as planned, the fully authenticated dossier will be back on its way to us overnight Tuesday and we will overnight it to our adoption agency after finishing a few little steps once it is back! The agency should have it by Friday morning!! I cannot believe it!

God knew that the hurricane was coming and I would not be able to take my trip as planned. He knew how long it would take to get the document back from Houston. He knew that the Consulate would be closed October 1-3. He knew that when I did the math, my heart would sink as I realized that there would be another two week delay. He had already planned for our friend to be headed down at the same time as we would need to go. He had already planned for this friend and my brother to take off from work during this next week to repair the fence. He even planned for my brother's insurance to come through and be ready with all the details for the fence repair to be able to occur this coming week! God anticipated that I would need this done faster than the courier would be able to do it, and he once again provided all the details to get it done. Isn't He great? He knows me so well, and rather than get upset with me for being so frail, He loves me enough to provide for me what I need.

I sure hope each and ever person I know and love is able to have this kind of experience, too. This is really a lesson that is better learned first hand!

We All Knew This Was Coming, Right?

Of course we all knew it would be Rachel, AKA "The Trouble Maker." She likes to pat my belly and say "There's a baby in there." Anywhere she thinks I look a little tubby (can you say love handles) she pats and says, "There's a baby in there."

Today, Del was sitting on the couch about to nod off for a nap when Rachel jumped up on the couch with him and started patting his belly. "Is there a baby in there?" I laughed so hard I snorted. That's my Rachel. Isn't she cute?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Since We're Talking About Homeschool...

I am very happy with my decision to purchase RightStart Math for my boys. They are doing really well with the manipulatives! It has been so much fun to get more insight into Ethan's brain and how it works. Ethan is they type of kid that you find yourself thinking, "What is going on inside that kid's head?" when you watch him for any length of time! He was speaking in complete sentences between 12 and 14 months. He knew all his colors in English and Spanish before he was two. He could count to 15 in English, Spanish, and German before he was two and a half. People would come up to me at church after working in the nursery and comment on how they couldn't believe what he knew! They would just sit and quiz him for fun! Now, lest you think he is too amazing, he has some major gaps, too. For example, he cannot for the life of him label things, "First, second, third..." or understand that nap is a short sleep in the middle of the day and not the same as night time after which comes a new day. Even the fact that we wear pj's for one and not the other doesn't help. He has absolutely no concept of yesterday and limited concept of tomorrow.

Anyway, I've gotten way off topic here... What I was getting at was that this program really stretches his thinking and gives me great insight into why the gaps exist where they do and what is really going on in there! Such as, he can do addition and subtraction word problems in his head with no problem, but really struggles with ordinal counting. Now I know better what to work on with him. Plus, he LOVES it. He wants to do "my math" as often as I will let him. Since he is only three, I am not doing it with him every day, but since starting it with him, I am already noticing an improvement in his small motor skills, which were way behind before we started. He has also learned left from right finally.

(please ignore the basket of laundry behind Ethan!)

Any math program that is greeted with this kind of enthusiasm is a keeper! His brother loves it, too, even though the lessons we are doing now are still very easy for him.

I just love that since I am homeschooling, I can make sure my kids are getting the instruction they need. I can skip over the basic color and shape instruction in most programs for three year olds, and I can spend extra time on the days of the week!

Homeschooling With They Might Be Giants

One of my favorite bands over the years was always They Might Be Giants. I don't listen to them so much anymore because they don't have lyrics that always line up with my Christian worldview. Still, it's a lot of fun to take a trip down memory lane and listen to some classics...alternative classics...from the late 80's/early 90's. Ha ha ha, that's funny.

Anyway, we are currently studying the early Middle Ages in history. This is the time when the Roman Empire was split into the Eastern and Western Roman Empire and Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. Do you know where I'm going with this yet?

Today Ella kept calling Constantinople Canterbury for some reason. I could not get her to stop referring to the capital of the Byzantine Empire as a small town in Britain. Then it occurred to me!!! Check it out.

She hasn't gotten it wrong since we listened to the song several times and she says she can't get the song out of her head. It's hilarious. I *love* homeschooling! I can't wait to study the sun in- depthly in science; then we can listen to this song.

I might be losing my mind here, but how about this one! It's short, just watch it.

Then there's always Mammal, The Mesopotamians and maybe but not quite Particle Man.

An Expensive Problem

...I think my computer is dead. That's bad, it has all of our 20,000 pictures on them. Del is going to look at it today when he gets home from work golfing. Man, I let him golf a lot. What a whiny good and kind wife I am. He may have to turn my computer into a slave drive in order to get ALL MY RECIPES, HOMESCHOOL STUFF AND pictures off of the blasted machine. Was life simpler without computers? I can't remember.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Granny, the Wise...and Funny.

Granny put up a post about sanctification yesterday that I really think you all should read. She made some good points that I had never thought of before; very thought-provoking and sends you to your bible, which is always a good thing. Go read God's Clean-up Operations.

Then today she set me straight on the IDIOM (not expression) "all of a sudden." W.O.W.!

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the High-flier Comes Down With a Thump

I've been convicted strongly lately that I'm not really holding up my end of the bargain here. I'm using this pregnancy thing way too much as a poor excuse as to why dinner wasn't ready today, or why our bedroom is so unorganized or...whatever. I keep expecting Del to just shut down on me and become resentful but he hasn't. He keeps showering me with love and admiration and encouragement and patience. I don't deserve it, but boy am I ever grateful for such faith in me. This really all speaks heavily to our relationship with God and his faithfulness to us despite our constant failings and betrayals. I love seeing the much larger picture of God's love for us played out in my own marriage with Del's love for me, despite my failings. It's amazing.

Anyway, I did so well on Friday. And then on Saturday it (whatever that is) all came crashing down around me and continued on to Sunday. Then for some reason this morning I'm back on the wagon again. I don't get it. There are two main things that I think contributed to my lack of function on the weekend.

1) Del's home. Can't he pick up the slack?
2) The TV is on a lot more.

As to the first, I don't get a vacation on the weekend just because Del's home. Whether he's home or not the house is still my domain. The dishes still must be cleaned, the kids fed, the laundry done and general order kept in the house. I cannot "check out" just because I have back up. Plus, this isn't Del's domain. The poor man has no idea what my daily routine is so how is he to be expected to maintain it when he's home on the weekends?

The second. Basically this weekend we watched the Ryder Cup and football. All. Day. Long. While riveting and interesting, the television is a time sap, an energy sap and a waste of time, generally. I've read many articles about why we should just chuck out TV into the dump, and truthfully often I find that to be the most appealing choice. But I honestly can't do that because we like to relax watching mindless action flicks and let the kids watch VeggieTales and stuff like that. My big problem with the TV is that I don't control the time factor very well. It starts to become part of the family when it should just be a temporary distraction. Hmmm....

But anyway, the point of this post is that this morning I was about to go on a mad clean up since I did so little over the weekend when I recalled a little tidbit I read over at Terry's. Basically she said she makes a small list of things to accomplish for herself everyday and keeps it that simple. That's a pretty good idea, I think and I've been contemplating the strategy every since she first posted about it. The list is the "must do" and anything else is icing on the cake.

I made this list for myself today:

- school
- dinner
- read to Sarah
- laundry
- straighten my bedroom

So far, I've done dinner and the laundry and half of school. Plus I made scones, cleaned up the kitchen and got the girls to CLEAN UP THEIR ROOM. Bonus. I think I'll try this method for a while. Maybe it'll stick. I know that dinner should be just a foregone conclusion, but often if I don't remind myself to prepare for dinner, dinner ends up being eggs and toast...again. AND, I must make this list the night before. It's motivation for me to get out of bed.

On a totally different topic: we did go see the house again this weekend. I can hardly believe that in just a few weeks this will be our house. We picked out a dishwasher, microwave, range and refrigerator for the kitchen. We might need to get the countertops replaced. I know those seem really expensive, but it's cheaper than remodeling the entire kitchen and with the range and microwave it will be like having three ovens. I CAN'T WAIT! It'll be so fun to be able to bake/cook many things at once instead of waiting until one is done so I can do another. Plus, we won't pay full price for any of them.

Speaking of countertops, what do you like? I know that granite is all the rage these day but I just don't get it. It's terribly expensive and bad, bad, bad for your knives!!! I sort of like Corian. What would you put in if you could have your choice of countertops?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Heard In My House Today

I'm cleaning the kitchen up. I've asked Ella to vacuum the dining room...since we all know that's the best place in the house for carpeting. But I digress.

ANYWAY, I see her running down the hall and it occurs to me that I heard her get out the vacuum but never heard the thing moaning and squeaking across the carpeting.

ME: Ella, did you vacuum yet?

ELLA: Almost.

Huh, how do you "almost" vacuum?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why Can't Every Day Be Like Today?

List of accomplishments:

- Eat breakfast
- Chat with a friend while drinking a cup of coffee
- Do ALL of school
- Do all of school without yelling at the kids
- too much anyway
- start dinner (Beef stroganoff in the crockpot)
- make bread
- get the kids a good, healthy lunch before noon and eat one myself
- fold the laundry
- clean up the house
- clean out that junk basket
- play a game of Spite and Malice with Ella
- start to bleach/oxy clean the pile of clothes that's been waiting for that for about two months
- make mint chocolate chip ice cream
- make sure Lily got 3 cups of milk
- start breakfast for tomorrow (banana muffins)

It's not even 5pm yet and Del is out golfing. I love days like today where everything is in mostly good order and I can make the kids happy just by letting the be in the kitchen with me. Sigh. Why can't every day be like today?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Great-Grandmother Would Be So Proud

Inspired by Amy at Clothesline Alley that canning doesn't have to be too hard, I decided to try my hand at one of her recipes, Nectarine Chutney. I have never done any canning before, even though I have considered it many times. I have checked books out from the library and looked over recipes. I even bought canning jars once. But every time, I chickened out! But not this time!! I got over my fear of not having just the right special kind of equipment and forged ahead! Fortunately, I did this the day before my camera went out of commission (I think it said something about needing a sabbatical...) so I have pictures!

I did go buy some special ingredients though. I didn't have canning salt, for instance.

I guess that's the only thing I had to buy - which is why I was attracted to this recipe.

Don't these nectarines look so yummy? Look at that color!

Once I added all the ingredients, all I could smell was the vinegar! Whew, was it strong. Fortunately for me, I love vinegar. Unfortunately for Jerry, he hates it... Check out the spoonula! I love mine, too. And it's even red, my favorite color!

After I cooked this concoction for an hour, it was ready to go in the jars. I don't have a dishwasher where you can fast forward to a specific spot in the cycle, so the easy method of keeping your jars warm and sterile of putting them in the drying cycle didn't work for me. I put them in the oven instead until I was ready to fill them.

Here is my fancy water bath canner! A stock pot! I put my steamer basket in the bottom so that the boiling water could circulate.

The jars went in just fine! The only problem with this pseudo-canner is that I didn't have a good way to get the jars out of the boiling water! I used my salad tongs. It worked, but I was so afraid that I was going to drop the hot jar on the tile floor and watch my hard work shatter! Aren't the jars so cute in the water?

And here's the finished product:

I only got three jars from the recipe, and it looked awfully dark to me. I expected the molasses to darken it, but I thought it would look a bit lighter. I think one of the problems was the amount of nectarines I used. I weighed them and used the amount called for in the recipe, but I really felt like there were too many raisins and not enough nectarines. I was a little bit disappointed by that, but overall, I am happy with my first attempt. The jars sealed, which was my main worry.

If I make this recipe again, I will do a few things differently:

  • Use more nectarines
  • blanch the skins off rather than hand peeling them with a knife
  • Don't boil as long with the lid off the pot - I could have used a bit more liquid left
  • get a real jar lifter-outer thingy so that I am not so worried that my salad tongs will fail me

But, you know, I did taste some of this, and WOW! it is really good. So I am looking forward to using it. But the only thing I can think to use it for is to put on top of chicken. What else would this go with?

I plan to can again. In fact, tomorrow I am planning to make some strawberry jam with the four pounds of strawberries I got on the cheap this week. I hope it turns out!


I don't like pumpkin pie.

I've only been pregnant around Thanksgiving once.

Today I went into the pantry to get something and found this...

And I HAD to have some sort of pumpkin pie. So I am making pumpkin pie ice cream. I must be pregnant because that's weird. I don't like pumpkin pie.

Is the House Hunt Finally Over???

Here's the latest.

I guess you sort of already know about the house. It's a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, 2 master, 3442 square foot house that is fully foreclosed. We'll be purchasing it for $68 a square foot; the single best deal we've come across yet. All other houses we've seen with this exact floor plan are selling for $100,000 more than the bank is selling this house to us for or more.. It is not in a CDD community, the neighborhood has one street and is gated. There are 37 houses in the neighborhood and it backs up to a large lake.

We had the inspections done on it on Saturday. They didn't uncover anything crazy, except there are termites in the front yard. They haven't made it to the house yet. It'll cost nearly $1000 rid the yard/house of termites or the threat of termites and fire ants and any other sort of 6- or 8- or 100-legged creature that may want to reside on the property.

Being foreclosed, the house needs work. We'll have to replace all the appliances in the kitchen and the faucet and maybe even the cabinet under the kitchen sink. It needs a very good cleaning (can you say "Merry Maids"). The upstairs has bamboo flooring (lovely) and the downstairs has tile (yuck).

All in all, I'm very happy about this. Although I wanted to just abandon this wretched state and all its taxes and CDDs and run away to Texas, I feel that this is where God wants us. We've tried to buy four houses this year and this is the only one that has gone this smoothly. We've asked God to bar the way if the current house we were trying to buy wasn't the one and he ALWAYS has. This house has been smooth sailing. We put in the offer Monday, they accepted Tuesday, We signed more paperwork Wednesday, they returned the signed paperwork/contract Thursday and had the house inspected Saturday. We've got insurance and a guaranteed 6% interest loan. All the things we said were a requirement have been met and I just have to believe that God wants us here for now.

I wonder what it is that I am supposed to be learning here. There is a never ending stream of "things you don't know about God but you should know." The waiting and the timing and the's all very difficult for my frail excuse of faith. I very often found myself yelling at God because I lost my trust that he knew what he was doing. It's at times like this that I feel really stupid and sheepish and repentant that I ever lost faith at all and humbled that HE always knows what the plan is and whatever it is, it is good, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. I need to learn to view my circumstances through his eyes instead of through my own flawed human eyes.

Haven't I had this conversation with myself before on many occasions? Why can't I learn?

Here's the front of the house. The house next door is for sale and there's one other house for sale in the neighborhood. It need a lot of yard work, to say the least. It's not the most attractive house I've ever seen, but it'll do.

There's the stairs up and the room that Del is coming out of is the bonus room. That there will be where we accomplish all sorts of school and fun stuff like that. There's a wet bar in there that I didn't like at first but then Del mentioned that it's got a working sink!!! What school couldn't use a sink for things like cleaning up after art class and such. Great idea. It has room for a small fridge, too. Don't know if we'll actually put a fridge there or build shelves in that area. We think the former owners played a lot of pool in that room.

Here's part of the kitchen and the breakfast nook. The pantry is nice and big. It's not the biggest kitchen we've seen in our house search, but it's about 3 times as big as the current one I've been working in for 2.5 years and the biggest one I've ever been able to use on a daily basis so I'm happy. My dream would be to have a gas cook top and double ovens in there. How does a large family survive without double ovens?There is the bedroom the girls will stay in. Look, it's already purple! And check out the bamboo floors! I think it's so cool because it's big enough to fit all five of the girls in there, and their dressers and all their toys. It's as big as both the secondary rooms put together in our current apartment. That leaves enough rooms for a sewing room for me. THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Slight Detour

Hurricane Ike has caused a slight detour in our plans. My brother, although fine, is still without power. There is really no good indication as to when the power will be back on, but some of the estimates that are coming out do not look good for getting power restored any time in September. Because of the lack of power and the fact that many gas stations between Dallas and Houston are out of gas, I am still home and not planning to leave for Houston any time soon! My boys are very disappointed, but thankfully have stopped asking several times a day if we are leaving soon! Right now my plan is to send the last document that we just received last Saturday to Austin for certification today. It should be back in 1 1/2-2 weeks. By that time, I am hoping that it will be clear whether travel to Houston is possible yet or not. If it is, and at almost 34 weeks pregnant I am able to make the trip, we will go to Houston then. Otherwise, I now have the name of a courier that our adoption agency recommends and I will send our whole dossier to the courier and they will take it to the consulate for us. This is still more reliable than just mailing it directly to the consulate.

Amazingly, I have God's peace about this whole situation. I have not felt the worry and panic that has gripped me each time something seemed to be going the wrong way with our adoption up to this point. I have been able to remember all the miracles God has already worked and rest in these. I know he is in control! My prayer now is that the paperwork will come back from Austin quickly and that when it does, it will be clear whether I should go to Houston myself or use a courier. Please pray with me on this!

Thank you for praying for my brother during the Hurricane. They are all doing well, have cleaned up the damage in their yard, and my brother is back at work as his company has power. They still have no power in their home, but they have gas and water so they have stayed there. If the power stays out for too long, they are still thinking they may come up here for a while, but at this point, if they've made it without the power this long, why make the trip? I am guessing that this won't be a storm they soon forget!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I went out to get my mail just now, and I am shocked - absolutely shocked - to see in the box our immigration approval!!!! We asked them to please have it done by October 1, but here it is, still September 13 and we already have it! I am overwhelmed and amazed by this.

Now the next step is to get this one document certified and then get all of our documents authenticated. I don't know when that can happen since I need to go to Houston to do that. I am not sure when downtown Houston will be up and running again! It looks like they still have power, but I have no idea if the consulate building is damaged or if the employees there will even be at work any time soon.

My excitement is somewhat tempered by the hurricane, and actually, I am in shock. I'm sure I'll jump up and down soon - well, as much as a 7 month pregnant woman can jump! As it is, I shed tears when I saw it! Isn't that such a pregnant response to the Lord providing in an absolutely amazing way?

Hurricane Ike

Please pray for my brother and his wife and children who live in the northern part of Houston. The eye just went through where they live, and I haven't heard from them yet. This storm is so huge that with the eye four hours south of here, we are already getting rain from the outermost band of Ike here in Dallas!

I was planning to leave Monday morning to go to Houston to take my adoption paperwork to the Chinese Consulate there. I am guessing that will have to be delayed. Pray also for that, but really just for all the people who are still there!

ETA: I still haven't heard from my brother, but I called my sister-in-law's parent's and Stephanie had called them at 8:30 this morning to say that they were fine, but they had property damage and no power. If they also lose water, or if the power is out for a long time, they will try to come up this way. They have been without power since 11:30 last night!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What's That On Your Shirt?!

There comes a point in every woman's pregnancy where her belly gets big...really big. Too big to do anything neatly. Every day involves at least one shirt change or at least two aprons. I think I should start investing in aprons because my shirts are starting to take a beating.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More Progress

This is a great week on the adoption front! On Monday, the 10 documents we sent to Austin for Secretary Of State Certification came back, so they are now ready to go to the Chinese Consulate for authentication! Also, today was our fingerprinting appointment for immigration. It was so simple! We had an appointment at 9:00 AM. We got to the local immigration office a few minutes before 9:00 and were completely out of there by 9:05! Talk about a wonderful experience with a government agency! A bit out of the ordinary, but hey - we'll take it! My adoption agency asked me to notify them when our fingerprints were done (which I did this afternoon) and they are going to send another e-mail to immigration to let them know that our prints are now in the system so they can move forward with our approval. Keep praying that immigration will issue our approval paperwork quickly! It is the last step in our process.

Today we also got a slew of passport photos taken. We each need three for the dossier. I have no idea what for...we also have to have 11 snapshots of us. Some just the two of us, some of our family, some with other people...We still need one or two more with other people that we are going to get when we have our church small group at our house. We really didn't have when we needed because usually one of us is behind the camera and China requires that we both be in all the pictures!

I am going to go to Houston soon to take the 10 documents we got back from Austin to have them authenticated. I wish Jerry could go with me, but I will stay with my brother and sister-in-law, which will be nice. It takes about a week, so we'll have time to just hang out. When that is done, we mail it all to our adoption agency!! It will be an almost complete dossier - missing only our immigration approval! The end is actually in has been so much work that it is hard to believe we are getting close to the end! Keep praying!

Monday, September 8, 2008

More Raisin Bran Nonsense

Del has posted his version of the Raisin Bran story. It's a wee bit different than mine. Check it out.

Life Happens

You know what I love first thing in the morning? A good toilet overflow. You know, the kind that only happens in older homes where there are tree roots growing into the pipes on our property, so when one toilet gets backed up, all the toilets and tubs and sinks start to gurgle and bubble and release a wonderful aroma of sewer gas? Yeah, that kind. The really great thing is that just yesterday we repaired the faucet in our boy's bathtub. It had come off and so it was tricky to turn on and off the water (though, not impossible). Today, I have a cleaning service coming out for the first time to clean since I am not able to do it right now, so we thought last night that we should super glue the faucet back on so that the cleaning ladies could actually clean the tub. Details, details.... Well, since "water" backed up into their tub (thank goodness it's getting cleaned today) I thought I should at least rinse it out. I found that the super glue worked. Really. Well. No water is coming out of that faucet any time soon! Wonder how they're going to clean the tub with no running water???

Happy morning to ya! Hope your morning is less eventful than mine!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Don't Understand

Today Rachel turned three. We had her birthday party last Saturday because today my parents and my grandma are on a plane bound for Maui, so they aren't here to celebrate today. We (inadvertently) saved one of her birthday presents for today and sang the birthday song to her and gave her this present.

After this we stuffed all the punks in the van (I think that Pioneer Woman's description of the kids is rubbing off on me) and headed out to look at some houses. Rachel had her little birthday gift with her, which was this neat little marker holder with a pad of paper.

We pulled into the driveway of one of the houses to see the back yard and as Del was backing out of the drive way he yelled, "OH MY GOSH!!"

I thought we were going to run into someone or run over someone or the sky was falling or something like that but when I turned around, this is what I saw, only she was fast asleep in her car seat.

I guess three-year-olds aren't to be trusted with their own set of markers yet.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Anniversary Gift #3

I got these in the mail yesterday. How exciting! Today is our official anniversary and guess what I got Del...

Absolutely nothing. Isn't that special.

Today I'm going to work on a gift for him. I guess I could make a special meal. Steaks? I don't know. I'm terrible at presents.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Brotherly Love

My boys had a good day behavior-wise today. Aaron was telling this to his dad tonight, and told him that Ethan didn't get in trouble at all, and he only got one time out. I added, "Yeah, he keeps on beating up his brother as a form of entertainment!" At that statement, Aaron got a somewhat confused look on his face and said, "But I'm not using wood, like actually beating him with a stick so there's blood coming out!" Oh, well then. That's much better.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Do You Like Your Raisin Bran?

All this breakfast talk has got me wanting to share. 'Cause I like to's fun.

You know, my husband does most, close to all, of the grocery shopping around here. I was scarred for life when I took the kids grocery shopping and Ella knocked over a rack of wine bottles whilst spinning her little sister around in circles in the cart. Wine and glass went everywhere and it was all I could do to hold my composure and not burst into tears. So Del goes to the grocery store most of the time and usually with at least two kids and always cheerfully. What a man I married!

There are a couple of drawbacks to Del doing all the grocery shopping. One being if I want a specific item then I'm usually on the phone with him while directing him to the correct aisle, although with all his practice over the last couple of years, he's getting better. Of course, I did have to give him directions every Sunday for three years to the same church. He has a small but very endearing problem with memorizing places. I have to laugh.

The big one is that he of OCD. And a creature of habit. Especially about buy one, get one free deals. And especially with cereal. He disdains the fact that cereal is so ridiculously expensive so when he finds some that are buy one get one free, he snags some. Or rather...a lot. And then he gets caught up in the same type of cereal. Like currently, this is what our cereal selection looks like.

And for a bit of variety, we have this brand of raisin bran.

This wouldn't be such a bad deal if we all really liked raisin bran, but Del is pretty much the only person in the house that likes the stuff. Ella and I avoid it at all costs and Sarah and Rachel eat it because well, that's all there is to eat. Lily is still nursing in the morning and she eats the raisins out of Ella's bowl of mush.

To counter Del's lack of cereal imagination, we have to resort to this. Which isn't really so bad.

Isn't he cute? Shhh...don't tell him I said that.

Breakfast Tacos For One, Please!

Have you eaten breakfast yet today? If not, might I tempt you with one of my recent favorites?? I am the only one in my family who likes to eat a warm, protein rich breakfast. The males in our house are satisfied with cold cereal. Nothing wrong with that, but I like a bit more pizazz - and staying power!

So here goes - a yummy start to the day. First, assemble all your ingredients:

To make these yummy breakfast tacos, you need
  • 1 egg
  • cheese
  • corn tortillas
  • black beans
  • tomato
  • 1/6 large avocado
  • lime juice

You will also want a splash of milk and salsa, which are not pictured. I actually left the salsa out this day since just typing the word salsa gives me heartburn at this stage of pregnancy! *Note: I fully intended to photograph each stage of making these beauties, but let's face it - I'm pregnant, and haven't eaten for 10 hours at this point. Hunger outweighed blogging interest here. Can you blame me?

First, chop the avocado and bathe it in lime juice for flavor and color-fastness. Let it sit in the juicy goodness while you do the rest. Chop the tomato and begin to heat the black beans. Whisk the egg with a splash of milk and scramble it up in a skillet. You are now ready to assemble your breakfast goodness.

Split the egg between two warmed corn tortillas and top the egg with the warm black beans (If you don't buy a seasoned recipe, you may want to season these before warming them up. Or season your egg - something - or else this will taste a lot blander than it looks!)

Now it is time to add the yummy, colorful stuff. I add the cheese first so it gets a bit melty on top of the warm food. Then top with salsa, tomato, and avocado. If you have really fresh tortillas, these work well with your hands. If your tortillas, like mine, have been in the fridge for a while already, break out a fork and get busy emptying your plate!

Now doesn't that look better than cereal? or toast?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We'd Like to Thank All the Little People...

Our new bloggy friend, Lawanda at lovin' life, honored us last week with an award!! That's right, you are now reading an award winning blog. She has given us a Smile Award, which was originally made by the owner of this blog. See, here it is:

The characteristics for the Smile Award are:

  1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times--we are all human).
  2. Must love one another.
  3. Must make mistakes.
  4. Must learn from others.
  5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
  6. Must love life.
  7. Must love kids.

It is so nice to think that we make Lawanda smile and she thinks we qualify in these 7 ways! Gee, thank you so much, Lawanda! As with most thing in life, there are rules attached. Here are the rules:

  1. The recipient must link back to the awards creator
  2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
  3. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
  4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award (see above.)
  5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
  6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
  7. You must thank your giver.

I think we have complied with all these rules except for #3. Since there are two of us contributing here, we finally had a chance to chat and decide on the five recipients we wanted to nominate! Honestly, one of the first people who came to mind for us was Lawanda! Her blog makes both of us smile, too. But it seemed a bit lame to just say, "Right back atcha!" so we have nominated five others.

First is Mrs. Amy at Clothesline Alley. Her blog is full of a great mix fun stuff, real life, and challenging posts.

Second is Heidi at Minnesota Mom. Heidi takes the best pictures - especially of her adorable baby. Those always make me smile!

Third is Emily at Ravenhill. Have you seen the amazing dolls she makes? And the pictures of fabric she regularly posts not only make us smile, but drool a little!

Fourth is our friend Marie at My Name is Mommy. I got to meet Marie through Joanna, and she is pretty cool! We have both smiled a lot watching her grow into her roll as mommy.

Finally, fifth is our friend Meagan at The Southern Lindbergs. I also got to meet Meagan through Joanna! Isn't it great that I have a friend with such cool friends. And that she's willing to share?

So there you have it. Thanks for making us smile, ladies! You're all the best!


When I was a kid living at the Mission I used to really dislike it that we always had home-made ice cream instead of store bought ice cream. We have these huge Mission-wide picnics and every family had their own ice cream maker. We'd go down to the picnic area and eat lunch while the ice cream was being made. The din from the ice cream makers was unbelievable. I remember poking sticks into red ant piles and playing tag to the tune of no less than four ice cream makers cranking away.

Anyway, I was watching a cooking show the other day and whomever it was doing the cooking was also making ice cream. I told Del that although I didn't really like it as a kid, I had fond memories of making ice cream now as an adult.

Del and I have an anniversary coming up. Our 9th, on Friday the 5th. So he got me an early anniversary gift so that I could share it with my parents before they head to Maui on Saturday. Check it out.