Friday, December 21, 2007

Favorite Ornaments

As my siblings will attest, as youngsters we had a little competition regarding a certain Christmas ornament on our family tree.

It was a beautiful glass (or was it plastic?) ornament that had a Nativity scene etched in of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus. It is transparent and in the shape of an octagon. It had to be hung strategically in front of a tree light to look it's best.

Each year it was the coveted ornament to hang on the tree. I, being the eldest would usually go to certain lengths in making sure I was the one to hang it. My best effort was the year I dug it out of the huge box of Christmas decor many weeks prior to the tree trimming. Oh Yes! You should have seen their faces.

I asked my kids to pick out their favorite ornaments from our tree and to explain why.

"I like this 'cuz I like it"
"uh, because I like the pictures"
"This ornament reminds me about Buddy"

This is my favorite on our tree. It's a cozy, little pillow ornament. I'm not sure of it's origin, Did you make it, Mom?

What's your favorite?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Guuuuyyy!

The blog police are after me. Yes, it has been awhile. But what is a procrastinator like me to do when I have to wrap practically every single one of our Christmas gifts yet. Blog or wrap? Wrap or make baked goods? Balance the checkbook or go shopping? Perhaps I will just sit and relish the thought of the beautiful gift of God's own Son.
So much to do and time is shrinking.

On a different note, I think last night it really hit me that I have another baby growing inside of me. It took me 23 weeks to figure this out?? At least I noticed it before delivery day as not to be shocked. No progress on a name for this girl, suggestions are welcome, but may not be used. :)

I'll leave you with a couple cute photos of the kids from Katie DeBoer Photography

Joy does not looked thrilled to be in the middle of this Boy sandwich.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Picasso she ain't



This is what happens when a very tired daddy stays home with little girl and mommy is out for coffee.

Daddy falls asleep on the floor, little girl gets creative.

Future tattoo artist?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Think Pink.

We found out today there is 95 percent probability that our little one will be a girl!
Since Dan couldn't make the ultrasound appointment, I had the tech write it down and seal it in an envelope for future reference. Tonight the kids broke the news to us.

May I have the envelope, please?

Drew was less than thrilled.

Her wish came true.

This was the first time we find out prior to birth what gender our baby would be. I had mixed emotions about finding out. I guess I am a little old fashioned about some things, but it was a really cute-sy family moment having the kids discover what their sibling is going to be.

20 weeks down, 20 to go.





Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paul knoweth.

We read this verse from Romans in Coffee Break a couple weeks back. If you wondered, Coffee Break is a women's ministry at my church and we have been studying living in God's Grace.

from Romans chapter 7, the good ol' New International Version

15
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
umm...kay. Confusing? I had to read it through, and read it again even slower to get the gist.
The words struck a chord with me, sort of.

Then I read the same verse in another version-- The Message--stick with me here.

14-16I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.


I read this and thought, "Paul is in my head!" He wrote these words and he should have just said, "Michelle, this one is for you." It can be a helpless feeling when my Christian intentions get fouled up by sin.
I have often thought, "Oops, I did it again" That is putting it mildly.
More accurate would be, "Crap! Why do I keep boofing it up like this?!"

Jesus Christ can and did set things right in this life of contradictions...HIS victory over sin is the Grace that frees us from our sinful actions time and time again. As our coffee break lesson reminded me, I can always dip into the well of forgiveness, it is unlimited, even for the same darn mistake I continue to make.

It shouldn't, but sometimes it amazes me how relevant the Bible is. This time it took a different translation to bring it home for me. Thank you, Bible Gateway.com


Monday, November 26, 2007

I WANT THAT!!!

Lately my children have been exclaiming this at all the TV advertisements for various junk toys and quite possibly lead contaminated play things.

It brings me back to the days when I was a kid living in the country and my neighbors would do the same. We would be watching some cartoon and during the commercial they would shout out,
"We're gettin' that!"
and most of the time, they did. Including but not limited to an above ground swimming pool.

I'm sorry to say that things have not changed much since what was probably 1984.
Toy companies still peddle their goods during children's programming at what is I'm sure an even more obnoxious level.
I follow the blog of a gal trying to simplify her lifestyle. Part of doing this calls for her to try and ban all TV commercials from her home. She does not enjoy all the character themes found on so many kids items. You can hardly buy a box of cereal or even a pair of shoes for a kid today without it screaming SpongeBob or Disney Princess. She does not want her children to be advertisements for a big company.

Do I agree with her? Not so much. While I'm not thrilled that young consumerists are developing within my household, I can't completely avoid (read:shelter) kids from all the goodies the world has to offer. Teaching moderation and gratitude in a real world context, not granting their every wish seems more realistic than a complete wipe out of all temptation.

Yes, it is Christmas time again and kids are bombarded with what can be theirs if only they ask (and be really nice, not naughty). A hot issue here? Surely it is.

So what do I do when my kids scream out "I WANT THAT!" ???
I just tell them, "Go ask Grandma."

I'm kidding. Don't get your undies in a bunch.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm still alive & kickin'

rather, I'm the one getting kicked.
The past two weeks our little one has made his/her presence known by wiggling and kicking. Coming soon we will have the opportunity via ultrasound to see if it is a boy or a girl. (although we haven't decided if we want to know) My kids have been offering up some name ideas most of which have not been great. Angel, Blossom, another Dewey, Bunny, Almanzo to name a few. Chase can only come up with names of kids in his class, and Joy's suggested names, well, sound like a stage name for an exotic dancer. sigh.

So the name game continues.

Much to be thankful for this season. Work for Dan, health, community, family are just the tip of the iceberg. Happy Thanksgiving and I pray you will enjoy the upcoming preparations for the celebration of Christ's Birth!

I hope to blog more frequently this month as there is always much going on in my mind and in my heart!

Love to all this day!

Monday, November 12, 2007

the Internet. Friend or Foe?

Yes, this is another post on the ever tantalizing topic of food.

I have a habit of checking the ingredients list of foods I eat. I understand some of the ingredients and additives, others I can hardly pronounce. I recently explained to Dan that high fructose corn syrup is really just another sugar. He was amazed yet unaffected.
We all know the bad stuff:
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Aspartame
MSG
But they are all acceptable for human consumption as regulated by the FDA.

Today I was struggling to put together some kind of lunch. I spotted Ramen Noodles. High in yumminess, higher in MSG.

I decided to hop on the ol' information super highway to see just what all the fuss is about. One website said avoid MSG all the time, another stated after scientific research, MSG was not found to cross the placental barrier, therefore no worries to your unborn baby.

Huh?

Sometimes internet information is more confusing than it is helpful.
I decided to eat just the noodles, not the broth.

What is a misguided, pregnant, hungry girl to do?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Day for Dental Decay.


Halloween time is here. My kids are really excited this year, I am afraid they may just keep a closer eye on their candy and I may not be able to dip into the bounty!

The horror!

Pumpkin math at School:




Some photos of the pumpkin carving extravaganza:




Good Times.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Family Tree


This is my new thing.

Just the other night I was talking with my Dad about our roots. What is our blood, the national heritage of those gone before us. I am, as are many Americans, a mutt. You know, a mixed breed. This information I already knew. I am English, a tiny bit French, and a lot Dutch.

What I did not realize is that my one set of my Great Grandparents immigrated from jolly 'ol England. I guess I assumed they were farther back that--the original immigrates. Anyway, I was intrigued with the fact that my Greats were English, drank tea, and were Catholic prior to moving to the jolly midwestern US.

Later that evening I hoped online and started to do some research and started a family tree. I have a long way to go but I hope to learn about my ancestors, uncover photos of these folks, and most importantly see with new eyes God's grace from one generation to the next.

Has anyone done this before? I could sure use a few tips. Just think of what I may discover...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meat and Potatoes


I can't seem to get the homespun aroma of beef roast out of my house today. It smells so good when you walk in the door hungry after a long day or in today's case following church, but when my hair and clothes still reek of onions at 7pm, I am kind of over it. With every turn of my nose I am reminded of today's lunch, which I am extremely thankful for. I am reminded of all the meals prepared for me by my mother's loving hands as a child--the lunches packed with Little Debbie snack cakes, and the casseroles for supper. The highlight of the week being the meat and potatoes Sunday dinner.

Why am I blogging about food? I'm not quite sure, maybe because I'm pregnant, maybe because so many family memories are made around the dinner table or perhaps I am curious how many people out there still take up the tradition of Sunday Dinner?

Really how can I get this smell to leave the building? I don't think my kids want to goto school tomorrow smelling like meat.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Coffee Addiction Test

Take the quiz. How addicted are you? I predict a few 99percent addicts out there!
Click on the Coffee Cup to take the test.

Friday, October 19, 2007

fabulous 'ol fashioned family fun.






Since the children were off a few days of school, we decided to pack it up and head 15 minutes away from home to a hotel for some indoor swimming enjoyment. I just love hotels. Something about not having to pick up after yourself, having coffee and breakfast foods ready and waiting for you is just pure luxury. Sleeping in a room with your family of 5 and not in the same bed as your husband--not as luxurious, but still pretty darn fun.

A nearby hotel boasts of a water slide and a kiddie play pool, deluxe breakfast and in room DVD player---let me tell you--it did not disappoint! What did disappoint was the fact that the water slide was only open on weekends--oops. I guess I didn't read the fine print that stated this small fact. The kids didn't care though. As the photos will show, playing in water 8 inches deep beats sitting in school any day. As Dewey so accurately stated: "Mom, this place is much funner than our home!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm Back!

There is much more to that statement than just my return to blogging.

I am back from NYC, I am back from the funk of early pregnancy, I'M BACK and
Thanks be to God!!!

Since many of my friends and family check in on this blog now and again, I would like to say word of thanks to those who helped me push through the first trimester of this pregnancy. I so appreciated your kind words of encouragement when I doubted, your prayer when I was down and out with migraines, and your tolerance of me when without warning or just reason I became a hormonal shrew. Thank you, a thousand times thank you!

The last week has been memorable. We had an unexpected early ultrasound of our little one:



Last weekend I was blessed to take a whirlwind trip to NYC with 7 beautiful women to visit Dana in NYC. Thanks to Holly for the photos, a few I will share here, For more check out Tina's blog. I could probably write a whole post about New York City, about the beauty both obvious and obscure, and maybe I will at a later date. For today I just want to give praise to God for restoring me, even if just a bit back to my "old" self. Next stop, Fall.
Some NYC pix. (Thanks Holly!)






Sunday, September 30, 2007

my fig-sized baby.

I decided to start reading some info about this little one growing just beneath the surface. I was astonished to read that at the beginning of the second trimester, so much development has already occurred. As I have been going about my daily routine God's gift of life is growing. I'm not doing anything, it is just happening! I feel as if I am experiencing this for the first time. Here is some info about what is happening inside a busy uterus.

How your baby's growing:
Your fig-sized baby is now fully formed — measuring 1 1/2 inches long and weighing in at a quarter of an ounce. His skin is still transparent, allowing many of his blood vessels to show through. Some of his bones are beginning to harden, and tiny toothbuds are starting to appear under his gums. His fingers and toes have separated, and he may soon be able to open and close his fists. He's already busy kicking and stretching, and his tiny movements are so fluid they look like water ballet. These movements will increase as his body grows and becomes more developed and functional. As his diaphragm develops, your tiny tenant may also start to get the hiccups. Because he's still so small, though, you won't feel any of his workouts or intrauterine gulps until sometime between weeks 16 and 20.

How big is a fig anyway?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tag. I'm It.

Many thanks to Dana for tagging me. Hear the sarcasm.

The rules.

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog for the rules.

My middle name is LYNNE, the middle name of my dear Aunt Pat.

L ---LIFE COACH--- Don't laugh now. Apparently it is a real profession. Tell me a mom that doesn't feel like a life coach for her kids? I also have this tendency to give advice to others as if I have so
me type of training or experience. I don't know why, I just feel the urge to "coach" people--exception--anything to do with sports, now that would be laughable.

Y
---YOUNGISH---not quite old, but not feelin' too young lately. After walking thru my high-school halls yesterday, couldn't believe 13 years have passed since I ruled that place. ;)

N ---NIGHT OWL---Staying up late is fun, productive, relaxing for me. I am looking forward to doing it again. Also, Owls terrify me to my core.



N ---NERD---Let's face it, I am a uber-nerd for all things APPLE, Mac, or i- whatever it may be. I hope to someday work at the APPLE Store and get all kinds of sweet hook-ups.



E ---EMBOLDENED---I feel emboldened by God's grace on a daily basis to try and live a life of gratitude and servitude. His mercies are new every morning!

And done. I tag: Cara Mom D. Carl
Sassy Trip Mom Tami

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LOVE EACH OTHER ?!

My mother cried out circa 1987.

Twenty years ago my brother, sister and I (primarily my brother and I) got into a real knockdown drag out fight. Kicks and punched were exchanged.
I like to think I won the battle.
Perhaps that was the day my mother cried out in utter frustration,

"Why can't you just love each other?!"
It stopped me in my tracks. I don't know if it was what she said, or how she said it. Rarely do I remember my mom being that upset, that fed-up with us. I remember struggling for some mouthy come back to her loud rhetorical question. I had nothin', I was speechless. She was right. Why couldn't we just act liked we loved each other? Why did we have to argue, kick, and scream? What was our problem?

Fast forward to 2007. This month has been a long one. Adjusting to pregnancy with all the hormones it brings, kids in school and soccer, busy work schedule for Dan (thank God!) have all combined into a whirlwind of activity and moments of mania. My kids have felt the stress and have been fighting more than usual. In a particular moment of desperation I searched the file cabinet of my memory to find a good motherly statement that would surely stop my children from practically ripping each other's hair out.

"Why can't you just love each other?!" I exclaimed (yelled)

It had the same effect 20 years later. They looked at me unable to respond, and they stopped fighting. I like to think then and there they knew that God created them as family not mortal enemies.

Use it. Love it. Thank Judy for this little thought provoking phrase.


This photo is from the 80s. No, my mother doesn't sport the sweet southwestern blazer anymore. ;)

Monday, September 17, 2007

happy birthday brother.




My little brother Ross never looked better.

Friday, September 14, 2007

yum.

I have to eat these in private so Dan does not ruin his diet.
Really, someone stop me.

10 for 10 dollars at Thriftys this week!

What an ironic twist that exactly the same time I found out I was preggers, Dan was forced to change his unhealthly eating habits. What do you make of this, O bloggers?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dan the Man.



I thought it due time I sing a song of praise for my husband.
Often I joke about him, post silly photos of him and he is such a good sport about it.

This time I will tell you how proud I am of him.
About 2 months ago, Dan was told that he needed to make a few changes in his diet and exercise routine. Two months ago his diet consisted of eating whatever he wanted and mass quantities of it. Two months ago Dan's exercise routine included walking from the couch to bed at night. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but his day to day job is exhausting and rarely left any energy for exercise at 9pm at night. It was a challenge to say the least.

After his blood tests along with a family history concluded that his cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar was elevated to a point unhealthy for a 30 something man, he decided to take action.

With the accountability of our Bro-in-law Scotty, Dan began running! He gave up fast food (still enjoying an occasional burger) and started eating breakfast. Cutting his portions considerably he as now lost about 12 pounds!!!

It was a rough first couple of weeks but it has been so good to see him commit to this. I am so proud of him. In no time he will be the poster boy for healthy construction workers.

Props to Dan today! (I'll try to get a better photo of him real soon)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Caaaan't Sttoppp Eattinggg!


One of the many early pregnancy symptoms that I apparently forgot about---
INCREASED APPETITE

I have told myself that it is all in my head. That I just think I need to "eat for two." But I am telling you, I want to eat for two, or three, or four for that matter! What is going on? Why would a baby the size of an inch cause such a change in my eating habits?
Come on, who eats two breakfasts? And why do I act like I have never been through this before?

This is going to be a long pregnancy if I can't stop thinking about my next meal and my next nap!

yikes.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Farm Girls

This is what my daughter Joy calls the classic show Little House on the Prairie.

Since I have been worn out and prone to nausea lately Joy and I have made a new habit of sitting down and watching the "farm girls" in the afternoon.

Why is this show so timeless? Why do I wish that I lived in that simpler time even though it was probably anything but.

I didn't grow up on a farm, but lived in farm country complete with farm smells and the dirt road on which my parents bought their first home. For some reason I have tricked myself into believing that country life=easy life, or better life. After all you do not have the temptation of retail stores galore only a short 10 minute drive away. In the country there were no perfect lawns, no Starbucks, no keeping up with the Jones's because the Jones's were just as poor as you. Ok, now I sound like a Country song.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live outside of suburbia, away from the land of AYSO, car-pools, and mega-churches? I do.

The simple life is not exclusive to farm girls, it is a lifestyle I think anyone can adopt. One that seems more prudent to me as the years go by.
Look Dad, I'm growing up.

Do enjoy the Little House Clip---The Richest Man in Walnut Grove


Monday, September 03, 2007

5 out of 5 pregnancy tests agree...

pregnancy due date
We hope to add another car seat to the Mini-Van next spring.
After years of discussion and prayer God has blessed us with another pregnancy. We are all slowly adjusting to the idea.

The first few weeks went a little something like this:
  • I was excited that Dan & I had made a decision, regardless of the outcome, we (finally) left it all to God instead of ourselves
  • I found myself thinking about baby names while sitting in the chair for a dental procedure---weird, I thought.
  • I began bawling in Toys R Us when I could not find the right triplet baby dolls for my nieces.
  • Other symptoms (moms, you know what I mean) began to appear.
  • I began eating like it was my job---still am
  • I did a test and tried my best to keep the positive result a secret, but to no avail.

I was in a bit of denial for awhile as I made it a weekly activity to buy a pregnancy test (Mom D. , remember when you saw me buying one?) thinking somehow I may have just imagined the symptoms I felt.

So here we are, on our way again. We covet your prayers that God blesses this little life with health and strength , and that we all can make adjustments as they come.

Oh, and that I will stop being so IRRITABLE!
That's all for now!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

4 days down, 176 to go.







Some first day of school photos.



Joy has Mommy all to herself

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

summer slobs

I have this tendency to follow up a potently heartfelt post (such as yesterday's) with one that is just, well, not so much. You never know just what you might find in MiniVan MegaFun land

I feel like a dead beat blogger. Lately the only things that have even inspired me to blog are things I find annoying around my home. I thought better of it though because really, who wants to hear about the things that irritate me? This post should help you feel better about your house if it seems messy with all the business of summer.
So I won't whine, complain, or vent. I'll just show you what has got a bee in my bonnet lately. It's a guessing game of sorts.

Photo #1
I have been looking at this for 3 days now. Any idea what it is?



Photo #2
It gets worse every night, yet I don't just wipe it.

Photo #3

Too many Pollys...so little time

Photo #4

Dan's Dump...need I say more?


Photo #5 & 6

It's just a good thing we live in the country.



Dan tells me not to get all worked up about the little things.
I suppose he's right.
But it's just so easy. My friend Cara had a poll on her blog about just this question. Do you sweat the small stuff? 85 percent of her voters said "Yes"
Seems like I do.
Looks like I should, otherwise I end up with disasters like this at the end of the summer.