Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekly Update

1. Still relishing Christmas a bit around here. It was really nice. Nick had 4 days off in a row. The gifts we gave and got were fun. I'm still enjoying looking at and smelling my Christmas tree. I was feeling a little down last night about it all being over, but the short week this week will be nice, and there are lots of other things to look forward to. We're running Maeve ads again, so new work is one thing I'm excited about...

2. Nick and the girls got colds after the day of candy. No big shocker there. I always feel like we're the last ones to get it, but eventually some opportunity to eat tons of sugar presents itself, and we get hit with it too. At least everyone seems better today, after a regimen of prayer and various concoctions over the weekend.

3. We made the decision last night to shut off our satellite. We've known this was needed for quite some time, and frankly I'm glad the decision is made. We get just a couple channels out here without it, but I am honestly looking forward to the quiet, and the blessing it will be to our family long-term. Is it easier to park my children in front of the tv? Yes. Definitely. Do I feel good about it? No. Absolutely not. Honestly, my kids enjoy watching princess movies and Veggie Tales more anyway...

4. We have no New Year's plans. We'll probably either end up at my parents' or just put the kids to bed and drink sparkling cider on the couch. :)

5. The cute little cottage across the street still isn't rented....know anyone who needs a place to live?

6. It's supposed to be 50 degrees here today! Backyard, here we come!

Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I've been pondering this concept for quite a while. I agree with the author of this post - God doesn't seem to care much about "wasting" things. On the one hand it's frustrating - God seems unhurried, unworried, not careful to us at times. When we have things that seem to be big problems, He takes His sweet time working out the answers.

But, if you think about it, the entire world belongs to Him. All the money that exists. All time - eternity. All love, all peace, all all belongs to Him. I don't think I'd be concerned either...hmmm...I'm a child of God...maybe I shouldn't be concerned either?

Friday, December 26, 2008


We had the nicest Christmas I remember in years. Fun church service on Christmas Eve, PF Chang's takeout for dinner, wonderful time opening presents with the girlies, wonderful time with my family at my parents, quiet afternoon, and (another) Chinese dinner with my family last night. Aside from the overtired temper tantrums when it was time to leave my parents' house, we had a remarkable shortage of arguments, falling apart, etc. It was fun and peaceful.

Now for grocery shopping, gift exchanging, paycheck depositing, and various other things that must be taken care of today. Hope you and your family had a great time!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

May the peace of God guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cute Hair Bows

I'm forever trying to figure out what to do with my girls' hair. Hair is not really my strong point. (I like to have a hair style that has something it "does" so I never have to think about it, just do the same thing every day.) But I have not been able to bring myself to give my kids that kind of hair style.

These are the cutest little bows. Let me know if you get some and how you like them!

Monday, December 22, 2008


OK, so I finished writing about how my kids wouldn't go to sleep, told them one more time to be quiet, laid down on the couch, and woke up 1 1/2 hours later after a great nap. See? Life isn't so bad. :)

Stream of consciousness

-My students are 21 minutes late. Does this mean they're not coming? Maybe. Maybe not, with them. It's kinda the week to forget.
-Hannah does not want to nap today, and she's keeping Audrey up. Audrey has been crying at the drop of a hat for three days. That might have something to do with all the running around we've been doing. She's not used to it. They are quiet for the moment. Oh, I hope they will sleep!
-I made flatbread today. I figure if I can't come up with any bread that works for us, at least we can have something to eat sandwiches on. I used rice, millet, teff, and sweet rice flour, and they are crispy and just the slightest bit sweet. I had one with avocado and turkey for lunch. Yum.
-Spent the morning organizing. Our small house gets overrun with the smallest amount of excessive junk. Had to move the filing cabinet so I could put bills in it easier, clean out the drawers in the kitchen. Got rid of three piles in the kitchen, still gotta tackle two more. I don't intend for piles to gather, but they just do. Why is that? Paper multiplies in my house.
-Trying to decide what to do about excessive toys in our house. I like Shelly's idea about trading out old things for new things. We don't have space for junk, nor do they play with lots of their stuff, nor do I really want them to focus on accumulating things. But my kids will cry if I make them give their things away. Is that okay? I wish there was a more "personal" way to give things away - so they could see the faces of the children who will receive the toys, rather than just impersonally dropping them off at Goodwill. Thoughts?
-I found a pre-made frosting that we can actually eat at the health food store, and it has been sitting in my fridge just waiting for cookies all week. Have I made cookies? Nope. Are they calling to me? Yep. Maybe these with a few tweaks? I found GF sprinkles too...
-Why do I love Facebook so much? Seriously. Sara, SHUT IT DOWN!!
-Looks like the students are not coming...32 minutes late now, for a 45 minute lesson. I'm off the hook!
-Why are my kids talking again? *Sigh* Their schedule got totally out of whack this weekend.
-Tonight we have to go find more gifts. I love giving gifts, but often feel inept at picking them out. I have had many friends with this incredible knack for knowing what would be perfect, even if it's inexpensive. That is not my talent.
-Non-naptime days are SO frustrating to me. I feel like I need the quiet time in order to function, and they most definitely need it or they will fall apart all evening. I have always said that even when my kids were done taking naps, I would continue to do quiet time every day because I need it and they need it. My mom used to lay down with us when we wouldn't settle down. I find with Hannah that makes it worse. I love her determination. God made her that way. But she is more stubborn that I am. It is so hard for me to outlast her, and trying to avoid the conflict doesn't seem to work either. I get really sad about it some days.
-Whew. Must be time to go spend some time with God. Well, I was due for a "real" post, I suppose. :) Most days go well, some do not.


I often read business-related blogs. I figure I'm running a business with absolutely NO formal business training - I better learn anything I can! I came across this today, and thought of all of us stay-at-home moms. Do you have something you can sell? Etsy is one place you can set up handmade products stores, with no up-front cost. I'm pondering this...

Love this

Weekly Update

Whew. We are a bit groggy around here. This week was, frankly, insane, and full of events which will never make it to the blog. But we made it. God is faithful. We're still standing.

1. My mom watched the girls Friday night so we could have a date. I love spending time with my husband. We went to dinner, and hit a couple of stores and Starbucks before heading back. I have been wanting a Nativity set since we got married, but they are always so pricey! Well, at Kirkland's, we found this beautiful ceramic set for $11. Love it. They had SO many of these and other really inexpensive ones. It was very exciting. :)

2. Saturday my sister and brother-in-law watched the girls so we could Christmas shop. We braved Toys 'R' Us, which was a madhouse. We found cute things that I think the girls will love. I'm excited. I also saw all kinds of toys without BPA, phalates, or lead paint. They also are selling unfinished wooden cars and blocks. Maybe soon we will all have the ability to buy safe toys without expensive catalog ordering?

3. Nick and I gave each other our gifts already. It was funny - we knew what we got, and we both really wanted to have our gifts, so we lasted a few hours and finally just said OK, HAND IT OVER! Our self-control is incredible, I tell ya. Nick got some accessories for his phone that will allow him to put his schedule on there and use his phone as an MP3 player, and I ended up getting a parallel Bible (KJV, Amplified, RSV, NIV together-I love reading the Bible this way!) so far, with something else to come.

4. Sarah, one of my best friends from high school, is in town for Christmas. I don't think we've seen each other since graduation. She and her husband Matt have an adorable baby girl named Sophie. It looks like we're getting together tomorrow! Sarah and I were the main student accompanists for our (award-winning, I might add) concert choir, although Sarah could run circles around me classically. :) Because we were both learning to read all 4 staves of the SATB music, she usually played the women's parts, and I usually played the men's parts - sitting side by side on the bench. We would often smash each other's fingers, or end up all tangled up. I have such fond memories of that, although I remember some tears over accompanying as well. Anyway, excited to see Sarah.

5. Oh. My. Goodness. It is COLD! I'm thankful for boots, gloves, coats, and warm Christmas jammies. The heat has been running so much that we're running a humidifier nonstop and it barely keeps up. It gets dry up here! At least a dry 2 degrees feels better than a humid 2 degrees...right?

6. Maeve wedding this weekend - Tarah's dress turned out beautiful! Here's a sneak peak - thanks, Megan for the pics!

Alrighty, time to go tackle the dishes and house. I figure with Christmas on Thursday, and a half day of work for Nick on Wednesday, we're halfway through a normal Wednesday already this morning. Did you follow that? Ha. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Raw Milk Vote

On Obama's website there is a whole list of suggestions people have made--issues for Obama's administration to work on. One of them is to legalize the sale of raw milk. Now, some of you could educate ME on raw milk, but here's what I know:

1. Raw milk contains the enzymes that make digestion easier, pasturization kills these enzymes.
2. There is very little danger (if any!) in drinking raw milk (many people do it every day!) if you get it from places that keep their equipment clean. In fact, the milk itself is somewhat sterilizing, if I understand correctly.
3. Many, many people get around the law by selling "shares" of their animals, in exchange for a certain amount of milk per week. We bought a share for a while after I had to wean Hannah early. So it's actually happening anyway...just not in stores.

Anyway, if you're interested in voting, here's the link. It only needs 111 more votes to make it to the second round...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Um, yuck!

Please tell me this is a joke...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh good grief...

Christmas Party

We had our small group Christmas party last night. These are not great pictures, but they actually capture the chaos rather well. :) We did a gift exchange for the kids, and a good time was had by all...with a few minor meltdowns toward the end. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Check this out - it creates an image of the most frequently used words in the last page of your blog. Pretty nifty! Interesting to see what I've been talking about most. :P (Click to see it larger)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekly Update

Christmas Shoes

I don't feel like doing this today. Not sure why. Maybe I'll figure it out?

1. My Gramma is here this weekend from Southern CA. We've been having fun hanging out and eating out. It's been a long time since we've seen her. Wish Grampa could have come too. She bought the girls their Christmas outfits, and even got me a pair of warm boots. I'm very grateful!

2. We finally got the tree and decorations up this weekend. It feels a lot more like Christmas. Getting the tree up was an adventure in and of itself...the trunk of the tree wouldn't fit in the stand we had, so Nick had to go back to Walmart (a 30-40 minute roundtrip) and get another one. By the time we got it all up, it was...later than I care to admit. The girls were very tired Sunday, as Hannah lately gets up at 7:15 no matter what time she goes to bed. (Why do kids do that?) Like I told one friend, life provides much better material than movies...

3. I keep searching for a bread recipe we can eat. I have another one I'm going to try. It will have to be more like quick bread because of no yeast, which just doesn't have the sandwich bread consistency I wish we could find. Our health food store no longer seems to carry the one brand of bread we could eat, so we're going without. I miss my toast and almond butter - one of my favorite snacks!

4. We had our first real business crisis on Saturday. At what should have been her final fitting, the bride tried on the dress and the seamstress who put the zipper in had made the dress too small to zip up. I looked over at Holly as she was trying to get it to zip and my stomach dropped when I saw the look on her face. This bride's wedding is this coming Saturday. It can and will be fixed in time, but with several hours of work. We usually aim to be finished with gowns a month in advance, but did this dress in two months total, because of their short engagement. Whew. Stress? Just a little. I'm just glad it can be fixed...

5. We have two Christmas parties this week, both with (lots of) kids. I think the goal is at least partially organized chaos...if we hit that for an hour, we have succeeded. :)

6. The cottage across the street from us is for rent again. It is 700 sq ft, 2 bed 1 bath for $600 a month. It has a fenced yard, and looks (from the outside) like they take pretty good care of it. Somebody who's not a weirdo, please come rent this! :)See how cute it is?

OK, I think I'm done for today. Just feeling a little burnt out and tired. Maybe I'll go cuddle my kiddos and watch Little Einsteins for a while... :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More on Giving Yourself a Break

Another great post I saw today...

Cutting Yourself a Break

David and Becky Grothe, the marriage and family pastors at church, came to our small group to visit last night. We had been wanting some older couples around to encourage us, and they so graciously volunteered to come, even during the busy Christmas season! As we talked with them, I had to ask a question that has been bugging me for months.

"What do you do when you're too tired to be nice anymore?"

Everyone chuckled a bit, as I expected. What parent of young children has not felt that way?

Their response surprised me.

I expected a long speech about asking God for strength, taking a minute to pray, reading your Bible more... What Becky said was to relax the expectations on yourself. She started telling stories about just sprinkling Cheerios on the carpet for her twins to pick up, because they would end up there anyway; about her feeling of shame over her small house and old furniture. She said having peaceful happiness is more important than a clean house. Don't do more house-keeping (or other stuff!) than allows you to be kind and happy with your children.

Then, I opened up my reader today and saw Kim's post about the same thing.

I have been concerned about the habits our children form, based on what they see while growing up. Obviously we don't want to raise our kids thinking it's okay to live like pigs. However, personally, when my kids are grown I would much rather their houses be messy than constantly tense, overworked, unhappy, and tired. Striking the balance between an appropriate level of cleanliness and not overworking ourselves is a tough thing, but I'm grateful for the "permission" to have a messy house. Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Noise, Again

More wisdom from Seth Godin today...

I have noticed that when I get the most stressed, feel the most overwhelmed, the most discontent, and am the most mean to my kids (um, yesterday comes to mind-bad afternoon/evening for us); is when I am reading everything I can get my hands on, on the internet. Our brains are not meant to process as much information as is available to us. So how do we make it stop? Do we go on internet fasts? Do we give ourselves time limits (that we will inevitably break)? Do we do away with the internet altogether (not really an option, I don't think)?


Monday, December 8, 2008


Love this quote from Seth Godin: "And most of all, get straight on who you are trying to please, and why."

Hebrew vs. Greek Thought

I found this fascinating. Some of it is probably somewhat biased, but it's not intended by the author to be an objective reporting. The things that are most important to know are different between Hebrew thought and Greek thought. Many homeschoolers are moving back toward Hebrew ways of teaching their children, for obvious reasons.

Weekly Update

Story behind this one: the girls played outside yesterday while Nick put the Christmas lights on the house, and when I looked out the window this is what I saw. That's what we get for being too lazy to put the top back on the sandbox during last week's snowstorm...Audrey sure thought this was fun. It was ICY water...she's nuts! :) (Don't worry, I cleaned her up and got her warmed up right after I took this. :)

1. Nick and I got to have a date night last night! It had been nearly three weeks. We like to try for weekly, but we've been missing our piano lesson/babysitting exchange because our babysitter needed to take a break from lessons for the holidays. We split dinner at PF Chang's, and then went to Starbucks and then wandered around Barnes and Noble for a while. It was really nice. I like my husband...a lot. :)

2. Potty Training. Whew. Hannah has continued to resist training, and it's obvious she's ready. Plus she'll be 4 in April. So finally the other night I looked up potty training resistance, and found an entire school of thought on the psychology behind potty training. They say that when it becomes a power struggle (as it has) that the best way to end it is to drop out. Quit talking about it, quit reminding, and just make them clean up the mess (of course that's only their perception - really you help clean up, but make them take off wet pants and put on dry ones). So, we're trying it. They say that since the parents don't control their children's bladder, you have to make the child responsible for it. She really doesn't like having to change her wet pants herself (which is weird because she'll walk around in a wet diaper most of the day if I let her), so at this point she just holds it all day (I still make her go at bedtimes) and has about three BIG accidents. It's been two days. I Guess this is improvement? We'll try it for a week and see how it goes...

3. We had a fitting for Maeve on Saturday. It went really well - the dress is going to be the best one yet! And we got a pleasant surprise last week - a free office! My dad moved his small business out of his basement and into an office space last week, and there is a tiny closet of an office in his suite that he's letting us use for free. It gets us out of Holly's basement, and gives us a place to meet clients. Works for us! From a basement to an office, even a small one, definitely a move up! Final fitting on that gown is next Saturday!

4. Saturday was quite the day for us. After the fitting, I ran home and got the girls down for an early nap, then we went to a late lunch for my brother's birthday. When we got home it was almost time to get ready for the Christmas Tree Lighting. By 8pm I was fried, big time. What do you do when you get too tired to be nice anymore? Ideally, I think we would avoid getting that tired and quit while we're ahead, but there are some days it can't be avoided. I'm really interested in thoughts on this one...

Oh, and we got cute pictures at the Christmas thing, in spite of the bad light in the building...

And it was so fun to see some of our small group friends there! I tried to get pictures of them but none of them turned out.

4. On Thursday my Grandma ("Gramma") arrives to visit from SoCal. I'm excited to see her and to have my kids hang out with her. We're going to drive up to the airport with my mom to pick her up.

5. Finished a shirt for the stuffed bunny last week...hopefully I can get more done this week. It's cute so far!

6. I tried this bread recipe this weekend, in my never-ending quest for bread we can eat. It's not my favorite. It has that sandpapery texture from LOTS of rice flour, and I haven't yet figured out how to keep it from burning in the toaster. One good thing about it - it doesn't get that gooey center that so many GF breads get. Yuck! And it is free of gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and yeast...although all that potato starch isn't the best idea either...

7. Keeping my house clean: I have always appreciated FlyLady, but my complaint has been that my days are never the same. I don't get to go through the same routine every day, and I certainly can't follow a schedule. So, I was reading this the other day, and came upon an idea. What if I could combine the best parts of flylady with her list idea? So, I made a basic daily list for myself. On it I have the things that I need to do each day, along with places to write in two cleaning chores for the day, and a project from my list of projects to be done around here. So, my morning list looks like this currently:
Feed Animals
Hair & Makeup
Girls Dressed
Girls Hair
Make Beds
Then I have some blank lines at the bottom to add more things. (Or else to write down things I've had to do and cross them off to make me feel good...come on, you know you do it too!)

So far this has been working better than anything I've ever tried. Between the kids' needs, I have a hard time staying on task to finish what I need to. When I have a list I can say, "Where was I? Oh yes..." and be right back on task. And, I can tailor it to what I want done the most. Last week my dirty windowsills were bugging me, so working on them with the magic eraser made the list. That would never come up in the flylady daily assignment, and often that assignment either does not need to be done in my house, or it's something that is low on the priority list to me. Without sounding so domestic that it's goofy, I've actually been wearing an apron over my clothes and keeping the list in my pocket. I remember I'm at work (without wearing shoes - another thing I rebel against with flylady :), I have a place to carry things, and my clothes don't get dirty while I clean. Heh...listen to me going on and on. I'm kind of excited about this. Enough about that.

I should probably go get started on my list, come to think of it. This is LONG today... Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Everywhere!

You know how when God is teaching you something, suddenly everywhere you look, there the message happens to be? Came across this today. Read it. It's wonderful.

And then read The Search for Significance.

And then read or listen to The War is Over. (He's on TV, teaching about that right now at like 6 in the morning too.)

And then...well, you missed it. The pastor at the tiny Presbyterian church I play for talked about it a couple weeks ago.

And read Hebrews 9 and 10. And Ephesians.

And listen to Pastor Brady's Sermon on the Older Brother Syndrome.

I'm still not sure what to say, and I've been processing all of these for 6 months. I have spent all of my life as the older brother from the parable, thinking I had to do a list of things in order to be accepted, and still was not. I couldn't understand why life was so hard when I had done everything right. I found myself punishing people around me for their shortcomings, but it was only because of my acute awareness of my own shortcomings. At times, the guilt and shame I had over my sin was almost suffocating. Good thing I never feel into real rebellion - it might have killed me not just spiritually but emotionally and physically too!

I have been and am still being changed from the inside out by the truth of who God is. Jesus' sacrifice is complete - it wiped out all my sin, forever. I am, as Search for Significance says, "Deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Christ." Truly, I'm in awe of Who God Is. God wants that for all of us. Let's allow Jesus' sacrifice to set us free as He intended, so we can reach out to others with that message. Do it with me. Come on, it'll be fun...and exciting! This is what gives meaning to life...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Audrey Nicole

Hannah's been taking pictures of Audrey, and her smile is so precious that I have to post them!
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Thansgiving Dinner

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Daddy and his girls


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Snow Pics

Nick said Toby actually had drool icicles. Ha!

Because I would much rather do this than the list of other stuff today...
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Bunny and Kitty


Here they are - still faceless and clothing-less. :) They are both about 12" from the top of the head to the toe, and the bunny's ears make her a bit longer. The patterns are super cute and easy!
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Weekly Update

1. Man, did we get a lot of snow. Somewhere between 18-24". Hard to tell exactly. The thing is, our street is one of the first to get plowed, and our neighbor did our driveway for us, so we went out to run errands tonight anyway. It was nice to get out of the house after being here two days. Yay for our Jeep! And Nick gets to work from home in the morning. :)

2. The Mom Blog is temporarily set to private (only contributors can see it) until we get a name figured out and the site designed. This is shaping up to be a great team of moms! If you'd like to be involved, please let me know! I think it's going to be really great.

3. Thanksgiving was fun around here. We did our meal on Friday, which actually turned out just so-so. My heart wasn't really in large amounts of food for the second day in a row, so I didn't pay attention like I have in the past. The turkey was just a little dry, the green beans undercooked, the stuffing not good at all...oh well. We ate it anyway, and it was nice to have all the leftovers. I'm going to make turkey pot pie with some of the turkey this week - yummy!

4. I finally figured out the gluten free sourdough bread! Unfortunately, the yeast still seems to upset Hannah and my stomachs. (Somebody tell me how to fix the grammar in that sentence...SaraW?) Anyway, anyone who wants the info about it, feel free to email or comment and I'll get it to ya.

5. Thursday night we came home to the biggest disaster of a house I think I've ever seen. It was just the way we left it. Honestly, I sat down on my kitchen stool and cried. After I was done doing that, Nick decided he would take over doing the dishes. He has done them all weekend, and I have been so amazed at the difference. I actually have time to get to other things! Thanks so much, hon. We're also more actively working with the kids to train them to pick up after themselves. This will obviously be a long process, but we needed a course correction, and we're correcting.

6. The girls and I made a paper chain yesterday, to entertain ourselves. I bought some glue sticks and cut strips of construction paper. You'd think I had created the coolest project ever. :) We hung it in front of our living room window, and the girls keep looking at it and talking about it.

7. I found some free patterns online for stuffed animals, and finished the animals this week. Now I just need to embroider their faces and make them some clothes. I also found these little plastic rings and some really soft fabric, perfect for making little ring slings for the girls to carry their dolls in. Yay for Christmas presents that cost...oh...less than $5? :)

8. Welcome to December!!!!