Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't Forget!

...to change my blog to storiesandsongs.wordpress.com! I seem to have lost lots of you. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Moving

OK, it's official. Moving to Wordpress. See ya there!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

See, the thing is, I shouldn't even write posts like I did today. Because then I read the news and hear about how almost 10% of people don't even HAVE a JOB, and then I feel bad. I went to the grocery store tonight and was able to buy everything we would need to eat for the week. My family is strong and healthy. God is a terrific provider - I got a phone call tonight from a company that might hire me as a virtual assistant, doing exactly the kinds of things I love doing. It all always works out. Enough poor me. Sorry about that. The end.

Where I've Been

Um...I don't really know where to start.

I haven't been writing lately. Part of it's because I just haven't felt like it. But I suppose a bigger part of it is that life's just been kinda tough lately. I know all the arguments for writing during the good and bad times, and I agree with them...I think. But I also know that when I go to read stuff online, all I need is something to drag me down a little! Life's hard enough without hearing about other people's problems too! But I'm home, kids are in bed, and frankly I'm lonely, so I suppose I'll tell you about it.

First, I have made basically no extra money for us since a month before we moved. I had been making money from piano lessons, 2 different online freelance jobs and Maeve. In addition, we have recent additional bills - school loans, dental bill we're trying to pay off before they send it to collections, and things related to moving (our house had almost no window coverings, for example). That has made for a ridiculously tight money situation the past 2 1/2 months. There is nothing like money issues to wear you out FAST.

The Jetta is still broken. It has some sort of coolant system issue, but it could be a whole host of things and (see above) we can't afford to just start replacing stuff, hoping it'll fix the problem. So I've been without a car for literally three weeks now. Nick drives 25 minutes each way to work and could technically bring me the car and I could drive him back to work and then go pick him up again...but the thought of trying all that with two little kids wears me out too.

We still have not received our deposit back from our old house. We moved a week before the lease was up, and the landlord had in the lease that she didn't have to send the deposit back until 30 days after we moved out. So on the 30th, Nick called her and she sent him a text saying she'd sent it that day. Thanks for that. Now it's 2 days later and we still don't have it. Um, that's only 10-15 minutes from here. Is there any reason it should take more than 2 days? Not that I can think of.

In the midst of all this, we've moved out of the Maeve office to cut our costs, had company for a week straight, tried to celebrate birthdays for me, Nick, my dad, and my sister, and had Father's day. My kiddos are going through a stage where they're fighting a lot and I'm trying to work with them but my patience is just thin from everything else going on. Audrey has been getting hurt a lot while playing outside...can't figure out if she's just getting used to being outside, or if her blood sugar is low a lot (I almost have to force-feed this child protein 90% of the time), or what. Her knees are all skinned and bruised up though. I can't carry an almost 3 year old everywhere she goes!

And because our small group is on a summer schedule, I haven't seen any of you guys lately and I'm lonely and don't have a car to come see you. Sigh!

One thing I can say, I'm feeling really good. I'm already at 15 weeks and time is flying by. It's a world of difference being pregnant now that I'm off gluten. With my other two pregnancies I had to adjust to just having a stomach ache nonstop. At this point my energy is good, I'm not sick, and I'm doing well.

I know it will all get better eventually. But I wish there was a quick fix. I am really glad my kids have a big house and huge backyard to play in so they have stuff to do while I work through all of this, even if I do have to still break up fights every 10 minutes...

So there ya go. The honest truth.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Call...

Got this in an email from Homeschool Legal Defense. Google the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and read what it would do to our freedom to raise our children the way we believe is right. Scary stuff.

Call Now to Stop
UN Children’s Treaty

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Monday in a Harlem middle school, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told a group of 120 students that administration officials are actively discussing “when and how it might be possible to join” (that is, ratify) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). As before, she also communicated what a disgrace it is that the U.S. would stand with only Somalia against such a widely accepted treaty.

This is the first direct public statement by the Obama administration that it will seek ratification of the UN CRC.

In my 30 years of political involvement, I have learned to recognize this as what is called a “trial balloon.” Like in World War I trench warfare, our opponents have “sent up a balloon” to see if it will draw fire. If things remain quiet, they will proceed with their plans to push for ratification of the CRC in the U.S. Senate. To discourage them from doing so, we need to make sure that our voices are heard with unmistakable clarity. We must let the Obama administration know that we oppose this anti-family, anti-American treaty.

Action

Here’s what we need you all to do:

1. Call the White House comments line at 202-456-1111. Tell them you heard the administration wants to ratify the CRC, and you strongly oppose this giving away of U.S. sovereignty to the UN. Also, keep in mind that this treaty gives the government jurisdiction to override any decision made by any parent if the government thinks that a better decision can be made—even if there is no proof of any harm.

2. Call the Ambassador Susan Rice’s office at the United Nations. Tell her that you want her to represent the United States to the world rather than trying to get the United States to go along with international law initiated by the UN. Her office number is 212-415-4000.

3. Contact your senators and urge them to oppose ratification of this treaty. (Find your senators’ contact information by using HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox.) Ask them also to defeat it once and for all by cosponsoring SJRes 16—the Parental Rights Amendment.

It is very important that we speak up right now. Please call before you close this email!

Michael Farris
HSLDA Chairman

Monday, June 15, 2009

Testing...testing

I have never experienced so little desire to blog. Kinda funny. I'll give it a try today though. :)
Here's our update:

1. Still working on various projects related to moving. My parents have a ride-on lawnmower that they don't use anymore, and Nick's been working with my dad to try to get it working for two weeks. They have the problem narrowed down to the carburetor, so that's getting rebuilt when the repair guy has time to get to it in a couple weeks. Meanwhile, the grass (read:weeds) is growing very, very tall. I think we're going to hit it with the weed whacker here pretty quickly. But, we've got lots of wildflowers!

2. Our friends Marty and Casey are coming to stay with us next week, as they attend New Life's ENTER worship conference. We're so excited to see them. I used to play keys in Marty's worship band in Tulsa, many moons ago, and Nick did his degree internship with Marty.

3. Nick's birthday was yesterday. We both agreed this year was a bit of a downer in the birthday department. Money's been spent on moving, lots of projects to do, very little time to relax. But, we did get to go down to the reservoir swim beach (which was a little cold, but still fun), and then to see "UP" at the drive in theater. Our friends Rich and Bekah and their kids went with us, as well as my sister Amy and her boyfriend. Aside from the trouble we had finding the drive-in, it was really a fun day. And even getting lost was pretty entertaining. :)

4. I got a few plants and flowers this weekend. I'd LOVE to put in a vegetable garden, but it doesn't seem like it'll happen this year. I have lots of large containers though, so I planted one tomato, one zucchini, a row of bush beans in a long narrow flower pot, and I repotted several houseplants. My spider plant had sort of split itself into three plants, so I pulled them apart and repotted. I got a cheap hanging basket of petunias for the front entry. Now we just need to mow and it'll actually look like someone lives here!

5. Ran into my old piano teacher at Walmart last night. She's lived about 2 minutes from here for the past 5 years. Mildly intimidating, since there's no way I can compete for the limited piano lesson clientele out here. She's been teaching like 30 or 40 years or something and I think has a master's degree. But, she's also the one who told me you couldn't learn to play from chord charts and since that's mainly what I teach now, I feel somewhat redeemed. :)

6. We've decided to take a break from Maeve. We're pulling out of our office before the end of the month and doing remaining fittings at my house. We have two more projects for August weddings and then no more committments. There are various reasons for this, but I feel we've made a really good decision. I thought about being disappointed about it, but the more I've thought about it, none of it was wasted. We learned a ton, created some beautiful things, and we can always go back to it when we're ready. For right now, I'm honestly really looking forward to a peaceful, restful time when I can focus on my husband, kids, and home, and get ready to have a baby. Expect to see me much less frazzled, coming soon. :)

7. The Jetta is broken again. It's right around 100,000 miles, so it was due for issues, I suppose. It overheats when we drive fast and then cools down when we stop or drive slowly. It's weird. But it's kind of a problem since we have to drive 55 to get out to our house now. Between that and the lawnmower, I'm tired of mechanical things, just in general.

That's probably good enough for now. I've missed hearing from you guys! Leave me a comment, just to say hi, if you're up for it. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Need a pick me up?

Dr Laura wrote a book called "In Praise of Stay at Home Moms" and was on the Focus radio show on April 7 and 8. So encouraging to me today. (You'll have to search for the April 7 and 8 shows.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can't Touch This!

12 Weeks!

OK, I couldn't resist the title. Hopefully you won't be fighting that song in your head the rest of the day...

I've been mulling over this post for a few months now, and now that I have a (albeit tiny) baby belly, I figure I now have the authority to say it.

I often hear pregnant women ranting about how much they hate that people want to touch their belly. Here's the disclaimer for this post - don't miss it - it is kinda weird when complete strangers and men in general touch women's bellies. I gotta say that first. Don't be creepy, people.

That said, here's my thought: the type of people who will touch pregnant bellies are typically the type who do not understand social norms. I think you'll give me that. They don't "get" personal space. Therefore, I submit to you that the desire to touch pregnant bellies comes from an instinctual or possibly even spiritual place.

I think people want to touch because they want to be connected with new life.

Our society has become so disconnected from each other. Touching is taboo, though at the same time sexual images are pervasive. (How does that work, by the way?)

I'm rambling a bit, but the point I want to make is this: it should be okay for us to touch each other in healthy ways, especially between Christians. We need to be touched. You may have something in your past that makes you a little uncomfortable with being touched. That's okay. You still need it. We all do.

Now, it still weirds me out when men other than my husband touch my belly. But, if we women can't touch and bless each others' babies, who can? I think we should be (or work on becoming) open enough with each other that we can receive this kind of touch as a blessing and not as torture. I particularly feel this way when older Christian women want to touch me. Please, please do. I need your mothering. I need your encouragement. I want my children to be blessed by your years of walking with the Lord. Same goes for my close friends.

I don't want to go through life isolated because of the social norms of the world around me. So, feel free to hug me. And bless my growing baby through your touch. We all need it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hi

I'm predicting a return to blogging soon. Just as soon as the wedding season is over. ;) No, maybe before that. We'll see.

Thought this was interesting today. I have talked with so many people about skin rashes in their tiny babies. Probiotics aren't cheap, but they're more than worth the investment in your health and the health of your kids! Now, if I could just remember to take mine...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Quiet

I haven't felt much like blogging for a few weeks now. I'm processing lots of stuff related to moving, and doing lots of (rather boring) things related to moving. I've started posts and they don't say what I want them to. So, for now there's quiet. I kinda like it. Come have tea and I'll tell you stories. :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What is it about being pregnant that makes me want to wear a paper bag, with another one to cover my head, until it's over? I determined this time I wasn't going to get like that, but a broken-out face, a poochy tummy, and the fact that none of my clothes fit but I'm too small for maternity stuff has weakened my resolve. Arg. Get over it, Sara....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's your baby eating?

Here's an article I found interesting. Among other interesting tidbits, was one brand of "biscuits" for children that were found to contain 29 percent sugar! Others contained trans fat. The article also talks about the effects of soy formula on children - the more I learn about soy, the more I understand why my body hates it so much! Even organic jars of baby food are either way too expensive, or contain high levels of sodium (the brand I mostly fed Audrey has high sodium levels, apparently).

Hannah got all freshly prepared homemade baby food, but I got lax with Audrey's since they were just 16 1/2 months apart. Oh, that and the fact that Audrey pretty much refused solids until she was about 14 months. I had given up by then! :)

I think you always have to take things like this with a grain of salt (no pun intended!). We all have to do the best we can as mothers. But if you understand the choices you're making, you're likely to make BETTER choices than you would if you didn't know any better. No guilt, just doing the best we can with what we know, and the situation we have, right?

(Oh, and the liver & egg recipe at the end of the article? GROSS!!!) :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stream of Consciousness

-I think I dreamed about moving boxes last night. We don't have that much stuff, but all my thoughts are occupied with getting ready to move.
-We're getting cable again when we move, because with the local company, it's like $8 more than for just internet. I have mixed feelings about this.
-Oh man, I got the worst cold/flu I've had in a long time over the weekend. I'm feeling much better today. We were joking that it was swine flu. We've all had it now, so I half hope that's what it was. No fever, just incredibly congested and achy. Oscillo works great on it though (it's homeopathic medicine made from a duck egg, which all makes sense, if you understand homeopathics). I was doing silver and vit c and getting sicker and sicker...
-I love Twitter. I find the coolest things on there.
-Why do important errands for Maeve come up only on the days when neither Holly or I can do anything about them? Stressful!
-Went out to the new house again last night. Gotta get stuff to cover several windows. The windows in the house are HUGE, which is great for light, but expensive to cover, even with roller blinds. We'll have to do one room at a time and use blankets for a while, I think. Maybe I can find good deals on actual curtains? Or make them out of clearance sheets maybe?
-There is a hot tub in the backyard at the new house that currently doesn't work. We figured the landlord would pull it out rather than pay to fix it. But when we asked him about it, he said he's planning to fix it within the next couple months. (Not that I can use it anyway since I'm pregnant, but you all can! :) So...party at our house!
-I made sweet potato fries as part of our dinner last night. I haven't perfected the recipe, probably having something to do with the fact that I get impatient and leave pieces too big rather than cutting them down thin and all the same size. However, I could eat them till I'm sick anyway. SO good.
-Oh man, it's currently 77 degrees at my house. Every window that opens is open, and the pine trees smell incredible!
-OK, here's a story: I am very much due for a visit to the dentist. In the mail a couple of weeks ago, I got a postcard from a new dentist that is offering free whitening products for life if you go to them. The dentist I usually go to is excellent, albeit very expensive. Do I try this? Will I be sorry? Sure would be nice to have whiter teeth...
-Feeling a little lonesome this week, between being sick and trying to pack (thus the ridiculously long, random post). Moving boxes do not carry on conversations so well (not that I've tried!). Talk to me. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

hi there

This has been a WEEK, let me tell ya.

But, since I collapsed on the couch when we got home at 5, and Nick is now sound asleep in the recliner, I'm giving a little update.

-Went to a college friend's seminary graduation today. His dad took the entire crowd to dinner at Ted's afterward. Everyone ordered steak, drinks and even some dessert. The tab was HUNDREDS of dollars. Our kids absolutely blew me away today. Not only did they sit through the two hour ceremony, but lunch at a nice restaurant too. Since when can they do that?

-I've been packing the house a little each day. Many of our shelves are empty, and we're down to the things we use every day. It's a weird feeling. I'm antsy to actually sign the lease and get the keys. It's been two years of this tiny living space - hard to believe it's almost over.

-We all finally got the cold that's been going around, along with achiness and plugged ears and cough. The girls are pretty much done with it, but I crashed yesterday and today. Hopefully the worst of it is over. I'm not even that congested, but my ears are plugged. Between that, morning sickness, first trimester tiredness, and packing, I've been occupied. 3 1/2 weeks till 1st trimester is over! I scheduled my first prenatal appt. Yay! And the other night I woke up on my back and my right leg was asleep. A little early for that, don't we think? Seriously, it's like my body remembers how to do this a little too well...

-My grandparents arrive from CA tomorrow night. My youngest sister Amy graduates from high school on Thursday. This means we have church and family stuff tomorrow, family in town Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, graduation ceremony stuff Thursday, her grad party Friday, and then moving Saturday. I think I probably need to put the stuff we use every day in suitcases, and then knock out the rest of the packing ASAP.

-Oh, while we were at the restaurant today, Nick took Hannah to the bathroom. A guy was walking in, and Hannah, with a huge arm gesture to show the way, said to him, "Help yourself!" Where do they get these things?

I suppose I should gather my snoring husband and go to bed. Hope your week was great!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grocery Store Conversations

When I grocery shop, particularly if I'm blessed enough to be able to go on my own, I like to chat with the person at the register. It's always the same handful of people, and we all recognize each other. I shop at a regional family-owned health food store.

Anyway, last night, the bagger was sneezing all over the place and excusing himself, so I said to him, "It's that swine flu, ya know." He and the lady at the register cracked up laughing, and then he proceeded to tell me about how the media is all about benefiting the drug companies through their scare tactic reporting, and how we have all these weird strains of flu happening because of our overuse of antibiotics and chemical sanitizers, and how he was testing chicken eggs in the 70's and finding tetracycline in them because farmers were using antibiotics to increase yields, and how "that didn't really work for us, did it?"

Couldn't agree more, buddy...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekly Update

1. Wow. What a weekend. Our Maeve open house went well - we met lots of great people. I was a little concerned about being on my feet working for that long, but I survived, morning sickness and all. :) Then I was done, and pretty much stayed in bed the rest of the weekend. I wish I was kidding. My incredible husband worked his tail off this weekend.

2. The house we wanted is gone. I was disappointed for a little while, because I can't see how anything would be as good as that one. But I was reminded this weekend of what Moses told God when they were in the desert - if You don't go with us, do not take us up from here. If God's presence goes with us, and as long as my family is together, it doesn't really matter that much where we live. I'm choosing to trust.

3. Between Maeve, (which has kept me really really busy), looking for/at houses, keeping up with the kids, and morning sickness, I really don't have much else to say. My life is both VERY full and VERY simple right now, out of necessity.

Surely somebody else has something more interesting to say. Please share. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu?

I've been impatiently awaiting Dr Mercola's take on the Swine flu, and he says what I expected. Take good care of yourself. You'll be fine. As long at the govenment doesn't force you to take poison. :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

If you crave...what you need is...

Kim posted this today. Love this kind of thing...

Weekly Update

1. Oh.My.Goodness. We had one of those nights last night. It all started when Nick and I decided to watch Casino Royale (James Bond) at 9:30 after the kids were in bed. We made popcorn. He fell asleep about 30 minutes in, but I of course had to finish the thing. So, they did the things they normally do in Bond movies, tortured and killed a couple of women, almost poisioned Bond to death, you know, the usual. The movie ended at midnight. Then, I got up to grab something to eat and Hannah started crying out in her sleep. Remember, I'm already trying not to be spooked. I went in her room, talked to her about her bad dream and was rubbing her back, when suddenly she sat straight up, screamed her head off, and flailed like she was terrified. I guess she hadn't really been awake? She then ended up in our bed where she kicked and played until probably 3 or 4 and finally asked to be put back in her own bed. The only good part of this story is that Audrey got out of bed at 8 and I put her back and told her to stay there, and they did. Until 10am!

Moral of the story: don't watch yucky movies, particularly until midnight. Not sure how that affected Hannah, but it sure didn't make my life easier. :)

2. Another first fitting tonight. Holly's text to me was, "Oh, man, this dress is pretty." I don't know that Holly has EVER said that about her own work... We also just consulted about this dress. Neat, huh? She's in her mom's 20's style wedding. :) Illustration by the talented Wendy Clum!


3. Pregnancy update: Still feeling good. Had a weird experience last week that turned out to be nothing and I'm very grateful. If I get too hungry I start feeling a little like gagging. Morning sickness set in at 6 weeks with my other two, and we have arrived at that point... It's gonna be great. :) Nick walked up behind me chewing on some chocolate the other night and I almost threw up on him. Heehee...

4. Keeping coming across scammers on Craig's List while I'm looking for houses. Email for info and they write back with these elaborate stories about how they got moved out of the area and now must have all your info before they tell you where the key to their empty house is so you can rent from them sight unseen. Um, yeah. So far I have restrained myself from writing back with some variation of, "Die scamming scumbag!" Ahem. Click delete. (Must be that Bond movie again. ;))

5. Maeve's open house is Saturday the 2nd. We have an event set up on Facebook. If you know anybody who needs a dress (I guess we've moved into formalwear also at this point) tell them to come! Feel free to stop by if you'd just like to say hi and see our office too. :)

6. I'm determined to start packing this week. The past two or three moves, I have left everything to the last minute (imagine that!) and have been packing the day of the move. This time, I'm packing and labeling everything, and then I'm taking the kids and going to my parents' for the day while the guys move stuff. So there! Now if we can just get into the house we love...

Alright. I suppose I should go do something more productive. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sorta Tagged

I was reading Flo's blog tonight, and she tagged everybody to take a pic of themselves RIGHT NOW and post it. Although I have serious doubts about whether or not you can just tag EVERYBODY (according to the unwritten rules of blogging-ha), I just got home from a date. So, here I am.


I tag Christina, Bek, Staci, Irene, and anybody else who wants to join in. I'm off to go whiten my teeth now... :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More on Gluten

They just keep finding more and more effects of gluten on the bodies of people who are intolerant. If you or a child or loved one has ongoing health issues, get tested for gluten intolerance. It could totally change your life for the better!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekly Update

Good morning friends,
I need to start blogging more consistently again. I miss you all!

1. Saturday night we got home from a date, and Hannah proceeded to have a really bad allergic reaction to something. Our best guess is that she rubbed her face on Daddy's cologne and reacted to that. She was covered in hives and couldn't stop crying. I gave her some Benedryl and was about to walk out the door to the ER with her when she was suddenly OK. Do any of you natural health people know anything about fragrance allergies? It is a Burt's Bees cologne he was wearing, but it does contain limonine and linalool, which we did a little research on and they don't sound great.

2. Since we all didn't get to bed till after midnight Saturday, we stayed home Sunday. I hate missing church, and we were supposed to go to a BBQ also, but I guess you gotta know when to quit. Audrey and I both slept till after 11.

3. We got about 16 inches of snow out here Friday and Saturday. It is a muddy, slushy mess now, but we're supposed to have 70's this week so at least it won't last long!

4. While we were home Sunday we put together Audrey's new toddler bed. She is thrilled with it, and Hannah's been putting her to bed and bringing her stuffed animals and her blankie and sippy cup. It's adorable. When I got up this morning, they were sitting side by side in the chair in the living room, sucking their fingers. They're still there, almost an hour later, while I make breakfast. SO cute! :)

5. The house we like is still on Craig's list! We talked to the landlord yesterday, and he's only received one other application. They can move in before us, but they haven't turned in an application fee I guess. This house is 2200 sq ft, on 1/2 acre, and only about 2 minutes further from town than we currently are. I'd have a totally separate piano studio to teach in, along with too many other things to list! My God shall supply all of my needs, according to His riches in glory... If it's where we're supposed to be, God will work it all out. But I really hope it's where we're supposed to be! :)

6. Um, we're having another baby. I'm still smiling about that. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Announcement


We thought about waiting a while to share our news, but seeing as how I'm about as good at keeping my own secrets as...oh...a piece of glass! (I CAN however, keep other people's secrets just fine! :)) We figured we'd just broadcast it so you can be excited with us!

We are thrilled to be expecting our third baby, due sometime near the end of December.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekly Update

1. This is what our Easter Sunday looked like. I was too mad about the snow to try to get in on the pic. Well, not really...but kinda. :)

2. After two trips to Denver, we got our latest gown finished. Lesson learned this time: have a professional seamstress at every fitting, even the ones we're SURE will be final. Running a business is not for the faint-hearted.

3. We found a house we love east of town. It has two living areas, a sunroom (I could have plants to my heart's content), a separate laundry room, a master bedroom with 5-piece bath and walk-in closet, two other bedrooms with jack and jill bath, and it's on 1/2 acre, fenced, with a huge deck. And it's amazingly in our price range. We may still be too far out from our move date to be able to get this one, but we sure like it. At least it's reassuring that we've been able to find a handful of houses that we like and would love to live in.

4. Our sweet Hannah turned 4 on Saturday. She had a very eventful day! My family came over for cake (coconut flour cake with strawberry icing - turned out delicious!) and presents. Then we had a quick nap and headed to church to see the children's version of the Easter play - The Crown. Hannah asked to go forward at the invitation and she prayed the prayer to receive Christ! It was very precious to me, and we've had lots of terrific conversations since then. After that we went to the mall for one more present - a Hello Kitty at Build-a-Bear that she's had her eye on for a couple of months, and then headed home to make pizza for dinner. I can't believe my baby is 4!

5. Sunday we woke up to heavy, wet snow falling. Welcome to Easter in Colorado... Nick shoveled 4 inches before we left in the Jetta, and by the time we got back it had piled up so much on our dirt road that the Jetta got stuck when we turned onto it. Nick was somehow able to rock it out of the hole we were in and get us home safely! Then we took the Jeep to my parent's house for lunch. :) Ham and potatoes and green beans. Yum. I ate waaaay too much. Fun to be with all my siblings together. That's kind of rare these days...

6. I am so grateful for the power of Christ's resurrection in our everyday lives. God is daily teaching me more about what it means, and I'm amazed.

7. Lastly, I'll leave you with these pics of our girls in their Easter dresses, just because they're cute! :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekly Update

1. Looked at a house that seemed like it would work for us this week. It's a 3 bed, 1 1/2 bath in BF, on 2 1/2 acres. They had totally redone the whole house - new carpeting, paint, everything. Then we we walked in, the owner had just lit up a cigarette. Ew. Seems like since everything is new though, it might air out ok. They want an outrageous deposit, and the rent is now $100 higher than they told us when we looked. I'm thinking this one's another no. Although maybe it'll still be there May 1st when we can actually do something serious, since the deposit is so high? There is nothing else in our price range out here at the moment, so we'd have to move into town if something didn't come up. God will guide us!

2. We've been staying home a lot lately so I can work. God has totally provided a way for us to save money to move. I am so amazed by the way He provides for us.

3. Starting another dress this week, and get this - we scheduled a consultation with someone who wants a gown plus all her bridesmaid dresses! Whoa. We could have our hands full the next few months. Our next goal is to consistently get to two dresses per month. We're on our way!

4. My littlest sister has decided she's going to Riverside, CA to college in the fall. Sniff! She's 10 1/2 years younger than me, and is just the baby of the family. Can't believe she's really going!

5. Hannah turns 4 on Saturday. I keep grabbing her, holding her like a baby in my arms, and asking her how she got so big. She says, "I just growed." Yes, she did.

Well, I better get to it. Have a good Monday!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

So you wanna work from home (Or better titled, what NOT to do)

As a business owner with a couple other internet-based jobs on the side, I'm learning a thing or two about how to make working from home, work. Because I'm a mom, most of this is going to focus not on how to set up your office, etc. People have written about that a lot. What I want to talk about is how to do it without driving your family nuts. Feel free to contribute. I've learned (and continue to learn) most of this the hard way - by doing it wrong sometimes. :)

1. Do not use working from home as an excuse to get addicted to being on the computer nonstop. Internet friends will never be a replacement for real-life friends, no matter how much you think you like each other. Something I am always extremely careful about is connecting with guys online. Protect your marriage! Be cautious and ruthless with online connections with the opposite gender! Every person has flaws, and your husband is the only one "meant for you" now, no matter what your circumstances. Don't allow yourself to be deceived in this area. It will ruin your life, and the lives of your family members.

2. Do not let your house get out of control while you work. Everybody needs breaks, so pick up for 5 minutes during yours. Here's where a supportive spouse is invaluable. Our house got out of control this week, but Nick helped reinstitute the pre-bedtime pick-up-the-house-time. If everyone will help, it's not so bad. Doing Flylady-esque routines every day helps too. If the dishwasher gets started before bed every night, breakfast is easy and you're ready to work when the time comes. If you have to spend the first hour of your day cleaning, it slows everything down.

3. Don't forget to focus on the kids. After all, that's probably why you're home, right? I make it a goal to read with my kids at least several times a week. Doesn't always happen, but it remains a goal in spite of failure. We sit down at the table together for breakfast, and I specifically make eye contact with each child as we talk. If they need something from me and I tell them "just a minute," I try to make sure it's really just a minute.

4. You know that whole thing about how cool it is to be able to work in your pajamas? Don't. You feel like a slob, you look like a slob to your husband, you're more cranky with your kids than you need to be (get them ready too - it's so much easier to relate well to a kid who looks cute and has their hair done!), and if something comes up and you need to leave the house, it takes forever to get ready. This one is super hard for me. I'm really working on it. Take a shower and do your hair and makeup. You'll be happier.

5. Set daily goals for yourself. How many hours do you HAVE to get in? How many would you LIKE to get in? You'll usually fall somewhere in the middle.

6. Take a Sabbath. You are not your family's provider and neither is your husband. God is, and He does a great job. Even He took a day off. This is not a law that He will strike you down for disobeying, it is a gracious provision for your sanity. Thank you, God, that you love me so much that You tell me to take a day off. My identity is not tied up in what I can produce. If any of this sounds foreign to you, read The Rest of God. It'll change your life.

7. In certain situations, set "office hours." Our bridal business can take over my life when I let it, and it always seems to be an emergency. We have hours when we have asked our seamstresses not to call. This is harder to do with my internet work, because if I don't do it when I have available time, I just don't seem to get to it. Still working on this one...

8. Write everything down. I have a whiteboard on my fridge that is a catch-all for the household tasks I think of while I'm doing something else. That way we remember to pay our rent, send mail and stuff like that. I keep a running grocery list there, too. There is more info than you can keep in your brain, so write down the things that you can't forget. My advice? Don't write down everything though - it's too hard on you!

I'm sure there are things that I've missed. What can you add to this?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A good reminder

Loved this today...

Winner!

Oh, by the way...

Meg is the winner of the School Days Photo Frame! Thank you so much for all of your input! The unanimous consensus was to offer the free shipping, so we're working on that now! Meg, let me know if you'd like the taupe, blue, or pink version of the mat and send me your address and we'll get it shipping to you!

Thanks again!

On Parenting

I never thought I'd be a lenient parent, but we had a discussion about Santa at our small group this week that started to make me feel like one in some ways. :) Confession: my kids watch Disney Princess movies, bad guys and all. We talked them through the scary part once or twice and now they remind each other that Prince Eric comes to the rescue, and they are excited to see how it turns out, each time. We tell our kids about Santa, and probably will do the Tooth Fairy too. I let my kids jump and climb on the furniture often sometimes. There are times when you're 2 and you're coloring, and the most convenient position is on top of the dining room table. Plus, with 11 months of winter around here (not that I'm frustrated;), they have to be able to play somewhere! If they want to run around and it isn't hurting anybody and their noise level isn't higher than the general roar, we usually let them. The exception to this (that comes to mind) is restaurants. People often tell us they are amazed at how well our kids behave at restaurants. We require them to sit still and keep their voices low, and they have had lots of practice since we like to do that as a family.

But my kids know how to pray for each other and us. When someone is sick or hurt, they usually ask to pray before Nick and I even think of it. We require them to be kind to each other, no exceptions. They love to read Bible stories, and specifically ask for ones about Jesus. The way we eat is very strict, out of necessity. They say please and thank you. They love to help put away the silverware and their toys. Hannah is working on making her bed and does it with joy. The girls love to pile in the rocking chair with me and read books for 45 minutes at a time. They love to sit at the piano and bang and sing. Hannah's even making up her own songs already.

It's fascinating to me to see the contrast between families, and I (don't miss this part!) wholeheartedly believe that what God has told one family to emphasize may be completely different for another family. We are currently reading Grace Based Parenting, and have been mostly challenged by it in the area of understanding God's unconditional love to us, the parents. Only after understanding God's love can we pass it to our children. He doesn't love us based on our performance, but based on Jesus' sacrifice for us and the perfect holiness in God's sight that we receive through faith in Christ. Incredible.

What about you? What are your non-negotiables with your kids? What things (that other people might be strict about) do you let slide?

Monday, March 30, 2009

50 Free Prints

Shutterfly.com will send you 50 free photo prints (you do have to pay shipping) with the coupon code 50FREEPRINTS. It expires today though!

Weekly Update

1. So, so glad to be home. It's funny how even my parents' home doesn't feel like home anymore. I lived there only 5 years ago! I don't think of myself as all that particular. My house gets messy like anyone's. But I guess I do have it very organized and efficient. And I like it that way. If something doesn't work where it is, I move it. If something in a closet hasn't been used in a long time, it gets sold or put in the garage. Everything has a specific place where it belongs, even though it may not be there all the time. :) Interesting things to learn about myself.

2. Had a final fitting Saturday and it went great! I put soooo much time and energy into that one, to get it just perfect for her, and it paid off. Felt really good. And we were able to talk through some of the business issues and figure out answers that I think will work. The discouragement was just temporary. :) One more final tonight, and then we're on to dresses for June weddings!

3. Over the weekend I bought a gluten free sugar cookie mix, with vanilla icing and chocolate sprinkles. Oh, they were so good! We never eat anything like that anymore, and Hannah's nose is running today, but yum...

4. It's snowing. Again. I am soooo ready for warm weather. Please?

5. There's a Just Between Friends sale on Friday and I have coupons for free admission. Anyone want to go?

6. There's also an open house thingy this weekend in a Victorian house downtown where this woman sells her calligraphy. It's pretty and girly and fancy. Anyone want to go? You get a calligraphy piece - a poem or quote - for free when you go.

Better go put my house back together. We're running on a late schedule today - Hannah was up part of the night and didn't wake up till 10! Have a great week...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Your input wanted!

Hey friends! As I've mentioned, I've been working for the site allthingsformom.com. I know I have been talking about business stuff a lot lately, but I wondered if you'd be willing to help us out a little? One of the most popular products on the site is the School Days Picture Frame. We'd like to give a school days mat away - you can use your own frame with it - to one of you in return for your opinion. We'll choose a random commenter to win a free school days mat. You will have your choice between 3 mat colors - please see the product listing for details and more pictures.


To enter, just leave a comment with the answer to this question: In your opinion, is it better to charge $9 for shipping for this frame, or to raise the price a few dollars and offer free shipping? Please keep in mind that the $9 is for the school days frame (not the mat by itself).

I'll choose a winner Tuesday night at 10pm, so leave your comment before then!

While I'm at it - if you'd like to do a giveaway for All Things For Mom on your blog, please let me know!

Friday, March 27, 2009

I just have to say...

If you're not reading Sara's blog, you should. It just makes me smile. That's all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thoughts thus far

...on housesitting:

1. LOVE the huge, soft king-sized bed with 500 thread count sheets. Man, how do they get up in the morning?

2. Trying to get used to having a pack of dogs interested in my every move. I could easily go the route of finding it extremely annoying, but then I'd just be mad all week. It's cool...I'm a pack leader...really...

3. HATE the stairs. I am more convinced than ever that I want a ranch-style house when we move.

4. I think we could actually get away with putting Audrey in a big-girl bed now. I was putting it off, but she's doing fine!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekly Update

1. We are housesitting for my parents this week. They have two dogs, a wild-animal cat and a parakeet. Add my dog and cat and that makes for...a zoo. However, it is almost 3000 sq ft, as opposed to our 800, and they have the biggest flat screen tv you've ever seen, 5 acres, and lots of other fun stuff. Even with the zoo, I'm hoping it'll be relaxing. :)

2. The neighbor's pit bull was loose yesterday, so we called the sheriff. Come to find out, leash laws don't apply out here, so we can do whatever we need to, to any animal who threatens us with no fear of recourse, but they can't even make animal owners keep dogs fenced. He actually told us we could shoot the dog if needed (not that we own or have even ever USED a gun...). If the dog hurts somebody, the owners will have a felony charge...great. Helpful. Then we called our landlord to talk to her about it (she always wants to know what's going on) and she has decided to try to sell our house (she can't get enough in rent to cover her mortgage, don't know how she would sell it for enough). So, we almost definitely won't be moving until our lease is up May 31st. With a dog that gets loose. And we have to keep showing the house. I am DETERMINED to focus on God as our protector and provider through all of this. None of this is too big for Him...

3. We have hopefully two final fittings this week. I'm feeling a little discouraged about our business, honestly. Neither of us is good at managing the production aspect - it's super stressful to both of us, but it's gotta be done. We really need a seamstress with Holly's impeccable taste and attention to detail, who doesn't mind a little stress, to manage this part for us. I don't know anybody like that, nor can I pay them what they'd be worth. I'm contemplating not taking any more dresses at this point, just finishing the ones we've got. Seems like a shame. I hope we'll figure out something.

4. Starting a new piano student today. Pretty cool...she's about my mom's age, impeccably dressed and have a thick southern drawl. She wants to learn to play so she can perform "inspirational" songs. She probably either won't stick around long, or we'll end up really good friends...I hope it's the latter. :)

5. My kids are currently pushing Little People cars back and forth through the house, saying, "We have to wait until the light turns green again. Now, go!" I love them!

Alright...better go get ready, take care of kiddos, pack, clean house, work, and teach. Gotta get started!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cute Shirts

If I had some extra money laying around...

Traditional Food Processing

Found this article on corn fascinating... Maybe if we actually used foods well, they wouldn't cause soooo many food sensitivities. Who's willing to bet people wouldn't be allergic to corn processed like this? My money's in...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekly Update

1. How do I put this well? New lessons learned on our latest Maeve gown this weekend... After paying for the hand embroidery the THIRD time, we might actually get it attached correctly. Next time, the gown gets totally finished and shipped off for embroidery ON the dress waaaaaay in advance. At least we have until the 1st. Whew.

2. In spite of that, we had a good weekend. Date night Saturday and a lazy Sunday afternoon. Love those.

3. We went to Jared Anderson's new cd recording last night. Always fun to see him play. He was playing an upright piano with the front of it removed, and they projected him playing in black and white on a white cloth behind him. Pretty cool looking... Gotta tell this story: on the fourth row from the back, there was a whole row of seats saved. We, with our kids, along with probably 100 other people were standing in the back because every seat was either saved or full. After 45 minutes, one of the women on children's staff came up to me and said we should just go move these people's stuff to the side and sit down in that row. I wasn't brave enough, so she did it and sat with us for a couple of minutes. We sat there the rest of the concert. On seriously the LAST song, a woman came up in a huff, and said to Nick, "Excuse me, these were the seats we had saved. Don't you know some people worship up front? We're missing stuff!" (Really? I mean, really? You're kidding me right now, right?) If they were missing stuff, it had happened long before we sat down. She gathered up her stuff and stalked off without waiting for a response. Moral of the story? Please don't ever act like that. :) I'm just glad it happened to us and not to a non-Christian, or someone from another church. Can you imagine?

4. Papers...do you have any brilliant advice on keeping up with them? I seriously have a one foot tall pile of them sitting in my closet to be filed. Bills, bank statements, receipts, manuals for things...somebody help! :)

5. The neighbors walked their pit bulls down the street again the other day. They are definitely back. Hmmm...wish life was simpler sometimes...

6. We found a house we're interested in. We told the owner our situation, and he said if he doesn't find someone before April 1st, he might consider holding it for us until we can move. Our lease is up the end of May, so even if someone doesn't come rent ours early, we'd still get that house. Pretty cool...it's a log house on lots of acreage...party at our house. ;) We'll see...God's got it all under control.

Teaching and other work today... Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flash Mobs

Have you seen this?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Love and Respect

I know I always link to this guy's blog, but it's just because every entry is so well thought out and insightful! Most of us have probably heard of the Love and Respect book for marriage. Great advice there. It always fascinates me when non-Christians (making an assumption about this guy) come to the same conclusions as what the Bible says people need. If we can establish respect from people and yet show love TO people, that is the combination that seems to be magic. It inspires people to work harder, to treat themselves and you better, to believe in the vision...

I think this can be applied in so many areas. Our families - marriages AND children, businesses, friendships, anywhere we lead or influence people.

I'd love to hear thoughts on this if you take a few minutes to process it - please share!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weekly Update: Turbo Edition

The amount of things I must accomplish this week is insane. Therefore, this will be quick! :)

1. So that we can move early if they find a new renter, our landlord is advertising our house for rent now. I'm excited about the potential to move, and my house has to be ready to show at a moment's notice. Flylady, you are my hero.

2. Maeve has another fitting Wednesday night. This one is an empire waist wedding gown, all in silk. I think it will be spectacular!

3. Looking at a house to rent tonight. If our landlord finds a renter we have to be ready to move April1st! There's one we found that we really like, but we need to have lots of options.

That's about all I got time for. Gotta get to it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Microsoft 2019

Have you seen this? It's insane!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thankful


I'm feeling thankful tonight. I must list...

1. My check from the school of worship came two weeks earlier than I expected.

2. I was able to work 18 hours on my new job this week, which will considerably help the financial situation in the next week or so.

3. We each got a new article of clothing last night, of course I decided I don't like mine, so they get returned (a pair of shoes and shirt), but that just means I get to go shop again and find something I do like. This makes me excited. Anyone up for a shopping trip? :)

4. My kids are in bed and it's quiet, I no longer have to listen to the whining that has been almost constant from my youngest...but this is a blog about being thankful, so you didn't hear that part. ;)

5. My husband is so nice to me, and he takes my advice about music stuff, and then sounds even better, and it's, well...very attractive.

6. I have been disciplining myself to at least pick up the living room and girls' room every night before bedtime, so I wake up to a semi-clean house that I can, for example, vacuum. Or dust. Or some other such productive thing. This makes me feel much better about my house and really, life overall.

7. My church is an incredible place to be involved. I'm so honored to serve and give there.

8. Nick and I decided I need to plan to have coffee with girl friends regularly so we can actually talk without chasing children. This sounds pretty much heavenly.

9. I feel good tonight.

10. God has been teaching Nick and I SO much lately. We're always excited to share with each other what we're learning and talk about it. It's like what Pastor Brady was talking about today - seek first the Kingdom, and all these things will be added. When I focus on God, other things seem to fall into place with much less effort. "The place to start, is to believe God is good, and that you are His child..."

11. I am postponing my trip to the dentist, scheduled for Wednesday, just because I don't wanna go this week. So there. Take that!

12. Nick's going to come play with me for worship on Thursdays. Believe it or not, we actually have played together very little. God is reawakening that in both of us. Yay for the journey...

And that's about it. That's a lot... I should sleep now. Goodnight!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Moving?

I've threatened this before and never gone through with it, but I think I'm moving to Wordpress. I'll keep ya updated...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekly Update

1. Hannah decided she wanted to go without the pull-up last night. I spoke positively, but had my doubts. She did it though! Totally dry. I am so excited about this. I thought this day would never come. Now that I've done a tough one, all others will be easy, right? :)

2. I got a job! I'm going to be helping improve and promote allthingsformom.com. (I'll put a real link up here soon.) Hopefully will be 10-15 hours/week. This will take a lot of the squeeze off us financially. Thank you, God... Found it on hiremymom.com. I have probably applied for 10 or 15 jobs there, or more, that I was totally qualified for. Just so you know what's involved before you go pay the $30 fee.

3. We have a Maeve (have you seen the new site?) consultation tonight. We have yet to not have one of these turn into a client, so that's good news! Lots of new gowns will be on the website in the next few months! Maybe we'll even make some money at it this year. ;)

4. I have to say, I love the book we're reading for our small group. Of course, we picked it out, so... :) It just is the way I want to parent...with the understanding of how much God loves me and how I am unconditionally loved, reflecting that to our children, without backing down on important stuff. I'm way ahead in the reading, I must confess.

5. My library books are late again. Why can I not ever get them back on time? It's silly. Does anyone else have this problem?

6. I decided that I would schedule a time and just start playing worship at the prayer center at church. I set it up as a small group so I (and anyone who wants to come...ahem!) can use the free childcare. The only time they had that worked for me was Thursday mornings, so Thursday mornings it is! 11am... I'm reeeeally rusty, but I'd love if you'd come worship when you're free. Or if you want to just bring your kids and worship with them I totally don't mind! My kids would love to roam around in there and check things out... It feels terrific to just sit at the piano and sing in that room. I have great memories of that...

This has taken faaaaarrr too long this morning. Gotta run! How was your week?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

35 Random Things

Oh, alright, you twisted my arm...

34 RANDOM THINGS:

1. Do you like bleu cheese? The flavor? Yes. The fact that it does, in fact, contain gluten? No.

2. Have you ever smoked? Nope

3. Do you own a gun? Nope

4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite? Ew.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Eat them regularly - all natural beef or even bison ones...yum...

7. Favorite Christmas movie? I can stomach Elf. Or the first Santa Clause.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? waaa-terrrr

9. Can you do push ups? a few

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? Whatever's new.

11. Favorite hobby? Music

12. Do you have A. D. D.? No

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? No.

14. Middle name? Kay. It's also my mom's middle name and my daughter's middle name.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I really should quit doing this and take a shower. Audrey is carrying around a sausage while she plays. I like the sunshine today.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink: Water. Tea. Izze.

17. Current worry? Determined not to.

18. Current hate right now? Not having enough storage in my house...or too many things, one of the two. ;)

19. Favorite place to be? The beach in 80 degree weather sounds pretty good right now.

20. how did you ring in the new year? At my parents' house with the whole fam.

21. Where would you like to go? Pretty much anywhere sounds nice.

22. Name three people who will complete this: Jo, Bek, maybe Christina?

23. Do you own slippers? Yep, wearing them now

24 What color shirt are you wearing? My NewLifeWorship Enter shirt. I slept in it.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I dunno. Get me some, I'll try it.

26. Can you whistle? Yes

27. Where are you now? Kitchen

28. Would you be a pirate? Oh yes, Arrrr....

29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Don't sing. Too busy relaxing.

30. Favorite Girl’s Name? Hannah and Audrey. I'm not telling my others! :)

31. Favorite boy’s name? See #30.

32. What is in your pocket right now? Nothing

33. What's the last thing that made you laugh? I'm sure it was something one of the girls said.

34. What vehicle do you drive? White VW Jetta, usually. Or the turquoise Jeep Cherokee. :)

35. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Last time I had a seizure, fell and hit my chin and cheekbone. My face and tongue were pretty beat up.

Ew. On that note...

Random

Have you ever seen the movie Milo and Otis? My favorite part is when the baby chick says,

"Mommy! Mommy! Chicken Mommy!"

Makes me laugh every time...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekly Update

1. Maeve is in full swing, making the two gowns we have for weddings in April. We try to keep all our appointments to one day/night a week, but you that have kids know that can be a lot. We have a second fitting Saturday.

2. For the past couple of months we have really been needing a vacuum cleaner. We are determined not to go further into debt, so putting one on a credit card isn't an option, and we certainly didn't have the cash to go buy one. I just prayed about it. I prayed when I got frustrated with the dog hair that our ailing vacuum didn't pick up. I prayed while I vacuumed the whole house twice and still it didn't look different. I trusted that God would meet our need, though several times I got very discouraged. A few times I borrowed my parents' Kirby, to keep up with the mess. Then one day when we went to borrow my parents vacuum, my mom mentioned they had another vacuum they weren't using. She wasn't sure it was better than ours, but we could take it. On Saturday we went to pick it up, and yesterday I bought bags for it. At least on our carpet, it works like a dream! I vacuumed the whole house, and even did all the edges with the attachment. I was so excited that I kept going and cleaned the entire house last night. It looks better than it has in a loooong time. Yay God!

3. Tomorrow night we're hiring a line dancing instructor and our small group is going to line dance together. They're all rolling their eyes about it, but really, they're excited. ;) Right, guys?

4. Been applying for jobs on hiremymom.com. So far, nothing. I did get one response from a woman who is an image consultant in San Fran, who wants someone to do advertising on social networking, and blogging for her. I could totally do that, but she's probably got 10 people that could do it. We'll see... Sounds really fun to me. I'm finding this process to be harder than I expected. I have always thought of myself as having excellent skills, but when everyone under the sun is looking for a job, that's a LOT of competition. I'm working on a profile at Elance.com. They have these skills tests that are....humbling. I remember the Office Team days when I could get 90+ on a typing test, and 95% on a Microsoft Word test...not so long ago...

5. I'm doing a new website for Maeve, using showitfast.com. I'm pretty impressed with this program. It's highly flexible, and relatively cheap. We'll finally be able to display the pictures of the gowns in a better way. It should launch in the next couple of days.

6. Go to youdata.com, sign up, and look at and click on their ads. You can literally make $1.50 in a couple of minutes, and they send it right to your paypal account within a few days. Pretty nifty. I could be wrong, but in my experience they don't even send spam.

Better go dress my kiddos and get ready to teach. Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I've Heard of People Like This...

OK, I gotta tell you guys this story:

Nick and I had our Valentine's date last night, and we headed down to the cheap theater that is at the other end of town. We decided to see Quantum of Solace, the James Bond movie. Got our tickets and headed into the theater. It was about 1/3 full and we got seats in the middle of the 6th row or so. So far so good. We had just sat down when a middle-aged man walked down the row and leaned right up into my face.

"You have the best seats in the place, good for you. But, I'm passionate about Bond, so...."

He then plopped himself down in the seat right next to me, draping his arm in his huge down coat across the armrest and halfway across my shoulder.

I turned to Nick and said, "Scoot down a couple seats." Then I decided that wasn't far enough from this character, and moved on the other side of Nick. I was now one seat from the end of the row. The guy, when he saw all of this, said, "COOL!!" And moved down two more seats to be right in the middle of the theater. There was one seat between him and Nick.

When the movie started, the guy proceeded to offer a complete running commentary of the movie, at times pointing at the screen, with an extended arm, to his date. Whenever someone was asked what they'd like to drink, he recited it from memory. When one of the good guys dies in the arms of Bond, he audibly wept. At the end of fight scenes, he offered, "Ow!"

I've heard of people like this, but never experienced it. So my question is, how do people get like that? Is he all there? Does he have some sort of mental disorder? Does he just not care anything about movie etiquette? Is he just oblivious and has no idea he's rude? At the very least he kept his voice down (mostly), but I'm willing to bet the only reason somebody didn't complain was we were at the $1.50 theater...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Um, ew.

Could resist passing on this little gem of an invention. Who comes up with this stuff?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hospitality

I'm a member of this group on Facebook and really enjoying the emails she sends. The latest one was about hospitality, and it was soooo good. Since it's not posted on the site anywhere, I'll post it here. It is written by Tammy Maltby. May we all be able to see hospitality this way...

A Simple Start:
A Few Thoughts to Jump Start Your Perspective Change on Hospitality.

1. Embrace hospitality as a message you give people about their value. My friend Phyllis Stanley coined that phrase and I just love it. It is not about impressing people. It’s quite the opposite. It is about wrapping your guests with comfort and care. Giving someone a message about their value means letting them know you’ve prepared for them, that they’ve been on your mind and heart, that you truly want to serve them. It’s being other centered rather than self-centered. That attitude takes practice, but it is well worth the investment. Not only will your guests’ lives be enriched. I promise you—yours will be too.

2. Let go of perfection. This is a point I’ll preach on again and again in this book because perfectionism it’s such a common hospitality killer—it will paralyze you every time. If you struggle with everything being perfect before you begin…you never will. Perfection is bondage—it will hold you back.

3. Convince yourself that comparison is the enemy. If your friend is amazing at entertaining, her house looks like a layout of Home and Garden, everything she touches turns to fun and beauty, and people flock to her gatherings…rejoice! She’s your friend and you can learn from her—but you are not her. I love what Emily Post had to say back in 1922: “To be a great hostess, don’t pretend to be other than what you are.” To effectively practice real hospitality, you must embrace who you are and find your own style.

4. Commit to try. Sometimes you will succeed splendidly, and other times a heartfelt laugh will be needed. It’s okay. You have no idea how many of those “attempts” I have lived through. Remember you will gain confidence with each endeavor. Nothing is ever a failure if you try and learn from it.

5. Most important, enjoy the ride. Promise yourself not to get so caught up in the business of living or even the details of hospitality that you miss the wonder of what is happening right under your nose. In all your efforts at hospitality, remember why you are doing what you are doing. You’re making memories, touching lives, doing the business of the gospel. You’re also connecting with the person you have always desired to be. You’re living with a perspective change—cherish the miracle!

Monday Update

Here I am. I've had no desire whatsoever to blog lately, but I'm easing back into it.

SO:

1. Nick and I had a wonderful overnight date this weekend while my parents watched the kids. Some wonderful friends had rented a condo in Breckenridge, and had an extra bedroom so they let us tag along. There were bunk beds in our room, and the hot tub was on our deck. We did not mind either of these too much at all. :) It was romantic and relaxing.

2. When we got home we put the kids down for naps and I slept from 3:15pm to 7pm. It felt wonderful, but I can't really recommend it seeing as how I was wide awake until about 3am this morning.

3. You can get a lot done between 10pm and 3am. I'm just sayin'.

4. I fed the girls the last two breakfast sausages this morning. Trying to decide what protein to eat for breakfast. Hot dogs? Bleck!

5. Have another first fitting Wednesday night. The last one we did, the bride took her own measurements to save her a trip here and they were about 6 inches off. Frustrating for her and us! But we got it fixed...

6. I am trying hiremymom.com. I'll let ya know how it goes. I also created another email address and started signing up to do online surveys, to see if I could actually make any money doing that. It's very dumb - many of them require you to spend money in order to make it. But I did get $3.50 in my paypal account the other day. Better than a stick in the eye, I suppose. I'll take it!

Alrighty. Gotta to get ready to teach!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I keep promising to be quiet...

But, why? Why, I ask you?

We Interrupt This Break....

I some ways, I've been glad for the timing of my break. It means I don't have to comment on Ted if I don't want to. :) But, an old Myspace friend tracked me down on Facebook this morning and asked me what I thought. I figured since I already formulated my thoughts for a reply, I'd post it here while I'm at it. So, here ya go:

I have not watched most of the publicity about Ted. Our local paper and news has had lots of stuff in the past week or so, and I've kind of half-heartedly skimmed it, wanting to be informed about what's going on at least.

What I think about all of it is summed up very well with this blog, written by a New-Lifer, and Ted's former editor. The college pastor posted it on his blog. New Life made the best decisions they could in a terrible situation. Ted's family has suffered a lot because of his sin. It's been a painful process, and I wish it hadn't all come up again. But New Life is strong, and our new pastor has provided excellent leadership and example. Pretty much everyone I know wishes the Haggards the best, but wants them to stay out of the public eye and get well. It may be money motivated - no one will hire Ted, so they may feel the need to sell their story in order to survive, which is said totally compassionately. That's a bad idea to me, to think you could profit from your sin, but it could be their reality.

Ultimately this too shall pass, and I hope that more and more Ted's actions will be seen as his actions alone, and not related to New Life any longer. No matter the actions of men, God has been and continues to be faithful to us!

So there ya go. We now return you to your regularly scheduled break. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Time for a break

I'm withdrawing from the internet (mostly!) for a while. I will check email, so comment or email if you need to reach me! Ta-ta!

Bibical Descriptions of Women

I love the format of the studies this blogger does. Simple, easy to study...

Disinfecting

Good time of year for an article like this!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Um...

Weekly Update

1. Last night we got home and Nick was tired and yawning a lot. He started doing it really loudly and obnoxiously at one point, and Audrey said, "Daddy's being Karzan." (Her pronunciation for Tarzan.) Nick and I laughed like crazy.

2. Sometime this week we pick up the key for Maeve's new office. We had thought we would get an office in my dad's space, but he wound up needed all of his. Instead, we tracked down another suite to sublease in. The guy that is actually on the lease is a Dave Ramsey ELP for budget counseling. So, you can get your wedding gown made and figure out your finances all in one stop. Kidding...sort of! :)

3. It's supposed to be in the 50's here today. This makes me happy.

4. My sister Amy had her 18th birthday party last night, and my parents rented out Skate City. Her friends all came (about 40 of them!) dressed in 80's clothes. It was hysterical. One of her guy friends had bought a neon pink windbreaker track suit that was definitely made for a woman. Wow. I found out that they do a skating class for 2-6 year olds on Friday mornings, 9-10:30. It's $4 per kid. After they attend 10 classes they get a free t-shirt. You just help them get their skates on and then either go run errands or sit in the snack bar area. OK, who's coming to sit and talk with me? :) Sounds like a deal to me and my kids will love it! They actually lock the wheels of the skates for the little kids, so they just walk on their skates and don't fall as much. :)

That's about all I got today. How was your week?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pics of our gown

Hey guys, go look at Tarah's gown on her photographer's website. It turned out incredible! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wise Mamas

Hey moms - We have launched the mommy blog. Please come join us! (And *ahem* bloggers, we need some new content! :))

Contentment and Fairness

As parents, one of the pressures we often feel is to make everything "fair." I loved this post this morning. If I treated my two children exactly the same, one of them would run the household and the other would wilt under the pressure. It would never work...

Friday, January 16, 2009

On Facebook...

Came across this today. I can't help but fully agree.

Facebook becomes an addiction for me. And I don't think I'm the only one. In just minutes (more minutes than I really have!) you can get a sense of connection with people all over the world! You can see what is going on with people who you would otherwise never heard from again. I have many of the same complaints as that blogger.

-Status updates from people I used to know that deeply upset me
-A sense that I must friend anyone who knows me and asks, whether I feel particularly connected to them or not
-A promise of connection with another human being that is at best shallow, and at worst yet another way for us to feel lonely. We get the sense we're connecting, but it's just enough to make us feel like we connected and not enough to keep away loneliness or deepen relationships.
-I can't say anything serious to anyone without people with hugely differing opinions jumping to offer them. I wouldn't have had that conversation with them - I don't particularly enjoy arguing, believe it or not, and not at all over the internet. :)
-I simply cannot keep up with and be friends with everyone on there. Most people can only have a few good friends, and the others just gradually fade away. It's nothing against them, you may even really like them, but there's only so many hours in the day. I think Facebook creates an artificial pressure in this area, and I personally end up feeling sooo badly about it.

It's cute, entertaining, often funny. But is it worth it? I'm just not sure. I must confess, at times, to leaving it open with the live feed going, and reading every entry. Sick.

Thoughts?

My Secrets

Shelly tagged me for this meme, and since I did something similar on Facebook the other day, I'm more or less copying and pasting. I'm lazy, I know. :) Enjoy!

-I do not have a favorite food or a favorite color, and I feel stupid when people ask what they are, because I don't know/care.

-After going on a missions trip in Europe when I was barely 20, I cultivated a taste for plain sparkling mineral water, because I thought it was unique and classy. I still drink it often, usually with lime.

-I do not play the piano nearly as much as I want to (outside of teaching or leading worship) - sometimes only a couple of times per month.

-I am an expert organic gardener...who has not had a real garden in 5 years. I miss it!

-I Love gadgets. I am an early adapter, for sure.

-I would love to own/work on an organic farm. But I'm afraid I'd get lonely.

-I have never been able to decide if I'm an early bird or a night owl. As long as I get enough sleep, I love late nights AND early mornings!

-I occasionally entertain myself by thinking of new ways to teach some piano concept.

-The number of kids I want to have changes day to day, but I have no idea how we'll decide when we don't want any more.

-In my family, I'm often the one that says what everyone is thinking, but doesn't want to say. (Not that this shocks anyone here!)

-I love doing yoga, and I just ignore the weird spiritual stuff and pray instead. Feels SOOO good!

-I am a very fast, voracious reader, and I often read 5 or 6 books at a time and/or finish an entire book in a day or two.

-I had one child by c-section, and the next at home with a midwife. I would do 10 more homebirths before I would choose even ONE more c-section. I'm serious. No comparison.

-I am horrible about taking pictures, doing baby books, scrapbooking, etc. I like to experience the moment, not document it.

-I love to organize and can look at a pile of stuff and a space, and see exactly where everything will fit and how to do it.

-In spite of that, I still usually have disorganized closets and piles of junk on my kitchen counter.

I tag Christina, Thea, Joanna, Staci, Danielle, and Irene. Come on, it'll be fun. :)

New Look

Hey, for those of you who normally use a reader, come check out the site! My friend Wendy created a new header for me! (We're trading piano lessons for design work. :) I still want to do some sort of background on the blog, but it will have to wait, for now.

If you need any design work, let me know and I'll give you her email!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nicknames

I was realizing the other day, just how many different nicknames I have for my kids:

Hannah
Hannah-hannah
Hannah kay
Hann
goofball

Audrey
munchkin
bebe, which gets shortened to beeb
lil' one
Au-der-ry (what she calls herself)

Does anyone else do this?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Music Party?

Maybe it's just me, but I think this actually sounds fun...

Flo Paris

Flo is a frequent commenter around here, and she just launched her new music site, complete with some really fun stuff. Check it out!

Weekly Update

1. Snow is falling yet again this morning. It seems to have taken everyone by surprise. There were no cancellations, but we have probably 3-4 inches, and the roads were a nightmare this morning. I'm glad to be in my cozy house.

2. About that cozy house - I had big plans for cleaning this weekend. We didn't do that. It's a disaster. I have students this afternoon. That's all.

3. Making this sausage this morning, minus the sage. It seems to be a hit, even for Audrey, who is being super-picky right now. This is the second recipe I've tried. The first one was too spicy for us, though very flavorful. (Does anybody use that much cayenne pepper? I halved it and it still burned our mouths. Are we wimps?) Oh, I also tried this one, which Nick and I thought was delicious, but the girls wouldn't eat, and it seriously messed with my blood sugar. Anyway, the organic turkey sausage we have been eating every day is now up to $4.59 per 12 ounce box. Ouch. A pound of free-range ground turkey is like $3.50. The difference adds up, for sure. Anyone have a favorite sausage recipe they'd like to share?

4. Maeve, oh, my goodness. Holly and I are excited about some answers to issues that fell into place over the weekend. It's gonna be good...

5. Date night tonight, if the snow clears up. We haven't had one in almost a month. It's time!

6. Contemplating putting Hannah in pre-ballet classes. She is needing something to do/think about. The class I found is on Wednesday mornings, and it's really very cheap. It's for age 2 1/2 to 4 1/2, so technically Audrey could do it too. We're going to try it out this week and see if she likes it.

Well, I better get to working. Have a great day!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Whew

This makes me feel a little better about Maeve. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Follow Maeve Bridal on Twitter

Hey, in case anyone is curious, I'm going to be posting Maeve updates on Twitter now...

100%

A comment I received the other day really struck me and I had some further thoughts about it:

When any of us writes or speaks of hope or peace or trust in God, that doesn't mean we necessarily feel it in our emotions 100% of the time. I think it's a miracle that we ever feel it in this world! Even Paul, in Philippians 3, says,

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
This is what we're called to - forget where we've been, it doesn't matter, and press on to where God wants us to be. Daily. Hourly. Minute-ly. (Ha! Every minute.) But, whether or not we feel something in our emotions, doesn't cease to make it true. If we choose not to believe, we may just lose some of the benefit of something that is true anyway. But that's another post for another day.

We are the children of God, if we have faith in Christ. That means that whether or not we FEEL it, there is a deeper truth that still stands. So, when we have deep peace it's because we are coming to know Christ. When we don't feel that peace, it's not any less true. We just have to hang on to the truth, no matter what we experience.

How many times do we value our experience as more "real" than what the Word says? I don't want to live that way. If God says it's true, it's true. Not that I have been made perfect, but I press on towards this goal. Especially in our generation, I think we're afraid of being seen as "hypocritical" or phony if our emotions vary. Everyone's emotions vary some. It doesn't change the truth, which is the truth, no matter what.

Thoughts?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Completing the work

I was telling Nick last night about how strange our days have been this week with few outside the house plans. Get up, make breakfast, play a little, make lunch, take naps, play a little, make dinner, play a little, go to bed, rinse, repeat. The days seem to fly by with little purpose, little fanfare.

Then I opened my Bible last night, and at the top of the page was Jesus saying this:

"I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do."
John 17:4

Pretty good reminder of what it is we're supposed to be doing. I have little kids, so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that currently, the primary work God has given me to do is raising them. We are doing that. They are thriving. We're seeing Hannah developing her gifts of leadership (and...ahem...developing them for her!). Audrey's joy is contagious.

The house isn't spotless, sometimes my kids watch too much tv, sometimes we get colds and are sick for the week, sometimes we don't sleep well and get cranky... But overall, we are learning and growing together as a family. All is well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dinner

Making this for dinner. (LOVE that recipe site, btw.) Cheap, quick, Nick loves dark greens, and I...need to eat more of them. :) Now to watch the kiddos figure them out.

Two-faced

Sometimes I feel a bit schizophrenic lately.

Let me explain.

In the past few years I have dealt with lots of anxiety. The kids would get sick and I would hardly sleep, listening for them to cough (or something worse). I would imagine worst-case scenarios late into the night. I would bury myself in Facebook (OK, so I still do that occasionally!). I would call my mom and cry on the phone for two hours.

In the past several weeks, we have had several difficult experiences. Friends in crisis, students quitting at the last minute when we were expecting the money they would pay for the month, a mix-up over our small group, and more. I wish I could go into detail, but I can't really. Suffice it to say, we've been doing the best we know and it hasn't seemed good enough.

I have had days when I cried...a lot. I have had many times when I haven't been kind with the kids. Nick and I have argued over stupid stuff some days. But these things used to throw me into near despair. I wasn't sure things would ever be good again.

By the grace of God, I don't feel that way anymore.

I was reading John 17 yesterday, Jesus' wonderful prayers, and heard God whisper to my heart, "You know this is real, right"? Jesus really came to earth and walked as a man. Then, He really did return to the Father having broken the powers of this earth. There is nothing here that has authority over us any longer.

So...are there painful things here on earth? Definitely. Do they have any impact whatsoever on our eternity (apart from making us more like Christ when we let God do that work)? Nope. Through faith in Christ, we can look forward to the day when things are perfect, when there is no more pain, no more frustration, when things work they way they should. And our relationship with God allows us a glimpse of that day.

It's weird, foreign, strange to me. I have been sad and overwhelmed, but I'm okay. I'm really okay. I'm emotionally weary, but still functional. And I have hope for the future. It's strange to feel such huge opposites simultaneously.

Does anybody have any clue what I'm talking about? :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekly Update

I'm feeling a little cranky this morning. Whew. Spent the better part of the night with one child repeatedly wandering the house (Hannah) and the other coughing and sneezing and sniffling until I was concerned about her (Audrey). She wasn't sick yesterday...

The holidays are really over now. Gotta get back into a "normal" routine.

Blah...blah...do you ever get sick of hearing yourself talk about yourself? I sure am. I think instead of writing this post, I'm gonna go focus on my little kids this morning. What's going on in your world? I'd rather hear about yours than write about mine. :)

Friday, January 2, 2009

In Other News...

Hannah hasn't had an accident in two days! WOO HOO!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking Back...

I've had a couple people ask me if I've made resolutions this year. I have to admit, the response I want to give is, "Why? It's not time for that yet"! Um...yes it is. 2008, where did you go?

Because of this feeling, I am wanting to look back before I look forward. I think it might help. So, here it is, my tribute to 2008, in semi-chronological fashion...

January:

Though I have been a Christian my entire life, I realized I was semi mad at God, and had been for quite some time. I read some of Laine's Letters because I saw a link somewhere, and realized that I knew lots ABOUT God, but little OF Him. I have several times in my life, read through the Bible in a year. So I decided I would start it again, but asking Him to show me Himself, all throughout. I began to be amazed at what I found.

I was continually sick - like, every night at about a 7 or 8 out of 10 on a pain scale. My stomach hurt SO bad. I had no energy. I ached all over.

We started meeting with a handful of other couples as a small group. Little did we know they would become our very best friends!

February:

My mom wondered one day if I was allergic to egg. She said it seemed to bother me when I was a kid. I quit eating egg, and felt 70-80 percent better within 2 weeks. Later in the month, I began to feel sick again. Nothing like I had, but the achiness was still there and no energy.

March:

I went to Dr P and was tested for food allergies again. I already knew about dairy, corn and soy, but gluten and yeast came up too. Egg did not, weirdly enough, but I still get sick from it when I eat it. After two weeks off gluten, I knew I had found a HUGE answer to prayer. Healing from gluten is very gradual and really takes two full years, but unless I am miraculously healed, I will never go back to eating gluten. It changed my life.

Dr P also recommended taking 5-HTP and something with L-Thianine in it, because I was not sleeping well. I had symptoms very reminicent of fybromyalgia. With good sleep and a gluten free diet, the pain is gone. (A little sleep training for Audrey was in order as well! One night of two hours of crying, and she slept through the night every night after that!)

(In retrospect, I believe I had post-partum depression for 3+ years, compounded by the seizure I had in February of 2007. The 5-HTP helped the physical symptoms, and cutting myself a break and starting to feel good helped with the mental/emotional symptoms.)

April:

Hannah's 3rd birthday. I can't believe I have a 3 (now almost 4) year old. Aren't I still a 17 year old pretending to be a mommy?

May:

I actually started to feel like myself for the first time in 4 years.

My parents change churches - HARD on me, but something they needed to do.

June:

My 28th birthday, and a wonderful trip to Estes Park with my family. One of the first "real" vacations we've had together. Nick's birthday too...

July:

Fun, warm days outside in our backyard is what I remember most.

August:

Audrey's 2nd birthday, and more fun, warm days.

September:

While dreading another winter like the last two, I suddenly realized it probably wouldn't be that way this year.

October:

Among other things, a music audition that went fantastically for both Nick and me, and somehow changed our perspectives on being frustrated with where we were in life. We began to realize that God's timing was great, and we were happy where we are.

November:

Looking forward to the holidays. Nice Thanksgiving. God is incredible. Money is tight.

December:

We have several friends in personal crisis, and wish we could do more to help.

Money is still tight, but God provides a wonderful, peaceful, meaningful Christmas for us.




So, there it is. I started the year barely functional in comparison. It's interesting to me how the year starts with health stuff, and ends with God. That's not phoney - that's really how it feels to me.

And another thing: God has been faithful this year. When we only look forward to what we can't see yet, it's easy to forget what God has already done.

When I think about what I'd like to accomplish in the next year, only one thing comes to mind: Know God More. "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you," right? When I am pursuing God with my whole heart, things fall into place because He lets me know His priorities for me. Then, the change comes from the inside out - it's real change - instead of outside forced change like I've tried to make for myself my whole life. As we experience the love of God, our whole world changes. We see ourselves and other people through the eyes of Christ. We still (and will always) have hard days, and often things weigh on me more than they should. But I cannot emphasize enough what God has done in me this year. I've been trying to do it myself for years, and when I finally let go, God has done more in a short time than I have done in my lifetime to this point.

What gets you up in the morning? Is it something fun to look forward to? Is it people? Is it work and feeling valuable? My whole life I have tried to have my reason be those things, and I always got to a point where I did not want to get up. What if we get up in anticipation of hearing from God? Of being in relationship with Him? Of carrying out what He asks of us that day? (You know, wiping noses, changing diapers, doing dishes and laundry - that stuff most of us are caretakers of at this stage in life. :) God is the only One who will never disappoint us. I'm going after Him - please come with me!!