Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Found my calling!

Yep I did it! After years of wondering what I should do when I return to full time work, I have finally figured it out. Of course, it will involve several other people uprooting themselves from their full time positions. It wasn't my idea though, so I'm just going to go with it! You know, tag along. Go with the flow. Ride on the coat tails. And see where it takes me!

Rock Band.

Beatles Rock Band to be exact.

Beth, Darin, Paul, Allison, Brian and I. We are going to travel around (from one karaoke bar to the next--locally at first of course) and we'll be the next Beatles tribute band.

Now, I'm not talking real guitars and drums either 'dontcha know'. I'm talking Xbox 360 style. We're good. Beth, Allison and I sing in perfect harmony whatever pitch our voices can find. Darin does a bang up job on the drums while Paul and B rock out on guitars.

Many of these folks have solid incomes using their vast educations, but we all agree--we ROCK! So who needs steady work and real income? When you have a dream you have to pursue it right? Not sure if this is really anyone's dream, but it could be fun right?

When did I figure this out? Tonight. We've rocked together several times before, but never with the Beatles Rock Band, and never with 3 part harmony ummm singing--kinda. Actually, I bet we won't even go on the road. I bet we won't even leave the living room. And it is probably for the best...at least for now. For now, we'll keep rockin out, lego style, beatles style, 80's rock style...whatever style we grab first!

It's good to be in the company of awesome people when the tough get going isn't it. It's good to know there are people out there who have your back. Today started out with some tough news, and only continued to bring more unhappy news. I'll share more, when I know more. Tonight though? Tonight was great! Great food, great drinks, great tunes, and great company!

***still no camera cord, so no photos to show...

Likely won't post again before the new year, so my best wishes to each of you. Have a happy and safe new year, and I'll see you again in 2010---Thanks Jim!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What am I grateful for in 2009?--in bullets

Not all inclusive of course...but I could go on for days if I went into detail. Our Savior tops any list I could make about gratitude. Always. He is the beginning and the end. Awesome.
  • I am ever so grateful for my husband, Brian, who loves and respects me. I am blessed to have him in my life as a partner, best friend, and bed buddy (yes I said it GASP! shock and awe...are you done yet? Get it out of your systems. Ready? Good.) I look forward to sharing many more moments big and small, good and bad with him. I do I do.
  • I am grateful for my sons who bring laughter, and life into my world. I am in awe that I get to be their mother, and I cherish every moment we have together. Thank God for choosing me to be their mother.
  • I can't believe my dumb luck that I have the book club that I do. The women in my BC are supportive, funny, charismatic, educated, and an absolute joy to be around. I look forward to spending time with them every month--sometimes more! Thank you ladies for loving me and helping me bring the book club in my head into real life! Thanks WINOS (Women In Need Of Sanity!)
  • Gratitude for our GIFT group is essential to this list. Meeting with these people every week, sometimes twice, is a blessing I sometimes take for granted. Another group of extremely educated people from various backgrounds with kids of all ages, and all terribly funny and enjoyable. Brian and I stumbled upon this group years ago and haven't looked back. Christian's teacher, as well as a few friends from high school are included in this group and I feel ever so fortunate to be able to be with each of them in a place where we get to praise the One who brought us all together. The support I have been given time and again from this group is immeasurable, and for that I am grateful. I also feel fortunate to be one of the people they look to for support...awesome people, awesome group.
  • Lincoln K-8. This school not only provides top notch education for the boys, but is consistently reaching to new heights to improve their curriculum. InSciEd-Out is the newest science program being taught through Mayo Clinic, breakthrough science right in the classroom. Laptops for each students, multi age classrooms, technology offerings that no other school has and a staff that is dedicated to helping students succeed. The school was a grassroots effort by parents many years ago that has allowed for parents like me to have a choice and an impact in our children's education. Private school w/o the price. It's an added bonus that it is my Alma mater.
  • The friendships I've made through the school. Wow. Priceless. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful the people at this school are. I've made life long friendships with many people through volunteering and being involved. I am even fortunate enough to be able to work in the school from time to time. I am definitely grateful for these people and the time I get to spend with them in and outside of the school.
  • WT--if and when you read this, you know who you are. I am grateful for your wisdom, your understanding and your encouragement to make uneasy choices in a time where things are uncertain. Your confidence and knowledge and extensive experience are essential and I thank you for being on my side.
  • Blogging friends. Yep, you guys are definitely on this list! You are the only ones bold enough to leave your comments where people can read them rather than emailing them, and you have continued to fill me with your grace, your support and faith. I am enriched when I read your blogs, and I am blessed to call each of you my friend. Thank you thank you.
  • Brian's job. While it has it's rocky moments for him, and we wish we could adjust his schedule to meet his sleep needs, I am grateful that he is in a position with work that he likes and with people that he likes. It is an income that has allowed for me to be able to work part time and still be available for the boys. He is secure in his position in an economy where things are not guaranteed, and we are grateful for that too. He enjoys his job good bad and ugly. It has provided a home for us that we can grow old in, and that can't be measured by words.
  • My family. We don't always see eye to eye--so much so that sometimes people (including my family) wonder if I was adopted-- I am learning that it doesn't matter if we agree or not. I love my sisters, my niece and nephew and my parents. I look forward to spending more time with them in the next couple of months while we make preparations, and hope that we will continue growing our relationships no matter what the future holds.
  • Jill, Eric, Bonnie, Mike, and sweet Callie. Each of you hold a special place in my heart, and I don't see any of you nearly as often as I would like. I wish distance didn't play a part in our friendships, but I love each of you and I praise God for each one of you. I think of you often, and hope that the new year will bring us more time together.

I think that wraps it up for now. Of course like I said, this is not all inclusive. I am grateful for many things that have happened in 2009. I've had some hurdles to climb this year, and I believe they are only making me stronger. I have a lot to learn, and more hurdles to go over, but I am up for the challenges that I face--largely because of the aforementioned bullets. Thank you. Here's to a fantastic 2010!!

Exasperated

Do you ever just want to shut out the noise of the world?

Surprisingly, even with the volume of noise I have going on right now, I am sticking in.

Of course, I couldn't be in the peace of mind I am w/o the support of so many. Professionals, teachers, family, friends, GIFT members and church leaders. I am blessed beyond my words to have each of you in my life. Your prayers are working wonders--keep 'em coming please!

We've been uber busy, and uber relaxed all at the same time, I've got lots to say, and lots o pictures to post.

Remember back when I couldn't find the cord to the camera to upload pictures? Guess where it was back then? Exactly where it should have been! In the drawer where it belonged. I didn't look there because I assumed that with the move it was somewhere else.

This time? It isn't there. I can't find it. But when I do, I have some goodies from Christmas to show, and a cute video of the cats!

BTW we had an amazing Christmas with my family. Dad was there, but left in the afternoon because he wasn't feeling well-- and was clearly in pain, it was quite visible in his face and in his movements. That wasn't easy to see, and even harder to not rush to him and hold him as if it were the last time. Later that night Benjamin shed tears over Papa. He is scared. So am I. We're adjusting.

Prayers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Now That was depressing...

Yikes! I just read my last post, and honestly I considered deleting it! How depressing.

I'm trying to accept the news that I have been given. But what I am failing to do is accept it as a possibility, even a likelihood but not a guarantee.

I'm not God. Nor are the doctors at the VA Hospital. So, while they are certainly more qualified than I to make a diagnosis for my dad, they are not more qualified than God.

I don't know what to do right now. I don't know if putting on a brave face and holding out hope that this too shall pass, and pray for a miracle is the strategy to have. Obviously last night I was feeling sorry for myself and had practically killed my dad off....and that is worse than having false hope that he'll come out of this. It's a tight rope, and I am afraid of falling off.

Having faith is growing more difficult as the days tick by. Wondering, and waiting, and hoping, during these next few days, weeks, and months, is not going to be easy. So, I pray. And I ask for your prayers. And I lean on those who want to be leaned on. And I stop killing off my dad before he's even made a decision on his treatment from here forward.

I'm feeling better today...can you tell? I've had the Christmas music on, and I've been wrapping presents..I got several deliveries today of gifts that I ordered online, and I was able to organize myself for cookie baking tomorrow. I am super bummed that we are missing out on an AWESOME holiday party tonight, but I'll hold out hope that we'll make the next get together!! New Years?

Have a happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Make no mistake

The dam has not broken yet.

How to you plan for your dad's death? I have heard the words, I've read the notes, and I've seen my sister's faces. This is no joke. This is no accident. This is no mistake. My dad is dying.

Unbelievable.

I haven't had my breakdown yet, but I almost did this morning. One of my dear friends from middle school, who also happens to work at our church, accidentally** intercepted me on my way into the building to see my Pastor.
**let's be real--it wasn't an accident or coincidence, He was in complete control of our meeting.

Anyway, I was on my way in to talk with my Pastor, while on the phone with her (she didn't know I was coming in so she called to check in on me) and when I got to the parking lot she was there. What a God send. I adore my Pastor Vogt. I really do. He has been a prominent figure for our whole family ever since we joined our church, and I know he is someone I can turn to, but Lisa was exactly what I needed today. She knew just what to say-and not say. She helped me work through some of my feelings and best yet she reminded me that my relationship with God does not always have to be sunshine and roses. I don't have to feel guilty about being mad right now. Adding guilt onto the feelings that I am having is unnecessary. He knows I'm angry. He understands, and He loves me enough to let me be mad. Just like a parent with our kids. The boys get angry with me sometimes, but I love them no matter what. Always. Forever. He loves me. Even though I am angry. I don't doubt His ability to take care of my dad. I'm just having trouble accepting His plan.

I saw him today. My dad that is--not God--although I did feel Him in many of my conversations and situations today. Praise Him for that. Anyway, I saw my dad today. It's funny because I just saw him 2 weeks ago in his house, and last week in the hospital, but suddenly he looks weaker, and more fragile. He has narcotics and drugs up the wazoo--because people who are dying should not feel pain, say the doctors. Again, I just want to say "but we aren't talking about someone who is....the 'd' word...we're talking about my dad." Turns out I could say it...but he is the 'd' word.

I ended my day with my book club ladies. We went out this month instead of having it in one of our homes...we ate at a wonderful restaurant and ate some delicious gelato and ended our evening--where else but a bookstore! It was a fantastic distraction from how I have been feeling all day. But eventually I did have to say good bye to them, and my family is sleeping, so now I sit.

A blob again. Numb. No direction, no clue how to spend my day tomorrow. No ambition. No holiday spirit.

My dad is going to die. Make no mistake.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What do you do?

What do you do when you get bad news?

I got bad news. Today I got very bad news. 3-6 months. WHAT?! Are you kidding? There must be a mistake. We wanted my dad's prognosis, not someone else's. There is still some info gathering to be done. But it doesn't look good. They aren't optimistic.

That is all I can say for now.

What do I do when I get bad news? Well, let's see. Today, I nearly broke. But I was at work, so I maintained myself. For awhile. After trying and failing to reach my husband at work I called my dearest friend Jill and cried. Then pulled myself together. Then talked to B, and cried. And pulled myself together. Then went to the school to pick up the boys, and while trying to keep it together, I began to cry. Gratefully, some of my dear friends were there to be comforting. Then pulled myself together until the boys and I got home. Didn't quite make it. One of my friends nailed it when she said I was leaking. I was a dam that just needed to burst, and I couldn't let it go until I got home. But by then, I had held it for so long that I haven't quite burst yet. Instead, I'm just leaking. Telling the boys was terrifying. But like I was told, they'll know something is wrong, so hiding it would be futile. They were right, I was a mess coming home.

And now? I'm falling apart--inside. I am having trouble comprehending this. Really? I mean really? How? HOW?

I need the dam to break. I need the boys to go to bed so the dam can break. Better yet, I need to wake up and find that this is all just a dream.

Pinch me please.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ring-a-ling




Bells are ringing.

What bells?

The potty bells.

What the heck are potty bells?

They hang from the handle of our front door. They are the ones our sweet Yoshi rings in order to go outside to go potty.

Each time.

It's awesome!

Best part? We didn't intend for the bells to be our signal. He did that all on his own. And it's great.

So smart that Yoshi pup.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Try to stay with me - I'm not makin' sense (with an update)

I am angry.

I am hurt. I am sad.

I am so frustrated right now.

I haven't lost my faith. I still believe, and I know - in my heart - that HE is so fully in control of all of this, and that it is not my duty to know the answers.

That is incredibly hard to know in my mind.

We went to see my dad this weekend. I had to. It is nearly all I can think about. We had to uninvite our Saturday afternoon/evening guests in order to go to the VA. I am endlessly grateful that our dear friends understand my need to see him over my desire to have some child-free time with them in our home. This is consuming me. I want to weep. I want to take my sons into my arms and make promises to them that Papa is going to be fine. Because maybe if I can convince them I can convince myself.

I saw the lump on his chest. People, it is huge. The size of a golf ball. Sticking OUT of his chest. That is only one spot with the cancer. There are at least 2 others. He has a PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) on Wednesday. This test will give the doctors a complete picture of my dad's condition and allow them to make a better diagnosis to come up with a plan of action. As of right now? There isn't one.

I'm crumbling folks. I've got my game face on. I'm rolling with the punches. But I am having a hard time turning to prayer. Right now, that is what I need the most, and it is the one thing I am having the hardest time doing.

I am so tired of hearing about biopsies, and radiation, and surgery, and we're only on day 3 of this round. HOW am I going to get through this. And that brings me to my next frustration--I know that this has absolutely NOTHING to do with me. Nothing. Not in the least. How selfish of me to be focused on how I feel. I'm angry at myself for being selfish.

Why is it so so SO much harder this time? Why is this news so devestating to me? Is it fear? Is it instinct? I have for awhile felt so good about trusting in God's ability to control the things that only God can control. So why can't I do it this time? Why can't I just trust that this isn't surprising to Him?

Because I'm selfish. I want dad to stay here. Healthy. I want the kids to have their Papa. I want my husband to continue to grow closer to him. The dynamic of our relationship with him has changed. And it has been intimidating to some degree since we are unable to have a typical conversation--instead we have to decipher his handwriting (no easy feat I tell you!) But B has done it, and it's working. In fact I think he is better at reading my dad's hand gestures than I am. They just click. And I want that to continue. I want him to come to our home on Christmas Day.

I want my dad here. Alive. Healthy.

So that brings me back--WHY oh WHY can't I do the one thing that I know will help? Why can I do it for others? What happened? It was like a switch flipped overnight. I went from trusting, and completely turning my life to Him one day to being so hurt and disappointed that I can't bring myself to do it the next.

Not that I have lost faith mind you--because I haven't. I know absolutely w/o question that He is all knowing, and has not made a mistake. I know that should the cancer not be treatable--my dad will live on with our Father. And that is good. So good.
I also know that if the cancer can be removed, and treated, that there is a reason for that too. Again, I KNOW this.

But I'm having a hard time praying for the peace to accept it. I'm having a hard time accepting that MY dad is the one to carry this burden. That he is once again sitting in a hospital hooked to a feeding tube while cancer wreaks havoc in his body.

I'm not dealing with this well. I'm just not.

It's too close to home. It's too personal. It isn't someone else's dad this time. It isn't just someone I know. This is someone I love. Someone I admire. Why does he have to go through this?

I'm not dealing with this well.

***I wrote this before I went to church this am. I woke up with an insatiable desire to write. So write I did. But then I went to church. And listened to the sermon. And umm, can I just say that I heard Him talk to me? Just me, as if I was the only person in the sanctuary. Pastor Vern put on an impressive sermon as though he was Zacariah (John the Baptist's father). I considered spelling out what happened in the sermon...because frankly I was glued. But then I realized that would lose some of the impact that I had. The actual words he said, and costume he wore wouldn't impress upon you the epiphany like moment that I had.

Instead, I will relay it to you in another way. Say you are talking to your kids about where you'll take them on vacation. It's 30 below outside, and you've booked a vaca in Hawaii right? Stay with me. You ask your kids if they wish it were warmer. They giggle and shout yes, and discussions begin about the temperature, and days of summer and swimming. Then you say "If you could go to either Alaska or Hawaii...which would it be?" Well, of course they scream together HAWAII!! Right? Because you've already hyped up how great it would be to be in a warmer climate. And then you talk about how relaxing it would be to not have homework, or housework, or any work at all. Now their mouths are practically watering to go somewhere warm. And then you lay it on them....We're going to Hawaii!!! Imagine this. They've been hungering for it, they started envisioning it, and then it became true!!! They're thrilled! In tears! Disbelief and amazement!

That is how I felt listening to the pastor this morning. I wanted to trust, I wanted to have faith, I wanted to believe that what happened to Zacariah was much like what is happening to my family. And then the clincher was at the end when he asked us if there was ever a time that we had a plan, and then it changed? Just because it is our plan doesn't mean it is God's plan.

Sound familiar? Yea, I've said it before. I've believed it before. But for some reason it wasn't working this time around. But now? Now it clicked. I'm on board. I prayed for myself. I cried, and I thanked our Savior for speaking to me today. I am grateful for ministry and for the little things. Thank you to Pastor Vern for unknowingly striking a cord with me.

I'm still upset, and I know I need to just have my breakdown. But at least now, I can pray. I'm trusting a little more now.

It feels good.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Plan


Dad is in the VA Hospital again. Far away in the cities where we can't just drop in to visit him after school for a little bit. We'd like to call him, but given the fact that the LAST time cancer attacked his body he had his voicebox removed along with lymph nodes and anything else that looked like it could carry cancer. So, no talking to him on the phone. Just go up this weekend and visit him right? Oh, yea that would be great if the boys were going to be home, and if they didn't have their Christmas program and several practices taking up the next couple of days. Take a day off work and drive up to visit. Yep, great idea, except that B has had some health issues of his own as of late, and needed to take several days off of work to do testing, and now he is a little behind, and is unable to take anymore time off right now.

So.

What is the Plan?

The Plan is to remember that Someone else is in control of this. Whether I see my dad in the hospital, or not, He is taking care of him.

The Plan is to keep focus on the other things going on right now, (cuz by golly, life doesn't stop just because there is a crisis) and know that God has my dad so firmly in His hands and that anything that happens from here forward --and backward-- is part of His plan.

The Plan is to put on a brave face even when I want to curl up and cry.

The Plan is to know that even if that dreadful C word has taken over my dad's body, and worse case scenario, they can't fix it, he has our Father waiting for him.

Am I getting ahead of myself here? Maybe? No one - including the doctors - really knows right now. We still don't have many answers. Will the doctors cut and tuck and remove and replace, and whatever else they do to make my dad better? Possibly. Maybe even likely.

But we don't know.

I'm home alone for the first time in...I can't remember how long. So after doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen, straightening our bedroom, ignoring the dog, and surfing the net, I have finally settled on the sofa because I have been unable to take my mind off of this matter. So maybe my faith isn't as strong as I want it to be. Maybe I am not able to just give it over to Him, and know that He is in control. How do I accept that this is happening to MY DAD. My dad. Again. I'm so sad right now, but I'm trying to hold it in. I'm trying to be brave. I'm trying to focus on the positive. I'm trying to do all of the things I just wrote about. I'm not doing very well.

So what is The Plan?

The Plan is to pray.

Because really, right now, that is all I can do. I could cry. Will that heal him? I could curl up and ignore the world. Will that heal him? I could stomp my feet and get mad at God. Will that heal him? I could ignore the rest of my life and put everything else on hold. No holiday parties, no Christmas programs, no work, no household duties--all of the things I'd like to postpone right now. Will that heal him? I feel like a cloud is over my head. I feel selfish for feeling this way. There are many people going through MUCH worse than this. So I should just buck up and be grateful that it isn't worse. Or is it? We don't know.

So I'll pray. I'll pray to have the strength to give this to Him. I'll pray for peace over my mind. I'll pray for the earthly ability to remove the cancer from all of the sites that it has come back to. (yep, there are more than one this time - 3 so far. 3 very different spots. Not close to each other spots)

The Plan is to pray.

Thank you to all of you who have facebooked, emailed or left a comment with your support. I am grateful for your prayers, because I'm pretty lousy right now. I'm trying. I'll keep trying.

And I'll keep praying.

Because that is The Plan.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm not ready

I'm not ready to get disturbing phone calls from my sister while I'm baking with a friend during a snow day that I was wishing for. I'm not ready to pretend that this isn't happening and that all is going to be fine. I'm not ready to let go of all of the emotions that I am feeling. I'm not ready to hear these words, and go through the roller coaster. I'm not ready.

It's back. That yucky word. Cancer. It has taken over again. In different places this time. Prognosis? Not sure. Game plan? Don't know. Emotions? High. Frustration? Higher. Anger? Highest. I'm not as strong as last time. Last time I didn't panic. I didn't cry, I held my faith and I gave it all to Him. Sure, I had my moments. One in particular happened to be in the middle of the night when I just broke down. Gratefully B was an amazing support, and my breakdown didn't last long. My dad had his surgery, he followed through with radiation, he went to all of his appointments, we all prayed, and he got better. We did what we were supposed to do, and it came back anyway.

This time? I'm not ready.

Wordless Who am I kidding? Wednesday



No, I did not pose him...he always looks that thoughtful. Wow, I love him!



Our winter evening view...exactly what we wanted. Perfect.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seize the day

The snow day that is! Yep, I'm counting on a snow day tomorrow. And even better, so are many of the other moms! We've already made plans with several families tomorrow...you know, when it is a snow day! Of course, none of our kids know, because it would make for a big fat bummer if school does not get cancelled. I'm choosing not to think that way though, instead I'm counting on a day to spend with friends doing all of the fun snow day activities. What are snow day activities? Well, lets see. Baking, hot chocolate-ing, puzzle building, snow man building, fire snuggling....basically the same things you do any other day of the week, but it is that much better because it is almost like playing hookey. I love them.

If we are not graced with a day off of school tomorrow, our evening is jam packed with things to do! We have GIFT, Benjamin has band rehearsal for the church services on Sunday, Christian has his school production, Benjamin has BC (before Confirmation for the 6th graders at church) AND I am scheduled to have a PPT planning meeting that I will have to miss. There is only so much a person can do in one night!

Anyway, thought I would seize the moment to write while B is snow blowing, but now he is done, so I'm off to snuggle. Cross your fingers for us will you? We sure would like welcome winter with our very first day of snow....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Umm Hello?

I know I know. I haven't been keeping up. I told you I was done subbing and I would stay caught up, instead I have taken more subbing positions and have fallen behind--again. I am so fortunate to have been asked to fill in for all of the paras at Lincoln in the last couple of weeks, so I have still been in the school. But now...at least as of now...I work tomorrow and will have some time off. So lets get brought back to speed shall we? Our family has kept so so busy with holiday festivals and preparations.
Here is just a taste....


First, our stop at the tree farm. We weren't willing to get a tree unless it was perfect, so here are their "Oh well, better luck next time" faces. We left this tree farm empty handed, but with frozen feet and a wet dog!



Then, we went to the Peace Plaza to light the Christmas tree and enjoy some holiday cheer. We ate cookies, drank hot chocolate (with Baileys for adults!) and watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas which was being projected up on the wall of the building. It was chilly but oh so fun!

And lastly-- for those of you who have the volume on when you visit our blog, you are graced with 2 of my favorite songs. One is by Bebo Norman. We played this song during the lighting of the Unity Candle in our wedding, and the second is Louis Armstrong "What a Wonderful World."

The last pictures are of the boys and me when good ol' Louis's song came on the radio. Benjamin got up from the table where he was doing his homework and asked me to dance.

Christian joined in. Awww right? Right. For many many many years---ok, since they were born-- I have loved to dance with them in the kitchen. Fast, slow, jiggity, salsa...doesn't matter, we like to dance together. It's our thing. For just us to share. Just mom and her boys. We rarely get a picture to capture it forever, but the memories are there. And I cherish them.

Dinner is beeping, all my boys have come home, more updates to come!

Monday, November 30, 2009

LensCrafters

I knew it was coming. I've been in denial for awhile now, I just didn't want to admit it was happening. I wanted to believe that all would be fine, and it was just a snafu that would go away. But it didn't. It stuck, it lingered, it even got worse. And now.....



I have glasses. Sigh, it is one of the first signs of getting old I think. I was forced into making an appointment gently reminded by my husband that I can't see, and the year is almost over, so we should use the money in our vision insurance account...so I made an appointment. I woke up with 2 eyes, and $800 later I left LensCrafters with 4. No more denial. My second pair will be here in a week. My eyes used to be free---$800?! Thank goodness for insurance...just wish that the reimbursement would come sooner than it will!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Give Thanks

I have started and stopped so many posts...that this time I think I will try to keep it simple.

After all, it is none of my business if people out there are coveting material things, and say I LOVE my _____(fill in the blank with a pricey object). It is none of my business if people are getting carried away with buying stuff just to have more stuff. And really it is none of my business if people out there have no problem contributing to the $450,000,000,000 spent during the Advent season. It is none of my business, so I won't spend anymore than a paragraph of my post sharing my opinion on it. There. Done.

But I will talk about how grateful I am for Thanksgiving Days spent with my husband's fabulous family. I have a date to make a quilt with his Aunt Linda thanks to our day of Thanks. Yep, she and I are going to quilt while B cuts wood with his uncle and the boys ride around on the gators. They have a stunning home out in the country and she has an amazing room dedicated to her quilting! I have goosebumps just thinking about how awesome my first quilt will be! This was just one of the many conversations I was able to have with his family that will bring me even closer than I am to some of his extended family members. The boys played and played, until Christian crashed with a tummy ache. I am grateful that it didn't lead to more than just that.

I will also talk about how grateful I am for another beautiful Christmas tree. We tried to cut one down at a tree farm this year, but did not like any of the trees we saw, so we ended up at old faithful--Todd Whiting in the Crossroads parking lot. Our tree is smaller than we've had in past years, but we did that on purpose so that we wouldn't spend as much on a tree as we have in the past. This year we spent about $25 less than we have in the past, for a smaller tree. Now, for the first time EVER we have too many ornaments! It is a good problem to have!

I will also mention how grateful I am to be married to my husband. He is an amazing man who is genuine and full of integrity. He is loving and kind and strong and brave. I love to look at his face, and when I stop to think about where my life could be, I am all that more grateful for him. I am blessed to be his wife, to share life with someone who thinks like me and values the same things as me. I am blessed to have someone love me unconditionally and who is not looking me to make a mistake, because I inevitably will. Instead, he supports me and encourages me to be a better person. Thank you God for bringing us together.

I could never do a post about my gratitude without mentioning my boys. They are beautiful and smart and honest and kind. I could not have envisioned more creative and charismatic boys if I had tried. They are learning that life is not about have the latest new toy, or the newest invention. They are learning that old school ways may actually have some real merit. In a time where "stuff" and consumerism is so prevelant, I am proud that they are beginning to see through it, and I pray that with God's help and wisdom, they will not fall prey to it the way others have. And during this Christmas season, that is something that weighs heavy on our minds as we try to teach them that this season is about Christ and what HE means to us, and not how much we can get under the tree.

Of course, no post about the blessings in my life would be complete w/o mention of my friends and family. I am speechless sometimes when I think about the men and women who surround me with their love and support. Their wisdom far exceeds my own and they have shown me that I am stronger, and more capable than I had ever known. I have never in my life had as many people believe in me, and help me to succeed as I do right now.

Indeed, to finish a post on gratitude I must give all thanks and praise to God our Father. I have learned to look to Him when I am weak, and I have learned to praise Him when I am strong. I am not one who is good at paraphrasing the Bible, but I have so many verses that come to mind when I think of my relationship with Him. And the first to enter my mind is "The Lord Liveth, and blessed be my Rock and let the God of my salvation be exalted." Psalms 18:46 This is of course a song too, and I now have it in my head and will sing it to sleep...maybe not? "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation." Psalms 95:1

My subbing position is over, which means I will have more time to blog! Who knows, I may even get back to regular blogging! I'll probably be able to catch up with my picture posting, I'll bring you up to speed on what has been going on, and I'll even post some pictures from our OH SO busy weekend! I'll probably even be able to answer some of the many questions I have been getting lately! I'll have to do another Q&A, so if you have any questions please, leave one in the comments or send it to my email, and maybe I'll add it to the future post!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Out Voted

October 23rd. Does this date ring a bell? Well, for some of you this date may mean nothing, but to those of us in the SE area of the freezing tundra it meant this....





Yep, in no time hundreds several inches fell and covered the ground. Enough fell that the boys were able to create this snowman. In the time that it took for me to take the picture, go into the house and look out the window...this had happened.


Poor snowman...never saw it comin'. The snow was gone by the next day, it melted and all traces of our snowman were melted into the storm drains. Remember how I said that I was like a snowman melting fast. Much like this snowman, my resolve has been destroyed, only I did see it coming. I was helpless to stop it.

I'd like to introduce you to our newest family member.



Yoshi. Yoshi the YoChon. He is fabulous. I really didn't want a dog. In fact, we got 2 cats in my attempt to NOT get a dog. And now, it has backfired, because now we have 2 cats and a dog. If I hadn't tried to stop it we would be 2 cats short. I love them now. Sigh... he really is fabulous though. And the cats don't hate him so that is a plus. Welcome to the family Yosh. We're glad to have you and your cuddles and kisses and charming personality. You won me over at first lick, and already you fit right in. Sigh...now to wrap my mind around 3 pets...

A few weeks ago B&B put up the Christmas lights.


I tried to help. So did Christian.



I can't wait to finish with the rest of our outdoors decorations so that I can get started inside! The holiday season is upon us, and I am getting pretty giddy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The one with the pavers

Today we went to the Soldier's Field Memorial to see something that was pretty awesome. Have you ever taken the chance to think of what the word 'awesome' means?

–adjective
1.
inspiring awe: an awesome sight.
2.
showing or characterized by awe.
3.
Slang. very impressive: That new white convertible is totally awesome.
4.
Expressing awe: stood in awesome silence before the ancient ruins.


Yep, we did that today. I was proud to show the boys the memorial today.



Not only is my dad memorialized on the pavers, but his parents, his twin brother, younger brother, sister in law and a cousin, and uncle are too.


And on my mother's side of the family my grandfather (who passed away last year) was added to the pavers recently too. Such pride. And the boys were pretty excited to see that too. Awesome.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Beauty is only skin deep

Or is it - true beauty lies within?

Can it be both?

My post really has nothing to do with that phrase, but I've been thinking about that lately, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

To be honest, I have had so much to say, and so little to say the last week that I have not written at all. I have found God's Grace has touched sweet Stellan. Oh that boy truly is a miracle. Please head over to MckMama's blog sometime. Catch up on the SVT FREE boy. Yes. It's true. He is healed, and saved. God's amazing Grace.

I've been busy with meetings with PPT. I enjoy the people in these meetings. Thank goodness, because I sure spend alot of time with them! Our Auction fundraiser raised nearly $24,000 this year! Awesome job to those who helped make it such a success. These year's goal is to reach out to those who do not assist with auction day, or contributed to the bake sale and thought they were done. They're not. And our focus now is to help them understand the role of our fundraiser, and remind them that they too are apart of the school, and it is their children we are working so hard to raise the money for! Sigh, it won't be easy. And unfortunately for us, that means more meetings and more work. But hopefully that will mean more hands in the future! Many hands make light work right?

I've also been puppy shopping. Yes, I said puppy shopping. The boys really, really, REALLY want a dog. And I am caving. Like a snowfort on a sunny day. I'm melting fast. Especially when I look at their little puppy faces online.

And working. My 6 weeks over halfway over, and hopefully I'll be able to keep up with my blog a little better when I'm done subbing. However, I am loving it! The students have warmed up to me, and I've got such a wonderful support group in the staff. I am able to talk with each of the boys' teachers (outside of their homeroom teachers), and have been able to form new friendships with some of the staff that I haven't known as well. In addition I get hugs nearly every day from some of the younger kids, I'm able to see how much (if anything) the boys eat at lunch, and I am getting paid to do all this. That is still crazy to me. This has been such a blessing indeed.

We've celebrated some birthdays, I've worked at the store, made lefse, B had a small surgery, visited the inlaws, rejoiced new births, and stood in awe of God's grace over Stellan...all in all it has been a fantastic couple weeks. Thank you to those of you who check so regularily to see if I've posted. I'm working on keeping a fresh page for you in the next couple weeks. Bear with me....

Maybe watch Food Inc when you get a chance. Yikes.

Organic.
Local.
Read labels.
Don't get caught up in coupons just to save a buck. Look at ingredients.
Not just in food.
Work in progress.
Always learning and growing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday thoughts

Bullet point thoughts for today


  • I have a fantastic network through church. Supportive, interesting, enjoyable and welcoming. The couples and families we have met and come to call as friends are amazing people. Each in their own individual ways.

  • Wood burning fireplaces make beautiful fires.

  • H1N1 is a bummer. Sick kids when I have full time work = stuck at home mommy doing laundry on a beautiful day...well, I guess it isn't all bad!

  • Woodpeckers can grow to the size of a small(ish) cat. And one lives in our backyard. So far it is elusive to the camera...but we'll capture him and show him someday.

  • Legos make cool McDonalds cheeseburgers, and McDonalds delivery cars.




I applied for a job, and interviewed for it, and was all but told that I had said position. I prayed before the interview that the Lord would guide the committee in their decision. I prayed that I would know if this position was one that would be a good fit for my family. I truly believed that it was. I really really wanted this job. I wanted it so bad that I believed it was mine...and then last week, they went with another candidate. I was crushed. I was hurt, and I was angry. And for a short while I was even angry with God. Didn't I pray? I was more than qualified...I was perfect for the job! Didn't I ask for wisdom and peace to accept whatever decision they made? So why does it hurt so much? Why do I feel so betrayed?


Because I wanted it.


Lesson learned? What we want, and what is best for us is not always the same thing. He is absolutely all knowing, and He knows that while I wanted this job, it must not have been the right fit for my family. He knows that the right position is out there somewhere, and with His help, and by trusting in Him, I know I will find it. Or it will find me. Whatever the case, I know that while things that seem right, and on paper might even seem perfect aren't always the best choice. The boys are learning that. They are learning that just because they "think" they want something...it doesn't always mean that it is what is best for them. Even when they are getting conflicting opinions and inconsistant information. Thank God they are learning to turn to Him and trust in Him too. That is the best lesson of all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Amazing Grace

I wasn't going to go there. I just wasn't. No real reason, I just wasn't.

I haven't blogged in awhile. I've been baffled. After writing a rather lengthy rant post about what has gone on this past week, I opted to save the post to come back to tomorrow.

I moved on to facebook. Yes, I'm a Fb'er. I like it. I've found and been found by people I haven't connected with in years. It's been great. I'm not out to have the most friends. In fact, I've ignored some friend requests. Too many is too many. Let's be real! I want to be in touch with people who touched my life in some way. Not simply because I used to know you. Or your cousin went to school with my sister's neighbor. Just people I genuinely want to be in touch with.

I came back to my original post. Edited, and ranted wrote some more.

Moved on to email. Returned some emails, chatted with some PPTers, and caught up on our local PTSA discussions. Read some funny forwards, and did some brainless emailing.

And then. I went there. Wow. I was saved by His grace again. I am giving my praises to Him. He stopped me from saying too much. I am angry. And I am frustrated, and after seeking counsel, I have decided on a course of action that I feel very comfortable with fulfilling. However, I still took to my blog to sink down to a level that I wouldn't have felt comfortable with later. I still wrote things that need not be put out to the world. Because this is the internet after all, and anyone can read what I write.

Where did you go Jodie? Great question. I'll answer that soon.

My boys are so amazing. I get to hug them and kiss them and love them. I was blessed when God chose me !ME! to be their mother! Wow, I'm a lucky lady! They are as a whole very healthy boys. Benjamin and I had a temp this week though. That's it. Just a temp, with a little cough. And they wouldn't let us go to school. I understand why. Our bodies were fighting off something, and we were vulnerable. And since our bodies were fighting something off, we were a threat to others who were vulnerable to getting what we had. So we stayed home. Not entirely by choice either. They wouldn't let us come... We're better now.

Perspective. Maybe our issues aren't as bad as we think they are/make them out to be?

This is where I went. And I'll go back again and again. And I will pray. I will pray, I will pray.

I will pray.

Please pray.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Enlightened

I don't pretend to know everything.

Sometimes, I pretend to know nothing.

I don't have everything.

But I certainly don't have nothing.

I am not loved by everyone.

But gratefully I am not loved by no one.

I am blessed.

I took some time to sit in the sanctuary at church today. Just me. And the person practicing the organ for the weekend's services in the balcony above me. What a beautiful moment. Just me. And God. and the person practicing the organ Right there, just us. And He spoke to me. Tears came to my eyes, and I felt enlightened.

I really am blessed.

I have truth in my life. I can hold my head high. No phony outward behavior. Just me. What you see is what you get. Take me or leave me.

I am finding balance between my family, friends, church and work. The people I am surrounding myself with are not from one avenue in my life. And I am finding that the more people I get to know, the more I like myself. Who knew? The fabulous people that I get to see each day are teaching me things about life and relationships that I used to wish for. I respect them. And blessedly, they respect me too. Awesome.

I am not ashamed of my past. In fact, my past is what has helped me become the person that I am today. I am proud of my conduct past and present. The truth is my sword and my shield. Amazing how that works.

My fantasy is my reality. I've said that before. It really is true.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Seems so simple

Sunday night in our house found us all bustling (that is a new word for the 2/3 graders today!) about getting ready for the week. Mom is starting a job and we must have things in order. Sweet Daisy the dog that we were dogsitting has gone home, neighbors have the flu so our get together is postponed...all the time in the world to panic that my family won't get fed at all this week because I will be working, and laundry will never be completed and bills will never get paid and stoves will never get wiped and groceries will never be purchased and and and and to prepare for the next day. (as it turned out B had the day off today and was very helpful-thanks B)

Sunday night:

Mom--So boys, are you excited to have me in the school everyday for the next 6 weeks?

Benjamin shrugs shoulders--Yea, sorta.

Christian--Yes and no.

Mom--Oh? What are the yeses <-seriously, is that how you spell it? and nos?

Christian--Well, yes because it's fun to see you in the halls, but no because you always see me when I'm doing something and tell me to stop.

Mom--Umm, well, if you don't make inappropriate choices, then I don't have to stop you.

Christian--But can't you just not look?

Silence.

Benjamin--I'll be glad to have you there because we don't have to ride the bus anymore! AND my friends think it's cool that you work there.

Great, I'm impressing the friends, but not my 4th grader who would prefer to fly under the radar! And if you'll remember back to this day, you'll see that they have ridden the bus for a little less than 6 weeks total--EVER. And already the novelty has worn off. Glad I'm good for something!

My first day was great! I witnessed 2 body snatching moments with Christian--literally...he loves wrestle, and sometimes doesn't keep his hands to himself! All in innocent fun, but the lunch line probably isn't the place. I also found out that Benjamin was kept from the library with another student to sweep the science room. It turns out he didn't actually do anything wrong...but it sure looked like a punishment! He did a great job though, I think he just earned himself another chore at home!

Of course the staff was great, and I love the schedule she has. Day one over. Ready for day 2!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apples

I was peeling apples for applesauce, and I was transported back to my youth. Come with me won't you?

When I was a wee little lady, I spent many many afternoons cooking and baking with my Gramma. I have memories of stove top popcorn popping everywhere, pots that over boiled, watching the oven and willing the food to cook faster, measuring and mixing, rolling and cutting. I even remember her letting me help her make her beloved sticky buns. They were a family favorite, so she brought them to every event. I only wish I could remember how to make them...

One that came rushing back in waves today was peeling apples. She taught me how to hold the knife, and how to twist the apple with my other hand, while taking off the peel in circles. While I struggled with that maneuver, she would tell me tales of how she and her sisters would have apple peeling contests when they were little girls.

Then she would tell me that one of the criteria would be that the peel couldn't be too thick. Meaning, you wanted it to just be the peel, with as little apple as possible. So, with my tongue firmly planted between my lips, I would set to work on another apple to see how thin I could make the peel.

And then while I worked on that technique, she'd tell me the next rule. You had to try to make the longest string, w/o breaking it. Finally, the trick was to be the fastest! So, whoever had the longest, thinnest string of apple peel--first--would win! It was only for bragging rights...until the next contest, but that didn't stop a little girl peeling apples with her Gramma from practicing until her fingers were numb and blistered. When we raced together, she always won. Sometimes she even gave me a head start, and she'd breeze right by me, doing 2 apples just to show off.

In an age where everything has to be faster and easier, I haven't peeled my apples that way. I have used my apple corer and peeler to do it quickly so that I can get on to the next step. Not tonight though. I practiced on each apple, somehow, I just don't think I will use my handy dandy speedy peeler anymore. It wouldn't be the same. I think I'll do it this way from now on, and maybe I'll even teach the boys. Maybe I'll tell them the stories that she told me while I practiced and practiced.

I will always have fond memories of my time with her. Unfortunately, I am afraid my Gramma is slipping away. I saw her in the grocery store the other day, and as I approached her, she stepped away because she didn't know who I was. She didn't recognize me. She was in a hurry, so I had a brief conversation with her before she hurried away. I didn't finish my list that day - I checked out what I had, and then I sat in my car and cried. After more than 65 years of marriage to my grandfather, he passed away last year...she hasn't been the same since. Her memory is fading, and time is catching up with her, and she seems to be the only one who doesn't know.



While I will likely never get the chance to beat her at peeling apples, I will cherish those memories.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ready - set - SUB!

The second week of school brought some great news for me, and I am thrilled that the time has come to share what it is!

I have the priviledge of being able to sub in the boys' school for 6 weeks starting on Monday! Not only am I fortunate enough to have been asked to fill the position, but my fantastic boss at ReFashion is completely supportive, and has given me the time off that I need! She is fantastic!

So, for the first time since Christian was 1, I will work 5 days a week, all day! I am excited, but nervous for the upcoming weeks. No more grocery shopping while the boys are at school. No more lunch or coffee dates with my girlfriends. No more sending the boys off to school while I am in my pjs and slippers. No more Thursday volunteering. No more sitting at home looking at the 4 walls by myself. No more sitting in the cold house because I refuse to set the thermostat higher just for me.

I spent today going over and shopping for some menu ideas, including some new crockpot recipes that I can just throw together in the morning so that dinner will be ready when we get home. I have also updated my wardrobe! That was fun! I love working in a store with consigners who bring in clothing with tags still on! New scarves and sweaters, never used, but for consignment prices...plus a discount! I'll miss finding the goodies before they even hit the floor, that will be one more thing I'll miss over the next 6 weeks!

Kindergarten assessments, 3rd grade math interventions, rowdy kids---yep! That is my next 6 weeks in a nutshell. I must say that after meeting with the person I am subbing for, and going over the tasks that lay before me...I'm a little overwhelmed. She has some big shoes to fill, and I am very nervous. Thankfully I feel very comfortable with every staff member there, and I know that I can look to any one of them if I have questions.

Did I mention this is the boys' school? That I get to be with them everyday? Blessed.

Ready or not!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bully bully stay away

I used to picture a dark haired stocky middle schooler wearing a black t-shirt and jeans with holes when I heard the word Bully. Of course, that isn't the only form a bully can take. Thanks to movies though, my mind used to first travel there. I do realize that bullies can be girls, or blondes, or jocks who wear letterman jackets instead of black t-shirts...and they can be of any age. Elementary school, middle school high school--and as it turns out adults.

I don't have much patience for bullies. I try to get into the psyche behind their motives. What is it that makes a bully - bully? Is it because they are envious of the person they are bullying? Is it something happening at home? Are they themselves being bullied? What is it?

There sometimes aren't clear indications of the target either! The bullied isn't always wearing a pocket protector and coke bottle glasses. Sometimes there aren't any outward appearances that instigate the bullying. So why?

Some of us like to scrapbook, or crochet, or play volleyball, or garden. Others like to draw, or sing, or bake, or blog. Whose job is it to decide which of these hobbies are worthy, and which ones aren't? Who gets to decide that someone who puts their thoughts and opinions to paper cyber world is somehow trying to control what others think about them?

I pray for the people who are narrow minded enough to think that they are owed an explanation for someone else's decisions and actions. Have I ever made snide comments or have unChristian-like expectations from people that I am close to? Absolutely. And humbly, more often than I care to admit. With prayer, hopefully these instances will be fewer and further between as I learn and grow. But I think what sets someone like--oh say...me, and a bully apart, is the mind frame afterward. I strive to repent my ill spoken words. And when I read or hear something that may or may not be directed at me, I reflect on my own behavior to see how it may apply to me and my journey to being a better person. Unfortunately, bullies don't see it that way. Many honestly think that their opinions and actions when putting someone down and judging them are justified.

Specifically, I pray for anyone who sees blogging as a way to control what people think, when in actuality, it is quite the opposite. I want nothing more than for each of you reading this to have your own opinions. I want each one of you to enjoy what you read here. I don't want to burden you daily with my concerns about parenting. Or my struggles with being a wife and mother at the same time. It turns out those 2 jobs together (especially with kids at the age of the boys) can be a battle in itself. I find myself catching my tongue, and checking myself, and second guessing my words, far more than I did when they were 2 years old and didn't understand. There is no reason to bore you with the details of our evenings at home when I am online blogging, B is checking sports highlights, the boys are playing playstation and the cats are curled up in some random nook in our home. Those aren't what bring you here right? Does it mean that those times don't exist? Of course not. Do B and I argue? Certainly. Do we sometimes have unexpected expenses arise that makes us wonder where we'll fund them from? Do we have to sacrifice Hawaiian vacations, and cabins on the lake so that I can fulfill my desire to be a hands on mom. You bet. Do we regret that decision? NOT FOR A SECOND.

It is unfortunate that one who blogs feels the need to even defend and explain themselves. I have read many a blog where the author has had to speak to the naysayers. I never understood it. I think "Let me get this straight. They don't like what you write? They think you are phony and conceited? They think they deserve to get all the dirt on your life, otherwise you are hiding something? These strangers? People you are not at all close to? People you don't trust? People who have shown you that they will judge you...expect-no demand that you reveal every nitty gritty detail, or you are being dishonest and controlling? Ummm, why do they even bother? Stop reading. Move on. Don't come back."

I still don't understand it. And honestly, when I go to the blogs that I frequent, I am not in the slightest bit interested in whether or not they had an argument with their mother that day, or if they haven't showered in 3 days, or if they never wear deodorant, or if their savings account doesn't have the same balance as mine. It is none of my business. Of course, if they CHOOSE to talk about those things on THEIR blog, then so be it!

Do I think I am perfect? Holy Moly NO! In fact, that is why I blog. I blog about my imperfections, and I blog about my accomplishments. But maybe what makes me hold back a little, is because of the bullies out there just waiting for me to trip up? It is bound to happen. In fact, just ask my husband, it will happen very soon I'm sure.

In the last 2 years we have moved twice, and in those moves I rediscovered my old journals, and have found joy not only in those old books, but in the new ones that I am writing in now. This is where our blog started out. Here is where we were nearly a year ago today. Writing is a great outlet. It is a great document to look back on. It gives perspective later. It is relaxing. I enjoy it. And hopefully the bullies will stay away.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friendship bread take 2



Ok, so apparently flax meal can't be used for all of my baking! Didn't it look delicious before it went into the oven? Praline on half and cinnamon on the other half...or was it cocoa? I can't remember. This was back in Sept. One of my dear friends gave me some friendship bread to make...and I failed.


This is what it looked like coming out of the oven 15 minutes later than it was supposed to be taken out. Ummm, not bread.

So, I kept a starter bag for myself to try again. Turns out everyone else I gave a starter bag to had great results. And then. I forgot to add my ingredients to my starter bag on the 5th day. Then again on the 6th. Oi! Soooo, I begged and pleaded texted my girlfriend to see if she had an extra one from her batch...and we're trying again! I'll let you know how it turns out! This time--eggs!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Can I just say that baking with the boys is absolutely one of my favoritest things to do? -There is that word 'absolutely' again. I may start a contest for the first person to tell me how many times I've used that word in the last _?_ posts, I'll let you know when that contest starts--

Anyway, this past week Christian and I put one of the 2 pie pumpkins that we have sitting on the counter to use.

He and I have been making pies from pumpkins for the last 3 years, and I see no reason to go back to a can. He has certain jobs that he does with next to no direction! He and I make a great team in the kitchen, this is a bonding experience that he and I have had for so long, and I look forward to each recipe we make. When we're in the kitchen we talk and we laugh and we play...it really is one of my favorite past times with him. Of course there have been plenty of times that we start a recipe and a neighbor stops by, or he decides his brother is more interesting, or he just plain gets bored, so he leaves. I'm left to eat the batter continue baking myself. And with flaxmeal as a substitute for eggs, the batter isn't dangerous to eat bake!

It is more work and time consuming to do it this way, but it is also much more fun!

Our poor Meurer family cookbook. All of the Meurers put together a cookbook with family recipes that have been passed down over the generations, as well as our own family favorites. The left page is just one of the recipes that we submitted--Christian's Pumpkin Pie. We should be able to find the page pretty easily now that it is covered in pumpkin--remember keep the mixing wand in the bowl while mixing! I wish I could blame it on one of the boys...but I did it!

Before it was foiled and baked...we didn't flute the edges, his fingers don't quite work that way!

Final product. We are getting pretty good at finding the right spice combination. Our second pie was in a chocolate crust, and it was even better! Great work Christian! 1 more pumpkin to go! Pies or bars this time?

It's neat (I don't think I've used that word since 8th grade) that some of you are too bashful to make public comments, and instead email me directly. Thank you all for your support along my blogging way. I do enjoy writing, and I feel grateful to have found a place to write my thoughts so that those of you who are interested enough can have a sneak peak into my madness mind. My audience started out with just a few, and now has grown to many...some of you I don't even know...so why not pull up a keyboard and use the comments to introduce yourselves!

Tweens

My 11 year old rolls his eyes--ALOT.

He says "WOW" sarcastically when he is the one who did something wrong and is now receiving a consequence.

He love his mama but only when there is no chance that someone else will catch on. Like when he instigates hand holding in public but quickly removes it at the first sign of someone who may or may not approve.

He wants to check his email 50 times more a day that I check mine--which is saying something!

He honestly believes that the entire world was formed solely to entertain him. And when he isn't being entertained, he pouts. And mopes. And rolls his eyes.

He is sensitive when it comes to nearly everything. Friends, homework, the tidiness of his bedroom, and his clothing.

He is cuddly and snuggly.

He is super smart!

He is charming.

He is absolutely adorable.

My Benjamin is going with friends to football games. And I am not in attendance, and I don't know the parents of the people he is hanging out with as well as I have in the past. I have always made a point to build relationships with the parents of the kids the boys spend time with. But his social circle is getting bigger, and I can't keep up!

My Benjamin is leaving town on trips with youth group, or to do community service projects--and I am not chaperoning.

My Benjamin is growing up. And it seems I am unable to stop him. Sigh...


Sunday, October 11, 2009

My new reality

Mudd Lake! It was fantastic! I stepped out of my comfort zone again to meet even more new bloggers, and it turned out to be a beautifully chilly evening! B and I spent much of the evening chatting with Kami.

I've had the pleasure of meeting her a couple times before at other blog events, so I didn't branch out and make as many new connections as I had intended, but we still had a perfectly lovely time!

The location was stunning. Truly. I can't wait to take my girlfriends there on our next girls trip to the cities.

I wish I had been more diligent in my photo taking that night, but alas, I was so caught up in the moment (remember how I said I was going to do that?!) that I did not take my camera out until the end of the night.

I absolutely--there is that word again-- know that my new friend Jennifer is a lifelong friend. I admire her honesty, and respect her opinions. She has been given a gift of words. And best of all she is a lover and follower of Jesus, and she is gracious enough to take all of us on her journey of motherhood. As mothers we don't have all the answers. We don't know how to react in all situations, and when there is a place to go several times a day each evening, to get some perspective and encouragement to continue on...its just a blessing. So many of us turn to her blog for humor, and advice on photography, or just an update on sweet Stellan. But having met her in person several times has changed the dynamic ALL for the better! I know that I have found in her someone in real life to talk through some of life's curve balls. God's blessings. In reality.

I'll leave you with this tidbit--

During the Vikings/Packers football game--!yes we won!-- Brian shed light on a question that I am sure many women share. When the boys asked why Brett Favre was wearing pink shoes, Brian responded with "It is breast awareness month" To which both boys looked into space trying to wrap their minds around the fact that adults would dedicate an entire month to being aware of such a thing. I had to quickly interject that it is indeed breast CANCER awareness month.....And we wonder why there is such fascination? They are taught at an early age. Thanks babe!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dunzo

I've said this before. I have said that I am going to just STOP. And I'm saying it again.

Last night at our GIFT meeting (Growing in Faith Together) we talked about learning when to say when. When is it enough? What do we sacrifice on a regular basis in order to make all of the activities, and to follow the schedules that WE set into place? For me? The sacrifice is sleep. Exercise. Occasionally it is even church. For instance, last Sunday as I was notifiying one of our fellow GIFT-ers that we would not be at our meeting that morning-and we were doing the devotion--I realized that I was cutting out the one thing that day that would replenish my body and mind for the rest of the week. I was tired. We all were. It had been a late night with the housewarming the night before, and we cleaned up before we went to bed. It seemed legit. Until I gave real thought to it. Now, starting today, I have realized that our next 4 days are going to be shuttling from one activity to another. In addition to all of the things I have volunteered to do, and work...it just doesn't seem necessary.

So from here forward (yea right) I am going to try to scale back. I need to reevaluate our lives and our schedules, and maybe, just maybe there are things we can remove from our calendars!

Cross your fingers!

Here is the video we watched to kick off our book study group this quarter--Jesus was human, and even He took time to spend with God. He turned to God, and replenish His mind and body with prayer and God's Word! When He was faced with distraction, He kept His focus, but not because He was super human! Oh no, He looked to God for strength--what a great lesson for me to have learned last night.

Rob Bell is an author that I am excited to learn more about! Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

With this ring...

1 year ago yesterday....

2 of my favorite people! Christian really loves his 'Brinan'!

You mean I get to look at and love that face for the rest of my life? Wow! This was taken in one of my favorite rooms of the Plummer House! We love the beauty up there.

One of the highlights of the ceremony! I love how the candles turned out!

I love this picture!

Another one of my favorites. He and I fit so well!

Happy Anniversary B! I am blessed to have someone so genuine, and sincere and grounded. I absolutely believe that you were brought into my life to show me what real love and honesty is like. Thank you for being my friend and confidant. I do I do

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Editing

I wish I could edit my life. I am right now watching listening to The Office in the background whilst I internet. (yes it's a verb) Actually it is the deleted scenes from season 3 -- it got me to thinking that I would like to delete some scenes in my life. I would REALLY like to take out the scene with Norman and his mother from the store today. Ok, his name wasn't Norman but holy moly, if the movie Psycho came to life, this guy would have totally fit the character. I can still hear his eerie voice calling for "Mother" (who incidentally wore a black trench with a burberry scarf and the tightest bun tied in her hair!) while she sat in a chair so he could try on dress shirts and try to convince me to cut the price in half on everything he wanted to buy. I don't know if he lives in the basement, but they sure seemed awfully close. Perhaps too close...and not in an immoral icky way necessarily, just a too close for comfort kind of way. Delete the scene please!

I would also like to take back the conversation that B and I had today about frozen plants and frost. I'll just leave it at that. Delete.

I could go on and on wishing for a delete button, but instead I would just like to hire a better director. I'm not sure that I am fit for the job to direct my life anymore. Especially when my week is full of work, meetings, football, church, conferences, new roof, volunteering, more football, more work, more meetings...in addition to planning a party and pulling our house together. So this week, I need a delete button. Similar to the easy button, but instead of making these things easier, I just want some of them to go away. Not the roof. We need it so that one can stay. And not the conferences, I'd like to know how Benjamin is doing so far in school. And football should stay, he really enjoys that. Church of course is really important, so I guess that one should stay on the schedule. I really do need to work, because we have a house payment to make, so I should keep that on the schedule. PPT was pretty crucial this week, we made a big decision that impacts the school, so it's best to keep that. I'm really looking forward to entertaining this weekend, so I want to keep that one...Sigh, I guess I'll only send the whole Norman and his mother to the cutting room floor this time.


What scenes would you like deleted from your life this week? I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Say what?!

3 days in a row Jodie? How did we get so lucky?! Aww, so sweet of you to say--assuming you did say--it's just who I am, I aim to please!

I had a meeting tonight with a taskforce at our church where we discussed forcing a task. Ok, seriously I was a little out of my element at this meeting, but I have opinions...and I am always happy to share them. When I was asked to participate in the discussion I jumped at it, and am so grateful to have been a part of this meeting of the minds. I was reminded however of how little I actually know of the topic at hand. Why is this so top secret you ask? It isn't. But until things gain a little momentum, I will leave it at that. The reason I bring it up is that while I was sitting in this meeting, thinking of some of the opportunities that may present themselves to our family, I felt so blessed to be a member of our church. Not only to have the privilege to be in the meeting that I was in, but to have this congregation as my church family as my immediate family faces some new territory, and big decisions. The Lord has truly provided for us not only with tangible items, and a beautiful home, but with people and a community who are worth their collective weight in gold. And from what I hear gold is worth alot right now, so that is saying something!

I also have to mention that He was certainly looking out for me today while I was taking the kids to FP. FP if you will remember from last year is First Players. It is a program that a music teacher from another church in town runs for kids who are just beginning to play instruments. As 5th graders they meet once a week in the morning to play with small groups, and then on Friday mornings as a large group. This year, since Benjamin is a 6th grader not in 5th anymore, so he is in a concert band with students from 6th-12th grade, with the same teacher. Now, they meet on Thursday afternoons. So anyway, it was my day to transfer the kids from school to practice (I pick them up about 40 min before school is out), and when we were walking out the door, I noticed that one of them seemed a little out of sorts, so I said... (we'll call the student "Sax")... I said to Sax, "You seem a little off today, is everthing ok?" Thinking the response would be--I don't wanna go to band, or I wanted to stay in science and learn, or I'm hot...oh no, the response was "I don't feel good, I almost got sick in my locker"!!!

I stopped in my tracks, jaw hit ground. Ok, so I didn't get that kind of sick this past week, but I have had just about all the sick I want to handle right now. So I felt Sax's forehead, and asked a few questions then turned Sax around and said "Lets go call your mom". We didn't get a hold of her, so I made the executive decision to leave Sax in the nurse's office and took the rest to band. When I returned to pick up Christian from school, I was told by our wonderful secretary that soon after I left Sax got sick. HE was watching out for me for sure! Instead of having 4 kids + myself in the car with a student who would have gotten sick in my car, I had 3 healthy students and one exactly where he/she belonged--in the nurse's office! I pray for Sax as I have since talked to mom a number of times, and being at school was not the only time where Sax got sick...so I hope that a speedy recovery will be made, and that this does not pass around through their home!

Tomorrow I get to pick up our Goddaughter Callie! We are picking her up to have her for the weekend and our whole house is excited to have her! She is 3 now, and brings such an energy to a house full-o boys! I can't wait to cuddle with her, and sing to her, and read some of the books that the boys are too old for! We are looking forward to bringing her to football, and church, and some of the other things we have going on this weekend! I am so looking forward to having her, we've had it on the calendar for a while, and it is finally here! So I THANK our ever knowing God for watching out for us today so that we were not exposed to Sax at his/her most vulnerable point. Praises to Him!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taking a break

This past week, I came down with a nasty cold like flu. Thankfully, it was not the flu with the name that shall not be mentioned! (I'm channeling Harry Potter doncha know?) Anyway, my voice decided that until I felt better, it would take a break. So, since Saturday I have been w/o a voice. I have had trouble sleeping the last few nights because of my throat, but now I am feeling better, and I would welcome my voice back anytime! Break time over!

Because of these sick days, I haven't been able to work in the store, who can blame her for not wanting me to bring whatever I have to her? So I have been able to not only keep up with my blog -- you're welcome-- but I have also been able to tackle our spare room and get some of the things that don't have a clear home, put away. We have a pretty cool attic that is surprisingly clean that I actually enjoy going into. It doesn't have the creepy cobwebs, or scary corners, in fact it has rods to hang extra clothing or coats, as well as TONS of space for storage. I have even thought it would be cool to put real floors in it for more living space...B says no. He will win.

I have had a chance to unpack some of the things that I have not unpacked for years and years because I didn't have space to put them. And now I have a whole room! Granted, that room still needs bookshelves--are you drawing up your plan B?


One wall in the spare room will look something like this

Or maybe this
We both share the same vision for the spare room, and I can't wait to have it finished, and now thanks to my voice taking a break, the room is ready for construction!

Today I joined my voice and took a break. I needed to calm down. I went on a little rant yesterday, and for those of you who witnessed the rant (in the previous post) then you will be happy to know that I feel much much better. I can't control what other people say or believe, but I do know what is true and at least my reality is firmly planted in, well, reality, so I will continue to be content knowing that. Instead of working around the house today, I decided to peruse some of my favorite consignment stores for accessories. Now that we have been in the house for awhile, I have a better idea of what sorts of things I would like for the space we have. I had fun looking around, and found some really interesting things. Like old records...B and I are trying to figure out how to incorporate them into our bedroom. In addition to the records I found several things for Christian's bedroom, the downstairs living room, and a cute sign for the laundry room, I was also able to check off specific things that we have been looking for since we move in! And ALL for under $30! Love it!

Furniture is tough. It must be durable, it must be comfortable, it must be the right size, and it should be new (this is where I can't really do second hand...many things yes, furniture? mmm, maybe not so much!). Oh yea, and we want to afford it...so yea, that weeds out many of the pieces we've looked at.

We finally settled on this one, right size, durable, super comfy and a great price...but I don't know about that color? With boys? In their space. In the not so distant future they will be teenage boys, which I sometimes think may be worse than toddler boys. When they were toddlers they had sippy cups with lids that didn't spill, and they weren't allowed to eat on the couch. But teenage boys---that is a different story. Sigh, why did I take myself there? I don't want to think about having teenage boys 1 1/2 years from now...not ready for that.

Tomorrow I get back into the classroom to volunteer for the year! I am excited to be back in their classrooms, and this year Benjamin is in a whole new world with a whole new volunteer code to follow!! Thank goodness Christian is still in 4th, because I have been told that at Benjamin's age, he will likely not acknowledge me being there, nor should I acknowledge him during school hours. It is the whole "don't speak unless spoken to" rule in 6th grade I guess. I seriously need to stop talking about how big he is getting! I am proud of all that he has accomplished, and he is at a very fun age right now. When I'm not thinking about how not-little he is becoming, I truly am fully enthralled with the young man that he is. It's just when I start thinking that 12 is around the corner, he is a 6th grader now, wasn't he just a baby? I suppose I should just take a break from thinking about that too! Sigh....

OH yea! PS....the changes are neither a baby nor a new job! Good guesses tho!