Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Christmas is All Around Us"

Oh, such a funny movie . . . Love Actually in case you didn't get the quote in the title.

So, we are still in the Pacific Northwest and waiting patiently to begin our vacation to the east coast. We are scheduled on a red-eye tomorrow night, and though it is not the ideal flight we had in mind, we'll take it because I just want to get to my mom's for Christmas. It's kind of a big deal.

We have had three days of non-stop action here. On Thursday evening Ben's parents came to our house to celebrate Christmas early since we would be gone. On Friday we had a larger family Christmas gathering at Ben's uncle's house. And yesterday was the same uncle's birthday party a couple towns away. Each event involved a pretty treacherous trek over snow and/or ice depending on the day. We bought our first set of chains and used them the same day due to the snow and ice covered roads. The time with family was good, but frustrating as well. I've shared before how my mother-in-law doesn't communicate well and these events were no exception. We literally found out early each day what time events were being held and didn't know until after the birthday party that there was an additional dinner being held that night. I'm glad the time with Ben's family is over. I need a break!

Hopefully the boys will get another good night's rest and we'll all be ready for our night time flight to Pittsburgh. Jesus, help us be patient parents on this journey and as we battle fatigue on the other end as well!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What I'm Doing Right Now

Talking to an agent with United to get a new flight since ours was canceled due to the snow.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

What We Do . . .

in Oregon when there is an inch of snow:

1) Cancel everything, possibly even church

2) Play, play, play; cause this only happens about once per year!

Here are some pictures from our first snowfall of this season. Enjoy!!

Fish and Treefrog hugging in the snow. I didn't have to beg for this at all:)

Treefrog loved every minute of the snow.

Fish wanted me to take his picture and then . . .

decided he hated everything about the snow. We tried for about 5 minutes to get him occupied with snow activities, but he just stood and cried anytime we set him down. So . . .

I came back inside with Fish and placated him with Elmo. Praise Jesus for Elmo!

I hope you have the wonder of snow wherever you are today! Enjoy it like a kid (preferably like Treefrog and not like Fish!).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Civil War

It's what the Oregonians lovingly call the football game played each year between the Ducks and the Beavers. The Beavers lost which is the team for whom we apparently root. Whatever.

In much more exciting news Ben and I had a little impromptu double date last night. Ben's parents came and got both the boys (whoot!) and gave us a night off. We decided to pop over to our friends' house to borrow a key and ended up making plans to go to a movie. It turns out that their kids were with grandparents too. So, we drove like maniacs to the theatre and got front row seats for Quantum of Solace (go us - my neck felt like it was permanently tilted upward at the end of the movie). The movie was very good and I loved listening to Ben's and our friend, S's, commentary after the movie.

But wait! I'm not done yet!

Today, our friends invited us over again to watch the Civil War. So even though I'm not a huge fan of the game, I actually had a good time. We ate pizza and ice cream and Ben shared his homebrew. A delightful evening!

We came home just in time to put the kids to bed. They were both so tired from their time at Yia-yia's that they went straight to sleep. It is wonderful having my two boys back after a couple of good nights' rest.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Still doing dishes

This will be the third run of the dishwasher and this morning we are tackling the items that need to be hand washed. I hand wash most serving platters cause they are old; like belonged-to-my-great-grandmother old, and all of my pots and pans get hand washed due to the fact that those puppies are expensive and I need them to last forever, thanks.

We ended up with a pretty good evening all in all. My mother-in-law was not in a great mood since she had caught the brunt of my sister-in-law's attitude all day (she is 17 and pretty moody at times). And, of course, there were the inappropriate comments made by Ben's grandpa (he's 85, what can we do?). So, putting those things aside, there was lots of laughter, a round of what one is thankful for at the table, and good food to eat.

Plus the college student who joined us kept our boys entertained throughout most of the afternoon, so it was like we had a built-in babysitter! It was heaven:)

I loved being the hostess and doing most of the cooking. It was fun to be in the kitchen for two days, baking, cooking, roasting, basting, etc. I did yell out a few times, "This kitchen is too small!" And, truly, it is pretty small. But, for the remainder of the year, this house fits us just fine. I loved hearing that the food was excellent. I loved pushing Ben to give me feedback on the stuff that I don't eat (turkey, gravy, stuffing) and having him be honest in what he thought. I loved the sounds a house full of people create - good and bad. I loved having to save the forks we ate dinner with for dessert (one less thing to wash!). I loved preparing the house with my husband and cleaning up with him after guests left.

Oh, speaking of cleaning up . . . I guess I should get to work on some hand washing:)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Things I Didn't Count On

1) My kids going nutzo; pulling raw eggs out of the frig, running amuck, playing with the raw turkey, etc.

2) The turkey still being frozen. Hello, um, Butterball? Your website informed me that I only had to thaw my 12 lb. turkey for three days in the refrigerator. . . apparently my turkey felt the need to take longer.

3) My dad getting sick (after I made him his own special macaroni salad)

4) running out of onions

5) lunch (what the hell does one eat for lunch when you will be having dinner at 3pm?!)

6) the turkey getting done on time (see number 2)

7) the leftovers. Dear Lord, the leftovers!

8) the massive pile of dishes (even on holidays I insist on using "real" plates, that makes for a lot of dishes - two dishwasher loads and counting . . .)

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Day Before . . .

started last night when I baked 2 loaves of friendship bread and two pumpkin pies (entirely! from! scratch!). I went to bed around 12:30.

Today I awoke, ate a bowl of cereal (Cheerios in case you are wondering) and started in again. I made two batches of stuffing muffins (vegetarian stuffing made in muffin tins), two separate batches of macaroni salad (my dad is a picky eater), deviled eggs, and turkey broth (for the gravy). The day turned to the evening and I drove an amazing woman and her friend to a dinner in a town about 25 minutes away. The woman is legally blind, was invited to this dinner because of all she does for the foundation hosting, and asked if anyone was free. I couldn't say no! I had a delightful time with her!!

I came home to sleeping babes (go Ben!) and began cleaning. Ben had made a good headstart on the kitchen, so I tackled the bathroom and our floors.

Tomorrow brings on a whole new list of to-do's. There is turkey and tofurkey to be roasted, and cauliflower/broccoli gratin, green beans, and mashed potatoes to be cooked or baked. Man, who forgot to tell me Thanksgiving is so much work?!

I'm off now to finish up the kitchen so that I have clean dishes for tomorrow:) Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That's Alotta Enchilada!

I think I've mentioned before that my family volunteers for a ministry to teen parents. Last night, we met with the teens and had a cooking night. We decided to make chicken and cheese enchiladas, refried beans, Spanish rice, cheese cake, and fudge (the last two pieces being made ahead of time). We had 12 parents come and they devoured three huge pans of enchiladas. They also made a sizeable dent in the refried beans and rice. There was no cheese cake or fudge left:)

I love the cooking night. We try to do it once a year, and it is always hectic. Getting all the ingredients together, meeting the parents' requests for certain dishes, trying to fit all the dishes together, teaching people how to chop, stir, boil water . . . it can be an exhausting night. But, the cool thing is, every year the parents are excited for this evening. We get to talk so much, there is a good deal of ribbing in regards to who knows how to cook already and who does not, and the parents seem to love the idea of eating their own creation. I love teaching people to be more comfortable in the kitchen, showing them little bits of cooking tips, and in general using something I'm really good at in ministry. I don't feel as though I have the gift of preaching, or teaching, or speaking in tongues, but I do know how to host! This is the night each year that makes me excited to continue in this ministry.

It is amazing what speaks to one's heart, isn't it?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birthday Party and Sick Again!

Ben's dad's birthday is tomorrow and we have been supposed to go to their house on Monday (tomorrow) for about 5 days now. At 4 pm today I realized that we had double booked ourselves for Monday evening. Ben called his parents and we decided to head to their house tonight (about a half an hour drive) with an ice cream cake. The cake? Well, it was delish! Dinner? Not so much.

Also today I woke up to my cold that has been threatening to take me down. Today, it succeeded. I slept from 1 until 4 and felt a little better afterward. I'm hoping that this morning was the worst of it and I'll be fine tomorrow because Mondays around here are INSANE. The good thing is I need to go to the store in the morning, so hopefully that will help keep the boys entertained for a bit, i.e. keep the breakdowns to a minimum.

The best part of tomorrow: My friend J is back from her trip!!!!! I can't wait to hear all about what she did and to help her count all her bug bites:)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Putting It to Rest

This weekend we will be putting our garden to rest. We have not gathered anything from it for a month (maybe more?), mostly due to the fact that my well-meaning father sprayed chemicals all over it as he was trying to rid our grass of the unidentified weed to which Treefrog is allergic.

It is a simple process, really, this putting our garden to rest. We will pull out the old plants, compost them, spread fresh compost or mushroom manure, and then cover with straw. It is a naptime project, if that.

Yet, I'm looking forward to it.

I'm looking forward the final mark of the changing season. We have moved slowly this year from summer to fall to winter. Our warm days and evenings of summer hung on much longer than was normal. Our fall crispness was surprisingly long as well. The winter rains didn't show up until the second week of November, an unusually late coming. This seems to be a pattern in my life right now too. I am holding on to the past, resisting a move forward into the next season. I find myself almost paralyzed by what lies ahead; preparing for this new season, welcoming it readily seem almost impossible. Yet, I know it will come. I know that eventually I will be set a pace by the rains to clean a bit more, freeze some casseroles for summer when I'll be too tired to cook, make a space for the little person who will make a grand entrance in so many months.

Months. That is what I have right now.

It seems so long, yet so short all at the same time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Pregnancy Blecks

All my pregnancies have been very different. With Treefrog, I found out immediately (cause I was watching the calendar like a hawk) and played up every little symptom I had. Or so it seems now (I'll address this later). I was sick (literally - on antibiotics at least once each trimester), I was tired, I was so very bad at being pregnant. I had an awful attitude. Even though I wanted to be pregnant, I didn't like the out-of-control feeling . . . maybe this is a pattern in my life. I gave birth to Treefrog in a non-emergency, but "very fast," c-section due to his heart condition found shortly after birth.

Two years later, I was pregnant with Fish for a couple months before finding out. We were trying, but I was much too busy chasing Treefrog around to notice a late period. The tiredness was there. Oh boy, I relished the two hour naptime Treefrog took! The crankiness was there somewhat, but all around, the pregnancy was different. I was nauseated this time, but only for about two weeks. This pregnancy was, well, easy. I carried Fish until I went into labor on my own nine days before his due date. I labored for about 12 hours and then had a c-section for lack of progress.

Fast forward two more years and I find myself pregnant again. We were definitely trying, but had not expected to get pregnant this early (with both previous pregnancies it took us 3 and 4 months to have success). I knew when implantation happened (mostly because my friend J was with me, telling me that's what was going on in my body). From implantation on (or so it seems), I have been sick - nauseated sick. I will have a couple of good days and then, much like today, it will hit me head-on. Sleeping sometimes helps. Sometimes eating something with a healthy does of good fat (cheese quesadilla or peanut butter sandwich for instance) helps. Sometimes no matter what I try, I end up feeling sick the entire day. This pregnancy makes me realize that I was such a whiny-pants during the first pregnancy! This pregnancy makes me look back wistfully at my second one. This pregnancy makes me want to crawl into a hole and wait there until the baby decides to come out, or until the scheduled c-section, whichever comes first.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm very happy to be welcoming child number three into our home. I'm very blessed with the type of husband who is in love with being around to help (see yesterday's post). I'm superbly blessed with in-laws who take one or both of the boys each weekend to ensure a good night's rest for both Ben and I. Every once in a while, though, it is just nice to complain:)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Evening Routine

Ben and I have come to a bit of an agreement, without it ever actually being spoken. It is nice, yet, at times, I am nervous that it will blow up in my face. Basically the agreement is that Ben has the kids after dinner.

For a solid hour or longer.

By himself.

As in, I rarely do anything but call out, "Isn't it bedtime yet?!"

He is truly amazing, this man of mine. He comes home between meetings everyday to help out. He schedules many meetings around family times (such as lunch and dinner). He is usually home and happy to put Fish down for his afternoon snooze. He makes so many sacrifices throughout the day to be with us. I know that he likes this flexibility in his job (believe me, we have some pretty late nights built in to each week, so the job isn't as wonderful as it may seem at first glance. However, it definitely fits us for now). I know that he would do anything for his family, for me. . . I just sometimes wonder when it will be too much.

When will he say, "Uh-uh. I'm done. I've been picking up your slack for years. No more. Either pull it together or say goodbye to Mister Nice-guy." Will he ever look back at this time and wish for more? More "off" time, more down time, more clean towels, more time to fish? I hope he knows how much the time in the evenings means to me, but even more than that, how much he means to me. How much I appreciate his work sacrifices in order to be a more central part of our family. How much I appreciate his every dish washed, his every load of laundry done, his every floor swept, his every kid bathed. Oh, how I hope, one day, to show him that he is worth his weight in the purest gold possible.

For now, I guess morning sex will have to do.

I love you, Babe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

T-Day Count Down

I started a list last week of what we will be serving for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why this year I'm so overwhelmed and feel the need to control every detail so much, but it is what it is. So, my list.

I have turkey (for carnivores) with stuffing, tofurkey (for us vegetarians, okay, I mean for me), green beans, cauliflower-broccoli gratin, macaroni salad (2 kinds b/c my dad is very picky), deviled eggs, stuffing muffins (again mainly for the vegetarians, but everyone devours them), rolls, and cranberry sauce. Dessert will be pumpkin pie (made from scratch!) and friendship bread.

Since I've been looking at this list for a week, I, naturally, felt the need to make another list for this upcoming week. This list was more like a chart, with a list for each day leading up to and including Thanksgiving Day. It shows what I need to make each day so that I will have enough oven space on the big day. I did, however, draw a very fine-looking turkey on my chart to make it a little more festive for those who might see it hanging on my cabinet in the kitchen. It's all in the details, people.

Anywho, I'm finally feeling a little better about next week and all the details coming into place. I'm actually excited to be hosting Thanksgiving and not too worried about what the state of my house will look like when people come through the door. I'm hoping I don't start worrying about the cleanliness of my house, though, because I don't think I have room in my kitchen for another chart.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've Been Dipping Balls in Chocolate All Day

Oh, hello, pervs - it's not that kind of post. You can feel free to meander through my posts, but I'm pretty boring, really.

So, back to the balls into chocolate. A few weeks ago, one of Ben's RAs was around and she was telling us of this delightful dessert that her mom used to make that involved peanut butter, Rice Krispies cereal, and chocolate. I had her send me the recipe and I tried it out today. Staff meeting is in roughly one hour and I still have peanut butter-Rice Krispies balls that need dipped! The recipe makes a TON of those suckers!!!!

I hope the staff enjoys this, cause I'll never be making them again.

The end.

Monday, November 17, 2008

VomitFest 2008

That is where I have been for the past few days. Now, as we attempt to recapture some since of normalcy, I have shut myself in the office to seek some solace off the Internet.

This is a lame post. I wanted to be so much more eloquent with explaining how hard these past five or so days have been and what a disaster this morning has been so far, but I can't muster it. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe instead, I should focus on the good.

Treefrog wanted to do school today, specifically the letter 'l.' So we did - screw the plans!

Fish loves when we get markers out and every time I turned my back he was up on top of the table, marker in hand (or mouth more often), attempting to do school with us.

Now, I need to go play with my children like I promised them I would.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Way to Honor

I am a pacifist.

Yes, this means that I choose to declare myself pro-life and anti-war/violence. This means that I would declare religious rights to not being drafted to the military (if the draft was ever opened up to include women). This means that I do everything in my power to promote peace in this world.

This does not mean that I don't appreciate the freedoms I have been given in this country. This does not mean that I don't recognize that many people, who believed that war was the only way, took up arms and fought to give me the life that I have today. This does not mean that I don't respect the men and women who serve our country the best way they know how (through the military) and that I don't pray for these same men and women to return safely home.

I am honored to be a part of this country today, and I'm glad that Senator Richard Burr was moved to create an opportunity for the men and women who are serving, whose family is serving, or who once served this country to enjoy the National Parks for absolutely free. I hope that many men, women, and children are able to take this opportunity and spend some time out of doors today!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm Still Going

Monday mornings start with a very early morning meeting - 6:15 to be exact. This is the only time 3 moms and a college student can find in their busy lives to meet without the hustle and bustle of our children to distract us. It has been good, albeit hard, to meet with these women and get the things done that we have on our lists for the ministry with which we all work. We are preparing for a fundraiser in a few weeks and today we hand-addressed beautiful red sparkly envelopes. . . Two of which I completely botched before trading for the job of sticking the return labels on (me so smooth!).

I came home and, over breakfast with Treefrog, talked about Operation Christmas Child. We talked about how some families can't afford to give gifts at Christmas and so we put a little box together to help a little boy (or girl, but for us it's a boy this year) have a happy Christmas. I look forward to the continued conversation of what Christmas means. That since Jesus came as a gift to us, we give to others (and, yes, receive as well!). I pray that I can do this time of year justice. I want my children to focus on Christ, not presents. It is an uphill battle for sure!

In talking about the box for Operation Christmas Child, I said that we would go to the store today and fill the shoebox we have. Treefrog was super excited and patiently sat through the other errands that I had to get done this morning. As I watched each errand take longer than I thought it would, I also watched our time for going to the store tick away. At last, I had to admit to Treefrog that we would not be going to the store this morning. I did promise to go as soon as Ben gets home from work, so I'm praying that nothing else gets in our way.

I'm so thankful for my patient little guy that allowed me to drag him everywhere this morning and is still waiting to do what he wants to do!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Ritz Crackers
Colby Cheese
French Onion Dip

This was my 3 o'clock snack today. It sounded so good to me and totally revolting to Ben. Anyone want to weigh in? (Not literally, of course, because after thatsnack I won't be getting on a scale until December!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Something's A-Brewing

Today Ben rebelled against all things college (well, at least this college 'cause we have a lifestyle agreement, yo!), went down to his parents' house and brewed some beer. While drinking beer that he had brewed approximately five weeks ago.

This has been a really rough week for Ben. He had an incident last weekend that involved many college students and a good deal of alcohol. It will probably take him two weeks to sort through the mess and meet with all the students involved. Then, another night sent him to the ER with a different student who had a pretty bad concussion. Two nights in one week of very little sleep + five days of hassling students trying to get them to email him back = one cranky hubby. It was time for him to be able to drink freely.

Somewhat related: Since Ben also roasts his own coffee, a friend of ours said the other night that she can see us owning our own roast/brew place where we serve our own roasts of coffee and brewed beers. I have to admit, the idea is pretty appealing in that I would have my husband to myself and not have to share him with all these students! Of course, there is that pesky thing called money that may hold us back from being business owners:)

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Sound of Silence

This is my most favorite time of day. Right after lunch, Fish goes down for his much needed nap, and when Treefrog is here he usually watches a movie or plays outside by himself. It is quiet. It is peaceful. It is bliss. This is the time of day that gives me enough energy to make it through until Ben comes home.

I love hearing the sounds of the cars on the highway a couple blocks away. I love hearing the birds chirping. Dogs barking. Students walking and talking on the sidewalk. Muted noises from the backyard of Treefrog in an imaginary world all his own.

This morning I began my day with a quiet moment. I opened my Bible for the first time in, I'm embarrassed to say, months. I sat at the dining room table, children still snoozing upstairs, sipping a cup of freshly roasted brewed coffee and met with Jesus. I am realizing now the impact that makes on the remainder of the day. How soon I forget when I have these spans of months that go by being self-focused.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Internet, She's Back!

So, yesterday brought with it some issues. I had an Internet that would take roughly 15 minutes to load a page. It was like dial-up y'all! Woe was me, especially since I couldn't join in with my blogging pals to say - "Yes we can!!"

Election night recap - Fish would not fall asleep. At 8:15 I saw that Obama was being declared president elect, but I was immediately called upstairs by my screaming one-year-old. I missed all the beautiful pictures that flashed for the next 10 minutes. I came back down in time to hear the majority of McCain's speech. Kudos to McCain for such a wonderful, supportive speech. I sat on my couch in much anticipation as I waited President Elect Obama to take the stage. The moment he did, I began crying. With tears in my eyes, I watch that wonderful man's entire speech, hoping that this moment would never end. I feel so incredibly blessed to have a person standing before me as a leader that can raise a nation up for change. It is time, my friends. I am honored to have helped President Elect Obama make it to the White House to make good on the promises he has made.

And now, as many of my friends were staunch McCain supporters, I become a gracious winner. One who understands that Obama, "may not have won their vote today, but [he] hears their voice. And [he] will be their president." One who knows that it was not a celebratory night for them and they are quite possibly nervous about what the next four years will hold. One who will, with grace, look at Obama's good and bad policies over the next four years and pray that he proves that change, is indeed, good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote!

No matter who you are supporting this election, please allow your voice to be heard - go vote!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bump, Thump, Scream!!

It's a rainy day here in the pacific northwest. That means we play outside until we are totally soaked through and chilled to the bone. Next, we come inside for a warm bath and change of clothes. Then it is upstairs (this part is usually forced by Mama who is at the end of her rope with mud everywhere and pretty wet herself after getting splashed) where the boys go in turns playing well together and fighting. I'm not sure what to do on these days. It's 10 am and I don't have a clue as to what will keep them entertained and keep me sane.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Apple Squeezing

Well, that's what they called it anyway. The boys and I trooped out this rainy Saturday to the farm where my dad has recently taken up residence (yea! He is out of my house!!) for our first ever apple pressing.

The people who were hosting are not, apparently, early risers. They decided to start festivities at noon. That's correct, ladies and gents, a mere one hour away from nap time! But, we braved it, knowing that naps aren't necessary when Yia-yia will be joining us;)

Basically, we arrived at the farm, got to dump some apples into the press, watched the juices run free, helped with a little filtering, and then ate tomato soup with all the other helpers.

Treefrog was very interested in the press, but Fish was more interested in yelling "No!" to the dogs after he incited their barking from chasing them around. I did a lot of chasing of Fish, but walked away with a gallon and a half of cider. All in all, not a bad trade off.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Fish, loving just being able to run around with little supervision.

Treefrog, taking his beloved fingers out of his mouth for a quick photo opp.

The apple press

Treefrog dutifully holding the filter.

Fish playing in the apple mush - his second favorite activity of the day!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


So, I thought maybe I should try this. Then I realized that that would mean I would have to post on Sundays . . . I'm lucky to get out of bed on Sundays. Then I thought, what the heck? I'll give it a shot.

So here is to NaBloPoMo!

Friday, October 31, 2008

What You Do

I'm up today before any of my blogging buddies have updated, so I guess that leaves updating my own blog. How boring:)

Trick or Treat. Mmmmmmmmmm. Bowls of endless candy. Yummmmmmmm.

Oh, sorry, where was I? Yes, it's Halloween. We are having a "scary" dinner with some friends tonight. Since our little ones are, well, little, our scary dinner consists of spaghetti with eyeballs, scary salad, goulish garlic bread, and Frankenstein cupcakes. (As if they won't have enough sugar shortly after dinner!) After dinner it's off to a local retirement home to trick or treat and then to the "good" neighborhood where there are full sized candy bars given to Mamas, I mean those cute little kids.

Well, I'm off to round up my zoo supplies. This year we have a tiger and a zebra. So cute!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Full Eight Hours

That was how much sleep I got last night! Both boys stayed asleep all night and delighted us with the pleasant dispositions today. It was such a wonderful change from the previous couple of weeks. A nice breath of fresh air.

Currently, I am typing right now with little interruptions from my oldest. I set him up at the dining room table with some paper and paints and asked him not to yell if he wanted me, but to come into the office to talk with me. He has found every opportunity to do just that. He even came in to tell me that he drank his paint water. Hmmmm, I wonder how my kids pick up germs:)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wow, Okay, It's Almost November

So, there are many days that I feel like I should just post a little update. Something small to tell all those readers out there just what I'm doing or have done or am wishing I had gotten done. And then another day passes and I'm still in the same boat. It is still floating, mind you, however, I think my feet are getting quite wet . . .

Well, here's a little update:

Our kiddos have taken to waking up sometime between 2am and 4am. Sometimes they will go back to sleep, but often times (like this morning for instance) my ever-loving, always sacrificing husband gets up and either plays with them or vainly tries to sleep through their playing upstairs. It is OLD and it NEEDS TO STOP!!!!

Part of the reason that Ben is so intent on helping out during the night is because I am 8 weeks pregnant and in full swing of hormonal woes. I am emotional, sick spontaneously, and tired 99% of the time. It's great. I love being pregnant. Can I do this again?! (If you can't hear the sarcasm, please stop reading!)

Homeschooling happened for about two weeks. It wasn't working for Treefrog (I needed to switch up my curriculum a bit) and then my dad came for an extended stay. That was the hardest three weeks of my life. I felt like such a failure for stopping school. Plus, I was an emotional wreck dealing with my high-maintenance dad on a day-to-day basis.

I think that brings you up to speed. I'll try to do better at posting as long as my life continues on a normal sort of path. I also want to spend more time on the good. Maybe I'll even post twice today so that a negative post isn't the only thing you get!

p.s. We are VERY excited to welcome a new life into ours. Treefrog loves looking at the baby's picture from the ultrasound and I love showing it to him. We talk about whether the baby is happy in Mama's tummy and what he/she is doing in there. It is wonderful to watch him think about the baby!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alphabet Soup

Boiling water
Bag of letters
Cooked til almost done

Tomatoes smushed, pureed
By a man named Trader Joe
Thank you, dear man

Mix together
Still too hot, put in frig
Serve warm

One tired Mama
Two satisfied boys
Homeschool lunch

Monday, September 1, 2008

Good Lord I'm Tired

Today is the first day of school. Not school on wheels, as Treefrog tends to call "real" school since students can ride a bus, but homeschool. Our day started at 3 am.

No, we do not live on a dairy farm.

No, we do not have a blind rooster with his days and nights mixed up.

Nope, we have a three year old and a one year old who both decided to wake up at that time. I have a sneaking suspicion that Treefrog may have had something to do with awakening Fish, but no hard evidence as I was trying my best to continue my wanderings in dreamland.

So, Treefrog crawled into bed with me (which means that I got about as much sleep as a vampire), Ben took Fish a bottle and we thought all was well. Of course, Fish was not convinced that all was well, so Ben gave him some cereal and another bottle which finally convinced Fish that, yes indeed, the world was right again . . . at 4:30am. I found Ben on the floor of the office this morning. He had built a nest out of a couple of quilts and insisted that the floor was more comfortable than our couches. Oooooookaaaaaay.

Finally, around 9 we started school. We read lots of books and talked about all of our letters. We did an alphabet hunt and found all the letters of the alphabet that I had hidden around our living room. Then we had eleven-sies - Treefrog packed away two bowls of cereal, the little hobbit.

Now, it is time for a nap. Think I can convince Treefrog and Fish that it's time for snooze?

Yea, me either.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Playdate of Sorts

When I think of a playdate, I think of one of my mom-friends coming over to our house or us meeting at the park or at her house. Usually this is very casual - neither of us cleans much, our kids may have dirt under their fingernails, and we sit, drink coffee or water, and talk while the kids fight, I mean play, in the yard.

Today, not so much.

Instead of this blissful scene painted above, I found myself preparing for a visit from an acquaintance, L, who was babysitting her nephews. Please don't take this the wrong way - I love L and her nephews are ADORABLE (A is the same age as Treefrog and D is 11 weeks. People! You don't get any cuter than 11 weeks!). Anywho, at 7 am it hit me: L is coming to my house. She does not have kids. She is not used to my laid-back approach to life. She will not be comfortable in my rather, uh, chaotic home. So, at 7 am I began cleaning because the cleanliness of my house is the only bit of chaos that I can remotely control. For two hours I was washing dishes, floors, toilets, counters, anything that my friend may see. About two minutes before she walked in the door with her two nephews, I swept the floor one last time in case the baby decided to do some tummy time.

Needless to say, L was great. She is the perfect aunt - she is attentive to the boys' needs, doesn't care if they get dirty, and loves snack time as much as I do. I need not have worried. She was gracious and we had a good time together. I even find myself hoping she watches her nephews again soon just so I can hang out with her. Hopefully next time I won't kill myself trying to create a lifestyle that I obviously do not uphold. Cleanliness is for the birds:)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Full Day at Noon

Today was pretty crazy. We pulled ourselves out of bed at quarter til seven to begin making headway on the kitchen that was destroyed by my well-meaning husband who is hosting college students in our house on a daily basis now. Ben ran to the store to pick up eggs (those guys and gals sure eat a lot) and I started to make muffins (mmmm, muffins). We cleaned, and baked, and got ready, and fed the boys, and brewed coffee, and then brewed more coffee, and somewhere in there I inhaled my breakfast. We were not finished by the time the students started arriving, but we were close enough.

Me: Babe, it's only nine o'clock.

Ben: Yeah, so?

Me: So, I feel like I have already lived half a day and I'm just now taking over the kids for the whole day.

Ben: Oh

[awkward pause]

Ben: Sorry 'bout that.

Me: yeah, thanks.

So, the kids are now "resting." Treefrog is on the couch with a book, Fish is in the crib sleeping, and Mama is relishing the quiet. Dear Lord, let it last:)

Monday, August 18, 2008

You Might Be a Redneck If . . .

Ben is gone this week for his yearly obligatory week in the wilderness with the college students he will be working with this year. He doesn't mind it as much as me, go figure. Actually, I'm pretty sure he was packed an entire week before the actual trip because he gets so excited for it.

That leaves me home with the boys. For a week. By myself. And did I mention I am by myself this week?

I guess by myself is relative, though. I spent most of the day today with my friend J and her three kids. J owns a hotdog and coffee stand (hello, free coffee much?!) so while she was making fuel for us to venture off on our Day o' Shopping, I stayed in the car with the kids (five if you're counting). Which brings me to my first example (see title above):

You might be a redneck if your children are sitting in an unwashed van in the Home Depot parking lot chanting "WE NEED MORE COWBELL!" Oh, yes. We do love us some SNL (anyone? the sketch with Christopher Walkin and Will Ferrel and Will's shirt just keeps inching up every time he pounds the cowbell? anyone? so. funny.).

Second example:

Did I mention I am by myself this week? Maybe once before? Okay. So, yeah, I'm by myself and basically in "Survival Mode." This means I don't really care if Treefrog leaps off the top bar of our swing set so long as I don't have to spend the night in the hospital. Have fun, buddy! It DOES mean, however, that I cannot stand to have the kitchen be messy. It is definitely the center of our home (almost literally, but definitely figuratively). So there are three cabinets that we haven't had time/energy/whatever, so we're l.a.z.y. to childlock yet. . .

You might be a redneck if you:

What is that? I'm not sure I'm seeing this right . . .

Oh, yea, that's definitely . . .

Really, the oven too?!

That's right, y'all. I duct taped my cabinets and my oven shut so that Fish would stop pulling every item I own out of those three places. And let me tell you, I may just survive this week with the kids still alive.

I'm a redneck and I'm proud.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All Good Things

This is one of those days where I could easily loose sight of the good things. It was a trying day, but only at times. Those times could take over so smoothly, just fading into the forefront of my mind and clouding all the good things that happened. So before I begin to dwell too long on the bad this post will be about all the good that happened today.

Good thing the first: Going to the teacher store. In my attempt at making a decision on homeschooling, I will be doing three days a week of school with Treefrog this year. Just some simple pre-school things that will help him learn to listen and sit still for a bit. I took both kiddos with me and still had a blast reliving my “old” classroom days (when I taught in a life lived long, long ago). I adore classroom supplies!!

Good thing the second: Baking bread with Treefrog. Mmmmm, nothing spells love like time in the kitchen with a toddler when the end result is yummy Banana Blueberry Bread a la SouleMama.

Good thing the third: I made dinner – chicken masala for the meat eaters and lentil masala for the vegetarian (me) over rice. I’m sure the kids will be taking their mouths for rides tonight as they have never had this dish before, but I’m still thinking positive.

Good thing the fourth: I ran this morning. Day 2 of preparing for my next race (which hopefully will not be interrupted by the need to travel again!) (holy cow I am DONE with the flying!!!). Ben and I are running Pints to Pasta the first weekend in September. It’s a 10K, so it shouldn’t kill me as long as I do some running between now and then.

Good thing the fifth: I got to go shopping by. my. self. Awesome.

So there you go: My list of totally good things so that I won’t be overwhelmed by the couple of not-so-good things that happened as well. It’s good to have perspective.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Came Out of the Closet Today

No, I'm still a happily married mama of two boys (though I have so many boys in my life that it is sometimes hard to believe that I haven't changed sides, so to speak).

Today I took a different leap of faith and trusted my very best friend with the knowledge of this blog (Hi, J!). She immediately ran to our computer to look it up. I'm pretty sure she beat that really famous Olympic guy's time for the fastest sprint. Seriously, I run with her pretty regularly and even on the very few times we've raced, she has never moved as fast as she did today:)

I am surprised at how long I kept this to myself. . . . I have been pretty open with my thoughts and feelings here and I shy away from telling others about this spot so that I don't feel the need to sensor myself more. I know J will respect my privacy. She basically swore on her firstborn's life that she wouldn't tell anyone else. Or, quite possibly she asked if she could tell others, I said no, and that was the end of it. One or the other. I don't have the best memory.

So, here's to the word getting out about this little blog, even if it is only to one other person for now.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

School, Really?!

In reading some of my other favorite blogs I noted that kids were already starting back to school! Geez, I can't believe how fast the time went this summer. I think with all of our traveling and basically missing Ben's vacation the end of summer just crept up on me. Since we live in the Northwest, though, we don't start school until September 2. So, I guess maybe I'm lamenting a little too soon:)

But, the whole back-to-school thing got me started thinking anyway. Treefrog is three (has been since April) and his doctor asked me this summer if we were starting preschool this year. Ben and I have talked about homeschooling, public schooling, and private schooling to see where we stand, what we want our children to get from school and us, and how we believe each of those options fit into our lives. I feel so blessed just to have this choice of how to school our children. This blessed choice, however, makes life a little stressful. I have been back and forth in my mind for so long trying to figure out if we should go the public school route or the homeschool route (private school is not an option right now due to lack of funds). With the impending adoption this year, the decision has been even harder. Last night, I was up late doing research on homeschooling. In my heart, I believe the decision has already been made. I have spent so many hours on the homeschooling and unschooling websites that I think I could tell you verbatim what is said on each one. This is where our lives are taking us.

Ben works for a university so our life is not guaranteed in stability. One small way I can offer stability for my children is through school - not having the pressure of changing schools time and time again due to changes in jobs (university life is pretty volatile for those of you who are unaware). I want my kids to have the best education possible. That may or may not be available through me, but I also see social skills, moral education/influences, and physical activity being part of education. Those things are things that Ben and I can provide our children much more effectively than any public or private school I've encountered. Education is so much more than reading, math, and science. Education is wholistic - every part matters. I want my children to experience life and learn in a way that they simply can't do sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.

Homeschooling isn't a final decision yet. I want to send each of the boys to preschool (starting when they are four) and I want to visit the school where they would attend if we decide on public school. I hope to keep an open mind as I do these things - looking for both positives and negatives, trying to see the big picture, looking for how our children would fit into the public school system. I know they will thrive with any choice we ultimately make because both Ben and I will be involved in their education both inside and outside the classroom. I pray that I continue to remember that as I critique the public system here and as Ben and I reach a decision on schooling.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodbye Naptime

I have a three year old. I have a three year old who won't nap any longer. Goodbye life as I've known it.

We have instituted a 45 minute "rest time." This is to ensure that Mama gets some alone time and Treefrog isn't beaten to death with any object within Mama's reach as I tend to loose control after 8 straight hours of kids by myself. Seriously, nap time is my kids' savior:)

Our garden that we began way back in April is doing amazing. I hope to post some pictures soon to let the world see Ben's and my green thumbs. Right now drying on my window sill just above my computer are calendula flowers that I will make into a salve as soon as I've harvested enough to make it worth the effort. We also really liked our pole beans and so they too are drying on our sill and will be stored and planted again next year. It's amazing to me how such a little spot will provide sustenance and healing all throughout the year. What an amazing creation!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where Oh Where Are You Tonight?

Well, I left you all alone for many reasons. Here's the short version:

I finally made it to West Virginia in May. I was there with the kids for about 2 weeks and then Ben joined us for another 2 weeks. We were either outside playing or at the hospital visiting my grandmother.

June brought us back to the Pacific Northwest for a whirlwind of activities. First there was camp with the teen parents that we work with, then there was our family vacation, next came a visit from my ever-hard-to-be-around father, and finally a stay at our children’s hospital due to Fish inhaling a rock during our family vaca. I thought things would finally calm down with Ben starting back to work, but . . .

July 4, 2008 my grandmother passed away. Such a beautiful lady was laid to rest a few days later (which meant my traveling another 3000 miles to do the laying). I felt so many emotions – enormous amounts of love for her and all the time we spent together, sorrow for her passing, happiness for her being in a better place with no pain, etc. Most of all I felt the hard reality that she will never again surprise me with a phone call or a card in the mail. I miss her so.

I came back to the Northwest on July 13 and have been desperately trying to regain a sense of balance in our life. Treefrog and Fish have been so wonderful through this process – very patient and understanding as I have readjusted to being a full time mama. I think I can finally say we are back in the swing of things (two full weeks later). I mean, look at me! I’m finally posting!!

New SpringWidget

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Flying Home . . . Maybe

Things with my grandmother back east got a little hairy a couple days ago and so it became apparent to me that I needed to fly by to my hometown to help my mom care for my grandparents. Yesterday morning, I loaded up the kids, two bags, a backpack that weighed WAY too much, a stroller, and some dumb luck. I use this phrase 'dumb luck' not in its usual way, but to say that the luck I had? was dumb, because it was non-existent.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time. Stood in the llllloooonnnnnggg line patiently. Waited while the woman checking my bags went to get an agent and never. came. back. Finally got to security, shuffled to the "family line" where it takes twice as long (but, supposedly people aren't bitchy - uhhhh, apparently the woman behind me missed that memo). Then, two things happened that are, admittedly, insanely lucky: We went through security without a hitch AND our gate was the very! first! gate! Sadly, my friends, that is where the luck ends. . .

We got to our gate and waited. And waited. And waited. Oh, look! The plane is here. We just need to wait until they clean the plane, Treefrog, and then we'll be able to get on. What? What's that? Oh, the woman just said there is a bubble in the windshield of the plane (wtf?). It will take an hour and a half to fix. Hmmm, our connecting flight will probably not wait for us. Let's go stand in the line 40 people deep to the woman who is making all these announcements and has to keep leaving to take care of who knows what (again, wtf?). Yeah! It's our turn! We could fly half-way tonight and finish tomorrow? Um, no thank you to a hotel room tonight with kids by myself. Can I just fly out tomorrow? Yes? Okay. Same time, same place tomorrow, baby. We'll be back.

The end.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Heart's A-Flutter

Both figuratively and literally . . .

Ben just left with both! of! the! boys! to bring me a splendid little treat I call The Mocha from our favorite local coffee shop.

And, I've already had a cup of strong coffee today.

Mmmmmm, there can never be too much silence nor too much coffee.


Things I have been interested in lately/want to blog about:

* the adoption thing. It is like an ameba - slowly moving along leaving a trail of slime in its wake. I'm not sure how to go about the interviews I need to do, the will we need to make, and getting Fish's birth certificate. So many little amebas!

*our gorgeous garden. This amazing piece of our back yard that is doing it's own thing with just a bit of watering and weeding from us.

* my amazing family. The boys and the fun things that happen with them. Ben and the way he supports me. My grandmother's failing health. My mom's incredible strength. I am gaining such encouragement from the people in my life that fit into the family category.

* the race. Yep, one little blog post back in February mentioned it and now it is complete . . . 13.1 miles and I'm now hooked on running. I love it and can't wait for my next race (the Drop Top 10K in June).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Rainy Day

This morning Treefrog had three friends over (that is five kids in case you were counting!). We played upstairs for about an hour, had a snack, and then I realized that the boys (there were four of them altogether) needed to burn some energy. It was raining, but when isn't it in the Pacific Northwest? I gave up. We trudged out into the backyard, rain and all, and played outside with balloons. It began simply as a survival method what with the five kids in my small house. It ended as a fun time for all; muddy shoes, wet heads, and smiles all around.

A rainy day indeed.

Monday, May 12, 2008

An Explanation and A Story

The "about" section is changed for a while due to the fact that my darling husband doesn't really know how to work the blogosphere yet (luv you Ben!). Stay with me through the summer and my facts will return - promise.


Laying in bed this morning, snuggling with Treefrog, the following conversation took place as my t shirt scrunched up to reveal part of my stomach:

Treefrog: Mama, what's these? (pointing to my s*t*r*e*t*c*h* m*a*r*k*s*)

Me: Those are stretch marks from when you and Fish lived inside my belly.

T: Oh, I lub stripes Mama!

Me: (laughing) Me too, buddy, me too.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Study of Our Home

So, I haven't been around for a while, I know. There is just a little, big thing happening in our lives right now. We decided a few weeks ago to adopt a little guy from Russia. It has been a whirl wind experience and we are still only in the beginning stages. He is a fast tracked child since he was all ready to go according to the Russian government and the American family didn't want him. Today is our first interview (of three) for our home study. We have read two books, done an online course (20 chapters), completed a 15 page autobiography, paid bookoos of $$ for things like passports, birth certificates, police reports, etc., and we the list goes on.

Today? Well, today I am cleaning like a maniac and hoping for an okay state of mind by the time the social worker gets here!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Because He is still Sick and I want to Blog

Treefrog is on his second video since he woke up an hour ago. We had a snack in between, but other than that we've planted our butts in front of the tubes. Oh yeah, this is a good day;)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

February's Top Ten

Thanks to SouleMama I am sitting home from church today (Fish is sick with so much snot in his head the poor little dude can barely breathe) and contemplating what I am grateful for today. Here goes:

1) This time to myself today - it's been a long month and a half with Ben working so much these past few weeks. We are looking forward to our "normal" schedule returning this month!

2) Valentine's Day - this is the first year we have talked about it with Treefrog. He still doesn't get it (I'm not sure we get it since it isn't something hugely important to Ben and I), but we made a fun heart garland to hand in our dining room and he was incredibly happy to have made it.

3) Sunshine - we have noted on a daily basis this month how much longer our lovely sun is sticking around. Oh, the joys of living in the Northwest and actually seeing the sun at this time of year! What a gift!!

4) Our fancy dinner for the teen parents - our family works with teen parents every other Wednesday. Last Wednesday we were able to take them to a very nice house and serve them an amazing meal while their kiddos had a picnic dinner and played upstairs in the playroom. What a wonderful time to show the parents love for them and their children!

5) Amazing friends - E and J (two of my bestest buds) have been so awesome to hang with lately.

6) Training for a Half - J and I are are training for a half-marathon. It has been incredibly fun working alongside J. Both of our families have had to be super flexible, knowing that they will continue to need to be flexible as we are only on the 4 mile runs and will be soon running 10 miles on Saturdays.

7) Treefrog and Fish – my amazing boys, growing so rapidly, and learning so aptly how to be kind to one another and others.

8) Wine and Gilmore Girls – My evening last night with Ben, my amazing, loving partner in life.

9) Coffee or Naps (on the best day, both!) – the things that keep me going when I am sleep deprived and the sun is refusing to come out to play.

10) Time – time to enjoy my family, time to read, time to write, time to be. Time is an amazing gift.

I hope to hang on to these (and the many other) joys that I notice. May your days be filled with unexpected joys as well as expected ones.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Walking Home from Dinner

For the most part, we consume each lunch and dinner in the cafeteria on campus. This is partly due to the fact that the manager of the cafeteria believes in working with college students, being an example and present in their lives, to help guide them in making good choices (e.g. not throwing one's food, not playing "fork the apple" - a highly competitive game in which an apple is tossed onto a fork and then tossed again with the fork stuck in it, repeating as many times as there are forks at the table).

All that to say, we are out in the dark at this time of year quite a bit since we are walking home from dinner. Each night, Treefrog notices the moon. Or, to be more specific, Mr. Moon. I'm not quite sure why he is male, but it seems that almost every thing that is personified in this house becomes male . . . maybe I should have a daughter . . . Anywho, a conversation from last night:

Treefrog: Hey there's Mr. Moon!

Me: Yea! Isn't he pretty tonight?

"Oh, yea. I lub Mr. Moon!"

"Me too, buddy."

"Yea, yea, yea. Mr. Moon is my favorite."

"Why is Mr. Moon your favorite, Treefrog?"

"Because Mr. Moon is my favorite, Mr. Moon is my favorite" (I wish I could play a record of how is stated this line. The first part of the sentence was very matter of fact while the second half was said in a sing-song voice.)

I love my boys!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Smells like Peanut Butter

Mmmmmm. Doesn't that sound good? No? Well, then, you must be me.

Treefrog decided to do some acrobatics off the dining room chair at today's lunch. We were dining ever so elegantly on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I believe Fish had pureed turkey and green beans - yum). The next thing I knew, Treefrog had somehow managed to flip himself and his pb&j off the chair. He cried heartily, I think mainly because he was scared, and so I held him for a while. Once the crisis was over and we returned to our lunches, I glanced down at my t-shirt to see it covered in peanut butter and strawberry jam.

I'm just glad that no one was seriously injured. Well, except for the gray t-shirt.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What. The. Hell.

The fever is back! I was up most of last night with terrible heartburn/stomach ache/acidy feeling in the pit of my stomach (great description, eh?). Now, I'm trying to survive with movies, breastfeeding Fish out the wazoo and sitting in this chair.

Lord help me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ahhh, I didn't think it would happen

Treefrog has been with his grandparents for the past two nights (allowing me a little time to try to recover from a fever that seemed like it would never end - THREE DAMN DAYS PEOPLE!). Fish is recovering from being totally abandoned by my breast for those three days and is super clingy. So, imagine my surprise when I got both children to sleep at the same time!!!!!!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Walking Lightly . . . on egg shells

So the big trend now that I am seeing on the Internet is the concepts of Going Green. I capitalize because it fits. My life has been centered on GG for years now (isn’t everyone saying that?!). While struggling to find my identity in college I lived with a family that first introduced the concepts of reducing, reusing, and recycling to me. Coming from an affluent family back east, we never worried about what we were using or how it impacted the world around us. All those plastic bottles in the trash, chemicals used in abundance, buying new things, etc. None of it was given a second thought. The family I came to adopt as my own changed my world (and ultimately my husband’s too!). I slowly began to learn what numbers on the bottom of the plastic containers could be recycled. I began sewing (a trade that I still struggle with) and repurposing many things. Overtime I began to look at everything and ask questions about reducing, reusing, and/or recycling. My parents, while they LOVED the family that I lived with, thought I had lost my mind.

I have a tendency to throw myself full force into causes that I strongly believe in. Ben may describe this tendency a little differently, using a word like obsession. This tendency lends itself to consuming my every being. In this instance, Going Green, I have been renewed by all of the Internet’s excitement and blogger’s postings. My zeal is back! A community of sorts that has a TON of fabulous ideas that I can begin implementing RIGHT NOW! No need to wait – let’s jump in headfirst and make a change TODAY!!! (Does the capitalization and all the exclamation marks help to show you just how excited I am with GG?) A couple of examples from this last week: Let’s start using the kids’ bath water to do a load of laundry – we’ll simply take a bucket into the bathroom and haul the water to the laundry room. Our microwave is going bad; let’s just go without one! I want a rain barrel. We need to start composting. Can we recycle these _______ (fill in the blank – baby food jars, friend’s huge-ass box, scraps of fabric, cut pieces of twine, etc, etc)? Yes, that is just a few of my examples;)

While some of these things are wonderful and we have begun implementing them (namely the composting and rain barrel), I truly appreciate Ben. He keeps me grounded and helps me think through what is practical for our family. While GG isn’t always about being practical, some changes do take effort and sacrifice, it is about incorporating lifestyle choices that you can maintain. I appreciate Ben’s constant reminders in this regard, as well as his amazing support of my (sometimes wacky) ideas.

I Did Not Die

So, here I am. No I didn't die, I just when under the radar for a while. Christmas was really overwhelming - we spent two weeks in a single wide trailer (or is it "mobile home" now?) with my grandparents and mom. But we survived. I'm back. And I have this post and one! more! that I'm going to share with you today. You certainly are privileged on this day of my return!!