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!