Friday, November 25, 2011

brooke does black friday take one

13 year old Brooke has watched me "do" Black Friday almost every November.  This year she thought she would give it a go.  I would have loved to have initiated her but being almost 33 weeks into a pregnancy my body is way too old for, I had already decided to sit this one out.  So Kevin took her. But from the story he told after falling into bed at 3am early this morning, she could still use some schooling.
Last weekend we worked the church nursery together and I had asked her if she had a plan.  What doorbusters did she want?  What stores did she want to shop at?  I downloaded an app that had all the sales.  She could search by store or category.  She seemed bored after just a few minutes of paging through it. 
So Thanksgiving Day came and there was still no plan.  We picked up a friend of hers around 6pm that was tagging along.  When pressed by dear hubby for a plan, the girls said they would like to go to the mall and it was opening at midnight.  The van left about 11:30 with...SURPRISE...Luke in tow. 
Kevin and Luke walked the entire mall at least twice.  In that time Brooke succeeded in getting in line at Wet Seal to purchase a dress that she had not tried on and it was NOT on sale.  That turned out to be the extent of her Black Friday purchases.  As I type this, Kevin is back at the mall with her to return it because it is see through and on second thought maybe not even a dress after all.

*Update. Turns out, purchases from Wet Seal are non-refundable. You may return for store credit only. I think she may have cried. Next year will be better. I will start resting up NOW!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

see george grow

It's been a long time since I've posted.  Right now we're in the middle of shaking up the room assignments on the second floor.  In order for Nathan to repaint the big room, I had to take down the foam penguin growth chart I bought for George last time we were in Atlantic City.

I'm know my faults.  And one is that I am horrible when it comes to documenting.  Baby books, scrapbooks, growth charts...sit around and mock all my good intentions.

So this foam penquin only ended up with two total marks.  It left more marks on the drywall when I ripped it off.

And now, what you've been waiting for:

George 9-11-2010   44 3/4 inches tall
George 4-21-2011   47 1/2 inches tall

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

muffins for breakfast

Last night I was once again cursing my Pampered Chef mini muffin tin.  I made chocolate brownies in it and once again they were sticking like glue in the cups.  Every time I cook anything in it it sticks inside.  It doesn't matter what type of prep I do for the cups.  Today it's going in the recycling bin.

So I left the pan on the table to deal with in the morning.

George let me sleep in today and thoroughly enjoyed the brown "muffins" for breakfast.  :) 


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Memorable Quote

"I play house in the night and all my animals are bad but dragon.  I spank them.  Except for pig.  I give pig a pinch because he's too fat to spank."

Jacob William March 1, 2005

(I came across this quote on a loose piece of paper in the junk drawer.  From a boy of few words.  I felt it needed a place of more permanence.  I love his sense of humor and huge imagination.  He will make an awesome video game designer if that's what he still wants to do when he grows up.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

what's in YOUR spf?

For the most part I didn't use any sunscreen last summer because I end up with an intense blistering reaction about 24 hours after applying it.  The big floppy hat/long sleeved white cotton shirt combo was working just fine.

But then I happened upon the sunscreen guide published by the Environmental Working Group.  EWG describes this guide as an "in-depth analysis of the safety and effectiveness of more than 700 name-brand sunscreens. The new database lists products that offer the best combination of safety and effectiveness: they are formulated with the safest chemicals, are most effective at protecting against sunburn, and help prevent long-term damage caused by the sun’s UVA rays, which are linked to skin aging, wrinkling and, potentially, cancer."

Lots of urging from my yoga teacher friend Jen convinced me I needed to give it one last shot of finding a brand that would work. I selected two that were awarded a "one" from EWG's list that were not astronomically expensive and were somewhat readily available: Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block and Badger Baby Sunscreen.

I picked up the Aveeno Baby at Drug Mart on a BOGO 1/2 off sale. About $15 for two. It went on easy enough, didn't discolor any clothing or take the logo off my water bottle, and best of all....NO REACTION. I am one happy camper.  (p.s. they make it in a face stick too!)

A few days later the Bager Baby arrived from Amazon. About $14 a tube. If you can get past the terrible smell, is extremely thick and hard to apply. The active ingredient is 18.75% zinc oxide. Hmmmm, now wonder it reminded me of Desitin. At least it didn't give me a reaction. I will keep it on hand for a backup. Maybe the kids won't want to ride in my car if I use it. ;)


                       

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

now that's scary?!?

orphan red potato with a few eyes
Children's responses to finding this in the snack cabinet:

"The no. 1 nastiest thing I've seen in my entire life."
"I won't sleep knowing that thing is in my house."
"Throw it over the hill."
"Take it to the curb."
"I knifed it."
"Now I will have a nightmare."

All this nonsense over a vegetable from teenagers who can watch horror movies and laugh about it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

graduated!

 
Em with Nan and Pop.

Last Friday Emma received an Honors Diploma from Midview High School. I didn't cry but her aunt did. I was doubly glad I had snuck her in without a ticket. Blended families should get double the tickets. ;)

Under her gown she wore a beautiful white cotton dress from ICE. It was a lined and had an embroidered eyelet pattern. We picked it out together about a week ago and then shared Chipotle to celebrate. The dress fit her personality perfectly and matched her white leather peace sign thong sandals.

It looks way nicer on Em.  I'll fix this later.


Now to get ready for the party.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

that went fast

I can't believe George's year in preschool is done.

Yesterday we celebrated at the school with a family picnic.  There were about 500 hot dogs on the buffet alongside various trays of fruit, pasta salads, chips, popcorn, and desserts.  Miss Tori made a slide show with the highlights of the past year in the Yellow Room.  She is excited for her summer break but you could tell she's become attached to her students.

Today was the big zoo field trip.  Each student needed at least one adult chaperone.  We met up in the ticketing area at 9:30am and entered the zoo as a group.  George quickly hooked up with his favorite playmates Zion and Evan.  We all saw the brand new multimillion dollar elephant enclosure.  The elephants were inside the building though. 

After the elephants we hopped the tram and rode up to the sharks (and the rest of the primates and aquatic life but the only thing the boys wanted to see was the sharks.)   We were all more than ready to meet up with the rest of the group for lunch when we were done with the sharks.  All the boys opted for McDonald's. 

We had enough time after lunch to see the rhinos, monkey island, the giraffes, the butterfly garden, all the bears and a few other miscellaneous animals.  I have to say my favorite part was the naked mole rat exhibit in the elephant building.  George claims he doesn't remember enough to pick a favorite.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

s.o.s. (#$@& on a shingle)


A surprisingly family friendly recipe. You may know by it's not so colorful pseudonym: chipped beef with peas on toast.

The firehouse always looked forward to my grandpa's turn as chef. This was one of his favorite things to make. It seems so simple. Dump everything in a pot and warm it up. Spoon it over buttered toast.

He was always very careful about it.

Ingredients:

Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Undiluted. (yes you can substitute the inferior brands but the color of the Campbell's is usually superior. The off brands can be kind of brown.)
Green Giant Sweet Peas and Pearl Onions (Used to be able to find this easily in the canned veggies section. Now I only find it boxed in the frozen section. You can just use sweet peas and leave the onions out. Cocktail onions from the pickle section are NOT the same thing.)
Carl Budding Beef In the hot dog section.

Dump all in a pot. Slice beef in strips or dice. Add milk slowly to desired consistency. Heat through. Spoon over buttered toast.

Friday, May 13, 2011

letters from george


Yesterday George brought the mail in before leaving for school. He sorted through the stack eagerly in search of something for himself. When he got to the bottom he got a confused upset look on his face.

"Why didn't she take this?" he asked me. I looked at the envelope he was holding. It was a white business sized envelope with carefully crafted preschool script across the front in red marker: p-o-p-p-y

That was it. No stamp. No return address label. No other information about the recipient.

While I was thinking of how to respond George had an Aha! moment.

"I know why! I forgot to put the red flag up!"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Firemen are my heros.

My favorite grandparent was a member of the FDNY so I've always had a huge amount of respect and admiration for firemen everywhere. Now, thanks to North Ridgeville's Finest, George does not have to go through life with an ice scraper as an appendage.


I was driving from David's Bridal to Elyria to pick up my good friend Mich for lunch at Chipotle. It was sunny, I was on time, AND we had a FREE coupon! Life was good. Then I hear panic from the back seat.

I have become very good at deciphering the various noises George makes. The various whines, groans, cries, gasps, sighs, and screams that mean different things based on their intensity and frequency level. Usually they mean nothing serious. This time I knew it was something.

I pulled over w-a-y onto the berm of the highway and turned around. His middle finger was stuck through the eye of the ice scraper handle and the digit had already swelled much beyond normal. He may have pushed that finger in but there was no way it was coming out.

I got him calmed down and proceeded to the nearest fire station. It helped that the first thing we saw when we got there was the familiar face of the head of the high school drama boosters. She reassured us that this happens all the time (not to anyone I know!) and got a paramedic to help poor George.


They sawed the ice scraper off then gave the boy a complimentary tour of the fire station. Thanks, guys!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

bridesmaid adventures part two

My invitation to the wedding shower I am helping to host arrived in the mail last weekend.  We got word from the matron of HONOR (i.e. head bridesmaid) that 105 invites went out.  Yes, you read that correctly. 

one.  hundred.  and.  five.

Not at all the "intimate gathering of the bride's closest friends and relatives" Miss Manner's suggests. 

One other bridesmaid and I are in charge of favors. 

Since the wedding is a beach theme, we wanted to do a message in a bottle favor.  A small plastic bottle with a rolled up paper in it with the happy couple's names and wedding date.  We were going to toss in a few small shells and a teaspoon of sand.

Now we are doing jordan almonds wrapped in tulle.  And I'm thankful I'm not in charge of the food.  How would I ever be able to afford my lovely strapless pool colored dress if I was?  And the Spanx I need to hold my assets in?

Monday, April 18, 2011

radical change

When we first met, Kevin was unemployed and substitute teaching to help make ends meet.  (hmmm, help bring ends less than a mile apart is more accurate.)  His unemployment did not last long and he's been very gainfully employed with the same Fortune 500 company ever since. 

We were still only dating hanging out (remember ends were a mile apart so we didn't actually get to "date" much in the traditional sense) when he first wistfully made mention of the fact that he could never make teaching work as a career because of the low pay.  Another person may not have even noticed this passing comment, but for some reason it was one that stuck with me.

So when he mentioned the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship to me last November, I did not automatically collapse in a frantic heap of sobbing worrying mess.  I knew back then that I would eventually be married to a teacher($) and NOT a senior systems analyst($$$$).  I just figured it would be more of a retirement pursuit for him and not a midlife course correction.

I did have a lot of trepidation.  We have SEVEN living children.  Only the first of which is starting college this fall.  But God had prepared my heart with David Platt's Radical and the Adventure of Greatness our life group had just completed.  This was a 7 week study on using our gifts and talents to serve others.  That is where you find greatness...  when your life's work is serving other people.

The fellowship seeks midlife career professionals in science and technology fields to retrain as high school teachers.  Applicants must commit to teach at least 3 years in high need urban schools.  It is the aim of the program for these teachers to bring knowledge and hope where it is needed most.  John Carroll's mission statement, vision and core values make it the perfect partner school for the fellowship.

Through my anxiety, I encouraged him to apply.  A few days later a good friend told me she had just read an article that said there were already over 700 applications for only 20 spots and that was only the beginning.  I won't lie.  I breathed a small sigh of relief.  Maybe this really wasn't something that God was calling him to now.  That much change with the loss of our daughter so recent seemed almost insurmountable to me. 

Then we received news he made it through the first round and was selected for the interview process.  He spent a vacation day down at John Carroll interviewing with the committee members and teaching a sample lesson.  After that, it was just a waiting game.  He was told he would have an answer sometime in April.

Saturday morning the envelope came.  In his words it was, "too big to be a rejection letter." 

John Carroll here we come.  Go Blue Streaks!

I have no idea how we will make it through the next year without his income.  But my husband is an awesome hardworking resourceful guy and we serve a BIG HUGE GOD.  Pray for us as we begin this new chapter of our lives.

Pray for wisdom, discernment and clarity as we decide how to best manage our household during this time of transition.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

carpool lane

I will very highly recommend my son's school to anyone willing to listen.  I love that they have master degreed teachers in every room.  I love that the ratio in his room is 1:5.  I love that they use technology like ipads to encourage the kids to go as far as they can.  I love that he is exposed to kids that are differently abled.  I love that one of the teachers brought in some baby ducks to share with the classrooms.  I love that they provide 5 day a week 3 hour a day play based learning experiences for the whole county on a sliding tuition scale.  I love that he walked in today to meet a butterfly newly emerged from her chrysalis.  I love the huge indoor gym and the bikes.

I do NOT love the carpool line.

I try to have patience.  I realize after participating in at least 6 different carpool lanes at schools in 2 different states that I have a lot more experience than some of the other moms.

The parent handbook attempts to make it very clear.

The note the head administrator sent home at the end of the first quarter made it even clearer.

They still don't listen.  So maybe we should spell out exactly what the carpool line is NOT for.

It is NOT for cornering your child's teacher just because it happens to be her day to help with carpool for a quick conference on how Johnny has been doing.  Believe it or not the teacher really isn't interested.  She's had a long day and is anxious to get her room closed up and home to her own family.  Shoot her a quick email or leave a voice mail and she will get back to you.  When it is convenient for you both.

It is NOT for chasing your kid down to wipe down his face or fix her hair.  If you can't take care of this one at home just let it go.  Preschoolers can get grimy.  And they aren't all that concerned with their appearances.  Teachers know this.

It is NOT for placing your car in park to make multiple trips into the building to unload classroom supplies. 

It is NOT for long conversations with your child about his day as you buckle him into the seat.  But be sure to get around to that.

It is NOT for rearranging items in your car.  If this is something you have a problem with, you are not going to be able to fix it in a few minutes a day.

It is NOT the place to get distracted talking on your cellphone or working a sudoku.  Especially when your bumper sticker says, "hang up and drive."

It is NOT for adding oil, windshield wiper fluid or other substances to your car.  Yes, I've actually seen this one.

Now that we got those NOTs out of the way, please place your child's booster or car seat in the most convenient position for the aides who are there to assist him in and out of the car.  Today, let them do their jobs and we'll ALL get home sooner.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

bubble fun

Blowing bubbles is one of our favorite things to do so I bought 3 of these No-Spill Bubble Tumbler Minis at Walmart.  I wasn't expecting too much because they were only about $2 each.  I am so happy to say I was very pleasantly surprised.  They are the perfect size and shape for little hands.  The circle that you blow through is small.  It makes is so easy for even toddlers to blow lots of bubbles successfully. 

Lots of things can say no spill but they aren't.  This bubble tumbler can be tipped over, dropped, even turn it upside down, and at the most only a tiny splash leaks out.   

This would be a nice addition to your wee one's Easter basket.  It's won multiple awards including Oppenheim Toy Portfolio's Gold Seal, Parent's Choice Classic, and National Parenting Publication Gold Award!

Monday, April 4, 2011

praising God today

for His provision of five, YES FIVE!!!, new pint sized clients,


for the MANY material blessings we have so recently received:  24 Regal Cinema passes, MTD trimmer NIB, the very successful sale of an Edison Phonograph, $50 Amazon gift certificate, fancy running shoes gift certificate,

for the everyday encouragement from people and bloggers in my life to help me to be a better wife and mom,

for the opportunity yesterday to cuddle with a precious newborn girl in the infant nursery with ZERO grieving in my heart,

for a teenager who would sincerely and excitedly say to me:  "Isn't tithing GREAT!",


but most of all for the opportunity to have a relationship with Him! 

Do you know Him?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

nemo grille at alten house, avon ohio

Kevin was called off of his Pizza Hut delivery job last Monday so after a quick phone call to procure babysitting services for the boys, we enjoyed an impromptu date night.

When we were blessed with Macy, Kevin received a bonus gift certificate to restaurants.com when he bought me a bunch of stuff at Motherhood Maternity.  We redeemed it online for Nemo Grille in Avon shortly afterward but just now got the opportunity to use it.

I had the 16oz. rib eye with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus.  The steak was done to perfection.  I paired that with one glass on Pinot Noir and left the potatoes on the plate.  Between the second helping of asparagus I got from Kevin (non veg eater) and the 4 servings of beef on my plate, I didn't want the potatoes.  They did come with a paper thin waffle like fried potato sculpture protruding from them.  That was kind of neat.  Kevin opted for the New York strip and had no complaints about either the steak or the garlic mashed potatoes (though he did refuse mine.)

Nemo Grille is housed in a century old home.  We were in "our" room alone until a young couple and their child came in shortly before we left.  The service was terrific, the atmosphere is great and we would definitely go back.  It is a bit pricey so bring a coupon from restaurants.com if you decide to give it a try.  20% gratuity is added to your check when you use a coupon but if your service is anything like ours, leave a bit more.  Servers work hard for their money.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

nathan's 14th

The bouncing baby boy I was blessed with so many years ago is now a gangly teenager.  He celebrated his 14th birthday on Tuesday with Chicken Paprikash, and Red Velvet Cake.  He ended up in bed shortly afterward with THE virus that has knocked out at least 50 kids in his school.

High fever, stomach ache, head ache.

He is now claiming that the only cure is homemade Shamrock Shakes chased with Reese Cups.   Hmmmmm, sounds like he may be on the mend?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the jesus storybook bible

I bought this Bible for George on the recommendation of Angie Smith.  I knew it would be good....but WOW! 

What I love most is the foreshadowing at the end of each and every Old Testament story.  Basically saying that God had fixed this situation for now but...one day he will fix it for good and forever. 

An example from the story of David and Goliath (George's favorite):  "David was a Hero!  Many years later, God would send his people another young Hero to fight for them.  And to save them.  But this Hero would fight the greatest battle the world has ever known."

All that building up of excitement as you read the well known stories of David, Jonah, Daniel and others will have you and your child just about bursting for joy when Jesus makes his debut on page 176 in "He's here!"   I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this for your favorite little pre-Christians.  :)

more george quotes

To Emma about her shimmery pink prom dress.  "That's a beautiful dress.  Is it for your wedding?"

On the labels stuck on the piano keys.  "We should put these letters in order."

"Macy is the quietest person in our family."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Explore: Carlisle Reservation Visitor Center

Children's Nature Space at Carlisle Reservation, Carlisle Visitor Center, 12882 Diagonal Rd., LaGrange.


Climb and crawl while you learn about dinosaurs. Conduct a puppet show, crawl through the tunnels and color dino pictures. The Children's Nature Space is a great place to have fun while learning dinosaurs and more. Open 8 - 4:30 Daily.

Monday, March 14, 2011

give to ceasar

Tax time is a pain in my big behind.  I love having a family childcare but going through the zillions of receipts from 2010 and having to figure out what everything was and what percent of it is tax deductible is enough to DRIVE ME INSANE.

Would you remember what a TB NORTH 5M is 11 months later?  I sure don't but I bought 2 at Walmart for $12.50 a piece.  What about an EQUATE MPS??  You get the picture.

Taxes really shouldn't take 2 months to complete. 

I think George is starting to hate them too.  Too often lately the answer to "Mommy can you play me at this?" is "Not right now George I really need to get these taxes done."

I realize I should sit down every month and do it as I go but it just hasn't happened yet.  Pictures of George with his immortal rats are coming soon....

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday George!

5 years ago our graceful merciful God blessed us with a baby boy.  George is a delight to our entire family and loved by all who know him.

He turned 5 today and celebrated with a group of his friends.  Damon, Diana, Auntie, Jadon, Aubree, Maddie, Lydia and Rayle were all invited.  Rayle was contagious with strep throat so he stayed home. (Thank you Denise!)

The kids all enjoyed a hot dog bar.  The toppings included: chili, cheese, ketchup, mustard, and onions.  Chips and dip were served on the side. (Thank you Amy!)

George got Lego Creator toys, a bubble gun, a over sized inflatable fabric covered soccer ball, Kung Zhu, Zhu Zhu pet with accessories, and a Mario backpack with wheels.  He had an awesome time and is very thankful for all of his friends and family.

Mom and Dad got him a Nintendo DS Lite and big sister Emma blessed him with a Kung Zhu game for it.

His birthday restaurant for his family lunch was CiCi's pizza.  I think he prefers winning High School Musical toys in the grab game to the pizza but it's his choice so even though it was the second time in a row, we went.

Happy Birthday George!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

the stupid hamsters have won

George will be turning 5 on Thursday and his love affair with Kung Zhu continues.  All he wants for his birthday is Kung Zhu.  I'm throwing in the towel and letting the rats invade.  :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

restaurant week

I met Kevin for lunch downtown today to take part in Downtown Cleveland's 4th Annual Restaurant Week.  I had a blankety-blank of a time finding parking.  Had to circle the entire self-park area twice before finding a spot(later Kevin informed me it was probably due to Obama speaking at the Wolstien Center.) 

After viewing the special restaurant week lunch menus online we selected the Greenhouse Tavern.  It was a short chilly walk from his office.  Even though we didn't have reservations we were slightly ahead of the lunch crowd so we were seated immediately.   The server took a lot of time explaining all the specials to us.  He wasn't quite thorough enough though.  We are the antithesis of foodies so we were left wondering about more than a couple of the items he described.  Cornichons, mignonette sauce, lardo, and fromage blanc were among the items we were ignorant of.

From it's description, I knew I wanted to try the fried Brussels sprout soup but wasn't sure how far to push the envelope.  I was going to opt for the burger but Kevin encouraged me to be brave so I ordered the Pâté Melt Sandwich w/ caramelized onions, two year cheddar & pâté maison.  I'm still not really sure what it was that I ate, and likely don't want to know.  It was quite tasty.  Somehow I already knew the pomme frites it came with were fried potatoes.  They were hair thin potato strands that took too much effort to eat.  Now that I think about it, maybe I was supposed to use my fork.

Kevin was VERY adventurous and went with the special.  House made ravioli stuffed with lardo, goat cheese, and apples.  The server just described the sauce it came in as "sweet and sour."  When his plate arrived I was surprised at the small size of the serving.  And the fact that it looked like it was garnished in tiny cubes of beets.  After a quick taste I confirmed to him that they were in fact beets so he worked his way around them.  He was so generous and let me taste one of the tiny pillows of deliciousness.  The lardo, goat cheese, apple combo was yummy.  The pasta dough was so thin and done to perfection. 
Our meal ended with ONE vegan chocolate chip cookie the size of a quarter.  He got one bite.  I got a bite and a half.  Yum!

This was a very fun lunch.  Once in a blue moon, there is nothing wrong with eating someplace where you have to google the ingredients before you order but I'm not making a habit of it.

I made sure there was a substanial dinner waiting for hubby.  With all the running he does he needs a ton of calories.

Monday, February 21, 2011

date night

Saturday night for the first time in a long time we had no day care, AND no life group.  Kevin and I took advantage of it by sneaking out for our February date.  He probably would have preferred his alternate suggestion of RamonesMania but being the true gentleman that he is, he left the choice up to me so we saw The King's Speech at the Regal Cinema.

This was a fascinating portrayal of King George VI and how he overcame his stammering to lead the people of Great Britain into WWII.  I love well made historical films of all types but especially those from the modern era. 

And it certainly didn't hurt that Colin Firth was the lead.  ;)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

jacob's 12th birthday dinner

Jacob turned 12 last December but just got his birthday dinner two weeks ago.  He chose CiCi's Pizza Buffet.  I was excited because we finally had coupons!  Buy one adult buffet with a drink and get one free. 

But then I read the fine print and it said "Carry Out Only."  How do you carry out a buffet?  The cashier cleared it up for me when I presented the coupons before we paid.  "It's a misprint." 

I had looked up their menu online and discovered that I could have 4 slices of Veggie Italiano for only 10 points(yes I'm doing Weight Watchers again.)  It was delicious and satisfying.  The kids enjoyed lots of helpings of the Macaroni and Cheese Pizza, always their favorite.  And thanks to Kevin's pocketful of quarters, they also got to enjoy the game room.

The only thing missing was Emma.  She had to miss once again because she was working.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

OM-a will do just fine, thank you

Recently I was mistaken ONCE again for George's grandmother.  While I realize I am technically old enough to be one, especially at the young age some kids are having kids these days, I am still not ready for that title.

The Faster Times newsletter I subscribe to had an article on what a great opportunity it is to choose your own grandmother name.  The article pointed out a handy online quiz you could take to help out. 

So...the results from my grandmother name test.  Just in case I don't remember where to find it when the time comes.

You're a bit of a hippie, interested in preserving the earth and living naturally. Your taste tends toward the arty and bohemian, and no one, not even your grandchildren, knows exactly what you will decide to do next. Because you have such a global perspective, you may want to choose a grandmother name from another culture, such as the German Oma, Italian Nonna, the Hawaiian Tutu or the French Grandmere. Alternatively you may want to create your own grandmother name from whole cloth. Whatever name you end up with, it will be individualistic, and it will suit you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

guess who?

I always thought I knew how to play this game.  I felt confident teaching the kids how to narrow down the options by asking obvious questions like "Do you have facial hair?"  "Are you a girl?" and "Do you have a hat?".

Well this morning George has beaten me three times in a row by asking inane things like "Are your eyes red?" and "Do you have eyebrows?"  It may have helped that he didn't realize that when I asked "Do you have red hair?" I meant even the guys with just a few tufts of hair above the ears.


It was then I suggested we take a break and make some cupcake tin crayons for the daycare baby.  Find instructions here: Recycled Chunky Crayons

Sunday, February 6, 2011

jesus and his headache

Jordan is a 3 year old girl I have been caring for over a year.  She comes to church with me on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.  Her mom sent me a text a while back that she had named her doll that she got for Christmas "Baby Jesus" and has been singing "Yes Jesus Loves Me" to him at night.  I am grateful to the servants in our Children's Ministy programs who have taught her a lot of this.

I have a baby Jesus in a manger on the window sill above my kitchen sink.  He stays there year round.  Last week, Jordan was studying him thoughtfully as she sat on the kitchen counter.  That is her favorite place when I am preparing dinner.

I tossed  the whole wheat rotini into the boiling salted water and heard her ask, "Why's he sleepin'?"  I told her it was because he was tired.  That he knew he had a big job ahead of him and needed all the rest he could get.  It was then she decided that he had a headache.  I agreed that with a job as big as the one he had, he definately might have.

I've tried to keep that in mind.  The headaches I get from the stress of parenting and day care are nothing compared to what made him sweat drops of blood the night before his death.  And he has given me these challenges because he knows I can handle them.

His grace will be enough.

Our church is embarking on a series called "The Adventure of Trust".  It is all about learning to be a good steward of the things God has placed in our care.  I'm looking forward to learning how to work harder at being a better parent and provider to the children he has placed in my care.

His grace will be enough.

Friday, January 28, 2011

the pit

(An old pastor of mine used this story at least twice that I know of.  I couldn't find it exactly the way he read it and have no idea who this is originally from but I love it.)

There was a man who fell into a very deep pit. 


A Hindu said, “You deserve to end up in a pit for your past life.” 
Confucius said, “If you had listened to me, you would not be in a pit.” 
A Christian scientist said to the man, “You only think you’re in a pit.”
Buddha said, “Your pit is only a state-of-mind.” 
A geologist said, “Appreciate the rock strata of the pit.” 
An evolutionist said, “You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle, which means you will die in that pit without producing any pit falling offspring.” 
A construction inspector came by and said, “Brother, you got a permit for that pit?” 
A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything ‘til you’ve seen my pit.” 
A positive confessor said, “Just say this over and over again:  ‘I am not in a pit.  I am not in a pit.’” 
An optimist said, “Things could be worse.” 
A pessimist said, “Things will get worse.” 

A follower of Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

date night

Tuesday Kevin and I went to see Ride the Divide. This is a captivating film about an underground race down the continental divide. The race begins in Bnaff, Canada and ends at the Mexican border about 3 weeks later. There is no support provided. You bring or purchase along the route everything you will need. Many nights are spent alone in the wilderness in the sleeping bag that you have carried on your bicycle. The racers encounter many bears along the route. Not my cup of tea but the movie was unforgettable.

On the way to the movie we grabbed a quick bite to eat at The Hot Dog Inn. A very interesting place, if you have never been there I advise you to check it out. I recommend one hot dog with everything and some FRIES!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

dancing in the minefields



"I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin

'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

'Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you

Friday, January 21, 2011

a visit from classic infulenza, type unknown

Poor Jacob has not left his bed since Monday.  He has been running a constant temperature from 101-103.  The strep culture came back negitive and since all the other symptoms of classic flu are there, that's what we're calling it.

In between the times when he is moaning for tea or more Ibuprophen, he has watched almost the entire first 2 seasons of "The A-Team" on my iTouch Netflix app.

I've been hearing people for years say, "I was out with the 24 hour flu," or "I had a touch of the flu." HA!  I am not sure what virus they had but it wasn't this!  Real ful symptoms lasts 7-10 days and comes with a high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, cough,  sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and body aches (in Jake's case he can not lift his arms they hurt so bad.)  Vomiting and diarrhea don't even need to be present but is more likely found in children than adults.

No one in my house has ever had this before.  Now I understand how so many people die from this. 

Wash your hands, people!  It's flu season.  YUCK.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

open arms

My favorite long sleeved mustard colored Gap tee is now decorated with Glidden (Another Paint Co. That Is NOT Sherwin Williams How Dare They ;) "Sherwin Williams Festival Green SW 6923."

In early June our church announced the undertaking of a major project.  The reorganization, demolition, and construction project was named "Open Arms".  The sermon introducing it was based on the "let the little children come unto me" verses.  It was the last one we heard before Macy's death.  :(  Don't miss the painful irony of those last two sentances.

This is an undertaking of MAJOR proportions.  Basically we are changing the way space in our building is used.  We used to use the school classrooms for our children's ministry spaces.  This made a lot of sense but it didn't give the church kids any of their "own" space.  The new space is going to be spectacular.  All the rooms have their own themes.  There will be big bold color and eye catching features all around.  All designed to make it welcoming and fun.

It is a great deal of work.  A HUGE deal of work.  Done mostly by volunteers.

In addition to giving financial support, over the summer our life group cooked for the volunteers.  Until now that has been the extent of my own involvement.  Last month when the children and volunteers were invited to put their own painted handprints up to decorate the entrance hallway to the new space, they had a list available of many little mini projects.  I decided to take ownership of the trim in the rainforest room. 

Yesterday, while George was at school, was my first day on the job.  It might take a month of a few hours here and there but I'll get it done.  And if Jesus doesn't come back for us soon, my prayer while I paint is that kids will be getting to know Him in that room long after I'm gone.

And that is how my favorite Gap tee became adorned with an inferior paint company's version of Festival Green.  I don't even really mind because my treasures are in heaven, not in my closet.

Monday, January 17, 2011

bridesmaid adventures part one

A close friend who is dear to my heart has finally found her groom.  On Yahoo Personals of all places.   Same place I met mine.  :)

Today I completed the first of my bridesmaid's duties by helping her find a dress.  This is my first serious experience as a bridesmaid and I'm kind of getting excited about it. 

I spent the better part of the day in David's Bridal Salon lacing her into layers and layers of silk, tulle, taffeta, and chiffon.  I still don't feel confident I have the lacing job down pat.  You wouldn't think it's so hard getting the ribbons to lie flat.  After a day of working at it, I would only give myself a solid "B-".  Either she hires Holly, her David's consultant, to come lace her up on the big day or I have to put in a bit more practice.

Holly suggested we initially bring 3 dresses into the room with us.  Dress number two was a serious contender but the store only stocked it in white.  Kathy wanted off-white. 

Then as she stepped out of the dressing room in dress number three her eyes popped and her mouth fell open on spying a fellow bride on pedastal in "her" dress.  She knew right away.  She couldn't take her eyes off that dress.  Even to the point she was ignoring her own reflection.

Bridezilla took major offense when Kathy commented that she wanted to try her dress on.  "You can have "MY" dress when I'm done wearing it!!"  She didn't even have the same size that Kathy would need.  Soon after the other bride was gone (without making a purchase) and Kathy stepped into her own dream dress.

It didn't even matter that the dress happened to be marked down because it was discontinued.  She would have taken it at the full price. 

Sticker shock didn't set in until she realized she would be paying the same price for the headpiece and veil that she paid for the dress!   How is it they get $200 for a couple feet of tulle?  I'm in the wrong business.

After taking a break to have a bite to eat and talk things over at Clementine's, we returned to David's once again where she put down a non-refundable deposit on all three pieces.

I came home exhausted to a feverish 12 year old Jacob.  :( 

How did you spend your MLK day?

Friday, January 14, 2011

george quotes

Yesterday I picked George up a personal pan pizza while we were out doing errands.  I took a slice out and let it cool on top of the box on his lap.  After about 5 minutes or so I called back to him, "I think you can try to take a bite out of it now."  He scruched up his face at the steam that was still rising off it in the cold car and said, "Mom, I can't.  It's still spitting smoke!" 

I have a sebaceous cyst on my thigh that I am under strict doctor's orders to soak in a hot tub daily.  That, along with a strong antibiotic ointment seems to be working.  Tonight as I sat in the water he barged in to the bathroom and said in an excited voice, "Mommy don't worry if your assist doesn't soak off, I will pray it off!"

"What comes after a trillion?"  "I'm going to ask Luke!"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

teenage rebellion

A friend's status update in my FaceBook newsfeed this morning:

Jane Doe "is in the middle of teenage daughter rebellion years. But then I get word that an old friends son has stage 4 cancer and now everything is in perspective...."

I am thankful that God uses circumstances like this to adjust our outlook on things.  And I'm so very sad for this family.  :(  A family near our neighborhood has also recently been told they will be losing a child to this disease.  My heart breaks for all of them. 

Losing a child is the worst thing.  Beside that, everything else looks like no big deal.

Even teenage rebellion.

Looking back from the other side of my first experience with it, I wish I'd trusted in the Lord MORE and worried a lot LESS.  He loves my children more than I ever could. 

And I'm thankful that:
1.  as big the storm seemed at the time, my God is much bigger.
2.  it's a bit like the pain of childbirth, easily forgotten when it's gone.

grandma comes to stay

This Christmas we were blessed to be able to host a visit from Kevin's mom.  She is currently staying in a group home for grandmas that a family runs out of their own residence.  It is licensed and she is well cared for but we thought it would be nicer to be with family for Christmas and I think...for the most part, she agreed. 

So with plenty of preparation, she arrived with Kevin directly at church for the Christmas Eve service.  She tends to wear out rather early in the day and he didn't want to give her the opportunity to say "no" to church. 

Afterwards, as is our custom, we got Chinese food on the way home.  She has adult onset diabetes so Kevin needed to give her a shot before all her meals.  The initial shot went smoothly, if only just a few minutes late.  She's supposed to have it before she eats but was quicker to tuck into her dinner than Kevin was with the syringe. 

With dinner finished, I offered to help her get into her pajamas but she made herself comfortable on the couch watching DVR'd episodes of Jeopardy and her son busily wrapping the last of the presents. 

Finally deciding she'd had enough, she wondered aloud if she should sleep on the couch.  I led her into the front room to show her the air bed Kevin had inflated and made up with warm flannel sheets and the racing T-shirt quilt she had made for him so long ago.  The huge smile that lit up her face made me genuinely thrilled.

Another tradition we have at Christmas is taking turns opening up the gifts.  That way everyone gets to see what everybody else got and it lasts a little longer.  Grandma did not have the patience for that.  She went along with it once or twice but soon opened her things one right after the other.  She got word finds, a cardigan, a blouse, a pair of slacks  and a stocking filled with odds and ends.

When Kevin was done cleaning up after lunch he asked her if she wanted to go home then or after dinner.  She decided she was ready and quickly put on her shoes, new cardigan, winter coat, grabbed her purse and marched out the front door.  All before her son had his shoes on. 

Although her shots at breakfast and lunch went along the same lines as the first one, she seems to have come through the whole visit none the worse for wear.  We would like her to come to stay for good but when Kevin asked her about it on the way home she said, "Not as long as I can stay on my own!"

Not sure what to think of that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

the decision

Emma will be graduating this June so we have been enduring the whole college selection process.  Initially she wanted to accept the full 2 year scholarship to Lorain County Community College that was offered to her, but Kevin and I encouraged her to consider a few 4 year colleges and universities. Her grades are really decent and so are her test scores so her options are wide open. 

Together, we have taken tours and feasted in the cafeterias of Baldwin Wallace, Mount Union, Case Western Reserve, John Carroll and Cleveland State University.  She has gone with friends to Ohio Northern and Bowling Green. 

She wants to stay in the area because of her deep affection for Cleveland that only other Cleveland Lover's can understand. 


Verdicts:

Ohio Northern: too small
Bowling Green: bad vibes
Cleveland State: too many commuters
Mount Union: too far away, application process too inconvenient
Baldwin Wallace: applied and accepted, 13K renewable academic scholarship
John Carroll: applied and accepted, 15K renewable academic scholarship
Case Western Reserve: applied and deferred

After all that she's decided to take the full 2 year scholarship at LCCC and enter their diagnostic medical sonography program.  After only 2 years of school and she can be making a desirable salary with a career that can be flexible enough to accommodate additional schooling if it's what she wants or possibly a family someday.

Congratulations on your decision Emma!  May you always shine like the stars. Phil 2:12-16a

Monday, January 3, 2011

legal

Emma turned 18 yesterday and celebrated by getting "Love is all you need" tattooed in script under her right arm, winning $10 on lottery tickets she purchased herself, and getting her ears pierced.

All things she can do on her own now that she is a "legal" adult. 

I repeatedly cautioned her about the tattoo.  Even to the point of her accepting that her hypothalamus will not be developed until she is 25.  She would not be dissuaded. 

Today she opened a checking account and that made her feel the weight of adulthood more than any tattoo, lottery ticket, or earrings ever could.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

le petit artiste

When the boys got xbox kinect for Christmas it gave me the perfect excuse to relocate our television to the basement and rearrange the family room to accent the fireplace.

Emma assisted with the heavy lifting.  We moved the chest that formerly held the tv into a coffee table position.  I pulled lightly on the black construction paper that George had recently posted there.  I assumed he'd used tape.  When it didn't come off easily, I peeked behind it and that old saying about the word "assume" came quickly to mind.

My darling son had used Elmer's glue stick to post his creation onto my heirloom Lane chest.  :( 

Guess what I'm googling this afternoon....