Saturday, October 8, 2011

You know you are a mom to boys when...

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Yeah.  This little thing is clearly a toy.  Except sometimes when I'm walking by it or the light is off or it's not where I expect it (as if I expect such things normally) it looks real!  It has appeared in several places over the past few days, and I'm starting to believe it's intentional. 

This idea was planted several weeks ago when we came home one rainy day to an actual snake about this size in the driveway.  I kicked at it a little to shoo it away.  Of course that didn't work, though I'm not sure why I thought it would.  That little creature raised it's head up and HISSED at me.  I was slightly impressed that such a small thing would have it in him to stand up to me.  Eli thought it was the best thing ever. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today is our 9th anniversary!

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Chris and I have been married for 9 years today!  I am so blessed to have a wonderful, loving husband and to be able to walk through life with my best friend!  I had no idea what these past 9 years would bring.  We have had great joys and hardships, but walking through it with Chris has been an enormous blessing.  I thank God for my husband.  Thanks to everyone who has supported us, helped us along, and prayed for us. 

Here's a picture from way back! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Should Eli go to pre-school?

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A recent topic of conversation here has been whether or not Eli should attend pre-school.  He will start kindergarten next fall.  Between the two of us, Chris went to pre-school and I did not.  So we have different perspectives on the subject.  It's hard for me to imagine sending Eli away, so I'm struggling with the idea of pre-school, even if it is limited hours/days each week.

The other aspect I struggle with about it is that Eli is a sharp kid.  He doesn't seem to struggle with academic concepts at this point.  Granted what he should know is very basic, but he picks it up easily.  I started researching an idea called "Tot School" at the recommendation of a friend.  It turns out a lot of home schooling moms (which I will not be joining the ranks of) have been working on curriculums for pre-school aged children and there are some resources available.  With the help of my never-dying printer cartridge (a story for another time) and my sister-in-law Abbie and her laminator, I was able to print off and create some activity books, also called "Tot Books" for the kids.  I'm focusing on Eli right now, but do have some things that are more appropriate for the younger ones too.

Here's a picture of Eli working on the Robot Tot Book:

You can find it here (1+1+1=1) on this fabulous blog if you are interested or want to see others she has created.

Eli was able to sound out all of the number words with very minimal assistance (except for two and eight - sometimes English rules are maddening) and all of the shape words.  Amazing!  I can't believe how much he has learned!  I was so proud of him, and he had a big confidence boost.

More tot books will be coming into the house soon!

We have been BUSY!

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We have been busy these past few months.  We've made trips to see family and enjoyed many visits from family and friends.  I finished my second medical/surgical quarter, which was the most difficult one yet.  Only 3 quarters left until I finish!  Chris is working hard studying for another exam and begins teaching again this week. 

Here are a few pictures from Sophia's 3rd birthday and Isaac's 2nd birthday! 

Sophia and her Abby Cadabby cake!  She was pretty excited about it! 

Isaac and his long neck cake.  He was mostly interested in the M&M's.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today was a "Mommy grow day"

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A painful one.  Today, our little neighbor girl (also 4), who may possibly be one of Eli's favorite people, grabbed his hand and asked me if he could come with her to a little inpromptu play date about a half a block down the street at another little girl's house.  I was NERVOUS.  I have met the family, they are super nice and have been very welcoming.  Our neighbor girl and her brothers were going down, so I relented.  I had to constantly check the urge to run down there and drag him home, holding him like a baby.  He is not a baby.  He can go down to another child's house for a play date and come back to me in an hour safe and sound.  Thankfully they were out front most of the time, and I admit I sat on the porch the whole time listening, but I stayed at the house.  Our neighbor brought her three and Eli back down and they were so excited, chattering and laughing.  I love that we are in this neighborhood.  I love that there are so many kids for mine to play with, grow up with, and go to school with.  I just don't love the process that I'm now in where I have to be trusting of others with my kids and grow and stretch so that they can too. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Garden

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We have these little beds along the back of the house beside the patio, so I decided to put my tomatoes and peppers in there and see how they did.  In just over 3 weeks they have grown an amazing amount and have started to produce fruit!  I can't wait to eat fresh tomato! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Swimming Lessons

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Today was Eli's first swimming lesson at the pool. He really loved it, and did well with the teacher and other children. His teacher was very gracious with me and let me lurk around and keep an eye on him (and snap lots of pictures) and watch what they were doing. I got really nervous a few times and wanted to jump in and help, but I resisted. My parents made sure we were all in swimming lessons growing up, and I know it has been a valuable skill to have and has enriched my life. I hope Eli gets the hang of it and enjoys it. He started learning the foundations for front crawl today! I couldn't believe how fast they went.

Isaac and Sophia played in the baby pool during Eli's lesson.  Here are a few cute pictures of them:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Church Web Site

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Our church has a new web site! Check it out!

Vineyard Church of Reynoldsburg

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We Closed!

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I'm so excited!  There's a lot of work to be done but we will be moving soon.  Below is a video I took today of the "before" house.  I apologize in advance for the horrible quality and hope that you don't become nauseous viewing it. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

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Our Pastor shared this video today during service.  It's wonderful, take a few minutes to watch it. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Helping Hands

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Every week, Eli brings home a memory verse from children's church.  I like it, it helps me learn some new verses as well.  Throughout the week I ask him to tell me the verse so he keeps it in his head and we also talk about what it means.  His verse this week is a portion of Ecclesiastes 11:6 - "Let not your hands be idle."  Sometimes Eli needs a reminder to get up and get going.  Don't we all!  I tell him throughout the day when he is not being idle - when he is helping.  Today Isaac was pretty sick, and needed to be held a lot. Eli offered to hold him for a few minutes.  I really didn't expect that to go over well, but it was worth a break!  I'll take those helping hands any day!  Isaac wasn't sure what to think of it, but he didn't cry and he sat with Eli.  So cute!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


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We brace ourselves at the start of fall each year for a few rounds of sickness.  With three children in the house who have relatively untried immune systems, we are bound to catch a few colds and a Norovirus or two.  This fall/winter/early spring have been out of control.  Every few weeks there's another round of illness coming into our house.  Everybody is sick again.  AGAIN.  I'm about at the end of my rope with it, it's been too much.  I have lost count the number of viruses we've cycled through.  Unlike other winters, Chris and I have both caught a few of them as well, which is unusual.  I've talked to a few other moms who say that this winter has been particularly bad as well.  I have given Children's Advil and Kleenex a sizable portion of my weekly budget these last few months. 

Thankfully, aside from the high fever times, the kids are real troopers.  I keep telling myself that this will make our transition into the early school years a little bit easier.  Hopefully?! 
It's pretty interesting looking - when it's not causing illness.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Hair Cuts

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Yesterday Sophia and Isaac both had their first hair cuts.  Aunt Emily graciously offered to do it, and she did a wonderful job!  They both look so cute.  It's always a little sad for me to see that first hair cut, but I know it has to happen.  Isaac looks like a little boy now instead of a baby.  Sophia's curly hair curled up even farther (if that's possible) and she is very happy with her style. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Garden Start

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I had some luck last year starting basil from seed, so I thought I'd give it another try.  Since we will have flower bed space (HOPEFULLY!) in a month or so, and even a space to put a little garden or raised garden containers, I decided to start tomatoes, basil, and an assortment of other vegetables.  I'm not very good with starting seeds, because many turned out to be duds - but a few little fighters have made it so far!

On the left is the one lonely tomato that made it in the first planting - this picture was taken March 17th:
On the right is the same plant today, March 27th.  It developed it's first true leaves and was transplanted. Hopefully the information I read about burying much of the stem under the dirt to promote root development was correct!  And yes, it's planted in a Fruity Pebbles single serve cereal cup (that Walgreens paid me to take - I love coupons!  That's for another time though.)

 On the left are the baby basil plants on March 17th:
On the right are the basil today, March 27th, starting to show their first set of true leaves.  

I also tried to grow broccoli, which is going to be interesting.  The packet said they could be started indoors, so we'll see how they transplant.  Here's how they look right now:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Menu Planning

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Cooking has always been a challenge for me.  I really don't like to do it!  Since I'm home, it's my responsibility, but it's one I'd gladly get rid of!  I have been on a quest this past week to develop a system where I have to cook as little as possible but still provide homemade, healthy meals for our family.  This is the first week of the new system, so it's in test run phase, but it's working very well!

the 2-week make ahead plan
The basic idea of this plan is that it provides a self-sustaining system where, with the exception of Sundays, I only have to cook 3 times in two weeks.  Meal planning is done in 2-week blocks.  Monday - Saturday of each week is accounted for, which means there are 12 total meals in the rotation. 

Here's how it works:

Before you start, you need EIGHTEEN meals in the freezer.  That is really the worst part of the whole plan, because cooking that much is quite a big commitment.  However, once you're done with that, it is easy to maintain.  I found 12 recipes that we like, and I did the following:

Meals 1, 2, 3 = none made
Meals 4, 5, 6 = 1 each made and frozen
Meals 7, 8, 9 = 2 each made and frozen
Meals 10, 11, 12 = 3 each made and frozen

Weeks 1 & 2:
I put the odd meals on week 1 and the even meals on week 2.  This way the cook days get separated, and the meals are only repeated once in a two week period.  Aside from my 3 cooking days, everything else is being taken from the freezer:

Week 1                                                        Week 2
M: #9                                                           M: #4
T: #5                                                            T: #6
W: #3 (cook 4, eat 1 freeze 3)                      W: #2 (cook 4, eat 1 freeze 3)
Th: #11                                                        Th: #8
F: #1 (cook 4, eat 1 freeze 3)                       F: #12
Sa: #7                                                          Sa: #10

At the end of week 2, my meal count will look like this:

Meals 1, 2, 3 = 3 each made and frozen
Meals 4, 5, 6 = 0 in the freezer (will be made during weeks 3 & 4)
Meals 7, 8, 9 = 1 each in the freezer
Meals 10, 11, 12 = 2 each in the freezer

During the 2-week period, 9 meals come out of the freezer and 9 meals go in.  When a meal comes up as a 0 and needs to be cooked, I can change the recipe and switch it up.

Here is a chart of an entire 8-week cycle.  I left the meals in order, but you could move them around.

Week 1:          Week 2:         Week 3:          Week 4:        Week 5:         Week 6:
M: 1 (cook)    M: 2 (cook)    M: 1                M: 2              M: 1               M:2
T: 3 (cook)     T: 4                 T: 3                 T: 4 (cook)    T: 3                 T: 4
W: 5               W: 6               W: 5 (cook)    W: 6 (cook)   W: 5               W: 6
Th: 7               Th: 8               Th: 7               Th: 8             Th: 7 (cook)  Th: 8 (cook)
F: 9                 F: 10               F: 9                 F: 10            F: 9 (cook)     F: 10
Sa: 11             Sa: 12            Sa: 11             Sa: 12          Sa: 11           Sa: 12

Week 7:           Week 8:                         I move my cook days around (as you can see in my first example.)
M: 1                 M: 2                               If you don't care when you cook you can just follow this schedule.
T: 3                  T: 4                                I just make sure I keep the odds in the same week and the evens in
W: 5                 W: 6                              the other week so we don't have a repeater too close together.
Th: 7                 Th: 8
F: 9                   F: 10 (cook)
Sa: 11 (cook)   Sa: 12 (cook)

Here's our current meal schedule:

1: Baked Penne and Chicken with Mushrooms
2: Chicken Jilly (my SIL Jillian's chicken chili recipe!)
3: Bagged Stouffer's Meal*
4. Spaghetti Pie
5. Cream Cheese Chicken and Noodles
6. Burritos
7. Creamy Corn and Red Bell Pepper Soup
8. Manicotti
9. Beef and Barley Soup
10. Chicken and Rice Casserole
11. Beef Pot Pie
12. Beef Tamale Pie
*(this is a stand in.  another stand in could be your husband grilling, etc, so you really don't have to cook this night, you just know that once every 2 weeks there needs to be something else ready.  Or this could be a super easy meal prep night, like salmon as Katie was suggesting.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Random Things

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I just finished my 4th quarter!  I have 5 left.  Things are always crazy at the end of the quarter, and I'm glad to have a break coming up!

Elijah started eating a new food, thanks to Kathy who brought this book over:
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
It must have made a huge impression.  I'm taking recommendations on other books where foods are featured, perhaps this will become a trend. 

Sophia is right in the middle of potty training.  We've had a few 100% successful days, and a few so-so days.  She's very excited to get her big girl panties, but I haven't given them to her yet.  She is also very motivated by M&M's.  Here's how much I paid her for her first poop in the potty:
She call's this "A BIG M&M!!!" 

Isaac is starting to use words very intentionally, finally.  He is using "up," "more," and "thank you" on a consistent basis.  He also very recently became OBSESSED with dogs.  He stands at the window and watches for them. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kids Say Funny Things

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Sophia: Knock Knock
Me: Who's there?
Sophia: Applesauce!
Me: Applesauce who?
Sophia: Applesauce bulldozer!!!!!  hahahahaha 

Sophia: Let me take your thermometer.
Me:  My temperature?
Sophia: Yes, your temperature. 
(she pretends to stick a toy thermometer in my ear)
Me: What did it say?
Sophia: five five five!
Me: Wow, that's hot.  You better check my other ear.
(she puts it in my other ear)
Me: What did it say this time?
Sophia: TWO! 

Eli: When I grow up I'm going to come here and sleep over with my kids.  Don't worry Mommy, I'll bring them beds.  Then when they are asleep we will watch Battlestar Galactica! 

Eli: Mommy, if I pack up toys and help pack them when we go to the moving in house, you said you'd buy me The King!  (Cars character)
Me: Yes, that's right.  You have to be a good helper.
Eli: OK, I'll get rid of a lot of my toys so The King can fit. 
The King is the size of a Match Box car.  I wonder how far I can get with this idea? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Soccer Pro?!

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It's quite possible I have a future soccer pro on my hands!  Take a look:
 She can dribble with no training!  :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zoo Trip

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Today was BEAUTIFUL!  I decided to take the kids to the Zoo.  It's the perfect outdoor area, nice walking paths, fun things to see and do, and not usually very crowded in the winter.  The kids had a great time and did very well.  Before we go I let them each decide what animal they want to see that day.  Eli wanted to see the polar bears, and Sophia wanted to see any bear.  Great!  The polar bears were very active today, they got to see one of them swimming and he even dove off of a raised are into the water for them.  Isaac got about 3 feet away from the polar bear, but he didn't seem very interested in it.  This was the first Zoo trip where only Isaac rode in the stroller.  Sophia did a GREAT job walking. 

Here's a little video of the kids playing at the conservation house:

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

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One of them, anyway.  Isaac loves monkeys right now, so it wasn't hard to convince him to put on these pajamas.  While I generally think Valentine's Day is just another fake holiday created to encourage consumers to spend money on stuff they don't need, the basic idea of it is sound.  We should let those we love know about it.  I have so many people in my life who I love, I am amazingly blessed.  I am also blessed to receive love from so many. 

This verse hangs on our wall.  It is perfect for today, and for every day.  There are so many false teachings on what love is.  It's good to stick to the truth of it and let that guide our actions.  A portion of this is very familiar, but the whole chapter is wonderful, and the familiar portion in light of the whole text makes so much sense.

I Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our Experiences House Hunting

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In the past week, we have looked at about a dozen houses.  All of them were close to where we are now.  They were all in the same price range.  But the variation in quality was AMAZING.  Several were foreclosures, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...unless they had cats.  Chris said that in his opinion, the domestic house cat was the worst thing that has happened to real estate. It's odd to go into somebody's house and try to imagine yourself living there.  Some of them were empty, but even then it seemed strange. 

We did end up making an offer on one of the houses.  It was nice, it will grow with us as we need it to as the kids get older.  The process of placing offers and waiting is stressful.  Hopefully we won't have anybody else trying to buy the same house.  If so, back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Chris!

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Chris turns 31 today! Happy Birthday to a wonderful husband and loving father! We are very excited to celebrate with him tonight!

Monday, January 31, 2011

House Hunting

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We are house hunting. Finally. We have sifted through our options and it looks like this is the one we are presented with. It's such an odd feeling, to have to go and look for a new place to live. We have lived in the condo for so long that it just seems so normal. As much as I know we have to do this, to make this huge transition, it is painful to think of all that will come with it. It will disrupt the family, it will strain the kids, it will be an endless amount of work for Chris and I. But it is necessary, and we must do it.

We are looking for a realtor, and have started searching through the endless listings of homes. It is amazing how many are for sale. Our condo will be joining that list soon. I'm not really sure what to look for. There are so many options. It is hard to try to imagine what space we need and imagine how we could best use the spaces that are available to us. We don't want too much space, but we don't want to move into too little.

Chris has been talking to the kids about getting a new house. Here is Sophia's new bedtime want list: a drink of water, a tissue, a kiss and hug, a house

We will do our best, little girl.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tax Time

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After taking Financial Peace University about a year ago, we were even more convinced of the idea that we should adjust our taxes so that we didn't really get much of a refund when we file.  I'm absolutely positive we can do a better job spending our money than the government.  The problem is, it's hard to do that.  It's hard to figure out how many withholdings to take throughout the year to get as close to a $0 return as possible. I'm even OK owing money at the end of the year.  If anybody has a method for ensuring a $0 return, pass it along! 

I was thinking back the other day about my first memories of my parents doing taxes.  They would both sit at the dining room table with calculators and work it out.  It's so much easier now!  I just input the information on one of the approved web sites and it calculates everything, files it for us, and electronically gives us a transfer or pays what we owe. 

I'm OK paying taxes, I'm glad to have the benefits they provide.  To quote a dadism: "I'd be glad to pay taxes on a million dollars."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Isaac and the Steps

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Since we have 2 flights of steps in the house, we like to try to encourage the kids to learn how to safely go up and down them at an early age.  Eli and Sophie seemed to master coming down pretty early on.  I'm eager to get rid of the baby gates and have the house open again.  Isaac has the going up under his belt.  He's been working on coming down.  He apparently didn't get the memo that he was to come down SAFELY.  Here is a clip of the method he has chosen to use:

Notice what he does on the last step right at the end of the clip.  He sits down completely and starts to lean back!  There's no telling when he'll do that on the descent.  He thinks it's pretty funny that he can get down the steps on his own. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Special Guest Post

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Elijah would like to post on the blog.  Here is his commentary:

We should write Sophie and Isaac's name.  
I would like to build a snowman.  Can you do that on there?
 Dragon!  Write dragon on there!
(What else do you want to tell them?)
Tell them about that [points to the emblem on his pants].  What is that anyway?
How about ABC?
(What did you do today?)
Ate cupcakes, watched dragons, read Curious George, well...played house with Sophie.
(How do you play house?)
Well, I'll be the husband, Sophia will be the wife.  We have kids and stuff.  That's how we play house.  We just go to church and we play.  We eat breakfast and go to bed and our kids take naps and we go to bed and all that stuff.  That's what we do.

That's it.  That's all I want to tell them.  [pointing]  That's what I want to tell them too!!!

That's the dragon I like.  That dragon of his is his friend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Off the Coke!

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Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? I've had a serious addiction to Coke for a while now. Correction. I had a serious addiction to Coke. I've been off of it for a month now. An entire Coke free month. Stopping cold turkey was incredibly painful, in all senses of the word. The headaches were horrid, the cravings were constant, I was crabby, uncomfortable, and in pain. But a month out, I can now say that I am no longer addicted to it. Sometimes I see it in the store and I remember how normal it was to drink it. It's placed in 12 different locations so I won't accidentally forget to pick some up. I never really noticed how many places it's located until I stopped drinking it. Then I felt like it was following me around the grocery store!

The bottom line is that Coke is just about the most unhealthy thing a person can consume. Aside from the caffeine, it is chock full of a large quantity of absolutely useless calories. I was not just addicted to the caffeine, but to the sugar.

I won't say that I feel wonderful and amazing because I stopped drinking Coke, but I feel much better. I'm more awake, I'm able to think more clearly, and I'm finally able to lose some weight. Most importantly, it isn't controlling me anymore.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Battlestar Galactica

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 Chris likes to bring home videos once in a while.  He likes me to watch them with him.  The problem is, I don't really like watching TV.  It gets even more interesting when he brings home a science fiction flick.  Sometimes I watch them.  I decided I'd give Battlestar Galactica a try.  I actually know absolutely nothing about this show.  It has some history, I guess it's been remade a few times.  The one we watched was from 2004.  

Some of the content in this version screams Star Wars.  The acting isn't too bad and after getting past the very confusing beginning, the story is easy enough to follow.  I told Chris I'd watch the next few just to see what happens.  I was sad to learn that a character I like is actually a sleeper Cylon.  Or is she a sleeper?  Who knows!

There's some really weird religion going on in this show, and some pretty blatant references to the zodiac signs.  At the beginning of the series you are introduced to the planet "Caprica" and told there are 11 others.  Of course, there is a 13th secret planet that has been hidden from knowledge.  Battlestar Galactica obviously knew about the addition of the 13th zodiac sign before everybody else. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pajama Day

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We had a busy weekend.  Visits from my parents and then from Chris' mom and sister last night.  The kids had the best time visiting and playing, as always.  I feel a little bad for them when they wake up after so many fun filled days and find just me!

Today was a pajama day.  Sophia and Isaac both woke up with noses running.  It's pouring down rain and it's cold.  Not to mention the fabulous behavior the children have been displaying today.  It's at times like these when I think to look to the moon cycle chart and see when we should be expecting odd behavior.  Sure enough, January's full moon is due tomorrow.  Ah, it all makes sense. 

So we stayed in, made bread, and wore our pajamas all day.  It was wonderful! 
Hopefully this was our only funky day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Shadow of Dr. King

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I was listening to Dr. King's speech today as I was running errands in the car.  It's impossible to miss.  I always enjoy the speech - I love the passion and truth that he brings.  Several things stuck out to me that I hadn't noticed before.  The first was his mention of standing in the shadow of Lincoln.  I thought that was interesting.  When I think back on recent history, it is not Lincoln who's shadow I perceive.  It is men and women like Dr. King.  

The second thing that struck me was this excerpt: 

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
 The "security of justice" was particularly troublesome to hear.  Having worked in correctional facilities and seen the disproportionate number of African American men and women, I believe we can say that the check bounced.  There are a lot of components to this issue, but the disparities in the justice system are deep and painful.

And this:

"...for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone."

As part of the Body of Christ we understand this.  It is as normal as breathing.  We cannot walk alone, we need the other parts of the body, regardless of our differences. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Learning to Cook

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The Best Make-Ahead Recipe
I grew up in a house with a great cook.  I never really paid much attention to how my mom actually cooked though, and I feel very limited in my abilities.  At the beginning of our marriage, Chris did most of the cooking.  But as we transitioned to me staying home and him working full time after he finished school, it seemed that I should take over this area.  Over the past few years, I've stolen a lot of recipes from the good cooks I know.

Thankfully for me, my sister in law Katie and her husband moved here around the time I was starting to learn.  Katie is a great resource for me.  She answers all of my really stupid cooking questions and gives me great ideas for recipes.  She gave me this book for Christmas.  Last night I finally got it together and made my first recipe from the book, at her recommendation, called Beef Tamale Pie.  It was GREAT!  And it wasn't very hard either.  This book is designed for making things ahead and gives directions for refrigerating and freezing.  I was able to bake half of this recipe and put the other half in the freezer!  I'm going to get going on a real plan for making and freezing ahead.  I think the 30 day option is a little much for us, but I'm going to work on a 2 week make ahead schedule.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Me don't WANT to!"

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Who can guess what bothers me most about this statement?

It came from the mouth of my very willful, obstinate 2 year old. The fact that it is defiant annoys me. It is her way though, so I work with her. The thing that bothers me most is the grammar. The child uses "me" in the place of "I" every single time. I understand that this is normal. However, Sophia is not particularly interested in being corrected. I correct her each and every time, and make her repeat it to me using the proper pronoun. I believe that she is capable of correcting her language, but just doesn't feel the need.

We don't watch much Sesame Street here, and I'm glad. The biggest offender in the use of improper singular pronouns:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Operation Fat Boy

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Is about to commence. I took the boys in for their well checks today - Eli for his 4 year and Isaac for his 15 month. Eli is doing great, he gained 4 1/2 pounds in the last year and grew 3 inches! This from my picky eater! He proudly showed the nurse that he could jump on 1 foot and counted to 10 perfectly. I was a proud mama!

Isaac is another story. He took a running leap right off the bottom of the growth chart. He has always been small, but falling off the bottom is not a good thing. He is my good eater, so it's concerning that he isn't gaining with adequate nutrition. So we are now running "Operation Fat Boy." We need to get this boy back on the chart, at least, and have a little padding ( that pun?) just in case it happens again. Isaac's iron levels looked great, so we are no longer concerned about anemia. Developmentally he is doing really well, meeting all of his markers. Pray for his little leg and arm, he didn't take his shots very well and I doubt he will forgive the nurse.

As always, taking 3 kids to the doctor's office was a bit stressful, so I got some Starbucks afterward. I love that stuff!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We meet again

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I've had an embarrassing number of guitar lessons in my life. As an undergraduate I took group guitar lessons for several semesters, then took private lessons with a great teacher for several more. I became functional. I played for a while, never anything past the basics. I took a specific course for worship leaders, and even played for a retreat once. But I just never felt like I could excel at this instrument. I could always get to proficient, but after a while that gets really old.

Jeff asked me to start attending a small group focused on basics at church. We meet again. I wasn't very excited about the idea of revisiting this for another time. I picked up my guitar, and the muscle memory is still there. I can finger the cords correctly (and calluses) and I can strum. I can sing. It's just not all that great. Here's praying for a better outcome this time.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Me vs. the Pan

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I have an enameled cast iron skillet that does a great job.  It looks like this:
Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 9-Inch Skillet with Iron Handle, Red
Isn't that nice?  It's super heavy, but I like using it.  I recently learned that if you cook vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet at higher heats, whether it's enameled or not, it sticks.  It STICKS.  This little skillet had a cooked on sticky, black coating that would not budge.  I tried baking soda, vinegar, heating it up and scrubbing, scratch pads, Magic Eraser, copper scratch pads, tulle, and tons of soap.  Chris told me I should just throw it out.  The thrifty (CHEAP!!!) person in me screamed.  There must be a another way!

While visiting, Rita mentioned that the pan would come clean if I sprayed oven cleaner in it.  Oven cleaner seemed extreme, but I had tried everything else.  And it worked like magic!  I did have to do repeated treatments, but it's brand new.  So don't cook vegetable oil in cast iron, and if you do and it gets stuck, use some oven cleaner.  Thanks Rita!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

No More Nursery

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Last night was Eli's first time in the 4 - 7 year old classroom at church!  I have been taking him to the nursery for 4 years.  It was strange to walk him down to the area where all of the bigger kids were having worship - and leave him.  I was a little sad about it.  He, however, was not the least bit sad.  He was so excited to be there with all of his older friends, especially the very famous Anna!

The teachers reported that he was well behaved, though a tad bit focused on the Play Doh.  I am a very proud of him.  With each little step he becomes more independent.  Him leaving the nursery was actually a huge step for me! 

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

Friday, January 7, 2011


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Nap time, and bed time, are issues.  Not with the boys, especially Isaac.  He lays in bed with his binkie and blanket and is just as happy as can be.  Eli protests, but he will generally lay quietly.  Sophia though...she is in it for a fight.  Every night. 
I'm red, she's green.  She's thirsty.  Then her nose is running.  She needs a tissue.  Eli gets her one.  She loses it and needs another.  She needs a baby doll.  She doesn't like that baby, she want's ANOTHER baby.  On and on. The child is stubborn to a fault, which is admittedly a quality she probably received from me, but it is still aggravating.

Any ideas are WELCOME.