Saturday, December 29, 2007

Stardust

I just rented Stardust because I wasn't cool enough to see it in the theater.

It was lovely. Pretty girls and pretty dresses and a fairy tale ending.

Joel said it was the best chick flick he'd seen in a while.

It's going on my wishlist.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Praise the Lord!

A certain important document that one needs to cross borders legally has been missing since we went through the border into the US from Mexico. We were able to get Joel in with his driver license but have really been worrying about it. I knew I needed to clean out the car really well to look, but literally have not had the time. Today I had the time. I took out a bag for trash and a bag for keep. I took the kids out too so they could help me look (they did not help). I emptied out every nook and cranny in the car, including the trunk where the spare tire sleeps. I found all kinds of interesting things, but the most interesting things was...


A certain important document that one needs to cross borders legally!!!!!

I found it because I win the prize and I'm the bomb! Woo hoo!

My prize, by the way, is $30 at Half Price Books after the first of the year when Joel gets paid.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas-Sea Feast

Joel's sister and brother-in-law are in town, and Joel's dad always lives here. My sister and her fiance live here too, so on Saturday night we had a Christmas-Sea Feast (get it? a pun!). My sister is going to CA today so we couldn't do it on Christmas but we had everyone over for yummy seafood and gift exchanges with my sister and her fiance.

I tell you what, that was the best food ever.

We had:
crab-stuffed avocado (delicious)
coconut shrimp (decadent)
asparagus (baked goodness)
sockeye salmon on goat cheese on crackers (tasty)
scallop soup (yummy)
and stuffed sweet potatos (really yummy but we were all too full to eat much of them)

I'll have to post these recipes here soon when I am not lazy, but let me tell you how much delicious it was. And it didn't feel heavy like sometimes when I eat a lot.

Grace and her fiance gave the kiddos lots of books and games (I told them no toys) and you know- it wasn't as fun as toys. But don't tell them I said so. :)

It was such a lovely evening filled with people we love. And the fun is still not over!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thankful Wednesday

I know it's supposed to be "Thankful Thursday" but roll with me here.

1. We are making progress on our house. Hopefully the outside will be all finished before Christmas.

2. The faucet in the master bathroom bathtub is no longer leaking 30 gallons a day.

3. Even though we are having to put some things on the credit card, I have faith that we will be able to pay it off very soon.

4. The tents are all aired out after our camping trip last month.

5. Soon I will get to park in the garage again!

6. There are a bazillion presents under the tree and it looks very festive.

7. Emlyn and I found some old toys we can give away before the new toys come in.

8. Lowe's took a paint return even though the label says "no returns on tinted paint."

9. The new paint color is now very beautiful and does not look in any way like pistachio ice cream.

10. I can save money by doing some of the painting myself.

11. And even though I ignored the kids mostly all day yesterday to paint they are still alive and fed.

12. Except Denali needs breakfast. But I am thankful we have food to feed him.

13. The weather is deliciously crisp the last few days and we were able to open our windows for the first time in a while.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mexico

Thanksgiving dinner outside, in the cold.
It was about 45 degrees and windy.
Do we look cold and tired to you?


This evening Emlyn and I made a book about our trip to Mexico. I was very impressed with the words and sentence structure she used. I was a little disappointed, however, that she didn't mention the sightseeing or climbing. Mostly the whole book centers around the friends she played with while she was there, and the trips she made to Tami's Cafe where she would usually get cookies.

I thought I would write some of my impressions of the trip before I forget them.

The drive was not too bad. We didn't have all the proper papers for the border but we had enough to get through. It is always a bit of a culture shock because Mexico is after all a foreign country. One of the most interesting differences is the use of TP. In Mexico usually people do not have great plumbing, nor do they buy real TP. So in order to keep their pipes clear they throw all of their TP in a trash can beside the toilet, rather than in it. It takes some getting used to, mostly because there is an added smell that is associated with it.

It is always awesome to get to Potrero Chico after driving for 9 or 10 hours. The mountain is so tall in comparison to everything around it, and we got to camp literally right beside the mountain. Each morning, afternoon, and night you are within sight of it. Dusk arrives at about 3 pm at the campground because the rest of the day the sun is shaded by the mountain. It's a little bit spooky.

The climbing is so easy to get to and so nice. There are over 500 bolted routes and therefore enough climbs for everyone to share. Even when the mountain is the most crowded there are always routes open. The first day I didn't climb, but almost every day we were there I did at least one climb. One or two days I did more than that, and by the end of the trip I was climbing a 5.10a. To give you an idea of the ratings, a 5.4 is almost too easy to bolt. A 5.5 pretty much anyone can climb when roped in. It gets progressively harder up to like a 5.14 or something. After you hit 5.10 instead of going up one whole point it goes through a, b, c, and d to the next one.

Anyway after 5 or 6 days of climbing every day in a row I was in a groove and able to train my body to do moves that were counter-intuitive. It was nice to have an opportunity to try and get better and better. Last time I was there was a year and a half ago and I wasn't really in good physical condition for climbing. This time I was all about the climbs.

We spent a day in Monterrey with our friend who has lived there almost her whole life I think. She's a dentist and speaks fluent English, so it's nice to be able to chat with her and yet have someone who can hire a cab. She showed us a beautiful church. It was the time of year when Catholics celebrate the Virgin Mary's birthday, so we went to the basilica (I think that's what it was called) and waited. Every hour or so a group marches/dances in from another church to make their homage. They wear beautiful Aztec costumes.

Another day we went to the Termas de San Joaquin. They are natural hot springs which have been built up and covered by a hotel. With gorgeous architecture, these really are the most beautiful I have ever seen. It is all naturally lit with windows in the roof. There are benches all around and it's very romantic and just peaceful. I wanted to take a nap there.

I got lots of pictures and inspiration for my next painting. I am excited to get started on it.

The kids really had a great time playing and hanging out. On the days they came climbing with us (mostly staying at the bottom of the climbs and playing with sticks) we had to rent helmets for them. They were adult helmets so the kids looked a bit like WWII soldiers with oversized helmets. I'll have to post a picture cause it's so cute.

We camped in tents for this trip. Eight days sleeping on the ground could easily have been extremely uncomfortable (I'm so old now), but this time we upgraded our Thermarests with "Big Agnes" memory foam cases. They were extremely luxurious and comfy. Even though we pitched our tent in the dark in what seemed like a rock pit the sleeping was very nice.

Except I can't sleep. I have mommy ears. The kids were in their own tent for the first time, about 15 feet away, and I tell you I heard everything. They only woke up once in the middle of the night all week, but I heard the rooster that starts crowing at 4:30 am and doesn't stop till 8 am. I heard the rain. The wind. People up at the kitchen talking. The cats playing. Everything. It was lovely, let me tell you. If I could just get over the mommy ears I think everything would be fine.

The last morning we would have been tempted to climb again before leaving, but it was really cold and rainy. So we had to break camp in the rain, which if you've been camping before you know that is the worst. One of our tents still needs to be aired out before it molds...

The border on the way back was SLOW. The US side actually had all four lanes open at the Colombia Bridge, but it still took 4.5 hours to get through. Yuck. We were out of food and patience by the time we finally got through.

All in all it was a great family vacation. We will definitely do it again.

I wrote a few new articles about my experiences in Mexico. You can find them through my profile, here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Planning with a 2 Year Old

Mommy: Denali, your birthday is in a month. You will be three! What should we have at your birthday party?

Denali: birthday hats, cake, people, a table, plates also, boys and girls, baby piggies, candles also, cookies, color cookies, and chicken

Mommy: What will we do at your party?

Denali: play, get some cake

Mommy: What will the decorations be?

Denali: Christmas tree and also a Christmas tree, colored birthday hats

Mommy: What do you want for your birthday?

Denali: a drum

Monday, December 03, 2007

That's Texas for Ya!

Yesterday, less than 24 hours ago, it was 82. This morning? A brisk 41. Texas is famous for its crazy range of temperatures.

Yesterday we had the a/c on. This morning I had to turn on the heat.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hilarity

My daughter is packing her own lunch today for a change of pace.

The contents:
1/2 cup of Grapenuts
yogurt drink
provolone cheese
beef pastrami
tangerine

She says she doesn't need my help. The ironic thing is she will probably eat every last scrap because she's made it herself...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Back from Mexico

Well we are back from Mexico and had a great time. It was a fabulous week with lots of climbing and pictures. I climbed my first ever 5.10a, which is hard. It was exciting.

This week I have been trying to get my house back in shape. It was perfectly clean when we arrived (so nice!) but of course became trashed with all of the stuff we had in our car.

I've also been writing more articles with ehow. I've made enough money now to make it worth my while. Go check out my articles, and please leave comments on them with feedback or thoughts. I still have to add pictures to the last ones I wrote, but other than that they're done.

You can view my profile here.

Pictures from our trip (lots of them) can be found here.

I'm going to go veg in front of the TV now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Distraction

Today instead of packing for our 9 day Mexico trip which we leave for on Saturday, I decided to tackle the office. I know I said it was organized a couple months ago, but then we sold our roll-top desk and suddenly all the things that were in it were all over our floor. We are eventually going to have to cave and buy some shelving units for our office, but I actually got everything put away today in some semblance of order. Don't quote me, but it might actually stay organized. Well, probably not.

At any rate I am done except for the paper recycling, and therefore really ought to get to the packing. Blah.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blessings

Today I sat down to pay bills, and after having trouble with my HSA website eventually resorted to calling each office and asking how much we owed and how much we had paid.

I'm so glad I did. It turns out about $350 we were billed for we are not responsible for because of some in-network/out-of-network nonsense.

So um my day just got $350 better! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Procrastination

Today I have finally started tackling a job that has been hanging over my head for about a year.

You know how some things you procrastinate on are really silly because they only take 5 minutes and when you do them late you think "why did I procrastinate so much? That only took 5 minutes?"

Today's job would have only taken 5 minutes originally, but will now take me about 3 hours.

Lovely.

Off to do more work on that project. And feed my kids.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Things that make you go "HMM"

So this morning I am facing the fact that once again I am too busy and have no oomph left for the end of this week.

Mondays and Tuesdays I have nothing planned, but I usually end up hanging out with friends. I try to leave one day entirely at home, but that rarely happens.

Wednesdays I have Ladies Bible Class that goes from 10-11 but really ends up taking most of my morning. I arrive home at about 12:30, Denali takes a nap, and then we get Emlyn from school.

Thursdays I have set aside for volunteering at Emlyn's school for 2 hours. Which means I have to have everyone all the way ready for school at 7:30 and lunches packed and everything. Then today I have made even more plans for after volunteering. We will probably get home at 12:30.

Fridays is playgroup and that usually takes the whole morning. Then this Friday I am meeting someone at noon.

I think I need to pare this down a bit...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wildflowers

I suddenly realized today that it's fall! And that's when one plants wildflowers. So I went out and cleared the bed from all the dead weeds and plants, and then watered it well, and then randomly scattered the seeds. This spring I will hopefully have, in addition to whatever I planted last year:

wallflower
cleome
california poppy
hedgehog cactus
indian blanketflower
wild blue flax
prairie coneflower
and of course texas bluebonnet.

Wildflowers are my favorite because every year I get a completely different show. I pick up seed packets throughout the year and just dump them all together, then see what happens. It's always a big surprise to be what we get.

So I hope that most of these come up, and that they mix with last year's stuff and look really beautiful. In six months. :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Eggplant Frittata Recipe

I plan to try this soon. I have an eggplant that will soon be bad.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCVdAItDjxo#comment

1 eggplant
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
cornmeal

Cut off top of eggplant and peel off skin. Make vertical slices like julienne fries. Boil in pot of water with a handful of salt for 5 minutes (add a few pieces of eggplant at a time to water).

Cut bell pepper in strips.

Pull the eggplant pieces out, leaving the seeds in the water.
Mash the excess water out of the eggplant and let it cool. Toss with two handfuls of cornmeal.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, then cook pepper till toasty hot. Add crushed garlic and crushed red pepper. Then add a bit of the eggplant at a time and cook. Turn the whole frittata over with the aid of a plate, cook for a few minutes, and do it again, up to 4 times. Serve with crusty bread.

Whine Whine Whine

I really don't want to do any housework today. I have no good reason why. I just don't want to.

But I need to.

Whine whine whine.


Oh I figured out why I don't want to clean up. I'd rather be here.


(Big Bend National Park, in Chisos Basin, looking out at the valley)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight Savings Time

Thank goodness for smart computers that always know the real time. This morning I totally forgot to turn my clocks, and "slept in" till 7:40, which turns out it was only 6:40. So um I think I may actually be going to the grocery store BEFORE church. Maybe?

So yeah, turn your clocks back an hour. If your computer didn't already.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cowgirl and Batman

Have I mentioned that applique sewing is difficult? I did this logo on Denali's front, and the same one on the back of his cape.

We all know how superheroes hold their hands. Denali demonstrates here.

And after you hold your hands like that, you RUN!

Emlyn's cowgirl outfit came together well. Even though she was being a toot.

Aww they're hugging. Cutie pies.


Got enough candy to last us for at least two days. Kids had fun walking around but Denali was SO SLOW. Ate some candy myself and some parmesan breadsticks and now I feel more ill than I did earlier today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Costumes

This afternoon I finally stopped procrastinating and got the kids' Halloween costumes together. Emlyn wanted to be a cowgirl, and we already had bought most of the items, but I needed to buy cowgirl boots. Denali has a brand-new Spiderman costume but wanted to be Batman instead, and he only had the cape, which had lost its logo. So today I went to the Super Target for pink boots and some black clothes for the Batman costume, and to Hobby Lobby for yellow fabric and thread.

Finding a Batman logo at the appropriate size online turned out to be very difficult. I finally had to just stretch one that I printed off. Then I sewed all afternoon. The result is great and I will be happy to show it to you- tomorrow.

The kids are super-cute in their costumes. Let the sugar-high begin.

Recipe- Carrot Cake Yumminess

This carrot cake is more healthy than the one in my Betty Crocker cookbook, although Joel likes Betty's better.

Pineapple Carrot Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice or pumpkin pie seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup baby food prunes (I usually substitute about 1/2 cup oil for this one)
1 cup honey or 1 1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
2 1/2 cup grated carrots
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of rectangular pan, 13x9x2, with shortening; lightly flour.

Beat oil, sweetener, and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add remaining ingredients except carrots, and pineapple. Beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and pineapple. Pour into pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for about an hour.

I don't use frosting on the part I eat, but you are welcome to frost yours with cream cheese frosting.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I just want to say a quick shout-out to circuit breakers everywhere.

Today a circuit kept tripping, and it took Joel all afternoon, but he finally found burn marks on the wire leading to Denali's fan. Which means that if it weren't for our trusty circuit breaker, we could have had a fire.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bashful

I want to thank all of you for your sweet words about my painting. Rest assured, I will do more when I have the time. I don't know if I'm convinced that I could sell them, but I appreciate you all so much.

Thanks again!

Big Bend National Park

This last weekend we took a four day trip to Big Bend. It was so fun and relaxing. The kids went hiking with us and had a great time, and we really enjoyed getting to know our friends better.

We had a group space in the Chisos Basin and that was definitely the way to go. They have a minimum requirement of 10 people per site, and we only had 8, but that was okay. The rangers are fairly flexible. There were 4 picnic tables on a covered concrete pavilion and 3 bear lockers for food.

The cost was $3 per person per night, and we had to pay by putting the money in an envelope and leaving it by the sign at the lower, regular campground. We were so near the bathroom it wasn't even funny, but it wasn't loud because the group area was just not overly full.

One of my friends reserved the sites online a few months earlier, and she reserved two sites. In retrospect we only needed one because it was such a long trip and the minimum is 10 people. I don't even know what the maximum is, but it must be high.

Definitely the best place to see, other than the Chisos Basin, was Santa Elena Canyon. It was beautiful and we got to hike into it. The hike was so easy a 2 year old could do it. Literally. But it was also enough of a challenge that I didn't feel silly doing it.

One interesting thing about Big Bend was that because it is basically a huge desert with a few interesting things in it, you have to do a lot of driving (or cycling I suppose) to get to the different attractions. Usually when we camp we unload the car and never get back in it the whole time. This time we were in and out of the car constantly, driving at least 20 miles at a stretch.

We also went to see the Hot Springs, which is worth the short dusty hike if you have a swimsuit and towel, and Boquillas Canyon, which is worth the trip not because of the canyon (it's not nearly as stunning as Santa Elena) but because of the Mexicans right on the other side of the Rio Grande.

You see, up until 9/11, when tourists went to Big Bend it was allowed and even encouraged to go visit the 5 small Mexican villages right on the border. In fact I would surmise that the only reason those villages are there is because of the tourists. There are no real roads to these villages from the rest of Mexico, and it's a desert. It's not like there is electricity or any real stuff to do. It was legal to go 10 miles into Mexico, or vice versa, without having a passport or visa or anything.

Anyway when 9/11 came along, the border was closed except at official crossing points. The closest ones to Big Bend are at least 50 miles away. So these 5 villages have suddenly seen their revenue dry up. It's illegal to buy a walking stick from a Mexican. It's illegal for you to even talk to them because they are on their side and we are on ours.

At the Boquillas Canyon overlook, then, some Mexicans have set their wares out. They sit under some trees on the other side of the Rio Grande, watching their wares, and wave at you. They have walking sticks for sale, along with some other little touristy things. You can buy those same items, officially, through the park, but they are incredibly marked up because of the distance they have to travel to be legal.

It was humbling and sad to realize how the world has changed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Denali's Plan

Denali: Well when someone knocks at the door, I'm going to answer it. That's my plan.
Mommy: It's important to ask Mommy before answering the door.
Denali: It's going to be someone with pizza.
Mommy: Oh, really? How will that happen?
Denali: Well they will come to the door with pizza. The pizza man will bring pizza.
Mommy: What will be on the pizza?
Denali: Just pepperoni. And one with cheese.

(later)
Mommy: What are you playing with?
Denali: A battery.
Mommy: Where is it? You're not supposed to play with batteries.
Denali: I don't know. The battery just flewed away. Oh, here it is. It just flewed away.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Honey Chicken

I made the following recipe for my family tonight. It was really really easy. Joel and I really liked it, Denali would have liked it if he was hungry, and Emlyn didn't try it.

I served it with spinach (I was the only person who actually ate that) and some toasted cheesy bread. I just sliced up some bread and put cheese slices on it, and baked it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, till the cheese was melty. Of course everyone loved the cheesy bread (who doesn't?), which I couldn't eat. At any rate it was so quick and easy, and my family appreciated it. Hope some of you get to try it!

http://www.mit.edu/~rei/Recipe.html#honey

Honey-Worcestershire Chicken

Summary: Sweet (honey), tangy (Worcestershire sauce) chicken

You'll need:

Preparation:

Optional: Beat the raw chicken breast with one of those metal cooking mallet-thingies. Chicken breast that is pounded down will cook up very soft and tender.

Cooking: Heat oil in pan til hot. (Optional: throw in slices of garlic). Throw on the chicken; immediately sprinkle some sauce on it. As it cooks, spoon some honey over it too. Yes, it's messy, and yes, it burns to the pan, but the more honey or sugar you can get on, the tastier. Add more Worcestershire sauce, too, until the chicken looks like it's coated in barbeque sauce. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked (make sure it's no longer pink on the inside), serve immediately. Steamed veggies and maybe mashed potatoes go nicely.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Red Rocks Painting


Here's the painting I did the other day. It's in watercolor, and the subject is a rock climber in Red Rocks, Nevada. I love the simplicity of it. That's how I felt when climbing there. Just simple. Climber, rock, sky. Oh and Joel did like it. He said "My wife, the artist!"

Hospitality

Well we did have lunch ready when we got home from church, but we did not have anyone over on Sunday. Some of us were not feeling well and we just decided we would need more planning time and maybe to modify the plans. Perhaps we will invite someone out for lunch, or invite them to our house for a week in the future.

Tomorrow morning early we are leaving for a camping trip. I will have to pack the car completely today. So that's what I'm doing. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hospitality

Last week at a ministry meeting our pastor encouraged us to invite someone we didn't know into our house after church on a Sunday morning. Usually we don't get home from church until about 1:45, so that makes for a very late lunch and if it needs any preparation at all it's pretty much impossible.

This morning I put some chicken and veggies in a crockpot (here's hoping it turns out yummy) and made a pecan pie and carrot cake. One of the good things about going to the 11:30 service is that you actually do have time before church to prepare if you are on top of things.

So my prayer this morning is that we would find a couple or family or person who we don't know, who would be willing to drive 30 minutes to eat dinner in someone's home. Lord, hear my prayer.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I painted a picture tonight for the first time in years. I love painting but often don't have the energy or ability to concentrate. Tonight, though, I did.

I think it turned out tolerably well. I'll think about posting a picture of it after Joel sees it and tells me whether or not it's completely horrible.

Painting makes me peaceful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"I Not Sick"

(This picture was not taken on the day Denali was sick)


Denali: I not sick mommy.
Mommy: Yes you are. You have fever.
D: No I not. Sometimes boys and girls get sick but I not sick. I want chocolate milk.
M: I'm sorry to tell you you are still sick. But you may have some chocolate milk.
D: You see those arrows (on a box)? They tell me I not sick. That one tells me I not sick and that one tells me I sick.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sick again

Denali came downstairs at 5:15 am. I took him back upstairs and tucked him in.

Then he threw up.

Now I'm in mom-of-sick-child mode. Towels, blankets, resting on our thankfully leather couch.

I am frustrated because this is the third week I will miss ladies' class. I really wanted to go this week. I'm convinced this is Satan because this is one of the only reasons I would stay away this week.

So I'm calling you out Satan. You better enjoy this week of me not going to class because next week I am going.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Caves

Emlyn, Daniel, Me holding Denali, and Grace
When my brother Daniel was here for our birthday we drove down to Natural Bridge Caverns. I love caves (when I'm not lost in them) and we had a good time. They took a picture and I wouldn't have bought their (extremely) overpriced photo but the lady said it made her laugh because of the kids. So we bought it, and it is pretty funny. I guess.

Puzzled

The last two days I have mostly been occupied with completing a 750 piece puzzle. I finished it this afternoon. It's pretty. I like puzzles, but they are not always kid-friendly. Denali is at a stage now where he can leave puzzles alone if asked to, so this went well.

Tomorrow I have declared to be "clean my house and catch up on paperwork day." I have a few important emails that take longer than 30 seconds to write, and I have to balance the checkbook, and the house is starting to look more cluttered than usual.

That is the end of my story.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Stay at Home?

As part of my constant struggle to stay less busy rather than more, I have now made a new rule about volunteering at Emlyn's school. Two hours a week, tops. I canceled on the librarian for today because I felt that Denali and I needed some time at home.

He's actually had two real naps in the last two days, and everyone is happier.

I honestly do not know why this is a struggle for me. I know people who are great and content at staying home all day. I just can't seem to figure out how to be content with this house. Plus I see all the fun things there are to do out of the house. I know if I stayed home more my house would be more clean (maybe) and better decorated (maybe?).

The whole reason I don't have a paying job is for Emlyn and Denali. Yet most of the time I don't structure our time wisely.

Ah well. I try not to worry about it too much. And when I feel too frazzled, I scale back.

Tomorrow is our Parent/Teacher Conference. Hope it goes well, and the teacher doesn't come up with a problem, like "Emlyn actually has 5 legs, not two. That's an issue."

I feel woefully uninformed about our presidential election. I got a call today and felt stupid. Is Al Sharpton a democrat or republican? I don't know. Guess it's time to do some research.

Monday, October 01, 2007

We Can't Do it Alone Discussion Questions and References

References

Matthew 6:1-4
“Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men, I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”


Matthew 25:34-40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
“Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
“The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”


Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


“Move Me Aside” Lindsey Kane
move me like You move the trees/change me like You change the leaves/calm me like You calm the seas/Lord move me aside and move/free me like You free the rains/break me like You break the chains/use me like You use the pain/move me aside and move/chorus: Lord here I am/move me aside and move in me/move in this place/until I embrace You King of Kings/move me aside/water me like You water the land/hold me like You hold out Your hand/love me like only You can/Lord move me aside and move/rule me like You rule on high/fill me like You fill what is dry/lift me like You lift the sky/move me aside and move/repeat chorus/apart from You I can't do anything/let it be more of You less of me/and would You use me and show me it's all for Your glory/move me aside and move/Lord here I am/repeat chorus

“A Stone for a Pillow” Madeleine L'Engle
p. 18
We need to remember that the house of God is not limited to a building that we usually visit for only a few hours on Sunday. The house of God is not a sage place. It is a cross where time and eternity meet, and where we are—or should be—challenged to live more vulnerably, more interdependently. Where...we can listen to the stars.

Discussion Questions

1.Read Madeleine L'Engle's passage, above. How can you live more vulnerably, more interdependently? What does that look like?




2.Lindsey Kane, a local musician, asks God to move her aside, to get her out of His way. Why is it so hard to turn off our judging brains and our prideful hearts?




3.Share a time when someone served you and you felt Jesus acting through that person.

We Can't Do it Alone

This evening I am honored to be able to speak at Affairs of the Heart, a women's monthly meeting at my church. I've finally got my lesson done so I'm going to post it here. If you're coming tonight, don't read this till later.

My name is Sarah. I've been a member at this church for 3 years and I've been in God's church my whole life. One of the roles I fill here is that of Good Works. People call me when they see a physical need that we can help fill. We do meals for stressful times. We help mobilize the church family when a person has need of food, clothing, a place to live, or furniture. Often the only part I have to do is organize the list and watch it fill up. It's a fabulous job.

Overwhelmed. Overwrought. Out of money. Out of time. Out of food. Alone. Sad. Exhausted.

Do any of those phrases sound familiar to you? I'm sure they do. Saran loves those words, words of pain and defeat and hopelessness. Words that tell us there's no use in even trying, or that this joy you're experiencing is also a trial.

I'm here to remind you today that these words are not the words of God. This life is full of peaks and valleys. Sometimes you need a person to experience those peaks and valleys with you. Sometimes God, though real, seems far away. I'm here to remind you that WE are God's hands and feet.

Matthew 25:34-40.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
“Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
“The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

I'm here to remind you that we can do seemingly small things to build each other up. We all go through times when even cooking is overwhelming (well, that's overwhelming for me all the time). Births, deaths, surgeries, sickness. I know many many people who will testify that at these exhausting times, the blessing of someone else preparing dinner is more than the sum of its parts. It is not just rice and chicken and a deliveryman. It is life, encouragement, and support. It is help, hope, and healing.

Chinell sent an email a few weeks ago thanking our church for the meals we brought earlier this year after the stillbirth of her daughter Rebecca. Part of that awesome story reads:

“It is not just about the food... it is about knowing that there are people... sisters and brothers out there that care. I did not know anyone, but the Lord knew us and brought us together.”

There are other tangible ways to help each other through this journey we're all on. Dawn recently visited our church and requested prayers. Her prayer request went out to the entire church and helped us all know she was experiencing homelessness with her two children. Our awesome church family was able to provide her with food, gas money, toiletries, clothing, and a home to stay in. We did all of this in 3 days. I sat and watched the signup list fill and I was blown away. There is no way I could have helped her so much by myself. She got over 5 job leads as soon as I sent the request out. I feel so honored to be part of this ministry.

I have to admit there are times when I have doubts about the emails I send out. Perhaps I worry that the need is not big enough, or that there have been too many at one time, or that not enough people know the person in need. I am therefore amazed when, after I put the need out there, the slots fill up. Over and over. I'm slowly learning to ignore those doubts, say a prayer, and send the email. I quit judging others' motives and started judging my own. I occasionally have to ask twice, but overall so many great works have been done in Jesus' name.

We can't do it alone. We are not living in a void. But we need to ask for help. Stop being shy. Stop worrying that your need is not big enough. Ask a friend for help. Ask a stranger for help! We can support each other in losing weight, babysitting, finding jobs, cooking meals, and above all striving to learn more about and become more like God.

If you are going about your day and someone's name pops into your head, act on it. Call them. Write an email or (gasp!) a card. Pray for them. Go visit them. Those seemingly random thoughts are not as random as you might thing. And what's the worst that could happen? You call a friend to encourage her and help, and instead her day is going well! And she helps you instead! Oh no! How horrible! :)

Connect with your sisters. You will be immeasurably blessed.

Play song “Move Me Aside.”

My Sweet Husband

Yesterday was a very special day. Emlyn and I got to go to see "Sleeping Beauty" at the children's theatre all by ourselves, no guys allowed. Joel was sweet enough to watch Denali while we went.

It was a great time and I thought the performers did a fabulous job.

Later Joel asked me if I still wanted to go to Lindsey Kane's CD release concert. I've loved her music, especially the song "Satisfied" which was my theme song for an entire year. I thought I wouldn't be able to go because of the Sleeping Beauty play.

But Joel insisted. "She's your favorite artist! Of course you should go!!"

And I said "I don't want to go by myself!" I thought it would be too late to find someone to come with me. I even called Chinell and she was like "You are so silly!"

But Joel insisted. So I went. And had a great time. I am really impressed with her work. I am still not used to venues where you have to stand up the whole time, but I think that's the standard, rather than the exception. I found a piece of wall to lean against and that made me feel better.

I liked a lot of her songs, and I'll post about one tomorrow. Let's just say that it was a lovely evening and I really appreciate my husband.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

More Scriptures on the Car

The other day we were painting pumpkins at playgroup and I decided to do a couple more scriptures on the car since the paints were out and I had people to watch Denali while I did it. One gal had a Bible so I was able to find two more to put on there.

The first one is "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Revelation 4:8.


The second one is "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Some new things I learned this time were that Windex takes off fresh acrylic paint, so if it's been less than a couple of hours, you can take it off if you messed up. I also learned that it can even take off old paint if you try really hard. I was able to fix the ones I messed up but neither of them turned out as well as I hoped. On the other hand they are now all protected with polyurethane so I don't have to worry about flaking. The one that was on the trunk had flaked off with the original car paint so I had to do touchups on that one.

Here's some of our previous scriptures, and some more.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Long Overdue Photo Update

Denali took this picture. I'm skinny! That's all I could say when looking at it. So weird to look at a picture and see skinny.


This is a partial shot of the blorange quilt I made for my sister. It took me two years because I don't ever have enough time for quilting.


We can get Emlyn far enough up a rock wall so that she can swing. That's the only reason she'll climb usually, is for the swinging afterward.


"You cannot get through unless you ask."


My bro Daniel came to visit. It was fun.

Growing Up

The retreat was wonderful. I was renewed and reminded that our fight is not against unruly children and dirty houses; our fight is against Satan himself. I try to remember that each day.

My son, who will be 3 in January, is growing up. Almost every day he uses the potty at least once, and usually at his request.

Tonight he asked to sleep in the big bed in his room rather than his crib. I nonchalantly said "sure!" but inside I am aching. What will I do without a crib?

Sell it for money, maybe! :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My cup overflows

I had a lovely birthday full of family and fun and well-wishes.

We started the day by letting Emlyn's teacher know that she would not be in class "for personal reasons." Then we proceeded to wander around, having fun and spending money all day. We finally got back to town and went to a Japanese steakhouse for dinner, one of those where they cook the food right in front of you. They thought it was weird that there were 3 birthday celebrants at the table, but it was so cool- at the end they gave us each some cake and a set of nice chopsticks.

Overall it was so full of laughter and fun, it makes me want to do it all over again. If only every day could be like yesterday, where we spend exorbitant amounts of money, skip school, and leave the housework alone.

Of course the kitchen is starting to smell kinda funny, so I guess I need to clean. And I also need to start with packing for the women's retreat I'm going to tomorrow. Pray for Joel, as he will have the kids all to himself all weekend.

Pictures will someday be uploaded. Maybe.

Monday, September 10, 2007

So Sad!

Emlyn, on our way to school this morning:

I've got so much owies in all my bendable places today!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Birthday Season

In our family we have a lot of birthdays in September.

On the 12th Joel, my sister Grace, my mother-in-law Linda, and me have our birthday.

Yes. You read that right.

Grace and I, and Joel and Linda, all have the same birthday. Then a couple days later is Joel's brother-in-law's birthday. Not to mention a few more cousins and relatives scattered about the month.

I've grown up having the same birthday as my sister, so I'm pretty much used to it. But now that there's four of us, it's almost like another Christmas. Lots of money spending and having fun.

It's weird though, because this is what I think on my birthday:
"It's my birthday. That's awesome! I should get to sleep in and have cake all day and Joel should watch the kids and cook.
Oh. It's my husband's birthday. I should let him sleep in and give him cake all day and I should cook him a great meal."

Do you see the dilemma here?

I've been enjoying my birthday present from Joel- it's an iPod second generation. It's really fun. I'm also hosting a Pampered Chef show for my birthday so I can get some new pans, so if you need anything cooking-wise, let me know.

This year my brother, who is a senior in college, will be flying in for the week and hanging out with us. What? He's skipping class? Who told you?

We will go swimming and out to dinner. And generally have a good time. The only problem is whether Grace and Daniel and I can get our other sister Ruth to come and skip school as well, maybe just for a couple of days. Should we be a bad influence on the youngest sister? It's a 3.5 hour drive from her school to here. Grace lives here too. So I think she could do it.

Would I have done it when I was in college? Probably not. But I sure am excited to see my bro.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Denali

Denali has been getting more attention this week with Emlyn being at school. This morning we were taking our time walking home and playing with speed.

First Denali asked to walk really slowly. So we happily did that.

Next he asked to walk faster. We walked faster.

Then we were running!

And then, with a sly grin upon his face, he said "Now, mommy, carry me!"



Who could resist?

I carried him.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Massages

I would just love to say yet again that I love my massage place. It is so relaxing. If you like massages, and you live in my area, you should totally check them out. I go once a month and it's 39/hour before tip. I tip $9 because my lady is so good.

Today I kinda fell asleep a little bit. I was totally in the more relaxed zone I could be. It was lovely.

Ahh, makes even watching an extra kid seem easy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten

Emlyn and Mrs. T.


Emlyn had a whole entourage to walk her to school today. Joel came along, which he won't usually do.

We got to see our neighbors and friends walking to school as well. We are only about a block and a half from the school. It's an ideal distance.

For lunch she had honeydew melon, cheese, sausage, and bread cut into flowers. She requested triangles for tomorrow. She also had some green bell pepper.


Denali and I had an almost normal day. We waited for the plumber (didn't take him long to fix the problem), and then went on some errands. I should have had him nap before picking Emlyn up because they just want to play together now, not rest. For the first 9 weeks Emlyn will rest at school.

She looked very weary when I picked her up. And it was stinkin' hot! I know it will just get cooler from here but it was hard to make them walk faster than... standing. I brought a snack and some water. It was too hot to play on the playground.

Yesterday we finished up with swim lessons. Emmy got to ride in a boat! It was awesome.

Tomorrow is a busy day. I'll drop Emlyn off and then go get a massage and then watch another boy for the rest of the day. I guess I need to go get my tired-but-not-sleepy kids and bring them downstairs to play.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ummm, oops?

I have been mailing lots of things lately. Yesterday I took three packages to the post office. One was for Grandma Linda, one for a friend, and one for Joel's dad's sister-in-law. This morning I looked for the package that's supposed to come with me to my grandmother's birthday party. It has the scrapbooking pages in it, as well as photos for others of my cute kids.

It's not here.

But Grandma Linda's envelope is here.

Which means that the package for today is really on its way to Alaska.

Excellent.

Thankfully I scanned those pages into my blog, so I can print them out and take them with me today, with a promise of the real thing coming.

I am a dork sometimes.

Oh and I mailed a pic to one of my friends that I had written "to Granna" on it. Did I mention I am a dork sometimes?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Freedom and Joy

A few days ago I took the kids to an evening "Back-to-school bash" for my alma mater. Joel couldn't come along and I wasn't smart enough to invite my friends who also attended the same school.

Emlyn picked out her favorite party dress to wear. Denali just wore whatever.

When we arrived I was both pleased and dismayed to see a huge in-ground pool in the backyard, where the party was taking place. Almost immediately both of my children went and sat down on the edge of the pool and stuck their feet in. They took their shoes off first so that didn't bother me. In fact, I stuck my feet in too. It was a warm evening and the water was nice and cool.

At first I was somewhat chagrined to be at a party with lots of adults and a few kids, and me sitting with my feet in the pool with my kids. They were excited to be there and running around the pool, getting balloons out and gradually getting more and more wet. Denali eventually got wet up to his armpits.

As the evening wore on, and my small-talking abilities (what little there were to begin with) petered out, I spent more and more time watching my kids play with the other kids there and with the water.

And you know what? I had a good time anyway, even though I didn't have any philosophical conversations about university or religion or politics. I didn't even hardly meet anyone new. Instead I played.

Inspired by this post over at Lilting House.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ehow Expert of the Day

Tomorrow I am ehow's expert of the day. I don't know if it's because I'm any good, or simply because they have to have a new one every day and they're just at the bottom of the barrel, but I still think it's cool.

If you have any ideas of articles I could write, let me know in the comments.

Here's the text from the people at ehow:

Hi, I just wanted to congratulate you on being selected as our eHow Expert of the Day. Your profile will be featured in our community page and our eHow community will take notice for your contribution on our site. Be sure to tell your friends and family about your accomplishment. Your profile will be up on 8/23/2007. You can check it out here: http://www.ehow.com/community.html
So go check it out (on Thursday): http://www.ehow.com/community.html

Or if you just want to see my profile: http://www.ehow.com/members/princessbride42.html

Grandma Billie and Kindergarten Preparation

Grandma Billie is having her 75th birthday party on Saturday. It will be a great time with all eight of her children there. One of her sons is organizing it and he asked us to do a scrapbook page with some thoughts or memories of Grandma Billie.

I wrote a couple of sentences and sent them to my uncle, and he responded "sounds good! I'll be looking forward to seeing your scrapbook page!" which challenged me to go ahead and do one. I took a regular sized piece of paper and set to work. I do not scrapbook very often at all, and I only have a few supplies, but I think it came out well. Then Emlyn asked if she could do one, and so there you have it. Our additions to Grandma's book.






---

Emlyn starts Kindergarten soon and we have been practicing getting up, dressed, out the door, etc. Today went pretty well if we hadn't needed lunch. We had a leisurely walk to the playground and played for a bit before coming back home.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Toilet Training

I may have found the key to Denali's potty training. Juice is a precious commodity at our house. Denali has not been able to drink it for about a year, ever since he got Toddler Diarrhea. The other day he was asking for juice (he still knows it exists) and I had an epiphany.

"Of course you can have juice, Denali. Right after you poop in the potty."

His 2.75 year old eyes gleamed. He thought it over for a few minutes.

As we went up to bed I took off his diaper in preparation for a new one. "Would you like to try and go poop in the potty, Denali? Remember you get juice if you do!" And lo and behold, we went and he sat on the potty and pooped. Hallelujah! And lest you think it was a coincidence, he did it again this morning.

What?

Okay, it is technically bribery. But I totally believe in bribery for certain things. And potty training is one of those things. I had tried to bribe him with stickers, but he doesn't care about stickers.

Emlyn has also jumped on the bandwagon. Our deal with her is that every book she reads all the way through, she gets some juice.

Bring on the juice.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Pictures of the Kids





I paid good money for some professional photos of the kids recently. They came back and I am very happy with the results. These images are copyrighted by Wa*l*ma*rt. So don't download them unless you ask first.

I think they turned out really well. If you would like a copy of any of them please let me know which one and what size. If you are a grandparent or close relative you are already getting one but you could tell me what size you want.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Independence Day in August

EDIT: I fixed the link for the coloring pages. It should work now.

Yesterday the kids were waving around the flags I bought at Office Depot on clearance. They were marching and acting very patriotic. I started singing "You're a Grand Old Flag" and couldn't really remember the words very well. Then I remembered my new favorite friend iTunes. I went on their store and searched for patriotic music and what do you know? My favorite kids' music company has an America album. Cedarmont Kids are a Christian group and they always have great worship songs sung by kids. It isn't extremely annoying either. So I bought the whole album and then burned it onto a CD. We were marching all over the living room with it turned up really loud.

Then Emlyn took it a step further and wanted me to be making flags and coloring them. I decided to google and find some pre-made coloring sheets for Independence Day. I used these.

We had lots of fun and now I feel that we've really done a great job celebrating our country's independence a month late.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Baseball Game

These pictures are from a ball game we went to last week with our small group. It was a great time! I am not posting any pics of our small group because I didn't ask permission. They are all very beautiful happy people too. :)

Grandpa Jim and Denali


Denali and Me
(Do you notice this is a candid, and I look skinny? It's great!)


Grandpa and Emlyn

Cotton candy!

Quit taking pictures!

Taking Care of Business

About once a week my desk and computer chores get overwhelming and I let the kids watch a bit of TV while I catch up. This is when I make sure all the receipts are entered, clear my desk (somewhat), clear out my email inbox, send off bills, etc.

Today I am happy to announce that I have once again done these things and my mind and computer (and kinda desk) are much less cluttered. Unfortunately I know I will have to do it again next week.

It's kinda like the kitchen, living room, and laundry. I may let things slide a bit in those rooms, but at the least I get caught up once a week. I notice a big difference in how I feel once those things have been done.

Now I should really do some filing.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A really cool site

Thanks to Parent Hacks I have a site for Emlyn to play on. Should be hours of fun.

WallOVERS

It's somewhat about math.

Say Bye-Bye to Siding

Our city has a program I refer to as "bulky pickup week." Twice a year you get to put out all the big things that don't fit into a trash can and the city will take them away for you. It's fun to watch all the other people cruise by looking for a free treasure. A lot of the time our stuff does not even make it to the city because other people take it first. Which the city is okay with.

Anyway for some reason no one wants old rotten siding, except, I guess, the city. So it sat out for a couple weeks and this morning the coolest truck came to pick it up. The city has two kinds of trucks. One is a huge claw hand that comes off the top of one truck, picks up the stuff, and drops it into an open-top truck. It's like a crane or something...

The one that came today is way cool. The back is open. Workers load stuff in. Then a dragging claw/hand thing comes up and over the stuff, chomps down, and drags the stuff back inside while making a horrendous noise. It's awesome to see it eat a couch or half a house's worth of siding.

I should have taken pictures. I wonder if they allow that.

Anyway half the siding has been replaced and the old stuff hauled off. We (and by "we" I mean "hard-working men", not "me") are making progress, people.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lunch #2: Tacos for Joel

This morning I was almost at a loss as to what I should send for Joel. We are out of leftovers and frozen entrees. So I made him a bento lunch (the first for him). Contents:
andouille sausage over black beans
tortillas
salsa
sour cream
cheese
blueberries

I wrapped a cold pack in a paper towel to keep it cool and it all fit nicely into a little box with a handle. Let's see if he likes it.

The only thing he would have to reheat (if he wants to) is a silicone dish with the black beans and sausage.

The kids and I will be having pasta salad (thanks to Chinell), pineapple, and hard boiled eggs.

This is so fun! Let's see if it lasts until school starts.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lunch Time!

I have been thinking about lunch-packing a lot recently. Joel has been short of leftovers to take now that we have two kids eating so much, and he usually gets CRAP to take with him. I feel bad about that. I don't want Emlyn to have the same problem, so I've recently subscribed to two blogs that are excellent for figuring out the age-old question: what to do about lunch.

The first one is:
http://lunchinabox.net/

The second one is:
http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com

They are both really excellent. If you look at the way the food is presented you can see how appetizing it looks. I want to eat it!

Therefore I went to the Dollar Tree and bought some things that I think will work as far as containers go, and this afternoon I made my first "bento" box. I'm not really sure what to call it, but it sure makes me want to eat it. Here are some pictures.

These two pieces screw together and have a lid. There's blueberries, cucumber, a couple flower ice cubes, apple chicken sausage, green bell pepper, and quesadilla.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Babies

Today I started my year of service in the infant room at church. We have a simple curriculum which consists of about 15 songs we sing every week to the kiddos. They love the music and learn just a bit about God, then they play for the rest of the time.

I had a good time, even though one of the little girls cried almost constantly. I love singing to babies. They are certainly captive audiences.

I'll be doing this every week that I'm in town. For a year. Hopefully that will cure me of my baby longing. :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Old Friends

Left to right: Joel, me, Julie, Varsa


Julie and Varsa, newly married, came to visit us this week. We were able to find a sitter and get out and go bowling. The place we went was horribly expensive but we had a great time. We also went out to dinner at a local restaurant. I ate some yummy food.

Then we picked up the kids and put them to bed, and then played cards to all hours of the night. It was great fun!

Julie and Varsa seem to be a well-matched couple. We enjoyed getting to know him better and visiting with our old friend. They are going camping in Colorado and then moving to Australia. We wish them well in their future endeavors. Maybe someday we will be as cool as they are.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sad

Well our three week experiment in hermit crab ownership is officially over. I did my best and spent a lot of money, but they both died.

We picked them up on a whim while Grandma Linda was here, and I immediately researched care and ownership. I went and got them a great aquarium (thanks Grace) and sand and things to climb on and better shells and everything. Emlyn's had never been as active and died about a week ago. Denali's was excited about life but died today.

I fed them all kinds of food and did my best with the resources I had. I won't say I am 100% guilt-free here. The other day I gave the crab a 20 minute bath instead of 2 minutes. But this website says that if they die within a month of purchase there was probably not much you could do about it and it was just the stress of being caught, transported, etc. I am glad they had a good life in the wild before being captured. They were both pretty big.

I will say that the website, hermit-crabs.com, is a really awesome resource. And I will also say that hermit crabs are not as easy as you might think to keep alive.

Now I have to figure out how to tell Emlyn.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pictures for the Grandmas

Even when she's being silly she's still beautiful. And starting Kindergarten in less than a month.


This was my mother's day hat made for me by Emlyn at preschool. Isn't it gorgeous?


Denali trying to ride his sister's bike. He couldn't care less about his tricycle.


I think there is a boy under there.

State Tetris Revisited

I wanted to brag; I got the hard version completed in 5:28. Cause I'm the bomb.

Trying to upload some pictures here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Denali Saying

Don't remember if I've blogged about this so I thought I would write it down before I forget.

Denali: Mommy, I has an idea.
Mommy: What's your idea?
Denali: A yellow idea!

He loves anything yellow. We thought it was so funny that that was almost all he said for 2 weeks.

US Tetris

A really fun map version of Tetris. Check it out.

Thanks to Lilting House and Boing Boing for the link.

Chronicles of Narnia

I love the Chronicles of Narnia. My grandparents gave me my first set when I was about 8 or 9. I still have all of them even though one kid moved away after borrowing one. I tracked him down.


About 15 years ago someone decided to renumber them according to when they supposedly occurred in Narnia instead of the order in which they were published. This bugs me because it changes the whole feel of the series. Here's the order they were published in:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician's Nephew
The Last Battle

Here's the order someone decided they should be read in:
The Magician's Nephew
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Silver Chair
The Last Battle

I would propose that the Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy are both too esoteric to be that early in the series. You really have to be invested in the series to enjoy these two, and someone thinks they should be #1 and #3? Come on people!

So when I acquired the series for the church's library I renumbered them to their original publishing order. Call me silly.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Trip to the Post Office

This afternoon we walked to the post office to mail some packages. I was thankful that it was about to rain because it was much cooler than it could have been at this time of day. We didn't get rain until we were back home, and then we put the stuff on the porch and played in the rain for a few minutes. It was great fun. The thunder didn't come for about 10 minutes and then we were ready to come in anyway. Now the kids are watching some TV and I'm watching some professional development video.

Well Great.

I just found out that the rest of the world spells "hippy" with an "ie" at the end instead of a "y." So it's misspelled. And wikipedia talks a lot about hippies doing drugs and I don't do drugs. So what do you think? Should I change my blog name again? Do I need to spell it correctly? Am I so lame that I'm worrying about this?

On the other hand, my blog is google's 7th result for "hippy". I guess not many people misspell it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter

Finished Harry Potter at 1 am. It was SO GOOD.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sick

Well I don't know what it is that I've got, but the only thing that helps me sleep is cough medicine. I finally took some last night and got a few hours. Then I took some this morning and now I'm woozy. It's good I don't have to drive anywhere I guess.

The rain is preventing the siding going up quickly, but I got a bunch of yummy tomatos from Angela this morning. So that's okay.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Rain!

It's raining again today. I wouldn't care except we have our friend here trying to do new siding for our house. Luckily there's some part underneath the screened-in porch which he can work on.

The kids are playing with our friend's kids. So that's fun. They are having so much fun they haven't hardly even asked for food yet. That's a good sign.

My house is getting cleaner. That's also good.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fun

Thankfully the kids are happy with the remote control cars today. We cleaned up the living room and now they're crashing them everywhere. I am still busy trying to do office things.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Weigh-In Thursday


149.

That's 1 pound BELOW my goal weight!

It's been 8 months and I have completely revamped the way I eat and think about food. I still have my bad days, and I probably still have issues with food, but now I know I can lose weight and since it's been so slow the past four months I also know I can maintain a weight.

I went from a size 18 to a size 10 in the same brand of jeans. I have bony lumps where there used to be only soft dough. My wedding and engagement rings fit loosely.

But I can't eat your pizza. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sun

Well summer finally arrived after a full month of overcast skies and unending rain. Today I took the kids to the botanical garden and we had a great time. My only problem was that I wore a polyester dress and that my camera ran out of batteries almost immediately.

Some of the highlights were:
Real fossilized dino footprints
A HUGE foot-long centipede with yellow legs
Getting to know my newish friend more
Some pretty flowers

I've been writing how-tos on another website. I've earned 10 cents so far, so that's cool. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to tell. I have some fancy-sounding contract thingy with them so I can make money. Anyway that's why I haven't been updating as much recently.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

technorati

c5bda4sutv

Who am I?

Sorry I haven't been posting; life has been crazy recently.

Grandma Linda came into town and has been giving my wardrobe a makeover. I've been getting lots of dates with Joel. We got two hermit crabs. The rain has finally stopped a little bit.

My brother is on a mission trip in Papua New Guinea, my dad had a birthday, and Joel finished the fence all the way so we can now move on to a new project: the siding.

I'll update more later!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rain and Kayaks and Cameras

A. It has been raining every day for two weeks. I LOVE RAIN! I am still not sick of it, but then we haven't had flooding so that's probably why.

B. In the rain last night Joel went out to by a used kayak with accessories. At 10 pm. He got $100 off the price because he went last night.

C. Joel, the amazing husband, fixed our camera last night. We had bought a new one because we didn't know if the old one was fixable, and Joel likes to wait to take things apart till we have a replacement. But he fixed it!

D. My friends are so nice to me! One of them gave me a bag of super cute clothes. I'm wearing purple today.

E. I have to go get the kids up cause I have somewhere to be at 8:30. Why is it they always sleep in on the mornings you don't want them to?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hummingbird

I just saw, in our backyard, a hummingbird. I do believe it's the first one we've had. It was blue and seemed to be somewhat interested in our salvia. How cool!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Thrifting and Altering

I got to go to a thrift store today with some friends. They were gracious enough to watch my kids while I tried on 17 items. Thanks! The store was having a 1/2 off everything in the store so I spent $31 and got 6 clothing items and some toys for the kids.

One of the dresses, which I spent $6.50 on, was lacking something. I figured out that it was a waistline. So I made one.

Here's the dress before alterations. Pretend it's not crooked and that my neck isn't bisected. Although it does make my neck look long!


I measured my ribcage just under my bra and fiddled with different widths for the sashing. This fabric is very stiff and black. I bought it for fixing Joel's car, but there's enough for me too. I decided 2" was about right. So I cut a length of fabric about 33 inches long (2 for give room) and 3 inches wide. Then I called my fabulous neighbor over to pin it on. Neighbors are great because I really really wanted it done by tonight.


I found some buttons in my button box for the back. The dress wouldn't go over my head without a little more give so I just sewed the sash on the front half and the back half is loose, then buttoned. I stole some dress hangers out of another dress to make the loops for the buttons.

Then after about another hour, with the kids watching TV, I finished it. I don't have a closeup of the buttons in the back. Imagine them. This one is taken at my neighbor's house.

And this one with my neighbor's camera. I like the sharpness of the image.
So there you have it! $6.50 and 2 hours of my time for a really cute dress.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thornless Blackberry Bushes Installed

Joel's sister brought us some thornless blackberry bushes from the University of Arkansas. We counted about 17, which is technically too many for the space, but you can see that some of them are pretty sad from being transplanted. So we doubled up the spacing, figuring that half of them would die.

First we dug 16 holes and stuck one plant in each hole, except one hole got two. We filled the holes with a mixture of compost and the existing dirt.


Then we added lots and lots of water.


Then we took some paper bags we got for free from Lowe's and put it down around each plant.


Next we put mulch on top of the paper. This is pine bark mulch, which in the U of A's study did the best for production.

We borrowed some bricks from the neighboring bed to edge it out. Here soon we're going to go get a bunch of limestone from a local supplier and edge it all out in style.


Did I mention we watered again? We want to give these plants as much of a chance of survival as we can.

It will probably be a couple of years before we get any berries, but we'll take care of them and keep hoping.

Oh and we did all of this between 8:30 and 10 pm tonight. After the kids were asleep and it wasn't hot. It actually worked well.

We harvested our first peach today.