Saturday, December 30, 2006


I've been tagged, so here goes...

A - Available or taken? Taken, and so thankful for it
B - Best friend? Dustin... he knows every gory detail of my past and present
C - Cake or pie? Definitely cake, as long as there is good frosting! Maus Foods had the best and I mourned the day they closed their doors!
D - Drink of choice? Mr. Pibb and Cherry Coke. With food I love an icy cold glass of milk
E - Essential item you use every day? Sleep number bed (best purchase we ever made!) and a CD player
F - favorite color? pink
G - Gummy bears or worms? Neither
H - Hometown? Born in Buffalo hospital, lived in Monticello
I - Indulgence? Does sleep count?
J - January of February? February because of Linus' birthday!
K - Kids and names? Miles (6), Linus (4), and Greta (2)
L - Life is incomplete without? Jesus, my husband and kids (and on a more Earthly level, air conditioning!)
M - Marriage date? December 15th
N - Number of siblings? 4 older brothers: Bill, Ben, Nate and Noah
O - Oranges or apples? Apples (Honeycrisp are the favorite in our house)
P - Phobias or fears? Woodticks! and I don't like heights either
Q - Favorite quote? I am a quote fanatic so it's hard to choose a favorite. I read a new one recently that I really like: "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." - Laura Ingalls Wilder
R - Reason to smile? My husband has had the last week off of work!
S - Season? Spring and Fall
T - Tag three or four people. I'm not sure who has or hasn't already been tagged but I'll say Kelly, Steph Balvin, and Chad
U - Unknown fact about me? I LOVE gameshows!
V - Vegetable you don't like? Not enough space or time to list them all
W - Worst habit? Biting my nails
X - X-rays? lots
Y - Your favorite food? everything Italian
Z - Zodiac? Gemini

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Miles' first concert

Miles had his first "Holiday concert" last week. He's in the front row next to the girl in the purple dress. Next to him is his friend, Dawson. Next to Dawson is my nephew Quinn. They did a really nice job... it was so fun to watch all of the first graders. While they were singing some were fluffing their dresses, picking their noses, and gazing at the ceiling. It was a really fun time!

A sign of Christmas

There may not be any snow yet but the stockings are hung at my mom and dad's house and that can mean only one thing.... Christmas is almost here! I remember when I was a kid there were only 5 stockings; one for me and each of my 4 brothers. Now my mom has added one for her and my dad, the spouses and all of the grandkids. The Christmas celebration at the Youngs' is always a full house!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Grandpa Brown

Dustin's grandpa died on Friday. This is the same grandpa that had a close call a few months back. He has been sick for awhile and was really starting to lose his memory.

What's funny (not funny= ha ha, but funny= strange coincidence) is that he died on our anniversary which is the same date that Grandma Brown's funeral was 5 years ago. Weird.

'Tis the season...

The Brown family has now officially entered the winter/sick season. Miles is the first this year, succoming to strep throat. We've had the "strep is going around school" note home a few times already, the most recent was earlier this week. I ended up bringing him to the doctor on Friday because of a sore throat and fever. At least he has been on amoxiciillian long enough so we didn't have to miss this weeks Kidstuf! He's still not feeling the greatest; probably because all three kids have also been battling colds.

No one else has any strep symptoms yet.....

Friday, December 15, 2006

For D

I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you is having the best day of my life

Today is our anniversary. I hate to get all mushy but I can't help that I'm still so crazy about you! Isn't it funny how God works... that the 2 of us, lost and wandering, would find each other and then find Him? I am so blessed to have you for a husband. I know that there is no such thing as a "perfect" person but you are certainly my perfect match. You balance me out in every way, keep me sane when everything's going crazy, and can make me laugh like no other. You are an incredible man. I love you, babe. Happy anniversary!

That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too

Monday, December 11, 2006

The most wonderful time of the year

I have to admit it... Christmastime always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I love that everyone seems to have an extra bounce in their step. And I love the excitement that is buzzing around kids.

Our halls are decked, almost to the point of tacky. Our house has Christmas music playing the majority of the time. In the car we tune into 107.9, which plays only Christmas tunes now. We have watched most of our Christmas movies at least once (and will watch them many more times this season!) We added Elf to our selection this year because it is one of my favorites, right along with A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph.

We have most of our shopping done. It's going to be a smaller Christmas this year because of a tight budget. We're still paying down medical bills from this summer (about $2,000 left) and we added a car payment with the purchase of the much needed Focus. I've come to terms with it... we need to live within our means... but it has always been a delicious daydream of mine to have unlimited funds so I could bless all of those around me. I can't even imagine how much fun it would be to get everyone who has touched our lives this past year something special. (The gifts wouldn't have to be expensive, it's just that there are so many of you out there!)

My kids have their letters into Santa... Miles wrote the whole thing himself this year. I love the excitement in their eyes as they discuss what they think Santa will bring this year. I know some people don't like the idea of Santa; that it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas, but we have melted the Santa thing in with the birth of Jesus. My kids know that we celebrate Christmas because of Jesus. We've told them that Santa brings presents to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Miles has asked why we don't wrap any presents for Jesus since it's His birthday. I told him that our obedience and faith are the best things we can give and those things can't be wrapped.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


If only they were always this cute...


We were downstairs playing the other night when I found myself to be the only one without a costume on. Miles was Batman, Linus was wearing our old Vikings gear, Greta was wearing Superman, and best of all, Dustin had on Greta's Dorothy wig. I could hardly contain myself when Linus and Dustin were swordfighting with old wrapping paper tubes and D was using a sombrero as a shield!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I believe in miracles

I received a phone call yesterday afternoon... a call that made my heart race and my stomach turn. "Margaret, (your brother) Ben is in the ER. He had a bad fall... we don't know much right now but the doctor is checking for a broken pelvis, fractured vertebrae, and something's wrong with his shoulder."

Ben was helping his in-laws at the house that they're building. He took a bad step and fell straight from the second story down to the basement, landing partially on the steps at the bottom and partially on the concrete floor.

After 3 1/2 hours immobilized on a backboard, several x-rays and CTs, it turns out that the only thing wrong with him was a seperated shoulder. No broken bones, no internal injuries, not even one stitch was needed. Praise God that all he is suffering from right now is a sore body and a bruised ego!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


He was the underdog, but Justin Morneau was awarded the AL MVP award. Dustin and I, being the die hard Twins fans that we are, were very excited. He beat out Jermaine Dye who is a power hitter and Derek Jeter who is, well, Derek Jeter. This means that the Twins had the AL MVP, Cy Young winner (Santana), and the batting title holder (Mauer.) If only we had made it to the World Series. *sigh* Only 4 months until baseball resumes...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

There Will Come A Day

We have a CD of a bunch of artists sold to raise money for 9/11 (I think it was from that telethon they did right after it happened.) These are the lyrics to the song Faith Hill sings on that album. This song gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

It's not easy trying to understand
How the world can be so cruel
Stealing the souls of man
Cloudy skies rain down over all your dreams
You wrestle with the fear and doubts
Sometimes it's hard, but you gotta believe

There's a better place
Where our Father waits
And every tear He'll wipe away
The darkness will be gone
The weak shall be strong
Hold on to your faith
There will come a day
There will come a day

Wars are raging
Lives are scattered
Innocence is lost
And hopes are shattered
The old are forgotten
The children are forsaken
In this world we're living in
Is there anything sacred

There's a better place
Where our Father waits
And every tear He'll wipe away
The darkness will be gone
The weak shall be strong
Hold on to your faith
There will come a day
There will come a day

The sun will ring out
Down those golden streets
The voices of Earth and the angels will sing
Every knee will bow
Sin will have no trace
In the glory of His amazing grace
Every knee will bow
Sin will have no trace
In the glory of His amazing grace

There will come a day
There will come a day
Oh, there will come a day
There will come a day
I know there's coming a day, coming a day

Monday, November 20, 2006

You might live in Minnesota if...

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by

If you're proud that your state makes the national news 96 nights each year because International Falls is the coldest spot in the nation

If you have ever refused to buy something because it's "too spendy"

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March

If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there

If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time

If your town has an equal number of bars and churches

If you know how to say...Wayzata ...Mahtomedi, ....Cloquet ... Edina ...and Shakopee

If you think that ketchup is a little too spicy

Vacation means going "up north" for the weekend

You measure distance in hours

You know several people who have hit deer more than once

You often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day ...and back again

You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching

You see people wearing hunting clothes at social events

You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked

You think of the major food groups as beer, fish, and Venison

You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them

There are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at Mill's Fleet Farm at any given time

You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit

Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow

You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction

Down South to you means Iowa

You find 0 degrees "a little chilly."


Dustin and I dont watch a lot of TV. We're pretty much out of the loop (unless you're talking ER.) My niece has season 1 & 2 of the series Lost on DVD so we borrowed them to watch at night after the kids go to bed. We're addicted. We've stayed up too late for the last few nights watching episodes. This show rules! It's one of those that leaves you with way more questions than answers after each episode. If you haven't already, check it out!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

don't even get me started...

I haven't been able to sleep... been waiting for the votes on the referendum to come in. I just got an e-mail from the superintendent. Our levy passed but the other 2 questions failed. The third question was to renovate the auditorium and the music rooms. We knew this was a want rather than a need so I'm not surprised that it didn't pass.

I am upset about question 2 not passing. It failed by 16 votes! It was for a bond to add classrooms on to the elementary, add special education space, cafeteria space, etc. Right now, Miles' classroom is in the music room because they had nowhere else to put them. The kids have their music classes in a room that is seperated from the library by a glass window. The elementary gym teacher's office is in a storage closet... literaly. The cafeteria has gymnastics equiptment covering half of the floor in the winter so the kids have to eat lunch in smaller shifts with less time to eat.

If #2 would have passed, it would have raised taxes by $189 a year on a $200,000 home. That's $15.75 a month. I know people that spend more than that on Starbucks.

I don't understand how people can choose to not support the school. It doesn't matter if you have kids that are schoolage or no kids at all. It's an investment in the future of our community. It's disheartening to live in a society where people are more willing to spend $16.00 on a case of beer than on the school system.

My rant is done.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The end is in sight

I can't wait until November 7th has come and gone. I can't stand the political commercials and mailings . But more than that, I'm ready for the school referendum vote to be over.

Our "Vote Yes" committee (in Maple Lake) has been working on getting this passed since August. We have had meetings every week to get the job done. We have produced yard signs, trailor signs, supplements and letters to the editor to the local paper. We have handed out flyers at Open House, conferences, and several of the athletic events in town. We have had teachers fill out personal postcards to parents asking them for their support. And now, we are working on my least favorite part: the phone bank. I really don't like calling people at home asking for their vote but everyone that we have talked to (that has been on a referendum committee) said that it was the most successful part of their campaign. We've had a fairly good response to the calls so far but I did have one older lady chew me up one side and down the other about asking her such a personal question (if we could count on her support.)

I'm excited and nervous about the outcome. We've put the information out there and have done everything that we could think of to promote this referendum. I think we have a decent chance of having this pass. Our school needs this to pass. And I don't want to have to do all of this again next year if it doesn't.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Babe!

Today Dustin turns 29! We are going to celebrate tonight at his mom's house. She is one of those I-live-for-birthday people who will probably have the house decorated to the nines when we get there. Plus, she's a way better cook than I am and she's planning on making some thick, juicy steaks and some type of seafood... Dustin's choice for his birthday dinner.

Happy birthday babe! Thanks for being the best husband and father that we could ever ask for. We are the luckiest family in the world!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween pics

Linus as Superman, Miles as Batman, and Greta as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

Now what to do with all of this candy???

"Margaret Brown, come on down"

My sister-in-law called me this morning with some news that made my heart sink. Bob Barker is going to retire from The Price Is Right in June. Most people who know me know that one of my biggest dreams in life (although it may seem sad) is to be on The Price Is Right before Bob Barker retires. I have watched the show since I was a kid and it is my favorite game show.

If I want to live this dream, I better start saving my pennies now....

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Finding her voice

Lately Greta has been developing more and more of the 2 year old sass. Most of the time Dustin and I have to hide our laughter because it is actually pretty funny.

Yesterday after we dropped Linus off at preschool, Greta and I were driving home. I asked her, "Greta, what should we do when we get home?" to which she replied "No." I continued with "What should we play when we get home?" She replied (with a little more sass) "Nooooo." I then stated "Greta, that wasn't a yes or no question." Her reply? ""

Monday, October 30, 2006

Just like riding a bike...sort of

We had to bite the bullet a few weeks ago and get a new car. We have been sinking money into our Taurus and decided that with Dustin's 100 mile round trip commute each day, we needed a reliable car to get the job done. We purchased a Ford Focus, bare bones (it doesn't even have power locks or windows...I didn't know they made 'em that way anymore!). It's just what we need with 37 miles per gallon.

The Focus is a 5 speed and it's been years (I'm talking before we were married) since I've driven anything but an automatic transmission. Yesterday I had to be at church early to set up for my Sunday school class but Dustin had the luxury of a come in at the last minute, just enjoy the service week. Since he needed the van to tote the kids, I drove the Focus. I did pretty well with the 5 speed... especially considering that it's been 8 or 9 years since I've been in one. On the way home, coming back through Monticello, I was literally stopped at every traffic light. It's uphill so I ended up squealing the tires a few times as I got used to the whole clutch thing again. I got a few wierd looks from people (I'm sure they thought I was trying to be "cool") but I made it home in one piece.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kids say the darndest things...

Tomorrow is wear-green-and black day at Maple Lake, apparently to show support for the football team's playoff game. Dustin asked Miles where they (the football team) were playing and Miles answered "In the field, I think."

Gotta love it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Scrap Camp!

This afternoon I am leaving for a scrapbooking retreat at Camp Friendship in Annandale. I'm so excited! We scrap, eat too much, stay up too late, and laugh until our sides hurt. There are lots of other moms there so we usually end up talking about our kids 90% of the time.

A big thank you to my delicious husband who is willing to do the solo parent thing for 3 days without one single complaint. He even surprised me this morning by taking today off of work so I could get to camp right at 3:00! You are the best, babe. I totally married up!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Does Rain Man live in my house?

Our family was eating supper the other night and we were talking to the boys about their day at school. The subject drifted to math and numbers and the like. Linus is constantly asking us "Mom, what's 12+16?", etc. Well, Miles chimed in and said "I know what 347+347 is... (5 seconds pass while he's concentrating) ...It's 694."

He certainly doesn't get the math whiz gene from me... I still have to use my fingers while adding 9+7.


We had Greta's 3 week post-surgery check up today. He said that her ears are looking great and we don't have to go back for 4 months! Life is good.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A question for stay-at-home parents

Has anyone else ever thought, even for just a second, of sticking a fork in their eye so they could have one night of peace and quiet in the hospital?

Just wondering if I should be making my reservation for the funny farm sooner rather than later.

Another one?!?

When I went to dispose of the unused mouse traps under the sink this morning, I was welcomed by another dead mouse in a trap. Two questions ran through my head:

1. How are these things getting into my house?
2. How fast can we move out?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sweet success

We had another mouse in our house. This one was as sly as the last little bugger. I have had 3 traps set under our kitchen sink (his preferred space) for almost a week. Alas, tonight was not his lucky night... but I will be sleeping much better.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Dustin and I were both bummed out on Friday when the Twins lost and were eliminated from post season play. On Saturday night we watched the Mets beat the Dodgers, which was another bummer for me. I have a soft spot for the Dodgers because they are my favorite uncle's favorite team (he used to wear an old, ratty Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt when I was little) and now they are eliminated too.

The good news is that the Yankees were eliminated so they won't make it to the World Series. It just proves that money can't buy everything!


I made a trip to the grocery store on Saturday. When I came home, as I pulled into the driveway, Miles came running out to tell me that he had his first loose tooth. He was really excited and couldn't stop wiggling it. By the time Dustin and I had unloaded the van and put the groceries away his tooth had fallen out! So, in the span of an hour Miles discovered his first loose tooth and it fell out!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Happy Anniversary Joe & Nicole!

I couldn't let the day pass without giving a shout out to one of my favorite couples, the Colbensons.

Joe and Nicole have been our friends for a very, very long time. We don't get to see them as often as we would like but when we do we pick up right where we left off, which to me is a sign of true friendship.

Nicole and I have been friends since jr. high. I think we hit it off so well because we are so much alike (she's almost as neurotic as me!) We've laughed until our sides hurt, cried until our eyes were dry, done some really stupid things together (and a few wise things too!). Once, in high school, we had the bright idea of dressing like the Grinch on the last day before Christmas vacation. We bought a package of craypaws (does anyone else remember those?) and used the green to color our faces and hands. It was all fine and dandy until we tried to wash the green off... I ended up going to work at Perkins that night with a green tint to my skin! Not one of our shining moments!

I remember their wedding day, all of us girls getting ready in the back of the church. I remember telling her that she could not have found a better guy than Joe. He really is the perfect match for her. Their personalities complement each other in such an awesome way. It's so cool to have your lifelong friend marry someone that you know will treat them so good and make them happy.

So happy anniversary Joe and Nicole. This Diet Coke's for you!

Cavity Free Club!

Yesterday Miles and Linus had their 6 month check-ups at the dentist. They were both cavity free! This is a big deal for Miles, who has had a lot of problems with his teeth. He was so excited to be able to tell his dad that he had no cavities!

I've got to put another plug in for the kids' dentist. This place is soooo great. My kids actually look forward to their appointments. Everyone there is so nice, it's always fun to watch my boys interact with the staff there. You will not find a better or kinder dentist than Dennis Carreras (aka Dr. Dennis). So if you're looking for a pediatric dentist, Dentistry for Children is the place to go. I'm sure they're in the phone book (as far as address) and their # is 877-KID-TUTH.

As for me, I'm going to my dentist appointment in a few minutes. Let's hope that I do as well as my kids!

How sweet it is

Romans 3:22-24

This rightousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Monday, October 02, 2006

For real?

October has just begun which means if you have your TV on you're going to see two types of commercials: political(on adult TV) and toys(on kid TV... Only 3 months until Christmas, you know!) Over the past couple of weeks I've seen some commercials for toys that have made me stop what I'm doing and say "What? Are these for real?"

Barbie now has a pet dog. This dog comes with treats that you can feed him which also double for poop. Once Barbie feeds the dog, it comes out the other end and she uses her 'pooper scooper' to pick them up. Now, I like dogs and everything but I'm pretty sure this is not one of the highlights of owning one.

There are plenty of baby dolls on the market but I think "Baby Alive" takes the cake. She has baby food and bottles that you can feed her and when she's finished she sits up and says "Uh oh, I made a stinky!" Your child then gets to change a diaper full of some nasty concoction that looks like baby poop.

Let me just say that if you have a kid that wants to change poopy diapers, before you go out and spend money on one of these dolls, call me. I've got a daughter that is in diapers and she makes the real thing... your kid can come over and change her anytime!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Central Division Champs!

What an awesome day! The Twins won and the Tigers lost, which makes us the division champions for the 4th time in 5 years. We got to see part of this game over at the Balvin's while eating a delicious lunch Steph had prepared. Good food, good friends, awesome weather, and Joe Mauer won the batting title. What a delicious Sunday afternoon!

Living in community

I am overwhelmed today, but in a great way. Yesterday, once again, we were blessed financially by a couple from church. This couple has become fast friends with us over the last year. It has been fun to be with people who are in the same stage in their "Christian walk." They have been a great blessing in our lives. We love them, our kids think they are great, and they are always good for a laugh. Thank you to our friends for bringing supper into our (noisy) home and for thinking of us. We love you!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Go Twins!

Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, down by 1. Mauer hits a solo home run to send the game into extra innings where the Twins win it. We are now tied for first in our division.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Just one of those days

I am having one of "those days."

Linus and Greta woke up too early and are crabby and fighting with each other.

Yesterday, Dustin called me at 6:30 a.m. from the gas station in Rockford: he had stopped to get gas and when he got back in the car to finish the commute to work our car wouldn't start. I woke the kids up and loaded them into the van to go pick him up. We barely got home in time to get Miles to school and had to have the car towed to get it fixed. It cost $1,100 to fix and then the mechanic said there's about $1,200 more that needs to be done in the next couple of months. The car has almost 200,000 miles on it and we're trying to decide if it's even worth sinking any more money into it.

I'm frustrated to no end with our efforts to get the school referendum passed in Maple Lake. We're trying to round up people to write letters to the editor in the local paper. At least half of the people we've contacted have said no... not because they aren't going to vote yes in November, but because they are worried that they might make someone in this town upset with them. The small-town politics are driving me nuts. I don't see this as a touchy issue. It's an investment in our kids and the future. Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter what I think because my last name is not well known in this town. In Maple Lake, it's all about who you know and how long your family has lived here.

Whew... venting is over.

Lord, forgive my poor attitude and self-pity, especially at a time when there should be nothing but celebration in our house. My family is healthy. You have always provided for us and will continue to do so. I surrender our money matters to You. Please give me the strength and wisdom to be a voice in this community that will be heard.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Test results: NORMAL!!

The doctor called and said Greta's sweat test was normal! Praise God! I feel like a semi truck has been lifted off of my shoulders (and heart!) They had said all along that the chances of her having Cystic Fibrosis were small but the fact that she needed to be tested was scary. I'm soooo relieved to have this last week behind us! She is recovering from surgery in the most awesome way; today she is running around, laughing and playing like nothing ever happened.

I can't thank everyone enough for the prayers, kind words, offers for meals and kid-watching. Our family has been so blessed to have people like you in our life!

The "sweat test" is done

We just got home from Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. Greta's sweat test is done and now we wait. There is a possibility that we will get the results later this afternoon!

Greta did great. For this test they velcro 2 small electrodes with a gel pad on each forearm. The gel has some kind of chemical that makes the skin sweat. After 5 minutes they took the electrodes off and velcroed 2 small "sweat collectors" on her arms... they looked like watches. I couldn't believe it; Greta let the lab person put them on her and left them alone for the entire 30 minutes.

I'll post again if we get the results.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Surgery is done!!

Greta's surgery is done! We got home about an hour ago. Everything went great... she didn't even cry once! She's sleepy and is having trouble keeping fluids down but we're told that will pass shortly. I'll post more later as time allows. Thanks for all of the prayers! Please continue; we have the cystic fibrosis test tomorrow.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Update on my girl

Here's our schedule for Greta's upcoming medical stuff: tomorrow- her pre-op physical, Monday- surgery at 8:45 at Children's West in Minnetonka to have her adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears, Tuesday- "sweat test" in Minneapolis at 10:45 to check for Cystic Fibrosis. Please keep her in your prayers!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Greta had her CT scan last Friday and she did really well. She made it through without being sedated! That was definitely a God thing... she had to stay completely still for about 5 minutes while laying down with the huge scanner around her.

We had our appointment with the ENT doc today to get the results of the CT scan. The news wasn't what we hoped it would be. The scan showed that her sinuses and both ears are full of junk. She has to have her adenoids taken out and have tubes put in her ears. The part that worries me is that she has to be tested for Cystic Fibrosis next Tuesday. The test itself is quite simple, they check for high levels of sodium in her sweat. The doctor said that the chances of her having it with the symptoms that she has are fairly small. It's just a bit scary because I have a cousin who has a daughter with CF. This is a genetic disease where both parents have to be carriers... it's definitely a possibility that I am a carrier but we don't know about Dustin.

I'm trying to stay calm about this whole thing. Most likely she is fine. And really, for the time being, what can I do about it anyhow? I'm going to be praying and chanting the motto that keeps my stress level down : I can do all things in Christ who strenghtens me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A sad day

Yesterday we received a call from Dustin's dad. His girlfriend of many years died after a brief battle with cancer. This is happening at the same time that Grandpa Brown (Dustin's dad's dad) is in the hospital with pnemonia. Last weekend Dustin and the kids went to the hospital to visit grandpa because the doctors thought he was in his final hours. He has since been transferred out of the ICU and is doing better but we're not sure if he's out of the woods yet.

Please pray for Dustin's dad. This is a hard time for him but we're hoping and praying that he will come out of this reconnected to God.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thank You

As I've said before, the Quarry has brought many friends into our life. It's so nice to have friends that believe the same things and that can support you in life's journeys.

Today we were blessed by some of those friends with a generous gift. This family has been a blessing in our lives in many ways. They've been our friends, watched our kids, invited us for meals, made us laugh. Their timing with this gift was spot-on, we just mailed out several checks for medical bills and it will definitely help out.

So thank you, my friends, for thinking of us when I'm sure you could've used this yourself. Thank you for hanging out with us and being our friends and for being a shining light for Jesus! We love you!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Are you kidding me?

Many of you know that Greta has been battling an external ear infection for several months now. It started out as swimmers ear, she then developed an infection in the ear canal. We've had several treatments of antibiotics: oral, ear drops and shots. She also developed some kind of fungal infection and we used drops for that.

We had another appointment with the ENT on Friday and he gave us the thumbs up! It looked as though she was healed and we were on our way to forgeting this whole ear mess. Then, Saturday night, she was up 6 times during the night covering her ear and saying "owie." I brought her to urgent care yesterday and she's got an external ear infection in that ear again!

Now we've got an appointment with the ENT on Wednesday. He had talked about having to do a head CT if her ear didn't clear up so I'm not sure if that's the route we'll have to go or not. Because Greta's only 2 she'll have to be sedated for the CT so I'm not looking forward to that.

It would be nice to be able to skip the head CT because of the money factor, too. We have pretty good insurance but there's always some kind of co-pay with stuff. We already have over $600 of medical bills sitting on our counter right now because of all of my tests (and that's after our insurance has paid most of it!) God will get us through, of that I'm sure. I'm very thankful that we have insurance and that, for the most part, we are healthy. Greta and I have had a crazy summer but there are many out there who have to deal with much worse.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The grandmas

Saying goodbye to the carefree days of summer and hello to the structured school year has one big drawback for my kids. Once school starts they don't get to spend as much time with their grandmas. As I've said before, the kids and I go out to my mom and dad's house on the lake just about every day in the summer. They have a great time swimming and playing but they also get to see Grandma Pat (my mom, pictured with Miles and Linus) a lot. She lets them get away with just about everything and feeds them too many treats... but isn't that what being a grandparent is all about?

During summer vacation the kids also get to spend much more time at Grandma Judie's house in Annandale (Dustin's mom, pictured with Greta.) Every so often when she has a day off she has "parties" with them. These parties consist of watching movies on her big screen TV while cozied up on her wrap-around couch which also doubles as their bed. And did I mention that she also feeds them too many treats?

My kids are blessed to have such awesome grandmas that live so close. And Dustin and I are lucky too... free babysitters! ;)

Fwd: Fw

I'm not a real fan of the whole forwarding e-mail thing. I hate the ones that tell you to pass it on for good luck/miracles or if you delete it you are letting the whole world down, you will suffer a terrible death or whatever. I get a lot of these and yes, I am the one that breaks the chain. Once in a blue moon I'll get one that cracks me up and I'll send it along to a few people that I know will enjoy it.

Anyhow, I got one this morning that had a quote at the bottom that struck me and I thought I'd share it here. It said:

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it!

I like that.

First days of school

Miles' first day of First Grade was Tuesday and it went really well. He was very nervous (he actually woke up at a little after 3 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep!) We are blessed to have another great teacher for him so he's adjusting well and excited to go each day. His favorites this year so far are music and gym class.

Linus had his first day of preschool yesterday. He will go Monday and Wednesday afternoons and will get to ride the bus home with Miles. He's so different than Miles... he is never phased when I drop him off. No clinging, no tears. Just a hug and kiss and a 'see ya later.' He had a great time and is excited for this coming Monday for his next class. I'm a little excited too because with the boys both gone a few hours a week I might actually get some stuff done around the house! :)

So long, summer

It doesn't matter what the calendar says... for me, the last day of summer is Labor Day. Summer is a time of freedom from schedules. With school starting Tuesday, we decided on Monday to take the kids to the park for some baseball, playground equiptment and a picnic. We all had a sweet time and enjoyed a few hours of beautiful weather!

Monday, September 04, 2006

A mouse in the house

We've had an uninvited guest in our house. Last Sunday night Dustin and I were kickin' back in the living room after putting the kids to bed and I saw a mouse scurry behind the entertainment center. I almost had a heart attack.

I am not usually squeemish when it comes to these things. I set one of those old-school traps with a little peanut butter for bait. After abiut 5 minutes we saw the little guy come out and lick the trap clean without getting caught. I then reset the trap, using a needle nose pliers to bend the mechanism that sets it off so it would be more sensitive. We went to bed and in the morning..... no mouse.

This went on for a couple of days. Each day I got more flustered and, well, freaked out. Mice don't really bother me that much (I thought) but I just kept thinking about the germs they carry and whether or not it was going to try to come into bed with us.

The mouse was coming out each night when everything was quiet. Dustin bought glue traps so we had those set up as well as 4 or 5 of the other ones. We used different things for bait (I now know that mice do like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal mixed with peanut butter) and every time we checked, the food was gone but no mouse was caught. It was driving me nuts! Dustin and I even chased him around the house with a broom and a Swiffer and couldn't catch up to him (almost sitcom material, I'm sure!)

I was beginning to think we had an exceptionally smart mouse on our hands. Then, last night, sweet success! Well... sort of sweet. We did catch the mouse but it was on one of the glue traps. When I saw him trying to get off of the thing I was almost in tears. I hadn't really put a lot of thought into the disposal of a mouse on a glue trap. Do you put him out of his misery? And how?

I'm still trying to figure out how I went from a fiesty mouse hunter (just ask Dustin how obsessed I was) to a mouse sympathizer in a matter of seconds. I only hope I don't have to deal with this again any time soon.

Linus goes to the Fair

Last Monday Linus went to the State Fair with my dad. Grandpa started this tradition many years ago when his first grandchild was about 5 years old. Each year he takes one grandchild (a little bit of "special time.") Linus is the 9th granchild, with only Greta left. It will be a few years before she gets her turn.

For the last month or so Linus has been talking about the Fair. He listed all of the delicious food he was going to eat and all of the rides he was going to have Grandpa take him on. Well, he did go on most of the rides but when it came to the food it was a different story. My dad said that the only thing Linus asked for the entire time were snow cones. He said that every time Linus finished one (which, knowing Linus, probably took 45 minutes!) he would ask for another. The funny thing is that Linus loves food and eats just about anything. He loves olives (black and green), raw onions, green peppers, mushrooms, etc. I had to laugh when Grandpa said he wasn't even interested in the french fries there!

I (and my kids) are just so blessed to have a dad/grandpa that is so awesome. I sent a disposable camera along with my dad to take pictures... I can't wait to get them developed and to scrapbook such great memories for Linus!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006's over!

Well, I had my colonoscopy yesterday and I'm glad it's done. I was a little doped up but I remember the doc saying that it looked healthy. I had a polyp removed and I will hear back from them in the next week or so the final results but it sounds like all is well.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and support. I am very blessed to have so many wonderful friends!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


As summer winds down, our family seems to be picking up speed...

Greta has started some new ear drops that are anti-fungal. We are going to the ENT (ears/nose/throat) specialist on Friday and are hoping to hear that she is on the road to recovery. A special shout-out to our doc, Val Welch, who has seen Greta more than her own kids in the last few weeks. Dr. Welch rules!!

The boys are getting ready for school to start; Linus in preschool twice a week and Miles in first grade. We've got most of our school shopping done, just shoes left to buy.

I had a sweet Tupperware party last week and earned a boat-load of free stuff! Thanks to Steph Balvin for making the trek out to Maple Lake to put it on. It was the easiest party I've ever hosted so if you've been thinking about having a party, go for it! She makes it super easy and like I said, I'm getting a TON of Tupperware free!

I've been asked to head up the "Vote Yes" committee for the school referendum that will be voted on this November. I said yes, but with a little hesitation. I am passionate about this thing going through; Maple Lake school needs more space in the worst way, but I've never done anything like this before. I'm more of a behind-the-scenes person and I'm not used to being in charge. I'm praying that God gives me wisdom in this (and a lot of smart, experienced people to help!) If we never leave our comfort zone we won't grow, right?

As far as medical stuff goes, not much is new. I had a pelvic ultrasound today to see if there is anything abnormal going on there. I'll get the results in a few days. Next Tuesday I'm having a (gulp) colonoscopy. I've heard that the prep for this is worse than the procedure itself but I'm not banking on that just yet. I'll let you all know how it comes out (ha, ha... that's for you BTB!)

Friday, August 11, 2006

From the mouth of Linus

Here are a few of the things we've heard from Linus over the last couple of weeks.

Talking to Grandma when she told him it was going to take awhile to defrost and cook the chicken he requested for dinner: "That's o.k. grandma. I can hold my hungries."

"Mom, how come when you and dad get frustrated with us you sometimes lose your temperature?"

"It's o.k. if we see Greta naked because her private parts haven't grown yet, right mom?"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

the sweetest thing

Tonight when I was praying with Linus before bed he said one of those things that made my eyes tear up. I've been feeling guilty lately because I know that I've been a little short with the kids. I was in the middle of our prayer: "...and please help mom to feel better so I can be the best mom possible to my kids..." when Linus sat up and said "But mom, you already are the best mom in the world to me."

Sometimes all it takes is the smallest, sweetest thing to make your day.

more medical stuff...

more medical updates... not necessarily for those with weak stomachs...

I went back to the doctor yesterday. They took some blood and are going to test my thyroid and they also need some *samples* to test for parasites or some reason explaining why I am having these problems. If this doesn't pan out there is still the possibility of a colonoscopy. Let me say that if I had any shred of dignity after last week and the exams that I had, it is gone with the collection of samples that I am now doing.

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last blog entry and all of you who have offered support. It's great to know there are so many out there who are praying and keeping me in your thoughts. I'm doing pretty well, mostly I'm frustrated because I just want to know what's going on. On the upside, I've found a doctor that I really like and she's ready to get to the bottom of this.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Just in case you were wondering...

This is for all of you who have been keeping tabs on my health situation...

(disclaimer... if you don't want to hear about my uterus, etc. STOP reading now.) (:

It seems that the feminine "issues" that I was diagnosed with earlier this week may not be correct. I ended up in the ER tonight and, long and graphic story short, I MAY end up having a colonoscopy next week. This is not a for sure thing, only if my symptoms don't get better by Monday.

I ask that you keep me in your prayers. Thanks to all of you who have been praying and checking up on me. I really am doing o.k. for now. Dustin's mom has Miles and Linus overnight tonight and tomorrow night so I'll be able to take it easy the next couple of days.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Best week ever comes to a close

Let me start this post off by praising the Lord for central air conditioning. I'm not sure if I would be alive today without it!

This last week has been so awesome! Dustin used some vacation days and had the whole week off. The kids and I really enjoyed having him around all week. We spent several days at his sister's house in Hastings, mostly lounging in the pool. Miles can now swim underwater, a huge feat considering at the beginning of the summer he wouldn't even get his face wet! Miles and Linus both loved having their dad around to play. They worked a little on riding bikes without training wheels, visited the public library to get some books, baked some bread and even went to go see Superman in the theater.

We're all a little down because life resumes tomorrow when Dustin goes back to work. I'm already looking forward to Christmastime when he can take some more time off!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Miles was having a conversation with Dustin the other night that gave us both a laugh. It went something like this:

Miles: "Dad, did Cain (from the Bible) die because he got too old?"
Dustin: "Yea, I think so."
Miles: "Or maybe he was killed by a car-jacker with a gun or something."
Dustin: "They didn't have cars or guns back then, buddy."
Miles: "Oh, right. Maybe it was a donkey-jacker."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Greta!

Today Greta turns 2! I can't believe that my baby is now a 2 year old. Time really does fly by, doesn't it? We are preparing for a Blues Clues celebration this afternoon complete with a homemade cake by Dustin. I can't wait for Greta to open her presents... this will be the first time that she (hopefully) enjoys her gifts more than the wrapping paper and boxes!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Beach Bums

Steph, Jake and Izzy came out to the lake with us today and we had a great time. Here are some pictures. Thanks for the fun day guys!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Life with your first child...and beyond

I found this in a magazine and it made me laugh.

1st child: play classical music to soothe baby
2nd child: play classical music to soothe yourself
3rd child: buy an electric guitar, teach yourself chords from Pearl Jam songs, and drown out sounds of siblings bickering

1st child: sleep when the baby sleeps
2nd child: sleep when the baby sleeps and while the toddler watches a video
3rd child: sleep while nursing in the minivan at soccer practice as toddler watches videos on the portable DVD player

1st child: accept all offers of help from family
2nd child: accept all offers of help from family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances
3rd child: offer your spare change jar to anyone on your block who'll take your children so you can go to the bathroom by yourself

1st child: establish regular naptime routine, with child in crib
2nd child: let kids nap in their car seats while you're running errands
3rd child: Move kids to couch or bed only when you notice they've collapsed in exhaustion on the floor

1st child: immediately wash and sterilize every single binky, blankie, or stuffed animal that hits the floor
2nd child: scrape away obvious dirt and give the item a quick tap water rinse (or a lick) before presenting it to the child
3rd child: dirt? what dirt?

1st child: to create a cozy space, outfit nursery in whimsical, everything-matches theme like classic Pooh or Beatrix Potter
2nd child: Scour resale shops for anything that looks clean
3rd child: nursery, ha! the crib is going into a corner of your older daughter's room, right under the Justin Timberlake posters

1st child: potty train by 24 months
2nd child: barely potty train by preschool deadline
3rd child: notice that no one has touched the last three packages of pull-ups and realize that she must have potty trained herself

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Right back at ya, Kel

It is always nice to have kind words spoken about you and this morning I found some on my friend, Kelly Johnson's blog. She has been way too generous with her words about me... but I decided that I would share some of my thoughts and feelings about her here.

I have known Kelly for a very long time. Her sister Nicole is a very good friend of mine and was my partner in crime during our high school years. Kelly was a couple of years older and we thought she was the COOLEST person around. She let us hang out with some of her friends and never treated us like we were younger. Just last week I was reminicing about some of our fun times... Kel, do you remember all of the fun times at the old house on Hilltop Drive, 'One red hen, a couple of ducks, three brown bears.....' and our trip to Wisconsin Dells in the old station wagon? Good times, good times....

Kelly, you are an incredible woman. You had Kerry when you were very young and took the challenge head on. Your kids are growing into wonderful people because of the solid example you have set for them. Right now you are going to school, taking care of a family and doing so much for the Bedrock ministry. I am in awe of how much you can handle at one time and how well you do it! YOU are an inspirational friend to ME.

Thank you Kel, for the kind words you said about me and for being someone I can look up to and count on. I love you!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

at the lake...

Lazy days of summer

Nothing much is new around our household. We've been spending almost every afternoon out at my mom and dad's on the lake. The kids love the water. Greta stays in the shallow water and the boys put lifejackets on and venture out deeper. They all love to feed the fish... we've always said that the sunfish in my parent's lake are the best fed fish in Minnesota! We feed them leftover bread, cake, corn, and anything else that's around. The boys usually get the net out and try to catch a few, then let them go and try to catch them again. Once in awhile they'll catch a painter turtle... then let it go and watch how fast it swims away.

I love these summer days. Even in the hottest weather it's pretty comfortable by the lake and the kids can run free and play until they drop.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to to all the dads out there! Special props go out to the dads closest to me; my husband... who keeps me grounded and is a better father to our kids than I could have ever imagined or asked for, my dad... who was always patient, kind and funny and continues to be for his grandkids, and 3 of my brothers who are dads, especially Nate who is a single father with 2 boys.

I hope this Father's Day is a great one!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A celebrity making a difference

Several weeks ago Mesha Torkelson gave me a form to fill out for my kids to get free books. I completed it and sent it in and today we received our first books!

The program is called Imagination Library and was set up by Dolly Parton to send children a new book every month until their 5th birthday. This is a sweet program, you should check it out at These are not cheap books, either. The ones we got today were hardcover (The Little Engine That Could.)

Not every city has it but there's a place on the website to request it in your area.

Thanks Mesha for thinking of us, and thanks to Dolly for giving something back to the world!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Calgon, take me away!

I'll start this post with a funny, related story about Linus (I know John loves these!) So... we only have 1 bathroom in our house and my boys are famous for waiting until they are going to burst before going in there. Sometime in the last year, I can't remember exactly when it was, Miles had just sat down to go "#2." At that moment, Linus came running up to me and announced "Moooom, I have to go poop!!!" I said "Miles just went in there so you're going to have to squeeze your cheeks, dude." I looked over at him and there he was, hands planted on his face, squeezing as hard as he could asking "How is this supposed to help?"

Anyway, we've come to the stage where he is having accidents in his pants. From what I hear it's something that happens to a lot of kids, but usually it is brought on by some life change (starting school, new sibling, etc.) He isn't experiencing any of that. The funny thing is that when we first started potty training him when he turned 3, he took to it very well and didn't have any accidents that I can remember. Maybe this is payback for easy potty training? :)

Pray for my sanity and for patience. This too shall pass.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My daughter, the exhibitionist

Greta's newest phase is shedding every article of clothing, I suppose just because she can.

This morning we had a great time at the park with Steph, Jake and Izzy Balvin. We came home for lunch and then it was nap time for Greta. She was in her bed for about an hour and she hadn't gone to sleep... I could hear her babbling the whole time. I finally gave up on the idea of a nap and went in to get her. To my surprise she was standing in her bed completely naked! Her clothes were thrown across the room and her diaper was tossed just outside of her bed, on top of a large puddle of urine. I will never know exactly how she accomplished it but I think that she was trying to escape from her bed and was balancing on the top when she relieved herself. She was all smiles when I entered the room but when she saw the look on my face she got a stern look and shook her finger and said "No, no."

Here come the terrible 2's!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kindergarten Graduation Pics

Miles with his principal and kindergarten teacher Mrs. Weber.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Summer begins!

We have had a crazy week. Along with all of the usual holiday weekend stuff, we had Linus' last day of preschool and Miles' kindergarten graduation.

Yesterday Dustin, Greta and I spent the afternoon at preschool with Linus to celebrate his last day. It was "Derby Day" and the kids got to bring their bikes to school to ride out by the playground. It was mass chaos with 20 four year olds riding aimlessly around but they had a great time.

Today Dustin, Linus, Greta and I went to Miles' graduation ceremony. They had graduation caps on, sang a few short songs and then got their "diploma." It was pretty darn cute. When it was over Miles told me that being up in front of everyone made him sick to his stomach.

Tomorrow is Miles' last day of school and then summer vacation begins! The end of this school year is a little bittersweet because his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Weber, is leaving Maple Lake to teach third grade at a different school. Anyone that knows Miles understands how shy and reserved he can be in group settings and we were extremely blessed to have such a great teacher for him this year.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dustin's mom gets her 15 minutes!

It is said that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, and Dustin's mom will experience hers tomorrow. She was chosen to cook a recipe of hers tomorrow morning between 6 and 7 a.m. on channel 4. She's nervous about being on live t.v. but she's also very excited. So if you are awake and near a t.v. tomorrow morning, check it out!


So today I turn 31. Where did the time go? I still see kids fresh out of high school and think of them as close to "my age". That was over 10 years ago!!! When the check-out lady calls me "ma'am" I look behind me expecting to see someone else they are addressing. I know that I'm not old by any means but I remember, when I was a kid, thinking that people in their thirties were OLD.

Oh well, I'm not going to let it get me down. With age comes wisdom, right?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another post bragging about my husband

Thanks for all of the prayers that went out for Dustin and his big work project last week! He didn't actually finish but got a big chunk done, enough so that the people who have to test the website can start while Dustin and his team finish.

He has pretty much finished up the Quarry worship website which is my main reason for writing today. He started sometime in March and has put something like 40 hours into it. Dustin created it so that the worship team will all have access to the music, who's scheduled for what week, and practice times and places. I think one of the coolest things is that they can download the music from the site... now no one has to be in charge of making copies of a cd and being sure each person has it.

I'm sure that there will be a few kinks to work out but I'm certain that this website will be a huge blessing.

Way to go, babe!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cereal for supper?!

This has been a long week. Dustin has a big project deadline today and he has been working late all week. I'm a little spoiled in that he's usually home from work by 5 and he's the main chef in our house. The kids also flock to him when he gets home and it gives me a small amount of much needed quiet time before the crazy evening starts. Last night, after spending our after-school hours playing over at a friend's house, I was spent. When I was getting ready to make supper I was at a loss, so (I can't believe I'm admitting this) I fed my kids cereal for supper. Not even healthy cereal...I fed them Cookie Crisp. There goes my mother of the year award!

Weeks like this really take it out of me. Maybe the Lord is trying to remind me that I'm stronger than I think I am. Or maybe He's making sure that I don't take my husband for granted. At any rate I should stop whining because I have it a lot better than many, that's for sure!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Miles!

It's official... as of today it's been 6 years since I said goodbye to life without children. I can't believe how fast the time has gone! I was looking through old pictures yesterday and found a bunch with Miles when he was Greta's age. It's crazy how much he has grown since then. I miss that age but am having fun watching him become more independent as he grows.

We had a party with my side of the family yesterday and will be having Dustin's mom over tonight to celebrate. Miles is so excited... he was up before 6 a.m. asking to open his presents! We got him a new bike and I can't wait to see him cruise around on it. Dustin is going to teach him to ride without training wheels this summer... that should be an experience to remember!

I've spent most of the day getting ready for tonight. Decorating, wrapping presents, the whole nine yards. Now I have to go add a few finishing touches before he gets off the bus....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

So you think you don't make a difference?

I had a pretty cool experience today. I brought Miles back to the dentist to have his last crown put on. While I was there the dentist and the assistants thanked me for the kind words I had said about them on the internet. At first I had no idea what they were talking about... then I remembered the post on my blog from March where I talked about how much our family loves them. Dr. Dennis then told me how (long story short) he had Googled his name and found my blog. He had the whole office read it... and told me he was going to show it to his mom!

It seems that reading what I wrote made their day. I suppose the coolest thing about this whole experience is that I really had no intention of anyone from their office seeing it. It reminds me that I should express my gratitude more often to those who make my life better in any way.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Heard in my house today...

Miles and Linus have been in and out and in and out of the house since they went outside to play after school. They keep bringing me dandelions to put in a vase ("You LOVE dandelions because they are beautiful flowers, right mom?") On yet another trip out I heard Linus say "We sure love mom, right Miles?" Miles replied "Yup, we sure do!"

This is what being a stay at home parent is all about.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Field Trip!

Yesterday I accompanied something close to 80 kindergarteners, 3 teachers and many parents to the Children's Museum. The bus ride aside, it was so much fun! Miles had a blast and I was happy to be there to share it with him.

We went through a short class about turtles and then got to explore the museum. It has been awhile since our family has gone so Miles didn't remember much about the place. After yesterday, Dustin and I have decided to make a family trip there in the near future.

My only gripe is with some of the parents that were with us. When we were boarding the buses to go home it was chaos. My thoughts were that if everyone sat where they did on the way down we would load quickly and be on our way. People had flip-flopped buses, weren't sitting 3 to a seat, and were not being cooperative. As I approached the seat that Miles, I and a boy named Kyle had left some of our belongings in I saw a mom push our stuff onto the floor and climb in. As I was picking our things up off the floor she looked at me and said "Well, that lady over there took OUR seat!" I looked around for a place to seat the kids and there were a few seats with only 2 people.... but the parents that were sitting there wouldn't move in for the kids! Mrs. Weber (Miles' teacher... a super nice lady) found us some spots on the other bus, but not without hassle.

I have now realized that I think that the hardest thing about being a teacher would be the parents. Some of these people have worse manners than the kindergarteners!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

rain, rain go away

I love A rainy day, but not three in a row!

Let me take a moment to praise the Lord for whoever it was that invented sump pumps. Ours has been going off pretty much nonstop for the last 2 days. Without it I'm pretty sure I'd be up to my eyeballs in water right now!

Friday, April 28, 2006

My kindergartener

Miles has had a few challenging weeks. Ever since spring break he had decided that he doesn't want to go to school. This has caused a little tension in the mornings (and a few temper tantrums!) Here is a conversation between Miles and I from earlier this week:

Miles: "Mom, I have a cold. I think I better stay home from school."
me: "You can still go to school with a cold, honey."
Miles: "It's a really bad one. And what if I throw up?"
me: "People don't usually throw up when they have a cold."
Miles: "You said usually. Usually means that sometimes you do throw up from a cold."
me: "I guess that sometime, since the dawn of civilization, someone has probably thrown up from a cold... but it is uncommon and most likely it will not happen to you."
Miles: (after a short pause) "But my nose is stuffy. And what if I throw up?"

I'm pretty sure that if the bus hadn't come then we'd still be having the same conversation.

The funny thing is that I've talked to his teacher and she's said that once he gets to school he has a great time. I guess maybe he's just coming into his own and testing me... trying to see how easily I'll push over. Boy, has he ever got his work cut out for him....

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Take a listen

Last Sunday night during Kare 11's sports report, they played a clip of the song Uncle by Forty Watt Bulb. You may be thinking "who's that and why would I possibly care?" Forty Watt Bulb is the band that my extremely talented husband, Dustin, used to play with a few years back. Uncle is one of the many songs he recorded with them to make the CD A Shovel's Length Short. If you'd like to hear him rock out on the drums, click here.

Just a note of caution... they do use the naughty word for butt once in the song. :)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Balvins rock!

As I have said before, the Quarry has been a real blessing in our life. We are so fortunate to have found a church that we love...and we count as blessings all of the friendships that we have made there.

We had the Balvins over last night and had a great time. It got me to thinking... most of the friends that Dustin and I have made at the Quarry are in some part because of them. Brenton and Steph were the first people to invite us into their home. They enjoy entertaining and we met people through them. When we decided to join a small group, we requested to be with them because we knew them and were comfortable with them. The people in our small group are now some of our best friends.

The Balvin clan has blessed us in so many ways. They are a hoot and make us laugh like crazy (if you haven't seen Jake tuck his outer ear into his ear canal, you've got to see this trick!). Jake and Izzy have become great playmates for our kids. Stephanie has watched the kids for me while I went to the (gulp) dentist. We have had many a supper at their house...and they have let our kids destroy their house. They are great friends, the kind we truly cherish!

Thank you Steph, Brenton, Jake, Izzy and #5. We love you guys!

Friday, April 14, 2006


The kids and I had an awesome time today out at my mom and dad's house. All 10 of my parent's grandkids were there playing and laughing. They colored Easter eggs (more than 90 of them!) and had an impromptu egg hunt.

All the while I was contemplating today's meaning. Good Friday. It's so strange to have such conflicting emotions about an event. Jesus was beaten and scourged, walked with a cross on his back up a long road, had nails pierced through his hands and feet and hung there until He died. It is something too horrible to even grasp. And He did it for me...for you ....for all humanity. It makes me joyful and sad all at once. Sad because He had to endure so much for my sins, for the stupid choices I've made and will make. Overwhelmed with joy... that because of what He endured I am able to have a relationship with God that is eternal.

It is absolutely amazing.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I made it!

Well, I made it through my dentist appointment today. It was the second in a week, this time to have a filling done.

I don't know what it is about the dentist that turns me into a cowering fool. I've gone through labor and delivery twice, a c-section, kidney stones (twice while pregnant), and had my tonsils out as an adult and I can honestly say that I have a decent pain tolerance. When it comes to someone drilling my teeth I shudder even thinking about it. The noise, the smell, the taste..... Yuck!!! I told my dentist today that I think they should have a Valium take home pack for people so they can dope themselves up before going in. He laughed, probably because he thought I was joking.

At least I won't have to go back for awhile!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


What is it about a beautiful, sunny, 70 degree day in April that makes everything in life seem that much better?

Thanks to Stephanie, Jacob, Izzy, Gina, Lainee and Vada for making our first real trip to the park this year so much fun!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Victims of daylight savings

You know how there is always someone who forgets daylight savings? Well, this time it was the Brown family. We got up this morning, lounged about for a bit, and got ready for church. Week 1 (this week) is my week in Nuggets so at about 9:00 a.m. we were rounding the troops up to hit the road. I heard Dustin say (with a hint of panic in his voice) "Oh's daylight savings. Church is starting right now." We had completely forgot. We scrambled to the van and high-tailed it to church. It was about 10:30 when we walked in the door of the middle school. I made it to Nuggets just as they were going to begin the lesson (my fellow Nuggeteers were very forgiving) and Dustin made it to hear the guest speaker so all was good. Afterward, the kids had a great time at KidStuf........God is so good!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A trip to the dentist

Miles and Linus had their dental check-ups today. Linus is in the cavity free club but Miles had 4 cavities. This is ironic because Linus has to practically be forced-brushed but Miles is anal retentive about his oral hygiene...he brushes and flosses without us even reminding him. We've heard several theories about this. Miles probably has weaker enamel and his saliva isn't doing everything it's supposed to do. Such is life...

Anyway, while we were there, Miles was being his usual, shy self. Linus on the other hand told his life story to anyone and everyone that would listen. He had all three female dental assistants standing around him chatting and laughing. He even invited them to go to lunch with us. Is this foreshadowing what his teenage years will be like? Yikes!

I love the dentist office where the kids go so much that I thought I'd put a little plug in for them. It's called Dentistry for Children and it's in Monticello (in that strip mall over by Walmart... by Movie Gallery.) The dentist's name is Dennis Carreras (he's known as Dr. Dennis) and he is awesome with kids. His assistants are awesome too; they are super friendly and they explain everything to the kids so it's not so scary. These guys only work with kids so they know just how to deal with all types of behavior. They just moved to this office within the last year and it's great! There's a side room off of the waiting room that has some video games and a TV that was playing the movie Chicken Little today. In the room where they do exams they have Gameboys for the kids to play while they wait. The kids wear sunglasses while they're having their teeth checked so the light won't bother their eyes. The dentist makes balloon animals for them when they are finished. So if you're in the market for a dentist for your kids, I totally recommend this place. My kids love it!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Life lessons from Bill

In high school I hated Shakespeare. I wanted someone to translate it into real English for me. The older I got, the more I read and enjoyed his works. The guy wrote some really good stuff, I just had to take the time to actually read and comprehend it. I came across this excerpt from the Merchant of Venice, one of both Dustin's and my favorites.

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

I think I'm going to have to dust off my book downstairs and read this one again.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

...a little help from my friends...

So I'm on a stenciling kick and I need your help. I'm looking for a quote or a verse to put in my entryway. I have a few that I like but I want suggestions from anyone and everyone. They can be about houses, home, family, God, inspirational, anything. Bring it on...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Drum Roll Please.....

This isn't the greatest picture but my first round of stenciling is done! After blood, sweat and tears (actually none of those but my thumb and pointer finger are sore from cutting with my exacto knife) I finished on Saturday.

The verse is 1 Thessolians 5:16-18 : "Be joyful always: pray unceasingly; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Excuse #422 from Linus

Linus comes up with some doozies when it comes to excuses. It usually comes out in a very serious tone accompanied with a look of scorn. Tonight at the dinner table we heard this:

"I can't eat my broccoli. I read somewhere that it has too much sugar in it."

Nevermind that he just turned 4 and can't read. Even if he could I'm pretty sure that broccoli would not be his first choice of topics.

Then when he was finished eating and was asked to clear his dishes he said "Mom, I can't. My feet tired."

That one didn't fly either.

At least in our house we always have a form of entertainment in Linus.

Friday, March 17, 2006

O summer, where art thou?

I came across these pictures when I was looking for a picture of our blue chair for yesterday's post. They were taken last summer at my mom and dad's house. I am so fortunate that my parents and siblings live close and that we can spend most of the summer at the lake! Lots of sun, swimming, playing with cousins and relaxing!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This one's for Welch

A long lost twin to Chad Welch's old chair? The sad thing is we have the matching couch! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Spring has sprung (at least in my mind...)

I don't care if there's snow on the ground and there's a possibility for more. My internal clock says that Spring is here!

I'm not going to IKEA today like I was originally planning... but it's not going to stop me from some decorating that has already started in my head. I've got the supplies to stencil a verse on one of my walls and I'm starting the planning process today. I've got to do some measuring, etc. to make sure that the end result is what I've pictured it to be.

I've never stenciled before so if anyone has any tips or suggestions, let me know!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Just when I thought it was safe...

I was bragging today that the Brown household was finally free of all viruses, etc. Then came the call from school...Miles had a fever and was complaining of a sore throat. Influenza and Strep are both going around Maple Lake like wild fire so I decided to bring him into urgent care when Dustin got home from work. Between the time that I picked Miles up from school and Dustin got home work, Greta started running a temp. Since I had caught her chewing on Miles' toothbrush yesterday, I decided to take her along and get her tested too. Of course they both have Strep! Now I'm just waiting for Linus and I to develop symptoms because the boys and I shared an Icee yesterday.

(Corny?) Thoughts on a Friday Morning

My house is an absolute mess.
Thank you Lord for providing my family a place to live...a place to stay warm and dry on cold nights.

The sink is full of dirty dishes that need to be washed.
Thank you Lord for the reminder that you have always provided food for us to eat.

My kids are wild and driving me crazy.
Thank you Lord for my three healthy, amazing (and usually very loud) children.

There are probably at least 4 loads of laundry downstairs that need to be washed.
Thank you Lord for providing more than enough clothing for our family.

My husband is at work and won't be home for 7 hours.
Thank you Lord for my husband and his job that supports our family.

I'm still in my p.j.'s, playing Star Wars with Linus and wondering what to clean first.
Thank you Lord that I am able to be at home with my kids, play with them, and put off the cleaning until later.

I have friends that are hurting right now and I feel helpless.
Thank you Lord for bringing these wonderful people into my life and for humbling me. I am reminded that I am not here to fix their problems, I am here to support them in their journey.
You are in control.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Prayer Request

I feel like someone should make me a crown because I am the queen of prayer requests. It seems like every other post that I make is one...but here goes...

Dustin's sister Brandy (who is one of my closest friends) is going through a really tough time right now. Without getting in to details I will say that it is probably the roughest spot in her life to date. I'm asking anyone who reads this to please add her (and her kids and husband) to their prayers. Pray for God's guidance, strength, and peace and that something good can come out of the situation that she's in right now.

I know that your prayers will make a difference! Thanks!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dustin's Mom's Wild Rice Soup

Here's the recipe for the soup I brought to small group:

1/2 cup wild rice
Boil rice 15 minutes in salt water. Drain and rinse. Repeat at least 2 times until water is clear.

2 cans cream of potato soup
1 cup Velveeta cheese
1/2 lb. bacon cooked and crumbled
2 cups milk
1 small onion (about 1/2 cup chopped)
cooked rice

Simmer until onion is tender.

I've never tried chicken in it but I bet it would be good. If anyone tinkers with the recipe and has good results, let me know!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pay it forward

Brenton's sermon on Sunday got me to thinking about a movie I saw a few years back. The movie, Pay It Forward (it stars Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and that kid from The Sixth Sense that sees dead people), wasn't really very good but the theme was. It's about random acts of kindness. Basically doing something kind for someone (a stranger, family, whatever) without expecting anything in return. Then that person, instead of paying you back, would pay it forward to someone else. The idea is that the one act of kindness could travel around the world.

Random acts of kindness. The world could use some more of those.

Dustin and I had a chance to do something nice for a close family member this week. This family member and their family have been really struggling financially lately. Last week one of their vehicles died on them that has put them in a much worse position. We have a pretty tight budget but we happened to get our tax return this weekend. After church on Sunday when I went grocery shopping I picked up a gift card to Cub for them. It wasn't anything huge, just enough for a decent trip to the store for a family of 4. The sound of this person's voice when they thanked me, the weight that was lifted off of their shoulders, if only for one week, was enough to fuel me for days.

Acts of kindness don't always have to involve money. Words can sometimes be even more powerful. Growing up, my family was not one of physical touch or the words "I love you." I knew I was loved, it's just that it was mostly unspoken. Dustin's family was the opposite. Even today, he, his mom and his sisters end every phone call with an "I love you" and hug and kiss hello and goodbye. I remember one time about a year ago I was talking with one of his sisters on the phone. She was having serious marital problems and had hit a low. After talking for awhile I said to her "I love know that we're here for you no matter what, right?" She started to sob but her outlook seemed to brighten immediately. I realized that I had never said those words to her even though she is one of my closest friends. I'm sure that she knew how I felt but hearing the words meant a lot to her.

I pray that God would remind me to make a conscious effort every day to be more kind and more generous to all those around, friends and strangers alike.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesdays with Dad

My dad has always had a silly sense of humor. When I was a kid, any time my brothers or I would ask the question "When?" my dad always had the same answer: "On Tuesday!"

And it has been on every Tuesday since we moved to Maple Lake 3 years ago that he has made the trek over to visit us. My kids know that Tuesday is Grandpa Bill day and that he will always have some kind of treat for them when he comes. Greta even gets it now and when my dad comes up the steps she runs to him. They plop down on the recliner together and he pulls out a pack of fruit snacks for them to share.

It's funny that as I'm thinking about him now I realize that this year his birthday, today, falls on a Tuesday.

My dad is an awesome guy. He was the sole bread winner for our family of 7. He worked as a teacher and counselor until he retired a few months before Miles was born. During the summers when he had time off from school he worked different overnight jobs to make extra money. He would sleep for only a couple of hours, then get up and do things with us kids. He was at every band concert, sporting event and school function that was humanly possible for all 5 of his kids. He took us to the State Fair every year and bought us every food item imaginable...even though money was always pretty tight.

I struggle with the fact that he has not yet become a Christian and am asking for Kingdom prayers for him from all of you in the blogging world (and anywhere else!)

Happy Birthday Dad!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Swearing at the devil

Ah, the joys of a child in school. Here are a few things that Miles has learned or witnessed in Kindergarten:
  1. The "Batman smells" version of Jingle Bells.
  2. An anatomically correct version of Santa Claus (thanks to the boy who sits next to him).
  3. That we are the only family in Maple Lake that says 'gas' rather than 'fart'.
  4. The "...sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" song.
  5. The use of his middle finger. He came home the other day and flipped me the bird. When I reprimanded him he stated "Kora told me that's how you swear at the devil. He lives under the ground." You can imagine how long it took me to straighten that one out. Especially since, in Kora's vast 5 1/2 year existence, she has learned more than I have.

Man am I glad it's the weekend!

Almost Famous

For Miles, the best part of being named student of the month was getting his picture taken for the local newspaper, The Messenger. He has been asking us every day for the last week when the paper will come. He was even counting down the days until Thursday (yesterday) because he couldn't wait to see himself in the paper. "Mom", he said, "I'm going to be famous." I explained that the paper is for people in Maple Lake, not the whole world. He said "I know. But everyone in Maple Lake will know who I am." (Note to self: teach children lesson on humility.) Well, much to his dismay, the paper came yesterday and the students of the month weren't in it. Maybe next week? So here's to another week of "Is it Thursday yet?"

If it's not in next week's paper I'm going to let him call the editor...

Monday, February 13, 2006

An Early Valentine

I know that Valentine's Day isn't until tomorrow but I'm feelin' it today. This post is for my husband.

Thank you for:
  • Marrying me on that cold December evening 6 years ago.
  • Inspiring me to be a better person.
  • Being a father and a man that our boys can look up to.
  • Giving Greta an awesome example of what a husband should be.
  • Every time you have prayed with me and for me.
  • All that you have sacrificed of yourself in the name of our family.
  • Going to work every single day so that I can stay home with our kids.
  • Living with my mood swings through 3 pregnancies.
  • Loving me even when I'm unloveable.
  • Being there just to listen and for not always trying to fix my problem.
  • Supporting our family (and my scrapbooking habit.)
  • Everything that you do around the house even though you've already put in a full day's work.
  • Using 2 comforters so I could have the ceiling fan on high when I was 9 months pregnant in February.
  • Being my best friend.
  • Putting my feelings first.
  • Scratching my back any time I ask.
  • Letting me see myself through your eyes.
  • Making me laugh until my sides hurt.
  • Being a man that stands up for what you believe in.
  • Watching scary movies with me even though you think they're stupid.
  • Getting the coffee pot ready for me every single morning.
  • Being so committed to God that it runs off on our whole family.
  • Making me feel safe.
  • Buying us a sleep number bed (though it wasn't really in our budget) because you knew my back couldn't take one more night on our 50 year old bed.
  • Being the man your dad just couldn't be.

I love you babe. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Feelin' Groovy

The old Simon and Garfunkel song, Feelin' Groovy, has been bouncing around my head tonight...and I know why...

I'm sitting here, belly full from a delicious supper my husband made, listening to Dustin and the kids rock out on the drums downstairs. It's Friday night, which means we have the weekend ahead of us to spend family time. Sleep in a little tomorrow, then wake up and Dust and I will cozy up on the couch with some coffee and watch the kids be kids. We have nothing planned this weekend... how scrumptious! It's snowing outside...those big, fluffy flakes that float gently to the ground.

Life, I love you. All is groovy.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hooray Miles!

Along with his new (for lack of a better description) armpit-farting skills, Miles hit a great achievement this week. He was named student of the month at school! They choose two kids from each grade for hard work, good attitude, etc.

So we're having a little family party tonight that includes some Star Wars and graham crackers with frosting... two of Miles' favorites!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Little Drummer Boy

Linus turns 4!!

Today is Linus' 4th birthday. We're having mac-n-cheese for supper (birthday boy's request!) and eating cake and opening presents later tonight. Dustin and I are excited because this year we got Linus a drum set and we can't wait to see his reaction!

Dustin took the day off to spend "special time" with Linus. They went to McDonalds play place for lunch and to the store to pick out ice cream for tonight. I decorated the house a little and took a 2 hour nap on the couch (still not feeling very well.)

I'm (and by that I mean Dustin is) going to post a picture of Linus with his drums after he opens them. I can't wait!

Friday, February 03, 2006

A cold, ear infections and the flu, oh my!

I'm still fighting off a cold that I feel like I've had since last winter. I went to the doctor on Wednesday to find out that I also have a double ear infection...for which I'm now taking amoxicillan. Then Wed. night I came down with a minor case of that nasty flu that is going around. And now the side effects from the amoxicillan are, well, starting to kick in.

I'm having a pity party at my house today if anyone wants to come. :)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A story by Miles

Miles wrote this story on the computer this afternoon. He is a little punctuation happy, but pretty good for a kindergartener!

Once apon a time. Thar. Wus a. Big bare and thar wus a home. And thar wus a big, Groop. Of cowboys, And thay did cheres with hot coco. Thay did not do good stuff, One day the bare came to thar fun howsoe thay ran away, So thay had a plan. So thay kild that bare, Rite. Up. The, End

Now he wants to illustrate it (his words, not mine.) So I'll be printing out a few copies!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I was changing Greta's DIRTY diaper this morning. When I was finished she said "All done!" and handed me the tub of wipes to put away (she likes to "help.") As I was setting the wipes on the counter she went for the diaper...which was not bundled up tightly like it I usually do right away. [Picture in slow lunging for the diaper saying nnnnnooooooooooooo!] She got to the diaper before I did and, well, let's just say the contents fell out. All over the floor. Greta claps and says "Yea!" because she thinks she's helping. I said "No, no Greta. You can't touch the dirty diaper." So I'm searching the carpet to make sure I've got it all picked up when I notice that she stepped on some. There's poop on her sock, my hand, smeared into the carpet. Yikes. When I get everything cleaned up and I'm wrapping the diaper up TIGHTLY she looks at me and shakes her finger in the "no-no" fashion as if to say "No-no mommy. You said not to touch the diaper."

It's a good thing she's cute.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Love and Respect

Michael did a great job with his sermon on sex yesterday. What a tricky subject. There are probably many people that don't want sex brought up in church, or anywhere for that matter.

It brought to mind a book that I read last year called For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. Awesome book (and it really isn't just for women!) It talks about some of the differences between women and men. The author does a good job trying to help women understand the opposite sex.... without male bashing or teaching how to change our husbands.

One of the eye openers for me was a poll taken of men and women with this question: "If you had to choose one, would you rather feel unloved or disrespected?" The women all answered disrespected. The men all answered unloved.

I couldn't believe it. If Dustin said "Honey, I respect you" I'd say "Thanks...please pass the milk." When he does or says something loving I melt like butter. With him, it's the opposite. It's not to say that we don't need both love and respect. It's just that men and women have different driving forces.

After reading just about every chapter I would ask Dustin "Is this really how guys think/feel?" For the most part his answer was "yes." I was blown away by how many things I didn't "get" about men. He was blown away that most women don't know this stuff.

I have been blessed with a strong marriage and this book made it even more so. There were some things in the book that hit a small nerve...but in a good way. It reminded me that there is always room for improvement. And that sacrifice and putting the other person first is a big part of marriage. And that neither Dustin or I are wrong...we were just created differently!