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 motion....me 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!

Friday, January 27, 2006

To Yu-Gi-Oh or not to Yu-Gi-Oh?

Since September, when Miles started kindergarten, parenting has officially moved to the next level. It is uncharted territory in our house. Gone are the days when plopping him in front of Sesame Street while hopping in the shower is the most questionable parenting act we do. It seems like every day I hear "If so-and-so can do/watch/have it, why can't I?" There are many black and white areas where Dustin and I stand our ground. My answer to Miles' question is usually "Daddy and I aren't so-and-so's parents. If they lived in our house they wouldn't do/watch/have it either." We've tried to explain that we're trying to do what's best for him and to honor God in our parenting.

Enter Yu-Gi-Oh. Yu-Gi-Oh cards are used to play some sort of game that, for the life of me, I can't figure out. It doesn't really matter because Miles doesn't want to play the game, he just wants to collect the cards. He first learned about them from older cousins that had them but it progressed when he started school. Kids had them in school and on the bus and soon Miles wanted to have some of his own.

So we checked them out. The cards are like playing cards only they have "characters" on them and descriptions of how the card can be used in the game. There is one that is a hamburger with big teeth, one that is a fairy, one that is a dusty tornado. Fine. Then there are 'Soul Eater', Red Dragon (that says it is a God), some with pictures of skeletons and nasty beasts, and many others that would make my liberal grandmother blush. Not fine.

We tried giving him football cards. Dustin even went through his old ones and gave Miles some of those. He played with them for a couple of weeks but now they're gathering dust.

Miles came home from my brother's house with a sizeable stack of my nephew's old Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Dustin and I went through them and tossed the ones that we thought were inappropriate. The stack was now much smaller and Miles pitched a fit. We told him that if wanted to keep any, he had to let us get rid of the "bad" cards. He has received many packs of cards, mostly for Christmas, from Grandmas and other relatives. He has gotten better about letting us take the ones we don't like.

We're caught in an uncomfortable area. Are we making too much of the cards? They are, after all, just paper. But there is something in me that says these cards are not honoring God, so why do we have them in our possession?

One of my biggest struggles with this (and other topics like movies, TV shows, etc.) is that I don't want to raise our kids in a bubble. Sooner or later they are going to introduced to so many things that we don't approve of. We need to help them learn to make the right decisions by themselves so that when we are not with them they can do it for themselves. That being said, I don't want our home to be the place where they witness these things.

So, if you're reading this and you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know. Dustin and I would love to get some input from other parents. And please pray that I don't develop an ulcer from my parenting worries... after all, this is only the first of three kids and he's only in kindergarten! I have a long way to go! :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Ah, it's good to be home! I had an awesome weekend. I got a lot done in the kids' scrapbooks, ate too many snacks, laughed until my stomach hurt (many times), and slept way too little. It's always fun to come home and show Dustin and the kids what I accomplished. And my bed feels soooo good after the bunk where I sleep at the camp!

When I got home yesterday Miles gave me a note that he wrote for me when I was gone. It said:
"Hi mom its me Miles
I love you varry motche
Love Miles"

It was so sweet. I am amazed at how much he's already learned in Kindergarten. He writes his letters very well and is learning to spell (sometimes phonetically) so fast! They started their guided reading program after Christmas and he has moved quickly through the first few levels. We are very blessed that he finds reading so interesting!

When I called home this past weekend to see how the family was doing I had a great conversation with Linus. It went something like this:
me: "Hi Linus!"
Linus: "Hi mom...can you feel me wiggling?"
me: "No honey, we're on the phone. I can hear you but I can't see you or feel you wiggling."
Linus: "Oh. Mom, I know where you are. You are scrapbooking. Are there any treats there?"
me: "Yup. We have lots of treats and snacks here."
Linus: (yelling to dad and Miles) "THEY HAVE TREATS!"
me: "When dad brings you guys to visit you can have some."
Linus: "Thanks mom. Mom.......I love your fancy hair. Good night, sleep tight, see you tomorrow, love you."


Linus is such a riot sometimes. I can always count on him for a laugh!

Anyhow, it's great to be home. Dustin rocked the house (as Brenton predicted!) and all is well. I'm a little bummed that I missed KidStuf yesterday. My boys thought it was really cool and were excited to tell me all about it! I'm looking forward to the next one!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Captain Kirk and kidney stones

Isn't it crazy how sounds and smells can bring back memories so vividly?

Right now Linus is watching The Three Musketeers with Mickey, Donald and Goofy. We bought that movie for them just about 18 months ago, when I was pregnant and about to burst with Greta. I was also very sick with a kidney stone and the stent they put in to try to help it pass. As soon as I heard the first song on the movie I was immediately brought back to laying on the couch with a bucket by my head and a half-full glass of Sprite on the floor.

The sound of our bread machine is another thing that reminds me of that time. The boys and I bought the bread maker for Dustin's Father's Day present that year. He was so pumped to use it. The Tuesday after Father's Day was when the pain from the stone started. That weekend Dustin had the machine set to start mixing the bread early in the morning. I woke up in the middle of the night in a lot of pain so I took the Vicodin the doctor gave me and waited for relief. Aparently Vicodin doesn't agree with me because I started vomitting like crazy as I heard the bread machine start to mix the dough. I seriously get chills every time I hear that thing turn on now.

On a related topic, I read that William Shatner sold his kidney stone and stent for $25,000 (in a charity auction.) How weird is that?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My husband rocks!

I'm so lucky to be married to such an awesome guy. He is a great spiritual leader for our family, the bread winner, volunteer and drummer extrodinaire (you should hear the CD he recorded with the band Forty Watt Bulb a few years ago), supportive husband... I could go on and on. This weekend he adds scrapbook widower to the list.

I'm leaving Thursday evening to go to a scrapbook retreat and I won't get home until Sunday afternoon. I love these weekends (one in Oct., Jan., March) because I can get a ton of stuff done in the kids' books. I can leave my stuff out and no small hands get into it. Plus, there's the added bonus of no "Moooommmmm, Linus just picked his nose and wiped it on my shirt!" in the background.

Still, I always feel just a little guilty for leaving. Dustin is taking a vacation day Friday; could the vacation day be better spent another time? Weekends are our "family time"; am I ditching my family for too much "me" time? We are a family of five living on one salary; wouldn't the money be better spent on something else?

Dustin is so supportive of my hobby and practically pushes me out the door. When I get home he looks through the scrapbooks and tells me how good they are. He takes care of the kids all weekend and the house is cleaner when I get home than when I left. Is there anything this man cannot do?

So, if you see him at church this weekend running in different directions after our kids, give him a little 'shout out' for all that he does for our family!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Along with two of my brothers and and a friend, I went to Tom Keating's wake last night. We had collectively decided that we would choose either the wake OR the funeral. Since the wake was set from 3-8 Sunday night we thought it was a better option... my brothers and our friend are all teachers and had workshops today, the day of the funeral.

We arrived in Foley at about 4:15 to find a long line of people waiting to get inside the church. It was pretty chilly but no one seemed to mind the wait. We were outside for about an hour. When we got inside we saw an unbeliveable sight. The line to view the body and talk to the family zig-zagged through the pews (ValleyFair style) all the way to the back of the church. As the line moved forward we saw old classmates and friends, teachers, administration from MHS, and many that we didn't know. By the time we were through and walking out the door it was just shy of 8:00. The church was still completely full; probably 2-3 hours worth of waiting time for the last people to get through.

It was amazing. All of those people there to celebrate his life! He should be a great inspiration to all of us... he took the spiritual gifts that God gave him and ran with them! What a difference he made in so many lives. I can't even count how many stories young people shared that started with "If it wasn't for TK I wouldn't be alive today." Just think what the world would be like if everyone found their gift(s) and followed suit!

He had a saying in his office that went something like this:

Good morning Tom, God here.
Please put all of your worries and problems
in the basket marked "God."
Do not try to retrieve these.
I will deal with them in my own way
and in my own time.
Have a great day!

What a fitting way to say goodbye.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A sad day

For any alum of Monticello schools, today is a very sad day. Tom Keating, who was named teacher of the year in 2004, was killed in an accident. I knew him well when I was in High School. I was one of many peer helpers and he was our leader.

He was an all around awesome guy. He helped many, many students that were headed in the wrong direction straighten themselves out. One of those students was one of my older brothers.

Although my heart aches, I will celebrate the life of a man who made a positive impact on so many. Please pray for his family and the students of the Alternative School where he taught.

Sugar and spice

Greta is in the middle of what I like to call the "tornado stage." My usually placid girl can destroy a room in 2 minutes flat. She whips books onto the floor. She stands at the toybox and throws the toys out over her shoulders until she finds something to distract her for a few seconds, then resumes. She is now tall enough to reach anything on the counter that is near the edge... I believe she may have a radar that alerts her to when someone has set something there. She'll grab it and run, hoping to enjoy a few tasty seconds of contraban. She knows where our lid drawer is in the kitchen and loves to empty it.

With this stage comes her growing personality shining through. She has developed a high pitched squeal that accompanies vigorous hand flailing when we take something away from her. She carries her babies all over the house and feeds them with bottles. She is a real snuggler and gives out hugs and kisses all of the time. She loves watching the old Blue's Clues movies... but when I tried a newer version that Grandma bought for her called Blue's Room, she looked at me with disgust. I tried again the next day when she said "Blue?". When it came on she turned away and left the room as if saying "Whatever!" I have since sold those new videos on Ebay.

I am so excited to watch her grow, to see God's plans for her. It's been a lot of fun having another girl in the house... I can't wait until she wants to play Barbies with me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Way of the Master

Dustin found this website that talks about witnessing to other people. They have a few TV broadcasts that you can watch, they are about 28 minutes a piece. If you go to "Television > Watch Episodes Online" you can see the shows there. Definitely worth checking out!

Here is one that lays out their approach step by step.

Our journey to the Quarry

My family has been blessed in many ways in the last year but none bigger than our church "home", The Quarry.

It actually started almost 2 years ago when Dustin and I decided that we wanted to find a church to belong to. I went to Sunday school as a kid but nothing more and it had been many, many years since Dustin had attended church. With 2 kids and another on the way we wanted a place to worship, a place for our children (and us) to continue our walk with God, and a place to make new friends that would support our growing faith. We tried different churches, none that made us sit up and say "this is it!"

A few months after Greta was born we had some old friends over. One of them told us about a small group she had just finished about The Purpose Driven Life. She hadn't attended the church but had really enjoyed the small group. She told us the Quarry met at the middle school in Monticello and we decided to give it a shot. We checked out the website first and liked what we saw. There were a few things that were a "must" on our potential church list. We didn't want to have to buy a new wardrobe to attend church. At one of the churches we had tried most people were wearing suits and dresses. Don't get me wrong, that's great if you're comfortable in them, but anyone who knows Dustin and I knows that blue jeans are our way of dressing up. We wanted to be who we were and be accepted for that. Most importantly, we wanted a church that believed that the Bible was the final authority on all things.

The first Sunday that we went to the Quarry happened to be a day they were doing baptisms. I had never seen adults being baptized but I really liked the idea. Dustin and I have never had our kids baptized because we believed that it needed to be their choice, not ours.

The following Sunday we came back and enjoyed the whole experience. People were so friendly in a genuine way and not pushy at all. We saw people that we knew but didn't know that they went to the Quarry. Kelly Johnson (who I've known for just about forever), Nicole Colbenson(her sister and my best friend since high school) and her husband had just started attending, Temple Senger (who Dustin and I had worked at Perkins with many years ago.) We also learned that the pediatritian (Dr. Welch) that we had recently switched to attended with her family. [ I have to add that by chance she was on call the weekend that Greta was born. After the first time we met her I told Dustin "I really like her... we're switching all of our kids to her." She's so good with kids and really down to earth. And she's the cutest pregnant woman I've ever met :)]

We've been going ever since, and we love it. We've made awesome friendships with many different people. We are involved in a small group full of people that are becoming fast friends. Our kids love Sunday school. We are growing in Christ. Both Dustin and I were baptized this past June. We have even been able to give back by volunteering our time in different areas of the church.

Thank you to everyone who makes up the Quarry! We are blessed!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My boys

My life feels crazy at times. With three kids 5 and under I wonder if there will ever be a sane (and quiet!) moment. We had a busy day today with church and 2 birthday parties to follow and we were all pretty tired when we finally got home around 6 p.m. My head was still filled with the craziness of shuffling our family here and there and I was thinking to myself how delicious a quiet night at home sounded. Two things happened (with my boys) that reminded me how lucky I am and how thankful I should be, even in utter chaos.

We were watching the movie Elf and let me tell you, Miles thinks it is hysterical. In just about every scene he will say "Mom, you have to watch this part. It's soooo funny." There is one scene where Buddy the Elf is at the doctor's office and he starts eating cotton balls because he thinks they're marshmallows. It's a pretty funny scene but Miles started laughing like it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. Not just giggling but that gut-busting laughter that is contagious. How wonderful is it that I have been blessed with a house full of that kind of laughter?

The other thing that happened was with Linus when I was putting him to bed. We prayed together and snuggled up just like every other night. Then, out of nowhere, he rolled over to face me and said "Mom, I think you are beautiful. You are the prettiest girl in the whole wide world." He is not even 4 yet. How can the words of someone so young melt your heart like that? He is so innocent. He doesn't care that I'm wearing old sweatpants, my make up is mostly worn off, and that I'm not even close to the size I was before I had kids. It is truly a gift from God to have someone love you like that!

I need to remind myself of little things like these. It is one of the greatest joys of parenting.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Things my kids love

I never thought I'd be the mother that struggled to remember the "firsts" of her children. When it was in the present I thought that the date and time would be etched in my memory forever. First words, favorite books and the like have been replaced in my (shrinking) memory with homework assignments, Star Wars characters, and Blue's Clues songs. I've decided to write a little bit about each of my kids here so I can come back in the future and recapture some memories.

Miles loves:
  • trading football cards with his dad
  • oatmeal with butterscotch chips
  • superheroes
  • wrestling with dad and Linus
  • yu-gi-oh cards
  • listening to music on his headphones
  • playing his "movies"
  • Grandpa Bill's treats
  • "spicy chips" (nacho cheese Doritos)
  • Magic Treehouse and Junie B. Jones books
  • Harry Potter
  • "party" nights at Grandma Judie's

Linus loves:

  • Star Wars
  • lightsaber fights with mom and dad
  • his blankie and stuffed animal HoneyTobySam
  • Harold's Purple Crayon and Arthur books
  • mac-n-cheese
  • glue
  • coloring
  • his special spot on the couch
  • helping dad cook
  • action figures
  • being a big brother
  • apple juice

Greta loves:

  • Blue's Clues (the older ones with Steve)
  • graham crackers
  • her blankie
  • baby dolls
  • being chased by her brothers
  • cuddling when she's tired
  • her pacifier
  • reading books (Goodnight Baby, Goodnight Moon, The Very Busy Spider, My Many Colored Days, Goodnight Blue)
  • dancing to music
  • seeing daddy when he comes home from work
  • feeding herself with "big people" silverware
  • her brothers

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy New Year

As one of my resolutions for the new year, I am starting a blog. It is a journal for my to put down life's happenings and daily stresses. More importantly I am going to use it as a journaling tool for my scrapbooks! Hopefully I can keep up with my goal of writing in it daily!