Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm a very Unhappy Monkey!!! What's that you say? You are trying to bribe me with a sucker so I'll smile?
Well, okay.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Confessions of a Move-a-holic

Since the year 1988, I have moved at least every three to four years. The first time it was to Indiana, then in 1992 to Central Illinois. In 1996, I moved to be near my first teaching job. In 1997 I moved to an apartment near Chicago. In 1998 I moved up north to be closer to my teaching job. In 2000, I moved into a duplex with my husband when we got married. In 2001 Cody arrived, and we decided we wanted to be homeowners. So, in 2002, we bought our first condo. One year later, we bought our first house.

It was a bit of a fixer-upper. But it was the best deal for the money and we thought it would be great for just the three of us. We moved here in 2004 and by 2005 I was pregnant with baby #2. We've been here three years. I love this house. It's about 100 years old. It's charming and we love the neighbors and so many things about it. We've made many changes and have had fun making it truly "ours." But all of a sudden, I'm itching to move again.

I don't know if it's a thing with my personality or what. I am always trying to figure out how to rearrange my house. I start getting antsy and I need to make a change. I have dreams of a bigger home, with a family room AND living room. A fireplace. An eat in kitchen AND a dining room. I would love for the boys to each have their own room. A place for me to teach AND a play room. A true master bedroom with our own bathroom. I would love to host family get togethers, birthday parties, and social gatherings without feeling like everyone is cramped together with no room to move. (I love to entertain!) All that aside, I have learned to be content because that's what God calls me to and because I know that Godliness+Contentment=Great Gain.

We live in a VERY expensive area and homes are not cheap. They're cheaper right now, but we are not in a position to move into something larger. We won't do it until we truly feel we can afford it. We're not house poor right now and we don't ever want to be. Our taxes are manageable and I am able to work a handful of hours here at home each week without feeling like I "should" be working more. I also realize that this current season in my life calls me home while my boys are still young. Maybe someday down the road I'll go back to work full-time and then we could maybe talk about that house we've been wishing for.

All of this is to say (yes, I do have a point) that I am getting antsy again. But not to move. Just to rearrange. I need to re-work a couple of rooms. Maybe even paint a room or add an accent wall. I need to rid out, freecycle, re-organize, and possibly rearrange. It's much cheaper than buying a new house and it hardly costs a thing (maybe just a gallon or two of paint).

So if you don't see me for awhile, just know that I am working on a few projects here and there. My intention is to use the month of November to get organized before the holidays arrive. I need to restore some order around here so that I feel better and make the house more user-friendly. I have no idea if I'll get anything really significant accomplished (it's hard to do much of anything besides just the necessities of life with a busy toddler around), but I'm going to make it my goal to try!

I'll see you soon!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who Knew Walmart Could Be So Exciting?

They've just opened a Super Walmart near my house. Yesterday. I have been very anxious to check it out. The reason I've been in great anticipation of the grand opening is because I am used to driving a half hour to get my groceries at a good price (when you consider gas prices and time, I sometimes wonder if it's really worth it). But I can't justify paying $4.98 for a gallon of milk (I'm not exaggerating) at the way-too-expensive-close-to-home grocery store. So when they opened this store, I was so hoping that their prices would be comparable to the other store I frequent.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into our new beautiful, fully stocked store and found the prices VERY comparable to what I normally pay. This made me so happy. I was, in fact, even talking to fellow moms in the aisle saying things like, "Wow, these prices are great!" and "Doesn't the store look nice?" and "Gee, I'm so glad they opened this store!" I know. I'm a dork.

But truly. You don't understand what this means for me. I can REALLY do all my shopping in one place. ONE PLACE, people! I can even get a haircut, go the bank, eat a sub and get fitted for eyeglasses. ALL IN ONE PLACE. See? I told you I was excited.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If You Haven't Met Her, You Must

Dear Friends, you really must go here now. You will be encouraged and uplifted. And you will laugh. Especially if you're a mother. Allow me to introduce you to BooMama (if you're one of the few that hasn't met her yet!). Enjoy.

Tagged on Tuesday!

Steph, at Adventures in Babywearing, kindly tagged me (after I whined about feeling left out!) for a 5 Interesting Things Meme.

Now, if I can only come up with 5 interesting things. Hmmm....

1. When I was ten years old, I played the role of Annie at a dinner theatre. Apparently our theatre was one of the first to do the production after it left Broadway, so it was a big deal. There were photographers from newspapers and personalities from the major television networks there covering the story. Needless to say, it was an exciting thing for a little girl to be a part of. And the music bug bit hard and never let go!

2. My mom owned and operated a dance studio from our basement. When we bought the house back in the late seventies, they knocked down walls, installed a wood floor, ballet barres, and mirrors. I remember going down there as a kid, not just to dance, but to crank music, sing and rollerskate.

3. I have to sleep with a fan running. And so do my kids. I got used to the noise of an apartment we used to live in and now I can't sleep in silence. This becomes problematic when we travel somewhere and nobody has a fan.

4. I am a picky eater. If you've ever seen the movie, "When Harry Met Sally," then you know me. I'm Sally. "I just want it the way I want it."

5. I love birds. I have feeders, houses, and two bird books. I think I inherited my love of birdwatching from my grandparents. My feeders are always stocked, and I take great pride in teaching my family about them.

And now you know more than you ever wanted to know about me. And now I tag:

Jaime, Marc, Kari, Tonya, and T. Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

WARNING: Foul Language May Offend

The other day we were sitting at our table eating dinner and our neighbors popped over to say hello and invite us to join them for dinner and the Illini game. As they were standing there, the following conversation took place.

Cody says, "Hey! I remember that shirt! You wore that at your 60th birthday party!"

Our neighbor replies, "Yes. Very good! You have a great memory."

Cody says, "Yeah. I know what it says!"

"Really?" Says our neighbor. (We all wait in anticipation to see if he reads it right.)

"It says: HOLY CRAP! I'm 60!!!"

I'm so glad he's learning to read in kindergarten.

Friday, October 19, 2007

If Parenting Doesn't Keep You Humble, I Don't Know What Will.

It was 7:53 a.m. this Friday morning. Cody and I had been back and forth about getting out the door on time. Are your shoes on? Did you brush your teeth? Do you have your backpack? How about lunch? Hot or cold?

You know the drill.

I was in a mood. I'll be the first to admit it. I was in the selfish "I just need to get some quiet time in...I'm only on Day 3 of my Beth Moore Study and if I don't work on it now it won't be done by Monday mode..." and I realize life was going on and I probably wasn't as active a participant as I should have been. Add to it the toddler who decided 5 would be a great time to rise and shine. This tired mommy didn't get to bed until 11:30 last night. And a mommy who's had something going on every single night this week. Add a little crankiness to the mix and you've got a recipe for a rough morning.

Back to 7:53. Cody needs to leave the house by 7:50 to walk with his friends down to the bus stop. As I was helping him zip his coat and grab his bag, he saw his buddies walking...but they were almost to the bus stop. He began to sob...I mean SOB...that he might miss the bus. Jerry hadn't left yet, but was just getting ready to pull out, so I literally yanked open the door, threw Cody in the car, yelled to both of them to "just go, just go!" because here I was in my pink bathrobe with my hair all a mess and really people. You just don't want to see me at that hour in the morning. But I was less-than-sweet, abrupt in my approach, and it was not a nice send off for either of my two guys. I even had the gall to yell at Cody to "pull it together, you're not gonna miss the bus so just knock it off" kind of a sentiment. See, I told you. I was the picture of sensitivity.

It hadn't been a minute after they'd left, and the guilt had taken over. Thankfully, I had my Moms in Touch prayer meeting this morning, and the Lord had already been working on my heart about how poorly the day had started. I desperately needed to meet with the Lord over this one. I hated that I sent Cody out the door that way (and Jerry too for that matter), but especially my sensitive kindergartener. Each and every day, we have devotions, we pray together, and we make sure we are grounded in God's Word before anyone leaves the house. We did the same thing this morning, but my harsh words were the last things on Cody's ears as they drove away. Not the usual hug, kiss, love you, be a light for Jesus exchange we usually have.

I know none of us is perfect. We all fail. We all say and do things we regret. And the only thing I knew to do was make it right. And I did what every sensible mom would do. I grabbed his winter coat (it was cold here today and I worried he'd be chilly at recess), a handful of orange oreos, and headed off to school to see him at lunchtime. Even after I blew up at him this morning, there he was sitting with his little friends at the table, waving and beaming at me. His mommy.

I went over and knelt down next to him, said what I needed to say, and his little arms wrapped around me as he whispered in my ear, "It's okay mom. I forgive you."

Thank you, Lord, that Your mercies are new every morning. And thank you for orange double-stuff oreos. : )

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nothing Like Getting Up Close and Personal

One of the things I love about this time of the year are the visits to pumpkin farms, complete with petting zoos, pumpkin picking, camel and pony rides, and of course, caramel apples. These photos were taken of Caden at our church's Fall Festival, and while I worried slightly about his being SO close to the animals, it was cute to see how playful and affectionate he was with them.
We had a field trip to a pumpkin farm with Cody's kindergarten class on Friday. It was so fun to watch the kids get excited about seeing the big pumpkin-eating, smoke breathing dragon and all the animals on the "farm." Unfortunately, this particular farm was hit hard in August with rain and their entire pumpkin crop was destroyed, so the kids were only able to go and pick out a pumpkin that had been previously purchased by the farm. They still had fun finding the "perfect pumpkin" and we moms and dads even got to take one home too! Yes, I still get excited about pumpkin picking at my ripe old age of 33!
Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's not ALL about the winning

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had the privilege of being able to go back to Nebraska (the place I will always call home) and take in a football game. You may remember me mentioning the fact that we were planning on going back, but I never really posted about our experience at the game. Now, I have been a fan since I was able to walk and talk, because it's part of my heritage. That may seem strange to some of you, but it truly is part of who I am and part of who we are as a collective family. It's not the most important thing to us, but second to God and family, Husker football is right up there!

In my 33 (almost 34) years, I have been blessed to witness the glory days. The days of national championships, Tom Osborne, consistent wins, and Husker pride (and power!) are things I will always look back on and remember...yes...the glory days.

Well, if you follow college football at all, you may know that the Huskers are having a really rough season. It's hard on the coaching staff and the fans, but mostly it's hard on the boys. These guys are really struggling. They are just kids, and the criticism, backlash, and beating they are taking from some of the press and fans is heartbreaking. Apparently these people have never experienced loss and defeat. Apparently they don't understand what it's like to live in the valley.

My point is this: It's not all about the winning. The glory days are great, yes. It's wonderful to be on the mountaintop. Wouldn't it be nice if we could stay there all the time? Yes! But life is simply not like that. There are valleys, times in the desert, and times of loss. Without the valleys, we couldn't possibly appreciate the mountaintops...the victories!

I just want to give a shout out to my Huskers. Guys, you are awesome, win or lose. In my book, you will always be winners, and I will still come home and watch you play. I won't walk out of the stadium before the game is over, nor will I boo you or swear when you don't make a field goal or finish a drive for a touchdown. I will hold my head high, believing that Husker Power is not a thing of the past. It is a thing of the present AND future. And I'll be there at Memorial Stadium to cheer you on next season, whatever the outcome.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Allow Me to Introduce You...

This is J. Bear. J. Bear is the class mascot and a couple of weekends ago, he got to spend the weekend with us. We chronicled his entire stay in his journal, including a personal one-on-one adjustment with our chiropractor, a visit to a fall festival, his entrance into the world of Nebraska football, and his run-in with our dog, Ozzie. J. Bear seemed to have a good time, but it seems he's on a long vacation while the children rid themselves of all their diseases and head lice. Yes. I said head lice. EEEEK! Thankfully, we have not fallen victim to this malady.

In addition to having his first official sleepover (he and J. Bear had a grand old time), Cody has begun to help train me in the ways of kindergarten. The other day, we were out doing some errand running, and Caden was being quite...ahem....challenging. After many stern, "NOs" and a few drop-limp-to-the-ground-and-scream-while-everyone-stares-at-you moments, I was almost to my breaking point. After our final errand, we got into the van. While I was trying to hand Caden one of his battery operated trains to hold onto while I strapped him into his carseat, he hauled off and threw the thing at me. This resulted in my loudly saying NO and smacking his little hand. It was effective. Not only was Caden crying, Cody was too.

As I got into the front and buckled myself in, I heard a little weepy voice from the backseat say, "Mom. (sniff sniff) Hands are for helping, NOT hurting!" Yes, he was right. This is one of the "I-Care" rules that they have in their school. I had to stop and calmly explain my reasoning for having to discipline his brother and still get the point across that hands are indeed for helping and not hurting. I'm sure to him, it seemed like a total contradiction!

Then, this morning, I was cutting out some things for his teacher (I have volunteered to do some work at home since it's hard for me to be a helper in the classroom with Caden). I was using one of those fiskar cutters and the blade tore one of the letters. Cody overheard me when I said, "Oh man, I ripped it!" and he rushed over to pat me on the shoulder and say, "That's okay, mom. You're still learning."

Yeah. I'd say Kindergarten has been really great for my kid.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Good Word

"...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31
Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, writes: "We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It's one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, "What a wonderful man of prayer hs is!" or "What a devoted woman of God she is!" If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time."
I am currently participating in Beth Moore's bible study, "A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place." Last night, during our small group time, we were talking about how easily we become discouraged by the mundane tasks of life. Motherhood, especially, can seem like a pretty thankless job sometimes. Would we change it? Not for the world! But the filthy bathroom, endless laundry, and wiping of noses can be altogether overwhelming.
Take heart, moms. All that you do, when done with a right heart before Him, brings glory to Him. Each tear you wipe away, each boo boo that you kiss, and every hug that you give is seen by the God you serve. And He is pleased with His servant.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I've seen this on a few of your blogs and thought it looked too fun. I decided to play along. I particularly like my gangsta name, My witness protection name, and my spy name. I gotta say that my all-time favorite is Strawberry Slacksy. My cartoon name. Play along....and let me know if you've already got one up on your site.

YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Carlisle Sedona
YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Rocky Road Sugar
YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Pink Finch
YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, hospital where you were born)
Lynn Indy
NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Don Taylor
WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names)
Kay Taylor
TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Coe Cleveland
SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Autumn Rose
CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now
+ “ie” or “y”)
Strawberry Slacksy
HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Life Oak
YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Singing Sunny Tour

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Don't You Just Love Those "Firsts?"

Today, my toddler experienced marshmallows for the first time. He took the package out of the pantry and walked over to me saying, "mmm my, mmm my," and he's never even tried them before! Imagine his delight when he actually put one in his mouth for the first time! Well, actually you don't have to imagine. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sober Reminders

Hi everyone. Thanks for all of your kind words as I took a little blogging break. I am back today to share something with you as God has prompted me to do so.

In the past week, two very dear women to our church and our women's ministry have been going through some incredibly difficult things. The first has a daughter that is my age who went to sleep here on earth and woke up in eternity this past week. The other woman, a precious sister in Christ, had a heart attack last night and was revived, but is still in need of great attention as they are currently monitoring her very closely at the hospital.

I share all of this to say that both of these women love the Lord dearly. While I have not been able to speak with my dear sister who is in the hospital, I know her heart and am absolutely positive that she is confident about her eternity, should the Lord decide it's her time to go Home.

The woman who recently lost her daughter has an incredible story to share about the road they have walked with her over the last thirteen years. During that time, her mother prayed....relentlessly...for her daughter. And over this past year, God has answered her prayers. Because of her willingness to continue to share her faith with her daughter and to never cease praying for her, her daughter was not only reconciled to her family but also with Christ. There is no question she woke up to her Savior.

I challenge each of you reading my blog today. Do you know where you will spend eternity? I am reminded once again that life is so incredibly short. In the blink of an eye, your entire life can be altered and you may find yourself standing before your Maker much sooner than you anticipated. Life rarely turns out the way we think it will. It is a winding road, sometimes filled with gentle ups and downs, sometimes steep and dark valleys, or beautiful views from the mountain tops. While the valleys may come as a shock to you, your friends, or family, God is never surprised. Your days here on this earth are short. They are but the blink of an eye. Are you secure in your salvation? Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart and be the Lord of your life? If not, today is your day. Don't wait a moment longer.

If you want to know more, I invite you to email me at

Teach us, O Lord, to number our days.