Friday, May 30, 2008

Close Encounters of the Grocery Kind

I was standing in the aisle with the canned veggies and soups, and I heard a voice say, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!  I was just here a couple days ago and that rice was 19 cents cheaper!" I looked around me, not sure who he was talking to, and then realized there was nobody else in the aisle but myself and the man lamenting about the cost of rice.

Suddenly, as if we'd known each other for ages, he began telling me how much it cost to put diesel in his truck this morning, that he's trying to retire, that he travels all over the country for leisure, and that he's thinking of going back to work.

While my toddler thrashed around in the grocery cart, yowling at the fact that we stopped moving, I tried to figure out why this man had chosen me to share his troubles.  Why me, Lord? What was the purpose of this conversation?  I tried not to look at my watch. Perhaps this was a divine appointment.

He continued on, and I silently prayed for an appropriate answer to give him when he asked, "What is this world coming to?  I mean, look at your child.  How is he going to be able to support himself?  I hope you're not planning on having any more children...I mean, it's so expensive these days to just LIVE!  I told my brother that he should stop having kids.  He can't afford to have any more!"

(Yes.  These are actual comments.  Verbatim.)

I simply said, "You know, sir, I don't have the answers for any of this.  I, too, am troubled by the cost of gas prices, the rising food costs, and the difficulty of this economy.  Sometimes I worry, but this I can tell you for sure:  I serve a sovereign God who knows what He's doing. He is in control!  That's the only thing I know for SURE."

He stepped back a second and said, "Well.  I certainly hope that He does something soon, because this world is going to ____. "

(I'll let you fill in the blank.  This is a G-rated blog.)

Off he turned and down the next aisle he went while I stood there staring at the chicken broth...debating which was cheapest and whether or not it was best to buy it in the large can or individual small ones.

And then I said another prayer.

And I thanked Him that He is in control. No matter our circumstances.  No matter what fuel costs.  No matter who He chooses for the next President.  

And I looked at my baby boy squirming and whining in the cart and said, "God will always take care of us, my boy.  Don't you worry.  Of that we can be sure."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Apparently Barney is Boring

This morning's wake up call from Mr. Alarm Clock Caden came in the form of screaming at 4 a.m. I rocked him back to sleep but the minute I transferred him to his crib, he stood up, started jumping up and down and continued to scream.

He woke up his brother, so it was decided that we move him downstairs to the pack-n-play in our home office.  He proceeded to scream, but Jerry and Cody were able to go back to sleep.  I, on the other hand, found it impossible to rest with the racket going on downstairs.  I crept down the stairs (he had quieted by the time I gave up on sleep), and when I walked by he was sitting contentedly and quietly.  That ended quickly when he saw me.  I continued onto the living room and pretended not to notice.  I left him in there and hoped I could finally get some sleep on the couch.  It didn't happen.  At 6, I finally went to get him (but not until he quieted down).  The morning was very rocky.  Both of us weren't in the best of moods, but I proceeded with an early lunch in hopes of an early nap.  After lunch, I left him in the living room for a little while while I finished up some business on the computer.  

Suddenly, it became very quiet.  And when I walked in the living room, Barney was singing.  But Caden was sleeping.  In the DOG bed.  I wish I'd had my camera to take a picture of it, because he was half in the bed and half hanging out of it on the rug. I think I was too shocked that he was actually sleeping, so I quickly scooped him up and carried him to bed. He didn't budge. Hallelujah.

We both slept for the next two hours (oh glory!), and then when he woke up, I brought him downstairs, and while we cuddled, he fell asleep on me for another hour.  Double glory.

All of this is to say that I always suspected Barney might be boring to toddlers.

I was right.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Just Like Old Times

This weekend was WONDERFUL. Let me say that again...wonderful.

What a privilege it is to know my dear friend, Kari. You know you have a great friendship going when nearly twenty years have passed, and it still feels like just yesterday that you were freshmen in highschool. Only older. And wiser. And married. With kids. You get the point.

We got together this weekend for some focused "girl time" and we had such a great time. We came into the weekend with no firm plans, except to go into Chicago on Sunday. Otherwise, we just decided to "wing it" and simply BE.

When we arrived in town, we headed to my mom's studio to say hello real quick. Then I took her out to my mom and dad's house where we talked and talked....

We did lots of that this weekend.

We went to lunch, talked some more, and then headed to my older sister's house to catch up with her for a little while. My nieces kept asking where the boys were (my sister Kari often refers to my boys as "rock stars"), and I told them this weekend was just for the girls.

A highlight for me personally was getting to see my two sisters "perform" at church. I hate using the word perform when it's really ministry. They did a song called, "I'm free." My sister Kari signed while my sister Darci danced. It was so beautiful. I don't believe there were any dry eyes in our row. The two of them had a light around them up was almost angelic...and impossible to describe unless you were there. I thought I should take a picture of them but figured that could be a wee bit distracting. Suffice it to say they touched hearts and God used them greatly in that service, I am sure of it! I jokingly told them that the only thing that would have made it better was if I was able to sing with them. : )

On Sunday, Kari and I headed into the city (by train, which she'd never experienced before), and we walked Michigan Avenue for a while. We ate a fantastic lunch at one of my favorite places. I can't begin tell you how good the food was, but perhaps you can gain some understanding from this photo (this was seriously the best strawberry shortcake I've ever had in my LIFE):

We also got to see "Wicked." It was her first time seeing a real stage production, but my third time seeing this particular one. She loved it, and I so enjoyed seeing her reaction to this wonderful show. The music is great and she tolerated my singing along when I just couldn't HELP myself! It was the perfect show for the weekend. The friendship theme is unmistakable!

I knew I needed a break...a time to get away and just be by myself for a little while...when on Friday, I freaked out over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich dropping on the floor that got quickly got gobbled up by the dog. Did I mention the sandwich belonged to a hungry, screaming toddler (who shall remain nameless), the floors had just been cleaned, and this mama was nearly at her breaking point?

I know. You're wondering why I'm mentioning the sandwich episode.

It's merely to say that I desperately needed a break. When my boys greeted me at the door upon my arrival home, we were all smiles. We kissed, hugged, and cuddled, and this mama felt refreshed. I was ready to tackle whatever came next. I was reminded that I need to take care of myself take a break away. Not because I don't love being a mom, but because I need to take care of her.

To my dear friend Kari of nearly twenty years, I thank you. Thanks for making the trip, for taking the time, and for just being you. I can't wait until next year! (We are SO totally making this an annual tradition!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

In Light of It All

As a mother, it is so easy to become preoccupied with my circumstances. The screaming toddler who has decided to fight his naps and bedtime. The neverending pile of laundry, bills, and "to do's." The exhaustion of the day to day grind that can become overwhelming at times. The need to have a complete conversation without children interrupting every five seconds. The little arguments that brew when tensions are high and life gets demanding. Did I mention the exhaustion?

And yet, over the past day or so, I've been sensing that God is asking me to regain some perspective. To open my eyes to others' circumstances so that mine will pale in comparison. To get out of myself and get on my knees for people who truly have problems and difficult lives to bear. And so I pray....
  • For the people in Myannmar who have lost their loved ones, their homes, and the support of their government.
  • For the people of China who have lost their loved ones, their homes, and sense of security.
  • For the people in Iraq and the soldiers who must be wondering if this will ever end.
  • For the families of American soldiers hoping against hope that their loved one will return unharmed.
  • For my friend Charity and her family who found out the cancer has returned to her brother, Dave.
  • For our long-time friends, the Kempiak family, who recently learned that Jon's dad's cancer has returned.
  • For Steven Curtis Chapman and his family, as they mourn the loss of their five year-old daughter.
  • For Audrey Caroline, a baby who only lived two hours after her mother carried her to term. And for her family as they continue to place their faith in a sovereign God through it all.
  • For the people in this country who are losing their homes because they can no longer afford their mortgages.
  • For those who've lost jobs and are struggling to provide for their families.
  • For anyone who feels their circumstances are crushing them and have given up hope.

Join me in prayer today for these people. Remember to thank God for your blessings.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

If you are a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman, you'll want to know about the tragedy they are enduring at this difficult time.  Please pray for them.  

Another Season, Another Winner, and Other Random Stuff

I just need to say I'm glad it was David Cook that won, especially after Simon's bashing and "disrespectful" comments toward him. He deserved it, and I think he'll go on to do great things. David A will be just fine...and I actually feel that him NOT winning will be good for him in the long run.

I'm off to the dentist today (oh joy).

Cody only has nine more days of kindergarten left (*sniff*). They sent home information about it yesterday, and every once in a while I hear little hints of songs they are singing. I hope I remember my tissues. I can't believe how fast this year went!

Speaking of growing up and time marching on, we have officially weaned Caden off of his beloved "B" (binkie). We decided this week that it was time, and he's actually done beautifully. It's amazing how much more he's talking now that he doesn't have his "plug." He's a little chatterbox! I know some people really don't approve of pacifiers, but this kid was crazy about his, and I just didn't have the heart (until now) to take it away. It was starting to interfere with his sleep and we needed to remove that issue altogether. Fortunately, he's talking great and talking a TON. Some of my students have commented that his vocabulary grows leaps and bounds by the WEEK.

This weekend I meet up with my friend Kari for a girl's weekend. I can't wait! We have some big plans, one of which includes a trip into Chicago to see "Wicked." Kari is a fellow blogger, and she's also a dear friend from high school. I am greatly looking forward to reconnecting with her!

Hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

David A or David C?

I really wish that Simon had kept his mouth shut last night.  Let the viewers decide who wins!  I think both guys are incredibly talented (though I find David A to be somewhat predictable, what with his ballads and all), but after last night, I do think that David C was a little "off."  I can't quite put my finger on it, but it almost seemed like he was empty or something.  When I looked at his eyes, they seemed to be missing that spark that I've grown accustomed to seeing.  

I have to say that I really do love David A's voice.  It is so smooth, and he really sounded great last night.  I told Jerry I cannot imagine how immensely nerve-wracking it must be for these contestants to do what they do week in and week out, to maintain their composure when they know millions of people are watching.  It's unreal.  I applaud them both, and they have fantastic things ahead, no matter the outcome.

Leave me your comment with your pick.  (The Yahoo poll shows David C winning at 52% and David A at 48%.  It's gonna be a tight race, either way.)  I want to know who YOU think should win!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mommy and Me

Cody and I had a date on Friday night. The plan was for me to take him to dinner and then for us to go to our church to attend the Mother-Son Dance. This is the second dance we've attended together this year (his school hosted one too), so I feel very blessed to have had this experience with him twice in just a few months!

We enjoyed a pasta and pizza dinner, and then I watched Cody devour his ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce, caramel drizzle, crushed Oreos, and whipped cream. I was good and simply watched. No dessert for this mama.
We then headed over to the church for the dance. When we walked in, everything was decorated to accompany the race car theme (thus our shirts). They also set up a ramp for car races (the boys were much more interested in playing with the cars than they were in dancing with their moms, but it did keep them entertained for quite some time!)
We have a winner!

Cody impressed everyone with his "moves." Several people approached me and asked me where he got his good rhythm and coordination. I proudly told them he gets it from his Nanna. Together, we twisted, jitterbugged, and did the Cha-Cha. Back in the days before kids, Jerry and I used to go line dancing, so when "The Chatahootchie" came on (I have absolutely NO idea how to spell that), I surprised myself when I remembered how to do it! One other mom remembered it too, and we were huffing and puffing afterward. Man, I'm outta shape!

At the end of the dance, there was just one more thing to do. Cody extended his hand (after my instruction on how to do so) and said, "Mom, may I have this dance?" We walked out onto the floor of the gymnasium and danced to "The Way You Look Tonight." I ended up picking him up and dancing with him so we could twirl together (he's a little too short yet to dance comfortably), and we ended with a dramatic dip.

Someday, I know Cody will be too old to want to accompany his mom to the church dance. I'm so glad he's willing to spend this time with me now. These days pass so quickly when they're little. I'll take as many Cody-Mommy dates as I can get!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Bloggy McMeet-Up!

Yesterday I had the wonderful blessing of meeting Tonya from A Day in the Life of a Mama. The two of us chatted for over two hours like we'd known each other forever. The kids played in the Play Place quite contentedly, so that made our time together even better. The best part is that she's a fellow sister in Christ, and we realized in the course of our conversation that we had so much in common. She is just as sweet in person as I knew she would be, and her kids were even more adorable than their pictures.

It is obvious that she loves her family and the Lord deeply, and it was fun watching her in action with her little ones.

We both agreed we must do this again...and soon!
My phone rang toward the end of our visit and it was my sister, Kari, who is new to the blogging world. What fun (because she reads Tonya's blog too) to tell her, "I can't talk now, I'm with Tonya from A Day in the Life of a Mama!" I have to give a shout out to Lori, who started me on this blogging journey in the first place. It's been such a blast meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. So, Lori, thank you. ; )

And to Tonya: Thanks for taking time out of your busy "Mama's Life" to meet me yesterday. I had a great time and I look forward to seeing you outside the blogging world in the near future. It was wonderful meeting you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

In Loving Memory

My grandfather, Poppop, passed away two years ago today. I still can't believe it's been two years since he went Home to be with the Lord. There are some days that the pain is still so fresh from the loss and other days that I have grown more accepting of his passing. One thing is for sure: I miss him.

I miss being able to call him, to hear his voice on the other line. I miss his jolly laugh when he'd get tickled about something. I miss telling him about the boys. Oh, how proud he would be of Cody playing the violin! I regret the fact that he never got to meet Caden, and that Caden will not know him. I miss talking with him about Husker football, music, and life. I miss his wisdom about all the things he knew about. I miss hearing him reminisce about the past. I miss the days of going to visit him in Nebraska, sitting around his kitchen table, or looking across at him sitting in his favorite chair in the living room.

And yet, as much as I miss his physical presence, his legacy will live on. It will live on in our memories and in our hearts. It will live on in pictures, in his personal belongings that we are so privileged to have, and in the video footage we took while he was still with us here on earth. He will live on in each of us. He will live on in the legacy he leaves behind....the legacy of his love and our family.

Last year I planted a pin oak tree in his honor. Today, I took the above picture, which I plan on doing every year at this time. I want to watch it grow through the years and remember how small it was when we first planted it. The winter was hard on this little tree. The weight of the snow and ice caused the tree to nearly snap in half during those brutal days, but the tree, with a little help, is learning to stand tall again. It reaches for the sky and remembers how to look up.

I think that's exactly what Poppop would want us to do today.

I love you Poppop. I can't wait until we meet again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Hi everyone. Just checking in to say Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there (a bit late).

Our internet stuff has been a total and complete nightmare. More to come on that later, but rest assured we are ditching our new carrier and going back to our old one!

Sorry the blog's been a bit boring lately...I promise I'll catch you all up real soon!

Again...a happy mom's day to all you mommies out there. Hope it was a great day! Mine has been a very sweet one. In fact, Hubby is just walked in and is standing here offering me a back massage. Uh...not gonna turn that one down. Gotta go! : )

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's Like Moving, Only Worse

We've changed internet carriers.  

I sent out an email to friends and family letting them know that we were changing, just in case something unforseen happen and we appeared to fall off the face of the information superhighway.  

One friend responded the following way:  "I hope all goes well.  It's like moving.  Only WORSE."  

It's so true!  I agonized over the decision: Should we change?  What if it's not fast?  Will we lose all our emails?  Will we lose all our contacts?  How do we switch our address book?  How does this ALL WORK?  And me, being the tech-savvy chick that I am (NOT), was feeling a bit befuddled by all the interwebby changing thingees.  (See, I am OH so savvy.)

You don't realize, until you're in the midst of a change like this, how dependent you are on your friendly neighborhood internet carrier.  I'm not so sure that's a good thing!

The good news is that we have moved successfully over to our new carrier.  And I am breathing easier.  We have thirty days to make the switch, and I am very happy thus far with the ease at how it has all worked.

Just thought I'd share.  It is like moving.  Without all the furniture, of course. 

Sunday, May 04, 2008

We've Got Some Catching Up to Do!

It's time for me to catch you all up on what's been going on around here lately. Cody has had some big moments this past week, and I've finally been able to sit down and document them!

First, he played in his third recital last weekend, where he debuted "Twinkle: Variation A" (for those Suzuki violinists out there!). He did a great job, but it's a little hard to hear him over the piano. Seriously, I was more nervous about accompanying him than I was about him playing! He's worked so hard this year, and his teacher was very proud of him. He will be taking private lessons again this summer, as well as adding a violin class with other kids his age. He's looking forward to it!

On Monday, he participated in Awana awards, where he wrapped up his third year in Awana and his first year being a "Spark." He did super this year (his teacher often wrote "WOWZER!" when she signed off on his memorization), and I'm so thankful for his sweet leaders and their service and dedication to our kids. Most of all, I'm grateful for the truths of God's Word being hidden in his heart. What a blessing to hear scripture coming from his lips!

Then, yesterday, as if the week wasn't big enough for him already, the training wheels came off his bike, and HE. RODE. PERFECTLY!! I was absolutely astonished at the fact that he didn't even need to practice. He just did it. He was so proud of himself and now he wants to ride all the time. Jerry and I both remember being his age and riding all around our neighborhoods all day long during the summer. It was one of our favorite past times! I think he's definitely going to follow suit!

Tomorrow marks the week that Cody gets to be "Super Star" at his school. Every week during the school year, one child from the class is chosen to be the "star." I have had such fun looking through old pictures from the last six years and putting together his "All About Me" poster. I am amazed at how quickly the time has gone and how much he has done in that short time! What a joy it has been watching him grow! What a privilege it is to be his mom. Caden and I will visit his classroom on Tuesday where he will get to "show" us to his class. Each student is also encouraged to share their interests with the class, so he's also planning on playing his violin for his peers.

Well, you're all caught up now. Hope you had a great weekend, and I wish you all a fantastic week ahead!

Friday, May 02, 2008

First, a big thank you to each of you who responded to my post about schooling. Your responses were so thoughtful and helpful. Yesterday was the final day to register at Cody's school. I did take my paperwork in to be processed, however I did not pay the (large) registration fee. I simply told them I was "undecided." That's honest. They told me that was fine and that I had until the end of the school year to pay the fee. In the meantime, I'll keep praying.

I don't have much to post about today, but I wanted to check in and say hello and let you know I'm still here. I've been trying to stay off the computer and enjoy this weather with my little one. The kid can't get enough of the outdoors. Coming inside is torture for him. Too bad they're predicting rain today! : (

One thing I'm excited to share: I've made a connection over the past several months with a fellow mommy blogger who I actually get to meet in person next week. We're both looking forward to meeting face to face. Because let's be's not about the kids getting to have a playdate. It's all about the moms!!! And as wonderful as the blogging world is, it can't replace good old-fashioned one-on-one interaction and fellowship.

I hope you all had a great week and that your weekend is even better!