Monday, January 28, 2013

Life Miscellany

#1 Back in December I determined I needed a secretary (of the desk kind, with the fold-down cupboard to hide the desk part).  I located one on Craigs.list whose shape I was rather fond of . . . unfortunately they were asking $175 (much more than I was looking to spend).  Over the next week or so I watched it, and just as we were getting ready to head back to Lincoln for Christmas the price dropped to $125 (still too much, but getting closer).  I asked Josh to check on it for me.  Josh emailed the guy and half-heartedly offered him $50 (he didn't exactly share the same "secretary vision" that I had), the guy said "No" and so Josh countered with a $75, certain it was a lost-cause.  The guy said "Sold."  (And Josh thought, "Drat.")  So, Josh and his dad drove to the far opposite corner of Lincoln to get it for me.  It had to remain in Lincoln because there was no room to shove it in the minivan with the seven of us, however, this past weekend when Josh' parents came to visit it they brought it out to me.  And I cannot wait to get to work making it pretty! 

#2 Last year I good-naturedly teased Marissa about out-reading her (there may have been a bit of dancing and me exultantly singing, "I'm winning!!), well, I noted her book list today . . . so far up to 12 and me sitting with a big fat zero.  It would seem she is determined there will not be a repeat of last year. (I have three books in the works, but apparently diversifying my efforts is not helping the cause).

#3 I sent Josh's cell phone through a 40 minute wash cycle in the washing machine.  And actually, it began a round in the dryer before I heard a couple of strange thuds and went to investigate.  If you recall, last year we were supposed to upgrade to smart phones.  Unfortunately, there was a delay in the Amazon shipment, and as Amazon delayed Josh had time to contemplate and ponder his purchase, coming to the conclusion that we didn't need smart phones.  He cancelled the order (and he hasn't since gotten the urge to repurchase). All I have to remember that hopeful time of my life is this aqua blue phone cover, (the order that DID get delivered in a timely manner):
(Sometimes I get it out and pretend . . .) ;o)
 So, as I removed his water-logged and beat up cell phone from my dryer, dutifully taking it apart and sticking it in a bowl of rice I was (inside) doing a bit of a euphoric happy dance. "I'm so sorry Josh, I think I have officially killed your phone.  I guess we'll HAVE to get new ones now."  You can only imagine my horror when he called me this morning from school, his voice exultantly triumphant asking, "Did you see what phone I'm calling you on?" I may have had a bit of a Rumpelstiltskin moment.  (You know the one, right? When the princess informs him of his name?  Anybody??)

#4 In the 2+ years I've had my laptop I've never removed picture files from it--we've backed them up and all but I never deleted.  And then a few days ago I discovered I only had 318 MEGAbytes of available memory left.  I removed all the files up through July of last year . . . it was something like 13,000 and some items . . . 84 GIGAbytes of space available now.   That should help things run a bit smoother perhaps??

#5 Last night's Downton Abbey anybody?? (SPOILER AHEAD!!)  Anybody else utterly horrified they killed off Cybil?  Watching that scene . . . oh it was awful!  And as I sat there, contemplating the sisters having to say good bye to their sister, I thought of my own sissy.  Let's just say she got a weepy email me from me last night professing my undying love and affection.

#6 Since moving out here I have been unable to locate a store that sells my favorite tea "Bigelow Vanilla Caramel."  Back in Lincoln I always could find it at Super Saver, and so I've been having to wipe out the store shelf when I come back for a visit.  And then I discovered Amazon has it, and I can subscribe and save, so every three months I shall be delivered six boxes and I shall never be in want again. (It's not the only tea I drink, but it is the one I seem to forever love . . . sometimes I change things up ('cause I'm wild and crazy like that) with an Irish or English Breakfast tea, sometimes the Bigelow French Vanilla, and of course a tasty Chai Latte for a special treat . . . generally speaking, tea and I shall be BFF). ;o)  Anyway, can't find something on the shelves, check Amazon--they never cease to amaze me!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 20-26

A Hobbit poster was acquired at Walmart.  Josh laminated it (a newly acquired skill of his that has some room for growth . . .) ;o) and we hung it over Jackson's bed.  At this point none of them have seen The Hobbit, however, they are all certain it is fabulous.
O's for Owen. 
He determined this week it was time to start school, so I pulled out a workbook I had snagged at the Target $1 section last summer and he got to work.  After he finished "writing his letters" (using that phrase rather loosely) he began building a few, namely, O, X, and T.  It's a start.
The post-library-visit-lull . . . always blissful.
My official "bacon watcher."  Do you cook bacon in the oven?  I have determined it is my favorite way--a 400 degree oven, a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper and bacon, and cook it somewhere between 20-25 minutes.  It is really good tasting bacon! (I know, like bacon could actually be bad!!) ;o)
I was amused to find three children (two still in pajamas of course) sitting ON the table perusing Marissa's history notebook.  She's become quite the little cartoonist, always trying to give her history pages some element of humor (as well as draw herself into them), consequently they are quite entertaining for the younger brothers (and maybe they're learning something too?). ;o)
Josh's parents arrived for a weekend visit.  Emmett is really {really} fond of his grandpa, hugging him, nuzzling him, hugging him so more, making him tea . . .  If Grandpa is ever suffering from low self-esteem he just needs to hang with Emmett for awhile. ;o)
The Arapahoe wrestling meet--the one meet we go to each year. ;o)
Actually, I enjoy wrestling meets--I have a lot of respect for the sport and what those wrestlers have to go through to get into the shape they need to be in.  Providing Josh has some wrestlers make it to state we only have three more weeks of the season left.  It feels like it went so much faster than last year!

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 13-19

Owen is everyone's shadow.  Josh was reorganizing some tool "stuff" that mysteriously got emptied and Owen carefully observed where everything went.
Trio block masterpieces.
My new Project Life kit arrived for the 2013 album--LOVE the colors.
Since wrestling season began Wednesday evenings have been "breakfast supper" nights.  Josh takes the kids to Awana those evenings (40 minute drive that I don't miss) and then treats himself to some McDonald's in Holdrege.  Would you believe my husband is NOT a fan of breakfast suppers?? I know, what is wrong with him! ;o) So that's why we do them on the night he won't be eating with us.
Busy afternoon in the kitchen--two lasagnas and some chocolate chip blondies for the wrestling fundraiser at school and then I still had to make supper for us too. (Which by the way was this, and it was YUMMY).
I know, HORRORS, I'm showing you the inside of my coat closet!  But you see that little shoe organizer hanging there with all the hats, gloves, scarves, etc. all neatly visible and organized?  I found that little gem of an organizational idea on pinterest and I must say it is rocking my world.  I cannot count how many times I've opened my closet just to admire it . . .
This little boy loves to be outside.  The weather was all pleasant and melty last week leaving us with awesome puddles and shoe-sucking-mud--every little boy's dream.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Freezing Fog

I had a few more favorites to share from the first day of the year (and I'm just now remembering them). ;o)  This week has been most definitely a melting week--we still have some snowy patches here and there, but for the most part we just have mud and puddles.  Dare I say it's felt rather spring-ish and my thoughts have turned to seeds and gardening? Jackson managed to fall in a huge mud puddle yesterday, thoroughly coating himself, getting a boot stuck . . . so I have some major clean-up to attend to today.  I doubt winter is over, but I'd be okay with that--it snowed, we played, we went sledding, we built a snowman, I got some pictures--all the major stuff has been checked off the "winter bucket list." ;o)
(enjoyed the patterns)
(liked the gleaming white against the bright blue)
(looked like feathers)
(this one made me think of a coral reef)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thinking on--

Oh Lance.
My heart is so sad for him.  I sat my kids down and told them his (now) cautionary tale.  How sin is a slippery slope, how sin makes you stupid.  How we chase after fame and riches and glory thinking one or all are the key to our happiness, thinking those things are going to fill the God-shaped hole inside. I think of that verse from Mark 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?"  He claims he was trying to control every outcome, and me, someone who likes to micromanage her own little world, I get that.  Don't we all do that? He made himself his own god.  I think about King Nebuchadnezzar who admired himself and all he thought he had accomplished because of his own power. (see Daniel 4:28-37)  I think about how God stripped that away.  I think about how he came to acknowledge the one true God.  And I hope that God isn't done with Lance's story yet.  I hope this is just the beginning of the really cool part.  Sometimes God has to bring us to the absolute bottom before we can begin to seek Him.  Wouldn't that be awesome if that is what God is doing?  Wouldn't you some day love to hear Lance say along with Nebuchadnezzar, "I praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true, and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride." If I was writing the story, oh is that how I would have it turn out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Update on Marissa

(I've put a few updates on facebook about Marissa, but thought I would put one on my blog as well, to catch anybody I've missed)

First order of business, at Marissa's appointment last Friday we were informed she DID NOT have scoliosis nor were there really any leg length issues.  Initially, that seemed like pretty good news.  The next order of business was to narrow down what she did have.  We were sent over to St. Elizabeth to have blood work done to check for any hidden infections.  We had the results within a few hours, no infections.  Next they ordered an MRI.  At this point I must put in a plug for Children's Hospital in Omaha (although we were dealing with the Lincoln office).  Knowing we were out-of-town they worked so quickly and efficiently, not only getting our insurance to pre-approve the MRI at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon but also getting us back over to St. Elizabeth for an MRI at 6:30 that evening.  I was impressed.  Today I got to talk with the doctor who had ordered the MRI--an MRI that continues to show what it ISN'T but has yet to really alert us to what IS going on.  Basically what it comes down to is there is fluid in her hip.  The fluid is causing her to keep her hip out from the joint, which makes the leg seem longer, which in turn makes her limp.  We're almost at the month mark of when the symptoms first appeared.  In that time her hip has improved greatly--the limp isn't as pronounced and she only has pain if it is manipulated (like by the doctor in an exam) or if it is suddenly jarred (like a little brother jumping on her).  Her doctor is having her take an ibuprofen tablet three times a day and come February 1st we'll be back in Lincoln to see if that has helped.  The bad news--if things don't improve there is a good chance we're looking at the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis.  Because I have an autoimmune disease (as do other members of my family), the fact Marissa could have an autoimmune disease isn't too far-fetched.  Obviously, we're hoping that will not be the case.

Marissa is doing great.  I've gotten to spend some fun one-on-one time with her hanging out in a variety of waiting rooms.  We take silly pictures with her camera.  We joke about the medical procedures she's had done. We bring our books and sit next to each other reading the waiting time away. I've been able to prep her by sharing my experiences--numerous blood draws for thyroid monitoring  (did I ever tell you about the time someone broke a needle off in my arm?) and three MRI's under my belt!  And in my heart I've had this thankfulness for all the health problems I have had, that I can share my experiences with her, because she has gone into everything like a little champ just as jolly and cheerful as ever.  I have thought about her unwavering trust in me, her obliviousness to the worrying.  Maybe that's just being eleven.  But you know, it's been a beautiful visual for me, the mommy.  How my daughter trusts me . . . should I not be trusting my Heavenly Father with such a pure, worry-free faith?  I think of that verse from Psalm 131:2 "Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;  Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me."

I've grown in that area.  When I think back to 22 year old me dealing with thyroid issues for the first time, or 26 year old me flipping out over the brain tumor . . . Thirty-three year old me is not as crazy as the earlier versions of myself.  (That's a good thing).  I'm calmer, less prone to my own research . . . I pray more.  I hope that Marissa has nothing.  If it is SOMETHING we'll figure it out.  As her mother it is probably expected and assumed that I would find my Marissa Grace pretty awesome, but I just know that if she does end up with something more serious she will rock it, because she is that kind of little person. I love that girl.

How to pray for her?  Pray that the ibuprofen does its job.  Pray that two weeks from now there will be much improvement.  And pray for our hearts in the event this doesn't go as we hope, that we'll embrace a new chapter in our lives with graciousness and that we will RUN with it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 6-12

A sneak peak at my first official knitting project--a baby blanket for the impending nephew (due the 18th).  I'm on a schedule now people--eight rows a day must be completed!  (and as the week progressed I finished that green stripe and now I'm back at the melon . . . but I didn't stick to my schedule this weekend . . .now I really have to buckle down!).
At LAST my birthday present coat from October arrived!  It was one of those "very jane" deals--a mustard colored pea coat (with adorable little polka dot scarf!) for $35.  Josh alerted his parents to the fact it would be a great b-day present for me.  However, the company bit off a bit more than they could chew and sold way too many coats.  Hence the reason I did not get it until January--but hey, there's still a lot of winter left.  I am so making up for lost time. ;o)
A very tired little boy cuddling up with me for our bedtime routine of prayers/lullaby.
Jamming out with his birthday guitar in a laundry basket.
A three hour drive with five kids down highway 6, a visit with my parents, a 40 minute drive to Josh's parents house, and this is the only picture I have for you--my new reading material that I lugged with me.  Marissa and I are going to be doing the "Changed in His Image" study.  I'm just through the first chapter but I can tell it's going to be a convicting book.  And I'm enjoying the "Large Family Logistics" as well--lots of good solid common sense advice (and you don't need a large family to glean from it!).
A long day of doctor's appointments for Marissa--we still don't have the answers we need (but the specialist declared no scoliosis!).  However, some comic relief in our day--Grandpa's order of eucalyptus oil arriving--in a keg.  Grandma and I laughed and laughed because we are certain there is enough in there to last him the rest of his lifetime and then some.  Somebody will probably get it willed to them. ;o)
We met up with my sister, brother-in-law and their gang for some State Capitol fun.  This is the best pic I managed of all the crazy little cousins who love each other bunches.  Amazing fact from our day--we managed to fit nine children, three adults, and one umbrella stroller on the tiny coffin-like elevators (you know the ones I'm talking about!).  Ty wasn't really digging it but at our urging he joined in.  No elevators plummeted in this experiment.  But oh the look on a random guy's face when the elevator doors opened and we emptied the elevator one-by-one.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year, New Word

I realize we're a week into the new year and I've yet to announce THE WORD.  I don't know if you have all been out there, waiting on the edge of your seats, anticipating my announcement, but I kind of felt that pressure in my head.  I ALWAYS pick a theme word, right?  And so I decided, this year, I don't have anything.  No grand plans, no motivation . . . for the first time in a long time a brand new sparkly year dawned and I was just tired.  I felt a bit overwhelmed with Marissa's scoliosis diagnosis, I felt a longing to move back, and overall just felt plain lonely again (perhaps a post-holiday withdrawal . . .) I reviewed the fruits of the Spirit, wondering which one I could put extra focus on this year, and thought to myself, "All of them."

Parenting keeps getting trickier.  Not to scare anybody off, but as the little people get older and life moves beyond just getting those basic needs provided for you move from being physically bone-tired to MENTALLY bone-tired.  You realize you've had a hand in creating five more little sinners and all those little areas that you struggle with, well, now those areas are on display--magnified all humongous with bright lights--for that audience of five.  And sometimes I see one of my children do something, or hear that tone, and I just cringe, knowing EXACTLY where they learned it.  And sometimes I think, how am I ever going to raise one of these to functioning adulthood, let alone five? (I think that might be the point though, the reason God blessed me with the big family I so wanted . . . to keep me on my knees, keep me humble, and keep me realizing I CAN'T do it.  But He can.)

So, I might have been having myself a bit of a pity party--not a great way to begin a new year.  That's why I kind of decided it didn't deserve a word and I was too tired to come up with one.  And the days crept by silently . . .

But today, the new word hit me full on, FORWARD, taken straight from here: 
Philippians 3:13-14
 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching FORWARD to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I can't sit out this round (I'd kind of like to).  Must. Keep. Moving.  Inside there will always be things I'm having to work through or work around.   I don't know what's coming up ahead--to be honest, I have a feeling it's disappointment (I know, so cheerful am I tonight!).  But that's why I've got to get my head in the right place.  Reach forward.  Press on. And that's all I have right now, a word, a heart-prayer, FORWARD.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

December 30-January 5

 Josh began sneaking the cat in each night to watch tv with him.  Here she is utterly enthralled with The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
 Our New Year's Eve "junk food night" followed by learning how to play Risk.  I love all the "thinkers" in this picture.
(And at this point I must interrupt myself  to draw all of your attention to the fact I officially managed to take a photo every day this year!!  My goal wasn't to create fabulous works of art, but to pay attention to the little details that make up our days.  Mission accomplished and I'm going to do it again . . .).
 Great way to start a new year--freezing fog!  A gorgeous wonderland awaited us outside.
Making a snowman--I have no idea where they found that interesting shaped block of ice to be the snowman's hat.
Because running a half-marathon is so very similar to labor, all I really remembered about that day was how fun it was, and signed up again.  And then my friend Kathy sent me our new training schedule, and now it hangs on the fridge, taunting me daily.  I haven't started it yet, currently I'm training to begin the training . . .
When you have no treadmill.
Each day I watch the thermometer, hoping it clears about 27 or 28 degrees (although obviously, the warmer the better).  I bundle up and trudge/shuffle down snow-covered gravel roads.  The change of scenery is nice (I don't think I've ever run in snow before!) but I must admit, it is not my favorite way to run.  I think I'd much rather spend this time sitting on the couch, reading a book, and sipping tea.
Marissa got new glasses--I'm digging them!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 2012 Reading Post

I know in past years I've posted my book list here at the end of the year, and well, this year I managed to read 83 books (more than double what I usually do!).  I'm not quite sure how I managed it, but as I've said I do a lot of reading when we travel (and we did a lot of traveling!).  Needless to say, I'm not going to type out all 83 titles for you (you can all sigh with relief).  But I did want to share my favorites, so, in no particular order:

An amazing story that everyone MUST read!

Another WWII story--such a thought-provoking ending

My first time reading this author--I really enjoyed her writing.

This story will make you cry a lot.

Based loosely on the missionary experiences of the author's grandparents

Because I'm forever fascinated by midwives and natural childbirth and love a story that accurately portrays what birth is like (probably not everyone's cup of tea . . .). ;o)
As I look over these top choices here is what I can tell you--some are christian fiction, some are not, but they all deal with life and hurt, and I think anymore, the books that I enjoy the most are the books that just feel real.  I like seeing how the story plays out, because aren't we all living our own stories, full of twists and turns, happiness and sadness?  And sometimes it is a book that gives me a fresh perspective--it helps me see how God is working out the twists and turns in my story for my good.  I read for enjoyment and entertainment, but I also read to "connect-the-dots."  I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I keep reading so I can keep learning.  Anyway, those are my top picks if you needs something to keep you busy during these cold months. ;o)  And I'm taking suggestions for the new year--any recommendations?