The Best of 2007

Right now, there are several magazine's out with the best/worst dressed, events, books, etc. of 2007. It happens every year. It's a time to reflect on our mistakes and good memories, and an opportunity to glance through the past year with hopes to improve the future. Anyway, I thought I would take a look back to our family's past year and pick out the top 10 moments (starting from the beginning of the year to present).

#1 Katie turned 1 year old!

#2 After a grueling week of Katie being severly sick over her birthday, the doctor diagnosed her with Kowasacki Disease (you'd think that was a worst moment -which it just about was). But...because it was detected early, she was treated and now free of any danger. (Kowasacki Disease is a disease that attacks that arteries, which if left untreated can be fatal.)

#3 Kyra had her first snowmobile ride, and surprising loved it (she's not usually that adventurous). Maybe this is a sign for things to come!

#4 Together, my hubby and I lost over 20lbs each. It really helps when you try eating healthy together. We were a great team. Although, I hate to add that we also gained over 10lbs each back together too. I guess we are as good of an eating badly team as we are healthy :( The good thing is that we are still down over 10lbs (gotta look at the bright side).

#5 We bought a tube for the boat, and had the opportunity to try out our skills in water sports. Again, Kyra tried her hand at something new, and as long as we didn't punch it, did pretty well. What fun that was. I have a feeling we will be spending more time out on the water next year.

#6 The Hubby went water skiing for the first time, and didn't do too bad either!

#7 We had our 7th anniversary, and went to a wonderful little Italian Restaurant.

#8 Kyra turned 3, and became potty trained in the same week (thank the Lord!!) Now that really is a blessing.

#9 My Hubby turned 30, and to celebrate we went to Traverse City alone without the kiddos! It was a fabulous weekend filled with beautiful scenery, wine touring, and good dining.

#10 My husband unselfishly let me go to Georgia by myself to spend some good quality time with both extended sides of my family. All the while, he shot a 10 point buck the same weekend (one of his largest yet!) It was truly a great weekend and one we'll both probably remember for years to come.

All is Quiet

Can you believe that Christmas has come and gone! We spend months with a flurry of activity from what seems to be Halloween to Christmas. The months are filled with holiday festivities from dress up, to eating, to decorating, to shopping. The list goes on and on, and then suddenly it comes to a haulting stop (okay, maybe there's a New Year's Party in there, but other than that things drastically slow down). We have a long winter ahead with nothing but our creativity, some snow, and our imaginations (which of course can be a very good thing).

I asked my husband at the end of Christmas Day, if he had fun with his family. He said yes, but that it was all over too fast. I guess, I for one am looking forward to the rest and the slowness of the next few months (despite the cold weather), but I can see where it can be kind of a let down. You spend months of preparation for all these holidays, and then suddenly there are no projects at hand, no planned activities with the family.

I hope everyone takes advantage of these next few quiet months taking up a new hobby, reading a book they've been meaning to read, or start planning family gatherings outside of the holidays. These quiet months are an opportunity for us to catch up on the things we've been neglecting for the past few months, while it was too busy for us to do the "norm." I know none of my thoughts are new thoughts, after all that's why so many people make New Year resolutions (to take advantage of the next few months to do those things). I guess I was just thinking in the quietness of my house, after the flurry of activity, that I should take advantage of those "boring" months to stay in touch with people, play more with my children, organize a few things, read the Bible more, appreciate the stillness. I hope you do too.

Christmas Aftermath

Well, it was a great day. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas. I think the hubby and I were a little more excited than the kids. We were waiting at least 1/2 hour in bed, listening for signs of Kyra scampering about the house and see all the gifts under the tree, or notice her stocking filled with goodies. Of course, we proved to be the children with ants in our pants in this scenario because Kyra didn't wake up until 8:20am (she almost never sleeps in). Then when she did wake up, she simply sat on the couch and gazed at the tree (she didn't even notice all the presents, I guess she was admiring the finer things). Oh well, that didn't last long. After pointing out the filled stockings, she was pretty much on a high for the rest of the day. It was a joy to see her excited for the holiday, and watch the never ending energy till late at night.

Katie on the otherhand was a different story. On Christmas Eve we found out she had Croup and hence slept very little the night before Christmas (as did her parents). However, I was hopeful that she would take a good long nap before the rest of family arrived. That would be a negative. Whatever the reason, she refused to take a nap, and was a sluggish creature the rest of the evening. She just sat listless in her father's lap, while everyone opened their gifts, without the energy to open her own. I felt so bad for her. I just hope she perks up a bit before we celebrate the next family Christmas.

Despite the one sick child, we had a great time with family. There was lots of laughing, eating, and joy spent in one another's company. I hope everyone else enjoyed the holiday and spent time remembering the little baby king who came to save us from our sins. Merry Christmas.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Well, I haven't been on the eight ball very much when it comes to Tiny Talk (or any blogging this month for that matter), but here's just a couple of the things I can remember from this week:

During prayer time:
Kyra: Mom, can I pray?
Mom: Sure.
Kyra: Dear God, thank you for the Lord (something she says every day), thank you for my Grandpa named Grandpa Paul, thank you for Grandpa Wise (same Grandpa), thank you for the Grandpa that lives in Illinois (still same Grandpa), thank you for keep my parents safe and sound (awwww), thank you for my Strawberry Shortcake Birthday cake (wait? wasn't that like 4 months ago?), and thank you for all the trips we get to go to the mall. Give us of our fins (do we have fins?). Amen. (yes, we've sure been having a difficult time keeping a straight face during these sincere prayers lately)

During cookie baking time:
Girls: (screaming)
Mom: What is going on? You two need to stop arguing and be nice to each other! Why don't you color while Mom finishes up these cookies! (they proceed to get out the crayons)
Mom: (I peek over) KATIE, don't eat the crayon! (I proceed to give her color wonder markers, thinking at least she won't mark anything or eat the marker....she ate the marker. She actually bit off the end of the marker!)
Mom: Katie why don't you go find some dolly to play with? (all is quiet for some time, and I am finally able to devote my time to the cookies. I suddenly realize maybe quiet isn't a good thing. I run around to find Katie. Yes, she had found a doll alright, but she was giving it a bath in the toilet-along with the rest of the bathroom. Needless to say, my cookies never did turn out.)

Kitchen Talk:
Mom: Do you know how santa gets in the house to deliver the presents?
Kyra: Through the front door?
Mom: But we lock the front door.
Kyra: (wheels are a turnin) Oh, well maybe he comes in through the basement?
Mom: But we lock the basement door.
Kyra: (changing the subject) Does Santa drive a car?

If you want to see more kute kid talk go to http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/12/tiny-talk-tuesday-holiday-edition_17.html

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

1. Decorating the Tree. I always dread it at first, because it seems like such a daunting task, but as I get going I really get into it and love listening to Christmas music as I go. This year was especially exciting because Kyra helped put up the decorations and seemed to get more excited with every ornament. It is such a joy to see their face light up as they experience something new.
2. Looking at the tree. We only have one tree (at the moment anyway), but I could look at it every night with my cup of hot cocoa (something I only seem to have during this season). I am mezmerized every day with it's beauty.

3. Cookie Exchanges. What could be better than gathering with friends and eating a variety of cookies? It's really the best of both worlds. This year we had it at my house along with Cheddar Brocolli soup and sourdough bread. MMmmm.... warm comfort foods.

4. Listening to Christmas music. Sad to say, I am probably one of those annoying people that could listen to Christmas music every day beginning with the day after Thanksgiving (and to be honest, I could probably listen to it long after Christmas Day). Gotta love the radio stations that play it 24/7!

5. Decorating the house. Growing up, we never had lights on the house. I always secretly coveted the houses that were tastefully (that's key, because I don't care for gaudy) lit up with lights. I now have a wonderful hubby that is willing to face the brisk weather and climb on his ladder to put lights on the roof. It is done simply, but just enough to bring a smile to your face.

6. Snow on Christmas morning. I know this doesn't always happen, but I love fresh snow on Christmas morning. A perfect setting for a wonderful day.

7. Advent Calendar. This is a new favorite for me. I bought a simple advent calendar to count down the days till Christmas. I enjoy watching Kyra run to it first thing every morning to take down another day. ***Sarah-I tried taking your idea to talk about a family member a day, but Kyra's memory every day was that she liked to play toys with that person. Evidently her memory is not broad enough yet. Great idea though.****

8. Opening Christmas Stockings. This was always a favorite memory growing up. My parents always put creative things in our stockings (excluding the orange and apple!), and I almost enjoyed finding the stocking as well as all the other presents. This will be the first year I do it with our kids, so we'll see how it goes.

9. Gathering with Family. Last year we went to Florida for Christmas to spend the holiday with some friends. Although we had a great time, it felt quite awkward to spend it without family. I love my family very much and love even more watching it grow and watching the new generations play and laugh together. This year my family will be at our house over the holidays for 4 days, and I am counting down the days. I am thankful God has blessed me with such a wonderful family.

10. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I am not always faithful about reading my Bible or praying. But during this particular season I am thankful of all the reminders of God's love and His gentle nudge to love one another. The acts of kindness are always more evident around this season, which makes us see how important it is to love one another. I am thankful for such a forgiving, graceful, passionate, and loving God.

10 Questions I Asked Myself Today

Here are some of the questions that pondered in my head today, as I got up late for Bible Study, made a bazillion calls, headed for the blood bank, attempted to print Christmas Cards, bundled up the kids for several car rides, finally bought our Christmas tree, gave the kids a bath, and finally sat to watch a movie (I was too tired to decorate the tree).

1. Will I be late for Bible Study again?
2. Why do I always insist on MAKING my own Christmas Cards?
3. How many cookies have I inadvertantly slipped into my mouth?
4. Will they (kids) ever stop whining?
5. When was the last time I blogged?
6. Is Christmas really only 3 weeks away?
7. How many times can I go to the grocery store in one day?
8. Will I ever be organized over the holidays?
9. What does the budget look like today?
10. How did I become so blessed as to have such a wonderful family?

It was a bit of a stressful day today. It amazes me how each year during this season I am shocked at how little time there is left to accomplish everything, vowing of course to start earlier the next year (and of course never doing it). I ask for no sympathy, because being the procrastinator that I am, I bring this on myself. Yet, I can't help but wonder how I could simplify some of these things. Because, although many of the traditions we hold add stress to our lives, they also add joy, and I would hate to give up that joy. And I love to see the newfound joy in my girls eyes as they experience for the first time (or at least remember for the first time)many of these treasured Christmas traditions -putting up a tree, making holiday cookies, making cards, decorating the house, reading the Christmas Story.

Redneck

You know your daughter's a redneck if....

most little girls her age are rollplaying with dolls, having tea parties, and dressing up in princess costumes, but.....

you find YOUR daughter in her bedroom with a playknife, sawing her stuffed animal bunny's ear!

Mom: Kyra, what are you doing?
Kyra: I'm cutting up deer meat!
Mom: Oh really, is your bunny the deer?
Kyra: Yah!
Mom: Where did you get the deer?
Kyra: From Costco
Mom: (of course)
(she then proceeded to put the stuffed animal on the dinner table for dinner! I guess she's been hanging out with Daddy a little too much)

A Good Friend in a Messy Home

Immediately following my trip to Georgia, a good friend of mine (and old roomate) was coming to visit from California (literally a few hours after I arrived home). I had little time to clean before her arrival, and therefore for the first time ever, didn't clean at ALL. Now for any of you who know me, I usually get all anxious about cleaning before any guest arrives, and want everything to be just so (the grocery shopping done, laundry put away, menu planned for the week, etc). My husband just loves the day before company, because I am a woman on a mission, running every which way, while barking out orders (well, hopefully I'm not that bad :)Anyway, I took a deep breath and realized that there just wasn't enough time to get it done, and after all this is someone I lived with for over a year, and frankly I knew she wouldn't care.

Wow, it was such a relief to not have to rush around and clean! None of that precompany anxiety to get everything done. And we had a great time! Can that be? You can have a great time without a clean house? Who knew?


We really did have a great time though (well I did anyway). I was unsure of all the things we would do over that week, and how I would entertain her, but in the end it all worked out. We spent much of the first night catching up, while snuggled on the couch. The next day she helped me grocery shop and make brunch bake for the following day's holiday get together (we had 9 woman and 11 children get together and attempt to do a craft -that didn't go so well). Thursday, we searched the adds to figure out our shopping strategies. Friday, we got up early to shop (my husband got up at 3:30am! if you can believe it). Then finally we had another get together with friends, who chatted over several games of speed UNO. Our time together was very simple, nothing extravagant planned, but it was wonderful. I was truly blessed by her company, and was reminded how much I miss having her live close by. Perhaps the best gift she gave me was the gift in playing with my girls. She was wonderful with them and they loved her. She will be a wonderful mother someday (and a very creative one at that). My kids will miss her (during dinner time at the inlaws house on Sunday, Kyra said she wished Rebo was here). And I will miss her too. Good friends are hard to come by, especially in a messy home!

What a Wedding!

My cousin was married this past weekend, and everything was simply wonderful. She was married in an amazing home, with fabulous food. She looked gorgeous, and from first time acquaintances - seemed to marry a great guy (with a good sense of humor). I am very thankful that my husband was gracious enough to watch the kids while I got to get away and take part of this joyous occasion.

The house they were married at seemed to be the main point of conversation. It was a gated community with a backyard view of a lake. The house was absolutely gigantic! I think there were 4 fireplaces, 9 bathrooms, pool, walk in wine cellar, and more. It was the biggest house (no mansion) that I have ever been in.

And to boot, the owners of the house had never even met my cousin, but were asked by their pastor if they would open up their home for this wedding. She agreed, met my cousin and her husband, fell in love with them, and the planning began. They were very hospitable people and gave all the glory to God.

I am sure that my cousin will cherish this special day forever, and it was great to be a part of that special day.

Belonging

So much to blog about, so little time....

It has been awhile since I blogged, but that time has been very blessed. I have a feeling my posts are going to become even more vast with the holidays in full gear. However, I want to write about my trip to Georgia.

As I drove home alone, with nothing but time to reflect on my wonderful weekend full of good conversation with family, I tried to think of one word that would sum up my trip.....belonging.

I have spent a lot of time these past few months thinking of who I am, who God wants me to be, what church do I belong to, where do I fit in my role on this earth? Where do I belong? We all want a sense of belonging. We want a group of friends who love us for who we are (even if we aren't sure who that really is from time to time). We want a sense of community. And in turn, we feel stronger to do the things God calls us to do. We all need to be loved. And that's what I felt this past weekend, loved. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and my brother. I heard the wonderful things that were happening in their lives, and in return they listened to the happenings of my life. I got to know a few relatives better, because of the time we had. But perhaps the most impact I had, was seeing my Grandparents. They are becoming quite a bit weaker, and it may even be the last time I see them. But I had the opportunity of listening to a joyous snicker from my Grandpa, and see my Grandma gently grasp the hand of her husband. My Grandfather may not have even recognized me, but the way he hugged me with what seemed to be all the strength he had in those frail arms, gave me a sense of belonging. He loved me, he loves his family. And that love has carried down in generations. I do have a sense of belonging. I am loved by my family, and I belong to them. But most of all, I belong to my Heavenly Father, and that is evident through the love that my family shows each other.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Here's a few of the funnies my little one's said this week:

While looking out the car window:
Kyra: (pointing at several houses, and objects) Mom, I'm disappointed.
Mom: What are you disappointed about?
Kyra: Look, I'm disappointed again! (sounding almost happy about it)
Mom: Kyra, do you know what disappointed means?
Kyra: Yes, and I'm going to do it again...see I'm disappointed!
Mom: Kyra, disappointed means you are said about something, like you are disappointed when someone doesn't share with you.
Kyra: (pauses, as if she is taking it in) MOOOM, no I'm dis a pointin.
(I guess she's just a pointing)

While playing in the basement:
Kyra: I just got off the phone with santa.
Mom: Oh really, what were you talking about?
Kyra: I was telling him I wanted him to send money to daddy for Christmas.
Mom: Why would you ask santa for money?
Kyra: Because daddy never has money.
Mom: Babe, daddy has money. Why would you ask for money?
Kyra: Then why do you and daddy say you don't have enough money when I ask for a polly pocket? If santa gives daddy money, than I can have lots of polly pockets!
(well, she's got me there)

If you'd like to read more, go to Mary's @ http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/11/tiny-talk-tuesday_20.html

Flying the Coop!

Well, I leave today to go to my cousin's wedding sans kiddos! That's right, another weekend without the kids. However, this time it's without my hubby too. I am meeting up with my immediate family in Chicago (with the exception of my sister -wish you were coming Aub, and we are all taking a flight to Georgia. Now, being the procrastinator that I am, I still have a lot to do (pack, give the girls baths, make a to do list for my hubby :), so I probably won't get really excited until I hit the road. But this will be fun! Granted, it is going to be a packed weekend, seeing relatives from both sides of the family in a short weekend, but some of them I haven't seen in two years, so it will be a good reunion. And the best part is, that I will have the opportunity to really talk, without a 3 or 1 year old tagging me every 2 minutes.

Now, I certainly will miss the little urchins, but I think they will really enjoy the one on one time with their daddy. This will be his first time watching them for more than the day, but I have no doubt he will have everything under control (or rather maybe things won't be under control all the time, but they'll have fun!). So for now, I leave with anticipation for the weekend ahead, and I know I will come home looking forward to hearing a bunch of stories from my girls and hubby on their weekend.

We Aren't Losers!

Today we visited a new church that met at an elementary school. We have been church "shopping" for a few months now, and it is starting to wear on us. While, I feel it is a good time to search for a church (before the kids are too established in education classes and have developed friendships), it is hard to leave the familiar people we know and not have a place to call home (especially during the upcoming holiday season). Anyway, after visiting around 6 churches, and not feeling like any of them were a good fit, I asked my hubby to humor me for one more Sunday, and then we would attend our regular church for the advent season.

We had a wonderful experience. I was invited by one of the people in my bible study, so she of course found me and introduced us to several people, but so many others welcomed us too. It was a very friendly church. But on top of that, the Pastor was amazing! He had such an incredible sermon, that really hit home (and such a great sense of humor too).

The pastor asked how many of us defines our Christian walk as being inadequate? Sad to say, but he said most of the Christians I know would define themselves as insufficient. Either, we have a terrible prayer life, don't read the Bible often enough, or aren't confident enough in our ability to spread the gospel. We need to stop focusing on our deficiencies and focus on God's sufficiency! Afterall, when spreading the gospel, we aren't being put to a test if we fail to bring a person to Christ, it is a GOD thing. He is the one that plants the seed, we are just there to feed it. God picked insufficient people in a sense to do His work. There is no failing for us, (we aren't losers -the pastor said!) we can only feed the fire.

Now this may be an obvious lesson for some, but it was a great reminder to my husband and I. We both felt so rejuvinated by it. We aren't sure if this will be the church for us or not (still a lot of praying to do), but we definitely felt God's spirit there and enjoyed the fellowship.

Back in the Blogging World

Yeah!! We got our computer back! We are fortunate enough to have a friend that fixed our computer (thank you R- you are a life saver), and really quickly too. I thought it would take longer, but he had it back to us in no time. Anyway, it does and doesn't feel good to have it back. I was all geeked to have it hooked up again, check out our on line banking, look at the piling up emails we had, and of course see what all my fellow bloggers were up to. I was beginning to feel caught up and more updated on the life outside of our little abode, when my 19 month old began tugging at my shirt for me to play with her. I looked at those beautiful big blue eyes of hers and realized how much fun I have been having with her and her sister these past few days. I really missed the computer for the first couple days, but that began to wear off and I truly began to have TONS of fun with the kids. We played chutes and ladders, tag, race around the house, catch with the dog, and more. Please know that while we did have the computer, I DID play with my kids (I didn't ignore them -okay, at least not most of the time), but I didn't seem to enjoy them as much (like an underlying thought that I had to get back to the computer). It's like you've found a new refreshing joy. Taking one thing out of my life, was just enough to give me a new take on life this week (although it could have been the fact that everyone was healthy too). So, I guess for now, I would like to focus less on the computer (something I know so many of us have said so many times), and more on life. Of course I'm not quiting blogging, because I just enjoy it too much, but a little cutting back is a good thing.

No Computer

Well, I am here writing at the library in lament of our computer! Yes, our computer (internet rather) has died on us, and I am sadly mourning over it. Isn't that sad? I got so used to blogging and checking on other people's blogs, that I am at the library just to check up. I won't be doing this too often (especially because it is quite hard to blog at the library with 2 children wanting to do anything but sit next to the computer while I type! Can't blame them either.) So while it will be a challenge not writing for awhile, reading other people's blogs, commenting on other people's blogs, etc. It is a good time to go back to the simpler life before computers. I can truly enjoy my time with my kids, husband, maybe even scrapbooking (okay maybe too ambitious) without the tug to be at the computer! I don't know how long we will be without the computer, but it will be a good rest. So long, for a couple of weeks, maybe I'll lurking around.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Here are a few of the things Kyra said this week that made us laugh...if you want to read some other cute sayings click here http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/11/tiny-talk-tuesday.html

Right before eating her green beans at dinner time:
Kyra: It is great to be alive!
(yes dear, it is. Are you afraid you won't be after the veggies?)

In the car with daddy:
Kyra: Daddy, that looks like the most giant flashlight I've ever seen!
(yes, that would be a water tower, but good observation)

In Mom's bedroom, while Mom was getting dressed:
Kyra: Mommy are you all pj'd?
Mom: No, Kyra, I'm just getting dressed.
Kyra: Are those your underpants?
Mom: Yes, Kyra.
Kyra: What's that again?
Mom: That would be my br*(wondering how far this conversation is going to go)
Kyra: When I grow up I am going to get some of those for my birthday (while pointing at my b**bs! Yes, I'm sure one day you will get those Kyra, but it probably won't be over night on your bday!)

Sick or Treat

How do you your tell your child that she can't go trick or treating after weeks of costume prep and reminiscing of the year before? Yes, Kyra was very much looking forward to trick or treating with her friend this year, but we found out she had pink eye. She didn't look that bad on Monday, but by Wednesday, she looked miserable and the pink eye moved to her other eye. We had hoped for eye drops earlier in the week, but apparently doctor's office doesn't prescribe that very much unless absolutely needed (apparently warm compresses are enough). Unfortunately, she had bacterial pink eye and needed the drops. I asked the nurse, but what about trick or treating (not wanting to disappoint my daughter, like I was punishing her because she was sick)? But the nurse said, as long as she was holding her bag, and not touching people, she should be okay. We literally had not made a decision of whether or not to go out, until 5 minutes before we headed out the door. Maybe it wasn't the wisest parental decision, but I didn't want to disappoint the kiddo. So, we hit a few houses, and wouldn't you believe it, it rained the entire time we were out! So, maybe that won't be the most memorable Halloween ever (or maybe it will be), but we went. Afterall, Katie enjoyed every moment, and shook her bag after every house. How quickly they learn. She pleaded with me to go to another house, by saying "peas" and pointing to the next house, but we headed home. Kyra pretty much was a zombie by the time we got home (which is what she probably should have been for Halloween anyway, since she looked more like that than an M&M). Maybe she could have been a raccoon! Anyway, she hit the sack as soon as we came back in and fortunately she looks much better today. My treat will just be having the kids get better!

Family Fun

This past weekend my family came to visit from Chicago. My brother came to go hunting with my husband, while my sister in-law and I got in some one on one bonding time (Kris, I truly had a great time with you), later my parents came to join in on the fun. It was definitely a great time filled with laughter, activity, and lots of food. We started out by braving it alone to the apple orchard (two moms, and 5 kids ranging from 5yr to 6mo can be pretty risky) in a very spontaneous style (it was supposed to be rainy, so we weren't planning on it).

We managed to get FIVE car seats in my van and headed out. After a few wrong turns (probably not a great idea to put two directionally challenged people together), we made it. And what a blast it was. The kids had a great time playing together and riding in the Cinderella like pumpkins.

The favorite part though, was the apple picking. I think my little Katie was enjoying her apple a little too much, because when I threw away the core, she kept sobbing and reaching back -"apo! apo!"

The next day, we carved pumpkins in the garage. Unfortunately, I did not invest in the actual pumpkin carving knives, so it made for a pretty challenging job to be too creative. They were cute though, and the kids enjoyed watching them glow in the evening.

The following day, we managed to get 11 people out of the house and in church on time (now that is pretty impressive). We came back only to have shortstop's greek pasta (raves by all!) and some bruschetta like casserole. The whole weekend was overloaded with food (pumpkin cake, apple pie, cheesecake, etc). The best part though was just watching the cousins run around playing and having a good time. And although it may have been stressful at times, it was spent with family, and I couldn't ask for a better family. Can't wait to do it again.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Well, not a lot remembered this week in the way of kiddy talk. With family and sickness still visiting, I'm not too quick with my memory (that's my excuse anyway, and I'm sticking to it). If you want to view some other tiny talk, click here: http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/10/tiny-talk-tuesday_30.html

Around the house:
Kyra: Grandma, let's play a game!
Grandma: What would you like to play?
Kyra: How about tag?
Grandma: How about I go to the bathroom first?
Kyra: GRANDMA, that's not a game!

Halloween

My blogger friend, Shortstop, showed pictures of her little ones in last year's Halloween garb. They were such cute pictures, that I began to browse through some of my girl's previous Halloween pics (although their weren't many, seeing as how they've had a very short life span thus far).

Anyway, I look forward to Halloween again, as does Kyra who talks about it almost everyday. So, I thought I would share a couple old photos before the unveiling of the new costumes for this year....

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Not many kiddy quotes for this week, they've been sick for the majority of the week and not quick on their toes with the comments but a few leaked out tonight! Check out Mary's for more... http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/10/tiny-talk-tuesday_21.html

At the dinner table...
Mom: Kyra, you need to eat dinner quickly because it's almost time to get ready for dance!
Kyra: (looking out the window) But Moomm, I better check on the GUYS and see if they're okay. (Daddy and Grandpa were outside on the bobcat, and lately she feels they can't get their work done without her. I think they'll manage.)

In the car....
Kyra: Mom, they light is green, go go go!
Mom: Kyra, just hold your horses, we have to wait for the cars ahead of us to go.
Kyra: Come on PEOPLE! Move it!
(she seriously sounded like a cab driver, but I'm guessing she's been hanging out in the car with Daddy lately).

At the Kyra's Dance Class...
(Kyra was in her class while Katie and I were peaking in through the one way window to see her progress. Katie overheard the instructor say March)
Katie: Much! much! much!(as she marched down the hall. It was so cute watching her imitate her bigger sister. Of course she marched her way down to an open classroom and invited herself in. I had to spend the rest of the hour chasing her down the hall just to keep her out of the room with the BIG mirror.)

The Apprentice

Kyra has found a new hobby. She loves farming! Well, not exactly. She more or less likes riding in the combine or bobcat with her daddy while he's farming. Considering the fact that she doesn't like to get her hands dirty, I think riding in the equipment that does the dirty work is about as close as she'll get. Maybe it's the time spent with Daddy, or maybe it's the bumpy ride, but she always asks to go with him (actually both girls do).

So last night in the midst of cleaning up the cake in the car that Katie got her hands into and wiped all over the car, my husband offered to take Kyra with him to another 10 acre field him and his brother had to harvest. I told him that would be great. So, she got to spend 2 hours of one on one time with her favorite man doing one of the things that Daddy loves best (farming). When she came back she had so many stories to tell. She got to steer, she got to watch the "big fingers" grind up the corn, but best of all she got to pee in the corn!! Oh yes, that was the highlight of the evening. She told me that she had to go potty, but Daddy said they don't have potties in corn fields, so she squatted in the field. Yes, she was unofficially initiated into the world of outdoorsman. We had a good laugh. But best of all she got some good bonding time with Dad.

Serenity Now

My blogger friend Emily posted an entry inquiring what others do for serenity. I read it, and thought, boy I could use one of my top 5 choices after a day like today!

Yes, I woke up with a migraine (something I've been frequenting as of late), watched my daughter throw half of her breakfast on the floor, quick got everyone dressed and headed out the door to go to a craft sale with a friend (okay, not so quick, but I tried). We then got to the craft sale, where no strollers were allowed. You mean I had to carry this 19 month old and try to get her to not touch all the untouchables!! So, after numerous attempts of telling both of my children to NOT TOUCH ANYTHING, they were both reaching the end of their rope. We then zoomed through the rest of the craft show, as to not miss anything really important, headed to the park, and then went for a late lunch (only to resort in lots of complaining and whining for holding off lunch too long). And of course I was awstrasized by my eldest for not getting the chicken fries, but the chicken nuggets instead. A crucial mistake. Finally, we headed to my friends house for some afternoon playtime, and some much needed rest while they played on their own. All was well, until we had to leave and I found my daughter in wet underpants (yes, she wet her pants), and 20 barrets in her hair (apparently they played dress up). She kicked and screamed all the way to the bathroom where I could have a "chat" with her, because she did not want to change out of her "pretty ballerina costume." Finally, home, I quick fed them a late dinner (7:30), popped them in the tub, and pushed them straight to bed (of course not with out arguing about the lack of a bedtime movie). Ahhh...rest! Oh, I forgot I had to make a cake for tomorrow's dinner at the in-laws. Back on my feet!

So....here is what I am going to do for much needed serenity!
1. M&M's
2. Slip into some comfy pjs
3. Snuggle on the couch in a warm blanket (nevermind that it is in the 70's today)
4. Light a candle
5. Get a back/hand massage from my husband

Blessed

I have been having trouble blogging again lately, not because of lack of time, but because of lack of things to say. For all of you who journal or blog every day, I commend you and your brain for always having thoughts to put down on paper (computer). Maybe my brain is a little slow (okay don't answer that) or maybe I just think too much and just get stressed with the thought of trying to put my thoughts down, whatever the case....I'm at a block. I originally had plans in finding at least one positive thing to say a day (as to mentally help myself from thinking so negatively). But I have realized that you can't just try and find one positive thing a day, you have to pray about finding those daily pieces of joy too.

Yesterday I was at the park with a friend, complaining about the condition of my house, the whinyness of my girls, etc. I went home thinking, all I did was COMPLAIN! Which doesn't come of much surprise because it is something I do quite well. But I thought, my poor dear friend has to listen to that every time I visit her (she has to be sick of me!) Complaining is a disease and I have to stop it. Shortly after that revelation I read Renee's blog (sorry Renee, I can't link), and was amazed at how far she's come in life after such hardships. She's been through so much, and she is rejoicing!! I knew I had to take a good look at my life and see what I could count as good. So here it goes....

1. I was raised in a Christian household, with a loving family. My parents both worked hard (opposite shifts) so that one of them was always home with us. They took us to church, helped us with homework, and stayed together through thick and thin. My mother is a great encourager, and often looked at the bright side when I was feeling down. My dad went on many walks with my sister and I, and instilled many deep thoughtful questions that truly made us think. They both have always been there for me.
2. I went to a Christian College where I came into so many great friendships, in which I still keep in contact to this day. Although, I did not end up teaching (what I went to school for), I had such a positive experience and met so many empowering people.
3. I have a loving husband. I have a truly wonderful husband (although I fail to see it all the time), who works hard to support his family (and so I can live my dream and be a stay at home mom and not to mention a pretty nice house). He almost always grants my request when I come to him with a honey do list (and doesn't even complain about it). And he listens to me time and time again (like a broken record) when I come to him with hurt feelings of being insecure, inadequate, fat. He is a loving husband.
4. I have two beautiful, healthy girls. With all the crankiness, crying, disobedience, and crazy behavior, my girls are super. Afterall, everyone who raises children deal with these issues (it just may not feel like it when your in the moment). But, to have 2 girls that say the darndest things, have the cutest expressions, and depend on you and love you hopelessly, what more could you ask for. I could not ask for better children.
5. I have wonderful friends. I may not have a lot of friends, but the friends I do have are so dependable, empathetic, wise, open armed, and good for making me laugh.
6. Finally, I have such a loving Father in Heaven above that is there for me whenever I need Him. He hears my every cry, shares my every pain, rejoices in my every triumph.

Yes, I am truly blessed. And any time I forgot that just refer me back to this entry.

Katydid

I feel so often that I write about the cute things that my older daughter says or does, but the one who speaks clingon, melts my heart just as much:

Our little Katie - 18mo (aka: Katydid/Katydon't) brings us so much joy. She is one of few words, so when she actually started saying, "Peeeese!" last week while pointing to the refrigerator, it was so hard to say no, because she is actually using her words now. Our latest little one word wonder likes to yell "TADA!" when climbing on top of the tree stump at the mall. It gets me every time. So, imagine my distress as I come home from our mini vacation yesterday, only to find out that she couldn't talk. Yes, despite the few words she knows, it was saddening to see that she couldn't speak at all. Katydid has laryngitis. My sister in-law said she was pretty much mute the whole weekend. She was so excited to see us, yet could barely screech out a "mommy." It breaks your heart when you see them struggling so hard to swallow and whisper out a word. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be bothering her too much today, as she is already getting a kick out of her high pitched, raspy voice. She says a word over and over again, only to look my way to see if she can get a reaction. She knows that even if she can't speak, she can always count on the hundred facial expressions she's always had to get her mama going. Yes, Katydid, you had us from the beginning.

Meme for a Change

I have never done a MEME before, but this one seemed pretty easy, so I thought I'd join in and share a little about myself (after all it's only 1:24 am, and what better to do with insomnia?):

Four Jobs I Have Had:
1. Registration Clerk - Urgent Care
2. Deskie - Calvin College
3. Sub Teacher - various schools
4. Administrative Assistant - Hospice

Four Movies I can Watch Over and Over:
1. Last of the Mohicans
2. Untamed Heart
3. Dying Young
4. Good Will Hunting

Four Shows I Watch on TV:
1. The Office
2. Biggest Loser
3. ER
4. Law and Order SVU

Four Places that I Have Vacationed:
1. Estes Park, Colorado (just beautiful scenery)
2. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (honeymoon)
3. Outerbanks (this was a great time to be had in a beach house w/25 relatives!)
4. Along California Coast (from San Fran to San Diego - San Fran being the fav)

Four of My Favorite Dishes:
1. Chicken Lasagna
2. Chicken Chimichanga
3. Brunch Bake w/dad's famous Sour Cream Coffee Cake
4. Eggplant Parmesan (at Olive Garden)

Four Places I'd Rather Be:
1. State of Contentment
2. Closer to my fam
3. Getting a massage/manicure/spa treatment
4. In Bed

Weekend Getaway

My husband turned 30 on Friday, so I had been trying to figure the PERFECT birthday gift. I didn't want to do a surprise party, since we have gone to so many of those lately (I figured it would hardly be a surprise). I contemplated going on a date to a play or something (but that ain't really his thang). Then I thought of the perfect idea....a surprise getaway! It would be perfect. My sister in-law was willing to watch the kids, the hubs had been working hard on the barns and needed a getaway, and he has always wanted me to play golf with him. So there you have it. I was going to have the car all packed before he came home from work, borrow some clubs from a friend, and when he came home, I would say we are going on a date- only to take him away for the weekend! Foolproof!

Okay, it didn't exactly work out that way. First he found out from someone that we were going away for the weekend, then he saw my attempt to hide the clubs in the car. The only thing he didn't know is where we were going, which after an hour in the car, he pretty much figured out anyway. I was bummed. My whole plan had failed. I moped in the car as I thought of my weeks of planning being botched. But then I realized, the end result would be the same. It wasn't the surprise that he would remember in the long run, but the trip itself.

And boy did we have fun. We went to Traverse City, Michigan to take in a golf course (I have never been, another first for me). But we did so much more than that. We enjoyed the oh, so beautiful colors of the trees. The colors were so vibrant! We went to several wineries along the Leelanau Penisula (and might I suggest that even though the samples are small, probably 15 samples are about 10 too many!). We ate at some wonderful restaurants. And finally, we played golf, which unfortunately I did not do too well at (and I can't blame the alcohol either, because this was the following day). Yes, my hopes of being a first time pro, did not come true. I scored a 96 in a 9 hole game (and of course that isn't including all the times I completely missed the ball!) But we had for some good laughs, and my husband (thankfully patient) had fun too. Yes, we will definitely have to do the getaway more often. Some one on one time with your hubby is definitely priceless.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The little ones are talking this week and here's what they've been saying....
If you want to read some other cute kid comments click here http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/10/tiny-talk-tuesday_05.html

At the mall play area:
Mom: Go have fun guys! Let me see you go down the slide.
(they race down the slide, then Katie (18 mo) hides behind a tree)
Kyra (3): Where did Katie go?
Mom: She is hiding behind the tree.
Kyra: Phew! Good thing you know where she is. I am trying to keep an eye on her so a stranger won't get her. I would be sad if my sister where gone. We don't want a pirate, or a grumpy to get her.
(Awww...how sweet that she is looking out for her sister. I wouldn't want a pirate to get either of them.)
____________________________________________________
In the car, on the way home from a park:
Kyra: Mom, is God happy when I say that?
Mom: Say what?
Kyra: What I said?
Mom: (fearing I am not going to get any where on this one in what she said, I moved on) Kyra, God loves
you know matter what you say. He loves you all the time. But he smiles extra big when you obey Mommy and Daddy, share with your sister, or do kind things.
Kyra: (pensive in thought for a minute) I understand God better when I listen to Him.
Daddy: (Wow, what a big thought) Is God talking to you right now?
Kyra: NO, silly Daddy! He's not here right now, He's in the clouds.
(I guess we'll get into the abstract idea that He is all around another day! But what a thinker!)
____________________________________________________
While playing with a playmate over the weekend:
(as I was busy most of the afternoon fixing dinner for a get together, I had neglected to check on the girls for awhile. Kyra, of course runs out of her room with her pants soaking wet.)
Mom: Oh, Kyra, where did you have your accident?
Kyra: My bed Mom, sorry.
Mom: It's okay, just go to the bathroom and take off your pants. (I then proceed by stripping the bed, thinking to myself what more could happen right before company comes!)
Ellie (almost 3 yr old friend that was staying the weekend): Look! I'm just like Kyra! (her pants of course are also soaking wet. Oh the joy of imitation. Thankfully, we were able to have a good laugh from this!)
____________________________________________________
Kyra: Can I have one piece of candy?
Mom: Sorry babe, it's bed time and you already had a snack.
Kyra: But I want one.
Mom: No.
Kyra: Please, please, please?
Mom: The answer is no, now please don't ask me again!
Kyra: Can I have two?

Demolition

My husband has been in the midst of a big project...tearing down 2 of our 4 barns. Last March, after an ice storm 2 of our very old barns fell down. This past spring he said that we would have to take them down. I pleaded with him not to (not because I enjoyed looking at the eye soar, but because I know that would take away so much precious family time). The buildings are hidden away behind some trees, so if you look out our front window, you can barely see them. I asked him, "what difference does it make?" Most likely we will never sell our house to another homeowner (as it will probably become commercial and just be torn down any way). But he insisted that they needed to be taken down. Even though they aren't in plain eye's view, he knows they are there. And besides, it could be a liability if someone were to ever come over and get hurt. I finally reluctantly agreed that he should take them down, and began the process of searching for dumpster companies.

I started to think later on that the demolition of these barns was kind of like cutting out the sins in our lives. We share a juicy detail about someone's life, eat a dessert that we know we shouldn't have, or say an innocent seeming lie to cover our tracks....SIN. We know it's ugly like the barns, but no one see's them right? Perhaps they are hidden from the naked eye, and no one really finds out about the sins we commit, but we know they are there. We try and tell ourselves, it was just something small, what difference will it make? However, God does know the difference. He wants us to knock down the barn, and have a clean slate. It isn't an easy task to break the habit of gluteny, gossip, or whatever the problem may be, but we need to continually try and become more like Christ and ask for forgiveness. How fortunate we are that we have a Savior that forgives so readily. And unlike the weeks it will take to knock down these barns, we merely need one prayer to ask for forgiveness and our "barn/sin" will be knocked down in one stroke.

Bloggy Friends

I just want to thank all of you women who have encouraged me through your thoughtful comments. It truly is uplifting and wonderful to know that there are so many women, both old time friends, and ones of whom I have never even met, that have such a beautiful heart. I am blessed to have encountered you through bloggy land. Thank you.

Miscommunication

Headlines: A couple leaves a family member outside all night long, because of a miscommunication. Do you...

A. Shake your head at the stupidity of some people out there?
B. Call the authorities to have them taken away?
C. Put them in the barn all night long and see how they like it?

Well, hopefully you just picked A., because we are that family. Of course, before you get on the phone to call the police to report neglect, let me tell you it was our dog (of course maybe now you'll call PETA!).

I still can't believe what happened. Rudy, our beloved dog of 6 years loves to run around outside as long as you are with him. So, pretty much if we come inside, he will immediately bark to let you know that he wants in too. Last night, my hubby was working on tearing down a barn, while the dog ran around aimlessly chasing lights, noises in the brush, and who knows what. All of a sudden the rain started to pour down, so they quickly ran into the nearest barn until the rain subsided. Evidently, when the rain stopped and the hubs closed the barn door to come inside, he assumed that Rudy followed him. Apparently not.

I, of course, assumed that the hubs had put Rudy in his kennel, for he was probably covered in mud. I could have asked my husband if this were so, but we were both really tired, and by the time I thought to ask, he was already in bed. Needless, to say as my husband was headed out the door for work at 6AM this morning, he came in the bedroom to give me a kiss goodbye and asked if I put Rudy in his kennel last night (evidently he wondered when he wasn't greeted by a slobbery doggy kiss this morning). I jumped out of bed and said "What do you mean? I thought you put him in his kennel last night?" I quickly threw on my sweats and grabbed a flashlight, thinking only of the worst scenerios. I knew he didn't run away, because he is like velcro in that he always sticks by your side. Fortunately, as soon as I run outside, Rudy came running to the door. The hubs ran down the details of the previous night, and added that he remembered Rudy might be in the barn. And that he was.

Now, Rudy is safe and sound sleeping on his favorite couch. After an early morning bath, he is as good as new. I am only thankful that the worst didn't happen, and that dogs are hopelessly forgiving. He was safe in a sheltered building (although I don't want to think of the barn mice scurrying around in there - thank goodness for up to date shots and pills), and it didn't get too cold last night. I guess, from now on we will be not only checking to see if there girls are sleeping soundly in their bed, but the dog too.

Thoughtless Thursday


Do you think she's enjoying her dancing class?

Insecurities

I have been avoiding blogging lately because I have so many deep thoughts scrambling through my head, with the reluctancy to share because of how dark my thoughts are and a writers block as to how to construct on the computer what meanders through my head. I have been dealing with some mild depression issues this past year, and came to the conclusion that if I just became busier and surrounded myself with activities and to do lists, then I wouldn't have time to think of all the reasons why God put me here on earth. So, I started babysitting, blogging, taking my daughter to dance class, going to the library more frequently, and exercising. All of those are good things, but I was avoiding the critical problem at hand. For awhile keeping busy kept my mind off of the main problem, but how quickly Satan slips in a hurtful comment through someone or a moment of insecurity to bring us back down again.

I realized that one of the reasons I have been down this past year is because my relationship with God suffers. I was rarely praying, never read the Bible, and almost always focused on something else while half listening to the sermon at church. One of my biggest fears is that my children will grow up with as many insecurities as I have, and not lean on God when they go through their deepest valleys. And how can I raise my kids to know their Savior if I lack a good relationship myself? I know in order to have a healthy life for myself I need to be grounded in the Bible. So I added one more thing to my to do list, and that was to join a women's Bible Study.

It has been years since I have been in an actual bible study that focused on a book of the Bible rather than a book focused on how to become a better wife, mother, or steward of the earth (not that there's anything wrong with those, I just needed to come back to the book that actually has all the answers to all of those questions). The group I joined is studying the book of John. And although the first meeting was a little intimidating (not knowing anyone, and already having thoughts of - well this person is so much better versed in the Bible, or I just won't belong here because I am not wearing the same type of clothing). I just can't let Satan win with the doubts he throws my way. I know God will win in bringing me closer to Him and hopefully maybe some of these women too.

John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Those kiddo's are always saying things to make us laugh (life would be so dull without them). If you'd like to look at some other cute kid talk, take a look at http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/09/tiny-talk-tuesday_25.html.
Here's a look at our kids:
____________________________________________
While at the grocery store:
Me: (I was waiting momentarily, quietly for a women to finish picking out her cereal before squeezing past her in an isle that was too tight to pass)
Kyra: SCUSE us lady, we need to get through!!
(yes, those manners are working well)
_______________________________________________________
While in the car:
Kyra: Mom, can I look at this book?
Me: Sure Babe. (of course I really wasn't paying attention to what she was looking at until, I peered out the rearview mirror and found her with an atlas)
Kyra: I found Michigan!
Me: That's great babe. (Of course I figured she was pointing to Maine, Indiana, or Hawaii).
Kyra: I found Grand Rabbits!
Me: (of course I couldn't see what she was pointing too, while I was driving, but the Grand Rabbits made me laugh)

PS: after I got out of the car, to my surprise she had found Michigan and was pointing directly
to Grand Rapids! Wow, I never even told her about Grand Rapids, her daddy must be
working with her. What a memory!
____________________________________________
While at lunch:
Me: Katie, eat your lunch. You've hardly eaten anything! Just take a bite of your sandwich.
Katie: NO! (as she launches her pb&j into my face)
Me: (I had to try so hard not to laugh. For some reason jelly dripping down my face at that moment was
very humorous. Perhaps dealing with this strong willed child is setting me off the deep end)

"Binki"

Both of my girls took a binki from birth (aka: pacifier, pipe, plug, life saver). And funny how it seems, as they get older they only grow more attached. Of course, Kyra has long outgrown hers (although she occasionally grabs Katie's and pretends to suck on it as if she were the baby). However, with Katie, we have to make sure that the binki is always within arms reach. As of late she has been pretty good without it, only needing it for sleeping time, but she still has her moments (she just cut her last 4 teeth in the past month -duh, that's why she was a "little" cranky).

Anyway, it seems like we have gone through at least two dozen binki's since her birth. I try to keep one in her bed, one in the car, and one in the diaper bag. My only problem is that I forget to put them back in their correct spot if I have taken out a safety net binki. And seeing as how, she loves to chuck them and lose them as much as she loves to put them in her mouth - I go through quit a few. So, this morning, only having two left, I made sure to keep a close eye on them. Only that plan didn't work so well. The first one got lost at church while she was in nursery (apparently they needed to take it out of the diaper bag). That's okay, I still had one left. I made sure to leave it in her crib, only Daddy got her up from her nap and forgot to take it out (I've got to blame it on someone!). Needless to say, she played outside for awhile, we forgot that she had it, I put her down to sleep, and realized I was missing the most powerful sleep aide! Where was that binki?


Figuring she might go to sleep without it, I read her a story, layed her down, said goodnight, and turned off the light. Not 1 second later, she started crying - screaming "BEEKEE". I turned the light back on, only to see these big blue eyes water up, with her lower lip quiver. Oh, my heart just about fell. I told her I'd be right back, and out the door I went. Yes, I took my flashlight, and went outside to search for the secret weapon. I tried retracing her steps from the tractor, to the weeds in the woods, to the tee ball set, to the rose bush, and finally to the gravel turn around and found the bright orange binki. Yes, I now remembered she must have dropped it there when she saw Rudy (our dog) eat an overripe tomato, and want it for herself. Phew!


I ran to her room, where she was still whimpering, and gave her the binki. She quickly grabbed it, shoved it in her mouth, and dropped like a rock to her side. Ahh, my work was done. And wouldn't you know, I checked on her 2 minutes later, only to find her sound asleep, WITHOUT her binki in her mouth!

Pumpkin Patch

I love fall time. I start thinking about bundling up in a warm blanket, cozying up in front of the fire, viewing all the trees changing colors, and tasting all those warm harvest foods and desserts. I like taking out those favorite pair of jeans or cords (of course so I don't have to show my legs anymore), and feeling the crisp air - a change from the blazing sun (not something we are feeling right now of course during this 85 degree week). So, even though fall is sadly the entering season to winter (which I don't care for), I love it.

In the past few years (ever since we started having kids), we have started a new fall tradition too. That is going to a pumpkin farm. Usually our friends from Illinois come for the weekend, we go to a scarecrow festival and chili cookoff and then eat warm doughnuts and cider the following day. The kids have fun on hayrides and pony rides, while running through mazes and laughing as they chase one another. What could be better than this? The thought of it just echos comfort, family, and love.

Anyhow, last weekend I decided to get a jump on the season and go to an apple/ pumpkin/ animal farm. Of course the daily chores piled up and we were unable to go (good thing we didn't tell the kids of our plans otherwise we would have had some unhappy campers). We had close to an hour before their nap time, so we decided to have our own harvest time and cut off our pumpkins from the patch. Daddy gave the girls a ride in the wheelbarrow and they each got to pick out "their" perfect pumpkin. It was a great time and the best part was, we only had to step out of our front door!

A Night on the Town

Last night during dinner, my husband casually asked, "Do you want to go out tonight or tomorrow night?" Come again? He was actually volunteering to watch the kids so I could go out for the evening. Ahh, what a guy. I naturally picked last night, seeing as how it was the warmer of the two nights, and it was also bath night, which meant, I didn't have to give baths!! Whewhew!! Of course, I didn't actually think it through too well, because having little notice, none of my friends were able to do anything. So I ventured out on my own.

I thought I would head to the mall, when it dawned on me...I'll go see a movie! I love movies and my husband, well not so much. He's more the outdoorsy type. So he humors me once in awhile to watch a film, but usually falls asleep. Of course, as I looked to see what was playing the only thing that interested me was Bourne Supremacy and 3:10 to Yuma. Now, even though my hubby isn't usually a movie fan I know he would quite upset if I saw Bourne Supremacy without him so I saw the latter.
I had heard pretty good reviews on this western starring, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, and it did live up to it's reviews. Crowe was cocky and humorous, Bale was sensitive and humble. They played their parts very well (would you expect any less from the two?) However, there wasn't as many shot um up scenes as I would have thought in a western, and the ending had me conflicted as to if that sort of thing would really happen. But I had a great time and laughed it up in a theater filled mostly with older men. Does nobody like westerns anymore?

Note to Self

When you think you have put something far enough out of reach on the counter so your toddler can't reach it...it's not far enough. Yes, she has started to scale kitchen and desktop countertops (climbing up the fronts of drawers and cabinet doors). Oy vay!

Mrs. Helpful recap

Just to let you know...when my husband got home, he just laughed at the ordeal. Thankfully he knows I am pretty ignorant when it comes to having to do anything mechanical or outdoorsy, so he was able to see that it was the thought that counted.

Of course he did say that if I ever wanted to try again...all I had to do was sit on the fender while mowing the steep edge and that if it did get stuck again all I had to do was pull the hydrolic thing a magig and my problems would be solved. (riight, I think I'll just let him handle it).

Mrs. Helpful

A friend and I have been swapping babysitting for the last couple of weeks, so we are each able to have a few hours a week to get some cleaning/errands/alone time. It has been really nice to have a few hours to get something done without the kids, but I have found that you need to be really diligent with the time, or else those 3 hours will go by very quickly and nothing will get accomplished (aka: interuptions with phone calls, quick glance at the blog, etc..).

Anyway, today was my time to get something done, so I planned out what I was going to do with my time before 9am this morning. And seeing as how cleaning my house wasn't much of interest (even though it probably could have used it), I decided to mow the lawn. Now, normally this is my husband's job, but he has been so busy lately I decided I would surprise him to help him out!

Needless to say, it didn't go very well. I have mowed the lawn, oh...probably 4 times in my lifetime (pathetic, I know, but true). I knew in the past how to start the rider mower, but it's been awhile. Anywho, I couldn't get it started. I decided to let the surprise go and call my husband to see how to start it. He explained how I couldn't start it with the mower deck on (duh), and that I needed to fill the tank, and blow up the rear tire with the air compressor since it periodically goes flat. Whew! This was turning out to be more of a project then I intended. Nevertheless, I got it started and was on my way. Typically it takes 3 hours (for my husband) to mow the lawn, since we have a rather large yard, so I knew I wouldn't get it done in my now being only 1 1/2 hours left, but I thought better some than none. I was having fun, getting the hang of the bouncy mower while balancing my coffee, when the hardest part of the lawn approached. We have a fairly steep decline by our driveway, but my husband always seems to manage it, so I attempted a try. Yeah, that was a bad decision. The wheels started spinning, and I began to feel the mower tip to the right. The thought of rolling over down a hill on a lawnmower was a tidbit scary, so I quickly shut off the ignition and got off. I tried pushing the mower down the hill while in neutral, but that didn't work. Needless to say, that mower wasn't going anywhere and I was stuck.

So, I guess my thoughts of being helpful to my husband were not so helpful. Now, he has to get the mower unstuck and mow the rest of the lawn! I've gotten stuck on the driveway in the snow before, but never in the summer time! Oh well, hopefully he sees it's the thought that counts. Love you honey!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Our kids kept us laughing all week with things they said and things they did. If you want to read some other cute kid talk, click here: http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/09/tinytalk-tuesday.html

For now, here are some of the things my kids said:

While reading an animal book:
Mom: Kyra, what is this animal? (it was a chinchilla)
Kyra: Well, that is a tricky one
Mom: I'll give you a clue, it starts with a ch sound
Kyra: Oh! A chinrabbit!

While reading an alphabet princess book:
Mom: What letter is this?
Kyra: An S
Mom: What is this a picture of that starts with the letter S?
Kyra: (pausing) Ahh, Sleeping Booty!
(I had to try not to laugh when she said that one)

At Logan's Restaurant in the bathroom:
Kyra: This potty has a black seat. I love going potty on this black toilet.
Mom: (half answering back, since it's been a few minutes) That's great Kyra, but try hurrying up, we have to get back to the table. (then I make the mistake of looking over her shoulder to see if she's actually done anything)
Kyra: Mooom, I went poops. You can't touch my poops, you can only look. It's got germs on it, so don't touch, but you can look at it if you want.
(of course that was said really loudly with several in the bathroom. They always pick the best timing)

While walking down the sidewalk, with several small bugs behind her:
Kyra: Come on fellas!

After running into the car during a steady rain:
Kyra: Mom, I want the rain to go away.
Mom: I know sweety, so do I but there isn't much we can do about it.
Kyra: I can get rid of it.
Mom: Oh really, what can you do?
Kyra: I can fly up to the clouds, and tell them to stop making the rain.
(now how did she get so smart)

Kyra Chat

A conversation today with my 3 year old daughter on the way home in the car:

Kyra: Mom, DO NOT say a word.
Mom: How come?
Kyra: Just don't say a word.
Mom: (pauses, with silent laughter at the dramatics of this little girl)
Kyra: We have to be quiet for the chrysalis.
Mom (whoa, amazed she learned such a big word, wondered where she learned it, and does she
even know what it means?) Kyra, what is a chrysalis?
Kyra: It's the part when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly!
Mom: (well, apparently PBS is teaching her something)

A prodigy in the making?

While in college, there was a group called Dance Guild that I joined. I wasn't involved in any choir, sport, or band so I figured I should get involved in something. So, as a freshman I joined the Dance Guild primarily because no prior experience of dance was needed. To my surprise I loved it, and remained in the club all 4 years. I learned how to tap, do some liturgical dancing, even a little swingdancing. It was fun and exciting. Of course in 4 years you only learn so much, but it was still exhilerating and I found myself wishing I had entered into a career of dancing at an earlier age (of course that is only hindsight, because I know I did ballet in kindergarten and told my mom that year was the last year - so she did try).

So maybe I never became a white swan, but there is hope for one of my daughters right? Duhn, duhn, duhn. Maybe I can live vicariously through Kyra! Could she be the next dancing prodigy? Okay, well maybe not. But crazy as it is, at 3 years old I spontaneously decided to put her in dance lessons. I teeter tottered over putting her in and all, thinking maybe she is too young to be spending what I consider a substantial amount of money, but what if....? What if she loves it, and does well? Is that too foolish? Anyway, despite my wishy washy feelings, I decided to go for it. And the look on her face after she got her first pair of ballet slippers tonight was priceless. I peeked in on her during class, and she was having a blast (which was good, because half of the kids were crying). I guess if anything, she will learn some balance, discipline, and fun. Recitals here we come!

Trip Continued

On our trip, we stayed at a resort called Boyne Mountain (also a ski resort). The place was perfect for the kids, because they had planned activities throughout the day, many pools to choose from, and a brand new playground right next to our room! I would take a shower and actually have some alone time, while hubby took the kids to the park. Then we could take a quick dip in the pool and still have enough time to make a quick lunch and put the kiddos to bed for a nap. It was perfect. And they did well the whole time. Much to my surprise, Katie hardly ever yelled (except for the beginning of the trip where we went to a nice sit down dinner and I had to drag a kicking tired child out of the restaurant), and Kyra didn't nag on her sister. We went bike riding through Petosky State Park (so beautiful, it made me want to camp - for a brief moment). And searched for rocks at the Park's beach. But perhaps their favorite part was riding up the ski lift and taking in the beautiful view. It was a free ride that the resort provided and the girls liked it so much we had to go a second time the following night (they said hi and waved to every passerby going the opposite way on the lift!) Kyra loved every minute of it, and kept asking through the weekend if we were still on bacation? We will definitely have to remember this bacation stop for next year!

Relaxation

Well, our trip was a great success. That's saying a lot for me, seeing as how the last two vacations we were on, were more exhausting than fun. After the last trip, I pretty much vowed not to take another vacation with the kids until they were all school aged! Okay, so they weren't that bad, but it was a bit of a challenge following a toddler around that gets into everything. The thing I discovered vacationing with just your own family, (fun as it may be to visit with extended family) is that you feel more relaxed when things don't go as planned. You don't have to worry trying to please everyone. If your toddler screams for an hour straight, you don't have to wonder what other people think of your parenting skills (granted you probably shouldn't be worrying about what other people think anyway, but it happens). And best of all, you get to have quality time with your husband who works so hard during the week, you begin to think you are strangers living in the same house. In general, you become more relaxed. And that was what our trip was. It was very relaxing. We took many wrong turns trying to find certain places, but who cared, we were on our own agenda and no one elses. It was a short trip, but because it was so great, I feel like we got a week of relaxation. Life is good.

Weekend Getaway

It is 5:30 AM and I am taking one last glance through all the blogs before we leave for a weekend getaway (of course I told my husband I would get up early to start packing, but I had to take a peak at any updates before I left for 3 days).

We are headed for the Petosky area of Michigan, which we've visited many a time this part of the year, but never with children. The lakes, bike trails, cutsy shops, clean air, vineyards, and of course ice cream shops are plentiful and inviting. I am looking forward to going there with my family and enjoying the change of scenery, mostly because this will be our only trip this summer spent alone with just our little family. Hopefully, it will be a great bonding time and refresher before we switch to the next season (that is of course provided that there aren't too many breakdowns and Katie doesn't scream in the car the whole trip, which she frequently does).

So here's to what I mark as a vacation to end one season and start fresh with a new. I look forward to the fall and have many new goals to begin next week. For now, I will enjoy my Mackinaw Fudge ice cream!

The Simple Things

Look Mom, I made a square!

Birthday Party

This weekend we celebrated my oldest's birthday. She turned 3, and boy was she excited. I think she has been talking about her birthday for about 3 months now. She had grand ideas for her birthday, ranging from getting a zebra (which I happened to get her, only in plastic form) to planting a tree (which would have been a nice idea but we didn't do). Anyway, her birthday was a success.

She had a great time with the cousins, loved her presents, and her cake (thank goodness, because it took me just about 6 hours to make it). When I asked her what her favorite part of her birthday was, she said playing with her cousins. Ahww. We all had a great time. Now if we can only distract her long enough before her next birthday (which she is already planning!)

3 Wonderful Years

Dear Kyra,
It's hard to believe that it was already three years ago to the day that you entered into this world. I remember planning out when the perfect time would be to have our first child. Of course our plans don't always match the plans of our Heavenly Father, but a short while later you were conceived. The best part was, I found out we were having our child on my birthday!! What a wonderful birthday present, to find out that we were finally going to begin building our family in just a several months.

Finally, the day arrived. The doctor announced I had a girl! I was quite groggy, but felt a deep joy on the inside. And you looked perfect. Your chubby little cheeks and perfect little toes and fingers were all mine to care for. What a wonderful gift God had granted for us to watch over. Even your father, who was quite nervous in becoming a Dad, was quite smittin with you. I watched with a sense of new found love, as I watched him hold you and caress each small toe, finger, ear, and brow. It only took him two days with you and he wanted four more just like you.

Now you are three! And we are in love you more than the day you arrived. You are such a blessing to watch. You are thoughtful (praying for each and every member in your family). You are loving (whispering everyday in my ear - "I love you very much mommy"). You are imaginative (sneaking a peak at you when you are supposed to be taking a nap, but setting up tea party's for all your animals instead). You are kind (giving hugs to your sister after she has bumped her head). You are loved.

We love you so much Kyra. You are permanently engraved in our hearts. And we can't wait to share in all your newfound experiences and accomplishments in the years to come. Happy Birthday.

Love, Mom and Dad

Comparison and Contentment

One of the blogs I visit frequently just touched on the issue of being content. It was very inspiring, and if you wish to read her entry, just click here: http://grshortstop.blogspot.com/2007/08/content-mom/html


I too, struggle with finding contentment in everything in life (sometimes in even things that may seem enjoyable). Whether it is a rut that I am currently visiting in my life, or the fact that I sometimes refuse to open my eyes and see just what a wonderful life God has laid in front of me, the truth is, finding contentment in every situation is often a struggle.


When I think to find the core reason as to why it is hard to find contentment in my own life, I realize that my continual defeat in comparison is one of the main reasons I struggle to find contentment. I know comparison is wrong and has so many ill effects on ones life, and yet my mind continually wanders in that direction. I go to a party to have a good time, and wonder why I couldn't be as good a hostess in my own parties. I see another mom at the park show her little one all the different colors and shapes in her surroundings, and wonder why I don't take the time to teach my youngest more of the wonders of the world (thinking maybe she might suddenly say more words if I took more effort). I see a woman at church juggle 4 children, choir directing, teaching, and be a team leader in a softball team, and wonder why I can't even make dinner without the help of my husband to distract the kids. The list goes on.


And the truth is, if I didn't compare all the time, I would find joy in the person God created me to be, thus finding contentment! Bingo, sounds so simple. It sounds so easy, but really it takes lots of prayer, friends, encouragement, and practice to break a habit like comparison. God created me in His image, and if I only look to Him I will find contentment. Thus, I will continue to try and break the curse of comparison. After all the person I truly want to be is the one God created (unique and different in my own way).

Fresh from the Garden

I'm not big on tending a vegetable garden (flowers are a little more my style), but eating vegetables from the garden is a different story. My husband and his family love to garden, which is a benefit for me, because he can tend to it while I only need to eat the fruits of his labor! He makes this massive garden that becomes almost to hard to keep up with. So when mid July to August hits, watch out, because you are going to be eating potatoes/ corn/ zucchini/ squash/ tomatoes/ beans out of your ears!

Anyway, the other day we had dinner at my brother in-law's house, when we noticed something. The entire meal we were eating was either caught or home grown! Nothing came from the store (with the exception of butter and rolls). And it was one of the most delicious meals I have had in a long time. We had steamed brocolli and beans, potatoes (which once you've had from the garden, you'll never like a store bought one again), corn, a red pepper relish (to put on the potato), cooked red cabbage (which I never liked until I had this), and grilled salmon (caught from Lake Michigan). Mmmm, I love the taste of summer.

Bloggy Block

I've come to a bit of a Blogger Block. I'm having trouble coming up with things to write in my blog (if you haven't noticed from my lack of writing for the last 5 days). Anyway, I came to the realization that I was searching for anything in my day that I could blog about, just to blog (which may be fine for some people, for many of you are excellent writers with the ability to put humor in almost any situation). As for me, the pressure to keep up with the Bloggy Jones' outways the therapy I receive from writing down the few thoughts I have on my blog. So from now on, I will probably slow down on my blogging a bit, so as not to stress my pretty little head. Sorry to my many fans (all three of you), but I will still blog when the mood strikes, or my adorable kiddos say something too cute to keep to myself.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Here are some of the funny things my kids have done/said this week (if you would like to read some other cute kid sayings, click here: http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2007/08/tiny-talk-tuesday_14.html

Kyra (2 yr): (running into the room with much excitement) Mommy, mommy I just got Katie to say TOES!
Mommy: That's wonderful!
Kyra: Yeah, but she won't say Doodlebops (baby steps, Kyra, baby steps)
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Kyra: (entering the room with a memory game) Mommy can we play this game? I heard it was very interesting!
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Kyra: Daddy, guess what we saw today?
Daddy: What's that?
Kyra: A springmattress.
Daddy: (looking in my direction with an odd look) You saw what?
Kyra: A sperringmattress (practically spelling it out to him, like duh!)
Mommy: A praying mantis.
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(Kyra runs to me with books in hand, as I am currently checking books out)
Kyra: Mommy, can we check this book out too?
Mommy: (I glance through it quick) Kyra, I'm afraid this book is too old for you.
Kyra: I need to have it Mom. I really, really need it.
Mommy: Alright. (I give in with a sigh, as I check out the book she had to have -The History of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur! That will be a great bedtime story)

Food Chain

Disclaimer: okay, for all those faint at heart, or people that can't stomach anything having to do with snakes, STOP READING HERE....there are pictures involved you may not want to see.

Yesterday, my brother in-law found a snake on my doorstep. Now fortunately, I am not one who cringes at even the thought of a snake, so when he told me to take a look, I came along. I find snakes kind of interesting to watch (weird I know), but I was curious to see how long this porch snake was and what it was up to.


Of course, when we crept upon it, I saw that it was not only quite a large snake, but it was a snake devouring a toad! Here's where it gets a little twisted, I actually was very intrigued in seeing just how this snake was going to eat this toad. Although the snake was quite large, the toad was about 3 times the size as his mouth (I mean hey buddy, pick on someone your own size). My brother in-law and I had bets going on to see if he was actually going to accomplish his goal in eating the toad. It seemed impossible. So I proceeded to check on the guy every 1/2 hour or so. And to my surprise, he did it! It took probably 2 hours, but he did it. He didn't care for it too much when I came in close for a good shot (in fact if it weren't for the toad in his mouth, I think he might have gone for me for antagonizing him), but it sure was interesting watching nature take its course.