Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Recap

Merry belated Christmas to you all!

I pray you had a wonderful Christmas, celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus...we sure did!

Christmas Eve was spent with Hubby's family, Christmas morning at home with our babes, (after all four of us slept in the living room together), and Christmas late afternoon with my family in NJ.

Hubby and I were so oblivious to the impending NJ blizzard...until Christmas night. Once a storm warning was issued and the estimate of 12-18 inches was given (around mid-day Saturday, mind you), my siblings started packing and hitting the road. We decided to stick with our plans, stay the night, go for a run Sunday morning, and see friends for brunch while the kiddos kicked back with my parents. It all worked out well, but we decided to change the "leave after Sunday dinner" plan and head out at noon instead. Glad we did...because at that point 2-3 inches were already on the ground, and by dinnertime Sunday my parents had plenty more! I believe they are sitting in 15-20 inches right now...yikes! So, while our NJ trip was less than 24 hours, we are still thankful we got to see most of my family for at least a few hours!

(No, we don't usually give out duck bathroom sets as gifts...we did a white elephant gift exchange. And no, my Dad wasn't given a knitted women's hat...just fooling around.) ;o)

And now this week is spent putting together and organizing new toys, playing with my new iPod Touch (my Hubby is great, isn't he?) ;o), and wondering when my voice will come back. Yup, this lovely cold turned into full-blown laryngitis, and since the recommended treatment is nearly impossible (YOU try resting your voice with a 5 year old and 2 1/2 year old!), I wonder when anyone will be able to hear me again. At least we can stay inside, snuggle, play, and watch movies like this one!

If you haven't seen A Christmas Story, you truly are missing out!!!

OH, and how could I forget! We have also been spending our time doting over 7 little puppies in our house. Yup, our Princess Lucy (a German Shorthaired Pointer) had beautiful puppies a week before Christmas, and they are just the cutest things!

They don't have their eyes or ears open yet, so we aren't really supposed to be holding or carrying them around...but that doesn't mean we aren't tempted to all the time! :o)

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family Photo Shoot

Some of you have been asking about my updated photos on the right side. I'm so glad you noticed them!

A few months ago, we asked one of our wonderfully terrific neighbors (who does photography on the side) to take some family pictures for us. Given that we gave him two active kiddos and two tired and crazy parents to work with, Jonathan did some amazing work!

Even though Caedon's mood was one for the record books that afternoon and he refused to look at the camera with a smile, Jonathan managed to capture Caedon's true personality. He also took some adorable shots of Danae, and we were really pleased with the family pictures.

The photo shoot took place at a park down the road from our house, as well as in our backyard. Jonathan has often used our backyard for taking pics for other people. Apparently our old, about-to-fall-over barn makes a great backdrop. Who would have thought!

If you are interested in checking out Jonathan's work, here is his website. Several of our photos are in the "Individuals" and the "Relationships" sections.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Potty training? I don't think so.

Life has been...busy!

Wrapping up a dining room project, getting ready for puppies, Christmas shopping, a little bit of sickness, attempts at potty-training...I'm sure most of you know the feeling!

To spare you a post that's longer than my arm, I'll just tell you more about the latter: potty-training.

Here's the gist: It ain't going too well in our parts.

Our daughter was trained and on her way by a little over 2 years old. She showed great interest in using the potty right before she turned 2, and then it just went from there.

Wasn't she just the cutest??? :o)

Our son?

HAHAHA! Still cute, but oh so not potty-trained.

The only experience I have with a boy being potty-trained is the memories of my brother. Mom has a picture of him crying on the toilet, holding his little head in his hands, not wanting to use the stinking age 3+ years. I have always been told that boys typically take longer, so I don't know why I expected him to follow in his sister's footsteps.

We have tried bribery. We have tried new Toy Story undies. We have tried toys. He shows some interest, but it comes and goes.

He's just not ready yet, and here are a few signs to prove it:

1) He will pee on the potty, get down, go play, and poop and pee in his diaper 5 minutes later.
2) All three of his Toy Story undies ended up in the washer...within a matter of 3 hours.
3) He peed in his undies this morning, then asked to go on the potty, and then asked to wear a diaper instead.
4) He could care less about being a "big boy" and wearing his undies. They are just cool to look at.
5) Seeing his big sister in underwear and not needing a diaper change has no appeal to him whatsoever.
6) Explaining to him that diapers cost a lot more than being potty-trained doesn't work, either. Not sure why...

Yes, we'll get there eventually, and we're not worried or stressed about it in the least. When he's 5 and needing a diaper change in kindergarten, then we'll start to worry.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I thought he finished his lunch.

I even rewarded him with a post-lunch/pre-nap cookie.

Then, after it's all said and done...I found this:

Spaghetti and meatballs, in my glass of water.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Early-morning alone time

I had the opportunity to go for an early morning run while visiting my parents this past weekend. But instead...

...I chose to catch the early morning sunrise at the beach.

Something I've been wanting to do for a while. A place I've been wanting to go.

Peaceful. Relaxing. And 37 degrees at 7:00am! Not exactly beach weather, but there's still something about walking around on the beach that I love!

I missed the sunrise by about half an hour, but being up to see this was still worth it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Parker Kade

A little doll baby. A second handsome gift given to our friends this week.

Danae and I had the privilege of holding him and snuggling for a bit yesterday morning. It was sweet to see Parker's "newness" and take in his new baby smell!

Several of our friends are pregnant, and we are now entering the season of births. Beautiful little Violet, baby #3 to our friends Merle and Aimee, made her entrance almost two weeks ago, followed by Parker's arrival earlier this week.

Going in to meet Parker proved to be a little more difficult than I thought. I kept thinking that holding a newborn boy was going to be hard...when in reality, the problem was in the location.

I had not been back to the hospital where Josiah was born...until yesterday.

Seeing and holding babies isn't the problem. The gender of the baby isn't the problem. As soon as my daughter and I walked down the hall and into the maternity section, I lost it. The same halls, the smell, the nurses everywhere, the nursery...I walked my sobbing self to Julie's door and just stood there. The nurses probably thought I was nuts. My daughter asked why we weren't going in. And I just cried.

We took a little detour to a bathroom so I could dry my eyes and compose myself...during which time I told Danae what my problem was, and she responded with, "Mommy, you can't go in there crying." Ahh, the straight-forward advice of a five year old.

Seeing and holding little Parker proved to be easier than I thought it would be. I guess my objective, practical self just looked at him and said, "He's not your baby. He's not Josiah." The hospital is what caused the events of January 27 to replay all over again.

At least two more of our friends' babies will arrive at that hospital within the next four months, and while my reaction will probably be the same, deep down I know I can't avoid going there. I have been trying to sidestep those feelings and memories for the past few months now, and that has made me a sad, irritable person lately. I want to visit those friends and their babies, and going to that hospital was and will be part of the healing process.

Oh, the roads that God has us walk down. I know that this is all in the plan, and it will all serve a greater purpose someday. But it's definitely not easy in the moment, nor was it EVER promised to be easy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Little Boys

I guess this is how little boys... Curious George... their underwear.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Curt!

Well, we survived the half marathon and are mostly back to normal, with no wobbly walking! ;o) My time: 2 hours, 6 minutes. (Not my best, but I'll still take it.) HUBBY'S TIME: 1 hour, 51 minutes! And it was his first half marathon! I am SO SO proud of him!

Enough of that, though...

because today we celebrate Hubby's 31st birthday!

Happy birthday, Curt!

It's been quite the year, and I've seen you endure a lot, both together with me and on your own. You are a man of God, blessed with wonderful talents and skills, and loved by many.

Enjoy your special day! We love you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Fall, Baby!

Wow...the condition of my blog and the neglected condition of my house are very telling of how busy we have been lately! :o)

Life has included a weekend trip to see my family in NJ, followed by an annual weekend trip with friends (which involved 6 adults and 5 children...a little hectic, yes...but oh so wonderful!)...

We sprinkled in our town's Halloween parade with our neighbors, where the candy is practically thrown at the kids in full bags...

...some playtime in the leaves...

...some intentional dog-breeding (more on that soon!)...

...a liiittle bit of applesauce-making with the bestie (140 quarts total)...

...aaand maybe a little house project that involves a wall being knocked out. (I'll save those pics for another post.) But thank GOD we have little helpers to clean up the mess, or I'd be beside myself. ;o)

A full but ENJOYABLE Fall it has been so far!

This week, though, we are focused on the half-marathon that we have been training for since June. I can't believe it's on Saturday already! I haven't written much about training over the past few months, but it has been going well. Two shorter runs during the week, and a long run on the weekend. Let's see what happens this weekend! :o)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My girl turns 5!

Happy Birthday to my favorite-est girl in the whole wide world!

She's my first-born, logical, realistic thinker who loves doing school workbooks and having structure, yet has the messiest room known to man. (Probably 'cause her mom likes to think she can keep an organized house, but she can't.)

She weighed in at 7 lbs., 15 oz. five years ago today, and we were in love from the moment we knew she was growing inside of me.

She loves her little brother to pieces, and she loves to talk about her littlest brother who is waiting for her in Heaven.

We have never had a birthday party for Danae where she could invite other children...until today.

It began with "apple bobbling", as Danae kept calling it...

(sorry, Jenny...I just had to post it. Your son "helping" you made me crack up!)

...continued by with some outdoor play and a pinata...

...then on to lunch and cupcake decorating. Yeah, you read that right. I didn't realize how insane I am until we had 10 kids sitting at my kitchen table with icing and sprinkles.

All-in-all, a very fun day for all of the kids and for Danae, which was the goal of it all. Despite my lack of detailed organization, we pulled it off with the help of the other adults that stuck around to laugh at help us and keep my head on straight (thank GOD you all stayed!).

Next up: naptime, followed by figuring out where the last 5 years went and loving on the little girl who makes us smile every day. :o)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Going to the dentist with #1

Today was another "first" in our house: Danae's first trip to the dentist.

Oh, boy.

I've been meaning for months to make the phone call, set the appointment, and get this done. But, alas, just like everything else, it got pushed aside and forgotten. UNTIL...

A few days ago I was doing the nightly follow-up brushing (you know...the one where you check their mouths and actually do the brushing after your kids ate the toothpaste off the brush and thought they brushed really well), when I saw a small something in Danae's mouth. Thinking it was food, I brushed harder. I flossed. I brushed again. Then, realizing the thing didn't move, I called Hubby in for a second opinion. Yup, our girl had a visible cavity.


Seriously??? I barely give this kid candy, juice is given on special occasions, and I feel like I try to feed my family well! Where the heck did I go wrong to make my soon-to-be five year old have a cavity already?!

Well, come to find out that some kids just have softer teeth and are prone to cavities. I guess Danae gets that from me...I'm pretty sure I was born with cavities, I have so many.

Moving on...

The news of owning her first cavity sent Danae into hysterics. Literal sobbing and screaming at 9:00pm. She knew enough about a dental visit from a Dora the Explorer book that we own, and she knew needles were involved in cavity-fixing. She begged me to find a dentist that didn't use needles. (Oh, honey...if they existed, I'd be the first one in their chair!)

This morning came, and Danae announced that she was no longer worried about the visit...she said she thought about it and decided to be my brave girl. Sometimes I think this kid is so mature for her age that it scares me.

Turns out that she didn't even need to be brave. The hygienist, doctor, and everyone in the office was incredible. The hygienist explained every . little . step to Danae before she did it. (Really, I think the explaining took longer than the exam, cleaning, and fluoride treatment.) But that was exactly what Danae needed. She likes to understand what's going to happen, and it put her at ease.

I think the cool purple glasses that they give to kids helped some, too.

Overall, she did really well! Now, if I could just get over the fact that my little first-born laying in the dentist's chair is growing up, maybe we can all get through this in one piece. ;o)

Monday, October 4, 2010

streams of consciousness

I went through my inbox this morning, and there are at least 16 flagged emails (I started to lose count) that need a response or some sort of my attention, still sitting there unanswered. I better get on that today.

In "The Comeback" post, I mentioned having only one job starting the middle of this month. Well...things changed again, and I'll spare you the boring details, but I will still have just one will just be a super, super part-time job, still 2-3 miles from home, and still very do-able. Meaning more time at home to care for my babes and wrap my head around the clutter that's clogging things up around here.

It's been a rainy few days here in PA, and so cold that I almost expect to see snow falling! (it's not in the forecast...just in my thoughts) Last week's major rain and flooding made the entrance to our town's park (just down the street from us) look like this:

See, Mom and Dad...I told you it was kind of crazy out here!

We had no where in particular to be today, and the kiddos looked so darn cute in their footie pajamas that I just didn't feel like dressing them today. Heck, I didn't feel like dressing myself, but I did manage to pull on some running gear and get in a 4-mile training run on my neighbor's treadmill. The kiddos? They just played inside with all the other kids that my neighbor babysits. Did I at least dress them to go over there? Nope.

And really, when my little Buzz Lightyear is riding around on his motorcycle with a baseball helmet on, who would even try to tell him he needs to change? No need for the battle, no need to wash more laundry, and keeping the boy happy and cute all day...that's more like it!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The End of Bear #1

He never took a pacifier.

He didn't take to sucking his thumb.

But at around 6 or 7 months old, we noticed Caedon was getting attached to a little bear/blanket thing, and that was completely fine by us!

Bear went to lots of places with us: trips, sometimes stores. He was a must at naptime and bedtime. There were very few times that Bear wasn't present during sleeping times (you know, when I stuck him in the washer and totally forgot about having him dry by naptime).

But on this gloriously rainy day, Caedon felt the need to show his Bear to our dog, shoving Bear into the dog's crate when I wasn't looking.

Oh, I found him, alright...

Guess who will be making a trip to Target this evening to purchase a Bear replacement? This Mom!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Comeback

Four weeks?

Four weeks???

Have I really been neglectful of blogging for almost four full weeks?


Well, this is my apology for the lack of updates and “hellos”, as well as my attempt to get back up on the horse.

I tell ya, friends…life over here has been, well, just plain crazy. Possibly even a tad on the psychotic side. Since I’m a list-lover, I’ll give you a nice run-down of what September has included so far:

  • One last beach trip/visit to my parent’s house in NJ (don’t worry Mom and Dad: it was the last beach trip of 2010, not the last trip we’ll take to see you guys; stay calm).
  • Early morning and/or late evening training runs (Hubby and I are running a half-marathon on November 6. His first - Yay! - my third.).
  • A lovely stomach virus that produced two vomiting children, one during the night and the other during the day (Thank you, Jesus, that this mayhem didn’t go on at the same time!).
  • A visit from a mouse who jumped out of our trash can when I opened it, leaving me screaming during the 6:15am discovery. After some trap-setting and the capture of two mice, I think Hubby sent the message out that they are not welcome in our house.
  • A little more sharing of the stomach virus to me, putting me out of commission for a few days. There’s nothing like the leader of this circus life being out of it for a little bit…just come check out our house and you’ll know what I mean.
  • Hubby working evenings and some Saturdays, leaving me to fend for myself against the Halflings.
  • The return to our church small group meetings every other Wednesday (which we LOVE - absolutely no complaints there!)
  • Meetings for and the start up of senior high youth group (we agreed to help out this year...we think it will be fun!)

On top of all that, I have been running between two jobs each week for the past few months, questioning what I want to do in life, worrying about whether to send Danae to kindergarten next fall or home school her (yeah, I know I have time to decide...I'm just ridiculous)...

I'm sure you get the picture by now.

For the most part, it has been self-imposed mayhem, so we know we are the ones to blame. We brought too much on ourselves, all at the same time, for way too long. This "busyness" seems to be the way we operate...but no one said it's healthy or beneficial. We have had no personal date time for reflection or deep conversation with each other or others...

So, it's time for a little change.

As of mid-October, I'll have only one job (like a normal person), which is only 2-3 miles from our home. The commute will be short, my kids will be closer, and I'll be working less.

Hubby has completed most of his side jobs, leaving just one for this fall/winter...and leaving him with some time to hunt in November. ;o)

We will be taking the kids with us to Sunday night youth group twice per month instead of leaving them with a babysitter once again. Maybe they will like us more because of that.

We will be studying a great Max Lucado book with our small group this fall, so that coupled with great prayer time with friends can only be good!

And I will try my hardest to continue posting here. I realized that this (along with running) is a release for's personal time for me to reflect and share, seek out advice, give back to others...and I need it.

So, I'm back! ;o)

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Camping Excursion

We finally took the plunge.

After talking about it for months, we finally borrowed our neighbors' tent and went for it: camping in the back yard, with our two young kiddos.

One was very excited about it, while the other was a bit reluctant.

After the tent was set up, the sleeping bags and blankets were laid out, the pillows were put in place and the toys and books were strewn properly...after teeth were brushed and potties were used one last time, we all got in, zipped the door shut, and started our adventure.

Which quickly turned into misery.

Everyone was visibly tired, so after 20 minutes of book-reading and laughing, we found our pillows, snuggled in, put the blanket on top, and said our Goodnight's. The light was turned out, and Danae quickly and easily hunkered down and attempted to fall asleep. Caedon, on the other hand...

He twisted here, rolled there, jumped on Daddy's back, laid back down, whined, stood up, ran over there, jumped over here, couldn't find his Bear, whined some more, snuggled into Mommy, pulled Danae's hair, found Bear and the sippy cup, snuggled into Daddy, stood back up...and finally declared, "Sleep in crib! House! Sleep in crib!" And the crying began (on all accounts).

I tell you, that boy is totally a creature of habit.

After 30 minutes of calming him down, he finally nodded off. Then at 2:00am, when nature called and my back was throbbing in pain...when we realized that our kids' faces were ice-cold and that I might not ever be able to walk again, Hubby and I made the decision to go back into the house, to our WARM padded bed. Caedon woke when he heard us talking, and upon learning that he could possibly go back to his crib, he immediately jumped up, grabbed his prized possessions (sippy cup and Bear), and headed for the door. We bribed Danae by telling her she could sleep in our bed, got back into our home, and order (and SLEEP!) were restored. The End.

Lesson learned: Two year olds don't make for that great of camping buddies. Wait 'til they're older.

And sorry for the lack of pictures, but didn't want to see this train wreck.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Coffee Mocha...and a WINNER!

We're pulling double-duty here today: posting a recipe and announcing a winner! :o)

(And I better hurry because I have to be at work in 50 minutes, haven't showered, and just started sipping my coffee as I sit down to type. Yikes!)

Speaking of coffee...;o)

Thanks to my lovely mama, I grew up in a house where a pot of the stuff was brewing every morning, every afternoon, every time an aunt or uncle stopped, more than likely that's why I have acquired a taste for it. That and it's probably in my blood.

So, not long after we moved into our house, our wonderful neighbor got to know me enough to know that I drink coffee. One day, she showed up at my door with this:

A coffee mocha drink of sorts...wonderful coffee taste, frosty, cool, and refreshing! Here's what you do to get one of your own:

- Make coffee and freeze it in an ice cube tray.
- Throw the tray of cubes, 1 1/2 cups of milk, and a squeeze of chocolate syrup into your blender. Blend.
- Add just a little bit of sugar, or as much as you like to whatever sweetness you want.
- Pout the mixture into a cup, top with a little bit of whipped topping, and start sipping.

THAT'S IT! SIMPLE! Now you have your own Coffee Mocha drink to enjoy on a hot summer day! Or you can find a neighbor as cool and wonderful as mine to make you one. Either way.

NOW, on to the cookbook winner!

Thanks to all who commented on that post and for checking out Gooseberry Patch online!

The lucky winner has been chosen (using a True Random Number Generator from, and...

the winner is...

Amanda over at Life on the Lane!

(That might be her blog, but I also know she's over in NC...we grew up together!) :o)

Congrats, Amanda! She will be receiving her very own copy of "101 Autumn Recipes", straight from Gooseberry Patch!