Thursday, December 30, 2010

The New Potty Talk

My kids have been using a lot of "potty talk" lately. Not the kind where they repeat "adult" words that they've heard "someone" use. The kind where they call each other poo-poo, pee-pee, and bottom and giggle uncontrollably because it's too much funny for them to handle.

I can sympathize with their situation since this is an issue my mom has had with me. Even when my kids are calling each other naughty names I have to hide the second grade child in me behind my "mom face."

We've had a crack down on the potty talk around here and they are learning that this kind of language has a purpose. Name calling is not that purpose.

Or maybe they are just learning that they get in trouble when they use "potty talk." Who knows. I don't hear it as much. That's the point, right?

Well, today Hazel figured out a way to get around the system. Genius child.

During breakfast she was rattling something of to her brother and ended it by saying, "You potty talk!"

I don't know if I should be concerned or slightly proud.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lack of Something

Christmas Eve morning I let Nathan know that we only had enough coffee for that day and then we would be out (A Christmas Miracle!). Neither of us weere too sad since we were leaving for the weekend and would be able to "get a fix" at the houses we would be at.

However, when Monday rolled around we were both jonesing for a cup of strong coffee. I managed to semi-satisfy my craving with tea (what?) but Nathan had to go without since he won't come within 20ft of tea of any variety.

(I should keep that in mind the next time he suggests we add another member to our family six months after I've just added one...)

Anyways, back to the coffee!

When I asked him to stop for milk on his way home this morning I reminded him we were out of coffee. Apparently he thought I meant doughnuts too because he came home armed with both. He's such a good hubby!

When he went to grind the coffee he grabbed the container we use to put our beans in only to find that it had about 4 cups of beans in it already!

I have no idea why I didn't think to look in the coffee bean canister for coffee beans. It's not like we've not had the same canister for almost six years! Now I know where to look though. Also, we have plenty of coffee!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Girl or Boy, Klara or Jackson, Pheobe or Pheobo

All "Friends" fans should know where the title of this blog came from!

So, after a very full bladder and ten minutes of it being pressed and prodded by the ultrasound technician I got to see this photo:

X marks the spot!

Nathan was meeting me at the Dr.'s office with the kids and my dad but he ended up missing the ultrasound part. My mom and MIL were able to be there though. My FIL was there but he had walked away right before the nurse asked the grandmas to come back. So they were the only ones who got to be there to see these photos:

Face forward.

Arm. Look at those muscles! Just like daddy!

Strong manly leg!

Nathan arrived right after I went into my prenatal appointment so when he came back I got to introduce him to his son, Kenneth Jackson!

Kenneth is after Nathan's dad. Jackson is my mom's maiden name. We plan to call him by his middle name because I go by my middle name. Plus Ken just sounds like a name for an older boy. If anyone wants to call him Ken that's fine with me. I just plan to call him Jackson.

We have had this name picked out since the first time we got pregnant. We have kept it a secret from my FIL and it was so much fun to finally get to tell him!

Nathan was and is excited. But if you happen to see him and he's not giddy and seems nonchalant about having a boy don't be disappointed. That's just how he is. He really is super excited.

After the appointment we went out into the lobby and got to introduce our kids and both our dads to Kenneth Jackson. Everyone was excited.

Well, Hazel said she wanted a girl sister but she doesn't really understand what's going on. When I told her they took pictures of the baby in my tummy she tried to look under my shirt to see them.

Amelia is pretty clueless, but I know she'll just be happy to have a baby around. She's a little bit like her mom.

Abiah is very excited that we are having a boy. I fear that he will be disappointed when the baby doesn't arrive as an instant playmate, though. He also informed us that though he's excited, he doesn't want to have to share his room with Jackson until Jackson is about 4 or 5 years old because he doesn't want wake up at night to a crying baby. Because I usually leave that up to a 7 year old...:)

What Abiah doesn't realize is that when Jackson is 4 or 5 he will be 12 or 13 and won't be wanting to share a room with his younger brother anyways!

The rest of the prenatal information was good. Jackson is healthy. Growing perfectly. The pregnancy is going well. His due date is April 26th but I'm trying not to focus on the date as much as the general time. End of April works for me. Beginning of May...not so much!

My other good news was that I lost 4 lbs in the last 5 weeks!

My FIL took us all out to Red Robin to celebrate. This has been the tradition in the past but I did catch him watching us a little more last night. I think he's pretty excited.

We didn't get home until it was time to put the kids to bed and to get Nathan off to work so I held the giveaway off until today.

Out of fourteen votes, ten were for a boy. Abiah helped me draw a name:

And the winner is:

Congratulation Nikki! I'll get a hold of you and I'll get your prize to you. The prize, again, is a Starbucks card and this:

It's a homemade pink, white, and black broach for your coat lapel. I think it will look great on you, Nikki!

(Sorry about the picture quality. Not a strong point yet. The broach is really super cute. I know you'll love it!)

Thanks to all who participated. I'm excited to share this journey with you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

He She Be and a Giveaway!

Tomorrow is my 20 week prenatal appointment and ultrasound. Eeeek! I am so excited to see our baby again. I can feel movement more and more.

This pregnancy feels different in many ways, but I think most of it is because I don't have time to stop and think about it. Most of the time I forget that I'm pregnant. I would feel bad but I am so excited about this baby that it seems to take away the guilt.

Usually by now many family members and friends would have told me what they predict this baby is going to be. For some reason that hasn't happened this time. When we first found out I had one dear friend tell me that as soon as she heard we were expecting she thought it was a boy.

(Ok. My SIL did tell me that she wanted to say we are having a boy but she thinks we are going to have another girl. But she burned my beans. So she doesn't count.)

But that was it. Until this past week.

I was in Salt Lake City, Utah spending six days with my BFF (by myself I might add!) and she very confidently told me that I am having a boy. Apparently she has felt that way since I told her I'm pregnant.

I, personally, don't have a feeling either way. While I would be delighted with a boy, it scares me at the same time. Abiah is such an easy boy that I'm afraid the next one will be the polar opposite of him. And since I've done (am doing) the girl thing twice it seems easier.

But I want to know what you think.

I posted this a while back and you can use it to help you if you need to.

The giveaway part works this way: In the comment section below tell me what you think Jr is (as in boy or girl for all you funny ones who want to say, "A baby!").

Since there are only two options for a right answer I will take all the entries that guessed correctly and randomly choose one of those names. (So if it is a boy, all those who guessed that way will be entered into the drawing. Just to clarify.)

If we aren't able to find out tomorrow due to a stubborn/shy baby I will just choose one person from all names entered.

My appointment is at 3:30 pm PST so no entries after that time will be counted.

The prize is a Starbucks card and a homemade treat (not edible, btw).

Also, you must leave the comment on the blog (not Facebook) for your entry to count. Also, those of you who want to tell me after we find out that you knew all along what the baby's sex is totally don't count. And you people irritate me.

Sometimes I have a bad attitude.

I will announce the results and the winner tomorrow night!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Man Soup or Cheesey Sausage Potato Soup

I know I've posted lots of recipes lately and I was planning to share something else, but when you make the best soup EVER how can you not share!?!

As is pretty typical with my cooking, I gathered a few ingredients I thought would be good together, threw them in a pot, and called it dinner. Or in this case perfection. Whichever.

What I always fail to do is write the recipe down. Thus causing my family and myself to never taste of its awesomeness again.

Thankfully, Nathan, who isn't much of a soup guy, told me I should write it down and Abiah suggested I do it while we ate. So I did. They are so good to all of us, aren't they?

I call this Man Soup because it actually filled Nathan up AND he wanted me to write the recipe down, which, in "Nathan Speak", roughly means, "Woman! This is the best food EVER! Never stop making this as long as I'm alive! You amaze me! I knew I married you for more than your good looks, crazy awesome personality, and childbearing hips! Let me adorn you with diamonds and rare jewels and praise you at the city gates!"

Or something like that...

So, the recipe.

Please remember that when I cook I rarely use measuring devices unless I'm following a recipe. Especially with the spices. I under-guessed the measurements so that you can add what you feel it needs.


7ish medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Place these in a pot of water and boil until the potatoes are soft all the way through.

In the meantime brown the next two ingredients until they start to get just a little black on them.
Flavor people! We call it flavor.

1 large onion, chopped
1 lb Italian Turkey sausage

Add 1 tsp sage and mix together

When the potatoes are done add about a cup of the water to the pan of sausage and onions and add 1 tsp of chicken bullion stirring to combine ( the water from the cooking potatoes has lots of starch in it and will help to keep the soup thick).

When combined, add 1 more cup of the water and mix in.

Then add 1&1/2 cups of half-n-half.

You wanna do it. You know you do!

Simmer to thicken.

Now, you want to drain most of the remaining water leaving maybe 1 cup in the potatoes. I just drained it until I thought I could create a thick-ish soup.

This is the part where it would be helpful to have measurements and pictures. Neither of which I am good at or have. Sorry. Just trust your senses.

Now, mash the potatoes. You don't want it to be completely smooth though, so leave some lumps!

Add the simmering sausage mixture to the potatoes, stirring to combine. At this point you can add a cup or two of corn if you want (I added frozen corn to my kids bowls to cool their soup down).

Add 2 cups of shredded cheese AND a 1/4 block of cream cheese. It's so good you don't want to leave it out. I swear!

Mix until combined.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with big pieces of crusty bread and ENJOY!

The weather around here has definitely turned to soup season and I think we will be enjoying this one many times this winter.

Let me know how you like it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes: Desi's Homemade Rolls & A Story from 7th Grade

During my 4th-7th grade school years we attended our church's private school. My mom, being the amazing cook that she is, became the lunch lady. Every week she would put out batches and batches of fresh bread dough that she and her friend, Desi, would use to create the most amazing dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and homemade hot dog wraps EVER!

The food that was served in that cafeteria could never be considered cafeteria food. We were such spoiled private school kids.

During my 7th grade year I got recruited to sift flour EVERY morning. I started the moment we arrived until the bell rang for assembly. It was kitchen boot camp. And I needed it.

Unknown to my mom, I had just found out that one of the boys in my class "loved" me. I caught a glimpse of his spiral notebook that said "I LOVE SH...." And that's all I saw before he ripped it away so I couldn't read the rest. I assumed he meant one of my two friends who's names also started with SH, but, after swearing I wouldn't tell anyone what it said, he sheepishly revealed the contents of that page to me and I was shocked to find my own name written in his scrawling 7th grade boy handwriting. That "love" lasted about two weeks when he traded me in for one of my other class mates. 7th grade love can be so fickle.

Since both my new crush and I arrived at school early I had "plans" for what that hour before school would hold. I'm sure it was God saving me from getting in trouble with a capital T, because it wasn't long after my discovery of "love" that my mom had me spending ALL my free time in the morning standing in the kitchen sifting mountain after mountain of fluffy white flour. At the time I was sure she knew my secret. Now I'm really not sure if she did or not.

And even though that crush didn't last long, there were others. Many others. And there were only 7 boys in my 7th grade class. Like I said, 7th grade love is fickle.

All of that to say, this is the bread that I spent hours sifting flour for. And it's an amazing recipe.

Desi's Bread

2 Tbl. yeast
1/2 c. sugar
1tsp salt
2 c. warm water

Mix and let yeast soften.

Mix in:

1 egg, beaten (Or you can use this egg replacer if you are allergic to eggs like me!)
1/4 c. oil

Slowly add:

6&1/2 c. sifted flour (If you use the egg replacer I used you might need a little more flour to keep it from being too sticky.)

Knead bread until dough is soft and satiny. Should be a little sticky. Let it double. Punch it down. Make into two braids or loaves, or 24 dinner rolls. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Let double. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

When they come out of the oven immediately covered one in butter and eat it! It's just the right thing to do.

Or, if you have more self-control than I do, you can also let them cool and freeze them. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Mommy Torture Device

I know it just looks like a Disney princess cup.

Don't be deceived.

Because when one child gets one for her "free ye old birfday" and the other doesn't it causes this:

And that's enough to turn a mommy's heart upside down and inside out.

Learning to share is so hard. Learning to be happy for someone else when you just want to pout and cry... the hardest lesson ever. Especially when you have two more months before your own birfday party.

Or you can just wait until your sister is distracted and take hers for yourself...

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Work Space

While I promised you awhile back that I had made changes to our homeschooling plan for the year and was going to share them with you, this isn't what I had in mind.

Abiah is such a smart kid, but I am finding it hard to keep his attention on his work and not on everything else going on in the house. I know he's only seven. I know that sitting for long periods of time is especially hard for boys. I know that boys develop slower than most girls. But I feel my biggest battle with him is about being lazy.

I give him breaks. I have him run around the house a few times. We have activities we do that aren't so "school" like. When it's time for him to do his independent work (math and writing his spelling words) he will take HOURS.

He knows the work. He could be done with his school by noon everyday. But he sits. And talks to his imaginary friends. He watches everything the girls and I are doing. If the t.v. is on in the other room he listens to hear as much as he can. Even if I have the volume turned WAY down.

I have tried to help him understand that getting his work done quickly is his choice and that choice determines how he will spend the rest of the day, but something isn't clicking.

So my question is, homeschooling failure or homeschooling genius?

What lengths have you gone to just to help your child focus on the task before him/her?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I don't have step-by-step directions. I wouldn't do that to you.

I don't expect to receive any kind of award for creativity.

I just think it's cute. Because it's made from my kids chubby fingers.

Well, not literally.

Amelia's Turkey

Hazel's Turkey

Abiah's Turkey

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Best Pumpkin Bread Ever!

Every fall this is the recipe I am eager to make. Not that it can't be made any other time of the year. It's just one of those fall things. This recipe is full of flavor and is positively sinful!

Pumpkin Bread

5 c. flour, lightly fluffed
4 c. sugar (Trust me here.)
4 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cloves
3 tsp cinnamon
4 c. pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
1 c. oil
1&1/2 c. chopped nuts (pecans are my favorite)
1 c. raisins (I like to do half raisins and half dried cranberries)

Mix together dry ingredients. Add pumpkin and oil. Mix well. Add nuts and raisins. Mix well. Pour into 3 well sprayed loaf pans or you can use muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Remember to test the center to make sure they are baked through. Freezes well.

My favorite way to enjoy them is chilled. With a generous slab of cream cheese. It's how I roll. Or how I get rolls...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One of Those Videos, Take 2

Ok. Hopefully this time everything will work right!

I realize that this video is one of those that only I, as Amelia's mom, can appreciate, but I'm going to share it anyways. Every time I tell Amelia it's time for bed she tells me, "No yet." It makes me giggle.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Egg Replacer for Baking

In my search for egg and soy free foods I have come across a few tips for baking. My current go to is for replacing eggs in baking. As the title suggests. Not to be obvious or anything.

So, here's whatcha do. For every egg, mix together one (1) tablespoon of flax meal with three (3) tablespoons of water.

I've found that letting the mixture sit for a few minutes helps the flax and water combine and results in a fluffier baked good. I've used this in:

homemade pancakes
cookies (no eggs = no salmonella = eating cookie dough = happy me!)
homemade cornbread

All have turned out perfectly delicious.

Do you have any substitution tips? Share!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Story of We, Part 6 or 4 and Counting?

Look here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part4 and Part 5.

After my Schmooshy Amelia was born I wasn't sure I would be having anymore kids. I love giving birth (I'm weird. I know.), but I don't want to be a mom who goes crazy because she has too many kids. A wise woman once told me that "just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should."

I know that every life that God gives us to parent is and will be a blessing. I just feel like there is a point where the things that I want for my kids and that I want to be for my kids will be taken over by fatigue and the business of staying alive and keeping everyone else alive. Nathan and I desire to have personal and intentional relationships with our kids. And some can do that and have 12 or more kids. I don't know that I'm one of those. I don't know what that number is for us. We have just decided to take it one kid at a time. Unless we end up having twins or something. -Insert nervous laughter here-

When Amelia turned 6 months and I wasn't pregnant, I was happy. When she was 15 months and I wasn't preparing for the upcoming arrival of another one I was elated. Up to this point watching movies, tv shows or hearing about others being pregnant had little effect on me. I was happy. For them. But I still wasn't ready.

Then Rachel from Grasping for Objectivity announced she was pregnant and I felt a twinge of jealousy. Within a few months I knew of at least 6 other women who are expecting. And everywhere I went there were pregnant women! When I would see a pregnant woman in a store I had to hold back tears. When I would see a baby it was worse. I waited about a month to tell Nathan to make sure I wasn't just being hormonal.

He would have loved it if we would have gotten pregnant within a year after having Amelia. He's crazy. But he's also patient and he was sensitive to wait until I was ready to take that step.

When I found out mid-August that I was pregnant I called our family and close friends the same day. When I called my best friend in Utah and she asked me when I found out, I shocked her with the reply, "About 30 minutes!" I had to tell everyone. Right away!

I was happy. No. I was excited! And knowing that I was excited made me even more happy and more excited. It was such a welcoming change from the previous time of being scared and unsure. Of course, I still have moments of those feelings, too. But not very often.

Many people have asked us how many more we plan to have. Most assume we are "shooting for a boy this time to even things out." But we don't have a number. And my "even" is very different from most people's.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Celebration of the End of the First Trimester

For three nights last week I knew before six o'clock in the evening what I was going to make for dinner. And had it ready to eat. Each meal included meat. Which I cooked. Without having severe nausea. (The rest of the week and the beginning of this week have been super busy. Otherwise the trend would have continued.)

This may seem like a ho-hum, everyday experience for the rest of you. For me, the last few weeks have been spent trying to keep from making any sudden movements that would cause me to feel sick, avoiding anything with a strong odor (ie. poopey diapers, Parmesan cheese, cooking meat, etc.), and having little to no appetite.

For me, there's something almost magical about week 14 of my pregnancies. The clouds part, the angels sing, and I'm not as likely to spend all day whining about feeling gross.

Not that I stop complaining entirely. It's my right. As a pregnant woman.

I had an appointment a few days ago and thought I would share the latest with you guys.

Baby is doing good. Strong heartbeat. I'm feeling movement already. I wouldn't be so confident in saying that, but every time they've listened for the baby's heart rate the baby was on the exact side where I feel most movement. At 12 weeks I had some spotting, but all is well. It turns out that I have a normal "pregnancy issue" that is a little TMI for blogging about. But I'm fine and so is Baby. And yes, there is only one baby in there.

We have an ultrasound appointment for the 9th of December and hopefully this baby will let us in on the secret it's keeping so we can start shopping and preparing. Of course, since we have two girls already, there isn't much that needs to be done if we are having another one.

I've had many people predict what they think this baby is going to be, but I wanted to list some of my pregnancy symptoms here and let you get your vote in.

  • I'm not as nauseous as I was with my girls. But I was less nauseous with Amelia than I was with Hazel. Boy or Girl?
  • I have NO brain. Not only have I accidentally shoplifted, but I did my monthly grocery shopping yesterday and even though I had a five page master shopping list to help me out, I couldn't remember what I was looking for most of the day. I've heard that pregnancy brain is worse with boys. I was also told that our bodies produce a chemical that actually eats your brain when you are pregnant with a boy. (I have no idea if this is true or not and I'm too lazy right now to research this for myself. Have you ever heard this rumor?) Boy or Girl?
  • When pregnant with the girls I never wanted coffee. And I don't this time either. It's sad. But true. I actually crave tea. What? I feel like I don't know who I am anymore. (Because of the coffee. It has nothing to do with the fact that I'm about to be a SAHHM of four kids ages 7, 3, 1.5, and newborn.) Boy or Girl?
  • I had first trimester acne. Arg! Boy or Girl?
  • The heart rate was 160-165. Boy or Girl?
  • Aside from the fact that I no longer have an unquenchable hunger for Taco Bell, I have a lot of the same cravings that I had with the girls. Spicy foods for the first 9-11 weeks. Cheese and bread. Anything take-out. With the girls I did want a lot of fruit. This time I really want hamburgers. And sweet potato fries. Boy or Girl?
Leave a comment with your guess. Hopefully we'll be able to answer this question on the 9th of December. In the meantime, here's the first portrait of Baby. This was taken at 10 weeks. I'm 15 weeks now. I'm also a little behind on many things.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Day

One day I will wake to the sound of my kids laughing and playing. Not screaming and crying.

One day I will pull out their clothes for the day and there will not be a fight about which pants, dress, shirt, underwear, or socks are chosen.

One day they will not care which cup, plate, or silverware is placed before them or what food is on their plate.

One day they will sit through a breakfast with smiles and thanks even though we are eating oatmeal for the second time in one week.

One day I will not have to repeat myself every five seconds with commands to "stop fighting," "sit down and do your school work," and "stop screaming."

One day they will thank me.

Today is NOT that day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Story of We, Part 5

If you need to catch up, here's: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

Part Four ended with a six month old Hazel, an almost five year old Abiah, and a newly pregnant me.

This may sound silly, but I was surprised. Somehow I had convinced myself that I would have another six months, at least, until I was pregnant again. By the time this baby was born Hazel would be 15 months and Abiah would be 5 and 1/2 years old. That's a big gap between Abiah and Hazel and a really small gap between Hazel and our third child.

My over worked mind was going a million miles a minute trying to keep up with the flood of emotions, hormones, doubts, questions, and fears. Thankfully my progesterone levels were fine. I didn't worry so much about the baby surviving as much as I worried about my abilities to manage a newborn, a 15 month old, and a 5 year old.

It took me a while to be excited about being pregnant. To be quite honest, it wasn't until I watched a movie I would never recommend, Knocked Up, that I got excited about having another baby. I'm rather ashamed to admit it, too. I'm not sure what is was exactly, but some how it was what I needed.

This pregnancy went smoothly also. There was one big difference. I didn't feel like I knew this baby like I knew Hazel. Not in the beginning. I was waiting for the 20 week ultrasound when we would find out whether we were having a girl or a boy. I thought that once I knew the sex I would start to know the baby.

Well, this baby didn't want to be known. At least, we weren't going to find out if we were having a boy or a girl!

Once again I was disappointed. I needed to know this baby. After feeling such a strong connection with Hazel it felt like I was short-changing this baby.

Gradually feelings of understanding grew stronger. Especially when I went 10 days over my due date. Hazel was two weeks early, which is exactly her personality. She jumps the gun. I have NO idea where she gets it from. (Insert nervous laughter hear.)

This baby was on it's own time table (cough, just like her dad, cough). While I don't think those legs stopped moving from about 9:30 at night until midnight, this one was a slow mover. I knew that if I was induced, the baby would just fight back. I could feel that. And it made me happy. Happy enough to wait.

On Saturday, January 24th, 2009, we went out to breakfast at a local cafe with my parents. On one of my many trips to the bathroom I thought something was different. It's hard to explain without giving the "ladies only" details, but something was different. At 10 pm I started having regular contractions. At 2 when Nathan came up to bed I told him to go call my mom 'cause we were going in!

Some friends came to stayed with Abiah and Hazel. Nathan packed the car up. I made phone calls to the many people on our list. We left the house to make the 30 minute drive to the hospital. On the way we were stopped at two car wrecks, re-routed once, and it started snowing.

When I got to the hospital I couldn't go for longer than a minute or so without having a contraction. It took me a couple of minutes to get from the front door to the nurses station. I knew when I got there that I was close to or in transition. We started with a new midwife but by the time the baby was born we had the same midwife who delivered Hazel. It was a treat. I really like her and felt like she knew me enough to know what I needed. I trusted her. Not so much with the nurse, though.

I found out the hard way that some nurses aren't used to non-medicated births. She was insensitive and pushy. She was constantly taking my blood pressure and asking stupid questions during contractions and it got on my nerves quickly. I felt like she thought I was over reacting about the pain and didn't really know how far along I was. At one point when she left the room I looked up at my family and friends and said, "I just want to slap her!" They all laughed and later let me know they all felt the same way, too. I was more than thankful when her shift ended.

So much happened from when we arrived between 3/3:30 and 9:30 when our 9lb 7oz baby girl was born. She was sooooo big! And very smooshed. Unlike Hazel's bullet entry (she came out all in one push), Amelia took quite a while to come out.

Once again I was mesmerized by this little life I held in my arms. She was such a chunk you just wanted to nibble on her cheeks. She had saggy jowls.

We named her Amelia, which means Beloved, after a family friend who patiently watched me and my siblings when I was younger. And we gave her the middle name, Ruth, which means Friendship, after one of my mom's faithful friends. I knew that if we had two girls I wanted them to be close friends.

What I didn't realize is that I would also have a Beloved Friendship with Amelia. And I do. I took some months for me to finally feel like I knew her the way I always imagined I would. But now she is so dear to me that I just might keep her forever.

As in, she will never be able to leave home. At least not without me.

I don't love Amelia more or less than Abiah and Hazel. She just needs me differently. And I need her too. I need her to wrap her chubby arms around my legs while I'm cooking. I need her to sit in my lap bringing book after book for me to read. I need her sweet songs and laughing blue eyes. I need her in the way I always wanted to.

After she was born I wasn't sure I would want more kids. I needed us to wait until I knew...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm Alive. Really.

I just wanted to get on here and say that I've not forgotten about this little hide-away of mine. Between mornings spent home schooling and afternoons and evenings spent trying not to be sick, I've had little left to spare. I have half written posts saved and many ideas in my mind right now. Lots to share.

Here's an idea of what to look forward to in the next few weeks as I reach the end of my first trimester and have more energy for lovely things such as bogging:

Home schooling update: What we've changed in the first 5 weeks of this year

Motivation Mondays

Pregnancy update along with the first pics of our little inch baby

At least two more installments of The Story of We

A much over due recipe for BBQ Pizza (over due because I took the pictures in June or July and still haven't posted about it)

What I Learned During Hunting 2010 Edition with pictures of this year's monster elk

I look forward to being back. I look forward to the day when the thought of coffee will not cause my stomach to turn. I look forward to no longer feeling the need to bow the porcelain throne.

Sorry. Is that too much info?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Story of We, Part 4

To catch up check out part one, two, and three.

Before I had kids I wanted to have home births. Then we found out that our insurance covers so much of our hospital bill that it seems unwise and REALLY expensive to stay at home. (I would still love to do that at least once though.) So, when Nathan and I were preparing for Hazel, I let him know I probably wouldn't want to be at the hospital very long after she was born.

Boy, was I wrong!

You just have no idea what having a baby does to you before you've had one. To put it lightly, I was in pain. Plus they have that nifty little nurse button that I just can't seem to get Nathan to install in our house.

We also had this new little person that I suddenly felt nervous about caring for. She was so vulnerable and tiny. So completely dependent on me. When I was at the hospital I just pushed a button and they answered my questions. I knew if I called my pediatrician that much he'd fire me!

Like I said in Part 3, after she was born I felt like I had arrived. And then I went home. We were probably home less than 2 hours when I left Hazel with Nathan and my parents (who were now home from Florida) and went to my room to nap and immediately burst into tears crying. Hazel woke up shortly after that and when Nathan brought her to me he found me curled up with a tear stained face.

How was I to nurture this helpless baby and the growing boy we were adopting? They both needed me so much, and in completely different ways. What if I failed them? What if I didn't measure up? Could I really do this?

I'm sure most mom's have feelings similar to these. I've been told they do.

There was no other option but to do what needed to be done. There was a joy missing in my heart, though. I didn't realize for a long time that I was struggling with depression. I know some of it was postpartum, but I've realized just in the last year that most of it was emotions coming out that I had never dealt with. Disappointments I had never faced. Failures I'd never worked through. Having these little lives, these blank slates, brought out the imperfections in me more than anything else has.

I struggled with knowing whether or not being a full-time mom was really what I wanted. I mourned opportunities I'd missed out on when I was single and before we had kids. I had always made pretty good decisions, but they were safe decisions. Not adventurous or risky. I would replay decisions made and conversations had that I wished I could change. My life seemed dull and monotonous.

This struggle was very internal for me. I didn't have the words to explain. I didn't even understand enough so that I could try to explain.

When Hazel was about five months and Abiah was almost 5, Nathan and I started talking about when we would want more kids. We wanted our kids to be close in age, but had always talked about waiting for at least one year before trying again. I told Nathan that I didn't think I would mind if I got pregnant soon or if we waited until she was older than one. I was nursing and had just had a baby so our chances of getting pregnant were slimmer. We thought. So we decided to just let it happen. If it did or if it didn't, we would be happy.

The next month there were two pink lines on the little stick.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wishing for a Wordless Wednesday

I know my kids are cute. And completely picture worthy.

But this week the things they've said have trumped all the cute, funny, odd pictures I could post of them.

Hazel was being bossy and I let her know that I am the mom, not her. After a back-and-forth argument about who the mom really is she told me, "I'm sure I'm am the mom!"


While I was putting Amelia in the car and trying to buckle her seat belt she started squirming and grabbing at the buckle yelling, "I do! I do!"

Not only was it her first two-word phrase, it was also her first official (meaning I could understand her sass) step towards 2.


The other night we took the kids out to dinner (yay! for kids eat free coupons) to a restaurant nicer than we usually take them to. They did a great job. Especially Hazel who, right now, is the one we are having the most struggle with (go figure!). When she exclaimed that she had to go potty I got up to take her. I think she thought I would just pick her up out of her chair so she put her hand, palm up, in the air and said, "Wait! Dus wait!"

Shocked, I stood wide-eyed, and waited to see what she needed. She wanted to get down herself. She's a big girl. I wonder where Amelia get's it...

Later in the evening, when we were almost ready to leave Hazel announced, "Miwee said dammit!" Which Amelia didn't. They were at opposite ends of the table and couldn't hear each other, much less see each other over the glasses and table full of plates and napkins. Suddenly it was time to go!

On the way home Hazel let me know that she was going to color when we get home. "It's your only choice, mom."


During school, when I ask Abiah to read something out loud, he yells. I was confused at first and thought he was just being goofy. Nope. He thought that's what I meant by out loud.


One morning when changing Amelia's diaper I exclaimed loudly, "Whew! Mills!"

Hazel walked up and asked, "What, mom? Did she cwap?"

Then later in the afternoon, when there was some suspicious goo in Amelia's bed, Hazel asked, again, "Did she cwap, Mom?"


Hazel was bossing Amelia around and not getting the response she wanted. She came and told me, "Mom, Millie has an agitude!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Story of We, Part 3

If you need to, you can catch up by reading the first and second parts.

After my second miscarriage some friends suggested that I might have my hormone levels checked. A close friend had gone through something similar to me, but had a successful pregnancy right after her miscarriage because she didn't wait for her hormone levels to drop back down.

A little hormone schooling for ya: the hormone progesterone is needed in the first trimester to keep the pregnancy. When progesterone levels start to drop off it's a sign to your body that it's time for a period. When pregnant, after the first trimester the placenta takes over the progesterone production. For more details you can read this article.

Anyways, back to the story.

We decided after the second miscarriage that we weren't going to wait the recommended three months before trying to get pregnant again. I was suspicious of my progesterone levels being low due to signs like hair loss and cystic acne. Sure enough, after one month we saw two pink lines on the stick.

I just have to say, after taking so many pregnancy test, there is no better place to purchase them than at the dollar store. I don't think all dollar stores carry them but it's worth checking out. Spending $1 per stick vs. $5-9 per stick is a big difference. Check it out if you're in the market.

Anyways, once again, back to the story!

This time I had NO spotting. I made an appointment with a naturopath and by eight weeks found that my progesterone levels were indeed low. I was put on a progesterone pill for the first trimester and had zero complications with my pregnancy.

From the beginning I knew my baby. Whether boy or girl, I knew exactly who was in me. When we found out we were having a girl I felt that "knowing" deepen. I wanted to name her Hazel, which means "commanding authority."

I think Nathan was scared because it is such a strong meaning. But I felt that's exactly what she was. A strong girl. My mom said, "Hazel is an old lady's name." I was like, "Mom, you named me Helen after an 80 year old lady you knew!" She changed her mind.

When we asked Abiah what we should name her he suggested Cowboy Chinnah. I, of course, starting calling her that in hopes that Nathan would settle on a name. Which he did. And I won. But there was something missing. We couldn't find a middle name that suited her.

When I was 38 weeks along my mom and dad left for a week trip to Florida with the belief that since this was my first delivery I would be late. On Wednesday night of that week I didn't feel good so I laid in bed listening to worship music trying to relax and fall asleep. That's when her whole name came to me.

I was listening to Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace over and over. While letting my heart relax in the freedom of the words, I saw it. Or knew it. Or...something. Anyways, a commanding authority isn't a bad thing. As long as there is grace! And, as the Queen I wanted to raise this princess to be someone who commands authority with grace.

At 6:30 the next morning I was wakened by the sensation of my water breaking.

Nathan was a wreck. He wasn't ready. The car seat wasn't in the car yet. Our bags were packed but the house was a mess. I had planned to get up and clean it. Oh well! Babies come when they will. And this one came two weeks early! Thankfully I had registered with the hospital the day before. Before I could call there I had to get a hold of my mom.

Since she was in a conference I knew it would be difficult. After trying her cell and my dad's cell I crossed social boundaries I was uncomfortable with and called a friend, Pam, who was with them. Interrupting my mom is one thing. Interrupting friends seems so much different.

Pam was gracious, of course, and I heard the disappointment in my mom's voice when she found out who it was before she was even to the phone. She guessed why I was calling. She had never missed a grandbaby's birth. This time it was inevitable.

Since she was going to co-support with Nathan and wasn't able to now, I called my older sister, Summer, and she stepped into the position naturally. After taking Abiah for us and leaving him and her four kids with a sitter, she met us at the hospital. Being a pro birther herself (see the reference to her four kids, which she had all without drugs) she was a great second option.

Actually, after watching her have her first daughter I told her she could just carry and deliver all my babies for me. She was good with that, too. Her husband? Not so much.

My labor was pretty normal. Hazel was posterior. And that HURT!

Nathan was amazing. My midwife and nurse were amazing. Summer was too. Even though she made fun of me and laughed at me a few times. She was the perfect person for me to have there. She is my birthing hero and offered me the perfect amount of support.

Nathan was amazed when, after him, the midwife, and the nurse suggesting or asking me to do something, Summer would tell me to do it and I would without hesitation. I don't know what it was except maybe I trusted her because I had seen her do this four times already. Plus she's my older sister and I'm used to her bossing me around!

As hard as it was to not have my mom with me I think it was good for me. I found that I had it in me to go through that without her. My mom and I have a good relationship and it is easy for me to depend on her more than I need too. I think I would have felt more like hiding behind her skirt than pushing myself to be strong and work through the most intense pain in my life.

Around 11:20 that cold October (2007) night, Hazel was born. She was the most perfect 7lb 9oz baby I've ever seen. She had a perfectly round head and gorgeous skin. I held her for over an hour before handing her over to be cleaned and checked. She was so small. My perfect baby. My dream. One answer to many tearful prayers.

I felt like I had arrived. I was suddenly the woman I had known was in there somewhere. And then I went home...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Motivation Monday: Worship Music Selection

Worship music makes my heart soar. For me worship is a way to say what my heart feels when my mouth has no words. Make sense?

That's okay. I get that response often.

Honestly, Kat's recommendation for a personal time of worship in the mornings is what sold me on being a part of this. I need worship. I thrive on it.

It was hard for me to narrow my list down to three songs. I tried five the first week and while I loved it, I found that I would need to wake up earlier if I wanted to get everything else into my morning schedule. I thought I would share all five with you though.

Alabaster Box by Julie Meyer

Desert Song by Hillsong Live

The More I Seek You by Christ for the Nations (Kari Jobe)

In Christ Alone by Travis Cottrell

Yearn by Shane & Shane

What worship songs minister to your heart?

To see more Motivation Monday posts go here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Story of We, Part 2

This is the second part of our story. You can read the first part here.

Thanksgiving Day of the same year, 2006, there were once again two pink lines on the stick, but I was spotting again. Once again we shared our news with friend and family and asked them to pray. I was nauseous, which is a good sign. So we held onto hope.

December 15th, my SIL and I got together to make pepper jelly for Christmas presents and Nathan's birthday party. I LOVE pepper jelly. But it is one stinky recipe to make. And it didn't effect me. I tried to push the thought out of my mind. At 4:30 the next morning I miscarried again. When I got back in bed Nathan and I held each other and cried. There were no words.

We spent the following Monday seeing doctor after doctor. Waiting and waiting. Blood tests and ultra sounds. Exams and consultations. In the last office we visited we sat in the waiting room tortured by the exclamations of the joyful parents-to-be around us. They were holding sonogram pictures in their hands and healthy babies in their wombs. I was empty.

That night my parents blessed us with a gift certificate to a nice waterfront restaurant for a much needed night out. We looked forward to eating a quiet meal while watching the festival of boats go up and down the river. We arrived at the restaurant at the same time as another couple...who were pregnant. We were seated up stairs next to the windows. We had a great view. We were almost the only ones there. Except for the pregnant couple. At the table behind us.

The evening was spent listening to their excited conversation about finding out they were having a girl. I don't remember much about the evening. I know I stared out the window a lot. I have no memories of the food we ate. But I remember that couple. While I wanted to be excited for them and congratulate them, I also desperately wanted to just walk out.

We didn't. We ate our dinner. We comforted each other with knowing glances. We knew that once again we would be given the grace to get through this disappointment. And we were.

But our journey wasn't over...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Story of We, Part 1

When Hot Hubby and I got married we knew we wanted to wait a year before having kids. He was 25. I was 24. We wanted kids but we felt a year would give us time to adjust to the newness of marriage and yet we wouldn't be risking the "your parents look like they could be your grandparents" issue. This is that story.

After our first anniversary road trip to San Fransisco, (Just a tip: When you suggest that you and your reclusive husband drive to the second most densely populated city in the United States and he says he's gonna hate it...believe him! Then plan a trip with a girlfriend who would love to roam the crowded and confusing streets of San Fransisco on a trolley filled with potential disease infested people instead of hiding out in your tiny hotel room. Someone who would enjoy the thrill of driving over the Golden Gate bridge for the first time and wouldn't be consumed with cursing the traffic. Just a tip.) Where was I? Oh yeah.

So, after our trip I expected that it wouldn't take long before I was seeing double pink lines telling me the great news. And though it only took a few months, those months were so frustrating. I'm impatient. What can I say.

I think that it was the end of May when we found out we were expecting. I was excited but confused. I was spotting and was scared about what that meant. We hesitated to tell people but decided to so that they could be praying for us.

The day before Father's Day I miscarried. If I wasn't so emotional and upset I think I would have responded different to the many insensitive comments and unhelpful people I encountered that day. The on-call doctor I called for advice got frustrated and told me he wasn't and obstetrician so he couldn't help me. The on-call ultrasound technician told me that most times when a woman miscarries it's because there are some major genes missing and "we have too many weirdos walking around anyways."

I think we were in so much emotional shock and were a little surprised at the nonchalant attitude of the ER doctors that we figured they all would see it the same way. A few days later when the shock started to wear off we did complain about the on-call doctor but we didn't have a name for the ultra sound technician.

We were told we should wait for three months before trying to get pregnant again. And so we did. But in the mean-time...

Abiah came to live with us with the intent that we adopt him. Abiah is the biological son of one of my sisters. His story is a long, sensitive one. What I can say is that Nathan and I both new for a long time that we wanted to give him the family he so desperately needed. While the details are hard to understand and explain we knew it was the best thing for him. He moved in with us on July 31st 2006.

We literally became parents overnight. To a three year old. The transition was...interesting. He is a wonderful boy. The challenge is knowing how to tell the difference between disobedience and him responding out of his hurt heart. I think we felt prepared to parent him but unprepared in guiding his broken heart. We want him to grow up with a respect for his biological mom and a complete trust in our love for him.

As we adjusted to parenting a three year old I sought to find a way to deal with my emotions of loosing a baby. Well meaning people wondered why I hadn't gotten "over it" yet. I found myself confused. I was sad. I wanted that baby. I had dreamed of that baby since childhood. How could I just get over loosing it.

Through the tears and confusion in my heart I felt the Lord tell me that I didn't and wouldn't get over it. But I would get through it. It was like water to my dry and cracked soul. I had hope.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Motivation Monday: Getting Out Of Bed

I don't like getting out of bed. Ever. It's soft. Warm. Cushy. Warm. Comfortable. And warm.

If I don't wake up before my kids I wake to Hazel's "I'm dying because there is a wild animal on top of me eating me alive" scream. Not pleasant. Ever.

It makes me want to crawl as far down in my blankets as I can get and hide from everything.

Since I've been purposing to get up a few hours before the kids so I can have alone time, I've had to "help" myself by changing a few things.

How easy is it, when your alarm goes off, to turn it off and roll over and not know until you wake with a start a few hours later?

Tip #1

Place your alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of your bed to turn it off. And NO music! It's too easy to sleep to music. Loud obnoxious beeps, however, are hard to ignore.

Also, I love to push the snooze button. It makes me feel like I'm getting away with just a few more minutes of sleep. So...

Tip #2

Set your alarm to go off before you really need to get up so you can push the snooze button. My snooze lasts for 9 minutes. So I set my alarm for 18 minutes before I need to get up. Then I can push the snooze button twice.

Keeping yourself in a relaxing environment keeps you sleepy.

Tip # 3

TURN ON THE LIGHTS! I can't do this in our room because it will wake the girls who are directly across the hall. But as soon as I reach the bathroom - no dim night lights for me. It wakes me up in a hurry. I also make sure the room I'm using for my quiet time is well lit.

Tip #4

Brush your teeth right away. Why this helps me wake up, I'll never know. But it does. So I do.

Tip #5

COFFEE!! A big steamy mug of it! Nothing says good morning like coffee.

Do you have any "getting out of bed early" tips?

Go here to read other Motivation Monday stories.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Preschool Curriculum Choices

Hazel is going to be three this fall and since she is so interested in school work I have decided to try a few school projects with her this year. Some I have planned. Others will just happen. I'm generally really organized like that.

I plan to have her sit in on a few of Abiah's courses (phonics, Bible, history, and science).

I am also using About Three. A preschool study set that teaches motor skills and an introduction to numbers. It is a very simple curriculum and will only take a few minutes a day. By following the suggestions by the author, we will use this book multiple times this year. I purchased all four books in the set even though the next three books are for 4 and 5 year old students. I will keep them for next year or use them with her this year if I find that she is ready.

A blog that I recommend any mom of preschool aged children follow is Chasing Cheerios. She has simple Montessori activities that should be easy to incorporate into our school time.

Do you have any fun school activities that you are using with your preschooler?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Second Grade Curriculum Choices

At the end of April, just as I was loosing steam for the school year, I read a blog post about a new-to-me curriculum. And fell in love. And wanted to start school.

Yesterday I received my box of books from My Father's World (MFW). Abiah will be doing the Adventures in My Father's World program for 2nd or 3rd grade students.

I love that the program links science, history, literature, and Bible together for the whole year. The lesson plans are simple and easy to follow. On Mondays we do a phonics class with another family so I usually do school just four days a week which is how MFW curriculum is set up.

I also like that we aren't working through a few big text books. The program is made up of small books that aren't intimidating to get through.

In science we will be exploring the vast world of science: "stars, weather, plants, animals, atoms, energy, gravity, friction, sound, computers, and much more."

The lesson plan for history covers the history of the United States complete with a state-by-state overview.

The literature books recommended all relate to the subjects covered in our history class.

In Bible we will be studying the many facets of Jesus. I LOVE it!

MFW lets you choose your own math and language arts curriculum.

For math we will be using Horizons Grade 2. We've used this curriculum since kindergarten and I really like it. It is colorful and repetitive. Perfect for young students.

Our language arts will be made up of a few different books: Easy Grammar and Primary Language Lessons to build a foundation in language and grammar. We will continue to use Spell to Write and Read which we used last year. Through this program Abiah learned to read with a foundation in phonics which makes spelling and writing easier for him.

We will use memory verses from Bible and writing assignments from Primary Language Lessons as handwriting assignments.

We start school next week and I can hardly wait!

It's Official!

I guess it was official when the second pink line appeared.

Or when I started feeling nauseous in the evenings and threatening the life of anyone who dared touch me (Sorry, Hot Hubby!).

Or when I started craving spicy foods.

But it didn't feel official.

I was waiting for the first sonogram. And the thu-thump sound I love to hear. That would make it official.

But, no. Official showed it's face in a completely different way this time.

Tuesday mid-morning I set out with Amelia and my friend, Robin, to do my monthly grocery shopping.

At the first stop (Fred Meyers) I:

Get cash (it makes Dave Ramsey happy).

Pick up a few items that I can only find at Freddy's.

Go to the self check out.

Scan items.

Bag them.

Put them in my cart.

Walk out.

Walk down to Starbucks (it's a treat for all the hard work of grocery shopping).

Order drinks.

Pull out wallet.

Have a strange feeling.

Pay for coffee.

Recognize strange feeling as an uncertainty of whether or not I paid for my groceries.

Realize I didn't pay for my groceries.

Grab a $20 bill and groceries and hurry back to the store leaving Amelia and Robin to wait for our coffee.

Explain to the clerk at the self check what happened.

Realize I need two more dollars than what I have.

Race back to Starbucks and get wallet.

Go back and fully pay for the $22 of groceries I almost stole.

Blame it on pregnancy brain.

It's official! We are expecting number 4 to join us towards the end of April.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Motivation Monday: Inspired to Action

I've been wanting to write this post for the past week. The funny thing is, I've had to fight to find the motivation to do it!

Anyways, on to the subject at hand.

I've realized that my weekly routine is to be like the kernel of wheat that fell on the rocky soil - "a person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it" (Matthew 13:20-21 MSG).

I will get excited about having an organized week with a clean house, dinner ready by six, happy clean children, and a happy Hot Hubby. And Monday afternoon when the kids attitudes stink and I haven't been able to get to everything on my To Do list, and all I want to do is be in Facebook land, I fall apart right along with my world around me. Plan out the window. Maybe this isn't my season for an organized life. I'll just let life happen to me. I'm unhappy.

So when in my blog stalking/hoping I came across Kat's blog, Inspired to Action, I was intrigued. And a bit nervous.

Kat has dedicated her blog to "practically helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world."

That's me!

I downloaded her FREE! ebook, Maximize Your Mornings, and her calendars for praying for hubbies and kids. I read through the book. Made a plan. And have tried to stick to it.

The first week was easy. Up every morning at 5:30. Time for Bible study, prayer, worship, exercise and shower by 7:30. I was thinking, "This is gonna be easy!"

Week two: I don't feel good. My girls decide to wake up at six. Or be awake most of the night. (Okay. She really can't help that she's teething.) My plan wasn't working and I wanted to give up. But not really. And then I read the verse above.

What a timely word from the Lord!

My heart is starving for that time with Him. I feel more prepared for the day when I have that time. As the wife and mom I feel I sometimes get lost in the mix of the day. I get so busy taking care of everyone else I forget to properly take care of myself.

Properly meaning: something other than vegging out in front of my laptop or behind a book. Not that I don't still have time to do those things. It's just not the only time I take for myself.

I have had to come to a place where I can be at peace with my morning/day not going the way I plan. I have to do that every time something interrupts my plans, but, like I tell my kids, I'm not the only one in that family.

Well, I tell my kids they aren't the only one's in the family. I'm sure most of you understood that, though. Just had to clarify for my dad.

So, I encourage you to download the Free! ebook and read through it (you can find a link in the left hand column). I don't do everything exactly like Kat says because, well, she's not the boss of me. No. I joke. I think that everyone has to find what works best for them and their family. I'm still working on that.

As I do find thing that I like I will share them with you. It's always fun to see what works for other people because it just may be the thing you were looking for.

Find more stories of mom's Motivation Monday stories here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Millie Made A Swear!

Nathan and I were talking after dinner tonight and in the course of conversation he said, "Tell her I said, 'Hell no!'"

Amelia whipped around to face me and, pointing her chubby finger at me, said,"Henooooo!"

All three of my kids will grow up to be pirates. I swear!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Last Thursday I posted about our morning circle time and a giveaway for The Jesus Storybook Bible for children. When I went to purchase the Bible at Exodus Books I found the new deluxe edition that comes with three audio CD's and liked it much better.

So I got that one instead.

I was/am surprised that only one person entered the giveaway, but am also happy for...

Jodi! You are the winner! Congratulations!

Email me at and we'll talk about getting your prize to you!

For everyone else: Check out Jodi's blog. Super cute!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy Labor Day, Mom! And A Royal Decree

I know what you're thinking, "She's a month off. Labor Day is next month."

But did you know that thirty years ago today was labor day for my mom? Yup. It's the day I was born.

And did you know Mt. Saint Helens also erupted that day? It's true. I've always been good with first impressions. Or causing natural disasters...

It's not why my first name is Helen, though. No. My mom named me after an 80 year old woman she knew. Then when I told her I was going to name my daughter Hazel she told me, "It sounds like an old lady name."


And did you also know that, in America, the month of August is the only month without a national holiday?

I'm just full of useful information today. It's all the wisdom I've gained in my thirty years of life.

Well, not all of it.

But pretty close.

Doesn't that picture look like my mom is choking me? She wasn't. I promise.

So. Back to the national holiday issue.

I think it's more than just a coincidence that the only month wanting a national holiday is also the month of my birth.

Something else you may not know is my Queenly situation. I am Queen. Of everything. Just ask my dad. But don't ask my sisters. They're still in De Nile. It's sad.

So, Mr. President, members of congress, and my fellow citizens, as Queen, I here by institute August 7th as Queen's Day. A national holiday. Think of it as Christmas. For me.

Not the "worshiping the Savior of the world" part. Just the presents part. And the "getting together to eat wonderful foods" part (soy and egg free of course).

(Roses from my Hot Hubby!)

It is written.

Let it be.

Thank you.


The end.

P.S. I apologize for my photography skills. Or lack thereof.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Favorite Things Friday: Eclectic Coffee Mugs

I'm starting a new trend around here. I'm going to start listing a few of my favorite things on Fridays and inviting you to join me. In doing this I hope to:
  • Give you another opportunity to learn more about me ( I know. You're excited aren't you.)
  • Learn more about you
  • Enjoy the things I've been blessed with

Today I'm sharing my coffee mugs. I love me a good coffee mug. The kind I like best are bold in color, big in size, and full of coffee. With a little sugar and cream. Please.

Because I like so many different styles and colors and I couldn't just pick one, I decided to pick 'em all! Not really. But kind of. And because my SIL works at Starbucks I get to whine and make sad eyes at her while pointing to cute mugs until she gets the hint and picks them up for me.

Yay for SIL's who work at Starbucks and are easily manipulated!!!

Anyways, back to the mugs.

One of my very favorite things about my mugs is watching my friends and family choose a mug to drink from. (I'm real hostess-with-the-mostest. I let/make people get their own coffee.)

Those who frequent my coffee cupboard frequently have their favorites. The newcomers ooh and ah over the different designs.

I'm not sure I have one favorite. I think it would hurt their feelings if I did. We're close like that.

Want to share a favorite thing? Leave a comment or, if you blog, write about it and link to this page. Don't forget to come back and link up with Mr. Linky!