Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alternative applesauce usage...

I woke up this morning with a desire for pancakes instead of cereal. Cereal=blech, pancakes=yum. Sooo... I was making up a batch from scratch (insert my mom laughing hysterically here), and I happened to spy the large jar of no sugar added applesauce that I use to mix up Seth's oatmeal in the mornings. Ah ha! I'd already doctored my Hungry Jack batter with a dump of cake spice, so I decided to use applesauce instead of pancake syrup on top. It was mighty tasty, and also guilt free, on a normal Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Week's activities...

This little family is humming along with a week full of playdates... Yesterday, I had my church S.S. playdate here at our house. I've been several times, and I enjoy this group of laid back gals. We all have the same portable highchair, and I think that's enough to create a bond that will stand the test of time. Whoever has playdate hosts lunch for everyone else, with people bringing items as they wish. I put out a black bean and cheese quesadilla bar. It's easy and healthy and... cheap. =) You just take a can or two of black beans, rinse, and drain, and then spin in the food processor. Put out some mexican seasoning, cheese, and salsa, and then set a pan on the stove on low. Voila! I thought they came out really well, and it was easy for me to do on a rainy Monday morning after a long weekend away.

This morning I had a playdate with a gal I've been wanting to get to know from MOPs. We hit the baby storytime at her local library. I've never been to one of those before, but it was an instant hit. I am perfectly aware that I can read stories and do the same rhymes and songs here at home with Seth. In fact, I've been doing that for at least a month now. But for some reason, watching a lady in a multi-colored apron doing them in a room with other babies instantly transforms the same thing that Mommy does every day into a three ring circus complete with clown car. Go figure. I'm starting to get an idea why some people find it attractive to send their children to school to be taught by a real live teacher person. =)

After storytime ended, far too soon, we went to her local park. There are lots of great parks in this area that I'm really looking forward to exploring. This one was no exception. It had plenty of that great black spongy stuff that looks like asphalt but is much nicer for baby tushies to fall upon. Seth army crawled all over it. And I discovered as we were talking that I had been in a local homeschool group with the husband of the gal I was playdating with! Crazy, man! I looked at her son and saw my old playmate all of a sudden. It was amazing how looking at him called up this vivid mental image of her husband as a 8-year-old in 1980something. I'm looking forward to getting together with him again. Hopefully I didn't put gravel in his shoes on the playground or something equally bratty. I have a bad habit of forgetting awful things my childhood self did to others until they remind me of them about 20 years later. Let's move on, people! =)

I'm hoping to get a babysitter for us for this weekend, since we haven't got any prior commitments. David and I have been wanting to see "Juno," and it's come to our local $1.50 theatre. With coupons for Mexican, etc., and a free babysitting swap, we might just be able to have a really nice date for about $15. Wish me luck on finding somebody who has nothing to do but watch my baby on short notice on a Friday night. =)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Aaron comes home!!!

We've been in VA visiting David's parents this weekend. Man, are we whupped and ready to head to bed soon. But.. before we do...

Aaron Barbee is finally home with his loving parents!!! I have been thinking about Amanda and Perry all week as they've traveled to Guatemala to pick up their beautiful little boy. Their time of waiting is finally over, and I am so thrilled for them. Sometimes it seems like the Lord will never bring the child you long to hold in your arms, but then He does, and your rejoicing is so great. We rejoice with you.

Go here to read all about it...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Seth, almost 15 months...

Seth is in another one of his change spurts. =) Some of you moms out there probably know what I mean. It's like parts of his personality burst into bloom, and all of a sudden, he starts doing new things. That's what this past week has been like around here.
The past few weeks, he's gotten a lot more mobile. It's still army crawling, but he does a lot more of it than he used to. He'll go back and forth across the living room several times in a play period.
He LOVES the "knock down the blocks" game. We stack a flew wooden blocks up, and when he sees the tower, he smiles, squeals, and immediately lunges forward to crawl as fast as he can to them. Once he's knocked them down, and we have exclaimed at that, he gives us a big laugh. I have discovered that I can use stacking the blocks to get him to travel from room to room without me picking him up. I just keep stacking them farther and farther away until he's gotten where I'd like to him to be. I'm sneaky like that.
The past couple of mornings, I've gotten nice surprises when I've walked in to get him up. I usually ask him if he'd like to get up. Until now, it's just been a rhetorical question. Well, yesterday morning, after I asked, he looked straight at me, and said an emphatic, "Yes!" Hmm, well, I guess I didn't get in there early enough. Fine, then. I was a nice shock, though. This morning, I went in, and he didn't even wait for me to ask. He said, "Up!," and as I was sitting down to take his sleep sack off, he said, "Eat." Where did all this come from? Go back to being a baby, why dontcha. =)
He's also learned to say his name and to say "book" this week. There is something really special about hearing someone say their own name for the first time. God has made him his own unique person. We got the privilege of giving a name to that person. And now he is able to identify who he is, and how he is set apart and different from every other person and thing in the world. Well, maybe he doesn't have that much of a clue, but maybe, just maybe, he does. That is something to smile over.


I've sat down to write lately, and I just haven't felt like it. I've felt a little closed in on myself this week. Maybe I'm having some internal processing time... My Bible study and MOPs are getting ready to shut down for the summer. I'm looking forward to scheduling playdates with gals I haven't had a chance to get to know yet. There are a ton of parks in my area, and I know that we're going to enjoy exploring the parks and the pool all summer long.

So why do I feel anxious? Why is my heart worried and sad? I feel tears far back, behind my eyes, so far back that I know there's no danger of them spilling out. They're just there, and I can't ignore them after awhile. I have to think about what they mean.

I stopped nursing Seth at 13 months. He'll be 15 months on the 26th of this month. And my body has been doing something funky since then. My cycles have been too short, 20 days each the past time. (Sorry, any guys that are reading this.) I know that it might just take time for my body to adjust, and I know that this doesn't have to mean anything.

But it took me 36 months, 1 miscarriage, three different ovulation induction medications, and numerous ultrasounds for me to have my precious baby boy. No matter how hard I try, it's tough not to be afraid that I could be seeing the signs of another potential infertility nightmare in our future. It would be different this time around. I have a beautiful boy, and if he's all I ever have, I will be profoundly greatful. But I don't want even a hint of the doubt and sadness and pain that I felt for those 36 months to come back to haunt our happy home. It's that hint that I guess I've been struggling with this week.

Bible study has been especially sweet this week, and it often seems to be whenever I'm afraid and sad. We're ending up as God's people are taken into captivity in Babylon. (See 2 Kings 25.) My Bible study leader mentioned in lecture this week that this was God's will for them, at this time in their lives. They had to go because of their national sin and rebellion, but Babylonian captivity was the current plan. God used several of his people mightily in Babylon during this time. Anybody remember Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? We wouldn't have their stories if they'd kicked their heels and screamed and refused to go where they didn't want to. They bloomed where they were planted.

Where am I planted right now? I don't know what our family's future is going to hold. No one does, really, anyway. But I'm trying to trust that even if the future doesn't turn out like I hope it will one day, that our family will be right in the center of God's will for us. He's been soothing my heart, and telling me not to worry so much. I just need to take His comfort to heart.

New favorite chilren's book...

I've found a new children's book author that I really like. Ok, Seth really likes her, too. =) Her name is Clare Beaton, and the book we read this morning was "How Big is a Pig." All of these illustrations were done in felt, and they are gorgeous and intricate and detailed. He kept feeling the pages, and he lingered over each page. It was great eye candy. And as someone who likes to do needlecraft herself, I can appreciate how long it took to carefully craft each page. Too long... =)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kettle corn...

I mentioned earlier that David was up in DC a couple of weeks ago, having lunch with his Former Employer. While they were at lunch, F.E. mentioned that his current batch of clerks didn't seem to like the snacks that a friend of his sends to his chambers. This friend usually sends an assortment of snack bags filled with chips and popcorn and such, made by his company. Well... David really liked the kettle corn thingies that this guy sent. And his co-clerks made fun of him for eating all of them. Now they had a chance to make fun of him again, in front of F.E.

F.E. is a wonderful guy, and he said he'd have to box up some of this term's stash for David.
About a week later, a large envelope came in the mail, full of kettle corn thingies. This man really cares about the people in his life, even in the small things.

Go buy his book...

Amy is leaving...

Ok, last Friday, Amy called and wanted to pick up a folding table that she'd loaned us for a party... last fall. I know, I know, but neither of us wanted to fool with it, and it wasn't taking up much space in our storage shed. When she called and said they were all coming to get it on a beautiful evening, I thought this sounded like a nice, casual drop in. But I was suspicious. Why did they want it back? I couldn't imagine them having a big party less than a month before their little boy is due.

They're not having a big party less than a month before her due date. Nope. They're moving halfway across the country less than a month before her due date. No biggie. =) Amy is heading back to Kansas. I don't really think her heart ever left Kansas, actually. Her body has been here since last summer, but she has been wishing and hoping and thinking and praying for an opportunity to go back to her hometown for awhile now. I can't say I blame her. I'm home, and I'm loving it. Everyone should be so lucky as to be within an easy drive of their parents. Especially when you have young kids and are in need of free babysitting.

Amy and little Bethany came over on Tuesday after MOPs. I made them pizza, and Bethany and Seth had one last play party. They were so cute together. That made me want to tear up right then and there. Bethany stacked up blocks for Seth to knock down (his new favorite game), and he was trying to climb on her back and pull her hair. She loved it. I need to get Seth a 2 1/2 year old sister, pronto. I'll get working on that. =) I set Amy up with her very own blog, so I expect to be hearing from her and seeing pictures very soon. You got that, Amy?

I'm going to miss her. I'm going to miss the time we spent hanging out at my place, sharing a laugh and a sandwich. Seth is going to miss his big girl buddy. Good luck to you, Amy. I will be praying for you as you go. I know the Lord has something amazing for you back home in Kansas.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The weekly shopping...

A young mother stands in line at Walmart, her weekly groceries filling the conveyor belt. She tugs at her ponytail, trying to ignore the fact that she accidentally wore her ancient, stained "Superstar" sweatshirt jacket to the store.

It's time to get ready to pay for all this food and drink. Her hands reach through her diaper bag pockets. Panic grips her heart. Her wallet! Where is it? Many times, she has feared this very thing as she neglects to find her wallet in its usual spot, but this is the real deal. It has finally happened. Her mind goes back to her Saturday lunch date. She remembers the small, tasteful, non-diaper bag purse that she chose to take along that day. That purse currently sits behind her living room chair. Her living room chair is not with her at Walmart.

A frantic conversation with an intelligent and kind Walmart employee quickly ensues. He finishes ringing up her groceries, puts her transaction on hold through a miracle of technology, and she grabs her baby and runs for the car. Her groceries sit behind the cashier, waiting for her in the store. The living room chair is 10 minutes away, one way.

Slightly sour milk this week, anyone?

And how was your afternoon? =)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Linky fun...

Great post about learning to love the family of God... check it out.

And then go here for the kind of mommy photo shoot that I can really get behind. This is hilarious.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A smile...

This is one of my favorite pictures... ever. Look at all those happy kiddos. But the best part is... my Daddy's smile. I love my daddy; I'm a daddy's little girl, always have been, always will be. Dad has so much to smile about... but he rarely does it for pictures. =) He thinks his smile looks strange sometimes, so he just doesn't smile for the camera. Our family has, literally, hundreds of photographs of Dad not smiling. He looks pleasant, but no smiles, please. So this shot is a rare, rare beauty. That is a true, genuine, absolutely beautiful smile on the face of a man that I love very much. Years from now, when I want to remember what Daddy looked like when he smiled, I will have this photograph. What a gift.

Fun, frugal, friend's birthday gift...

Ok, yeah, I've been off doin' stuff, and I feel like I've ignored my blog. But I'm back now. I think. I could go away again without telling you, but y'all are forgiving people.

Anyhoo... my friend, Kristi, is having a little birthday lunch with some gal pals today. I got invited along! I was thinking about how adults do birthdays. The older you get, the less likely you are to celebrate your friend's birthdays. They might get a card. Maybe. Or a birthday phone call. Maybe. But it just isn't the big deal it was when you were a little kid. You're spending most of your time and resources on buying your own kid the Super Soaker 12,000 with 3 Tank Technology and planning his water birthday extravaganza, and your friends and family get what's left of your time and attention. There isn't much left. You had to buy 3,000 water balloons. 'Nuf said.

But... Kristi's birthday gave me an excuse to think about how I SHOULD treat my friends when their birthdays come rolling around. I am going to this lunch, so I thought about what I should get for a present. Now, I'm cheap. (Pause for emphasis) So I started thinking about frugal things that can still be special.

I went down to the local Fresh Market last night, and I got Kristi some roses. Roses are always a loss leader at the Fresh Market at $8 for a dozen. I think that's pretty darn good. If they hadn't been so lovely, I might've gotten some cheaper daises. I love daisies... and they're cheap. =) I try to keep Goodwill or $ store vases around for floweredy gifts. So this morning, I arranged the roses in the vase. Done. They look pretty, and I don't think you have to be a professional to arrange cut flowers in ways that are somewhat pleasing to the eye. Having fresh flowers around is such a nice pick me up, and I don't know many girls who don't like having them on the kitchen counter.

Then I got really creative!!! =) Kristi loves ice cream, and it just so happens that we have the world's best milkshake place around here... Cook Out. It's pretty close to her house, so I decided that I was going to put a homemade gift certificate for a milkshake and delivery by me in her card. So I went over there. I discovered that they have no paper menu with their 30 flavors of milkshakes listed. Sigh. I copied it out by hand on the back of old Mapquest directions. I am so prepared. Then I remembered that our printer is broken. I couldn't type a pretty list for her. My handwriting is atrocious. Sigh again. But...

Necessity is the mother of invention, and I invented this! Voila! Her card now has the website address on there, and she can peruse at her leisure. When she's done, I'll just take it down. If you're on blogger, it's very easy to just create another blog under your account. Putting this one up took me all of 10 minutes. The new blogger with widgets that allow you to change the sidebars and tweak your fonts and titles makes it really easy. I googled a picture of a milkshake, saved it, and then uploaded it.

Just thought I'd share this idea with y'all. I had fun! Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Care to vote?

Sarah is still here, so that's why I've been awol. =) We've had a loverly time, and she has an adorable little apartment that really fits her. It took some doing, but we got 'er done. It's still practically impossible for me to wrap my mind around the idea that, though I will put her on a plane back to New York today, she will be my neighbor down the street by two weeks from now. I haven't actually had many friends from the olden days move near to me, so this is a weird one. Spooky.

But, Kelli put me on to a new blog template site, so while she was here, she sat and chatted with me and I puttered to my heart's content. It went something like this:

"What about this one?"

"Too busy in the background. Next."

"Ok, this is it."

"Hmmm... well..."

This was lots of fun for me, as David does not enjoy helping me try on blog clothes. But now I shall ask you. I have become fond of my gnome identity, but these are adorable. I have set up a test blog at another address that I can fiddle with without messing up my old school gnome template. It's a classic blogger, so I can't have widgets really. The new templates here have widgets. Hmm. Do I care? Do I not. Go here, and tell me if you think I should keep the gnomes or move on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sumo niece and other pictures...

We're back from the two day family extravaganza of fun! I know you will be seeing this picture on Terri's blog as well, but I was pretty proud of how it turned out, and I did take it, so I had to share. Though she did provide the subject... This is Claire Bear, my baby Sumo niece. She's beautiful, and really perfectly dead on for weight for her age, but man, she has these huge, adorable, baby fat rolls. And look at those big ol' cheeks!

This is surprised Claire. She can't figure out why I'm taking her picture. She looks so much like Terri in some of her expressions. It's like changing Terri's diaper and pinching her cheeks. Weird...

Here are the men, getting ready for their men only, manly man fishing trip. All three of the shirts belong to Dad. Unfortunately, they didn't catch a single fish. But they ate sandwiches on the boat and got cold and tangled up their fishing line. Apparently, all that stuff makes for a successful trip, so they were good. Men...

This is what David does to his brother-in-law when said brother-in-law is pretending to sleep and ignoring him. That's the entire contents of my mom's coffee table. You can see that Terri was extremely angry about the disrespect aimed her husband's way...
Still got allergies. Ugh. But it's beautiful here, and Seth is doing pretty well this morning. He got a little overexcited with all the cousin love toward the end, I think. He's got a runny nose, too, and I'm not sure if it's allergies or if he has a cold. Off to get a shower and run to the store for the next installment of company! Sarah, if you have any particular cravings, email me before 1:00 p.m. =)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Misc. busyness...

It's been a whirlwind around here lately! David went to DC early on Friday morning to have a scheduled lunch with his Former Boss and his former co-clerks. He was supposed to stay with friends from church overnight last night. Well, their baby that wasn't supposed to come for a few more weeks made her appearance last night! Congratulations, Ed and Ruth!

But... that meant he had to find a new place to bunk. Fortunately, we were members of a wonderful church, and our former caregroup is a treasure trove of generous, hospitable people. Man, I miss y'all sometimes. You know who y'all are. =) Anyhoo, the Middletons sprang into action, and David spent the night at their house.

He's on his way back now, and should arrive this afternoon... just in time to pack us up and head to Mom and Dad's for a long weekend. On the way, we're swinging by to pick up... Vance, Terri, Isaac, and Claire! Yeah!!! They're here for a spring visit, and their time with her family is just about up. Now we get them for a long weekend! We won't be back until Monday night.

I put them on a plane on Tuesday morning, and then I head back to the airport on Tuesday night to pick up Sarah (with Susan and Sharon in utero.) She's here to look at housing options until Friday when I put her back on a plane.

Is it starting to make sense where the overwhelmed feeling is coming from now? =) I thought so. Please pray for wonderful visits and peaceful times for all of us. And I've got allergies at the moment, looks like. Please pray that I get out of my stressed funk really soon. I want to be a joy and a blessing to be around. Hugs! See ya soon... and I'm sure I'll have pictures to post!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nursery renegade...

Seth got kicked out of the CBS nursery this morning, little rebel that he is. Poor baby. I knew I'd probably only be able to register for next year and bring my dish for our brunch before I'd get summoned. Sure enough, the pager went off after about 20 minutes. His teeth are really bothering him. I thought yesterday was bad, but he really woke up on the wrong side of the crib this morning.

I have discovered toddler time out recently. =) I've only used it twice, but I think its been effective for us both. Lately, Seth has started throwing a temper tantrum in his high chair if he thinks I'm taking too long to get his food ready. I try to let it go if I know that he's feeling awful, but sometimes, he's just throwing a fit because he can. So I remembered something I read about this, and I took him out of his chair, saying, "I'm sorry you're upset, but you can't scream at Mommy when she's not getting your food quickly enough." I then hold him at arm's length, take him to his crib, deposit him there, and then walk out without looking behind me. I have to get his food ready, and that takes about a minute, so he sits there and calms down while I do it. And he knows that Mommy won't tolerate a temper fit. And I get to calm myself down if I'm getting frustrated. Both of us sometimes need a time out. =)

I've noticed the last few days that I've been feeling somewhat antisocial. I don't know what it is. Everything in life is outwardly going swimmingly. I like being helpful to Sarah, who has been calling and emailing about moving stuff. It's not like I really feel like I know I need to change something. Maybe it's that I'm looking around and feeling a little overwhelmed by all I have to do for the next week and all the people in my life. I have so many relationships to juggle now that I didn't have before. It's a wonderful thing, but it's a little overwhelming as well. Maybe this sociable extrovert has her limits? Shocking thought.

Yesterday, I had a nice, long Bible study time. I prayed about my doubts and fears and my lack of zeal for Christ. I prayed about my hardness of heart and my lukewarmness. Life is so good that I feel like I'm taking Christ, just himself, for granted. I pray about that a lot. I want the feelings to follow, but sometimes, they don't follow so easily. So I just trust that He knows my desire to have more of a desire for Him, and that He will honor my puny efforts. He has been so good, and I know that. Every day, I see fresh blessings and kindnesses straight from His hand. Why doesn't my heart sing more? I know that if I am just faithful to seek Him and learn from His word, those feelings will follow as I draw closer. But I am thankful that He is there, and He is faithful, and I am His child, even when I know that I don't measure up to giving Him the kind of praise He so richly deserves.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring has sprung...

These pictures are for Dad. Since we are just his lackeys, and this yard is really his domain, he frequently asks questions about his yard. He wants to know what's coming out and what's blooming. Since I can't be bothered to learn the names of the plants in my yard, I cannot tell him whether or not the hostas have arrived. So I take pictures and let him see for himself. =) I think the beautiful white bush is an azalea bush. I plan to take some pictures of Seth in front of it if the sun will come out for 5 minutes. It's been very cloudy here lately.

These may be the aforementioned hostas. Or they may not. I really don't know.

This is Dad's English tea garden area on the side of the house that he insisted on mulching, despite the fact that we never go over there. Ahem.

See! The bush right in front of the house wasn't dead after all? It just looked like it...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sarah is coming!!!

If you haven't been over to Incessant Anonymity in a few days, go there. I'll wait. Don't worry; I'll still be here... Go. Now.

Alrighty. Now that you've read that... Isn't it the most exciting thing ever?!!! I was on the phone with Sarah, who had called to tell me about the twin's gender, and while I was on with her, she got a call on the other line from Stephen. I was on hold forever. Seth grew up and went to college while I was on hold. But then she came back, and she had fantastic news. Stephen got the job! At the school really close to my house!!! And now she needs a place to live... pronto!!!

I love hunting for places to live. And its much less stressful when you're doing it for someone else. You can look at floorplans and imagine furniture. You can scope out apartment pools and imagine all the hours that you'll spend there, despite the fact that you've never spent much time at any of the pools you've had before. But I have to get Sarah a good pool. This is important to me, since this is my summer swim plan for a certain toddler who shall remain nameless. Hee hee.

But I am the super helpful moving friend, I am, I am! She sent me a link, and 10 minutes later, Seth and I were out the door to pick up a flier and make sure it looked as good in person as it did in the pictures. I have been driving everywhere with a weather eye out for any obscure apartment complex sign I might have missed. She's flying down next week to go on apartment safari with me. We'll put on our pith helmets, Seth will take his monkey, and we shall venture into the jungles of rental offices everywhere. Can you tell I'm stoked about this? =) Is stoked even a remotely cool word anymore? I digress. Seth is getting up, and I shall go and get him... with visions of washer/dryer hookups dancing in my head.

Monday, April 07, 2008

My new scale and a street sign...

So... I was weighing and packaging up some hamburger I got on sale this weekend. David and I were in the kitchen, and the conversation went something like this:

Ellen (happily gabbing away): Isn't this new scale so cool? I found it in the top of Seth's closet when we moved in. It's electronic, and it'll give me the weight in tons of different ways, ounces, grams, pounds...

David: Hmm... Did you know that one of the things usually confiscated from dr*g d*al*rs houses is a digital scale? They use them to weigh the stuff before packaging it up.

Ellen: You're kidding. (looking frantically at the scale to make sure its clean, though I did put plastic wrap over it before putting the hamburger on there)

David: Find anything else up there?

Ellen: Just this fake street sign, still in the plastic. Can't quite remember what the name was on it, though...

As we were talking, I remembered that a well dressed man in a nice convertible had knocked on my door in the middle of the day a couple of months ago. He asked, "Is X here?" I informed him that X hadn't lived here for several months. I wondered briefly why he wouldn't know that his friend had moved many moons ago, and then I dismissed it from my mind.

The people who lived here before us were apparently odd birds, according to our next door neighbors. They kept pit bulls who gnawed up some of the wood on things, and they left in a hurry, leaving a bunch of junk behind for the landlord to carry away. That's when he got a rental company and some stricter renter standards, I think.

I checked the closet a few minutes ago. The name on the sign, gentle readers? Yup. It was a High St.

Smack me upside the head and call me clueless.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


At times, it is a HUGE blessing to have a husband who isn't too terribly observant! Otherwise, you'd never be able to throw him a surprise birthday party without giving it all away. =) I had lots of help on this one. We had 16 adults and 4 babies cheerfully smashed into the house, since the weather simply wouldn't cooperate for me. I had croquet in the works! Sigh. But it was nice porch sitting weather, even with the rain.

This surprise party was a covered dish. I made him a cake, and I made a spaghetti bake and hid it in the back of the fridge, but I didn't figure there was any other way to do the food without him getting suspicious. A couple of our friends came over early to bring in the balloons I'd hidden in the shed and to put my bake in the oven. They let everyone else in, and everyone parked just around the corner.

The toughest thing was coming up with a way to get him out of the house for 30 minutes while everyone arrived. My original plan was to go for a walk. Well, the rain nixed that. So I took him to the library instead. I told him we'd be leaving for our next destination by 5:15. Problem. The library closed at 5:00. So we sat in the van for a few minutes, and then I pretended to have forgotten something essential at home. As we pulled up, I asked him to go and get it. I told him he'd find it underneath our red chair. Well, he went in, and everyone yelled "Surprise!" I wish I could've seen it, but everyone said he jumped, and he was genuinely shocked.

I had made up a party bag pinata, but we'll have to bust it another time. But we did get to do my party quiz that I'd made up. Thanks to Wendy for printing it off for me. The winner got some absolutely fabulous "Bling Temporary Tattoos" from the dollar store. Those with kids stayed until past their kid's bedtimes, so I think that means the party was a big success! =)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Happy 31st, honey!

This is David's birthday present table display. I got the idea for making a nice birthday display from Like Merchant Ships. It's a cheap, easy way to make a birthday a little bit more special, and we all know I like cheap. =) I just put out a tablecloth and set the table with our wineglasses and a candle. I cut some of the azalea blooms off one of our bushes and put them in a vase, and then I arranged the presents around it. I thought I might put some of our framed pictures or balloons around it if it looked sparse, but it didn't. I got David a purple helium balloon at the dollar store, but it didn't seem to go, so it was waiting for him, tied to his sink when he went in to get ready in the morning. =)

David loves a good breakfast, so this morning, I got up to make him one! This is big for me, people. I love cinnamon rolls in a can! They're awesome.

I think its time for some new glasses. =) I do have his permission to put this online, just in case you're wondering.
In my family, it was always very important to have lots of things to open on your birthday morning. Even if the thing was no big deal, the number of things to unwrap was what counted. I remember my mom giving me some new socks wrapped up one year. =) David's big presents this year are a bike (from my parents) and a bike seat for Seth (from me), but we haven't had time to go out and get those yet. I couldn't let the day go by without stuff to unwrap, though! That would be a family sin!
So I got some smaller things for him to unwrap. He got the gag glasses and a jumping spider from the dollar store, his favorite candy bar, a button down Izod shirt that looks like its been barely worn from Goodwill, 3 great children's books from Goodwill for him to read to Seth, a homemade gift card from me offering for me to get him books on tape from the library and take them back, all at his request, before any long drives for work, a speedometer for the bike, and two picture frames that I filled with pictures I'd already printed in frames we picked out months ago. He took the frames to work with him to put up, and he was pleased that I FINALLY got it done. Hey, if I hadn't procrastinated, he wouldn't have had something extra to open up, now would he?
I'm making him his requested dinner tonight, fried chicken, and I've arranged lunch plans for him today. The cake will be made this weekend, along with other birthday surprises. Birthdays aren't just one day affairs around here. We party as long as possible.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Lawn mowin'

It was getting late. Seth absolutely refused to let me put him down to make dinner. David wanted to finish the lawn. These are my solid, airtight reasons for the existence of this picture. C'mon, you just wish you'd thought of it first.

Introducing another link...

I recently discovered the blog Days to Come. I enjoy her fun writing style, and for the next several weeks, she and her kids are living in London. Some of these posts have been hilarious, and I'd hate for my readers to miss out on the action. Since I'm not traveling, I live vicariously.

Last night, I had a dream that we were still in D.C. I needed to walk across the street to Harris Teeter for something, and there was something or other I wanted to do or see before we moved. I woke up and realized it was over. Sigh. Those days are seeming farther away now, and I miss them a little more. Too bad I wasn't more ready to move when we did.

David's birthday is tomorrow! And I need to get on the ball and get things ready for it. And if you pray about silly things like this, please pray that Saturday will be beautiful without a hint of rain. I need it!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Yeah, I never give the outcome...

Ok, ok, I know... I never give the outcome of things. I mention them once, and then you don't hear about them again. So this will be an update smorgasbord of stuff. In the picture above, you see Megan. Megan is my mentoring buddy! She came over for dinner Thursday before last, and we hung out. It was great! She's from eastern NC, and her daddy is a farmer. We share a love of cooking home cooked meals and a mutual agreement that big yards and trees are more important than new construction and square footage. =) Seth was a ridiculous showoff for her; he took to her right away. David gave us some time to chat after dinner, and we did some back porch swinging while they had reading time. I think she and her boyfriend may come to dinner next month, and maybe he and David can spend some time doing the guy bonding thing.

She's a wonderful girl, and I have no idea why she wanted to be mentored. She seems very grounded in her faith and her life. But hey, I have noticed that singles like to hang out with families sometimes, so if that and some fresh chocolate chip cookies are the only things I can offer, hopefully that will be good enough! She said I could mention her on this blog... as long as I didn't say anything bad. =) If you're reading this, Megan, I'm so glad the Lord matched us up! I'm looking forward to getting to know you better over the next 6 months.

In other news, we have been getting to know the big dog neighbors better. They have been putting the dogs up every night, and that has been a HUGE help. I don't mind if they bark some during the day, as long as I can get a good night's sleep. I have been hanging out with Allison and baby Frankie some, and we were even able to babysit for them last weekend. A relationship that started out with the potential to really go south has turned into a blessing for all. Thanks for your prayers on this one!

And tomorrow... Seth and I will begin our Elder/Baby Ministry. =) I probably didn't mention this, but not long after I sent an email to the ElderCare ministry at my church, we got a very random phone call. It was a elderly lady who had seen an article about David in our college publication. She wanted to talk to him about his clerkship. Apparently, she'd lived in D.C. with her husband, and he was a donor to the business school, and... long story short, she just wanted to chat with him. The school asked us for our permission to give our phone number to her, and she called. Apparently she likes to hear about former students who are doing neat things. In the course of the conversation, David found out that she is 90 years old, is widowed, and has no children. She seemed very sharp and spunky to me. And I wondered if this was the Lord telling me who I should start visiting. How many times do elderly people that I don't know call our house, especially after I've been praying for one to visit? She lives in a retirement home nearby, so today, I called her up.

It was an awkward conversation. Try calling an elderly lady out of the blue sometime and explaining to her that you'd like to bring your baby to come and visit her. Eventually, she seemed to understand what I was asking. I explained, "My husband said that you mentioned what a blessing it was that we had our little boy, and I have noticed that older people enjoy babies, and I wanted to be a blessing." She responded with: "My, you are a very unusual person. I would love to have you come to visit." I think that was a compliment. Hmm. So tomorrow, off we go! Hopefully I'll get a picture and tell you how it went.

But with this, as with anything, it helps to keep me accountable. So if you want to know more and I've spaced and haven't mentioned something, just leave me a comment. Sorry. =)